An advanced look at Keith Bogans

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.

16 Responses to An advanced look at Keith Bogans

  1. Inception February 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    bottomline – we are not winning a title with Bogans as the SG….Pete Myers anyone?

  2. LRygh12@yahoo.com'
    Luke February 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    I still haven’t figured Bogans out. I’ve had my fair share of bulls that I hated…. Ben Gordon, Nocioni, Chris Duhon, Larry Hughes, etc. So its not as if I dont have it in me to dislike Bogans… but I can’t figure out why I don’t dislike him.

    I also feel the same way about thibs… sitting drose for 4-6 minutes to start the 4th quarter in close games would usually make me dislike a coach in an instant… but I have given it up. It seems as if Thibs knows how long the season is and is trying to save our guys.

    This is why i wish the bogans bashing would just stop. We’re winning and brewer seems to be working coming off the bench. None of us see what happens at practice. I think we should just trust the guy who has turned us into the best defensive team- even without noah- and has us at 33-14

  3. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. February 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    No one would argue that there are not better replacement options via trades. The pertinent question, though, is whether or not it is actually as obvious as many fans believe that Bogans should be replaced as a starter by a current member of the Bulls.

    I believe that the answer is far from obvious, even though Brewer is a better all-around player. Korver would hurt the starters on defense, and Brewer’s insertion as a sub has worked very well thus far.

    Bogans is a solid defender (and underrated by many Bulls fans), and has been shooting the three well since the beginning of the year. Unless a trade is made, I have no problem with him continuing to start, especially given that Brewer gets many more total minutes of playing time.

    As an aside, given the stats that Matt highlighted above, lets give some context to what appear to be bad numbers:

    True Shooting %: Yes, Bogans ranks 42nd, just above Salmons, Derek Fisher, Jason Kidd, and Tyreke Evans, and not far below the likes of Joe Johnson, Andre Miller, and Raymond Felton.

    3pt %: He’s ranked above Kobe, Joe Johnson, and Dwayne Wade, and is tied with Kidd. He’s also shooting over 40% from 3 since the beginning of the year, and there are only 13 guards in the league that have shot better than that for the season.

    Effective FG%: He’s ranked above Monte Ellis, Bryant, Westbrook and D Rose (etc.).

    I could go on, but the point is not that Bogans is some diamond in the rough, but rather that he is nowhere near the liability that many seem to believe.

  4. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob February 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    I do not know that there is an up-grade at SG out there that would not gut the bench. At 33-14 I have to accept Thibs decisions concerning player usage, especially considering the injuries the Bulls have dealt with. Bogans shot 43.8% from 3-pt range during January, and contributes on defense in difficult to measure ways (creating loose balls, blocking out and stopping the break). I like Brewer coming off the bench with Taj, C.J., Korver and Asik. I am going to stop complaining about Bogans and look forward to Noah’s return which I peg at 2/15 against Charlotte (my fingers are crossed).

  5. Matt February 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Obviously this isn’t a fix for this season, but I thought the Bulls still had Charlotte’s 1st rd pick (I kind of checked out over the summer when they were making out all the trades). A guard who can shoot threes, defend, and bring a little more to the table would probably be available there too if they miss out of the playoffs.

  6. cavendish.lamore@gmail.com'
    cavendish February 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Count me on Bogan’s side too. Real fans – the ones that know the game and love their team – understand the value of what a player like Keith Bogan’s brings. Coaches know it too, and last I checked Popovich was one of the better coaches in the league.

    A physical defender can set the tone to start a game, and a poor defender can become a focal point. How many times was Ben Gordon targeted by an opposing coach from tip-off. ISO’s, post-ups – teams went right at him in an attempt to start the game with a bang. It’d be the same if Korver started – and maybe even Brewer too. Brewer is noted to be athletic, with some defensive skills but not necessarily a stopper. 7th in the league in defensive rating? Sounds like a stopper to me. Furthermore, he’s starting for a defensive oriented first yearcoach. Thib’s is implementing a system and trying to impart his style of play onto a new team. Bogans is the best guard on the team to accomplish that for the start of each game.

  7. Super Joe February 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    I agree, I have cringed every time I’ve read a post that bashes Bogans. Dude’s a valuable asset to the team. He also allows Brewer and Korver to stay with the 2nd unit, and we all know that the 2nd unit could use all the offensive help they can get.

  8. NoahsGymSock February 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    Can someone get OJ Mayo’s phone number? Needs a change of scenery and would be a huge upgrade.

  9. Luvabull February 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    I have to confess I don’t watch Bogans all the time. Selfish as it may sound, but I do spend a lot of time watching Rose, and Boozer and Deng. However, I have watched Bogans exclusively a couple of games and stats aside, he does not pass the eye test.
    Most of the time he’s either chasing his assignment from behind, or getting screened. Bogans does not even appear to be energetic out there except for a few plays. The guy I watch to compare Bogans to, is Brewer. And there’s a visible difference. Brewer is either disruppting the passing lanes or disruppting the shot or funneling his man away from his strength.
    What has be very pleasantly surprising about Brewer has been his mid range shot. Just like Noah, he seems to be improving his range and getting more confidence in his shot from 15′ out.
    Without any roster changes, the Bulls may be better sticking with their current strategy of bring Brewer off the bench and letting him play the ends of 2nd and 4th quarters. It’s a formula that’s working so keep it going.
    However, there is no getting around it. We need an upgrade at the roster spot that Bogans is occupying. Be that with a starter or more solid all around guy to come off the bench behind Brewer.

  10. Luvabull February 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    By the way, I am in no way advocating putting Korver in a starting slot. He is perfect comming off the bench to score some points on the second unit. By the way, watching Korver, while he’s limited by his athletic abilities, he is not all that bad in team defense on the second unit. And he has shown a very nice passing touch as well as his shooting. For a shooter he is a very willing and a good passer if a teamate is open for a better shot.

  11. Luvabull February 1, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    And while I’m at it. Love for you to discuss Boozers’ defense sometime soon Matt. Booz is an excellent offensive player, but his defense is frankly offensive with a capital “O”. Can you say “Ole”.

    I would love for Scottie Pippen to tell Boozer to shut up with the “And 1″ already.

  12. Bam! February 2, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    While I definitely can’t say I’ve been a fan of Bogans this year, I think that by playoffs or sometime next year he will become an asset to this team. He can be an asset right now – if he comes off the bench. I’ve mentioned that I think Arron Afflalo is our best option right now, but since I heard that the Lakers are very interested in making a trade right now, it may be important to capitalize on this. Shannon Brown seems like a legitimate possibility. He’s listed as a pg but based on his game and stats, I see him as more of an sg who can pass the rock well. I’d say Brown is a good plan B. If we grab Afflalo, he would start and Bogans should split the remaining minutes with Brewer. Korver should be moved to backup sf. If we try for Shannon Brown, he could either split the minutes three ways with Brewer and Bogans or he could start and Brewer and Bogans split the rest. Either way I think Korver provides a great backup for Deng, partially because their games seem to compliment each other.

  13. yomomma@hotmail.com'
    Scottie Pimpin February 2, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    i think since Deng shut some people up this season, bogans is the next place to vent. maybe not the most ideal starting shooting guard, but he still an able and reliable basketball player from what i’ve seen.

    Go Bulls !

  14. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life February 2, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    Way too much attention on a player who is playing on a team that has a winning record not to mention one of the best in the league.bogans was not brought here to be a scorer is there any confusion about that , he was brought here to be a D stopper and that is what he is doing anything else that he does is a bonus. Therefore i say to you that we need to focus on something else not that he is what he is we might want to consider how good or even great this team may be when Noah comes back, its scary to think this team has an upside and does not even have to make a trade to see it come true wow . The bulls as they are, the team no one wants to face healthy or part healthy in the playoffs we are dangerous and a true contender to win it all for sure .. Peace

  15. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog February 2, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    Nice article- thanks Matt!

  16. wannafanta365@aim.com'
    Bam! February 2, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    While I definitely can’t say I’ve been a fan of Bogans this year, I think that by playoffs or sometime next year he will become an asset to this team. He can be an asset right now – if he comes off the bench. I’ve mentioned that I think Arron Afflalo is our best option right now, but since I heard that the Lakers are very interested in making a trade right now, it may be important to capitalize on this. Shannon Brown seems like a legitimate possibility. He’s listed as a pg but based on his game and stats, I see him as more of an sg who can pass the rock well. I’d say Brown is a good plan B. If we grab Afflalo, he would start and Bogans should split the remaining minutes with Brewer. Korver should be moved to backup sf. If we try for Shannon Brown, he could either split the minutes three ways with Brewer and Bogans or he could start and Brewer and Bogans split the rest. Either way I think Korver provides a great backup for Deng, partially because their games seem to compliment each other.
    . .

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