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Mike Conley vs. The NBA Point Guards

*Editor’s note: I can’t figure out how to make tables work in this format. If you know how, let me know.

We had a lively discussion on yesterday’s Dan Wolken Show in regards to one Mr. Mike Conley. As we’ve said many times on this station (led by the Great Chris Vernon) – you can NOT name a starting NBA point guard that Mike Conley is better than. Believe me – we’ve tried to think of one.

Honestly, what starting NBA point guard would you take Mike Conley over?

So, last night, I stayed up WAY past my bedtime perusing through the current 09-10 statistics of NBA point guards. While this may not be scientific, I believe I have an acknowledgeable statistical measurement of the effectiveness of the NBA point guard position. Below is a chart of 38 NBA point guards with their points per game, assists per game, and steals per game.

Each of these 3 stat categories are what I believe to be the three most important statistical indicators of the EFFECT a point guard has during a game for their team. You can say that I did not include turnovers, and that’s fair, but in this study I focused on the positive effects for that player.

And the calculation is easy to understand. PPG + APG + SPG = TOT. TOT is the sum of the three stat categories, giving us a good measurement of the impact that player has.

There’s been a lot of movement with point guards this year with injuries, so we’ve included 38 total point guards to measure their effectiveness. Any point guard with a ‘*’ next to their TOT means that they either split starting time or have started a significant amount of games because of an injury. I’ve also included some notes to the side when I felt there was more to the story.

So, how does Mike Conley stack up?

# TEAM PG Pts Assts Stls TOT X Notes
1 Washington G. Arenas 22.6 7.2 1.3 31.1 Started 32 games, got arrested
2 Phoenix S. Nash 18.4 11.1 0.5 30
3 Utah D. Williams 18.8 9.8 1.1 29.7
4 Sacramento T. Evans 20.5 5.1 1.5 27.1
5 Denver C. Billups 19.6 6.1 1.3 27
6 Boston R. Rondo 14.4 9.8 2.5 26.7
7 Chicago D. Rose 19.9 5.9 0.8 26.6
8 LA Clippers B. Davis 16 7.9 1.9 25.8
9 Houston A. Brooks 19.4 4.9 0.8 25.1
10 Oklahoma City R. Westbrook 16 7.5 1.2 24.7
11 Milwaukee B. Jennings 17.1 6.3 1.2 24.6
12 Detroit R. Stuckey 17.8 4.7 1.4 23.9
13 New Jersey D. Harris 15.8 6.3 1.4 23.5
14 San Antonio T. Parker 16.9 6 0.6 23.5
15 Cleveland M. Williams 16.9 5.1 1.2 23.2
16 Golden State S. Curry 14.4 4.7 1.8 20.9
17 Dallas J. Kidd 9.3 9.3 1.8 20.4
18 Portland A. Miller 13.4 5.3 0.9 19.6
19 Philadelphia Lou Williams 14.2 4 1.4 19.6 * As starter: 15.6ppg, 4.2apg, 1.5spg = 21.3; started 25 gms
20 Minnesota J. Flynn 14 4.3 1.1 19.4
21 Charlotte R. Felton 12.1 5.1 1.7 18.9
22 New York N. Robinson 13.2 3.7 0.9 17.8
23 Toronto J. Calderon 11 5.8 0.8 17.6 As starter: 12.1ppg, 6.4apg, .8spg = 19.3; started 22 gms
24 Orlando J. Nelson 11.6 4.8 0.7 17.1
25 Memphis M. Conley 10.2 5 1.2 16.4 started every gm he’s played (49); 22yr old, $3.88M
26 Toronto J. Jack 10.5 4.8 0.7 16 * As starter: 12.2ppg, 5.4apg, .9spg = 18.5; started 29 gms
27 Indiana TJ Ford 10.2 3.6 0.9 14.7 * As starter: 9.9ppg, 3.4apg, .9apg = 14.2, started 25 gms
28 Atlanta M. Bibby 8.9 4.3 0.9 14.1 First yr ever to average less than 13 ppg; His career TOT is 24.3 (16,6,1.3)
29 Denver T. Lawson 9.6 3.4 0.8 13.8 * As starter: 17ppg, 5.9apg, 1.1spg = 24; started 8 gms, 31.5mpg as starter, 20.7mpg as reserve
30 Washington R. Foye 10.1 2.8 0.5 13.4 * As starter: 14.3ppg, 4.6apg, .8spg = 19.7; started 24 gms
31 Indiana E. Watson 7.5 4.6 1.1 13.2 * As starter: 7.8ppg, 5.6 apg, 1spg = 14.4, started 25 gms
32 Miami R. Alston 8.7 3.5 1 13.2 33 yrs old, makes $475k
33 New Orleans D. Collison 8.1 3.7 0.7 12.5 * Last 5 Gms: 20.4ppg, 7apg, 1.8stpg = 29.2
34 Minnesota R. Sessions 7.9 3.2 0.8 11.9 * Hasn’t started all yr, gets 21.3mpg; 23yr old, $3.67M; last yr’s TOT = 19.2
35 Orlando J. Williams 7 4.1 0.7 11.8 * As a starter: 8.6ppg, 5.1apg, 1.1spg = 14.8, 29.5mpg as starter; 34 yrs old, $825k
36 LA Lakers D. Fisher 7.3 2.5 1.2 11 Career TOT = 13.3 (9,3.2,1.1)
37 Cleveland D. Gibson 6.9 1.3 0.5 8.7 * As starter: 12.3ppg, 2.9apg, .5spg = 15.7; started 8 gms
38 Philadelphia J. Holiday 5.3 2.6 0.8 8.7 * As starter: 6.5ppg, 3.4apg, 1.1spg = 11; averages 18.1mpg, 24mpg as starter

Conley rolls in with a big 16.4, making him… 25th? Out of 38? Well, there are 30 NBA teams, so that means he’s not the worst… right?

Well, don’t be so quick to judge. The only three PGs to finish with a lower TOT that have started almost every game for their team are: Derek Fisher, Mike Bibby, and Rafer Alston.

Derek Fisher. The lowest TOT (11) of the undisputed starting PGs in this study. For a career, he’s averaged a 13.3 TOT. But the question, is would you take Mike Conley over Derek Fisher? Seems to me that when I think of Derek Fisher, I only think of him hitting huge corner 3s during deep playoff runs. Consistently hitting HUGE shots. Please don’t tell me you’d rather have Mike Conley.

Mike Bibby (14.1). Without a doubt the worst statistical season of his career. A career TOT of 24.3, perhaps this is the twilight of the former Vancouver Grizzlies #2 overall pick. But before, Bibby had shown the propensity to score the basketball, as this is the only season he’s ever averaged less than 13 ppg. You could possibly make a case for a right-now Conley versus a right-now Mike Bibby, but in the greater scheme of things – isn’t that a mark against Conley?

Rafer Alston (13.2). Skip-to-my-Lou plays on bad teams. And maybe Mike Conley’s better than he is. But Rafer would be more fun to have around. Oh, and Rafer’s 33 years-old. And they pay him $475k. For the dollar, who’d you take? Thought so.

You might see a lot names that you’re surprised to see below Mike Conley’s TOT. Well, then you need to look closer at the notes section…

Of the thirteen point guards with a lower TOT, TEN are split-time/injury replacement point guards. And these are season statistical TOTs. What about when these guys start? What happens then?

Team PG TOT
New Orleans D. Collison 26.1
Denver T. Lawson 24
Washington R. Foye 19.7
Toronto J. Jack 18.5
Memphis M. Conley 16.4
Cleveland D. Gibson 15.7
Orlando J. Williams 14.8
Indiana E. Watson 14.4
Indiana TJ Ford 14.2
Philadelphia J. Holiday 11

Did you feel that wind? That was Darren Collison and Ty Lawson running by Mike Conley. Even Jarrett Jack makes a cameo as he whizzes by. Wait… you forgot Jarrett Jack was still in the NBA? To be honest, so did I.

You may claim that my stats are flawed because here I only compare Conley to 9 backup/reserve PGs that have gotten significant starts, when above I mentioned 10. This is true.

Unfortunately, Ramon Sessions has yet to start a game this year, bringing his TOT to 11.9. However, just last season Ramon Sessions had a TOT of 19.2. Now he comes off the bench for Johnny Flynn. You think he’d be coming off the bench behind Mike Conley? Do you?

So, in the end, when we are picking the NBA point guards that Mike Conley is better than, here are your choices (and my response):

A) Derek Fisher (No way – way too many big shots in Fish’s career. He’s a leader AND a winner.)
B) Mike Bibby (Maybe? But, again, we are comparing Conley to a twilight player who’s having a down statistical year – who for his career has put up much greater numbers.)
C) Rafer Alston (For the money? We could get another bench player, something the Grizz seem to need.)
D) Boobie Gibson (I guess you could take Conley, but remember that Boobie only qualifies because Mo Williams has been hurt. Otherwise, Boobie rides pine.)
E) Jason Williams (Another money thing. He might be old, but he’s cheap, and not much worse than Conley by the numbers… and we could have had him! Where’s that $2-3 Million bench player?)
F) E. Watson (Starts half the games for Pacers. Conley or Earl Watson? Flip a coin.)
G) TJ Ford (Oh wait – he’s the one splitting time with Watson. Almost the same TOT, too. Get another coin.)
H) J. Holiday (Splits starting time with a guy named Lou Williams, who I’d never heard of. And Lou destroys Conley in TOT. Plays on bad team. Conley could be better than Jrue Holiday. Not sure.)

So there you have it. They say misery loves company, and when it comes to the company Mike Conley keeps as an NBA point guard… it’s miserable.

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February 11, 2010 - Posted by | Grizzlies, NBA

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