Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celtics Correlation

used the 2012-2013 Boston Celtics to look at the correlation between minutes per game and points per game.

Boston has played just seven games to date, so the sample size is pretty small. Nevertheless, there's an obvious correlation between the amount of minutes players receive and the amount of points they score. Simply put, more playing time means more points, and less playing time corresponds to fewer points scored. Who would have guessed?

In basketball, scoring is all about opportunity. It's impossible for a player to score when he's riding the pine. The more time he spends on the floor, the more shots he takes and the more points he scores.

Paul Pierce, the team's captain and leading scorer, ranks second in minutes per game. Kevin Garnett rates second in points and third in minutes. This trend holds true for the reserves as well as the starting five. Darko Millicic and Kris Joseph, the benchwarmers, play less frequently than anybody else on the team. Accordingly, they rank dead last among Celtics in points per game.

I found it interesting that Rajon Rondo leads the team in minutes but ranks third in points per game. This probably has something to do with the fact that he's leading the NBA in assists with just under 13 dimes per game. As a pass-first point guard, his job is to set up teammates and facilitate the offense, so it makes sense that his scoring totals are somewhat suppressed. Rondo has shown the ability to score at will in the past, especially during the playoffs, but instead sacrifices many scoring opportunities for the good of the team.

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