Thursday, February 26, 2009
Something Smells Fishy
A lot of fans, myself included, have been petitioning for Corey Fisher to receive more playing time. Listed at only 6'1, Fisher can be liability on defense when paired with the generously listed 6'2 Scottie Reynolds. For that reason I could see why Jay Wright favors the bigger and better defenders, and I agree with that decision to a certain extent. A lot of fans would like to see more Fisher at the expense of Reggie Redding, Dwayne Anderson, and Shane Clark because Fisher's offensive game is superior to those players in every aspect, and the numbers prove it. I won't talk about them because defense is difficult to measure statistically. However, when I dug deeper into the statistics, I discovered something a bit surprising. Since the January 6th overtime win at Seton Hall, when Reynolds dropped 40 points and Fisher dropped zero, Corey Fisher has actually been better than his fellow point guard.
Here's a look at their per game numbers over the 13 games since Seton Hall:
Fisher: 56/96 FG (58%), 12/28 3PT (43%), 40/54 FT (74%), 12.6 pts, 2 reb, 2.5 ast, 2.0 to, 22.6 min
Reynolds: 54/135 FG (40%), 20/69 3PT (29%), 63/78 FT (81%), 14.7 pts, 2.5 reb, 3 ast, 2.8 to, 29.5 min
As you can see, Fisher has made more field goals, despite taking 39 less attempts than Reynolds. Fisher is shooting 18% better from the field and 14% better from 3-point land, an area that most consider Reynolds to be far superior. Fisher has a better assist to turnover ratio and a similar rebound rate. The most alarming stat is the 7 minutes per game less that Fisher has averaged over that span. If you adjust Fisher's stats to the same number of minutes as Reynolds, his scoring would jump past Reynolds to about 17 points per game. The only area Scottie has a big advantage is free throw shooting, where he gets to the line more often and shoots a better percentage than Fisher.
Another highlight of Reynolds' game is his "clutch" factor, or ability to take over at the end of games. Scottie displayed his aptitude in this area most recently in the DePaul game. However, if you saw Corey Fisher go head to head with Johnny Flynn towards the end of the Syracuse game, you know that he's capable of filling that role as well. The final difference is experience. As a junior, Reynolds had the edge there, but as we're winding down towards the end of his sophomore season, Fisher is basically an upperclassman now. He understands his role now and it's reflective in his improved statistics.
So what does this all mean? It's certainly not a knock on Scottie Reynolds. Defenses focus much more of their effort on him than they do Fisher, which could explain some of the disparity in their shooting percentages. I don't necessarily believe that Fisher should get more time at the expense of Reynolds because frankly, they are the two best guards on the team. Neither do I believe it is imperative for Fisher to start because he is valuable as a sixth man. What I am simply saying is Fisher should be getting more playing time, period. At the expense of who? Well, that's for Jay Wright to decide. Finally, the team has won nine of its last ten, so change isn't a priority. The bottom line is Corey Fisher is too good to be sitting on the bench for 12+ minutes a game.