This summer, 3QC will take a look back on each Magic player's 2007-2008 season. The first nine posts will evaluate, on an individual basis and in alphabetical order, the players who played in at least 20% of the team's total minutes; the final post will briefly evaluate the five players who appeared in less than 20% of the team's minutes.
Today, our focus is Keith Bogans.
Keith Bogans goes to the basket for a rare two-point attempt; 70% of his total shots in 2007-2008 came from beyond the arc.
File photo by Ned Dishman, NBAE/Getty Images
|Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Steals Per Game|
|Points Per 36||Rebounds Per 36||Steals Per 36|
|PER||Rebound Rate||Steals Rate|
All statistics in this table from Bogans' player page at basketball-reference. Career-high statistics highlighted in gold.
Keith Bogans, a five-year veteran in his second go-'round with the Magic, played the role of fifth-option on offense. He had three responsibilities on that end of the floor: to get open behind the three-point arc; to anticipate the pass coming to him; and to shoot without hesitation. He was frequently open and frequently ready, but he was not what one would call reliable from long distance. Although his career-best eFG and TS percentages attest to his high volume of three-point shots, the fact remains that the Magic needed better than 36% shooting from their starting two-guard, which is why Stan Van Gundy benched Bogans for Maurice Evans during the team's early-January slump.
Bogans never regained that starting job.
But while Bogans disappointed offensively, he shone defensively. The Magic surrendered 105.7 points per 100 possessions with Bogans in the lineup, compared to 108.0 points with him on the bench. For comparison, that spread roughly equals that of the one between the league's fifth-best defense (Utah, 105.9) and the twelfth-best defense (Cleveland, 108.0). The efficiency numbers show Bogans' strong team defense, but he also played well in one-on-one situations. Van Gundy frequently assigned Bogans to guard the opponents' most dangerous wing scorers, and Bogans usually delivered. He's not exceptionally athletic, but he's able to move just quickly enough to stay between his man and the basket. His low steals rate doesn't indicate poor defense, but rather a preference not to gamble by diving into the passing lanes. The statistics better illustrate Bogans' defensive impact.
On first inspection, it may appear as though we have overrated his defense, as opposing two-guards posted a PER of 17.4 against Bogans. But note that they averaged only 4.3 free throw attempts per 48 minutes and got just 23% of their shots close to the basket, meaning that 77% of their attempts were jumpers. Further, Bogans rated fifth on the team -- and first among guards -- in adjusted plus/minus, which as Steve Ilardi explains, "reflects the impact of each player on his team's bottom line (scoring margin), after controlling statistically for the strength of every teammate and every opponent during each minute he's on the court." Finally, he finished second on the team in that category -- behind only All-Defensive Second Team selection Dwight Howard -- in the playoffs. Certainly we cannot blame Bogans for whatever defensive shortcomings the Magic had this season.
Certainly, nobody in the Magic organization thinks the team can win with Keith Bogans as its starting shooting guard. However, given the fact that he started in fewer of half the Magic's games, and given the fact that the team projects to draft a shooting guard later this month, and we see that Bogans' defensive presence makes him a valuable seventh man on a contending team. Unless he opts-out of his deal -- and he likely will not -- that's the role he'll have at the start of next season. And the Magic and their fans are probably okay with that.