The story of this game is the importance of De'Andre Hunter to the Virginia offense and the unheralded greatness of Kyle Guy's game.
That was what I thought the story of the game was before I started researching for the data to support the thesis sentence.
The story of this game is that Devon Hall is hands down the MVP of this team.
That's the story of the game after researching for the data to support the initial thesis sentence.
Originally I thought that if I looked at the last two games instead of all ACC games, the impact of Hunter NOW would stand out more and show that our offense is dependent on him for success.
As a last ditch effort, I thought let's look at just the Wake Forest game.
No matter how you slice the data, Devon Hall is the man. And it's not how much Devon scores. The team scores dramatically better with him on the floor than without, even if he is not scoring.
As awesome as Hunter was, the team was +6 with him on the floor, with an OEff of 1.03 and a DEff of 0.85.
With Hall on the floor, the team was +14, with an OEff of 1.04 and a DEff of 0.77.
With Guy on the floor, the team was +12 with an OEff of 1 and a DEff of 0.73. So the guy who is our best shooter didn't make the offense better, but the guy who got picked on mercilessly all last year on defense made the defense better than the player being touted for ACC DPOY by the game commentator.
Lineup numbers will make your head spin more than a bottle of champagne.
Hunter was sensational on offense. He has as complete a scoring game as we've ever had at UVA. Had the referees decided to hold Doral Moore to the Verticality Principle, Hunter probably would have been the game's high scorer as he would have shot at least three free throws and gotten ahead of Guy. Hunter had 16 with 0 free throws; Guy had 17 with 4-4 from the line.
For the second game in a row, Hunter was sensational on offense and clearly our most consistently dynamic offensive player. In the last two games, the team's OEff with Hunter is 1.14 and without him it is 0.81. That's a huge swing and shows how much he has meant to the offense with his scoring.
In the last two games, the team's OEff is 1.07 with Devon Hall on the floor and 0.69 without him. That's 0.69. That's horrible. Even in the last two games, the offense has been non-existent without Hall. Now, caveat here is that the "without Hall" numbers are on a very low number of possessions, so it's hard to say they mean much. Except that the numbers for the ACC season as a whole are pretty close to the same for Hall. His importance has been constant.
That's just offense. You know what happens to our defense when Hall sits? In ACC play, the DEff without Hall is 1.18. That's really bad. With Hall it is 0.83, or just slightly below the overall average (since Hall plays 90% of possessions the with and overall should be very close).
In the last two games, the impact is even greater. Without Hall the DEff is 1.38, a number even Pete Gillen would be ashamed of. With him, the DEff is 0.74.
I hope Hall had his appendix removed last summer and he should be fitted for an Iron Man suit between games. I see no change in his importance given his diverse skill set, wealth of experience, and physical abilities.
What does he need to do? Take room-and-rhythm threes and other than that move the ball or drive. His best drives are baseline or down the lane. He also can continue to make post entry plays and especially encourage the use of post play in the offense. Devon is at his best when he is fostering the diversity of the offense, then scoring when either the other players are cold or the defense over-commits to shut them down. Sometimes your best player doesn't have to be your first option. Or second.
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