I rely on stats for hashtag Analysis often, but sometimes they don’t tell the entire story.
Witness the gap between Rodney Chatman’s pedestrian stats and Vanderbilt’s 11-5 record in the games he played — compared to 8-12 without him. That’s particularly telling given that 10 of the 16 games that Chatman appeared in were against SEC teams, three more were in the NIT, and one was against BYU in Hawaii. Whatever it was, something about Chatman and his 98.3 Offensive Rating was actually making a significant difference.
Somehow, the explanation wasn’t defense: that’s not to say that Chatman was a bad defender (quite the opposite, in fact), but the alternatives to him (Tyrin Lawrence and Shane Dezonie) were mostly fine on that end of the floor. It seems to be more of an issue of just being better than the alternatives. A 98.3 Offensive Rating isn’t great (hell, it’s below average), but it was better than Trey Thomas (96.0), Lawrence (88.8), or Dezonie (91.7) — and what’s more, Chatman was much more consistent about it. Chatman wasn’t great often (a 24-point performance against LSU being the most notable exception), but he also didn’t have many bad games. Sometimes, when you have one guard who’s capable of carrying the offense, what you really need at the other guard spot is just a steady presence who will give you 10 points a night and play solid defense, and won’t ever hurt you.
That’s what Chatman was, and it would have been great if Vanderbilt had gotten 36 games of it instead of 16.