It’s been asserted by Knick fans in the past, most recently by NYK Ewing, that Danilo Gallinari is inconsistent. This opinion of him, like many by NBA pundits, are made from an observational standpoint. However, observations are prone to cognitive bias which may be false. Hence it’s always good to have an objective method to test such a claim.
So the question we should ask is a more open-minded “is Gallo inconsistent?” How can we verify such a statement? Well in this instance I think we can measure consistency by using standard deviation from game-by-game performance. To illustrate what this entails, I’ll take points scored per game for two fictional players:
Player A: 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5
Player B: 2,4,4,4,5,5,7,9
Both players average 5 points per game, but Player A has a standard deviation of 0, while Player B has a standard deviation of 2. Therefore the player with the lower standard deviation is more consistent. Since we don’t have a baseline on standard deviation of points scored, we need to create one. However, for basketball players points scored per game is dependent on how many minutes per game they are given, their skill level, and their method of scoring, among other things. Hence we should find players similar in these respects to Gallinari to minimize the effect of these factors. To do this, I used this query from basketball-reference to find players who are close to Gallo in minutes averaged, points scored, and three pointers attempted. The five players that returned were: Wilson Chandler, Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas, Ray Allen, and Dorell Wright.
|Name||Pts StdDev||Less than 10 pts||3p% StdDev||GmScr StdDev|
Since Gallinari has the highest standard deviation of points, three pointers made, and game score it means that he has been inconsistent when compared to similar players. Gilbert Arenas’ points fluctuates nearly as much, however he’s more stable with regards to three pointers and game score. On the bright side, the Rooster’s instability also means that on certain days he’s better than some of those other players. For instance he’s had 5 games this year where he’s made 9 or more free throws, something teammate Wilson Chandler has yet to do. Conversely, it means that something is preventing Gallo from having more great nights, or from contributing on the stat sheet when he’s having a bad day. Unfortunately whatever that is, it will restrict him from reaching his full potential unless he can overcome it.