This is the third of a weekly installment where we will dive deeper into the numbers of Texas Tech basketball. Each week, a different advanced statistic will be presented, explained and viewed within the context of the Red Raider season. Our analysis will go beyond the familiar numbers of points per game or field goal percentage. Those long-kept statistics are nice to look at, but hardly shed light on the entire story of what takes place on the hardwood. Let your voice be heard and vote which stat will be covered next week.
What stat do you want to explore next week?
This poll is closed
3-point Attempt Rate
Player Efficiency Rating
Points produced (PPr). It sounds like it would be a simple calculation, but in reality, this is by far the most complicated advanced stat we have looked at so far. PPr was developed by Dr. Dean Oliver. He authored the most important work in basketball analytics, simply titled Basketball on Paper. If this series has piqued your interest in advanced statistics, you might want to pick up a copy. This particular metric attempts to calculate how many points a player is responsible for. As we all know, there is far more that goes into a successful offensive possession other than a shooter just making a shot. PPr looks not only at made shots, but considers assists and offensive rebounds as well.
How to calculate it
Hold on to your nerd pants you guys, this formula has A LOT of variables. Below is a picture of the basic formula. However, each of those variables has its own equation. I could take up a couple of pages going through them, or you could just visit this link here which has it all laid out for you.
How Texas Tech stacks up
Again, for the purposes of this week’s analysis, I only included those players who play a prominent role in the rotation and will likely see consistent playing time during conference play.
Red Raiders Points Produced
We should all have our fake suprised look down by now when looking at who is tops on the team for these advanced stats. Clearly, Keenan Evans has been the most important piece on offense followed by freshmen standouts Zhaire Smith and Jarrett Culver. All three have their fingerprints all over the offensive side of the ball. This is a good case of these metrics reinforcing what our eyes already told us. Evans being +200 is impressive, though.
For context, the current NCAA leader in PPr is better-than- Davidson-Steph-Curry freak of nature Trae Young from Oklahoma, who has 421 on the year. Texas Tech is unlikely to have any one player, not even Evans, be among the NCAA leaders in PPr. The team is too balanced and too deep for any one player to dominate the ball the way a Trae Young does in Oklahoma’s offense.
The biggest takeaway when I look at the Red Raider leaders in PPr is how valuable both Justin Gray and Zach Smith are to this team. Their defensive abilities are well known, but both have offensive skillsets burdened with relative shortcomings. To that point, Gray is at or near the bottom in almost all of the shooting and individual scoring metrics, including last week’s look TS%. Smith at least has the benefit most big men enjoy of having the majority of looks being closer to the basket a.k.a high percentage shots. That helps the shooting percentage metrics to look a lot better. Gray and Smith are also both at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of usage rate. So clearly the offense is not “running through” either of these guys. Despite all that, Gray and Smith have found a way to be major contributors of points produced. How? They do it with scrappy buckets, hitting the offensive glass, dropping some assists here and there, and, in Gray’s case, knocking down free throws to the tune of 84.6 percent. The Keenans, Jarretts, and Zhaires of the basketball universe are the headliners when it comes to offense and rightfully so. But, it’s the Justin Grays and the Zach Smiths that will have you competing for conference titles and playing in March.