Inside Lacrosse published its midseason All-Americans yesterday. Without fail, All-America lists generally feature the most productive or notable players from the best teams in the country. Inside Lacrosse's poll doesn't really deviate from this principle. In the overall, I have no problem with All-America lists coming together under that foundation as there's a lot to be said about highlighting production in the context of team success.
What is worrisome is that some guys that are having productive seasons tend to fall through the cracks or are underappreciated. Good thing that I exist to make sure that doesn't happen.
It's tough to accurately highlight defensive execution statistically in lacrosse. It is, however, much easier to work with data relative to offensive production. So, I'm going to ignore the defensive stuff for now and focus exclusively on offensive players.
I've been working on individual offensive efficiency tools for a bit. While I'm not 100 percent pleased with my approach, what I have is good enough for this discussion. Similar to the team efficiencies that I've been writing about, these individual efficiencies are tempo-free, focusing exclusively on possession-based information. So, you're not going to see goals-per-game, assists-per-game, or points-per-game here. Instead, you're going to see their analogues: Offensive rating (goals per 100 offensive possessions), assist rate (assists per 100 offensive possessions), and total offensive value (points per 100 offensive possessions). I use these metrics as they get rid of all that pointless "noise" in per-game (tempo-included) statistics.*
The chart below reflects the top 25 in the country in total offensive value. To be considered for the table, a player must have played in at least 75 percent of his team's games. The data is updated through April 5, 2011.
|K. Crowley||S. Brook||7.55||10||5.76||7||13.31||4|
|N. Galasso||N. Carolina||4.82||78||6.33||4||11.14||7|
|S. Sturgis||Penn St.||5.36||59||4.60||22||9.96||14|
|K. Williams||St. Joe's||6.37||26||3.43||44||9.80||17|
|K. Cernuto||St. John's||6.49||22||3.25||50||9.74||18|
|T. Moore||R. Morris||7.64||6||1.91||124||9.55||23|
Some quick thoughts:
- As you can see (and as I wrote yesterday), Rob Pannell is the most dangerous and productive offensive player in the game right now. Nobody touches his total offensive impact through both scoring and helping. This is a big reason why Cornell is the most efficient offensive team in the country.
- Denver puts two guys into the top 10. I'm not sure how much different this would be if I adjusted the efficiencies for strength of schedule, but I don't think that Matthews and Demopoulos would deviate all that much as the Pioneers' strength of schedule with reference to opposing defenses faced is 20th nationally. There's talent out in the Rockies, I tells 'ya.
- It's a shame that Drexel is 5-5. Scott Perri provides as much offense on a possession basis as two guys that get infinitely more ink -- Kevin Crowley and Kevin Cunningham.
- The fact that Peter Baum is "only" a second-team All-American right now according to Inside Lacrosse is silly. Will Colgate need to win the Patriot League in order to get on the first team (a reasonable possibility)? As of right now, I'd argue that he's ahead of Brenneman on production alone. I'll at least listen to arguments about him being behind Ranagan or Miller.
* Just a reminder about why per-game (tempo-included) stats kind of stink: A per-game statistic doesn't tell you if a team had one chance to score or 100 chances to score in a game. Scoring "five goals per game" is misleading -- Did the team have five possessions and score on every one of them or did they have 100 possessions and only score five goals? The first situation is good; the second situation is bad.
Tempo-free stats eliminate this curiosity as they examine only possessions.