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Give Peja The Damn Ball

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WARNING: Math and shit ahead.

Peja is offensive option #1 - I think everyone can agree on that. He's the best shooter in the league and is the only guy on this team that could realistically stick average 25 points for a season. This squad has some good complimentary scorers that can put up 15-20 per game (Shareef, Bonzi, Bibby, Brad and even KT), but one great scorer. That's Peja.

For his career, Peja has averaged 14.05 field goal attempts per game and his career effective field goal percentage is 53.7%. (eFG is calculated as (((three-pointers made x 0.5) + field goals made)/field goal attempts). It accounts for the increased value of three-pointers.)

We're going to get into the headache-inducing part now, so beware:

In Peja's 486 games played, he's shot between zero and 29 times. The median is 15 shots. In just more than 50 percent of his games, Peja shot between 11 and 18 times.

Let's look at that midrange - the middle 50 percent of Peja's game by field goal attempts. In those games, Peja's mean eFG was 54.8%.

Now let's look the 4th quartile - the 122 games that featured Peja's highest number of field goal attempts (between 18 and 29 FGAs). His mean eFG drops slightly in those games, to 54.7%.

That's not a big drop-off at all. That suggests scaling Peja's FGAs upward will have a minimal impact on his efficiency.

But how consistent is Peja when he shoots more than 18 times a game?

More consistent than when he shoots 11-18 times a game! The standard deviation for Q4 (the lots-of-shots games) is .114, while the standard deviation for the midrange (11-18 shots) is .157. What this means is that Peja is more likely to shot closer to his mean eFG when he shoots 18+ times than when he shoots 11-18 times.

(This could also factor in that eFG moves in smaller increments as field goal attempts increase, which may sway the appearance of consistency some. Any real statisticians want to help me out on this?)

It also makes sense that as you increase Peja's FGAs, you increase his FTAs as well. The evidence supports this, as his mean FT/40 minutes when shooting 11-18 times is 4.49 and his mean FT/40 when shooting 18+ times is 4.73.

But is it also possible that the more active Peja is on offense (which is almost always by jacking up shots - his career game high for assists is 7), the more active he is on the glass?

It's true!

Peja's rebounds per 40 minutes in games when he shoots 11-18 times is 5.76. In games with 18+ FGAs, his rebound/40 is 6.07. It's still pathetic for a 6'10 guy, but better nonetheless!

So, what am I saying here? GIVE PEJA THE DAMN BALL! Shooting is what he does best. When he does it a lot, he does it just as good. Also, when he does it a lot, he does other stuff better.

Anyone against making sure Peja puts up 18 shots per game?

Comments, suggestions and calls for beheading encouraged. I'll supply the data, should anyone want it, as well.