A look at how Liggins affects his teammates' turnover rates

[Promoted from the diaries -- Ed.]

Tru said something that struck me as an interesting question in a comment he made in the thread looking at UK's stats through the first 30% of the season.

… that is what, in fact, has happened. It has. Liggins may have more turnovers than everyone else, but when he is in the game, the team has less.

It’s easy to see why that may be. Liggins has the ball in his hands a lot more, while almost everyone else had to help out when Porter was playing the point. The problems with Porter go beyond his personal turnovers. He was often getting the ball to the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think we all believe the offense runs much, much better when Liggins is in the game, but I was curious to see how closely the numbers matched the Mark 1 eyeball test and particularly whether Liggins' presence on the floor might help prevent his teammates from turning the ball over moreso than when he is on the bench. 

What I have done is gone through the play-by-play data and sorted turnovers for each game into two groups depending on whether Liggins was in the game at that time or not.

The results are below.  A couple of caveats first however.

* There is no data for the Kansas State game because I couldn't find a play-by-play record for that game that included substitutions.  I'm not particularly worried about it however, since Liggins only played 2 minutes due to, shall we say, unusual circumstances.

* CLEARLY there are going to be turnovers committed by players that have absolutely nothing to do with who else is on the floor, but I assume those kinds of turnovers will even out when looking at this kind of split.

* In addition to a breakdown of turnovers, I've also included the +/- for Liggins since I was looking at the play-by-play data anyway.  It doesn't have any direct relevance to this question, but I thought it was interesting.  I don't know of any sites that track this for college players, but if somebody else does please share the link in the comments.

* The column "TO w/ DL" is the number of turnovers committed by the other four players when Liggins is in the game.  It does not include turnovers committed by Liggins.  Those turnovers get their own category.

I think the abbreviations I used are fairly self-explanatory, but just in case:

'MIN' is Minutes Played

'DL' is DeAndre Liggins

'TO' is Turnovers


OPPONENT MIN w/ DL MIN w/o DL DL TO TO w/ DL TO w/o DL DL +/- no DL +/-
VMI 27 13 7 8 10 -4 -4
UNC 18 22 4 7 17 -2 -17
Del. State 16 24 1 3 8 15 14
Longwood 19 21 4 7 8 16 18
West Virginia 27 13 4 11 8 21 -10
Lamar 25 15 2 7 7 26 16
Miami 32 8 3 6 5 4 -10
Miss. Val. St 20 20 3 4 7 21 2
TOTALS 184 136 28 53 70 97 9

In summary, in the 184 minutes played with Liggins on the floor, the team committed a total of 81 turnovers of which 28 were committed by Liggins and 53 by his teammates.  In the 136 minutes played with Liggins on the bench, the team committed 70 turnovers.

With Liggins, the team averages 17.61 TO/40 minutes
Without Liggins: the team averages 20.59 TO/40 minutes

I'll need to do something similar with Porter before we can make a direct comparison between the two, but in the meantime I think we can say a few things about Liggins' affect on his teammates.

  1. Liggins averages 6.09 TO/40 minutes here (remember, it doesn't include K-State).  That's roughly 34.6% of the total when he is on the floor.
  2. Porter averages 5.27 TO/40 minutes.  Now, some of those turnovers occur when Liggins is on the floor with Porter, but I think it is safe to say that the majority of Porter's turnovers occur when he is the primary ball-handler (and Liggins is on the bench).
  3. Assuming that to be the case, this would mean that Porter accounts for roughly somewhere between 20-25% of the total when he is on the floor.
  4. This means that the other 4 guys average 11.52 TO/40 min when Liggins is on the floor and the other 4 guys average roughly between 15-16 TO/40 minutes when Porter is on the floor.

Like I said, I'll need to do a breakdown for Porter before we can say for sure, but it certainly looks like the numbers support the first hand observations that Liggins does a better job taking care of the ball even though he personally averages more turnovers than Porter.



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