The Bulls, PER, and the idiots who live by it...... Part 3

The Bulls, PER, and the idiots who live by it...... Part 3
Underwood & Underwood, US Library of Congress

OK, I promise, this time I'm really going to tell you how this whole "PER" thingy ties into the Bulls.

Let's start with Luol Deng. Everybody knows that his contract is up at the end of the 2013-14 season, and there have been all kinds of discussions on what the Bulls should do about it next summer. He has struggled mightily with his Field Goal Percentage since he tore a ligament in his wrist January 21, 2012 against Charlotte.

How bad has it been? Real bad. Really, really bad. But not consistently bad, to where we can't pinpoint the reason for his struggles- Derrick Rose.

Yes, Deng played the first four seasons of his career without Rose and shot a combined 48.0% over those four years. But that was a different team, running a different offense, with Deng playing a different role.

But Deng adjusted beautifully to the new offense that was created when Thibs became the coach and Rose became a superstar. We all saw the new Bulls take the league by storm in that first magical season under Thibs, when Derrick was MVP and the Bulls went to the ECF.

2011-12, of course, saw Rose struggle with injuries all season, only playing 39 of the 66 games. And while the Bulls were so dominant that they still had a league-best 50-16 (.758 winning percentage) record, and while they even managed to go 18-9 when Rose didn't play (compared to 32-7 when he did play), they were truly, all-time scary dominant when Rose and Deng both suited up.

As in 26-4 scary dominant. That, folks, is a 71-win pace dominant. They were on the floor together for 31 minutes a night in those 30 games, and the Bulls outscored their opponents by more than 12 points on average in those 31 minutes. A them that shot 37.5% on 3's for the season shot 39.3% when Deng and Rose both played- and obviously it wasn't either of them raising the percentage.

Deng originally returned from the torn ligament on February 4th after sitting out 7 games. From that night through the end of March (26 games), Deng shot 41.0% from behind the arc on 4.7 attempts per game.

Call me crazy, but there is no effing way a guy tears a ligament in his wrist, proceeds to immediately go on probably the absolute hottest 3-point binge over 2 months of his life, and then can't shoot for the next season+ because of the wrist.

I don't buy it. It just seems stupid to even suggest it's "the wrist". It's not.

I think we'll all find out as much this season, assuming we see a healthy Derrick Rose for most of the season.

But, people will argue all day long that, because PER says that a score of 15.0 is "average", and Deng's PERs the last 2 seasons have been 14.1 and 15.1 the last two seasons, he is an "average" player. Yet in the same breath, they will tell you how much Carlos Boozer sucks, even though his average PER over 3 seasons in Chicago is 18.4, which of course is closer to "Top-50 Greatest Player in NBA History" than it is to "average".

Hollinger admits that "PER doesn't measure defense"? Then why in the hell are steals and blocked shots in the formula? To quote that famous NBA expert Judge Judy, "don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining".

You know who else is a "below average" player, because his 14.6 career PER says he is "below average"..... Dennis Rodman.

Yes, folks, the Naismith Basketball Hall Of Fame has gotten so desperate for members that they now allow below-average NBA players to be enshrined within.

If you are going to use PER to compare two players, you might as well just compare them the way Ty Webb compared himself to other golfers in "Caddyshack".......

Photo by Alan Light, Flickr

Photo by Alan Light, Flickr height.


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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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