A look at Trout's FGAs

Jason Quick opened a can of worms (terrible fishing pun intended) with his recent Travis Outlaw piece, so I decided to head over to Basketball Reference to do a little digging.

The issues of contention seem to be:

  • 1. How many shots should Travis get (or how many does he want?) 
  • 2. Should he be a starter? 

Topic #2 has been hashed, rehashed, and hashbrowned, so let's look a little bit at Topic #1.

In 82 games last year (conveniently, 41 wins and 41 losses), Travis Outlaw posted the following numbers...

Table A

Total 417 963 43.3%
Wins 192 447 43.0%
Losses 225 516 43.6%

As you can see, Travis took more shots and had more makes in the Blazers 41 losses, however his field goal percentages were pretty similar in Ws and Ls. 

Table B

Average FG M Average FG A
Total 5.09 11.74
Wins 4.68 10.90
Losses 5.49 12.59

If you break it down to per game averages, the numbers seem even more similar.  Travis takes under 11 shots in our wins and just more than 12 1/2 in losses.  Is this a big deal?  Doesn't seem like it, does it?

Charts C

Where did that extra shot and a half come from?  How did it add up?

Here I graphed TO's FGA on the X axis with the number of times that happened on the Y axis.  The top chart is wins; the bottom chart is losses. 

For example, in the top chart (Wins), you'll see that he had 12 FGAs on 7 occasions.

For another example, in the bottom chart (Losses), you'll see that he had 10 FGAs on 5 occasions.


The important point here: in our Wins, his shots are clustered in the left/central range.  In our Losses, his shots are noticeably distributed to the center/right. Almost every data point on the far right (which represent TO jacking a lot of shots) are on the bottom chart: they occurred during losses.  This makes sense: if we were overrelying on Travis last year, we probably weren't getting the W. 

Let's break down our W/L record based on the # of shots Travis took:

  • Record when Trout attempts <11 shots... 19 W vs. 17 L
  • Record when Trout attempts 11 - 14 shots... 15 W vs. 11 L
  • Record when Trout attempts 15+ shots....  7 W vs. 13 L

What's worse, when Travis really got to chucking, attemping 17 shots or more, our record was a terrible 2 W vs. 11 L.


When TO said that he wants 15 shots a game (roughly the number Brandon and LaMarcus took this past season), my first reaction was to cringe and my second reaction was to think, "you need to earn it first." 

Looking at this breakdown, I feel even more strongly that the burden of proof is on TO to show us that upping his personal FGAs will lead to an increase in Blazer wins.  

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

PS Please let me know if I screwed any of the math up.

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