The halfway point of the Big East season has not delivered on the promise the players and coaching staff had in the non-conference season, where the team ran out to a 9-2 record. There were warts then – an inability to close out weaker opponents, and inconsistent post and point guard play. It seemed that the Red Storm only turned it on when they had to.
At 12-9 overall, and 2-7 in Big East play, the chance for any kind of postseason – and a winning record – seem to have slipped away. The second half of the season has some home games against struggling teams, and road contests against improved South Florida and DePaul squads. The team might be able to pull out some wins, but right now, the numbers show a whole lot of struggle to score.
Below are tables on the Red Storm’s team performance and player-by player stats. Read, discuss on the message board, and comment on what the team needs to do to close out a once-promising season in a respectable manner.
The tables below are taken from statsheet.com, and detail some basic performance numbers for the team in Big East play. The columns are St. John’s performance; St. John’s Big East Ranking; how St. John’s opponents have fared in the same statistic; and the rank of the opponents’ aggregate performance, where 16 means St. John’s is allowing more than other Big East programs and 1 means St. John’s is defending better than other programs. But since St. John’s plays a slower pace than 10 other Big East teams (see second table), I will draw conclusions from the tempo-free numbers – rate stats that show how well St. John’s is doing in a truer, more comparable manner.
[table id=107 /]
[table id=108 /]
The team has been scoring -6.1 less that their opponents, hasn’t shot the ball particularly well, and are at the bottom of the league in shooting free throws. From the second table, we can see the components that cause the problems – the team comes away with .94 points per offensive possession. The league average is 1.06 points per possession (anything over 1 is regarded as decent). St. John’s is holding teams to middle of the pack shooting and points per offensive trip, and a lot of that is based on excellent percentages in defending the three-point shot. Yes, I think thought that was a typo as well.
The downside to that is that teams are shooting pretty well inside the arc, and St. John’s is decidedly not. The Red Storm’s shooting from outside looks bad, but in a league with South Florida, Seton Hall, and DePaul, someone’s always around to make the Red Storm’s errant shooting look better (Seton Hall should jack up fewer shots outside shots, perhaps). The 2-point shots the team has allowed don’t just come in the halfcourt – some transition errors, dunks, and layups are also the culprit. Other teams are getting easy shots.
The Red Storm don’t get to the free throw line, which reduces the effect of their terrible free throw shooting. But other teams get to the line and convert well, though some of that is due to playing from behind and fouling. St. John’s has been okay at not turning over the ball, but they don’t force enough turnovers. And they have really gotten a lot of shots blocked – makes sense, since the playmakers are generally the wings, and the forwards are not that tall.
The Red Storm are rebounding decently on the defensive side, but aren’t getting enough second chance shots/ offensive rebounds. When they do, the shot blocking and inability to convert inside help drive down their 2-point shooting percentage. Despite the paltry contributions of the point guards, St. John’s assist rates are in the middle of the conference.
There’s a lot that has gone wrong with this team, mostly on offense. Even if the defense was near-perfect, this team would struggle to win games.
To look at player statistics, I’ll add two tables. One has the basic per game statistics with games played, starts, shooting percentages, et cetera. Both of the following tables are sortable.
For following table:
PLAY: Games played * START: Games started * MPG: Minutes per game * PPG: Points per game * FG%: Field goal percentage * FT%: Free throw percentage * 3FG%:3-point field goal percentage* 2FG%:2-point field goal percentage* RPG: Rebounds per game *APG: Assists per game* TPG: Turnovers per game*SPG: Steals per game* BPG: Blocks per game* FPG: Fouls per game
[table id=113 /]
The second table of stats for St. John’s players focuses on per-40 numbers – even though with more time, player production generally tails off because of fatigue, better scouting, or a truer sense of ability in a larger statistical sample. And in some cases, players are more involved with more time. There is also the effective field goal percentage, which is field goal shooting with an extra 50% credit added for 3-point shots.
For following table:
Games: Games played * MPG: Minutes per game * Pts/40: How many points the player would score at current production over 40 minutes * Sht/40: Shots per 40 minutes* eFG%:Effective field goal percentage (extra weight given to three-pointers) * FTR: Free Throw Rate – how often a player shoots free throws compared to how often they shoot*FT/40: Free throws per 40 minutes*OR/40:Offensive rebounds/ 40 * DR/40: Defensive rebounds/ 40 * Ast/40: Assists per 40 minutes*TO/40: Turnovers per 40 minutes* Stl/40: Steals per 40 minutes * Blk/40: Blocks per 40 minutes* Fls/40: Fouls per 40 minutes
[table id=112 /]
In half a conference season, the Johnnies’ individual performances have been generally lackluster. The leader has been DJ Kennedy and his 14 points per game; though he has struggled with his shot in some games, getting to the free throw line has helped him generate points. Dwight Hardy has been the player who seems like he should get more playing time. Certainly, he can put up points at a nice clip, but some of that is because he takes a lot of shots when he’s on the floor. Recent struggles leave his efficiency on par with DJ Kennedy’s and Paris Horne’s; his 2-point shooting could improve.
It’s pretty obvious that Anthony Mason hasn’t found his jump shot yet. He’s shooting poorly from outside and getting points inside very close to the glass, playing more like a post player. Omari Lawrence has been intriguing, getting involved all over the stat sheet. It would help if his 3-point shots fell, or his free throws, or his 2-point shots. But he has some ability to generate plays, and if he reduces his turnovers, he might warrant a few more minutes.
Some nice games with his mid-range jump shot has given Justin Burrell solid shooting numbers. He might be coming back into his own, though his post moves have not been extremely effective and his rebounding is less effective than his fellow forwards. Brownlee has been solid on the offensive glass, but his scoring hasn’t been efficient – and he takes a lot of shots when he’s on the floor. Sean Evans has quietly been pulling down rebounds on both sides (for an average of 6.6 boards/ game in 21 minutes) and shooting 50%. Still, someone who plays at the glass that much should be a better finisher. Dele Coker hasn’t played much, so take any 40 minute extrapolations of his numbers with a grain of salt. The same goes for Rob Thomas.
The point guard situation speaks for itself. While Malik Boothe’s shooting has been poor, Malik Stith’s has been poorer. One hopes they gain some confidence and get some of those shots in the basket; at least they don’t take many of those shots. Malik Stith hasn’t hit a free throw in Big East play. And don’t be fooled by the shooting percentages; Boothe is 2 of 18 in conference play, while Stith is 3 of 19, not enough to say one is a better shooter than the other. Neither has generated many steals; Stith has slightly better assist numbers and turnover numbers.
Ok, go chat it up on the forum.
Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for the East Coast Bias and the Church of Bracketology and for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.