Bucks Diary

Monday, October 27, 2008

Who's responsible for Bucks offensive woes?

Later tonight I'm going to assemble a chart showing a number of different preseason statistical calculations I did this weekend for the entire National Basketball Association. Some of them will show some teams who may be on the rise (Indiana, Orlando, New Orleans). But each one them, unfortunately, will show that the Milwaukee Bucks have been among the worst, if not THE WORST, performing team in the NBA this preseason, both on offense and on defense.

As you know, I'm not so worried about the defense. History suggests Coach Skiles will get that fixed in due course. In fact, I'm assuming in my preseason projections that he will have the Bucks at the middle of the pack defensively by the end of the season... a HUGE leap forward if he can do it.

But the offense is another story. Few noticed (because of the putrid defense) how absolutely awful the offense was last season -- if you remember my NBA "Win Splits" chart from last year, I actually credited the Bucks defense with more "halfwins produced" than the Bucks offense. So the Milwaukee Bucks offense was an under performing unit, to say the least, last season.

Thus far in the preseason, things have gotten no better. The Bucks offensive efficiency per possession this preseason has been 90.9 pts/100 possessions. That ranks them around 27th in the NBA (although their near-average PVOA offensive numbers suggest some of that might be due to the defenses they have faced in the preseason).

Nevertheless, I wanted to find out which specific Bucks are responsible for the low numbers, so I broke the numbers down to the individual level. Here's what I found:

Notes on the chart

1. All of the individual efficiency numbers were calculated using the preseason data provided by Bucks.com, and plugged into the traditional formula Offensive Efficiency = Points Scored/FGAs + .44FTAs + Turnovers - Off Rebounds * 100.

2. The "Positional Averages" that are used to make the parenthetical comparisons were calculated by me using positional research provided on the blog, The Wages of Wins Journal.

3. Fransisco Elson's top-rated efficiency numbers are not as impressive as they seem at first blush, because Francisco has used far fewer possessions per 48 minutes than the average NBA center would use, and therefore his high "points per possession" numbers have not translated into big point production for the Green and Red.

4. Richard Jefferson's poor numbers, on the other hand, clearly indicate how far his game has fallen. Offensive efficiency was the last bastion of strength in his once impressive statistical portfolio. Now that appears to be eroding as well. What does he have left? He doesn't rebound, he doesn't pass... and his once-vaunted defense is a "here one day, gone the next" phenomenon at this point in his career. Prove me wrong, RJ... please.

5. Andrew Bogut's woes make me a little angry. I think he needs to give up his quixotic association with the Australian national team and start doing what is best for his employer: resting his legs in the offseason. Australia is never going to win anything anyway.

6. Ramon Sessions is a good all-around player, but I guess he's never really been an efficient offensive player... and his numbers reflect that this season.

7. The raw truth in my numbers is the Bucks really lack reliable scoring... so defense is really going to have to carry the team where ever they go this season. I can't believe I just wrote that line about the Milwaukee Bucks.


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