Stat Pack: The Chandler-Okafor Trade

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Published: July 28, 2009

For my initial take on the Tyson Chandler-Emeka Okafor trade, take a gander at  my previous post.  For stats, keep readin’.

The casual fan will look at the raw numbers, see that Okafor has career averages of 14 ppg, 10.7 rpg, and 1.9 bpg  and compare that to Tyson Chandler’s 8.2, 9.0 and 1.4 and assume that the Hornets had gotten the better of this deal.   Even if you pick out individual best seasons, Tyson’s 11.8, 11.8 and 1.1 doesn’t really match up with Okafor’s best season of 14.4, 11.3, and 2.6.

That’s not an accurate representation however, due to Tyson’s exceptional defense, but at least offensively, it is a true statement.    So first let’s take a look at the offensive numbers.  For those of you who don’t care about the numbers that much – skip to the end to get a summary.

Offense:

From 82games.com, here is Okafor’s shot detail information from last year:

Shot Att. eFG% Ast’d Blk’d Pts
Jump 29% .366 74% 13% 2.0
Close 48% .531 71% 15% 4.8
Dunk 19% .912 87% 4% 3.3
Tips 3% .667 0% 0% 0.4
Inside 71% .641 74% 11% 8.6

For comparison, here is Tyson’s details from last year, so you can get an idea of what sort of differences we can anticipate:

Shot Att. eFG% Ast’d Blk’d Pts
Jump 9% .160 75% 12% 0.2
Close 37% .486 65% 9% 2.3
Dunk 34% .937 89% 0% 4.0
Tips 20% .276 0% 2% 0.7
Inside 91% .605 72% 4% 6.9

What leaps out immediately is Okafor is much more willing and capable of taking a jumper. (he probably shouldn’t because he’s pretty bad at it, but at least his futility from range is nothing as compared with Chandler’s.)    Okafor is also an accomplished finisher at the rim, as his dunk and close conversion rates are excellent.  That’s comforting because Paul needs big men who can finish the pick and roll at the rim and Okafor has that ability in spades.

Okafor’s height(6-10) does lets him get blocked more often, but it matters less because he still finishes at a high rate.  He also almost never gets tip-ins.  For a player who averaged 3.4 offensive rebounds a game last year, that’s a low number.  I think we can expect to see him rip those balls down off the rim, and then go back up.

As for passing, Okafor is pretty weak.  He was 60th among centers at assist rate, and his turnover rate was 33rd, though that’s still a big improvement over the 53rd ranked Chandler.  Particularly, when you take into account the fact he takes quite a few more shots than Chandler attempts.

In summary: Okafor takes more shots, hits about the same percentage, and turns the ball over less than Tyson.  I can dig that.

Rebounding

One of the primary areas of concern last year was rebounding.  With this acquisition, the Hornets should get some help.  Last season, Okafor generated a rebound rate of 19%, good for 13th in the NBA.  That number is consistent with what he’s done the past three years, so we can expect it to vary little.  By way of comparison, Chandler generated rebound rates of 20.7, 19.5, and 16.4 over the last three seasons

Defense

Here’s where Chandler’s departure hurts the most.  Chandler was an Elite defensive center.  Okafor can be classified as merely “solid”, as the good blogger Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops said in his end of season evaluation of Emeka Okafor.

Hainline has a great stats page on his blog, and rather than paraphrase his stuff, here’s the link to his chart describing how Okafor did defending Centers, Power Forwards, and in general.  The chart tells you what was expected from a player going against Okafor, what they actually did against him, and the net change.

If you’d rather not study the chart in detail, here is its conclusions in a nutshell:  Okafor makes opposing players score and shoot slightly less well, draw slightly fewer free throws, but do slightly better on the boards than normal.  He provides a net improvement of about a 0.5 point of PER.  Tyson provided a net improvement of 3.7 PER.  That’s huge.

Summary of the Post:

  • Chandler is an A+ defender and a C offensive player,(offender?) though that is mitigated by his injury risk.
  • Okafor is a B- defender and a B offensive player.  Okafor has played 81 and 82 games the last couple seasons.

Next post, I’ll get to the financial impacts of the trade – since we all know those matter hugely.

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