Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Black Holes in the NBA

Basketball is a team game, but some players don't realize this and they have a reputation for being a black hole. If you pass the ball to them, you can count on them putting up a shot. This post is dedicated to the most famous Ball hogs who have ever graced the game. I am not saying these are bad players. If they were on my team, I'd prefer they shoot the ball each time. I am just saying some of them are a little more one dimensional than other players.

I've played ball with some guys who feel obligated to force up a shot as soon as they get the ball. As a result, they are double and triple teamed each time they touch the ball because the defenders know that passing is not an option for them. If these guys could just learn to to kick the ball out to an open man when they got double teamed, their assists would sky rocket, the team shooting percentage would improve, they'd have better team chemistry, and even the ball hog player would benefit because the defenders would not be able to double down on them anymore if they knew they could also pass.

I have listed some of the players who are most frequently accused of being a ball hog along with their average points and assists per game over the course of their career. I have also included their field goal percentage even though I have not factored it into the equation. I know this ratio might be very simplistic, but it is still very telling. The higher the player is listed on this list, the more likely they are to shoot instead of pass to a teammate.

Dirk Nowitzki- 22.9 Points per game / 1.5 Assists per game / .475 Field Goal %

Kevin Durrant- 26.3 PPG / 2.8 APG / .516%

Reggie Miller- 20.6 PPG  / 2.5 APG / .471%

Carmelo Anthony- 24.7 PPG / 3.1 APG / .532%

Vince Carter- 21.4 PPG / 3.9 APG / .444%

Kobe Bryant- 25.4 PPG / 4.7 APG / .509%

Allen Iverson- 26.7  PPG / 6.2 APG /.425%

Lebron James- 27.6 PPG  / 6.9 APG / .483%  (averages more assists than anyone else on this list)

Tyreke Evans- 18.2 PPG / 5.3 APG / .441%

Derek Rose- 21.00 PPG / 6.8 APG / .464%

Russell Westbrook- 19.00 PPG / 6.8 APG / .430%

All of these players are starters who play most of the game and they can all score at will, but I think it is interesting that some of these guys who are known for being ball hogs are probably not quite as guilty as others. Kobe and Westbrook take a lot of heat for being ball hogs, but you seldom hear people say that about Nowitzke and Durrant even though their stats show they are even more guilty of shooting before passing.

I would expect more assists from some of these players, especially the guards, since they touch the ball every play. I know that shooting percentages, team mates field goal percentages, and other factors should come in to play in order to get a better analysis of this topic, but until I get a crack staff of statisticians to help me out, you will have to settle for what I just gave you.

In summary, I think all of these players are amazing and they get the job done for their teams when it comes to scoring. It's not such a bad thing to be labeled a ball hog or a black hole if you actually make your shots and it helps your team win games. I just think it is interesting how some of these great scorers are more one dimensional than others, but that is a topic for another day.

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