After roughly one month of college hoops, I have been monitoring player performance closely over at EvanMiya.com, and there are two players in particular that have stood out in the advanced analytics thus far. These two players are not only outperforming expectations according to the eye test, but have their respective teams performing at an incredible level whenever they set foot on the court. (Side note: a great player ranking metric based purely on the “eye test” exists over at HeatCheckCBB, put together by Andy Dieckhoff).
Without further ado, let’s dive a little deeper on the performances of Davion Mitchell of Baylor and Devontae Shuler of Ole Miss.
Davion Mitchell – Baylor
Mitchell came into the season as an important piece for Baylor, particularly on the defensive end. He was expected to run the point, be a defensive stopper, and contribute at times on offense. However, through 8 games, he has taken his game to a whole new level, averaging 11.9 points per game, with an efficient 58.6% shooting, and making 2.3 threes a game, with a 56.3% three point percentage. He is making his mark on all levels of the game, with 7.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
In many ways, Davion Mitchell has been the most reliable player on a Baylor Bears team that is ranked 1st in the nation in our team ratings, and this is verified by the advanced analytics. Mitchell currently sits at 1st in the nation in Bayesian Performance Rating (BPR), after starting at 32nd in the preseason ratings at EvanMiya.com. BPR quantifies a player’s overall impact on the court, taking into account not only a player’s individual stats, but also how well the team performs with him on the floor.
Davion Mitchell’s efficiency numbers are very good, but his boost to Baylor’s performance has been remarkable. Mitchell boasts the highest Team Efficiency Margin in the country (for players over 200 possessions), with Baylor outscoring opponents by 62 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
There’s a large gap between him and the 2nd best Baylor player in Jared Butler, with a Team Efficiency Margin of 54.3. This means that Baylor is scoring at least 8 points per 100 possessions more with Mitchell on the floor, compared to any other teammate. Based on these numbers, in a 70 possession game, which is about average in college, if Mitchell were to play 30 minutes, Baylor would win their game by at least 4 more points than if he didn’t play at all.
Baylor hasn’t faced the toughest opposition yet, but the fact that Mitchell is impacting his team far more than any of their other stars is worth noting.
Devontae Shuler – Ole Miss
Mississippi has several key guys that are playing really good ball this season, but Devontae Shuler catches my attention because of how favorably he is stacking up in the advanced metrics at EvanMiya.com. After performing below expectations last year, Shuler has been really solid on the offensive end of the floor for Ole Miss this season, averaging 13.9 points per game, with respectable shooting numbers.
However, it’s Shuler’s defensive prowess that should be turning heads. He is ranked 3rd in Defensive Bayesian Performance Rating after being ranked 87th in preseason, mainly because Ole Miss is playing much better defensively with him on the floor, compared to when he is sitting. His Team Defensive Efficiency is 3rd in the nation (for players over 200 possessions), with Ole Miss only giving up 70.5 points per 100 possessions with Shuler on the court.
The chart below shows the Ole Miss players, ranked by their Team Defensive Efficiency, which is the amount of points per 100 possession that the team gives up with that player on the floor. Shuler is clearly #1 in this category, with a larger gap between him and 2nd ranked Romello White than between White and 6th place KJ Buffen.
Ole Miss has the 2nd ranked defense in the nation on our site, and Devontae Shuler’s influence on that end of the court is a huge reason why. Though Mississippi has yet to be tested, don’t be shocked if Shuler leads this team to great defensive feats in SEC play.