I wanted to take a minute to briefly discuss one of my favorite player stats, points per shot or PPS. It is a simple stat, points scored divided by field goal attempts. If you shoot threes, then you score more points per attempts. If you get fouled you get freebies to boost the stat.
The stat is a great measure of scoring intangibles. Let's just say Manu always looks like Superman in this stat.
I'm going to look at the Spurs positionally (per ESPN's breakdown). I won't look at our end of the bench guys, but Mahinmi currently leads the team scoring an amazing 1.91 pps. Manu is second with 1.34. We'll chalk Mahinmi's freakish number up to small sample size, garbage minutes, and bigs having an advantage in the stat (higher percentage scoring and more free throw attempts). Another small sample size guy is Hairston who is 4th on the team with an impressive 1.30. Offensively, the guy deserves more minutes, especially over Mason, but we'll get to that.
Point Guard: Two Scoring Machines
Billups leads the rankings here at 1.55 pps. Tony Parker is currently tied for 9th at 1.26 pps. This is slightly higher than his career average but lower than his peak season of 1.33 in 2005-06. We know he has been playing hurt though.
Hill, however, is up to 1.32 pps which puts him in 6th, right after Chris Paul (1.37), Steve Nash (1.35), and Deron Williams (1.34). Hill has been amazing shooting the 3 this season and draws more contact than most PG's. He is currently 18th in FTA's for PG's yet only 2 players above him score less per game. (Sorry, I couldn't find a good stat listing for PG FTA/FGA.)
So that is 2 of the top 10 pps point guards.
Shooting Guard: The Prince and the Pauper
Manu is good. Real good. I mentioned he leads our rotation with 1.34. He is currently third on the rankings behind Brandon Roy (1.37) and Eric Gordon (1.36). He is ahead of Wade (1.33), Jamal Crawford (1.31), Ray Allen (1.31), Anthony Morrow (1.29), Kobe Bryant (1.25), and Jason Terry (1.24) rounding out the top 9.
Mason is horrendous at 1.05. He has had 3 years with high volume shots. His last year in Washington netted him a 1.21 pps. Last year, he fell a little to 1.17 but we were asking him to do more things than Washington. This year he has plummeted to 1.05. He needs to get back on track or ride the end of the bench (in terms of scoring).
Small Forward: As Shocked as You
Jefferson is at 1.23 which is 9th on the team and the 9th best SF! That is crazy(!). The small forward top 10 rankings look like this: Maggette (1.58), Gerald Wallace (1.50), Paul Pierce (1.49), LeBron James (1.49), Kevin Durant (1.47), Carmelo Anthony (1.33), Grant Hill (1.31), Danny Granger (1.29), Richard Jefferson (1.23), and Rudy Gay/Luol Deng (1.22).
That is some excellent company even with the relatively sharp drop off from Durant to Anthony and slightly less from Granger to RJ.
I mentioned Hairston at 1.30 earlier. You see he fits in between Grant Hill and Granger if he qualified.
Bogans also does not shoot enough to qualify, but at 1.17 pps falls between Al Thornton (1.19, 13th) and Artest (1.16, 14th).
Power Forward: No One Shows Up
I'm going by ESPN's player designations. Bonner, Blair, and McDyess are power forwards and Duncan is a center. None of our PF's qualify. Before I tell you where they fall, here is a general picture of the range of values. Your top 10 are alot of big names ranging in value from 1.49 to 1.31. In order, the top 9 are Landry, Stoudemire, Bosh, Boozer, Gasol, Millsap, Nowitzki, Garnett, and Josh Smith/Gallinari. Kenyon Martin is 29th and the lowest qualified PF at 1.08.
McDyess is our worst big at 1.06. He would be below Kenyon and is only slightly better than Mason. He is down from his career average of 1.21. He finished the last two seasons with Detroit with a 1.14 which places him with Beasley and Thaddeus Young. Both years, he stepped it up in the playoffs finishing with a 1.18 and 1.27 though.
Blair at 1.27 would be between #10 J. Smith/Gallinari (1.31) and #11 Troy Murphy (1.26). Not bad for a rookie who earns time rebounding. He is currently tied for third for rookies with DeRozan and Harden, and only Lawson and Wesley Matthews are ahead of them. He'd also be a lot a closer to the top 10 if he shot just 10% better from the free throw line.
Bonner at 1.31 would tie Josh Smith and Gallinari for 10th. That means with Blair, we get two players who give us two way different offensive looks but can score at an effiency level of two the top 10 scoring PF's.
Center: You Thought This Was Officient?
Tim Duncan uncharacteristically sits at 4th of the rotation players at 1.29 which puts him as the 11th center between Okafor and Frye. D. Howard leads the centers and the league at 1.81 (can the guy get more touches, please?). Nene is second at 1.57.
I wanted to compare Duncan's numbers to the playoffs, but they don't compare as great as I thought they would. Sure, he goes from an outstanding regular season number of 1.32 to an even more outstanding playoff number of 1.35, but playoff numbers are more easily effected by injuries since there are fewer games. Duncan was great but not so great the last two years. If you look at 05-06 Duncan though, he had a 1.60! In the playoffs! Playing tough opponents every game! That is freakish.
I've also heard Duncan is told to take more jump shots/bankers in the regular season but is given more freedom from Pop to bang in the playoffs. If that is true, as I haven't verified it, then his efficiency would surely go up with more points in the paint and more free throw attempts from the physical play.
In case you weren't keeping track:
PG: 6th and 9th
SG: 3rd...Mason is falling way short of getting a rank
SF: 9th and a limited minutes player (Hairston) who falls in the 7.5 area. Bogans is still efficient too.
PF: Blair and Bonner combine for about a 10th ranked pps using their unique styles. Dice should get better in the postseason too.
C: The greatest of all time balances everything else he does on the court by being the 11th most efficient regular season scorer at his position on assumed less physical play calling for the regular season.
There are 30 teams in the NBA by the way. Sixteen get to go to the playoffs.
Here is the team ranked by PPS for March games with their attempts in parentheses.
1.62 Hairston (13)
1.53 Hill (76)
1.52 Manu (87)
1.44 Bonner (54)
1.33 Mahinmi (9)
1.29 Jefferson (55)
1.21 Bogans (33)
1.14 Duncan (92)
1.04 Blair (45)
0.77 McDyess (31)
0.71 Mason (34)
If only there were good stats for defense....