Tuesday, June 01, 2010

2009-10 Season Review: Maurice Evans


Due to Marvin Williams not missing 21 games, Mo Evans played less in 2009-10 than he did in 2008-09 and had his worst three-point shooting season since his first full season in the league, which was partially responsible for him scoring significantly fewer points per game. Bad season, right?

The answer is both more nuanced and less important than that. Taking the latter point first, as a low-usage reserve, Mo Evans has relatively little impact on the success or failure of the Atlanta Hawks. Over the course of a season he can reasonably be expected to do little more than not hurt the team. He's been a competent bench player for six straight seasons with five different teams without any team feeling the need to find a larger role for him.

As for the former point, though the shape of his offensive performance changed considerably in 2009-10 his overall production was not clearly inferior to the previous season. That he played less often certainly made it appear he did less than in 2008-09 (and, in an absolute sense, he did do less) but it was, overall, a rather typical Mo Evans season. Though less efficient in his scoring than in 2008-09, Evans scored more points per minute (or per possession) in 2009-10 than he did in the previous season.

Evans accomplished this (and almost made up for his poor three-point shooting) by taking a far higher percentage of his shots at the rim and converting them at a decent rate.

Evans%FGA (at rim)eFG%3PTA/FGAeFG%
2008-0925.75651.559.3
2009-103161.54350.6

Evans also mitigated his poor three-point shooting by simultaneously increasing his assist rate and decreasing his turnover rate in his second season in Atlanta.

EvansA/100TO/100
2008-091.591.27
2009-101.910.79

NOTE: That's per 100 on-court possessions not per 100 possessions used.

It's more difficult to make a case for Evans' defensive performance in 2009-10. The Hawks gave up 2.35 more points per 100 possessions with Evans on the court than with him off the court. That differential was essentially the same as in 2008-09, when he got far more court time alongside the starters. One could argue that Evans wasn't deployed optimally, and it's true that the team allowed fewer points per possession with Evans playing the 2 than with him playing the 3 but it's difficult to conclude how much of that difference reflects an inherent ability to defend opposing shooting guards and how much was due to Marvin Williams being so much more effective than Evans in defending opposing small forwards.

The breakdown:

EvansDef EffPoss
as a 31102027
as a 2103.6502
other71.47

If Evans does choose to opt out of the final year of his contract, the Hawks should be able to replace his production relatively easily (and could even improve on his production if the defensive issue is Evans' inability to guard small forwards effectively) and plausibly at a reduced cost. The basketball world is not exactly suffering from a shortage of swingmen who can do two or three things well.

1 comment:

Bronn said...

Marvin Williams doesn't standout defensive at the small forward position, but the difference between him and Maurice Evans in that role is pretty vast. This was more of a problem with roster construction than it was with coaching-there wasn't a viable alternative to play back up minutes at the 3 behind Marvin.