The Non-Exhibition, Exhibition Games: What We've Learned
319, 315, 351. Those are the three KenPom ranks of Purdue's opponents thus far. I was tempted to write a recap of the Grambling State game, but decided against it because a.) They are the worst Division-I team according the Ken Pom and b.) There isn't much to say about a 52-point win. Really, there isn't much to learn about any of Purdue opponents thus far, so I'll just spend a minute talking about Purdue.
Heading into this season, I wanted to focus on four main categories for success: Free Throw percentage, Turnover percentage, Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, and Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.
Free Throw percentage is exactly what you think it is; the percentage of your free throw attempts that you make. Turnover percentage is the estimated number of turnovers per 100 plays. Adjusted Defensive Efficiency is the points allowed per 100 plays (adjusted for the opponent), and Adjusted Offensive Efficiency is the points scored per 100 plays (adjusted for the opponent).
Free Throw Percentage
Free throws have been the bane of Purdue's existence for the last few years. During the 2012-13 season, Purdue shot free throws at a rate of 65.3%. That season, AJ Hammons, Terone Johnson, and Ronnie Johnson were the only Purdue players to attempt more than 100 free throws, and they shot 68.1%, 62.3%, and 59.6% from the charity stripe, respectively. Terrible. Last season, as a team Purdue shot 67.1% from the free throw line, and again Hammons and the Johnsons were the top three foul shooters. And again, they were all terrible at it, shooting 70.1% (Hammons), 58.1% (T. Johnson), and 66.7% (R. Johnson).
This season is young, but as a team, no noticeable improvement has been made in this regard. The team is shooting 62% from the free throw line. But there has been some improvement in the shooting of the top three attempters: Isaac Haas, Bryson Scott, and Kendall Stephens have shot 63.6%, 64.3%, and 88.9% from the line. At least no one's in the 50th percentile anymore.
Turnover percentage for the 2012-13 season was 15.9% (meaning, it's estimated that Purdue turns the ball over on nearly 16% of their plays). The top three players in terms of minutes played on that team were Terone Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, and DJ Byrd, and their respective turnover percentages were 12.2%, 18.2%, and 15.7%. The next season's team had a team turnover percentage of 14.8%. The top three players (minutes played) were Terone Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, and AJ Hammons, and their respective turnover percentages were 10.5%, 16.5%, and 20.8% (gaaa!!!).
This year's team's turnover percentage is 18.4%. The top three players (again, minutes played) are Vince Edwards, AJ Hammons, and Kendall Stephens, and their respective turnover percentages are: 14.7%, 31.3% (/passes out), and 13.2%.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
These last two are a little tricky, because they are opponent-adjusted, and Purdue's opponents have been terrible. In the last two season's Purdue defensive efficiency has been 95.9% and 101.2% (remember, smaller is better). This season's adjusted defensive efficiency is 91.9%.
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
The same disclaimer for the previous category holds here as well. But in the past two seasons, Purdue has posted adjusted offensive efficiency numbers of 106%, and 106.9% (higher is better). This season so far, the number is 104.2%.
So what do we know. While the product on the court looks a lot different (scoring! passing! positive body language!) some of the advanced stats show that statistically, the team doesn't look much different than the previous two versions of the team as a whole. Before we go running for our torches and our credit cards to register "FireMattPainter.com", it's important to point out that you don't learn anything from playing three of the worst teams in Division I basketball. I've maintained all along that we won't really know what we have in this team until after the Maui Invite, and I'll hold to that. But I wanted to point out some factors that will be important to track for this team moving forward. After this team's Hawaiian vacation, we should have a much better idea of the trajectory this season is headed in.