Isaiah Thomas a King of Efficiency


It seems we keep finding additional gems about Sacramento Kings’ point guard, Isaiah Thomas. Here is another. Right now, Thomas ranks highest among Sacramento Kings players in terms of points per shot (PPS) in the 2011-2012 season according to stats from ESPN.

To put this into perspective,James Harden was recently named 2012 NBA 6th Man of the Year. It seems Harden was one of the league’s most efficient players this season, averaging 1.66 points per shot second only to Tyson Chandler. This comes from Hoops Hype.

What does this mean for Isaiah and the other Sacramento Kings players? Isaiah Thomas ranks number 19 in the league, at 1.31 points per shot. Comparing him to other players, he ranks above Cleveland Cavaliers’ rookie, Kyrie Irving, who is anticipated to be named Rookie of the Year. Irving is ranked at number 35 in the league, with 1.26 points per shot. Isaiah also ranks above teammates Marcus Thorton, ranked number 61 at 1.19 points per shot and Tyreke Evans, ranked 75 with 1.15 points per shot.

Points per game (PPG) and points per shot (PPS) are not the same. There is an important difference between efficiency (PPS) and volume (PPG). Points per game are the number of points a player puts up during a game. The total points are added together over the season and divided by the number of games played. Points per shot are the total number of points added together and divided by the number of shots attempted over the season.  A player can put up a lot of shots per game, but not be very efficient. For instance, if Player A made 40 points in a game, but it took 40 attempts to make those shots, he would not be very efficient, but the scoreboard would look great.  If Player B were to make 40 points with 30 attempts, he would be more efficient than Player A, making the same number of points with fewer attempts.

Kobe Bryant is known for his volume shooting, ranked at 2nd in the league averaging 27.9 (PPG), while he ranks 57 in the league for his efficiency at 1.20 points per shot. While it is important to make points, because games are won by them, it is also important to consider how many shot attempts to make those points. If a player is not very efficient with many attempts, he uses that possession, which could have been used by a more efficient player who has a greater likelihood to make a shot.

Inefficient shooters, sometimes referred to as “ball hogs” can light up the score board with points, but if they are using precious possessions and missing a lot of their shots, this can ultimately lose games. It is a team sport and not a game to showcase one individual. A team wants to maximize each possession by getting the ball into the most efficient offensive shooter. Right now, on the Sacramento Kings, Isaiah Thomas is that guy.