Knight, Liggins improving efficiency; Jones, Miller declining



UK head coach John Calipari’s theme, for nearly every game, is that improvement must be made. The outcome can be largely discarded. This motto is especially important to a young, still-developing team as March gets closer.

Delving into this motto, I wanted to examine a component for selected players and see how they’re trending. I chose effective field goal percentage — which is a statistic based on both two-point and three-point percentages, with threes being weighted heavier to compensate for the extra point — for this. Now, I don’t mean this to be comprehensive or offer finality. A multitude of factors go into a player’s “success,” as Calipari has pointed out — rebounds and defense primary among them. This statistic does not show that.

But it can be useful. Some people have been saying Darius Miller needs to score more, or DeAndre Liggins takes more shots, and both of those might be true. I wanted to look at efficiency, however, and this is a good building block. So, I plotted game-by-game effective field goal numbers for four players: Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins, and then calculated a line of best fit to show their trend from the beginning of the season to its current state. Here’s the results:

Again, this is not conclusive. But it does show some things. Knight has been steadily improving. Jones has been steadily declining, although that might have been expected given his other-worldy November. Miller is declining, while Liggins is improving (on a related note, Calipari is looking to get Liggins 8-10 shots a game).

of Sports Illustrated did a similar analysis here, which showed that the majority percentage of the team’s overall points has switched from Jones to Knight. Wrote Winn: “It’s hard to envision UK making a deep tournament run unless Jones corrects his trajectory.”

Game-by-game statistics came from As always, let me know if I made a mistake in the calculations, if you have an idea on how to expand on the topic, or if you just generally want to talk basketball.