February 29, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (10) dribbles up court during the second half against the Houston Rockets at Energy Solutions Arena. The Jazz defeated the Rockets 104-83. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
We looked at this type of thing before. The formula is simple, we chart out a player's total points, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks (P.A.R.S.B.) over their total minutes. So, for example, if you played 8 minutes and managed 4 points, 2 rebounds, and a steal you'd get a fraction of 7 / 8. You can chart this easily by assigning how many minutes you play to the X-Axis. And you assign the combined totals for the five major statistics to the Y-Axis.Theoretically, the more efficient you are, the closer you are to the line where minutes and production are equal to one another. (Math Nerds: that line has the equation of y = x)
Last time I just put the guys out there, and called it a day. But it was hard to gauge which guys were, truly, more efficient than their peers. I did remember that if you had a line and a point, you could figure out the distance of the two using an algebraic formula. I did not, unfortunately, remember how to do it. I think the last time I had to actually do this equation Mark Eaton was still the starting center for the Jazz. Thankfully I asked Twitter. And Twitter responded mostly by making jokes. One great Jazz fan, Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) pointed me in the right direction. Unfortunately (for me), the link he sent me was full of TL;DNR. I did find out exactly what I needed by YouTubing how to do this. Thanks to Papapodcasts for explaining how to do this in these steps: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. Math is so much easier when you don't have to do it by hand though.
I did the first three by hand, and then recognized a distinct pattern because I was using a super easy to figure out line (y = x). I went to excel and found the distances for the remaining 11 points. I guess I cheated -- but then again, I'm not in High School, so I don't have to show all my work. (If you DO want to see the excel work you can see it here)
Guys like DeMarre, Jamaal, and Jeremy don't really play that many minutes. If you move beyond them you see that our two most efficient guys are Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Big surprise there, right? The next most efficient guys are Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, and Derrick Favors -- is it a surprise that our lotto picks who don't play a lot do play hard when they are in? Our four least efficient guys are Devin Harris, Earl Watson, Gordon Hayward, and Raja Bell. These guys play a lot of minutes, but I think we can say that all of them, save for Watson who never shoots, or Bell who is primarily a defender, are having less than impressive seasons. The numbers, perhaps, agree.