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Willie, Willie, Willie?

My hatred for Willie Green on the basketball court (I'm sure he's a nice guy) is well known. Three head coaches in a row have made the colossal blunder of not only playing this guy heavy minutes, but starting him for stretches. His shot selection is atrocious, his defense is porous (to be kind), his lone good quality is his low turnover rate (mostly because he doesn't pass the ball very often). Well, in the midst of crunching numbers for another post, I stumbled across a split that may surprise you.

Let's start with the good news for the big Willie fans out there (fan should probably be singular).

When Willie is paired with point in the back court, the team actually performs pretty well.

  • Minutes: 207
  • Points scored: 436
  • Points allowed: 422
  • Possessions: 381
  • Pace: 88.35
  • Offensive Rating: 114.44
  • Defensive Rating: 96.79

And now here's a look at the split when Willie is at the point:

  • Minutes: 230
  • Points scored: 457
  • Points allowed: 514
  • Possessions: 444
  • Pace: 92.66
  • Offensive Rating: 102.93
  • Defensive Rating: 115.77

The overall picture is pretty much what I've been saying all season, he does more harm than good.

  • Minutes: 437
  • Points scored: 893
  • Points allowed: 936
  • Possessions: 825
  • Pace: 90.62
  • Offensive Rating: 108.24
  • Defensive Rating: 113.45
The negative split above isn't really all that hard to explain. Putting Willie on the ball, on either end of the floor, is a recipe for disaster. His quick jumpers kill you on the offensive end (especially off the dribble), and his insistence on putting absolutely no pressure on the ball is the straw that breaks Jordan's asinine defensive system's back on the other end. It's a double whammy that makes the Sixers worse on both ends of the floor, yet it's also the scenario we're most likely to see (230 minutes of this split, to 207 of the other). Makes you wonder how Jordan chooses his rotations.

The positive splits are a little harder to explain. My best guess is that Willie's improved/fluky shooting on long twos fits perfectly with Jordan's PO. At the two, he's catching and shooting and hitting those shots a nice clip. Maybe having a guy knock down those shots makes the rest of the offense run more smoothly. Your guess is as good as mine. Defensively, the pessimist would say having anyone guarding the point other than Willie makes all the difference in the world, the optimist would say Willie is better at chasing guys around the perimeter than he is at stopping penetration off the bounce. The truth lies somewhere in between.

So do the numbers back up what you already thought? Are you as surprised as I am to see how well the team has performed when Willie's on the floor with a PG? Do you expect those numbers to swing the other way as the season wears on?

Have at it in the comments, and Let's go Birds.


Filed under FINALLY:

Kate Fagan fired a big shot across Eddie Jordan's bow this morning in the Inquirer. Check it out, she stops short of saying the guy should be fired, and she leans on PPG numbers to back her points up, but still, I'm glad the word is getting out there. 
by Brian on Dec 13 2009
Tags: Basketball | Sixers | Willie Green |