Explanation of NEP
|There is much to talk about after the UMKC game. We could discuss Kirk Hinrichís career high 29 points. We could revel in the 54 point pounding which was the 4th highest margin of victory in the last 250 games. We could talk about Jeff Graves 10 points and 12 rebounds, both career highs. We could ponder the rebound margin of 47 ranking the best in at least 250 games. We could talk about many positive and wonderful things that come out of a decisive victory. We could, but we wonít. We wonít because all these things are overshadowed by the injury suffered by Wayne Simien. Wayne apparently dislocated his shoulder. The information at this point is sketchy. If indeed his shoulder was ďdislocatedĒ and not ďseparated,Ē it may turn out to be better news than it otherwise might be. Here is what WebMD.com says about separated and dislocated shoulders.
A shoulder separation (acromioclavicular joint injury) occurs when the outer end of the collarbone (clavicle) separates from the end (acromion) of the shoulder blade because of torn ligaments. This injury occurs most often from a blow to a shoulder or a fall on a shoulder or outstretched hand or arm.
Signs and symptoms of a separated shoulder include:
- Severe pain at the moment the injury occurs.
- Limited movement in the shoulder area (because of pain, not weakness).
- Swelling and bruising.
- Possible deformity. The outer end of the collarbone may look out of place, or there may be a bump on top of the shoulder.
Treatment may include applying ice, keeping the shoulder still (immobilized) with a sling or wrap, and taking medication to relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling. After symptoms improve, physical therapy may help strengthen muscles in the shoulder region and prevent frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). Occasionally surgery may be needed to repair torn ligaments.
Healing may take 2 to 10 weeks, depending on the severity of the injury
A shoulder dislocation occurs when the upper end of the arm bone (head of the humerus) pops out of the shoulder joint. This injury may be caused by a direct blow to the shoulder, a fall on an outstretched hand or arm, or an exaggerated overhead throwing motion. Simply turning over in bed can dislocate the shoulder in some people if their joints are unstable. When a young child dislocates a shoulder, abuse should be considered as a possible cause.
Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder may include:
- A feeling like something has popped or is out of place.
- Pain that is usually severe at the time of the injury and worse with movement.
- A shoulder that looks odd or misshapen, as if a bone is out of its normal position. It may look long and drooped or hunched up with a large bump. It may be difficult to see the deformity in large or muscular people.
- Abnormal body posture in which the person holds the arm beside the body to avoid moving it and supports the affected arm with the opposite hand.
- An inability to move the shoulder normally.
- Cool, pale skin, numbness, or tingling in the affected shoulder, arm, or hand. (This can occur if blood vessels or nerves were injured or compressed by the dislocation).
A dislocation can be a problem even if the bone pops back into place. Soft tissues in or around the joint may have stretched or torn. Nerves and blood vessels can be easily damaged when a bone is dislocated. Sometimes when a bone dislocates a piece of bone at the base of the joint may break off. This can cause a fracture that extends into the joint or a bone fragment that lodges within the joint, causing pain and decreased motion.
Immediate medical treatment involves a health professional putting the bone back in place (if it hasn't already popped back in place). Additional treatment may involve using ice and heat, taking medications to decrease pain and inflammation, immobilizing the shoulder with a sling or wrap, and doing physical therapy. Surgery is sometimes needed to prevent repeat dislocations.
Thatís more than you probably wanted to know. Roy did not speculate as to the severity or prognosis so I wonít either. Instead we will talk about what this means to the Jayhawks, the fans, and to Mr. Simien.
First let me entreat all who read this and are so inclined to pray for Wayne. This injury certainly isnít life threatening, but considering Wayneís chosen vocation it is alarming in his mind I am sure. Pray he will have the diligence and discipline to rehab and he will recover fully to realize his dreams and his potential. I am not praying selfishly for KU other than that all that transpires as a result of this injury will help these young men grow in character and patience.
As we launch into the ramifications this injury will have on the team, I will make a bold statement right up front. THIS INJURY IS NOT NEARLY AS DEVASTATING AS YOU MIGHT THINK! Why would I say that? Good grief, the guy has been a critical member of KUís team this year and is showing skills every bit as good as Drew or Nick did their sophomore years. We are thin on the bench with no one even close to Wayneís ability to replace him. We are weak overall on the bench and this just adds insult to injury (pun intended). So how, Don, can you possibly say this is not devastating? Well before we break out the dirges for KUís season, let me argue five points that I feel demonstrate this is not as bad as you might think.
- The first point is this: win or lose we have much to be thankful for as KU fans. Now this might be like grossly rationalizing to some. If winning is all that matters, donít worry. My other four points will address your concerns. But before we get into the purely practical matters, I am compelled to paint the proper prospective of KU basketball. I am not anticipating losing many games as a result, although the reality is as long as Wayne is out the odds of losing do increase. What I am saying is when youíre dealt lemons, make lemonade. We now have the opportunity to see Roy and staff adapt to this loss and make adjustments to get the most out of the rest of the team. We have a chance to see Nick, Aaron, Keith, and Kirk step up and show what they are made of. We have the chance now to see KU rise from the ashes and succeed in the face of adversity. In other words, none of us are happy about this situation, but since it is now a fact, how nice to know we have a coach and players who will respond in a way that will make us proud, in victory or defeat. I would rather win, but there truly are moral victories.
- We donít have to replace Wayne. Say what? I mean exactly that. We canít replace Wayne, because we have no one who can step in and fill his role. Fortunately we donít have to. We do not need Jeff Graves to step in and be what Wayne Simien was to this team. That would be foolishness on the part of Roy, and no one knows that better than Roy. We will insert Jeff Graves into the lineup in the place of Wayne, but we will not insert Jeff into the place of Wayne. Say what? Itís like this, we will field five players on the court but the dynamics with Jeff in and Wayne out will be different. Roy will adjust the game plan to account for the differing skills. We will see different rotations, different plays, and different defenses. Roy will put Jeff into situations that are more in line with his skills, not just attempt to duplicate Wayne. Let me give you an example. Jeff may be every bit as effective a passer as Wayne was and maybe even better. Roy could switch to more of a high post offense with Jeff playing the high post leaving Nick to roam the baseline. With a slasher like Keith, this could actually add a dynamic that was not as effective with two low post players. We potentially sacrifice some rebounding, but not necessarily if it is played well. The flaw in that plan is Jeff will need to show he can drain the 12-15 foot shot. But even if he just becomes an effective passer and screen setter it can be an effective offense. There are other examples of what Roy can do to run an offense more tailored to Jeff than Wayne. So again I say, we do not have to replace Wayne. We still have four pretty potent offensive weapons and Jeff can actually play a role which enhances their offense. If you just canít help yourself and you are a chronic doomsayer, you will no doubt find the dark cloud in this silver lining. That dark cloud is this, this team was really starting to gel and now you tell me have to start over learning new sets, new plays, and new rotations. That does pose a problem. Getting adjusted to a new guy does offer challenges. My response to this is, yes I agree... except. I agree, but I also think there is another silver lining. These guys were not gelling well early on, but look how far and how fast they did adapt. These guys have shown the ability to listen to the coaches and execute when faced with adversity. They have already responded once this season and were well on their way to being an incredibly effective team. I have no doubt they will respond similarly again.
- James 1:4 says, ďconsider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.Ē It is through trials we grow the most. Wayne is going to have a trial and will no doubt come through this just a little more mature. The team will go through a trial and will come out just a little more mature. There is sort of a double entendre here. You can infer this growth is in terms of character and emotional maturity, which is easy to see. They may fail miserably on the court but may learn how to handle losing with aplomb, which leads to greater character and maturity. You say, ďThat isnít exactly too encouraging, Don, because we donít want to lose. I donít really care about these guys gaining character and emotional maturity nearly as much as I care about getting back to the Final Four.Ē Well, I was actually referring to growth on the court. I believe they will develop character and all that stuff, but I was speaking very practically. This trial will teach these guys to dig just a little bit deeper than they would have had to otherwise. They will have to be a little more patient on offense. They will have to be a little more careful on defense. They will have to be a little more in control when handling the ball. They will have to execute a little better than they had to before. All this applies double for Jeff Graves and Michael Lee. What will be the result of these ďhave toís?Ē The likely outcome is that Jeff Graves will be a much more valuable player for the Jayhawks 3 weeks from now than he is today. Ditto for Michael Lee. Even the other four starters should gain incrementally through this situation.
- Assuming Wayne makes it back sometime this season with enough time to get back into playing shape for the post-season, this will only serve to make this team that much more dangerous in the tournament. Point 3 talked about the individual growth of each player. The experience Jeff Graves and Michael Lee will gain through the increased playing time, the increased expectations, the increased responsibility, and the increased support will pay huge dividends for them and for the Jayhawks. We have seen redshirt freshmen come in highly touted, only to be less than they were touted. Jeff Carey and Jeff Hawkins were both lauded for their potential to contribute. Jeff Carey had a fine career and played a very valuable role all four years. Yet, even with a year of practice under his belt his biggest improvements came when he got real live game experience. Jeff Hawkins was slated by many, Kirk Hinrich included, as someone who could give significant and valuable minutes right away. Jeff does show signs of being a gamer, but clearly his year of practice alone has not given him the skills to perform in game situations. There is no replacement for game situation playing time. Generally that game situation playing time goes to those who are needed to do this little thing called winning. So even though it would be very beneficial to get Jeff and Michael Lee more minutes, the opportunities arenít always available. This forces these guys into valuable playing time. The cost is we may lose a game or two as a result, but in the end it could be the difference in a final four or national championship game. Which would you rather lose, to Colorado in January or the national championship game?
- Jeff Graves is no Wayne Simien, but neither is he Pee Wee Herman. Jeff may just surprise a few people. He gave us 10 points and 12 rebounds against UMKC. UMKC is not exactly Baylor but they are alive. Jeff showed some good passing skills and hit 6 of 8 from the line. Michael is not Wayne Simien, but neither is he Mickey Mouse. Roy can revert to the 3 guard lineup that was so effective last year. Wayne is a great player and we do not have anyone near his caliber to replace him. But we do have some guys with some skills and some abilities. Donít underestimate the skills of these guys. They may just surprise you.
Do I really believe all that I just said? Yes, I absolutely do. I was just as deflated when I saw the replay of Wayneís injury as you. I then settled down and rationally thought through what this really meant. Donít get down or depressed. This could end up being a blessing. I hate that Wayne will have to endure this, but all things tend to work out in the end if the attitude is right.
UMKC vs. Kansas
If you delete the Simien injury play, the UMKC game was a fun game to watch. Often these blow out games get ugly and sloppy and lose much of the entertainment value. The last two games the Jayhawks have run away with the game early but have continued to stay disciplined. Who cares, you ask? Staying focused and disciplined in these types of games can be great learning tools for later in the year. There is an old adage, ďyou play like you practice.Ē This game was truly like a practice. There was no tension or pressure to win, and so there is always the temptation to lose focus. If you lose focus in these times, you are always prone to lose focus in other times. Continuing to implement the game plan even when the game is already won, is a sign of team discipline. The Jayhawks did just that. Hence, the game was fun to watch.
Player of the Game: Kirk (Ice) Hinrich. Kirk started out the season 8 for 26 or 30.8% from the three point line. Since that time he has gone 20 for 33 or 60.6%. He has almost doubled his 3-point shooting percentage. On the season he is shooting 47.5% from the arc and an amazing 45.2% on his career. Not only did he hit 7 for 8 from the arc against UMKC, but he pulled down 9 rebounds, had 1 assist and 3 steals. His 7 three pointers was the most of his career in a single game, topping the 5 which he accomplished 6 times. His 29 total points was also a career high.
Kirkís 39.59 NEP is the 19th best single game NEP in the last 250 games (roughly through Raefís Junior year). To get an idea of what a special player Kirk is, look at the table below. Of the top 20 single game performances in the last 250 games (thatís as far back as I have calculated) Kirk has 6. As a frame of reference, Drew has 3, Raef has 3, and Jacque has 1. Kirk is truly a special player.
Significant Stats of the Game: One significant stat is 20.81. That is the n-NEP for Bryant Nash and the 9th best n-NEP on the team. This is significant because an n-NEP of 20 is sort of the goal for all the key subs. If you can achieve an n-NEP of 20 from your 9th man you will win just about every time. I recognize that a 20 n-NEP against UMKC doesnít equate to a 20 against a more formidable opponent, but it is at least encouraging that everyone on the court is executing and not just padding stats or playing streetball.
How about 40%? That is the 3-point FG% we shot against UMKC. We have shot 40% or better in each of the last 4 games and 39.1% in the game before that. That is good news after opening the season shooting under 30% from the arc.
A potentially good stat is 12.8. That is the normalized number of FTA Jeff Graves had. Remember that ďnormalizedĒ means the number he would have had if he had played 40 minutes. To give you a frame of reference, that is the second highest of the season by any KU player. Nick had the highest n-FTA of 15.7 against Holy Cross. Why is that good? It has several implications. First it means Jeff is getting the ball in scoring position which implies two positives. First it means he is in position to receive the inlet pass. Secondly it implies that his teammates are in the flow and got him the ball. Essentially it implies offensive execution. If Jeff is going to get more minutes, his effective participation in the execution of the offense is very important. I know thatís a lot to make of Jeff shooting 8 FTs in 25 minutes, but thatís what Iím paid the big bucks to do.
23!!!! Thatís Michael Jordanís number but who cares. More importantly it is the number of assists we had against UMKC. It is above 20 for the 5th game in a row. Those 23 assists yielded an A/FG ratio of 0.62. That is also the 5th game in a row above 0.6. Along with the above stats this is another indicator of effective offensive execution.
For those who have played team sports you have surely heard the acronym for TEAM. Together Everyone Achieves More. We talked earlier about the KU method of play or more accurately, the Roy style of play. Teamwork is the bulwark of Roy Williams basketball. When a Wayne Simien goes down, the team can still stay afloat. Obviously it is weakened but remember, the Team is bigger than the parts.
Since we are on the verge of the Big 12 conference season, letís take a quick look at the Big 12 and where KU stacks up. Weíll look at a few different stats so you can take your pick as to what you think is important.
NEP: KU leads the pack in n-NEP. Actually only Texas Tech is even close. A very interesting stat here is the Rating. Kansas is the top of the heap by quite a bit and that may be artificially high because of the Strength of Schedule adjustment. But from Missouri through Kansas State the pack is pretty close. The Big 12 looks pretty even this year. There will be no easy road games. Texas A&M may be the biggest surprise of all. I think Nebraska may be just bad. A word of warning, all NEP derivative data is very offensive focused and weak in considering defensive factors.
|Team ||NEP ||n-NEP ||Rating ||A/TO ||FG% ||2FG% ||3FG% ||FT% ||SE ||TO/Touch
Many of you may be familiar with the Sagarin Ratings reported in the USA Today. KU ranks 4th in the Big 12. KUís SOS (strength of schedule) is the highest among Big 12 teams.
|Team ||Rating|| SOS
The playing field in the Big 12 is looking pretty level this year and with the loss of Simien, KU will have their work cut out. Look at the bright side. It could make for some really competitive games.
Stats all for now, folks.