One of the basketball trends that interests me is +/- ratios – what happens when you’re on the court? Does the team perform better or worse? There are many factors that aren’t necessarily captured by this single number (who is on the floor with you, the game situation, etc), but it gives a decent general measure of your effectiveness.
So, it was with interest that I listened as the news broke that T.J. Sapp was leaving the Clemson team. I like most fans, saw Sapp take a bad shot early against South Carolina and get sat down, ending up with only 7 minutes of PT for the game.
There was more than one commenter on Twitter that said that Sapp’s long-term playing time at Clemson was bound to diminish in the future with the emergence of freshman Adonis Filer. I like Filer’s game and look forward to seeing him develop.
But looking shorter term Sapp is the only player without a negative +/- score in any game this season and he was fourth on the team in average +/- score. Something clearly was working with him on the floor. Certainly his numbers were inflated against the lesser competition, but let’s not fool ourselves – everyone’s was. Sapp was at 0 during the Gonzaga game and +5 against Purdue, the two losses that crushed everyone else’s numbers.
Long-term this may be just what the Tigers need, but my sense is in the short-term it will hurt until Filer gets his feet completely underneath him.
At the other end of the stick is Bernard Sullivan, who hasn’t had a positive game since the first two cupcakes were devoured.