Utah Jazz 2011-2012 Player Scoring Volatility (20 gms)

Some players are a lock to get you points every night. Others players, on the other hand, can give you nothing, or give you a lot. It's hard to predict a player's performance -- but over-all you can get a gut feeling about certain types. A guy like Al Jefferson, he of 506 regular season games and a career scoring average of 16.0 ppg, has a reputation as a guy who will get you points. Some would call him a reliable scoring threat. We do not have a team filled with Al Jeffersons though. Tom Ziller -- all around NBA Guru and one of the best guys out there on the SBN period -- did a post on volatility.

There's another way in which scorers differ: volatility. Some scorers are more reliable than others; there are the proverbial "you know you're going to get 20 points" guys and the "explosive scorers." We sometimes give credit to explosive scorers, even those in prominent offensive roles, because they could go off at any time and get their team back in the game.

But there's a flip side to that: they aren't necessarily dependable. In the NBA as in any competitive atmosphere, consistency has some importance. If a team's management doesn't know what they'll get out of a star any given night, it's hard to build a proper cast around him. Just how much of a drain excessive volatility is a question mark, at least for this column. (I have no doubt a team or three have conducted studies on the value of consistency, but there's nothing public or publicized in the NBA realm on that issue that I know of.) This exercise is meant to look at which players are volatile compared to their peers. -- Tom Ziller

The formula he used was to get the standard deviation of points scored for a player, and then divide that by their points per game scoring average. I've saved you all the busy work, and I'll just post the results below:

Player PPG STDEV Volatility
Al Jefferson 18.5 ± 6.6 35.6%
Paul Millsap 17.0 ± 7.2 42.3%
Enes Kanter 5.1 ± 2.6 50.8%
C.J. Miles 10.7 ± 6.1 56.9%
Raja Bell 5.9 ± 3.8 63.3%
Derrick Favors 8.1 ± 5.2 64.2%
Gordon Hayward 9.1 ± 5.8 64.5%
Devin Harris 9.3 ± 6.2 66.6%
Josh Howard 8.7 ± 6.1 69.7%
Alec Burks 5.5 ± 4.1 74.7%
Earl Watson 3.9 ± 3.1 80.6%
Jeremy Evans 2.2 ± 2.9 131.8%
Jamaal Tinsley 0.4 ± 0.7 163.5%

Hey, who knew that Big Al was our more most consistent scorer? (Everyone) By the way, this metric displays that C.J. Miles, the much maligned C.J. Miles, is a more consistent scorer than Golden Child Gordon Hayward this season. They both have different roles on the team and different responsibilities -- but even a guy like C.J. is more consistent this year at scoring. That's something I do worry about 1/3rd into this season now. Jokes and names aside, CJ is getting better -- but we all know that Hayward is capable of being a much more complete *and* consistent player down the line.

Anyway, thanks to @SethPo @TeamZiller for their help with this post! If it wasn't for either of you, this wouldn't have happened.

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