Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2012 First Half/Second Half: Tyler Dykstra

I usually live in the land of cumulative season statistics (I’m a sucker for large sample sizes), but it struck me today that it would be interesting to go through the Individual Game-by-Game Box Scores on the Calvin Sports page to try to get a glimpse at how some of the players progressed throughout the season. You could pretty much pick any range of games to do this, but I decided to stick with a simple 50-50 first half/second half approach (because small sample sizes tend to frighten me). This is easy enough considering Calvin played an even number of games (26).

I picked Tyler Dykstra to profile first, but I’ll admit to not choosing completely randomly (though his name immediately came to my mind). A quick glance at his numbers confirmed my thought: although he was never a big scorer, he was a bigger part of the offense as the year went on. He’s an ideal candidate to track development though. He’s young, he played in nearly every game (25 of the 26), and his length and athleticism leads to lots of potential.


32 - Dykstra
G
Min
MPG
Pts
PPG
1st Half
12
108
9.0
6
0.5
2nd Half
13
204
15.7
63
4.8
Total
26
312
12.0
69
2.8

As I said, he never became a huge part of the offense, but I was floored to realize that he only accumulated six points through the team’s first 13 games (he only played in 12 after not appearing in the opener at Anderson). But this story isn’t about his early season struggles; it’s about his strong finish to the season. Here are his shooting numbers for the year:


32 -- Dykstra
FG
FGA
Pct
3FG
FGA
3 Pct
FT
FTA
FT Pct
1st Half
3
17
0.176
0
4
0.000
0
0
0.000
2nd Half
24
43
0.558
3
6
0.500
12
18
0.667
Total
27
60
0.450
3
10
0.300
12
18
0.667

It appears as though he shot the ball much more frequently in the second half of the year (17 attempts to 43 attempts), but his minutes per game was bumped up by nearly 75%, so he was probably only shooting about 25% more often than he was earlier in the year.

He was “forced” into more playing time with injury/academic situation as it was, but he the numbers show that he clearly made good on his increased role. He still wasn’t shooting the ball very much (just 3.3 field goal attempts per game), but the efficiency in which he turned shots into points was incredible.

I’m a big lover of using points per weighted shot (PPWS) to determine an individual’s scoring efficiency. It’s a simple way to combine two-point shots, three point shots, and free thrown shooting to come up with one number that says how many points are gained on an average attempt to score by a certain player (or team). During the second half of last season, Dykstra put up a PPWS of 1.22.

That number doesn’t mean a whole lot without context. The team average last season was 1.02, and Calvin’s average as a program (since 1998) is 1.10. Dykstra’s 1.22 PPWS is equivalent (actually slightly better if we carry the decimal one place further) to the scoring efficiencies of the careers of Kevin Broene, Ricky Shilts, and Matt Veltema, who are tied for fifth in career* PPWS at Calvin (minimum 100 field goal attempts).

*As always, the data I can gather on the internet only goes back to 1998, so whenever I mention “career leaders” it’s really career leaders since 1998.

There’s a lot to like in the progression of these numbers. First of all is the apparent change in approach to his offensive game. In the first half it was 23.5% three point attempts and zero fouls drawn. This suggests a more passive approach to offense: deference to teammates, settling for jump shots, and perhaps tentativeness with respect to playing in the paint. The second half was quite a different story. The three point attempts fell to 14%, and the number of fouls drawn grew sharply.

It’s not unreasonable or uncommon for a freshman playing college basketball for the first time to display some passiveness in the beginning, but you don’t want those types of patterns to become habits, especially for a kid with a 6-8 frame. Tyler didn’t let that happen. He’s going to find success by using his length and athleticism to create shots, draw fouls, and get to the rim, and his ability to do just that grew by leaps and bounds.

Here’s some anecdotal evidence. Dykstra threw down four dunks over the course of the season, which was sixth most in the conference (h/t: Happy Calvin Guy). All four came in the second half of the year.

Of course, we can’t (or at least shouldn’t) expect him to return as a Sophomore and keep this type of efficient offense up (especially if he sees his role increase even further), but this type of development could turn him into a scary-good player by the time his career at Knollcrest comes to an end.

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