The waves coming in and out at the beach. A sunset. Steph Curry shooting jump shots. These are all pretty things. Andrew Bogut’s offensive Synergy profile? Not so much.
Bogut played 26 games last season for the Dallas Mavericks. He didn’t have big minutes or play a ton of games, but he had 944 touches last season, 80% the number of touches Ivica Zubac had.
If you were to pull Bogut’s Synergy data, you’d see his 0.612 points per possession scoring efficiency, which would rank him 397th of 398 players who had at least as many possessions as Bogut last season.
You’d also see that he has the highest turnover percentage of any of those 398 players at 33.3%. One out of every three possessions Bogut had was a turnover.
The next thing you’d do is tweet the only appropriate response to this newfound information.
Going through Bogut’s data like pic.twitter.com/xWj4snB4Xa
— Cranjis McBasketball (@T1m_NBA) September 19, 2017
Sometimes stats can fail to provide necessary context to help us get the true meaning, but many other times a player is just bad. It’d make sense a 7’0″ big man with championship pedigree that was known as a defensive stalwart but was a free agent and ended up being picked up very late in the process to a non-guaranteed minimum deal might not actually have great data.
Digging into more data helps provide the necessary context for us to understand Bogut’s performance the past few years and see what he’ll be bringing to the table for the Lakers on offense.
Note: This will be a look at Bogut’s offensive impact only. I’ll cover his defensive ability at a later date.
Bogut’s Bad Passing & Turnover Data
I think we need to start with the 33.3% turnover rate that Synergy shows for Bogut. That’s an astronomical number and a gigantic liability if Bogut is a turnover machine.
But that turnover rate is calculated as Turnover % = Turnovers / Possessions. That “Possessions” number is calculated by summing a player’s shots, turnovers, and shooting fouls drawn.
Bogut didn’t shoot a lot last season. In fact, the only player in the NBA with a lower percentage of their touches result in a shot was Philadelphia point guard T.J. McConnell. When Bogut got the ball he was looking to distribute.
Having a good passing big man can open up a lot in an offense
The key here is that the turnovers Bogut racked up from passing are still included into his turnover rate. He just didn’t shoot much at all, resulting in this calculation being very skewed.
To get a better measure of his turnovers, we’ll look at his turnovers per touch. Using bad pass turnovers per pass will get us a gauge on his passing turnovers.
To benchmark in this case, we’ll look at the rest of the NBA from this past season and see how Bogut from this past year and from his last few years in Golden State would have stacked up with the rest of the centers from this past season.
These rankings are out of 49 centers.
|Team||Year||Turnovers / Touch Rank|
(lower is better)
|Bad Pass Turnovers /
(lower is better)
Perhaps Bogut has more turnovers due to attempting harder passes and attempting to feed cutters and shooters that other big men would shy away from. That seems to be the likely alternative to the conclusion that he just isn’t a great passer. To be able to tell, we’ll need to look at the good that’s coming with the bad.
Bogut’s Passing Value Added
First, we’ll need to define what the good is. I’ll use potential assists, which are logged whenever a player passes to a teammate and that teammate immediately attempted a shot. This captures the assists blown by teammates missing shots, and is generally recognized as a solid metric that’s an improvement the assist measure.
If we adjust for volume of passes and look at Bogut’s Potential Assists per pass, we see the percentage of his passes that are creating offense. Over his last three years in Golden State (which is far as the NBA.com/stats potential assist data goes back) and compare it to his year in Dallas, it’s clear that Bogut is creating a lot of offense from his passes and did so at an elite rate consistently over time.
|Year||Team||Potential Assists / Touch|
|Potential Assists / Pass
We can see here that Bogut’s creation ability is prolific in its efficiency. Over the past 3 years, Andrew Bogut has been a top 5 passing center when it comes to creating offense for others. The personnel around him and the scheme in Golden State helped a lot, but the fact that his passing efficiency remained elite in Dallas is a good sign.
The data shows that Bogut finds guys and creates offense with his passes, no matter if he’s with Klay and Steph or not
The former Warrior and Maverick has shown great ability as a setup man for others for years, and the data reflects that. On a Laker team that may at least be slow to start the season as far as its offensive scheme, having a player on the court who we can put in the low or high post and let distribute provides great value.
This thought is affirmed further when we look at some of Bogut’s advanced data compared to the rest of the field, courtesy of NylonCalculus’ brilliant Todd Whitehead (@CrumpledJumper). Todd was able to pull big man passing data that built upon his MVP-Meter article for the purpose of this piece. Looking at the points per possession assisted by Bogut as well as how that number differs from his teammates, we can gain an additional perspective on the big man’s passing. This tells us how efficient the looks are he’s generating with his passes, and also adds context by team.
Here is how Bogut’s combined past 4-years of passing data stacks up with the 2017 leaders in minutes played at the center position:
Key: Player, assist PPP, difference of PPP compared to teammates
- Nikola Jokic 1.39, 0.29
- Myles Turner 1.38, 0.27
- DeMarcus Cousins 1.36, 0.32
- Tristan Thompson 1.35, 0.19
- Mason Plumlee 1.29, 0.16
- DeAndre Jordan 1.29, 0.16
- Brook Lopez 1.28, 0.19
- Al Horford 1.27, 0.15
- Anthony Davis 1.27, 0.22
- Dwight Howard 1.26, 0.20
- Karl-Anthony Towns 1.26, 0.19
- Marc Gasol 1.26, 0.21
- Andrew Bogut 1.24, 0.12
- Andre Drummond 1.20, 0.16
- Marcin Gortat 1.20, 0.08
- Nikola Vucevic 1.16, 0.11
- Robin Lopez 1.14, 0.07
- Hassan Whiteside 1.13, 0.06
- Steven Adams 1.09, 0.02
- Rudy Gobert 1.07, -0.03
- Jonas Valanciunas 1.04, -0.08
Bogut would be just below the middle of the pack by these measures, and is right around the average of the other 20 players (1.23 PPP and +0.15 PPP more than teammates).
Bogut’s Overall Passing
So how do we evaluate Bogut’s passing? He throws the ball away a lot, but also finds his teammates a lot for baskets. Combining both of these factors, how do we truly evaluate his passing?
I’ve develop a passing efficiency metric to do just that, called Passer Rating.
This is the formula:
(Potential AST / Bad Pass TO) * (Passes / 10000)
We look at the good component divided by the bad, then multiply by a passing volume component.
Here is how Bogut over the years would stack up in Passer Rating when compared to the rest of the league from this past season.
|Year||Team||Bogut Passer Rating||Rank among Centers|
This is just one way to try to evaluate passing, but it doesn’t look good for the new Laker. From watching film on his passing turnovers and looking at this data, it looks as though Bogut forces a lot of passes. That results in more assists and potential assists, but the turnovers from those forced passes is costly.
On film I saw a lot of these types of turnovers from Bogut, who tries to pass to high quality looks even if they weren’t open
Throw that tendency into a Laker scheme that last season and this Summer League didn’t have great weak side action and you’ll likely have even more turnovers as Bogut tries to force the ball to the primary look since he’s so reluctant to shoot himself.
A large part of Bogut’s scary low points per possession data is due to him not being a scorer. Bogut’s deficiencies doing big man activities are very real.
7’0″ Andrew Bogut has only one season out of the past seven where his putback PPP was above league average. Further more, this monster of a man has only two seasons in his twelve year career where his post up PPP was above league average.
Over the past 5 seasons, Bogut has scored 1.048 points per possession on his pick and rolls where he rolled, which would place him better than only 32 percent of the league last season.
Bogut has had 683 roll man possessions over his 12 year career. Within those 683 possessions, he made 29 shots from picking and popping and has 15 made shots on slips. He’s never been a threat to do either.
Bogut had 944 touches last season and took two jump shots, so he’s likely not spacing the floor. He’s not scoring well in the post. He’s not scoring efficiently as a roll man.
He was slightly above average at winning contested offensive rebounds, ranking 16th of 40 NBA centers who played 20+ minutes a game in 26+ games in Adjusted OReb Chance % on NBA.com/Stats. So he can get some rebounds, but he’s poor on putback attempts.
A passer like Bogut in a great offensive system like Golden State that has shooters all around makes him an asset offensively that you can run offense through.
With the Lakers, barring a drastic system change from what we saw last season, the large Australian’s passing value decreases. Take away that purpose and he becomes more of an issue to have on the floor offensively. Also keep in mind he’d be taking time away from Ivica Zubac or Thomas Bryant.
Also among my concerns is the fact that he’s 32 and was the fourth slowest center in the NBA last season offensively (min. 20 GP and 20 min/GP). That’s not a great fit with a team that wants to play up tempo.
Bogut adds value defensively, which I’ll soon look at. But offensively he appears to be a poor fit and a player that was a free agent until recently for a reason.