The Numbers: Adelaide vs Cairns & Melbourne 25/10 - 27/10. Special DJ Edition.

Few players in the NBL have the array of weapons at their disposal that Daniel Johnson does. His post game is matched by few. He's an excellent free throw shooter (84% this year). He has three-point range. He's athletic. He had 7 double-digit rebound games last year.

He can block shots and get steals too....just not very often. Last year he averaged just 0.5 steals and 0.6 blocks. This year his steals are down to 0.3 but his blocks are up to 0.8. That's an improvement but he really should be almost getting 2 per game by accident. His main issue is he simply doesn't go for many blocks, either because he doesn't like risking the fouls or because he's rarely in the right position.

Heading into Sunday's game, two stats stood out to me.

1- The number of total fouls DJ had recorded in the first three games of the season.

-25. DJ's "+/-"  from Friday's win over Cairns.

Let's look deeper into these numbers.

DJ recorded 3 fouls on Sunday, taking his number up to 4 for the year (average 1 per game). In a league where inside play is being more closely scrutinised, it's amazing he's only recorded 4 fouls. BJ Anthony, Anthony Petrie and Luke Schenscher have all struggled with fouls this year with each one pretty much being ineffective at least once over foul trouble. DJ has not had such issues. I'm not saying we want him to start racking up silly fouls but I'd love to see him going for some blocks and occasionally getting whistled for the foul instead. When DJ is at centre, many teams get to the basket more frequently. Which leads me to...

DJ had the second worst +/- for the team last year. Some of this can be explained by playing lots of minutes on a bad team but it seems odd such a strong offensive player has such a low number. When offensive players have such a bad +/- it means only one thing- while he may score with some ease, opponents score just as easily at the other end. This is backed up by the weirdfest we witnessed on Friday in Cairns.

The game was a tale of four quarters, with teams taking turns in owning each quarter. Cairns dominated quarters 1 and 3, Adelaide 2 and 4. DJ played 16:20 in quarters 1 and 3, 5:54 in quarters 2 and 4. It's rough to suggest DJ was the difference but look at the +/- for each of the bigs in this game.

Schenscher   +14
Petrie    +5
Anthony   0
Johnson   -25

The two best runs were made with a Petrie/Schenscher and Petrie/Anthony  frontcourt. In this one, Big Luke clearly made a difference.

Fast forward to Sunday and we had the following.

Schenscher   -2
Anthony   -4
Johnson  -6
Petrie  -14

Schensch only played 5 minutes  so was pretty ineffective
Anthony only played 10 minutes and played a lot of centre, not his ideal position
Johnson scored 20 and played the full fourth quarter where Melbourne did it's most damage
Petrie played at the 4 for most of the game with DJ or Anthony as the 5 (no time with Schensch)

The Peach/DJ combo at the 4/5 spot has not had great success for Adelaide over the past 12 months. For the year, Adelaide's five best performing combos all feature Luke at centre. It's worst performing is the regular starting 5...which features Peach and DJ at the 4 and 5. It was the same story last year.

In Adelaide's two wins this year, DJ's numbers are
10.5pts on 8.5 shots
7 reb
0.5 stl
1.5 blk
0 turnovers

In the two losses it's a different story
24pts on 13 shots
6 reb
0 stl
0 blk
2 turnovers

It's a small sample size but it may paint an accurate picture.  The points are good DJ but we need your boards, steals and blocks even more. If you can lift this part of your game I've no doubt it will directly lead to wins and  probably one of those MVP trophies we all think you have in you.

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