A Statistical Comparison of Vince Carter, Hedo Turkoglu, Courtney Lee, and Matt Barnes (SGs/SFs) in 2009-2010

Sources: (data through 1/25/2010) & (data through 2/2/2010) for 2009-2010 NBA regular season. [UPDATED with 2/3/2010 data from for one table.]

Where does this idea come from?

  • I read commenter magic12ball's remark,"VC does NOT deserve to be winning with Orlando while Courtney Lee is a "loser" with NJ," and wondered if that's fair in terms of the contributions each player is making to the team(s).  It seemed like a funny thing to say when the Nets gave up their starting SG in Carter and one projected backup PF in Anderson, in exchange for a starting SG in Lee, starting PG from the Eastern Conference Champions in Rafer Alston, and a backup PF/C in Tony Battie, but then NJ went completely in the tank this season.  If it is as simple as Lee = good, and Carter = bad, then somebody's got some explainin' to do about the Nets.(By the way, I'm not saying magic12ball's remark was intended to be as reductionistic as I might have just made it sound.)
  • So, I went hunting for numbers to compare Vince Carter and Courtney Lee. [Leave aside for now (a) the contributions that Ryan Anderson has made this season, and (b) the Nets/Magic team differences, because they are essentially moot. Carter doesn't play for the 2009-10 Nets nor Lee for the Magic. So saying things like, "If Lee played for Orlando..." doesn't help.  Can't crunch those numbers.  Sorry.
  • Then I remembered the Hedo versus Carter debate, so Turkoglu's numbers got added for comparison. 
  • Then I started thinking that Hedo was a SF for Orlando, but Carter is a SG.  So, I decided to look at last year's SG/SF combo and this year's SG/SF combo by adding Matt Barnes' stats. 
  • Finally, where applicable, I added/averaged the Turkoglu+Lee combo and the Carter+Barnes combo. 
  • I bolded the "best" stat (again, where applicable) for both the individual player and the combos.
  • I know this excludes the other players and the impact of units.  Take it for what it's worth.

Here are the numbers.  It's a lot of data.  But, in my opinion, it gives a pretty good statistical comparison of the four players.  My observations follow the charts.

[HTML tables are murder to compose at this site, so I uploaded screen grabs of my spreadsheets.  The images are not all a standard size.  Click for the full-size image.]














*Carter has inconsequential minutes at PG, Turk at C, & Lee at PG, PF, & C




Some follow conventional wisdom.  Some may surprise.

  • Not sure what to make of having Lee with such a high percentage of the time at SF when the boxscores regularly list him at SG.  Does this skew the defensive numbers?  Is Lee being charged for Douglas-Robert's defense?  Not sure. 82games is typically pretty reliable.
  • Carter (ya know, "Mr. Injured"?) has played more games than Lee. (Yes, I know Carter's playing hurt.)
  • Carter has the lowest eFG% and TS% (can you say, "slump"?), but is pretty close to Lee. 
  • Carter still shoots 3s better than Lee.
  • Barnes gets more rebounds than Hedo.
  • Hedo distributes more assists.
  • Carter takes better care of the ball than Hedo.
  • Carter has the highest overall PER, the highest PER at his primary position, and the highest PER at his secondary position, and the greatest "Net PER" at both his primary position of SG and secondary position at SF.  He is holding opposing SGs & SFs to an average of ~12.0 PER!
  • Carter and Barnes have both have positive OFF to DEF ratings; +7.3 and +8.1 respectively.
  • Lee and Turk both have negative ratios; -12.7 and -1.8 respectively.
  • Using OFF and DEF rating, Carter+Barnes are 15 points per 100 possessions better than Turk+Lee.  15 points!
  • Maybe the good defensive ratings for Carter and Barnes are team-related or Dwight-related.  Dunno.
  • UPDATE: with 2/3/2010 data to correct an error in the numbers I had before. In "Clutch-time," Carter's shooting percentages (48.2% eFG%) and OFF to DEF rating (+45) are better than Hedo's (38.5% and +17.7)...also better than Lee's and Barnes'.
  • Turk has 75% of his "Clutch-time" FGA's assisted.  He's not creating his own shots in Toronto like he did in Orlando (25% assisted last season...matching Carter's number for this year).
  • UPDATE: Hedo and Carter's clutch shooting percentages are about equal now. By the way, last year Hedo shot 35.7%FG and 39.3%eFG in "Clutch-time" versus his 30.8%FG/38.5%eFG this year in Toronto and Carter's 42.9%FG/48.2%eFG in Orlando.  Who is more "clutch"?
  • Barnes appears to be an end-of-game liability with a -41.2 net rating and -11 net points.  Maybe that's why he's only on the floor for 24% of those situations. clutch numbers improved just from January 25 to February 3.
  • Lee's "Clutch-time" shooting percentage here looks really good (100%FG!!) until you realize he's only taken 5 FGA that meet the criteria. UDPATE: See, now that he has 9 FGAs the shooting percentages dropped to 50%.
  • So far this season, most of the numbers are pretty close.  The numbers that aren't close mostly break in the Magic's favor.  If Carter breaks out of his slump and he and Barnes continue to acclimate to last year's core players and Van Gundy's system, then we should anticipate the numbers continuing to improve. (Of course, Lee and Hedo should continue to gel with their respective teams, too, and likewise bump their stats a bit.)
  • Now add Ryan Anderson back into the trade and compare the contracts for Carter and Hedo.  I'm pretty happy with Otis' work.
  • UPDATE: One more thought. Hedo's new contract length really pushed the issue for Orlando.  I think if Hedo had stayed this year on the deal Otis offered him and we had retained Lee then Hedo's numbers in Orlando for 2009-10 would be pretty close to 2008-09 and Lee would have likely improved his numbers slightly. 
       I went back and compared 2008-09 Hedo/Lee with 2009-10 Carter/Barnes and Hedo/Lee were much better last year than they are this year and their numbers compare favorably with this year's Carter/Barnes numbers (actually, they are better than Carter/Barnes in many--but not all-- instances...except Hedo's TOs; which we all remember).  But instead of taking the offer from Otis, Hedo hit the road and all four of these players are having to adjust to new systems (if you call what NJ does now a "system") and their numbers have dipped during the adjustment time.  I think Otis did a great job in making the post-Hedo adjustments this summer.  Now come on Vince, get out of your slump.

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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