Diamond in the Rough?…Luke Harangody

August 15th, 2011 by Kevin Hetrick

In Part 2 of this series, Luke Harangody will be the topic. Harangody was difficult to find comparisons for, due to his extreme performance in two categories; he had the third lowest true shooting and third lowest turnover rate of all power forwards. Over the nine seasons from 2002 – 2003 to 2010 – 2011, there were only 8 seasons by a PF featuring a lower turnover rate (3 by Matt Bonner). This is out of 650 PF seasons. Only 21 of the seasons included lower true shooting.

The table below reflects the only power forwards that were 27 or under, had true shooting percentage between 40 and 48, and turnover rate less than 10%. It’s less than one player per season.

Regardless of age, there were only 12 power forwards (16 seasons) in this combined true shooting and turnover range. This is not the type of player that plays in the NBA very often, and typically it is the statistical footprint of players who don’t last much longer. The average number of total games played by the 12 players after registering this type of season (post 2002 – 2003) is 78. Hansbrough and Arthur are the only ones still active and are bucking the “career is almost over” trend.

Given the low number of matches based on Harangody’s combined true shooting and turnover rate, a look solely at true shooting is further revealing. From 2002 – 2003 to 2009 – 2010, there were 27 power forwards that registered true shooting under 46%. Again this is typically the domain of players, young or old, who don’t have much of a future in the league. 23 of the 27 are essentially done with their careers and weren’t able to significantly contribute again after their season with sub-46% true shooting. An example of their lack of impact is that, as a whole, they averaged 50 minutes of playoff playing time for the remainder of their careers.

The other four players are:

Beyond the fact that only 15% of the sub-46 power forwards found success after that season, it’s hard to sell the 4 players that did as a great comparison to Harangody. Arthur and Humphries were both 20 years old. Hansbrough had vertigo. Jeffries has managed to play 12000 minutes and make $38 million while contributing very little offensively. It’s doubtful that Harangody pulls that off.

With Samardo Samuels, reasonably comparable players had contributed to NBA champions. With Harangody, most comparable players find themselves on the way out of the league.  Though unlikely based on his 33% three point shooting in college and 24% last year, maybe he can develop the ability to shoot 40% from three. That would appear to be his best chance to stick in the NBA, and due to the lockout, there may be plenty of time to practice.

Next up will be Manny Harris, which will hopefully provide a more optimistic report.

(Sidebar on PER. A complaint with PER is that it can reward high usage regardless of efficiency.  2011 Harangody vs 2010 Hansbrough is a good example. They were essentially equal as shooters and passers. Harangody was a better defensive rebounder; however Hansbrough was a better offensive and overall rebounder. They were similar in steals, blocks, and personal fouls, with Harangody being slightly better in 2 of the 3. Despite offensive rebounding being the only difference in his favor, Hansbrough was a league average player while Harangody was replacement level according to PER. Hansbrough’s PER benefited from shooting a lot of shots, despite being the NBA’s second worst power forward for true shooting. It seems like using a lot of possessions at near NBA low shooting would be bad for player efficiency rating, but it doesn’t always work out that way. PER awards too much more credit for made field goals and free throws than it discredits a player for missed shots.)