It’s nearly the regular season folks, which means it’s time to start contrived “countdown to tipoff” pieces. Our series will be called the Calculated Countdown, where we take a particular statistic from last season that corresponds to the number of days left till tipoff and analyze it in the context of this upcoming year. Today we’re examining Delly’s worth as an offensive caretaker within the Bucks scheme.
12 days to tipoff: 12.5% turnover percentage for Delly
Talking about Delly’s deficiencies are old hat. By now we all know he shoots with the urgency of a sloth, he lacks any sort of ball skills besides an innate ability to flip balls for floaters and his athleticism is limited. I hope we’ve all generally come to terms with these facts. Dellavedova’s perception seems to be similar to a caretaker quarterback, someone who won’t make mistakes, won’t turn the ball over, sticks to his lane and isn’t that effective. For some caretakers, that wasn’t always the case, and their perception as a game manager obscured a player prone to cough up the ball. Dellavedova isn’t necessarily barfing the ball to opponents at an unseemly rate, but his 12.5% turnover percentage is frustratingly high for someone whose ideal role is working off-ball.
The league average turnover percentage last year was 12.7%, so Delly isn’t necessarily better or worse than everyone else. Which, actually, seems like a fitting place for Delly to be. That 12.5% mark is the worst of his career thus far though, eclipsing the 11.7% he posted his final year in Cleveland. He also posted his highest usage rate yet, 16.1%, and as his usage rate has increased in his career so has his turnover percentage. Among all guards in the league last year, his 12.5% was in just the 20th percentile, a fact made more depressing considering his usage rate was low compared to most. Some names with comparable or lower usage and a higher turnover rate include Ron “Giannis will have his revenge” Baker, Kris Dunn and Jose Calderon.
Delly held the ball a surprisingly long amount last year, with the longest average second per touch on the team (4.17). Even though he acted as the nominal point guard, Khris Middleton’s return should mitigate some of the creation he was prone to curiously thrust upon himself. That second per touch metric though doesn’t play to Delly’s strengths, which is generally keeping the ball out of his hands unless he’s about to shoot. That’s illustrated by his success (however minor) coming off screens.
Delly is best utilized off inverted screens with Giannis. Indeed, Delly’s tenacity on screens, offensively and defensively, is probably his best asset. Whether he is slamming his Aussie body into a defender like he’s in a mosh pit or fighting through a screen like a wallaby trying to reach its cub, Delly isn’t going to be bested. When he’s able to zip back to the perimeter off those inverted screens, he basically becomes a pop-a-shot machine. While they only made up 3.3% of his overall play types, he was quite successful on those attempts. That 3.3% is way higher than any other guard on the team, and nearly matches Giannis’ mark of 3.8%. Off those plays, Delly ranked in the 90th percentile in terms of efficiency, with an eFG% of 63%.
There’s little in the way of evidence that Delly can be the kind of collected caretaker on offense who doesn’t make mistakes. He turns the ball over more than their other guards (sans GP II) and doesn’t offer much in return for granting him that precious ball time. Instead, there’s plenty more to utilize from Delly doing precisely the type of down and dirty things people often mock him for. Hopefully, he’ll find himself in those situations more this season.