This is the last bit of a look at how the Cats are performing on offense and defense 1/4 of the way through the regular season. Today we'll look at how the freshman are doing on the defensive side of the ball.
For individual players I have listed the standard defensive stats (Defensive Rebound %, Steal %, and Block %) along with defensive numbers compiled from the DSS. The DSS numbers only cover the first 7 games, up to St. Johns since I don't have a replay of the UNC game available. The DRB%, Steal%, and Block% include all 8 games.
- Defensive Rating (DRtg): Points allowed per 100 possessions by the player's defense
- Usage%: The percentage of all defensive possessions that a player is involved in
- Stop%: The percentage of possessions that a player prevents the opponent from scoring any points
- Defensive Effective Field Goal % (DeFG%), Forced Turnover% (FTO%), Free Throw Rate (FTR): These are the individual versions of the related 4 Factors components
- Free Throw defense (DFT%), 2 point Field Goal defense (2P%), 3 point Field Goal defense (3P%): self explanatory. FT% is included for the sake of completeness.
For the Defense Rating, keep in mind that it is strongly tied to the Team's Defensive Efficiency. This year it is 76.8 through the first seven games.
Marquis Teague is holding his own. His Stop% is quite strong and he is doing very well at forcing turnovers. Aaron Craft at Ohio St. is widely recognized for his ability to force miscues, but Teague's 32.3% FTO% is very much in line with what Craft did last year. His defense on shots would look better on another team - UK is so loaded with good defenders that Teague's numbers look pedestrian by comparison. One thing I have noticed with him is that he tends to lose his man when he cuts through the paint, much more so than Lamb or Miller does. I imagine that's a freshman thing, but it's something to watch going forward.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's biggest defensive impact so far has been on the boards. A 15.5 DR% is outstanding from this position. I'm a little surprised that his Usage % is 17.7 - I expected it to be much higher. His defense on shots is very similar to Teague's but with different components. MKG does better inside the arc, in part thanks to a 3. Block Rate, but has had trouble on the perimeter. I think his 3 point defense is mostly bad luck though as he always seems to be in good position with his hands up when defending a 3 point shot - they just keep going in (the West Virginia Effect I suppose).
Anthony Davis is a defensive monster. You already knew he was great at blocking shots, but he is also pretty good at forcing turnovers and defending the 3. A 73.4 Stop% is unreal and when you combine with heavy involvement - 23.9 Usage % - you get a player who should be a favorite to win SEC Defensive POY. Really about the only thing Davis could do better is grab more defensive rebounds. There are a couple of great pieces on the web that talk about this area, BP's Sebastian Pruiti at Grantland (link courtesy of blbskue) and Josh Riddell at the Mikan Drill (linked in Part 2 as well).
Coach Calipari has asked Kyle Wiltjer to do more on defense and you can see that here. Given his height, he hasn't done all that well on the defensive glass. He has however been very good at defending 3 point shooters and blocking shots. Kyle doesn't foul much, but I think that has a lot to do with Cal's desire to see him more active. When I watch Wiltjer defend in the paint or when his man drives to the basket, I get the feeling that he is still trying to find that happy medium between playing aggressive defense and fouling too much and right now is erring too far on the side of not fouling.
That's all for the update. We'll check back in before the start of SEC play. That should give us a good indication of how the individual players have improved between semesters.