One Team, One Stat: Offensive Regression Sends Suns Sputtering

From Media Day until opening night, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann will provide a key stat for each team in the league and show you, with film and analysis, why it matters. Up next is the Phoenix Suns, another team that couldn’t get it done on either end of the floor.

The basics
PHX Rank
W-L 25-57 27
Pace 95.9 9
OffRtg 98.2 29
DefRtg 105.7 24
NetRtg -7.5 28

The stat

5.3 - Fewer points per 100 possessions that the Suns scored last season than they did in 2011-12. No team regressed more offensively.

The context

Losing Steve Nash will do that to you. Nash-led teams (in Dallas and Phoenix) ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency for nine straight seasons between 2001-02 and ’09-10. The Suns were still a top-10 offense in his last two seasons in Phoenix, and they were always much better offensively with him on the floor.

Most regressed offenses, points per 100 possessions

Team 2011-12 Rank 2012-13 Rank Diff.
Phoenix 103.5 8 98.2 29 -5.3
Chicago 104.5 5 100.4 24 -4.1
Orlando 102.4 14 98.9 27 -3.5
San Antonio 108.5 1 105.9 7 -2.6
Philadelphia 101.7 17 99.5 26 -2.1

A regression of 5.3 points per 100 possessions may not seem huge, but the league, as a whole, improved by 1.3. So, compared to the league average, the Suns regressed by 6.6.

The Suns still had some decent talent on last year’s roster, with Goran Dragic and Luis Scola joining Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat in the starting lineup. They certainly had more talent than the Bobcats, Magic or Sixers, three teams that finished ahead of them in offensive efficiency.

But one new face may have been subtraction by addition. Michael Beasley took the third most shots on the Suns and was, basically, the least efficient scorer in the league. Among 177 players who attempted at least 500 shots from the field, Beasley ranked last in true shooting percentage (46.2 percent).

True shooting percentage = PTS / (2 * (FGA + (0.44* FTA)))

Beasley ranked 15th in the league in usage rate and was the only player in the top 100 that scored less than a point per field goal attempt. He took 17.7 shots per 36 minutes, most on the Suns. The much more efficient Dudley took 11.1, while Gortat took just 10.9, down from 13.1 the previous season.

On Dec. 12 against the Grizzlies, Beasley took 11 shots in just 10 minutes of playing time. He made two of them.

On April 7 against New Orleans, he took 11 shots in 15:29, making just one. The Hornets had the league’s worst defense after the All-Star break and the Suns scored just 19 points on 29 possessions (66 per 100) with Beasley on the floor.

Here are the shots he took…


.

Too many mid-range jumpers. Too many times where open 3-point shooters went ignored. Very little work within the Suns’ offense.

Now, this isn’t meant to be an attack on Beasley. He is who he is. But it’s a suggestion that if you take the least efficient scorer in the league off your team and give his shots to anyone else, your offense is going to be a little better.

The problem is that Dudley and Scola are gone, and Gortat is apparently prepared for his eventual departure. Though they no longer have the inefficient Beasley, they also lack guys who can create shots for others and guys who can knock down shots that others create for them.

A year after losing Nash, the Suns took another step backward. But maybe they can at least avoid contested, pull-up, mid-range jumpers with 22 seconds on the shot clock.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

9 Comments

  1. brains! says:

    beasley is bustly awful!

  2. OKC says:

    Oops I mean new owner @_@.

  3. jake s. says:

    yeah a sad story indeed. suns lose and nash loses. nash should have retired a sun, or gone to a team needing another good guard with a decent chance like NY or Memphis.

  4. OKC says:

    I’ve got my fingers crossed for OKC getting Gortat in a mid season trade. If the Suns want to win the Wiggins lottery than they are gunna need to unload some more people to challange philly for the worst team in the league lol. Bill and Jalen from Grantland predicted Gortat and Dragic being traded this year for draft picks or young talented players.

    • OKC says:

      You guys really need a new GM. The Suns were a major power from 2004-2010, and then he let Nash leave and didn’t make sure he retired as a Sun, as well as a plethora of other bad decisions (cough cough Beasley).

  5. Sunsman says:

    The frustrating thing about Beasley…. full stop was that he probably spent more time stoned last year than sober. How the hell does someone perform so badly & get caught (again!) with drugs and still get paid out of his contract. Guy is a loser – who dragged a “middle of the field” (player talent level wise) team to the ground last year. Good luck with that Miami! I just hope for Beasley’s and the Heat’s sake, that this trainwreck gets better people around him to keep him focused and not “dazed and confused”. Everybody saw that Shaqtin’ a fool clip where he had 4 players running the break with him and he throws the ball to Steve Nash.

  6. Big Euro says:

    The frustrating thing about this Beasley lowlights reel is that he often looks like he can take his man of the dribble and get high percentage looks when he wants to. His conversion rate is low, but he gets to the right areas. Maybe his best role would be as a 6th man on a team with an already stagnant offense?