Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A (Statistical) Truth About Mike Bibby

As we have looked closer at the potential of a Mike Bibby resigning, we have become more sure that Bibby services need to be retained. Not only was Bibby extremely helpful in bringing it all together for the Hawks the past two seasons, but he fits an increasingly hard to find talent set in the market right now, a true facilitator who can shoot. Reports on Monday out of Portland were that the Blazers may be down on Andre Miller due to his lack of killer J, the skill of which Mr. Bibby excels.

Also, though we not the most statistical here at the HHB, we have brought in a team of summer interns that have helped us crunch the numbers and revealed a very interesting statistic about Mike Bibby's season last year--consider:

We ran certain numbers from Bibby's 2008-2009 season (Stats Courtesy of Basketball Reference-go sponsor a page today!), PER, Minutes Played, Assist Rate, and Effective FG percentage. We also filtered by Position, Age, and Years in the League. What we found is that only (12) times since the 1989-90 season a player has done what Mike Bibby did in those (4) categories.

Totals Shooting
Rk Player Season Age Tm Lg G MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS FG% 3P% FT% PER eFG% AST%
1 Magic Johnson 1989-90 30 LAL NBA 79 2937 546 1138 106 276 567 637 128 394 522 907 132 34 289 167 1765 .480 .384 .890 26.6 .526 45.5
2 Magic Johnson 1990-91 31 LAL NBA 79 2933 466 976 80 250 519 573 105 446 551 989 102 17 314 150 1531 .477 .320 .906 25.1 .518 49.3
3 Steve Nash 2006-07 32 PHO NBA 76 2682 517 971 156 343 222 247 30 239 269 884 57 6 287 117 1412 .532 .455 .899 23.8 .613 50.1
4 Chauncey Billups 2007-08 31 DET NBA 78 2522 393 877 137 342 401 437 42 170 212 529 101 17 160 130 1324 .448 .401 .918 23.6 .526 34.7
5 John Stockton 1994-95 32 UTA NBA 82 2867 429 791 102 227 246 306 57 194 251 1011 194 22 267 215 1206 .542 .449 .804 23.3 .607 52.6
6 John Stockton 1996-97 34 UTA NBA 82 2896 416 759 76 180 275 325 45 183 228 860 166 15 248 194 1183 .548 .422 .846 22.1 .598 46.0
7 John Stockton 1995-96 33 UTA NBA 82 2915 440 818 95 225 234 282 54 172 226 916 140 15 246 207 1209 .538 .422 .830 21.9 .596 49.1
8 John Stockton 2001-02 39 UTA NBA 82 2566 401 775 25 78 275 321 59 204 263 674 152 24 208 209 1102 .517 .321 .857 21.9 .534 46.3
9 Steve Nash 2007-08 33 PHO NBA 81 2780 485 962 179 381 222 245 28 254 282 898 53 5 295 113 1371 .504 .470 .906 21.1 .597 47.3
10 Steve Nash 2008-09 34 PHO NBA 74 2484 428 851 108 246 196 210 19 204 223 717 55 10 248 108 1160 .503 .439 .933 19.5 .566 42.4
11 Jason Kidd 2008-09 35 DAL NBA 81 2886 257 618 131 323 86 105 85 415 500 702 160 39 185 168 731 .416 .406 .819 16.9 .522 34.7
12 Mike Bibby 2008-09 30 ATL NBA 79 2740 437 1005 167 428 135 171 38 240 278 392 98 11 128 145 1176 .435 .390 .789 16.3 .518 24.2

The goal of this exercise was to see the following:

1. Was there anything unique about the season Bibby had last year?
2. Is it easily repeatable?
3. Was this an outlier season for Bibby?

We chose PER, Assist Rate, Minutes Played and Effective Field Goal percentage because we felt it best captured what the point guard position on the Hawks was looking for: A facilitator who can shoot, play a lot of minutes (though we only used 30MPG * 82 as the measure here, Bibby played over 36 MPG last season--Billips was the only player who wouldn't have made the cut @ 36 MPG), and overall offensive effectiveness.

We chose the age (30) and years in the league (11) to gauge how common it is to do this later in one's career, effecting repeatability.

You're talking the likes of Steve Nash, John Stockton, and Magic Johnson here. There's Jason Kidd with last season like Bibby and two seasons ago Chauncey Billups.

We wanted to check if this was an outlier season, so we stretched the criteria to include any age of season and we found that this is Bibby's only season realizing all of these statistical thresholds at once. Being that the .518 EFG was a career high, we dialed it back slightly to .500 and found three other seasons. Bibby had a total of (4) out of the 142 occurrences (at the .500 eFG) since the 1981-1982 season. Not too shabby.

So, it seems that Bibby's season is somewhat unique in that it occurs less than an average of (5) times a season in the NBA among guards. We also saw that the season was not an aberration for Bibby, as he has dotted his (11) seasons with (4) of his own entries.

Looking at this and understanding his offensive value to the team, and given there are no true facilitators on the roster or elsewhere in free agency that can help spread the floor when the other isolators are doing their thing in the Hawks "offense", it seems a good thing to do to bring Bibby back. And consider, as we've written before, that Kidd's speculated 3 year, 25 million dollar deal is the high watermark for any Bibby deal--most believe it will come in below Kidd and above the MLE, which would put it in the 3 year, 20 million range.

We just wanted to attempt to put some statistical context around what Bibby provided last season and we feel that was accomplished by this exercise. Whether Bibby can continue that level of output over the next three years is debatable, but the HHB feels as though what Bibby does provide is unique in the NBA and needed for what the Hawks do and we welcome the resigning.

Now go make it happen.

Link for the search: http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/ ... der_by=per

UPDATE: According to Sekou Smith, they did make it happen! A reported 3 years and 18 million according to Smith and two sources familiar with the situation.

5 comments:

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I have one problem with your assessment. What qualifies as a facilitator. I'm failing to see how Bibby qualifies as a facilitator or distributor based on the information you provided (or what my own eyes see).

The Hawks need a point guard who can beat someone off the dribble and pass the ball to open players. That's not Bibby's strength. I'm not against bringing him back, but I'd much rather have Ramon Sessions or Andre Miller. We may need a killer J from our PG, but that's just b/c Woodson sucks vs. actually using the point guard to defend, distribute and hit something other than a 3pt shot to score (like maybe a layup or a mid-range jump shot).

Thoughts?

Ron E. said...

Basically Bibby fits perfectly the role that Mike Woodson has created for his PG. We can cry all we want about wanting better defense, more driving to the basket, and less iso plays, but Woodson isn't listening. That being the case bringing Bibby back makes all the sense in the world and this doesn't seem like a contract that will be crippling even in its final year.

THHB said...

Bibby executes in establishing the desired tempo and getting the ball to the right people at the right times. He does not beat the ball into the ground and is consistent, even in transition.

His assist rates are not as high, simply because the people he passes to eliminates the possibility of an assist by isolation.

He does facilitate this offense, and his arrival to the team--the arrival of more of a true PG than the Hawks had in previous seasons--made an impact.

I would also rather have a creator along the lines of what you are talking about, but that's not going to happen this season. After all, I was among those who championed Ty Lawson and have complained that in bringing in Crawford and Teague it has been made clear that not only does the team not see a problem with what they are doing offensively, they want more of it. So, versus losing Bibby and taking away the only PG on the team, with no intention of bringing in another, I see some value in his return.

THHB said...

Ron,

You just said it better than I tried to--had to break while writing the comment response to Larry---well done, sir--

Greg HOlan said...

well mike is playing a good fight