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Stats Don’t Lie: the burden of being a Star on a Rebuilding Team

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The Adamson Falcons have been through quite a bit already this season. Not only has the team failed to register a victory so far this season, but they were also on the losing end of the UP men’s basketball team’s victory that finally ended its 26-game losing streak. Add to that the heartbreaking one-possession losses to UST and it’s been a pretty rough year.

If there’s been a bright spot – or at least a slightly dimmed speck of light – it’s been the play of “star” Don Trollano.

Trollano stands about a solid 6’2”, 180 pounds – an ideal size for a swingman in the UAAP. He’s averaging 13.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, and 1.3 apg, on a usage rate of 29.5% (this means he’s directly involved in about 30% of all finished offensive plays while he’s on the court). Not bad by any measure.

Don is most effective when he’s attacking the basket, as he’s shooting 39.3% on drives. Most impressively, he’s only turned the ball over twice on drives, an outstanding figure considering that defenses are keyed on stopping the Adamson top gun.

Trollano’s drives also help create shots for his teammates, as he’s registered 9 potential assists on drive play. I suspect that this figure would be much higher if he had teammates who were more capable of finishing his kick out passes.

If there’s something he needs to work on, it’s his involvement on ball screens. He’s shooting just 23.1% as the ball-handler in pick & roll plays, with many of these shots being of the contested pull-up jumper variety.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Stats Don't Lie: the burden of being a Star on a Rebuilding Team

And this brings us to the major black mark of Trollano’s stat line – his FG% has dropped from last season’s impressive 41.2% to just 33.6%. This is a pretty low figure considering how many possessions he uses every game.

But before you go shouting that he’s inefficient, take a look at the following per-30 minute comparisons:

PPGRPGAPGFG%FT%TPGUSG%
PLAYER A15.681.433.6%76.7%2.429.5%
PLAYER B14.13.75.137.0%65.8%3.626.5%
PLAYER C10.35.61.524.2%80.6%2.825.1%

You’ve probably guessed that Player A is Don Trollano. But would you have guessed that players B and C would be UE’s Roi Sumang and UST’s Kevin Ferrer?***

*** Tough luck for my main man Kevin. The Tigers seem to be imploding from within, as they’ve been a major disappointment this season. In fact, some members of our TBT staff felt that they’d be a Final Four contender. To top it all off, he just fractured his hand during practice last week.

This isn’t to say that Trollano is better than Sumang or Ferrer, or shoot even at their level. After all, one can make the argument that he’s simply putting up numbers because aside from Jansen Rios, there isn’t anyone else on his team capable of being a dependable offensive threat. Someone has to put up numbers on a losing team, and it might as well be Trollano.

On the flip side, you could say that if Trollano had better teammates by his side, defenses would pay less attention on him and help him take more uncontested shots. His total field goal attempts would drop but he’d be finishing at a more efficient rate.

This brings up the age-old question of team sports:

Would you rather be the star on a struggling team? Or be part of a winning team but have a smaller role?

Each has its own pros and cons, and I’m not going to delve into the details of each side. At this point, Trollano has no choice but to carry the burden. He simply has to do the best he can until Adamson gets more help next year.

 

*USG% is from stats.humblebola.com   

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