FanPost

In Defense of Juan Dixon

Ed. Note: A tad bit late, but well thought out analysis from the FanPosts (especially cuppetcj) is always welcome here.  Tables always help the cause too.  -Jake

I probably should have posted this analysis in response to this, but I've been very busy the past couple of weeks and didn't get a chance to read that while it was still current. Hopefully nobody minds.

My initial response upon hearing about the Juan Dixon signing was one of excited optimism. Subjectively, I've always regarded Dixon as sort of a Larry Hughes-lite, meaning that I believed him to be a very talented, fast-paced guard whose game fits best with the Wizards. That is why it didn't surprise me that the consensus here is that his best season was his last with the team. He really shined off the bench in 04-05, and I believe the team could have really used his explosive scoring the past couple of seasons.

That said, if 04-05 is really the best that Dixon has to offer, then many of Prada's criticisms are valid. He didn't necessarily have a great true shooting percentage (though not bad), he didn't pass that well (only an 18.4% assist rate), and his usage rate was particularly high (23.1%). You would hope that someone with that high a usage rate would be more efficient.

But is 04-05 really the best that Dixon has to offer? It's very true that Dixon is coming off of an attrocious season overall. His TS% was an abysmal 48.8%. Since Dixon rarely got to the free throw line (only 1.4 FTAs per 36 minutes, the lowest of his career), the TS% clearly indicates that he was cold with his jump shot.

Yet one thing to consider when analyzing statistics is the presence of outliers. Typically, when one stat or set of stats per time period is far outside of the average, then it's likely that those stats are not indicative of the subject's future performance. One possible outlier I see with Juan is his performance in the 36 games he played with Toronto last season. Consider that he was playing in a career-low minutes per game with the Raptors, a measly 11.8 MPG. Could it be that Dixon needs more time on the court before he heats up? Next consider his stats without the possible outlier (counting only his 17 games with Detroit for the 07-08 season):

+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+-------+
|Season |MPG |TS% |TRB%|AST%|TOV%|USG%|FTAp36m|
+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+-------+
|2004-05|16.7|51.8| 6.3|18.4|12.2|23.1|    3.3|
+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+-------+
|2005-06|25.3|51.6| 5.5|14.9|11.1|25.2|    3.6|
+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+-------+
|2006-07|23.8|51.6| 5.0|11.0|11.8|20.7|    2.2|
+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+-------+
|2007-08|14.4|54.4| 6.9|23.1|15.8|23.2|    1.0|
+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+-------+

These stats are more consistent, but the results are still a bit mixed. Dixon's rebounding and assist rate declined in two consecutive seasons after 04-05, but then jumped up last season to the highest of his career. Unfortunately, his turnover rate also jumped. Perhaps because he was passing the ball more? His usage rate stayed more or less the same. His free throw attempts have fallen off the map.

Admittedly, 17 games is a pretty small sample, but it at least provides a reason to be optimistic about his potential contributions to the Wizards, at least at the start of the season. One of Prada's concerns was that the Wizards would play at a slow pace without Gil, and that Dixon's high usage and poor efficiency would really hurt in that scenario. But you don't get a slower pace than Detroit (30 out of 30 in pace last season), and Dixon's numbers with the Pistons were pretty darn good. His usage rate was still high, but is that a bad thing if his TS% is 54.4? That's slightly higher than Caron's average for the past 3 seasons! Again, only 17 games, I know. But even when you count his terrible performance in Toronto last season, you'll see that his assist and rebounding rates are at career highs. His free throw attempts may seem like a bad thing, but on a slow-paced team, perhaps it just means that he is accepting his role as a spot shooter and not trying to do too much off the dribble. If that's the case, then we really don't have that much to worry about.

I suppose you could look at the stats differently and see more negatives than positives, but I'm optimistic that this season will be Juan Dixon's best and most efficient.

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.

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