This article was originally published on February 8, 2018.
In this blog post we analyze different tiers of point guards, and some interesting statistics surrounding various players from the 2016-17 season. The insights generated from this post can be very helpful in subsequent point guard selection decisions.
Tier 1 Point Guards
Using our pts/$k statistic, we graphed each of the tier 1 point guards (point guards who played at least 50 games and had average salaries between $8,000 and $10,000). Russell Westbrook was excluded from this calculation as he was in a league of his own this past season (his average salary was > $11,000). On the y-axis, we have the percentage of games in the 2016-17 season where the player recorded a performance > 5.0 pts/$k (a performance we consider to be good). On the x-axis, we have each player’s average salary during the 2016-17 season.
Average Salaries of Top Performing PGs vs. Success Rate (>5.0 pts/$k)
Interestingly, we see that Stephen Curry recorded the fewest >5.0 pts/$k games in 2016-17. His rate of success (>5.0 pts/$k) was only 25%. Eric Bledsoe, a Phoenix Sun, hit >5.0 pts/$k in over 40% of his games during the 2016-17 season. For reference, Russell Westbrook hit >5.0 pts/$k 46% of the time.
On the average, 34.55% of performances resulted in a score greater than or equal to 5.0 pts/$k during the 2016-17 season. Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving were the only point guards ranked in the top 5 in jersey sales last year, and both hit >5.0 pts/$k in fewer than 30% of their performances. It appears that the more popular players (those who get more attention in the media: Curry, Irving, Paul, Wall) have fewer games in which they hit our target, while the less talked about players (Bledsoe, Lowry, Lillard, Thomas), all performed much better on the average. We previously discovered a correlation between higher performing teams and lower average pts/$k, and now we believe there is a similar correlation between “popular” players and lower pts/$k. This is something we will continue to explore in subsequent blog posts.
Tier 2 Point Guards
We performed a similar analysis on the tier 2 point guards (point guards who played in at least 50 games, and who had average salaries between $6,000 and $8,000).The percentage of games in which each player hit 5.0 Pts/$k is shown below:
Average Salaries of Tier 2 Point Guards vs. Success Rates (>5.0 pts/$k)
Dennis Schroder led all qualifying point guards, hitting 5.0 pts/$k in 47.5% of his games. One interesting thing to note is that the majority of tier 2 point guards had higher success rates (games >5.0 pts/$k) than tier 1 point guards. Even Kemba Walker, the least successful point guard from tier 2, had a higher percentage than Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, John Wall, Chris Paul, and Kyrie Irving. As we see in the next graph, during the 2016-17 season, generally speaking, you would be better off selecting a point guard with a lower salary than one in the $8,000 – $10,000 range.
Point Guards Grouped by Salary vs. Success Rates
In the above graph, we see the percentage of >5.0 pts/$k performances by salary group (we rounded salaries down to the nearest thousand, so a player with a salary of $3,500 would fall in the $3,000 group. We saw that there was a constant increase in the success rate of point guards as we increase the salary – but only up to a certain point. The $6,000 and $7,000 salary groups had the highest rates of success at nearly 40%. However, after the $7,000 group there is a steep drop off, culminating in a success rate of less than 20% for the $10,000. The $11,000 – $13,000 high numbers can be attributed to Russell Westbrook (James Harden was characterized as a SG in Fanduel last season).
Given the results of our findings, we would suggest not completely punting on the point guard (especially avoid guys in the $3,500 – $3,900 range), but instead go after guys in the $6,000 – $8,000 range, or go all in on the heavy hitter (Russell Westbrook). Otherwise, stay away from flashy picks like Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving.