Evaluating Darius Songaila

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Published: September 10, 2009

Putting together Darius Songaila’s stat-pack has been fairly amusing.  The major advanced statistical measures just don’t seem capable of agreeing about his worth:

  • The Wages of Wins system hates him, assigning him a -.046 WP48, meaning that he not only doesn’t help the team, he actually counters the beneficial work of others.
  • John Hollinger’s PER assigns him a below average rating of 13.95.
  • His basic Offensive rating is a pedestrian -.26, meaning the Wizards scored slightly less often with him on the floor.
  • His basic Defensive Rating is a tremendous -5.3, meaning the Wizards defense allowed 5.3 less points per 100 posessions when he was on the floor than when he wasn’t.
  • His Adjusted +/-, which tries to isolate his contributions from those of his teammates, gives him a glowing 2.95 rating, besting everyone on the Wizards but Antawn Jamison.

So what did Antonio Daniel’s expiring contract actually fetch the Hornets?  Here we go:

Offense

Most would contend that Songaila’s worth is his skill as a jumpshooter, living on the pick and pop.  The numbers support this, with Songaila getting 57% of his shots as jumpers, with him finishing them with an eFG% of 46%.(that’s a solid number for the low-efficiency mid-range shots)  However, his biggest scoring strength lies elsewhere. 40% of his offense came within a few feet of the basket, and he converted those opportunities at a solid eFG% of 64%.  That number edges Chris Paul’s ability to finish close, giving Songaila the best close finishing ability of anyone who played for the Hornets last year.  For a guy credited with little athleticism or strength, that’s a fairly impressive number.  As a passer, he’s probably a little better than average, producing a good assist rate for a power forward, along with a slightly worse than average turnover rate.

The bad news, however, is that Songaila never creates his own offense.  80% of his made shots were assisted.  87% of his jumpers were assisted. 74% of his close shots were assisted.  The man needs a pick and roll or pick and pop partner.  Happily, Collison is reputed to be skilled at this – and we all know what Paul can do off a high screen and roll.

Defense

It’s hard to pick out how good Songaila actually is on defense.  The defensive numbers of the Wizards improved dramatically with him on the floor the past two seasons, but the Wizards starters were such a woeful defensive club that a three-legged aardvark could have come in for one of their starters and improved the defense.  His individual numbers were weak, as opposing power forwards generally posted good PERs of 17.1 against him.  Of course, on a team with as bad help defense as the Wizards had, I’m not sure I can hold that against him.  In the end, I feel safe saying he’s probably not going to hurt us defensively.

Rebounding

Songaila is a terrible rebounder.  Out of 77 Power Forwards ranked by Hollinger’s system, Songaila was the 59th worst offensive rebounder, and the 72nd worst defensive rebounder.

Summary

So like all reserves, you have to take the good with the bad.  For a second unit that was desperate for scoring, however, he’s a solid option to play off the Hornet’s trio of speedy point guards.  He’s also got the most impressive shoulder move I’ve ever seen.

Hopefully he can learn to use that move against the other team in the future though, not his own.

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