Gameflow from the Texas/Rice game on Sunday. I haven't worked much with Excel, so I wasn't able to use +/- symbols because I couldn't get the program to stop adding and subtracting. If anyone knows how to get that to turn off, I would appreciate it. Otherwise, hopefully it's readable and provides some insights. Also, if anyone has any thoughts on the best way to determine the best five-man groups for the team, that would also be helpful.
A few thoughts:
In a game that the Longhorns won by 18 points, any player with a negative +/- in the game didn't add much to the team. Throwing out Matt Hill, who ended up with a -2 after one minute, and Shawn Williams, who played two minutes, the three players who come out looking poorly in this metric are Jordan Hamilton at even, Justin Mason at +1, and Gary Johnson at +2. It's difficult to make direct correlations between the play of an individual to the results of the team, but the first two players listed aren't a huge surprise -- Hamilton shot 3-9 from the field and still failed to make entry passes to the big guy down low, while Mason missed both of his field goals and three of his four free-throw attempts. It's a broken record now -- he just doesn't add anything offensively. For Johnson, it's harder to figure, though he did only have one rebound in his 16 minutes and turned the ball over twice.
James (+21), Bradley (+18), and Balbay (+17) all had the best games by this metric. Most surprising of these three is James, who shot poorly from the field, but rebounded well and didn't turn the ball over. For Bradley, it was probably about playing good defense and playing efficiently, as he shot 3-7 from the field, 2-2 from the line and had four assists and no turnovers. Balbay is interesting as well, as he didn't score much and only had one assist, but rebounded extremely well and probably helped the team by pushing the ball in transition and playing good defense.
Despite what is seemingly a bad combination in Balbay and Mason, the two played five different stretches together and finished +4, with only one of those stretches a net negative for the team at -1. Something to keep an eye on, although the fact that neither can shoot and the amount that tangibly affects the spacing on the court probably trumps this data.
The amount of substituting that Rick Barnes does may also affect the data, as the longest that any group was on the floor together was the nearly three minutes that Brown/James/Pittman/Hamilton/Mason were on the court and registered a -5, by far the worst stretch of basketball during the game, when Rice climbed back into it, cutting the lead 12 to seven and then to five when Bradley replaced Mason. Does substituting so frequently hurt the rhythm of the team because the players on the court don't have time to establish a good dynamic and decide where they want to go with the ball? There's certainly accountability, but there may be side effects as well.
It's not surprising in some ways that the group of Brown/Bradley/James/Pittman/Hamilton registered a +4 in the first half, as that's probably the best combination on paper right now for the Longhorns, although that group also registered -2 in their appearance together in the second half, when Hamilton earned himself a spot on the bench for the rest of the game by jacking a step-back three pointer after making a three the previous trip down the court.
Context plays a factor here, as the needless fouling by Rice at the end of the game resulted in a +5 and +4 for the players on the court at the end of the game, despite not having to do anything offensively other than hold onto the ball long enough to get fouled and make free throws, which James and Brown did at a high rate -- 7-8 in the last minute. However, those two groups did also help hold Rice scoreless over the last 4:17 of the game.
[Update]: Here are some other charts from StatSheet for the Rice game. I'll try to post them after every game.
As a note, the last chart has J'Covan Brown's numbers listed as Varez Ward, hopefully they will get that changed.