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Just The Sports: The Importance Of Having A Point Guard

Just The Sports

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Importance Of Having A Point Guard

Anyone who has ever played any type of basketball at any level already knows how valuable a good point guard is. An able point guard brings consistency to the team's play, creates stability out of chaos, and plays at a tempo optimal for the most efficient output of the team's resources. Without a true, healthy point guard for an entire season, a team can find itself in the NIT instead of the more prestigious single elimination post-season tournament, the fate that befell that North Carolina State Wolfpack this season.

To get at what the Wolfpack lacked with Atsur nursing a bad hamstring requires one to put the numbers in the proper context. Without that context, it doesn't look as if the Wolfpack really improved with Atsur in the line-up than without him. Although the Wolfpack did score 3.2 more points per 100 possessions with Atsur, this increase was more than negated by giving up 6.4 more points per 100 possessions. Not surprisingly, the Wolfpack has a higher assist rate (16.0 to 16.7) and a lower turnover rate (17.3 to 15.9) with Atsur, but even those differences are not statistically significant.

Now for the context. What really makes the improvement in assist rate and turnover rate impressive is the quality of teams it came against. Of the thirteen games Atsur either did not appear in or did not play at least half the game, only four of those were against fellow ACC schools while the rest were against opponents inferior to ACC teams. Conversely, of the twenty games in which Atsur played at least twenty minutes, sixteen were played against opponents from the best conference in the nation this year so even the little bit the Wolfpack improved in ball control with Atsur is significant. Had the Wolfpack had him for an entire year and fully healthy, they would probably find themselves playing on either Thursday or Friday of this week instead of Tuesday.



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