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Evaluating The Point Guards Using Statistics

Jameer Nelson Rafer Alston Anthony Johnson
Games Played 42 29 80
Minutes Played 31.2 29.5 18.5
1 year adj. plus/minus +6.66 -4.25 -3.13
net plus/minus +9.7 -2.6 -4.8
statistical plus/minus +4.81  +3.65 -1.97
PER 20.6 15.6 10.3
WARP 5.8 4.3 -0.2
Win Shares 6.0 2.4 2.8


As Ben alluded to this morning, we know the storylines for each player on the Orlando Magic. Instead of regurgitating the same information again, I decided to take a look at the statistical production of the point guards during the regular season. 


Let's talk about offense:


Before he got hurt in February, Nelson was having a ridiculous year statistically. Truly ridiculous. His shooting percentages (61.2% true-shooting percentage and 58.0% effective field-goal percentage) were the best amongst the team. Better than Dwight Howard, a player who has the advantage of attempting a multitude of high-percentage shots at or near the basket on a game-to-game basis. Plus, had Nelson played enough games during the regular season, he would have been ranked as the best perimeter shooter in the league, statistically at least. Nelson's Offensive Rating (121) was, also, the best amongst the team (tied with Marcin Gortat, to be specific). To put it simply, Nelson was the most efficient player offensively for the Magic during the regular season. It makes sense why he was an All-Star, no?


In contrast, Rafer Alston was practically the worst player on the roster shooting the ball. His percentages (50.9% true-shooting percentage and 46.6% effective field-goal percentage) were a far cry from the numbers Nelson put up. Plus, Alston's Offensive Rating (107) was below-average, in comparison to the rest of the league. Anthony Johnson was no better, sporting statistics (50.5% true-shooting percentage, 47.2% effective field-goal percentage) that were similar to Alston, though Johnson's Offensive Rating (104) was lower than Alston's. When looking at the numbers, it's clear that both Alston and Johnson were below-average players shooting the ball. Alston did have a better assist percentage (28.9%) than Johnson (21.2%), though. Wondering about Nelson's number? It was 32.1% (the best of the trio). 


Let's talk about defense:


Jameer Nelson Rafer Alston Anthony Johnson
adj. defensive plus/minus -2.32 +0.86 +0.58
opponent PER vs. PG's 15.7 15.2 12.6
net defensive plus/minus -2.3 +0.8 +0.1
eFG% allowed 45.8% 46.8% 47.1%


The statistics show that Jameer Nelson was the team's best defender at point guard during the regular season, however, Rafer Alston and Anthony Johnson were no slouches, either. None of the three individuals were elite defenders, but each of them were above-average at the very least. For Nelson, despite being undersized at point guard, his willingness to fight and use his strength aided in his efforts on the defensive end. 


Let's talk about everything:


When looking at the conglomerate of linear metrics I provided, it's blatantly obvious that Jameer Nelson, Rafer Alston, and Anthony Johnson are on different levels as players. That's something that jumped out to me, as I began looking at the various statistics and writing up this post. The numbers provide a picture-perfect separation of how good or bad each individual is. Nelson is your All-Star, Alston is your average starter, and Johnson is your role player. Simple.