We are over a quarter of the way through the season and think that now is the time to see where Jimmer is improving his game.
Here are his stats per 36 minutes from his first two years:
Looking at those basic stats it is easy to see where Jimmer has improved his game the most: shooting and scoring.
He has improved from the field (46.3% to 38.6%), from three (39.1% to 36.1%) and from the line (95.5% to 83.3%). The increased percentages are great but they aren’t the only factors contributing to his 8.2 points per 36 minutes increase, he is also shooting more, both from the field and the free throw line.
This increased aggressiveness and confidence has led to Jimmer attempting 2.1 more field goal attempts per 36 minutes and more importantly a whopping 4.3 more free throw attempts per 36 minutes. Combine that with the fact that he is 42/44 from the line so far and that essentially turns into 4+ free points per 36 minutes for Jimmer.
Last year the Kings were minus 6.6 points per 36 minutes with Jimmer on the court. This year they are minus 0.8 points per 36 minutes with Jimmer playing, a 5.8 point per 36 minutes improvement. We will look at that in greater detail below.
Jimmer has not improved across the board. He is assisting less while turning the ball over more and is not stealing the ball well at all. Our goal for Jimmer is one steal every 30 minutes on the court. Last year he had a steal every 37 minutes. This year he has only been able to steal the ball every 68 minutes, which is disappointing. With that being said it would be easy to argue, having seen every minute Jimmer has played this year, that his playmaking has improved – both on offense and defense. It hasn’t always resulted in more assists and steals in the box score but he is making good basketball plays more often than bad ones.
Let’s move on and take a more detailed look at where Jimmer is improving his shooting. The following information comes from hoopdata.com:
Jimmer has improved his shooting in the following areas:
3-9 Feet: 45.5% this year 25.8% last year
10-15 Feet: 55.6% this year 30.3% last year
16-23 Feet: 43.0% this year 39.0% last year
Threes: 59.3% this year 54.2% last year (eFG% – read hoopdata for more information)
The only area where he has digressed is shots at the rim dropping to 58.8% this year from 67.3% last year.
We can see that the biggest improvement for him has been knocking down jumpers, runners, floaters, and pull ups from 3-23 feet. You wouldn’t have to look at the stats to realize this if you had been watching any games – he is doing a phenomenal job of pulling up or shooting a floater instead of dribbling all the way to the rim. This has added a whole new dimension to his game.
The last area we will look at is in On Court/Off Court Stats from 82games.com. Here are last years stats:
Last year Jimmer played 35% of the teams available minutes and while on the court the Kings averaged 5.7 less points per 100 possessions while giving up 1.1 more points per 100 possessions. They were -10.2 net points per possession with Jimmer playing and -3.4 net points per possession without Jimmer. That is a fairly large difference and surprisingly it was the offense that struggled much more with Jimmer on the floor than the defense.
Here are the stats for this year:
Even with improved play Jimmer is only playing 22% of the teams available minutes, 13% less than last year.
This year the Kings are averaging 9.4 more points per 100 possession with Jimmer on the floor and while they are worse defensively, they only give up 0.5 more points per 100 possessions with Jimmer on the floor as opposed to him on the bench. The Kings are -0.9 net points per 100 possessions with Jimmer playing and -9.8 net points per possession with Jimmer not playing. Not only has Jimmer improved his individual game but the team is playing much better with him on the floor: they are 8.9 points better with Jimmer on the floor than off it. Last year they were 6.8 points WORSE with Jimmer playing. That is a 15.7 point improvement from last year to this year, remarkable.
Jimmer certainly still has areas to improve but it is not up for debate whether or not he has been a better basketball player this year when compared to last year.
It also shouldn’t be up for debate that the Kings are a better basketball team when Jimmer is on the floor as opposed to on the bench. If only the coaching staff thought that.