clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas Sharpshooter: What to make of Justise Winslow's summer

New, comments

Justise Winslow averaged just nine points and two rebounds on 34 percent shooting in six Summer League contests. That looks really bad. It also looks really misleading. It also doesn't mean much either way!

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Sharpshooter fallacy is a close cousin of the strawman. Both of these relatives love confirming their own biases and work in conjunction to breakdown the common enemy of nuance, a cousin who has been ostracized from the family. 

Because in the incredibly educating and refreshing arena of 'basketball twitter' and social media in general, there are also dark alley's of stupidity and silliness who are inhabited by Texas Sharpshooters and strawmen that act as intellectual criminals. 

A Texas Sharpshooter is defined as someone who buttresses their point in an argument by cherry picking the data at hand to fit their argument. Ironically, we are here to discuss Miami Heat rookie Justise Winslow, the versatile sharpshooter from Texas who hit over 40 percent of his 3-pointers at Duke. To be fair, portraying a player who struggled at the free throw line and from mid-range as a freshman in college as an elite shooter should certainly be scrutinized. See what I did there?

I've seen whispers of everything from saying Winslow is a bust to saying that eighth overall pick Stanley Johnson is now the better player with Summer League evidence as the crutch of the argument. But let's set aside the intellectually criminal acts of the internet and address the question, what do we make of Winslow's summer and how much does it matter?  

To do this we have to put his production in context. 

Just Summer

This sample of performance brings me back to 2008, when Derrick Rose only played two Summer League games due to injury and averaged nine points on 33 percent shooting while Michael Beasley, picked one selection later, had an impressive debut. 

Scrutinizing the data tells us that Winslow essentially played in three games. He averaged 31 minutes in the first three summer league contests in Orlando. He totaled 31 in the next three, two in which he mysteriously played small stretches and obviously had no rhythm and one in which he left early with an ankle tweak. 

Winslow averaged 15 points on 36 percent shooting in those three contests he did play significantly in. Considering Kevin Durant and LeBron James shot in that range during their first summer appearances as 19-year-olds, that looks a little better. 

But there is also the efficiency adjustment we have to account for. Hidden beneath the points per game triggers in the headlines is the fact that Winslow went to the line an astonishing 10 times a game during those three contests. 

Winslow's True Shooting Percentage, which is still not mainstream enough, accounts for his 3-point shooting and free throw shooting to calculate his true efficiency from the floor. 

His TS% was just about 50 percent, which would be a tad below average for an NBA wing on most statistical queries I ran. This is counting the fact that he went just 1-for-8 from the 3-point line in those three games. 

Overall, there are a lot of non-statistical positives Winslow showed this summer, and some statistical positives, but his overall production was not stellar. It also wasn't a single-digit scoring inefficient struggle. 

If we are going to hyper-analyze Summer League, let's at least adjust the numbers and be fair. Also, the numbers probably don't mean very much in such an insignificant sample. (But here we are, you dragged me into this.) 

Performing well in these games is certainly a good thing, but unless a player completely bombs, you probably want to rely more on a more significant set of college data and your initial projection.