Defensive stats and the Zavier Simpson/Cassius Winston debate


This analysis is very revealing. Terrific post.


FWIW… Winston was actually a bit better in tier A games per KenPom.

Winston would obviously have to do a lot to match Stauskas’s sophomore year, I was just pointing to the fact that both guys are basically offense-only players and Stauskas won a Big Ten and a Big Ten POTY.

Do you guys agree that it is easier to hide 1 poor defender than 1 poor offensive player?


I agree 100% that it’s easier to hide 1 poor defender than 1 poor offensive player. It’s why I completely get that Winston is rated above Simpson by everyone–I just think the difference is far less than is what I have seen rankings wise. I do think Simpson’s offense gets a bit of a bad rap, in that he’s a poor perimeter (and free throw) shooter, but very proficient in other areas. Still, the shooting is a giant hole, especially given the losses of Wagner, Robinson and MAAR, and he’s going to have to be better this year or we’re going to have a lot of ugly slugfests.

Gun to my head, I’d probably take Cowan over either Winston or Simpson going into the season, but that’s perhaps a different discussion.


This is a no brainer. It’s much easier to hide a weak defender. Dynamic offensive players have a much more likelihood of influencing the game.

I.E. Nik Stauskas


Do you guys agree that it is easier to hide 1 poor defender than 1 poor offensive player?

Don’t necessarily agree with that but it’s not a question I spend a lot of time thinking about.

As an aside I would like to go back and see how many points M scored against Texas A&M Big Tyler Davis by constantly putting him losing situations. I bet it was 50 or so.


Michigan definitely proved last year that it is very hard to hide a center who can’t switch pick and rolls if you have Moe Wagner :slight_smile: Some coaches figured out that it was best to take said center off the floor, others never did.


Wagner’s loss is going to be glaringly obvious with this teams outside shooting deficiencies. Glaringly.


I think he’s saying that they’re comparable athletically. Not talent wise.


This might not be the best way to judge even for the eyeball test, as it collects only the worst performances by the defense. It’s like judging Simpson’s offense by watching only makes.


I agree. It is not the best way to judge Winston’s defense. It was a quick memory tool for me… I made a judgment from watching all of his games. It does show in a very quick way that when there was a breakdown in team defense, the breakdown, at a very high rate began with Winston’s individual defense breaking down.

Not close to an equivalent type of observable basis for a judgment at all. By watching all of the team defensive breakdowns of one game you get a sense of the role Winston had in those breakdowns and at what rate.

If you wanted to get a quick glimpse of Zavier’s offense and use it as a basis for a judgment you would need to watch all of the team makes and misses and get a sense of Z’s role in those makes and misses…

What you say is partially true, however. I am assuming Winston was not playing a large role in MSU’s defensive stops as those are hidden in those types of highlights. I think it is a safe to assume Winston did not play a large role in MSU’s defensive stops.


Thanks for collecting these stats. It’ll be very interesting to see how Winston does this year as the front line guy, particularly against good competition.

One thing that’s interesting to me in reviewing these is how small the sample size is and how individual events or games can change so much. For Winston, we’re discounting him primarily for having bad games against Duke and UNC – both of which happened in the first 6 games of their year, and, by the way, MSU held UNC to 46 points and Joel Berry to a 52.4 ORtg – and against Michigan.

Conversely, who knows what we would be saying if Michigan lost in the BTT to Iowa when Simpson went 0-4 from 3 and 2-5 on FTs, ORtg 78.6. Or if Michigan had lost to Houston in the NCAAs, where Simpson went 0-4 from 3, 2-4 on FTs, 62.3 ORtg.

Both guys have an important year ahead. Going to be fun monitoring how they do.


I guess my point was that you’re basically watching only the negative outcomes on D, like it would be watching only the positive outcomes on O, but I see what you’re saying.


Winston’s own teammates don’t even trust him, how could he ever be a top 25 player in the conference!!! /sarcasm


Truthfully, this is likely Izzo’s payback for Winston saying they should, you know, listen to the victims of the MSU sexual abuse/violence scandals.


Beilein should leave out Simpson as a captain, that’ll piss him off enough to get him into the top 5 of the B1G.


All great posts, and the reason is not simply one thing or even two things. The two that I didn’t see mentioned directly or indirectly were: 1. Simpson is a PG. Most people, including yours truly, think of a PG as primarily responsible for offense at a time when the 3 is king. Simpson can drive and score some incredible floaters. He can make certain passes and run the offense now. But I doubt that very many people who don’t follow Michigan basketball realize that. Whatever offensive prowess they credited Michigan with they credited it to Wagner. 2. They also see a five nine inch guy on defense (imo) and can’t believe it isn’t disqualifying one-on-one. Sorry if I’m repeating anyone.
As far as Winston, I wish him luck against any team but Michigan and never want to see his name mentioned on this blog except to exclaim how bad he looked against Simpson.


Measured 6’0’’ in shoes, with a 6’4’’ wingspan and 170 lbs at the 2015 Nike Basketball Academy

Enough already, he’s 6’ in shoes.


Was he wearing high heels?