Houston Rockets: How John Wall and Russell Westbrook’s traditional statistics match-up
For most people, the traditional box score stats of points, rebounds, and assists are the bread and butter of their statistical evaluation of players. It is in these stats that Russell Westbrook has always looked best and is the only place where one could call his and John Wall’s start as being equivalent.
Westbrook has started the season by filling up the box score with four triple-doubles in seven games to the tune of 19.3 points, 11.3 assists, and 9.7 rebounds per game. As impressive as these stats look it should be mentioned that the Wizards are 1-6 in these games with their only victory being by one point.
Wall hasn’t been as impressive at filling up the stat sheet as Westbrook, with averages of 20 points, 5.2 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game. If one stops here it looks like Westbrook is the clear cut better player, but the box score also tracks turnovers, and once again it’s Westbrook who comes out on top.
Through seven games Westbrook is averaging 5.3 turnovers a game, which would lead the league if Westbrook had played enough games to qualify. Wall has been much better and only coughed up the ball and average of 3.4 times a game.
According to a FiveThirtyEight study from 2014, a turnover is worth 5.4 points. So Westbrook’s 1.9 turnover per game advantage over Wall means he is giving the opposing team 10.3 more points per game over Wall and a total of 28.6 points a game to the other team through turnovers.
Finally, while Westbrook has been racking up statistics, he has been incredibly inefficient shooting the ball. Westbrook is averaging 19.3 shots per game but is only shooting 37.8-percent from the field. Wall, on the other hand, is shooting a career-best 45.4-percent from the field on only 15.4 attempts.
Wall is hitting 7 of his shot attempts a game compared to Westbrook’s 7.3 while attempting 3.9 fewer shots a game. All told, Westbrook’s impressive traditional box score stats, when taken into context, don’t look any better than Wall’s.
Next: The advanced metrics