Thursday, February 25, 2016
Hoops stats aren't complicated, and database-driven web design isn't exactly particle physics. Plenty of American basketball folks have built incredibly user-friendly, information-rich portals to greater roundball insight. Ken Pomeroy comes to mind, as do the folks at Basketball State, among a very many others. Individual leagues and teams, too, do a nice job collating and displaying information. Of note, the CAA, GTB's league of choice, has a particularly nice stats package, as does the Tribe.
Down Under, though, some combination of copious sunshine and Coriolis Effect seems to have conspired to render easily-accessible statistical analysis more rare than the black kookaburra.
Case in point, the Sydney Kings. The last place team in the NBL certainly has a colorful website, but I'll be damned if I can easily find anything worth a damn on it. And I'll be dipped in Vegemite if I can find a simple table of Kings season statistics. There's a 'Stats and Ladders' link, but that takes one to the NBL's website, where it requires several more clicks to finally get to a comprehensive table.
Where the league can't even agree on how many decimal places to use. Jerome Randle of the Adelaide 36ers led the league with 23 points per game. Not 23.0, like a right-thinking American league would say. No, just plain old 23. Meanwhile, Corey Webster of the New Zealand Breakers averaged 20.48. He's obviously a more precise player.
In January, the Sydney Daily Telegraph published a generally critical story on Thornton, which featured Kings' coach Joe Connelly's criticism of his young guard and his need to improve his distribution and defense in order to have a chance at the next level. “I think he needs to work on doing other things beside scoring. If you look at the stat sheet, he played 22 minutes (against Illawarra) and had one rebound and (one) assist, and you’ve got to do more things than just try to put the ball in the hole. To his credit he was trying to be aggressive, he got to the hole and missed some easy shots, but the game is more than scoring."
The erstwhile Wren seemed to wear down as his first professional season wore on, his scoring dropping from the 15+ points/game he scored in his first ten games. In all, it appears that the game taught young Thornton some lessons the hard way in his first campaign.
But all we know about Thornton suggests that he's a willing and hard worker, and while year one might not have gone as planned, that's about exactly how his freshman year in Williamsburg went. And that situation turned out pretty well.
Maybe there's hope for the Aussie hoops web after all.