Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Blocks, blocks, and more on blocks

Although he is already a fan favorite, some BC fans are worried that with Nate gone, Sean Williams increased minutes will stunt the scoring. I disagree and will dig deeper into the offensive issues later in the offseason. But even if our offensive numbers suffer, the defensive numbers should improve dramatically with Williams increased minutes.

First, for some background, let me relink blogger Kenpom’s post on blocks from earlier this season.

Now look at the top ten college defenses at the end of the regular season and you’ll see that the average blocks per game was 4.58 with UConn (the nations’ top D) averaging a whopping 9.1 per game. (By Sportsline’s rankings BC was 47th in D.) BC averaged 4.1 blocks per game. Williams alone accounted for 2.3 of that 4.1. And a block itself is not the only impact of a shotblocker. An inside force can alter shots, keep people from driving, enable double teams and force your opponent into lower-percentage, outside shots.

Now here are some conservative assumptions to project next year’s output. Sean made a big impact with limited playing time averaging .1375 blocks per minute. Next year, given Al’s short bench I project him to play 30 minutes per game. I’ll assume that with the increased minutes Sean won’t keep up his torrid pace (or else he’ll foul out of every game). So let’s say that his block production per minute declines by 25%. And I’ll forecast a 30 game season (assuming some success in preseason and ACC tournaments).

Williams' projection: Williams’ 2005-2006 projection would be (.135776[avg per minute]*.75[Decline with increased minutes]*30[minutes per game]*30[games per year]) = 92 blocks. That would shatter the school record that he just set and probably make him one of the top 10 individual blockers in college basketball. That increase would also cover any potential shortfall from Nate Doorenkamp’s defensive absence.

Team projection:Without Nate and Sean the team averaged .8 blocks per game. I’ll assume that that the rest of the team will fill at least a portion of Nate’s 28 blocks (say 50%) and maintain their 2004-2005 contribution.

So the team’s season projection would be: 92 [Williams’ expected total] +(28*.5)[50% of Nate’s production] + 24 [.8*30] = 130.

Even going conservative the increase is 5% over last season’s total. So even if Williams does not progress offensively his increased minutes should help BC in many other ways.

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