Monday, February 07, 2011

Production Is In the Eye of the Beholder

On January 28th, Larry Drew said this about Jeff Teague:
"I want to see more production. I want to see more consistency, and that has not been the case. He has shown flashes of being a consistent player but for whatever reason I haven’t gotten the consistency from him."
Jeff Teague has played 494 minutes in 42 of Atlanta's 51 games. In 16 of the 42 games in which Teague has appeared, he's played fewer than 10 minutes. In 7 of the 42 games in which he's appeared, he's played fewer than 5 minutes. Mike Bibby has played in all 51 games for a total of 1529 minutes. Let's compare their production.

NamePts/362PTFG%3PTFG%FT RateTS%


If you weighted the value of their assists, Teague's lead in that column would increase as one-third of his assists this season have set up a teammate's three-point basket. Just 14.5% of Bibby's assists have led to a shot worth three points.

The point isn't how well Jeff Teague has been playing. He hasn't, really. The point is that Mike Bibby, despite his experience, the loyalty of the coaching staff, regular minutes, and the benefit of playing the vast majority of his minutes alongside the team's best players, has not been sufficiently more productive than his second-year teammate.

There's been little in Teague's performance or in his head coach's treatment of him this season that suggests he is the franchise's point guard of the future. That doesn't mean he isn't likely the franchise's best point guard of the present some nights.

Allowing the gulf between the platonic ideal of Jeff Teague's potential and the reality of his play both to limit the return on the 19th pick of the 2009 draft and the maximum possible amount of success for the 2010-11 Atlanta Hawks would be foolish.

For a counter-example, look to Oklahoma City, where Eric Maynor (drafted immediately after Teague and by a different organization), plugs along for 14 minutes a night while barely breaking 50% in terms of TS%, and averaging 11.3 points, 6 assists, and 2.3 turnovers per 36 minutes.

Those numbers look familiar?

For Scott Brooks they're sufficient for a second-year player to back up All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook on a regular basis. How regular? Maynor has played in each of Oklahoma City's 50 games. His season low in minutes in a game is 6:04. He has played at least 10 minutes in 46 of Oklahoma City's 50 games and at least 9 minutes in 48 of 50 games.

An average backup point guard is a quality return on a late first-round pick. Unrealistic expectations shouldn't stand in the way. Especially when the team in question drafted potential ahead of players ready to contribute immediately.


Unknown said...

This may seem like a ridiculous question, but is there anyway you could relay this information to Larry Drew or anyone on the coaching staff? Is it possible they don't know this already? Do the Hawks pay for the people to find out this information?

Unknown said...


I think its been pretty obvious this year that the current coaching staff doesn't use any advanced metrics to evaluate their squad (at least by their comments). Bret has pointed this out often this year. But Smoove is the greatest spot up shooter in the L and Jamal and Bibbys effort on the defensive end don't show up in the box score.

Its truly maddening.

Anonymous said...

I think though that most statistics (including "advanced metrics") will tend to underestimate Bibby's value (btw, I'm not trying to say he's that great; just better than Teague). Reason being that at this point Bibby is a spot up shooter. His standing on the three point line keeps his man an extra step away from helping on Joe, Josh, Jamal, or whoever else. On the other hand, Teague's defender is free to roam as Teague is a non-shooting threat and not good enough to be the main creator on offense.

Just saying that "advanced metrics" may be get at measuring some things, but probably miss some of Bibby's offensive value.

Xavier said...

I agree that there are situations in which Teague would be better suited than Bibby and therefore should play more minutes, but aren't the advanced metrics used to compare Bibby/Teague kind of misleading? I mean the majority of Bibby's minutes are vs. starters (generally better offensive & defensive players) while Teague is matched up vs. 2nd string players. Maybe I'm wrong but if Bibby and Teague switched roles I still think Bibby would outperform Teague at this point in Teague's career using these same metrics. Also I'm not sure the % of the teams' assists Bibby has while playing but playing along side JJ should decrease Bibby's amount while Teague plays along side JC who shoots more than JJ should increase his assist %.

Unknown said...

To me, the key is that Teague can (sometimes) take players off the dribble from the top of the arc, creating good opportunities for close range shots for guys like Smoove and Marvin, or for longer kickouts to JJ or JC. This is the key to most NBA teams. We could run an effective pick and roll through Teague and, I think, end up being a more productive offense than Bibby sitting a corner, "spreading" the floor, and waiting for the ball. This line up (of inserting Teague more often with the starters) would challenge opposing coaching staffs a whole lot more than our current "motion" offense. I think the metrics stick, despite the relevant points raised by Xavier. And as to Bibby's defensive value, it is really close to nil, seeing as how he regularly allows the scheme to break down by getting badly beaten by his man. Defensively, there's no way to put Bibby over Teague's length and quickness, as shown with the blocked shots metric.

jrauch said...

So LD complains about consistency from Teague, yet refuses to play him consistent minutes?

The mind boggles.

Bibby couldn't defend a buffet line from a motivated senior citizen at this point. I really can't understand why LD keeps Teague's minutes to a laughable minimum.

Bret LaGree said...

Xavier --

I suspect whatever difficulty Bibby has in putting up numbers due to the quality of players he's facing is mitigated by the fact that he plays the vast majority of his minutes alongside Horford and Smith and Johnson.

Teague may be facing second-stringers (not always, as Larry Drew kept on the bench for a week then brought him out to face Chris Paul two weeks ago) but he's also had to play alongside Josh Powell, Jordan Crawford, Mo Evans, and Damien Wilkins a lot.

As I don't expect the usage of either Bibby or Teague to change, I think this is just an interesting subject for us to discuss rather than a practical consideration but if some evidence (either way) presents itself, I'll gladly address it.

Shah Labs said...

there is one more caveat to comparing teague's treatment with maynor's treatment, in that we have guards jc, jj who can play point, while OKC doesn't. i also suspect that bibby knows how to initiate and exploit wrinkles in the motion offense better than teague (hopefully!)

one stat i think interesting would be how successful we are at converting on our pick an rolls. (bret, if you have any info here, it would be appreciated!) and compare that to our success rate at converting post-up shots when the floor is spaced with spot up shooters like bibby and jc

then maybe we can figure out if teague's penetration is more effective than bibby's 'spacing'

Shah Labs said...

just a quick clarification on this point:
"also suspect that bibby knows how to initiate and exploit wrinkles in the motion offense better than teague (hopefully!)"

i didn't mean to suggest that bibby executes the offense more effectively than teague(the stats you posted show otherwise) but maybe LD can run a lot more and more complicated sets with bibby in, whereas he may run simpler sets with teague in

jlabomb said...

I would be more interested to see what the production rate of the 5 players on the floor broken down to the players who have played the point guard position. Bibby's worth is not in the numbers he puts up but how he helps the other guys on the floor. Rather it be setting a screen or telling them to move to the correct spot. Do the main scorers on the floor have a easier time scoring because he is there. Maybe the main guys feel more comfortable with him who knows. The best play the Hawks run is a pick and roll with Bibby and Horford, it seems to always get a basket. But to consider Teague as a good or even average defender I think is being generous. Bibby may be a bad defender and Teague may have all the tools to be a good one. But he does not show the ability to defend the backup point guards any better than Bibby. Bibby looks tired out there right now, I don't understand why he is playing so many minutes when he is obviously fatigued. You can tell just by how he shoots. So Teague needs to get 15 to 20 minutes a night depending on if he is effective it only makes sense. Or trade him.

Bret LaGree said...

LazyBum, James --

Those are great ideas. Let me think about how (if?) I could get the necessary data to break things down those particular ways.