Saturday, March 2, 2013

Why Jarrett Jack should win the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year Award



Jamal Crawford has gotten a lot of hype this season—and for the right reasons. His performance has added something truly significant to the Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin lead a particularly formidable starting lineup, but part of what has made the Clippers so great is their second squad, led by Crawford. As such, Crawford has garnered the majority of the hype for 2013 Sixth Man of the Year Award. And while there are a bevy of worthy players for this award, including J.R. Smith and Kevin Martin, the award really belongs to a player from a quiet Western conference team that has seen little hype up until their point guard’s recent 54 points show in a losing effort to the New York Knicks.

Jarrett Jack of the Golden State Warriors provides more than a boost off the bench—he is essential to the Warriors success. Rewinding through highlights of big wins, you’ll see that whenever Golden State absolutely needed a big shot, it seemed that the offseason pickup who had low expectations was there to sink the jumper…or dish out a game-winning pass against the best team in the NBA. And when he has faltered, like in that very loss to New York, the Warriors have struggled to get the win.

For the purpose of this column, I’m going to focus on a comparison of Jarrett Jack to Jamal Crawford because Crawford is the favorite. Kevin Martin and J.R. Smith are excellent candidates but realistically, Martin and Smith play less pivotal roles on their teams than the two players on the north and south coast of California.

First, let’s look at Jack and Crawford’s traditional stats this year. I elected to compare stats per 36 minutes as opposed to per game averages because of the fact that both come off the bench and minutes depend largely on time that they get on the floor.

Stats per 36 minutes
Jarrett Jack
Jamal Crawford
Points
16.7
20.4
Rebounds
3.9
2.0
Assists
7.1
3.1
Steals
0.9
1.3
PER
17.5
16.5
FG percentage
.469
.432
FT percentage
.864
.851
TS percentage
.566
.550
eFG percentage
.524
.501
Offensive win shares
3.5
2.4
Defensive win shares
0.9
1.4
Stats as of 2/28/13

On that note, one of the most important things for an effective sixth man is the ability to perform efficiently. For the obvious reason that they don’t play 35 to 40 minutes per game, there is the added pressure of performing well in (relatively) limited minutes. So, Crawford’s points per 36 minutes certainly jump out as impressive, but Jack has a notable edge in all measures of shooting efficiency here (FG, FT, TS, and eFG percentages). Moreover, his PER is higher…a statistic that is of course meant solely to measure a player’s efficiency. Not only this, but if you consider their overall impact on scoring a basket (the fact that an assist equates to two points for a player’s team), Jack edges out Crawford in absolute scoring, too—30.9 to 26.6 points per 36 minutes.

Jack is clearly more efficient, but he is also worth more in absolute production than Jamal Crawford.

Clutchness is also something that is of prime value for players coming off the bench. The ability of guys like Manu Ginobili to impact the fourth quarter with less minutes under their belt is of extreme value to their teams and is part of the essence of the sixth man of the year. Again, to no surprise, Crawford is thought to be more clutch. So, let’s go to 82games.com, where they list clutch stats of every player, and here’s what those numbers show:


Min
Net Pts
Off
Def
Net48
W
L
Win%
Jamal Crawford
77%
+8
113.1
107.1
6.0
13
7
65
Jarrett Jack
82%
+43
114.1
93.6
20.5
18
7
72

For completeness, 82games.com defines “clutch time” as “4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points. Remarkably, Jarrett Jack is ahead in every single statistic! Not only is he ahead in every statistic but it is almost a joke how not close the competition is. Jack sits head and shoulders above Crawford. And even though the first chart shows a marginal edge to Crawford on defense, in the clutch, the Warriors opponents average 14 less points when Jack is on the floor compared to when Crawford is on the floor for the Clippers.

Here’s more: with Jamal Crawford on the court, the Clippers score 0.9 point less per 100 possessions compared to when he is off the court (per 82games.com). With Jack, the Warriors score 1.7 points more per 100 possessions than when he is off.

The overall record and media circus that the Clippers have attracted has led popular opinion to label Crawford as the favorite. However, a team’s greatness should not impact an award meant for an individual player, like the Sixth Man of the Year award. Jack is more valuable to his team than Crawford and clearly produces more, too.

2 comments:

  1. This is a good point, and Jarret Jack is a great player, but overall impact on the game isn't taken into account which is where Crawford thrives

    ReplyDelete
  2. Overall impact is a result of all of the numbers that I mentioned.

    ReplyDelete

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