Moneyball Lacrosse: Stats of the Week
MLL Press Box is teaming up with Moneyball Lacrosse to examine the world of Major League Lacrosse through a statistical lense. This weekly feature will analyze the stats beyond goals and assists to expose fans to the undervalued elements of the game that could be considered market inefficiencies in the sport.
46.7%: Myles Jones’ dodge-to-shoot percentage.
Two games in, and neither the New York Lizards nor the Boston Cannons had an answer for Jones’ bruising dodging style. The Cannons threw James Fahey and Michael Pellegrino against Jones. They tried to shut him off with short-sticks. Every time, he still managed to get his hands free.
One matchup I’d be curious to see if they try once Brodie Merrill and Mitch Belisle return to shore up the backline: Bump Brandon Mullins (6-3, 225) up to LSM for a game. Only Jordan Wolf (7-for-16 off the dodge) has generated as many goals for himself as Jones has. They're the type of players who you need to throw the kitchen sink at. Prepare only one or two gameplans, and they might get too comfortable.
31.8%: Boston Cannons’ shooting percentage when dodging from X.
The Cannons shot a league-worst 16.2% on dodges from X last summer. So far in 2017, Rutgers’ product Scott Bieda (3G, 5A) has given them a much-needed presence behind the cage.
Bieda is running out of the box, and when teams elect to pole the red-hot Joe LoCascio, that means he is drawing a short-stick. Good things happen when Bieda inverts: Defenses get on the carousel and the ball spins around the perimeter.
7: Number of turnovers John Lade caused against Ohio Machine in Week 3.
John Galloway refers to John Lade, Joel White and company as The Forest. Their uncanny ability to deflect passes (or to pluck passes cleanly out of the air) drives opponents wild. Opponents have historically struggled to produce quality catch-and-shoot looks against the Rattlers’ sliding scheme. Last summer, only 24.0% of assisted shots found the back of the cage.
40%: Ryan Brown’s catch-and-shoot percentage.
The second-year sniper out of Johns Hopkins is tied for the league lead in goals, largely due to his off-ball play. Brown’s various release points and his range – both right-handed and left-handed – make him a threat from anywhere on the field. It’s tough to slide from him, or even to help off him on the weak-side. You’ll never get back to him in time. When defenders scurry toward the arc to get a stick on his hands, it sets up beautiful fakes, hitches and toe drags.
8: Second assist opportunities for Jake Bernhardt.
While 2016 MLL MVP Tom Schreiber is away from the team and Kyle Harrison is rehabbing his ankle, Jake Bernhardt has taken on an increased offensive role. He has generated the most second assist opportunities – i.e. whether or not the shot was a goal, Bernhardt was the second or “hockey” assist who facilitated it – in the league so far.
Bernhardt has also displayed high level passing directly to shooters. He is sending skip passes across the field, sneaking lever passes from his hip to teammates and dodging slides to buy time to dissect recovering defenses.
15.4%: Denver Outlaws’ opponents’ shooting percentage off two-man games.
Despite all the new faces brought in following Michael Skudin and Max Schmidt’s retirement, this Denver defense is locked in. Opponents are shooting a miserable 14.5% off the dodge and only 23.3% off the catch. Taking the top assignment each week is the second-year product out of Marquette: BJ Grill.
Grill has defended Joey Sankey (twice) and Rob Pannell. He has gone step-for-step with both, navigating picks along the way. The key to the Outlaws’ pick-and-roll defense is that they have rarely had to send a third defender. When they have a traditional short-stick defender like Noah Molnar playing with Grill, they’ll chip the ball-carrier to throw off the offense’s timing.
When an offensive Outlaw is trapped on defense, he’ll drop to give Grill room to get back on his matchup. Nobody above the cage budges in that second pick-and-roll, but Sankey forces a feed anyways.