Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Posts Tagged ‘erick dampier’

Better Bulldog Shot-Blocker: Jarvis Varnado or Erick Dampier? A Statistical Analysis

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 25, 2008


At face value, the answer is simple. Having surpassed Erick Dampier’s all-time Mississippi State record of 249 career blocked shots this past Saturday, Jarvis Varnado is clearly more prolific at sending the ball back from where it came. Even more amazing is that Varnado needed 20 less games than Dampier to amass his current career total of 255 blocks.

But totals are one thing, is Jarvis Varnado a better shot blocker than Erick Dampier? The stats point to yes.

Per game statistics don’t tell the whole story as they don’t always indicate how a player performs with the minutes he is given. Dampier averaged 2.7 blocks per game for his career. So far, Varnado is swatting 3.5 per game.

Part of the deeper tale is how many blocks a player is getting in his minutes on the court. For his career, Dampier averaged 28.4 minutes per game. So far, Varnado is clocking in at 21.1 per. To even the playing field, let’s compare how many blocks each player swatted per 25 minutes on the court in each of their first three years.

Full Raw Data Spreadsheet

As you can see, while Dampier remained a consistent shot blocker throughout his three-year career (a 2.36 blocks per 25 minutes average), Varnado is improving his rate. Of course, the 08-09 sample is small as Varnado has only played four games against inferior competition. However, Jarvis’ rate increased 14.5% between his freshman and sophomore years, while Dampier’s went down 4.6%.

What percentage of opponent shots are blocked?

If the opponent is shooting more shots, then there are more opportunities for blocks. Part of assessing the shot blocking prowess of Dampier and Varnado is looking at what percentage of opponent field-goal attempts end up being blocked by those individual players. However, it’s hard to directly compare because Varnado only averaged 13.5 minutes per game his freshman year while Dampier averaged 23.4 minutes per game in his first season at Mississippi State.

I don’t have a way of measuring exactly how many shots were taken while Varnado and Dampier were on the court. I’m sure those in-depth statistics are kept by someone, but they are not available to me. So, for each respective season, I’ll adjust total opponent field goal attempts to match the ratio of each player’s average minutes to the full 40 minutes of a college basketball game. It’s an imperfect statistic, but it better compares the percentage of opponent attempts blocked when the players are averaging different amounts of minutes per game.

If you want to better understand, you can check the full data here. Similar to blocks per 25 minutes, Dampier’s numbers remain relatively flat throughout his career. I won’t necessarily discuss this current year for Varnado since, as mentioned, the sample size is so small. Dampier blocked about 6% of opponent shot attempts adjusted to his time on the court (6.13% career average). Varnado, in contrast, has sent back more than one out of every 10 opponent field-goal attempts adjusted for his time on the court (10.67% career average).

Block, but don’t foul.

Blocking shots is an art. A player must have discipline and cannot go after every shot that comes his way or he’ll be spending time on the bench, unavailable to help his team. So, an obvious comparison would be to look at how many shots a player blocks against how many fouls he is committing.

Raw Spreadsheet Data

Both players have similar blocks-per-foul ratios for their first seasons (Dampier – 0.79, Varnado – 0.91). However, in year two, when both players averaged similar minutes per game (Dampier 28.4, Varnado – 28.5), and when both players committed 99 fouls on the season, Varnado swatted 79 more shots than Big Damp.

SEC Record Book

Last year, Jarvis Varnado tied Shaquille O’Neal for most blocks by an SEC player in a season with 157, albeit O’Neal accomplished that number in four less games.

SEC Record Book [PDF]

Currently, with 255, Varnado ranks 9th on the SEC’s list for most career blocks:

  1. Shaquille O’Neal, LSU (90-92) – 412
  2. Kyle Davis, Auburn (01-04) – 360
  3. Lavon Mercer, Georgia (77-80) – 327
  4. Steven Hill, Arkansas (05-08) – 318
  5. Robert Horry, Alabama (89-92) – 285
  6. Dwayne Schintzius, Florida (86-90) – 272
  7. Jamaal Magloire, Kentucky (97-00) – 268
  8. Roy Rogers, Alabama (93-96) – 266

Will Varnado finish his career as the SEC’s all-time leader in shots blocked? Undoubtedly. For one, I simply cannot see Varnado jumping to the NBA after this season. If he were three inches taller, maybe. But the kid is still skinny and his offensive game has a long way to go. Of course, that’s not to say he can’t be in the league as a hustling, defending big who runs the floor like a gazelle, yet with not much offensive game to speak of. However, NBA players have the strength and know-how to avoid getting their shot blocked, so Varnado would be much better prepared for the next level with four full years of college seasoning.

If Varnado repeats his sophomore block amount of 157 in each of these next two seasons (which would total 538 career blocks), he’d not only shatter the SEC career record, but would also break the NCAA Division I career shots blocked record. (The list: Wojciech Mydra, Louisiana Monroe: 1998-2002 – 535; Adonal Foyle, Colgate: 1994-97 – 492; Tim Duncan, Wake Forest: 1993-97 – 481; Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown: 1988-92 – 453; Ken Johnson, Ohio State: 1997-2001 – 444).

With 19.7% of last year’s total through only four games, Varnado is well on his way to breaking more records. No, he won’t continue to face the North Alabamas and Fairleigh Dickinsons of the world, but I imagine that Varnado’s minutes, currently 24.5 per game (down 4 minutes from last year), will increase as the competition increases.

Either way, don’t blink Mississippi State fans, you may be watching the best shot blocker in college basketball history, much less Mississippi State school history.

Other Notes:

Varnado was also named the SEC player of the week, here are the media coverage links:

Advertisements

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, erick dampier, jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Should Charles Rhodes Start Packing His Bags?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 16, 2008

As previously reported, Charles Rhodes is not getting a lot of time on the court in Dallas Maverick preseason games. In his first three outings, he saw around 20 total minutes of action and missed all five shots he took.

Last night, the Mavs went up against the Indiana Pacers in their fourth preseason game. Knowing that Jason Kidd, Erick Dampier, Devin George and Jerry Stackhouse would be sitting out beforehand, I’d hoped that Rhodes would see more time on the court (even though three of those veterans are guards/wings).

Well, Rhodes only got off the bench for six minutes, just long enough to snag two rebounds, block a shot, and make a single free-throw. Normally, this would not necessarily indicate that Rhodes’ days with the Mavs are numbered. However, the player believed to be competing with Rhodes for a roster spot at power forward, John Singleton, played 27 minutes, scored 11 points, got nine rebounds, and blocked four shots. Singleton is also signed to a guaranteed contract with Dallas, Rhodes is not.

Rhodes has no doubt made a good impression on the Mavs brass, especially with his summer league play. Now, will that impression, also noticed by scouts league-wide, be enough to keep Rhodes stateside, perhaps playing in the NBDL and hoping to get noticed for a 10-day contract down the road? Or would Rhodes head overseas for a more lucrative opportunity? The main problem with foreign play at this point is that most leagues have already started.

Rhodes making the final cut in Dallas is not a complete improbability, but the signs are pointing in a ‘less than likely’ direction.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, mississippi state bulldogs, nba | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Charles Rhodes Signed To Dallas Mavericks Training Camp Roster

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 1, 2008

Former Mississippi State Bulldog Charles Rhodes was one of four additions the Dallas Mavericks made to their training camp roster on Tuesday. The Mavericks also signed Reyshawn Terry, Cheyne Gadson, and former Tennessee Vol, JuJuan Smith. Dallas’ training camp roster now stands at 19. NBA teams are allowed to keep 15 players, 12 max can dress for games, during the regular season.

It was last reported that Rhodes was being courted by one of Spain’s top professional teams, Regal FC Barcelona, after being drafted by the Continental Basketball Association. However, having suited up for the Mavericks in both the Las Vegas and Rocky Mountain Revue NBA Summer Leagues, Rhodes has opted to take his chances with a try-out for an NBA team.

By most accounts, Rhodes impressed the Dallas brass enough with his summer league play to earn a spot at camp. Most likely, he will be competing with other big forwards, Terry and James Singleton, who is currently signed to a guaranteed contract, for the last roster spot.

Rhodes will join former Bulldog Erick Dampier in training camp, which will held at Southern Methodist University. Good luck to Chuck and check back with Bulldog Maroon & White for updates on his progression with the Mavs.

Continued Reading: MSU Bulldogs & Mavericks: an interview with Dallas Dedicated – August 7, 2008 [Dallas Dedicated is a blog dedicated to, obviously, the Dallas sports scene.]

[Update] Marcus Campbell, who didn’t really play for the Miami Heat during the summer, is evidently in training camp with the Houston Rockets.

Posted in bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, mississippi state bulldogs, nba | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

MSU Bulldogs & Mavericks: an interview with Dallas Dedicated

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 7, 2008

Dallas Dedicated is a blog which is, well, dedicated to Dallas sports. We’ve been following some of their excellent coverage of Charles Rhodes, who, as you should be well aware, was apart of the Mavs summer league squad, and by most accounts, impressed the Dallas brass with his ability. It remains to be seen if Rhodes will make the Mavericks squad, much less get a training camp invite. In any case, the guys at Dallas Dedicated agreed to be the latter part of a Q&A session about Rhodes, and another former Bulldog, and current Mav, Erick Dampier.

Erick Dampier

——————–

I’ve read where Charles Rhodes is likely to be invited to training camp, but is not a lock. What do you think?
I think that as long as he does not decide to go to Europe, he is a lock for camp. Hopefully he doesn’t chase that very enticing Euro. He has gone from being a forgotten and un-drafted rookie to a guy with a legitimate shot at being in the rotation on a title contending Dallas Mavericks team.

Does the presence of Brandon Bass (an SEC product out of LSU) hurt Rhodes’ chances? The Mavericks offered Bass and Jerry Stackhouse to Sacramento for Ron Artest, but the Kings chose to send Ronnie to another team in Texas, which will lead to my next question……
Bass and Rhodes are very similar, which in the long run could end up hurting one or the other–obviously at this point most likely Rhodes. But last season, the front line was very thin and another Bass-like player could do nothing but help. One thing that critics say hurts the Mavs team is that they do not have enough tough inside presence, which Charles Rhodes can definitely help provide.

What’s Bass’ trade value and are you willing to give him up? If it’s your opinion that the Mavs must make a move to get back to the NBA Finals, what would be a reasonably hypothetical dream trade scenario?
Obviously, if the right deal came about, we would have to part ways with Bass. He still has a lot of potential and could develop into a very good player, but he still will play behind Dirk. A strong two-guard with nice range would be about the only offer for Bass that could improve the team…especially if Rhodes proved he could take Bass’ spot.

Jason Kidd should be much better under Rick Carlisle–freedom to do what he does best: run the break. That should cover the one, three (Howard) and four (Dirk) spots. A move like Terry/Stackhouse and a reserve for someone like Corey Maggette or Monta Ellis would be solid. Ideally, an upcoming free agent after this season (LeBron, Wade, etc.) would be a finals-clinching pick up. Then the only weakness would be at the five. Good centers are a rare commodity, and if Diop and Damp can play strong together, then that would be an ideal squad. But, the fact alone that we offered Bass in a trade for Artest shows that the Mavericks organization thinks of him as expendable.

From watching Rhodes, what’s your opinion of his NBA-level strengths and weaknesses?
He shoots a very high percentage, and even has a pretty decent mid range jumper. Though he is relatively short for a power forward, he rebounds adequately, similar to Bass. His post defense has been impressive, but he is not a big shot blocker and can get in foul trouble quickly. His biggest improvement will need to be overall basketball IQ, which many rookies need work with. He is a very raw scorer, and can easily be molded into a power force. He has nothing but potential, which I know Rick Carlisle and the Mavs assistants could turn into more strengths.

James Singleton or Charles Rhodes: who do you pick? (factoring in Singleton’s guaranteed contract)
Charles Rhodes and James Singleton are too much alike to give both contracts too, especially when factoring in that Brandon Bass will already consume most of the backup power forward minutes. While Singleton’s contract is guaranteed, GM Donnie Nelson has already made it clear that buying out a player’s contract that is guaranteed is not out of the question. Also, Singleton is coming off major knee surgery and has had multiple shots at the NBA-level. Rhodes over Singleton easily.

The Mavs have another Mississippi State product in Erick Dampier, who led the Bulldogs to the Final Four in 1996. What do you like, and dislike about his game? Was signing him to a 7-year, $63 million contract in ’04 a mistake? Is Erick Dampier a center the Mavs can win a championship with? And, are we looking at a time-share at center between Big Damp and the returned DeSagana Diop?
Dampier is an up and down player. He doesn’t have to score a lot of points, and gets a lot of buckets from working the offensive glass. When he wants to be, Damp is one of the best rebounders in the league, especially on the offensive end. Also, his scoring has improved since Jason Kidd’s arrival. However, he tends to get into early foul trouble too often and sometimes plays soft. While Dallas let Steve Nash go and used the money saved to sign Erick Dampier, his contract in ’04 was not a mistake. He was coming off of a career year of (12 points and 12 rebounds per game in ’03) and the Mavs had been lacking a good center for many years (see Shawn Bradley).

The way Dallas is most effective is a split between Damp and Diop. This eliminates the worry of foul trouble and they are able to play tougher defense. Together, when on their games, they can rival many centers in the league, and proved it in the ’06 Finals run. Damp did not have any competition for minutes after Diop was traded, and having Diop back will motivate Damp to play and practice hard or else Diop becomes the starter. Not many teams have two legitimate centers, and I believe the Mavericks have that again with the signing of Diop.

——————–

And there it is….many thanks to the guys at Dallas Dedicated.

Posted in bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, erick dampier, mississippi state bulldogs, nba, nba draft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »