Steven Gray, PG?

After our fun discussion yesterday, I was challenged by some commenters to put my money where my mouth is and do my own fan post.  This is an attempt to make a FanPost that will help us understand our team better.  It is NOT about me being correct in my assessment.  I'm not great with statistics, and out of the "Big 3" sports,  basketball is the one of which I have the least knowledge.  So I hope that those of you with higher basketball IQ and better analysis skills will either help support what I say or provide reasons as to why I am incorrect in my assessment.

Perusing comments in this community, there seem to be two great debates going on regarding the rotation.  One of them is whether or not Demitri Goodson is deserving of his role over the seemingly superior David Stockton.  "More Baby Stockton!" seems to be the dominant theme in Zag Nation.  The other is whether or not Steven Gray is deserving of many of his minutes and whether or not he has what it takes to be the "leader" of this team.  Some have pointed out that our best wins of the year (Baylor and Xavier) were largely without Gray on the court.

I argue that Steven Gray does need to be on the court and that this team would be better with him moving to the point guard position, with smaller roles for both David Stockton and Meech Goodson.

I get why everyone wants Stockton to do well.  He's local, he's "undersized," his Dad is John Stockton and, most importantly, he is a Zag and we want all of our Zags to play well.  But it seems that there is much to suggest that he isn't quite as good as he looks when compared to Goodson.  Although I'm not sure how much of a sample size we need to develop accurate judgments, Stockton does not seem to be anything above average at the moment (though there is many reasons to believe that he will continue to develop in the future).

I am assuming that there are several statistics that make for a good offensive point guard.  If my assumptions are wrong, please correct me.  These would be Turnover percentage (Turnovers/trips down court), Assist Percentage (Assists/Trips down court), and "Effective Field Goal Percentage" (Field goal percentage with increased weight given to made 3 pointers), and perhaps "Average Points per 40 Minutes."  Using percentages as opposed to raw numbers removes the important variable of playing time so that we can more effectively compare players against one another. 

When compared to other Point Guards in the WCC, which is a much younger group than I expected, Stockton is simply average (All statistics taken from

Points Per 40 Minutes:

  • Roguemore (SC): 14.3
  • McConnell (SMC): 18.4
  • Doolin (USF): 9.3
  • Lowery (Pepp):10.1
  • Douglas (UP): 15.3
  • Stockton (GU): 11.3

Assist %: (Assist percentage is an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on on the floor.)

  • Roguemore (SC):25.3
  • McConnell (SMC): 29.8
  • Doolin (USF): 18.9
  • Lowery (Pepp): 28.6
  • Douglas (UP):  27.7
  • Stockton (GU): 23.4

Turnover % (Estimate of Turnovers per 100 plays.  The lower, the better)

  • Roguemore (SC): 19.2
  • McConnell (SMC): 17.4
  • Doolin (USF): 22
  • Lowery (Pepp):26.2
  • Douglas (UP): 26.8
  • Stockton (GU): 26.3

If you were counting, Stockton came in at 4th, 5th, and 5th out of the 3 statistics and 6 players I looked at.  Certainly there are variables that these statistics can't account for, but the point should be obvious that Stockton doesn't give us a huge advantage over our opponents at the PG position.

Which brings me back to Steven Gray.  Steven Grays scores 18.5 Points per 40 which is good enough for first place on this list, just barely ahead of Mickey McConnell.  His Assist percentage is 25%, which isn't great but is an upgrade over Stockton.  His Turnover percentage is 19.2, which would place him well ahead of Stockton, and tied for second behind McConnell.  

Moving Steven to point guard and, perhaps more importantly, cutting down the minutes given to Stockton and Goodson would allow for other players we all seem to like to have more Playing time.  For example, we could start using Harris at the 3 more often which is a position many have claimed, both here and elsewhere, that he is more naturally suited for.  This could also generate more court time for Moenninghof, Carter, and Dower which is something that the average Zag fan seems to be in favor of.

Rather than calling for Stockton to get more time at PG, it seems more worthwhile to call for Steven Gray to move to the position and have Stockton enter from time to time as a sub, thus opening room for Carter, Moenninghoff and Dower to get more minutes.  Obviously, this could impact Gray's statistics negatively but we won't know until we try, and at this point of the season it looks like there isn't any reason not to.

Please fill out the poll below and let me know if you found this interesting in anyway.  Or just tell me off if you still think I'm stupid.  I'd also love to know if you agree or disagree with my interpretation and analysis.

Go Zags.

This post does not reflect the views of the blog authors or SB Nation.

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