Playing with Numbers: Big East Point Guards

I decided to look at the point guards across the Big East that have some experience to see how they stack up, and where CU's point guards fit into that. I looked at a bunch of stats and decided to throw them together to come up with a ranking of Big East PGs.

The Players

The guys I identified as PGs are as follows: Alex Barlow (Butler), Austin Chatman and Devin Brooks (Creighton), Billy Garrett Jr. (DePaul), D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown), Derrick Wilson and Matt Carlino (Marquette), Kris Dunn (Providence), Rysheed Jordan (St. John's), Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall), Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova) and Dee Davis (Xavier).

That's a list of 12 guys, although I struggled with a couple of them. Billy Garrett Jr. isn't really a PG, but they don't really have another option. DSR was best off the ball alongside Starks last year, but with Starks moving on he's their best option as well unless freshman Tre Campbell can earn that job.

I included 15 different statistics, split them into four groups and assigned weight to each group. For the counting stats I used per 100 possessions numbers to regulate pace and opportunity (bumps up back-ups a bit perhaps, but I feel that is balanced by some of the other stats). I ranked the 12 players in each category, and assigned points (12 points for 1st place, 1 point for 12th).


Group 1: [(Points + FG% + 3FG% + FT% + TS% + eFG%) / 6] x .45
Group 2: [(Assists + TO + AST/TO ratio) / 3] x .30
Group 3: [(Rebounds + Steals) / 2] x .10
Group 4: [(Offensive Rating + Defensive Rating + Win Shares per 40 minutes + Points Produced) / 4] x .15


Group 1 is all about scoring, and how efficiently it is done. That's the whole point of the game and it's the thing that is easiest to control individually, so I weighted it 45%.

Group 2 is distribution and ball control. Running the offense is a big part of a point guard's job, which is why I weighted it 30%.

Group 3 is about getting extra possessions. Rebounding isn't terribly important for a PG and steals aren't necessarily a good thing, so I only weighted it 10%.

Group 4 includes a bunch of advanced aggregate stats that measure overall impact. Team performance weighs in heavily with most of these, so I weighted the group 15%.

There's some overlap with the different numbers I used, but I'm OK with that because I feel it adds extra weight to areas that deserve it.

The Rankings

If you made it through all of that, here's what how the rankings shook out.

1) Smith-Rivera (9.28)
2) Chatman (8.35)
3) Barlow (7.47)
4) Davis (7.41)
5) Gibbs (7.10)
6) Arcidiacono (7.05)
7) Brooks (6.88)
8) Carlino (6.61)
9) Wilson (5.04)
10) Dunn (4.91)
11) Jordan (4.55)
12) Garrett (4.47)


Ran the numbers again, only this time I tripled the points category (so points+points+points+FG%+3FG%+FT%+TS%+eFG% / 8). Here are the results. A bit of a shake-up. The scorers (Gibbs, Carlino, Brooks) moved up and the ball controllers (Barlow, Davis, Arcidiacono) dropped a bit. Austin is still comfortably in second.

1) Smith-Rivera (9.28) 0
2) Chatman (7.95) -0.4
3) Gibbs (7.33) +0.23
4) Carlino (7.22) +6.1
5) Barlow (7.04) -0.43
6) Brooks (6.99) +0.11
7) Davis (6.96) -0.45
8) Arcidiacono (6.94) -0.11
9) Wilson (4.93) -0.11
10) Dunn (4.87) -0.04
11) Garrett (4.85) +0.38
12) Jordan (4.81) +0.26


Smith-Rivera is a phenomenal shooter. He topped all of the shooting percentage numbers as well as the points, points produced, win shares and offensive rating categories. He was last in assists (again, he's not really a PG) but he also doesn't turn the ball over much.

Chatman is probably be the best combination of all-around point guard production and efficiency in the Big East. He was second in 3-point percentage, true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage and offensive rating, and he was third in field goal percentage, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Barlow's ranking is boosted by his ridiculously low turnover rate, his 3-point shooting and his defense (rebounding, steals and D-Rating). His pure production is pretty minimal, though.

Dee Davis is a solid all-around PG in the same mold as Chatman, and Arcidiacono is sort of in that group as well (Arch is middle of the pack in many categories, but shoots the 3 well and takes care of the ball, plus the team around him bumps up his advanced metrics).

Gibbs is a solid scorer on a bad team who turns the ball over a bit too much and doesn't do much defensively.

Brooks' numbers represent him well - the highs are high (first in assists, rebounds; second in field goal percentage and win shares) and the lows are low (dead last in turnovers, third worst in 3-point percentage).

Carlino is productive but inefficient, and Wilson can't shoot or score to save his life but does everything else fairly well.

I used Dunn's freshman numbers because he barely played last year. He was sort of a jack of all trades, master of none and was pretty inefficient, which is why he ended up so low.

Jordan and Garrett were inefficient chuckers that didn't do much else. Jordan can't shoot and turned the ball over a ton, and Garrett got to 12.4 points per game by shooting (and missing) a lot of shots.

One problem with this is that I'm not a super stat guy and the numbers I picked and weights I assigned are pretty arbitrary. Another is that it might not be terribly predictive; I'm comparing guys of every class based on what they did last year. The three bottom guys were all freshmen, which isn't surprising at all. The trick is balancing how well you expect them to improve with a whole year under their belt vs. accepting the glaring weaknesses they displayed in their first year of college ball. In terms of looking ahead, any improvement (from the young players or older players taking on larger roles) would be strictly estimation.


D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera should be one of the best players in the conference, regardless of which guard spot he plays.

The strength of Creighton's team is certainly at the point guard spot, and Chatman and Brooks are an interesting combination of solid and steady and boom or bust.

There are some young guards with a lot of talent that didn't have it figured out last year; it will be interesting to see how much they can improve and whether or not they can shoot up these rankings.

If you made it all the way through this, I'd love to hear some feedback.