I take issue with the term "closer" in any sport. Baseball, basketball, croquet, and pinochle are all perfect examples where closers are always used (gotta bid in bidder's out, ya'll) when they really are nothing more than a worthless label. Specifically to basketball, Doug Collins shouldn't just hand the ball to anyone (i.e. Louis Williams) with time expiring. He should run a play to get the best shot possible rather than a dribble-dribble-fadeaway we've seen since the Andals came to Westeros.
But alas, this is not the case and we've got to settle for mostly Isolation Situations (the name of my alt-punk jazz band) with the game on the line. Thankfully, the extremely useful Basketball-Reference has released a handy new thing called "Shot Finder" which is not as useful as a studfinder when you're hanging pictures, but close. The Sixers defer to Lou most often in the fourth quarter, but is he the most successful?
Check below the fold for some knowledge droppage (the name of my bluegrass rap cover band).
In the fourth quarter, the Sixers leaders in shots attempted are as follows:
- Boss - 143 FGA, 44.1% eFG
- Thaddeus Young - 81 FGA, 55.6% eFG
- Evan Turner - 80 FGA, 50.0% eFG
- Jrue Holiday - 79 FGA, 55.1% eFG
- Andre Iguodala - 48 FGA, 55.2% eFG
- Elton Brand - 48 FGA, 41.2% eFG
- Jodie Meeks - 31 FGA, 71.0% eFG
There are a few things worth taking out of this.
- Boss isn't nearly as good in the 4Q as Collins gives him credit for.
- I'm really surprised that Thad has that many shot attempts. Turner not so much because in garbage time, he's the guy.
- Iguodala clearly thinks he's Kobe.
- OMG JODIE MEEKS. That's absurd. I'm always on the Turner bandwagon over the M33kster and clearly the 3-pointers give his eFG a boost (10 of his 17 makes are from beyond), but....dayum. 94.1% of those makes are assisted, so he's doing exactly what we think he's doing. Catch-and-shoot, ya'll.
Now let's see what happens when we cut it down to just crunch time. The game is in single digits and there's less than five minutes left. Let's give it a look.
- Boss - 28 FGA, 71.4% eFG
- Jrue - 19 FGA, 73.7% eFG
- Dre - 18 FGA, 44.4% eFG
- Thad - 9 FGA, 44.4% eFG
- Brand - 8 FGA, 50.0% eFG
No surprise, the ball is with the guards at all times. Here's what jumps out at me.
- Jrue and Lou are absolutely filthy with the game on the line. Like: somebody start scrubbing them because they really need a bath.
- Between Lou/Jrue/Dre, only 11 out of the 36 field goals were assisted. Over two-thirds of their buckets have come from isolation plays. Not a great stat, but it's (begrudgingly) working for Jrue and Lou. Not so much for Dre.
- Jodie Meeks becomes invisible. He's attempted three shots in the last 5 minutes of a game when it's in single digits. Not nearly enough. It means they aren't working the ball around and finding open shooters.
- Any big men want to take a shot? No? K thanks.
This exercise doesn't tell us much more than we already knew, but it's good to check in with the statistics every so often to see if they jive with popular opinion. The Sixers could really use a low post presence to go to in the meat/taters of the game, but once Spencer Hawes gets back, things *should* be able to flow more.