Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

December 7, 2008

Rudy Fernandez and Secondary Percentage

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 1:38 am

Some random Googling led me to think about one of my favorite junk statistics, one I haven’t written about in a few years: secondary percentage. It’s a concept, like so many things, borrowed from baseball in general and Bill James in specific. James coined “secondary average,” which measured contributions not captured by batting average (walks, extra-base hits and base stealing).

The analogous NBA concept is what I’ve termed “secondary percentage,” and in this case the theory is measuring scoring efficiency not captured by field-goal percentage. The formula is simple – True Shooting Percentage, measured by PTS / (2 * (FGA + (.44*FTA))), minus field-goal percentage.

And what does this have to do with Rudy Fernandez? The link I found, on The New Enthusiast blog, noted that Fernandez is having one of the best seasons in NBA history in secondary percentage – or “Crunk Quotient,” as they term it. (While I’m all for using the word “crunk” as often as possible in NBA terms, secondary percentage seems a little more descriptive.) Fernandez has slowed a little since the Nov. 28 post, but still ranks amongst the all-time secondary percentage leaders – who, unsurprisingly with the trend to more three-pointers, are dominated by recent players.

Player              Year    FG%    TS%   Sec%

Brent Barry        06-07   .475   .666   .191
James Jones        07-08   .437   .625   .188
Jim Les            90-91   .444   .630   .186
Chauncey Billups   05-06   .418   .602   .184
RUDY FERNANDEZ     08-09   .428   .612   .184

The Blazers are getting heavy mileage from three-point shooters off the bench the last two seasons, first James Jones and now Fernandez. Naturally, shooting specialists tend to dominate, along with guys in the Chauncey Billups mold who combine lots of threes and lots of free throws. Along with the Barry brothers (Brent Barry has a couple more seasons that rank in the top 25, while Jon Barry has one), Billups is sort of the patron saint of secondary percentage. Every once in a while you’ll hear someone criticize Billups as an inefficient scorer because of his low shooting percentage. This is why they’re wrong.

Anyways, here are the rest of this year’s leaders (minimum 150 minutes):

Player              Team    FG%    TS%   Sec%

Rudy Fernandez       POR   .428   .612   .184
James Posey          NOH   .471   .642   .172
Vladimir Radmanovic  LAL   .427   .599   .171
Keith Bogans         ORL   .400   .567   .167
Chauncey Billups     DEN   .419   .585   .166
Kyle Lowry           MEM   .398   .555   .157
Paul Pierce          BOS   .400   .554   .154
Chris Quinn          MIA   .418   .571   .153
Chris Duhon          NYK   .404   .556   .153
Ryan Anderson        NJN   .420   .573   .153

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