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Just The Sports: Top Scorer Consistency

Just The Sports

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Top Scorer Consistency

Even though consistency is overlooked by many others, that oversight does not diminish its ability to allow someone to determine just how dependable a particular player is. With the NBA regular season behind us, it is time to update a post I wrote on January 19th in which I discussed the consistent and inconsistent of the top five scorers at the time. Since that post, two of those original five players, Dwyane Wade and Allen Iverson, were supplanted in the top five by Ray Allen and LeBron James. However, instead of discarding Wade and Iverson, I decided to keep their season statistics and add Allen's and James's, making it seven scorers in all that were compared to each other.

Much of the results that I discovered during my original post on this subject held through to the end of the season, but there were a few minor changes that deserve mention. In keeping with and living up to the new nickname I bestowed upon him of Agent Zero Inconsistency, Gilbert Arenas finished up the regular season with the highest true shooting percentage standard deviation (.146). Unfortunately for him, he was unable to sweep the inconsistency player award and had to give up his inconsistent points per game average throne to Kobe Bryant. Bryant won that honor with a points per game standard deviation of 11.9, 1.5 higher than Arenas's 10.4. What makes Bryant's high points per game standard deviation less worse than Arenas's inconsistencies is the fact he was a more consistent shooter with a true shooting percentage standard deviation of .116 and his wide range of point totals had more to do with his field goal attempts per game standard deviation of 7.5, tops among the seven players.

As for the most consistent scorers and shooters, Carmelo Anthony was able to maintain his supremacy in consistency over his colleagues. Just like he did on January 19th, Anthony had the lowest points per game standard deviation with one of 6.4, which is actually identical to what it was during my first writing-up of this subject. In addition, Anthony was the most consistent shooter with a true shooting percentage standard deviation of only .095. This barely beat out Dwyane Wade, who had one of .096.

The most important conclusion one should draw from this information is that those who have a reputation for scoring a lot of points and having an affinity for attempting their field goals behind the three-point line are the ones who are going to be the least consistent shooters no matter what reputation they may possess. Take Ray Allen for example. He is known as one of the league's premier perimeter shooters and yet his true shooting percentage standard deviation of .129 was second only to Arenas's.

If a team is going to employ a player in the vein of Bryant, Arenas, or Allen (one who takes a large number of shots that include a large number of three-point attempts thrown in), in order to ensure that the team will succeed, a consistent shooter, low-post or perimeter, who takes and makes a high number of high-percentage shots is necessary to balance out the offensive inconsistencies that are likely to occur.



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