It's no secret: in recent weeks, Ryan Anderson has shot extremely poorly from the field. This has opened up some playing time for Brandon Bass, who had looked largely disappointing in the early season. The theory is that, while Anderson is by a wide margin the stronger rebounder, and Bass has generally been seen as a greater liability on defense, his higher accuracy from the field might make up for those issues. But how do the statistics look?
First, Anderson. After going 3-6 today, Anderson has shot 14-46 (30.4%) since the beginning of February, and 5-21 (23.8%) from beyond the arc. He's 8-8 on free throws -- two of those 8 FTs came on and-ones. So Anderson's shooting has used up 49 possessions, and those possessions have yielded 41 points. Not great!
Bass, then: after going 4-7 today, he's 18-40 from the field (45%) in the same span. He's 9-10 in free throws (no and-ones), and thankfully, he hasn't shot any threes. So... 45 possessions used, 45 points. That's... slightly better than Anderson, but not game-breakingly so.
The fact is, Anderson and Bass are both inefficient from the field at this point, but Anderson has a clear path to drastic improvement. Bass is more or less doing what he's expected to do. And yet the difference between the two, even in the depths of Anderson's slump, is only 4 possessions + 4 points... Anderson doesn't need to play the way he did in November to be more efficient than Bass from the field. Just a slight improvement/recovery (or, depending on how you look at it, a couple lucky bounces) would put him over the top. That's the difference three-point range makes.
Two more statistics: first of all, Anderson has 5 assists in the surveyed time period. Bass' last assist came on January 13 vs. Denver. Admittedly, Anderson has more turnovers as well, but the impression that Bass rarely passes appears to be reflected in the stats...
...which brings me to the last point. Bass took his 40+5 shots in 109 minutes of total play -- that means that Bass attempted a shot/a pair of free throws every 2:25. Whereas Anderson took his 46+3 in 123 minutes: every 2:30. These are troublingly high usage rates for two bench guys who have been among our least effective players on offense. (Though Anderson at least has his efficiency earlier in the year as an excuse.)
And it points at another question: is the battle between Anderson and Bass for the rotation spot causing both of these players to hog the ball, so as to make a case for more playing time?