Friday, January 13, 2012

Can Zaza Replace Al Horford's Production in a Starting Role?

By Buddy Grizzard

Can Zaza Pachulia come anywhere near replacing Al Horford's production in a starting role at center for the Atlanta Hawks? The numbers suggest he can. Horford and Pachulia both rank in the top 20 among centers in points per 48 minutes:

Points per 48 minutes / Positional rank

Horford: 18.8 / 14th
Pachulia: 15.8 / 19th

But if you look at John Hollinger's player statistics for centers, another measure pops out: rebounding rate. This is a measure of the percentage of rebounds that are available while a player is on the floor that the player collects.

Rebounding rate / Positional rank

Horford: 13.1% / 43rd
Pachulia: 17.2% / 20th

The thing that concerns you is Pachulia's tendancy to commit fouls. He can't replace Horford's production if he can't stay on the floor. One of the absurdities of The Horford Treatment, Larry Drew's proclivity for sitting Horford when he's not in foul trouble, is that Horford has historically had a very low rate of committing fouls. This season:

Fouls per 48 minutes / Positional rank

Horford: 2.9 / 66th
Pachulia: 5.4 / 38th

Buddy Grizzard formerly toiled as the sports editor for several small, local newspapers, has been a producer for CBS and Clear Channel radio and worked as a videographer for CBS Sports website


James Goeders said...

Nice analysis. Will be interesting to see how the Hawks do once Marvin comes back and VladRad can be a spark off the bench with TMac instead of having to start.

Matt said...

I really hope this injury helps the Hawks brass realize that Horford is not a center. Move him to 4, Smoove to 3 and find someone (Kaman?) at center. You've got some pieces to move (Marvin & Hinrich).