Vogel on bench scoring: ‘It’s really an extremely misleading stat’
Before a reporter could even finish his question about the second unit, it was abundantly clear that Pacers coach Frank Vogel wanted to get something off his chest.
“I want to comment on that,” he said.
“We’re 28th in bench scoring because we have such a good starting five. That’s why. It’s not because of the bench. It’s because we play our starters heavy minutes. They’ve had health, OK. It’s such a misleading stat because a lot of those bench teams that are not 28th, they have three starters out for half the season so their bench guys are playing starter’s minutes. On top of that, I stagger my rotations so I always have two or three starters out there that we typically run the offense through.”
The 28th ranking Vogel refers to is the number of points per game contributed by the non-starters. Indiana is 28th in the NBA, ahead of only Washington and Portland, at 26.1 points per game.
“It’s really an extremely misleading stat in my mind,” he firmly stated. “… I think that’s an inaccurate assessment of our bench play.”
Of the seven worst-ranked benches, all have plus-.500 records and just one (Minnesota) would not be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Four of the teams are recognized as threats to contend for a championship: Golden State, Houston, Indiana and Portland.
Vogel acknowledges that his bench has had its fair share of off nights, most recently contributing just four points, as they did Sunday in Dallas, or seven on Jan. 30 against Phoenix — both losses.
“They had a tough night,” Vogel said of the bench’s season-low four points. “You’re going to have that at times.”
The Pacers are 10-5 this season when the bench accounts for less than 20 points. Perhaps it has caught up with them, however. After surviving the first nine occurrences where the bench has been kept under 20 points, they are 1-5 the last six times.
Forgot bench scoring, Vogel says. He looks at the efficiency of guys that are playing.
“I don’t care who gets the shots,” said Vogel. “If you’re contributing to the team getting a good shot on each possession, then you’re playing well. That has nothing to do with numbers.”