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By Paul Mesecke | Men's rankings from U20 National Championships

Pictured: South Australian Team Captain and Vice Captain, Jacob Rigoni (also tournament MVP) and Isaac White, with their gold medals after winning the National Championships. The first time for SA at this level since 1993. Even though these 2 men had a stellar championship, individually, some say that these guys and their great team mates have constantly achieved the only stat that matters. Wins. You don't do that alone. They have brought their teams along with them and they had some great team mates in the 20s team. They have always done it (get those wins) , and done it at all levels.

Preface by Janx

In what will be a back to back, double header weekend of blogs (waiting on you Scotty haha) about the U20 National Championships we are excited by this first blog. A top 20, if you will, of players from the Championships.

Paul Mesecke has been able to undertake an unbiased assessment of players at U20 National Championships looking purely at a statistical based model he has come up with. He did not even see the tournament, other than highlights, and the Grand Final, as he is based overseas working for a Basketball club.

Paul has a great mix of basketball (Director of Coaching, National Assistant Coach, State medal winning Head Coach) and academic (Economics) qualifications to undertake the assessment of these kinds of models.

I personally like how these models take game pace and player minutes played into account, but as we will constantly say these rankings are far from the be all and all, they are just a useful component. Let us know your feedback.

Over to Mes

Whilst we do things differently in Australia we can always learn from American practices. One of the practices we have been discussing at is player rankings. We want to find ways to rank players without biased opinions. As such we are releasing player efficiency (PER) based rankings. We are very keen to hear ideas and feedback from anyone out there on this idea as well as interested to hear from anyone that attends national championships who may want to form a panel of coaches and experts to come up with nationally based player rankings. We are keen for feedback and contributions on this idea as always.

With all the different ways of assessing and comparing players, we have been debating the legitimacy of purely individual opinion. We all have our biases towards players, either due to relationships or personal experience, or commercial gain (as could be the perceived case when rankings are done by commercial entities selling services such as AAU tours. IE kids on their AAU tours could be ranked higher). Not to mention the inability to watch and assess all games when some are played at the same time on different courts or even at different venues.

After much discussion about how best to make an assessment we decided to consider a statistical based model that can be consistently applied over time as well as over an individual tournament. We looked at the Hollinger PER found here Hollinger PER. This is a very complicated and in-depth model to which we couldn’t necessarily find all stats online and the time it would take to assess all players would be overly difficult.

We took the concepts and looked for other methods better suited to the stats available. We wanted to make sure that it included adjusting for the number of minutes each person played and the pace at which each team played. We were also interested in also looking at seeing if we could find any other stats that made an impact on both team and/or individual success.

We came up with a rating system that weighted each stat, both positive and negative, and added these stats to come up with a number for each individual player. In order to make sure that we adjusted for to total number of opportunities each payer had we then adjust this by dividing by the total number of minutes an individual played. We called this the unadjusted PER (uPER).

The linear weighted uPER for each individual is;

(FGM x 85.91 + Steals x 53.897 + 3PM x 51.757 + FTM x 46.845 + Blocks x 39.19 + ORebounds x 39.19 + DRebounds x 14.707 + Assists x 37.677 – Foul x 17.174 – Ftmissed x 20.091 – FGmissed x 39.19 – Turnovers x 53.897) x 1/total minutes played

We then adjusted this for the pace of each individual team. This is done by comparing the total number of points that the competition created as well as each team’s total points scored and the total points scored against them. This gives us the adjusted PER (aPer)

The aPER for each individual is;

uPER x (2 x league PPG/ (team PPG + opponents PPG))

While we can look at the results and assess that, this statistical based model provides us with a great tool for assessing the performance of players over a tournament. We understand that like any method it does have its issues. Game stats do not take into account many things that coaches see when looking at games such as help defence, good screens, sacrifice cuts, deflections and other such team plays. Also,this can only ever be a snapshot into one tournament and one place in time, stats do not take into consideration how coachable a player is, if they are suffering an injury or illness during the tournament or what potential development they have in the future.

We do believe that this is a vital tool for player assessment due to it being unbiased and hopefully it can provide a longitudinal assessment of players from year to year.

From this tournament, the highest PER was 28.50 with the lowest being -5.07. There were only 4 players with negative PER’s and no team had more than 1 player with a negative PER.

For the 2017 U20 National Championships here are the top 20 aPER ;

Tyrell Harrison (QLD) 28.50

Isaac White (SA) 27.61

Gabe Hadley (VIC) 27.23

Jacob RIgoni (SA) 26.08

Angus Glover (NSW) 25.96

Glenn Morison (ACT) 25.38

Jamie Ahale (VIC) 25.14

Matthew Grey (NSW) 24.64

Mitchell Barry (VIC) 22.83

Mate Colina (VIC) 22.85

Tobias Cameron (QLD) 21.77

Broderick Doran (ACT) 21.57

Ovie Magbegor (Vic) 19.86

Daniel Girda (WA) 19.71

Brent Hank (SA) 19.45

Corey Shervill (WA) 18.85

Harry Mills (SA) 17.66

Owen Hulland (SA) 17.59

Andrew Ferguson (WA) 17.29

Harry Reemst (SA) 16.63

Pictured: Professor Hoop. We are seeking ideas for improvement on the above. As Mes mentions these rankings don't tell the full story by any means but they do give a worthwhile perspective.

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