I’ll link to the Harding Sports page, but the story is from Searcy’s Daily Citizen. Kelly Fenton tells the story of Matt Hall’s rehab and explains how he’s now a marked man in the GSC after winning the Player of the Year award as a sophomore.
This got me thinking about an interesting part of basketball analysis. Unlike baseball, which is a series of individual matchups, the other major sports are much more difficult when it comes to separating individual accomplishments from the team. It’s even tougher in football and hockey, but basketball is still very much a team game, and one player’s performance can have an impact far beyond the box score.
So, let me pose a question. How big is the influence of Matt Hall on the Harding team? Clearly it’s huge, because he’s a fantastic player, but are the double- and triple-teams creating measurable opportunities for guys like Patrick Andrepont and Rick Hamilton. Is Hall the reason they do well, or are they the reasons he does well? My answer is that we ultimately can’t say for sure. I think Hall’s a spectacular player, and it’s likely his numbers will suffer with opponents keying in on him. Can we attribute others’ success to that? I don’t know, but the speculation is fun to me. The teamwork aspect of the game can really make you think, and it is one of the frontiers of statistical analysis in sports.
4 thoughts on “Hall in the Daily Citizen”
05-06 12.5 ppg
06-07 10.8 ppg
05-06 10.0 ppg
06-07 8.5 ppg
05-06 9.9 ppg
06-07 6.9 ppg
These three returning scorers had better stats w/o Matt Hall. Although Matt and Rick hamilton are scoring and taking some of their points, having Matt back has not improved their game.
Either they have not been coached to properly position themselves when he has the ball or they have not been able to learn that adjustment.
Further, the team offensive alignment does not allow for an entry pass into the low block area against even the weakest defensive teams so far this year. The team spends much of each possession trying to make a pass into Matt that just cannot be made because of their own faulty alignment. (Bad alignment in this instance is not the fault of the players)
I agree that the team has found it hard to get the ball inside this year. Watching the game at UAH was particularly frustrating because of that.
I\’m not so sure I agree with the year-to-year production analysis, though. While each of those players has a lower scoring average this year, their production from a PER standpoint is roughly the same. Andrepont has actually improved his production somewhat (16.56 to 20.54 in PER), and Sims remained pretty much the same (18.31 to 17.29, which is almost certainly not a statistically significant decline). Kee is a different story because he\’s just not hitting his threes.
Sims\’ and Andrepont\’s scoring averages have dropped simply because they\’re not seeing as many possessions this season. That is Hall\’s \”fault,\” but since he\’s the team\’s best offensive option, that\’s not a bad change in strategy. It\’s obviously always better to try to get easy shots, and they haven\’t done a good job finding him (or anyone else) for close-range opportunities.
Of course, you\’d also like to see him racking up assists, if they\’re really double- and triple-teaming him when he gets the ball. That is one area that could really open up the Bisons\’ offensive game, but like Kee\’s seemingly uncontrollable shooting, that\’s going to require a change in the gameplan.
The case could also be made that the other players\’ production should improve with Hall back because defenses have to gear up to stop him. Presumably, that would make every other player\’s opportunities easier, so I don\’t know where that leaves us. Maybe I do agree after all. There are improvements to be made, for sure.
Hall is not being double or triple teamed often, because he does not often get the ball in a position that demands that. That is the fault of the offense that because of a faulty alignment design is unable to get him the ball low. He frequently has to come 10-15 feet from the basket to receive a pass. Bad positioning of team-mates clogs the lane with help defenders and he has no where to go. Again, a fault of the offensive design.
I hate to keep making negative commments, but I am frustrated at the lack of preparation the team shows as compared to their competition. The players are working hard, but it is as if they have one hand tied behind their back.
As a former high school coach (Coached in Texas High School All Star Game) with experience in the “motion-less” offense the Bisons use, I understand its weaknesses and strengths. Its effectiveness is destroyed by improper spacing and positioning.
I spent the last several years of my working career in Texas preparing myself to be able to move to Searcy when I retired so I could watch the Bisons until the end of my days.
I hope 07 brings lots of wins!!!!!
That’s okay…I feel like I make a lot of negative comments, too. I just hope they’re constructive and helpful to anyone following the team. I’m sure people understand that we’re rooting for the team, while at the same time we hope they’ll improve.