Florida State Mens Basketball Turns ball over on 22 of 69 possessions, loses to Northwestern 73-59, sun rises

I am bumping this to the top because I am very impressed with the overall level of commenting in this article.  I really learned a lot and was surprised by the knowledge of our members.  There will be basketball talk here throughout basketball season and I hope that everyone can follow basketball with us as well.

I won't be around this morning, so unless one of you can pressure CaStauch into publishing the Ponder review, there won't be anything new until mid-afternoon (unless one of the other guys has something in the hopper they didn't tell me about.)

I've watched Leonard Hamilton coach this team since 2002.  Back in September, I adopted this quote as my official stance on Leonard Hamilton.

Leonard Hamilton is a poor game coach.  He is an excellent recruiter and a decent disciplinarian.  He will take your program from bad to average by way of improving the overall talent level.  He will take your program from average, and well... um... keep it there.  It is his track record.  He improves the talent level immensely, which creates wins, but he doesn't have the on-court coaching ability or or off court teaching ability to take your program to the next level.  I'd love to be proven wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure that this is his M.O.

In October, I advocated that we call him Recruiter Hamilton, instead of Coach Hamilton.  This article will focus on Recruiter Hamilton's ability to coach basketball.  This is not a recruiting article.  I am not going to debate that he is an excellent recruiter.  I am going to establish that he doesn't know what he is doing when it comes to offensive basketball, or if he does, he hasn't shown it here.  Come inside...

Back in 2002, Brian Landman wrote an article for the St. Pete Times that classified Hamilton as a hard nosed defensive coach.  I think Landman got it only half right.  Hamilton's focus is defense, but there is a difference between being defensive minded and being an inept offensive coach.  Recruiter Hamilton is the latter.  

The main problem I notice with Hamilton is the complete lack of anything resembling an offense.  There seem to be few plays, if any.  The sets are not discernible.  The offense is stagnant.  The players just stand around.  There is little motion.  The players are pretty bad at passing the ball.  You can tell they do not practice offense well.  The players just do not know where to go with the ball.  

Some teams are based on defense.  That is fine.  Even the most defensive minded teams have a few "go to plays" that set up a player with an open shot.  If Recruiter Hamilton was a chess coach, he would supply his team with chess sets of fine ivory, and then instruct them to place the pieces randomly across the board.  Then he would introduce a timer and make them play speed chess with the randomly placed pieces.  Nice chess pieces, no organization.  Enough chess jokes?  Thought so.  

I want to establish something, using numbers:  Leonard Hamilton cannot design or effectively coach offensive basketball.  His offense does not get enough quality shots because of an insane amount of turnovers, and for the most part, this is not a result of bad ball-handling, but rather, a result of poor design.  The guys have nobody to pass the ball to, and they result to forcing difficult passes.

I will use establish this using 3 advanced statistical measures. 

Turnovers per 100 possessions: This is the most effective way to measure turnovers.  It takes out "pace", so that we can measure the % of the time a team turns the ball over.  This is much better than total turnovers.  Consider these 2 teams:

  • Team A had 60 possessions and 15 turnovers
  • Team B had 100 possessions and 18 Turnovers

Which team was worse in the turnover department?  Team A, clearly, as they turned the ball over 25% of the time, while team B turned the ball over on 18 of its possessions.  Now, see why this is a better measure? 

Assists/ Field Goals Made:  This is an excellent measure of how effectively a team moves the ball.  This is basically "how often do our made shots come off of assists?"  This is a good way to see if the offense is getting a guy an open look, or if the scorer got the ball and created his own shot (probably due to his own athletic ability). 

Steals Allowed per 100 Possessions:  I included this because I wanted to show that we don't have bad ball handlers, but rather, just don't have viable options to pass to.  The coach isn't designing an offense that gives guys passing options.


*NCAA Rank is out of 344 teams*
YEAR Turnovers per 100 Possessions (NCAA Rank) Assist/ Field Goal Made (NCAA Rank) Steals Allowed per 100 Possessions
2004 22.4 (225th) 60.8 (58th) 10.1 (146th)
2005 23.2 (266th) 51.5 (255th) 11.9 (270th)
2006 22.2 (223rd) 50.7 (265th) 9.4 (84th)
2007 21.4 (182nd) 46.3 (321st) 9.3 (119th)
2008 21.8 (228th) 44.4 (325th) 8.7 (64th)
2009 24.7 (283) 51.7 (215) 10.3 (204)

What I noticed:

  • Always in the bottom half in turnovers
  • Except for 2004, always outside the top 255 in Assists/ Field Goals Made (and trending downward!)
  • Usually in the better half in the steals allowed category

So... your thoughts.  Why is this happening?  Is there any reason to expect this to improve under Recruiter Hamilton?

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