If you listened to Danny Ainge on Felger and Mazz last Tuesday, sorry about your car, because when you heard this quote about Jeff Green you probably lost control of the wheel and drove into a Honeydew Donuts:
“If you look at his last 23 games, since the Rondo injury, Jeff’s offensive efficiency is like fifth in the league.”
Not that Danny Ainge is a liar, just that those numbers seem…wrong? Jeff Green? Fifth most efficient player in the league over a quarter-plus of the season? I would have considered it middling-to-good news that he was the fifth most efficient player on his own team. Also, here’s the metric that Danny has traditionally used to measure Jeff Green’s value:
(number of Scrabble points in first name/original draft position)(“PF who can shoot three” wow-factor)^(percent of Ainge’s reputation at stake)
This algorithm has served Danny well for two years, but it seems he’s moved on to “offensive efficiency”: in this case, that’s probably your basic Points Per Possession factoring in field goals attempted, free throws, and turnovers.
And if that’s the stat Danny’s using? He’s sort of right. Over the last 23 games (not including last night’s), Jeff Green’s PPP is 1.053, which would be sixth in the league among players with at least 800 possessions if he’d done it over a full season. Sixth is “like fifth.” And if you do include the Hornets game, his PPP goes up a little.
For comparison, Durant’s league-leading PPP is 1.112, followed by LeBron with 1.099. Jeff Green would register a couple of thousandths ahead of James Harden and Tony Parker.
Chris Forsberg from ESPNBoston.com, statistics sommelier for this post, points out that 800 plays is a lot, and rules out guys like Tiago Splitter, Ray Allen, and Danny Green, who would bump Green to tenth if they were allowed on the list. But those players are good indicators for why Green’s PPP is so high: they all make their free throws and don’t handle the ball a lot (and therefore don’t turn it over).
So why is Green doing this without Rondo to get him the ball in efficient shooting locations? It may just be that Green, like Jason Terry, isn’t the catch-and-shoot player Ainge may have thought him to be when he signed him: Rondo tends to find Green for jumpers, and Green may just be more comfortable on cuts to the basket, as he seemed to be Monday night.
For the year, Green’s PPP is 0.975: 30th in the league for guys with over 800 plays, 52nd for over 600.
UPDATE: For those wondering, Green averaged 13.2 points per game in the five games Rondo missed this season before his ACL injury.
Statistical support provided by MySynergySports.com