K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote a piece about Keith Bogans that, essentially, absolves Bogans of his poor shooting and lack of scoring.
In doing so, Johnson cited Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who said: ”He’s always found a way either to start or be in the rotation for very good teams. If he’s guarding you, you know he’s guarding you. He’s going to make you work. He’s a physical player. He’s been shooting the 3 well. That’s critical for us. Keith gives you toughness. That’s important in this league. It’s a big part of being a good defensive team. And he does his job every day. Every day.”
I get what Johnson and Thibs are saying, and I agree that PPG isn’t the best measure of a player’s worth. Still, out of curiosity, I went to Basketball-Reference and used the Play Index to compare the advanced statistics of all NBA guards who have started at least 35 games this season. Here are Bogans’ stats and rankings out of the 46 guards who qualified:
Player Efficiency Rating: 7.1 (46th)
True Shooting Percentage: .510 (42nd)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .500 (26th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: 1.6 (33rd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: 10.2 (18th)
Total Rebound Percentage: 6.1 (23rd)
Assist Percentage: 9.5 (41st)
Steal Percentage: 1.3 (38th)
Block Percentage: 0.5 (19th)
Turnover Percentage: 12.7 (20th)
Usage Percentage: 10.4 (45th)
Offensive Rating: 104 (41st)
Defensive Rating: 103 (7th)
Offensive Win Shares: 0.3 (44th)
Defensive Win Shares: 1.3 (21st)
Total Win Shares: 1.6 (43rd)
Win Shares Per 48 Minutes: 0.092 (34th)
For the heck of it, here are his shooting stats among the 46 qualifying guards:
Field Goal Percentage: 38.1 (44th)
Three-point Percentage: 33.6 (34th)
Free Throw Percentage: 59.1 (45th)
Most notable, I suppose, are the shooting stats, which reveal that Bogans is one of the worst shooters among starting guards, and his dead-last ranking in PER, which provides a general measure of efficiency and productivity.
He’s good at defense, though, hence the seventh-place ranking in Defensive Rating. Interestingly enough, Derrick Rose ranks fourth in that area (just behind Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade) despite his ongoing (and possibly undeserved) reputation as a bad (at worst) to average (at best) defender. For the record, Rose also ranks second (behind Paul and just ahead of Wade and Rondo) among these 46 starting guards in Defensive Win Shares.
But, hey, what do advanced stats mean, anyway?
D-Ratings, Defensive Win Shares and even possession-specific data from Synergy Sports Technology aren’t admissible if you choose to disregard them. And, as Jake in Minnie pointed out in yesterday’s comments, PER certainly has its fair share of flaws, which sheds at least some doubt on the importance of Bogans’ poor rating in that area.
So, at least for now, as much as some Bulls fans my not like it (and many of us do not), Thibs is going by the most basic statistics of all: wins and losses.