Plaisted's a Piston... plus JT's Debut..."Baby" Steps in Brazil...and some "New Numbers"



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He didn't go as high as it looked like he might go a few weeks ago, but he didn't drop as low as it was feared he might in recent days.

That about sums up the news that Trent Plaisted was headed to the Detroit Pistons (via Seattle) with the 46th pick in tonight's NBA Draft. Only first-round money is guaranteed, so Plaisted has some work ahead of him before he starts earning a paycheck. He'll start his professional journey with the Pistons in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The Pistons games are scheduled as follows:

July 11 8:00 PM ET LA Lakers vs. Detroit* COX Pavilion

July 13 10:00 PM ET Detroit vs. LA Clippers COX Pavilion

July 15 6:00 PM ET Detroit vs. Milwaukee COX Pavilion

July 17 4:00 PM ET Dallas vs. Detroit* COX Pavilion

July 18 6:00 PM ET Charlotte vs. Detroit COX Pavilion

* games on NBATV

After the Summer League, Plaisted will apparently be Europe-bound. According to the Detroit Free Press:

"(Pistons President Joe) Dumars said...Plaisted...will spend the summer with the Pistons and then head overseas for seasoning.

"We make a list of all the kids who say yes (to playing in Europe) who we like," Dumars said. "Those two kids (referring also to 59th pick Deron Washington from Virginia Tech) were kids who said yes."

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BYU junior-to-be Jonathan Tavernari and former Cougar center Rafael Araujo opened play for Brazil in the "Eletrobras Challenge Games" Thursday night in Rio de Janeiro. In the first game of a two-game exhibition series, the Brazilian Senior National Team defeated Venezuela 97-69.

JT played 15+ minutes, and was 3 of 8 from the field (1 for 6 from the arc) and 2/2 from the free throw line, for 9 points. He went without a rebound or assist, and added a steal, while turning it over 3 times with a single foul. Tavernari was the 4th leading scorer for Brazil and second in bench scoring during his Senior National team debut. He led the team in three-pointers attempted.

Araujo (called "Baby" in Brazil), played 14+ minutes, scoring 2 points on his only shot taken. He added 7 rebounds, a block and an assist, with three turnovers and four fouls.

Brazil was led by San Antonio Spurs draftee Tiago Splitter, with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Brazil will play Venezuela again Friday night, then prepare for a four-team exhibition tournament in Acropolis, Greece, from July 7th through the 9th (playing Greece, Croatia and Australia). Then, Brazil moves on to Athens for the 12-team Olympic Qualifying Tournament, with three teams claiming the last available spots for the Olympic tourney in Beijing. In Athens, Brazil will be in a 3-team group with Greece and Lebanon.

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The Brazilian basketball website boxscores contains a stat category that I now plan to keep track of in the future, and it's similar to a field goal percentage, but more descriptive and accurate when it comes to representing a player's productivity. It's probably best described as the Points Available Percentage, or "PAP" number.

The stat is a simple measure of the number of points scored compared to the number of points that were available to the player, by virtue of the type and number of shots he takes in a game.

Let's take two players, both of whom score 24 points in a game.

Player A goes 9 for 13 from the field (9/11 2pfg, 0/2 3pfg) and 6/14 from the free throw line. His fg% is 69%--an excellent number. But his PAP number is only 57%, since he scored only 24 of the 42 points available to him (0 of 6 available 3pfg points, 18 of 22 available 2pfg points, and 6 of 14 available free throw points).

Player B went 6 of 9 from the field (1/2 2pfg, 5/7 3pfg) and went 7/7 from the free throw line. His fg% number is actually slightly lower than Player A's at 67%, but his PAP number is a full 18% higher, at 75%. Player B scored 15 of 21 available 3pfg points, 2 of 4 available 2pfg points, and all 7 available free throw points.

The PAP number reflects well on versatile players who can knock down a limited number of three-pointers and a high number of free throws at a high percentage, but are equally adept inside the arc, while not necessarily having to take a large number of inside shots. Taller "specialists" who lack versatility but make a high percentage of inside shots and free throws also benefit. The PAP number tends to reflect more harshly on players who, while scoring well, shoot an average percentage on a high number of inside shots, while shooting a poor number from the arc and/or the free throw line. Also, players who shoot a ton of three-pointers (even while shooting good percentages) have a tough time making ground on the PAP number, since more at points are at stake with every 3pfga. Points per game from player to player may be more or less equal, while PAP numbers may vary greatly.

Case in point, on last year's BYU team, the Big Three broke down like this:

Lee Cummard--15.8 ppg on 59% PAP

Trent Plaisted--15.6 ppg on 54% PAP (mirrors his 54%fg and 54%ft, with no 3pfga)

Jonathan Tavernari--13.1 ppg on 41% PAP

Note the variation between Cummard and Tavernari--only 2.7 points per game difference, but a huge 18% disparity in PAP numbers.

Cummard's number is extremely impressive, considering his position on the floor and the number of midrange to long distance shots he took. More impressive when you note that Jaycee Carroll's PAP number (on 22.4 ppg) during his senior season at Utah State was only 56%, while shooting 53% from the field, 50% from the arc and 92% from the free throw line! Again, the high nunmber of three-point shots taken (Carroll's 229, compared to Cummard's 127) brings Carroll's PAP number down, despite the high percentage.

Note that while both Cummard and Tavernari shot an excellent number from the free throw line last season (86% and 87%, respectively), Plaisted could have equalled Cummard's PAP number last season by merely making 49 more three throws over 35 games (shooting 73%ft instead of 54%). Plaisted's PAP number should have been over 60%, considering he did not take a single three-pointer all season, and most of his shots were within 6 feet of the basket. His 54% performance from the field and the stripe was a distinct underachievement.

Clearly, JT has some work to do in the PAP category, and it will have to come with an improvement in his 42% 2pfg percentage and 38% 3pfg percentage. It could also come with a more judicious shooting hand, especially from long distance.

Either way, the PAP number is an interesting way to judge the value of a player's time on the floor, and I'll be including it in my analyses this upcoming season.

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