Moneyball Lacrosse: Stats of the Week

Joe Keegan

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.   


17.4: Points per 45 pick-and-roll possessions scored by Charlotte Hounds.


The Hounds have some of the best pick-and-roll operators (Joey Sankey, Matt Rambo) and some of the best pickers (Kevin Crowley, Will Haus in semi-transition). Asking four off-ball defenders to support the two-man game while maneuvering the sea of seals set by Ryan Brown and company is sending them on a fool’s errand.


While Sankey uses picks to get the slightest step on his way to winning the foot race to the cage, Rambo’s operating style is more about deception. He lures his man one direction before pulling him into a screen, giving the picker’s man no choice but to help. Some of the Hounds’ best shots last week started with Rambo running pick-and-rolls. Don’t be surprised if we see the Hounds run Rambo or Sankey out of the box so that they can run big-littles with each other.



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1.98: Fewer points allowed by Charlotte per 45 pick-and-roll possessions when Brendan Hynes is in the lineup.


On the other side of the field, the Hounds have struggled to defend the pick-and-roll. Richmond rookie Brendan Hynes has given them a boost, albeit over a small sample size. Keep an eye on Hynes and his aggressive pick play; not many rookies play fearless defense like this, especially against the attackmen that Hynes has been matched up against.



38.9%: Teammates’ shooting percentage off passes from Scott Bieda.


Bieda leads the Cannons with 14 assists, and he’s done it in an incredibly efficient way. Only four other players have 10+ assists and a 1.0+ assist-to-turnover ratio: Tom Schreiber, Kevin Rice, Matt Kavanagh and Jordan Wolf. Eight of his 14 assists have been to Davey Emala, who is shooting a ridiculous 21-for-42 (50.0%) in catch-and-shoot scenarios.



3.86: Myles Jones’ points per game.


MJ is the only midfielder on pace for 50 points this season. Last year there were four 50-point midfielders: Paul Rabil (43G, 22A), Tom Schreiber (22G, 38A), Mike Chanenchuk (34G, 17A) and Joe Walters (23G, 27A) – but that was an anomaly. It’s not easy to score 50 points from the midfield. The only others to do it in this decade are Peter Baum (’14) and Kevin Crowley (’13).


10.7%: League-wide 2-point shooting percentage.


Quint Kessenich and Evan Washburn discussed the downfall of the two-ball on the Charlotte-Chesapeake broadcast. Only two teams – Chesapeake (22.2%) and Boston (14.0%) – are shooting at a reasonable rate from downtown. No other team has shown that type of range consistently, although Florida Launch midfielder Connor Buczek (2-for-10 from 2-point range) is a threat from downtown.


19.9: Points allowed per 45 possessions initiated at X by Atlanta’s defense.


Whether it’s off the dodge (10-for-32, 31.3%) or off the catch (15-for-33, 45.5%), offenses have been carving up the Blaze defense from X. Last year’s Blaze defense didn’t slide. The decision to draft Notre Dame defender Garrett Epple suggests that first-year defensive coordinator Jamie Munro’s unit is hoping to play more help defense. However, one man playing help defense is not enough; it takes six. When Epple slides, the off-ball defenders need to collapse the crease to cover up the high percentage shooting areas.



The Blaze defense can’t continue to let it be this easy. The rest of the units on this team will compete at a playoff level. At full strength, this offense may be the best in MLL. Jake Withers is facing off at a ridiculous rate. If the Blaze can tighten up their defensive communication, it can turn around its 2-5 campaign.


0: The number of points scored by Rochester when New York set up its zone defense.


The Rattlers shot 0-for-5 and committed 5 turnovers against the Lizards’ zone. We’ve seen this zone before from New York – and Alex Siegel broke it down in-depth for Moneyball – but we haven’t seen it work this well. More teams would be wise to install a zone for Rochester; it negates Jordan Wolf’s unparalleled speed and the downhill dodging of John Ranagan and Kyle Denhoff. It may be the only way to defend Jordan Wolf-Jordan MacIntosh pick-and-rolls.



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