Statistically Speaking: The 5th starter

Katie Martinover 11 years


Aritcle written by:Katie MartinKatie Martin
On the poll to the right, KSR has been asking its readers which player should be the 5th starter on this year's team. As of this afternoon, Miller has been dominating the poll with about 65% of the vote. Obviously everyone has their own opinions based on the completely objective "eye-ball test", but I wanted to see how the four players compare to one another statistically.   Category #1- Offensive- I wanted to compare the numbers of the four candidates in 6 offensive areas throughout the season: Points scored, Offensive Rebounds, FG%, 3pt FG%, Turnovers, and assists. I weighted the rebounds, assists and turnovers by minutes played in order to level the playing field.
Player FG% 3 pt FG% Offensive Rebounds per minute played Assts/Min TO/min PPG
Miller 42.5 42.6 0.041 0.076 0.043 7.59
Dodson 40.2 39 0.054 0.050 0.063 7.43
Harris 39.5 18.8 0.076 0.058 0.073 2.71
Liggins 58.3 50 0.047 0.047 0.024 2.38
My Ranking: 1. Miller (leads in PPG and assists) 2. Liggins (leads in FG% and turnovers but needs work on his assists) 3. Dodson (second or third in all categories) 4. Harris (No one has ever accused Ramon of being and offensive weapon, but his offensive rebounds have been a real spark to the team.)   Category #2-Defensive- Defensive prowess is obviously a bit harder to measure. I chose to compare defensive rebounds, steals, and blocked shots per minute of play thus far.
Player Def Reb/min played Steals/min BS/min
Miller 0.069 0.026 0.021
Dodson 0.122 0.036 0.023
Harris 0.135 0.025 0.015
Liggins 0.035 0.047 0
My Ranking: 1. Dodson (Surprised me but he's leading in blocked shots and high in the other two catagories) 2. Harris (Known for his defensive abilities and it shows especially in his defensive rebounding) 3. Miller (respectable numbers across the board) 4. Liggins (His quickness is a huge asset for the team and it shows in the steals/min)   Category #3- Game Impact There was some confusion last week as to the reliabilty and calculation of a player's impact. In its most basic form it means what happened to the score while the player was in the game. No, that player may not have been soley responsible for a huge run or an opposing team's comeback, but it allows us to judge the overall impact having that player in the game had for the team, perhaps beyond what we can see as fans. If Harris comes into the game when we're down by six and leaves when we're up by 4, his impact can be judged at +10. Having said that, here are the players' impacts for the last five games:
Player Long Beach St Hartford Louisville Georgia Florida Total
Miller +5 +42 +2 -3 -8 +38
Dodson +1 -1 +2 +6 +18 +26
Harris +2 +41 +17 +6 +1 +67
Liggins -2 +14 -6 Even Even +6
  Giving more weight to the UL, Georgia, and Florida games, I'd rank the players as follows in terms of impact: 1. Harris (Big game against UL, no negative impacts) 2. Dodson (Big game against Florida, less of an impact in the others) 3. Miller (Total is inflated by the Hartford blow-out) 4. Liggins (Inconsistent)   Conclusion: Overall, I'd rank the four players the following ways: 1. Miller (Close with Harris, but I give him the edge for consistency over the 3 catagories and for his offensive prowess) 2. Harris (If he can step up his offensive game a bit from here on out, I think he can take the spot from Miller) 3. Dodson (Huge offensive spark for the team, not a huge impact on the defensive end) 4. Liggins (Hopefully he can have more games like Hartford and increase his assists and points per game). So after all that, the KSR readers were right in their evaluation of Miller. I like Dodson as the offensive spark off the bench. Unless Harris or Liggins make significant leaps in their offensive and defensive games respectively, I see Calipari sticking with Miller from here on out.

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