Valuable stuff that’s missed by those who rely too heavily on stats

While there is much to be gained from understanding how statistical appraisals of real life players can sometimes unearth information which is not readily discernible by the naked, untrained eye so, too, is it the case that an over-reliance on number-crunching of this same sort can obscure the clear view of what a specific player brings to the court in a NBA game.

Such is the case today with the following observations made by Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer, regarding the skill-set and functionability of Dahntay Jones, outlined in the bolded text of the following quotation:

———-

The Pacers hold off rebuilding for another year
The latest move has been the push to pay Dahntay Jones through his prime kicking and pushing years. It’s an awful contract, even at the cheap price of four years and $11 million, because what Jones does is so utterly replaceable.

He gets the reputation as a defensive stopper, but last year’s Nuggets were actually better defensively with him off the floor (and way better offensively). George Karl just liked the idea of starting the tough guy over the mercurial J.R. Smith, so he kept up the charade

———-

In sharp contrast to Mr. Dwyer’s perception of Mr. Jones, as a “cookie-cutter” defensive player who isn’t worth his weight in gold … or the free agent contract he is reportedly set to sign with the Indiana Pacers tomorrow … yours truly has a very different understanding of what DJ brings to the table every day that is most definitely NOT easily replaceable by any Tom, Dick or Harry culled from the NBA’s scrap-heap.

At 6-6, 210 with a well-developed physical [and somewhat dirty mean] streak in him … Mr. Jones is one of the VERY FEW players in the entire NBA with the “capacity to neutralize” an extraordinary offensive talent like Chris Paul [PG], as he did this past season in the 1st Round of the Playoffs.

You can search high and low, naming every supposed defensive stopper across the breadth of the League … i.e. including Shane Battier, Tayshaun Prince, Bruce Bowen, Kobe Bryant, James Posey, Shannon Brown and Lindsay Hunter, etc. … and you will not find a single player with the combination of skills, physical attributes and attitude, that it takes to do what was done to CP3 in 4 of those 5 games.

Chris Paul’s Game Stats vs Denver [1st Round Playoff Series]

G

MIN

FGM-A

3PM-A

FTM-A

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

1

34

7-19

2-5

5-5

2

3

5

11

2

0

4

2

-21

21

2

38

5-11

0-1

4-4

2

2

4

13

0

0

5

2

-15

14

3

46

11-20

2-6

8-9

0

5

5

12

1

0

6

1

+3

32

4

36

2-7

0-1

0-0

0

2

2

6

2

0

6

0

-38

4

5

46

5-16

1-3

1-3

0

6

6

10

3

0

3

3

-21

12

The fact that Denver’s offensive & defensive team “productivity numbers” both went down when Mr. Jones was on the floor is not an accurate indicator of his personal level of proficiency as a high end defensive role player in the NBA who is capable of checking the opponent’s #1/PG, #2/OG and #3/SF.

When you then combine what Mr. Jones brings to the table defensively with the way in which he plays offense … i.e. as a low-volume shooter who is comfortable when playing within a highly defined role for a team that’s founded on the principles of teamwork & physical/aggressive play at both ends of the court, and in terms of rebounding … he becomes a highly valuable commodity in today’s NBA … especially for an outfit like Indiana that features a mostly finesse line-up like this:

PG – Jarrett Jack or TJ Ford 
OG – ??? or Brandon Rush [SF-?]
SF – Danny Granger or Mike Dunleavy [OG-?]
PF – Troy Murphy or Tyler Hansbrough 
C – Roy Hibbert or Jeff Foster

———-

Q1. Will the Pacers win the NBA Championship this coming season?

A1. No they will not.

 

Q2. Will they compete for the #6-8 playoff spots in the EC, after missing out the last two seasons?

 

A2. Without a doubt … if they decide to match the contract offer that the Raptors made to Jarret Jack this past weekend.

 

———-

 

Under the leadership of Larry Bird and David Morway the Pacers are attempting to climb out of a significant hole, while re-building their franchise without ever sinking to the bottom of the NBA.

 

If they can make the playoffs this season, it will be a major accomplishment, and provide another checkmark along the way back to respectability for this once proud team.

 

———-

 

PS. In fact, once the Pacers can rid themselves of the $7.0 M/yr contract they have tied up with Jamaal Tinsley they will be right back in business, as a legitimate contending team in the EC … with a player like Dahntay Jones defending for them at the OG position, beside Danny Granger & Co.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply