Loss of Semenov Might Matter More Than You Would Think
Mark Selig reported that Coach Brady informed people that Andrey Semenov might be out for “at least 3 more weeks.” And Charles Cooke won’t return for another two weeks. Many people are probably sick of hearing Brady speak about how his program has been snakebitten by injuries. And maybe they have a point. But is sure seems like the Dukes are hurting without Andrey in the lineup. I’ve heard a lot of folks say that this JMU team seems to play better with him in the lineup. I tend to agree, so I took a quick look at some stats for the Dukes with and without Semenov in the lineup. It turns out he might matter more than we realized.
Andrey has played in 7 of JMU’s 19 games this season. With him in the lineup, the Dukes are 5-2. Without him in the lineup, JMU has struggled to a 4-8 record. That’s a pretty striking difference, but it obviously requires us to dig a little bit deeper. We don’t assign wins and losses to single players, but we can take a look at how the team performs with or without someone across a number of key statistics. Basketball statistician Dean Oliver identified the Four Factors of basketball success. According to Oliver, in order of importance the four most important factors to winning are shooting, turnovers, rebounding, and free throws. There isn’t much of a difference across 3 of the factors with or without Semenov. The Dukes shoot the ball way, way better with Semenov though. JMU’s eFG% (calculated FG + .5 * 3P to account for the increased value of 3 pointers) is almost 10% better with Andrey. Without him the Dukes’ eFG% is 43.28% compared to 52.44% with him. For perspective, William & Mary has the top eFG% in the CAA at 50.4%.
With only a limited 7 game sample size with Semenov in the lineup, this might just be noise. When watching JMU play with Andrey though it sure seems like his ability to hit long jumpers opens up the floor for his teammates. And it’s not just that they shoot the ball better. The Dukes play faster and more efficient with Semenov. JMU averages about 3 more possessions a game with Andrey and manages to score 1.08 points per each of those possessions. With him out, they only score .93 points per possession. That’s a difference between really bad and really good. Northeastern’s leading the CAA with 1.05 points per possession. Plus they share the ball better and assist on about 3% more of their baskets with Andrey in the lineup. And the positive trend continues across a whole range of offensive statistics with Semenov playing. With Andrey in the lineup, the Dukes have one of the top offensives in the CAA. Without him, they’re one of the two or three worst.