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What does Chartouny bring to MU?

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(Photo courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

At 12:24 p.m. on Mar 20, Jeff Goodman Tweeted that Fordham junior Joseph Chartouny would be transferring for his senior season and would be eligible to play immediately as a grad transfer.

Not even an hour later, I had to put on one of my daughter’s bibs to clean up the drool from just a cursory glance at his advanced metrics.

Why exactly was I infatuated with an average athlete with below average offensive stats on a fairly terrible Fordham team? He fits the exact hole the I believe Marquette needed filled. 

Marquette has plenty of firepower from the outside in Howard, Sam Hauser and Cain. It has threats to score off the bounce in Howard, Anim, Elliott and Cain. It has an interior presence in Heldt, Morrow and John. But there was no real table setter. 

Rowsey, for all his faults, was a pretty reliable distributor, posting the second highest Assist Rate for any Marquette player since 2012, assisting on 28.6% of possessions while only turning it over 16.4% of the time. 

Capture.JPG

In the chart above, you can see how close that was to Dominic James’ senior season, when his injury derailed what could have been a Final Four team. So losing a proven distributor who was very solid with the ball is a big obstacle to overcome.

The fact that Howard and Elliott, two fair, though not natural PGs, were going to be tasked with handling 100% of the offense next season, was a flashing red light. Howard played PG almost exclusively most of his freshman year, so he isn’t unfamiliar, and Marquette was a top-15 offense that year. Handing him the PG reins for 65% of the time wasn’t going to derail a season, but it did put a pretty hard cap on the ceiling. 

It would have also thrust Elliott into a sink or swim role, in a spot where the sharks are constantly circling. Elliott did handle the ball frequently in high school, and the idea has always been that he could be groomed into that role in due time. But without an added guard, Wojo would have to place a good chunk of his eggs into the injured hand basket. Elliot’s 12.2 assist rate and general sloppy handles didn’t scream out Big East PG last season, though he basically played with one hand the entire season, undergoing surgery on his left hand a few days after the NIT run ended.

Instead of having to roll the dice on Howard and Elliott and literally nobody else, Marquette will now have a player who has yet to post a season with an assist rate under 28%. Chartouny’s worst season in terms of distributing the rock would be considered one of the best in recent history. Don’t get me wrong, that by no means tells us he will put up these kinds of numbers against better, faster competition, but it undoubtedly tells us he has a pass first mentality. 

On a team with weapons to spare, having someone who can find those weapons and hit them consistently in rhythm can’t be quantified by any advanced stats. Having Howard initiate the offense 70% of the time will most likely result in a top-40 offense, he’s that good. But finding an open Howard and letting him pick the best spots to attack has a much higher upside.   

Chartouny’s addition slides Howard down to a more natural 2-guard most of the time, and allows Elliott to continue to grow in bite size chunks. Both will still see time as the lead guard. Both will still see plenty of ball. But now they can be optimized for situations, rather than being used out of necessity.

Defense

While the offensive end of the court usually gets most of the attention, Chartouny’s defensive prowess is what, in my opinion, made him the most coveted grad transfer for Marquette. 

The topline, eye-popping number right off the bat is the steal rate. At 5.6%, Chartouny was second in the country in this area, meaning almost 6 out of every 100 defensive possessions he was involved in resulted in a steal. For reference into just how absurd that is, there have only been 11 players in the past 10 years in TRank’s system to reach 5.6% steal rate. 

And Chartouny has done it twice. 

The quick hands, the court awareness, the bursts of speed, he has shown his knack for picking pockets is no fluke. But I do get the concern with equating a good thief with a good defender. After all, I’m the same guy that will go to my grave still beating the Jajuan Johnson was a lousy defender drum, despite the fact he put up a 4.1% steal rate his senior season. 

But don’t just take my word for it. John Pudner’s Value Add metric projects Chartouny as the 7th best defensive player for 2019, and the top overall guard. He also projects to be the 4th most valuable defender in Marquette history (going back to 2002), behind Jae Crowder and Dwyane Wade (twice). 

And if you want to dig a little deeper and site stats I can’t even explain myself, but are derived using plus-minus on/off scores and luck adjusted shooting variances, there’s something for you there as well.

But if you really want to know what exactly makes him a Godsend for the 2019 season, keep reading.

P&R Defense

Marquette’s defense was really bad in 2017. There was a lot of culprits from poor perimeter penetration stoppage, to poor rim protection, to awful rotations. But the biggest culprit, in my eyes, was the pick and roll defense. I won’t rehash it too much here, but if you want some refreshers, be my guest.

Somehow, it got worse in 2018. And by somehow I mean Marquette played two sub-6 foot, defensively challenged guards over 70% of available minutes, and played them concurrently over 20 minutes per game. And once again, the pick and roll defense played a prominent role.

As a team, Marquette ranked 320th in P&R defense PPP including passes, allowing .957 PPP. It was the 2nd worst high major behind only Iowa. Again, there is more wrong with the defense than just one player, but that one player was indeed a cause for a lot of those problems. 

Rowsey gave up 1.032 PPP in 94 possessions. Teams abused Marquette in P&R, particularly against Rowsey, almost 3 times a game. Of the 390 players who saw at least 90 possessions against P&R, Rowsey ranked 380th, worst among high major players.  

Chartouny didn’t face nearly as many possessions against the pick and roll, but he only gave up .75 PPP against pick and roll ball handlers. That’s not an elite number, and again, came against weaker competition, but it’s a night and day improvement from Rowsey. 

This will not only help the P&R defensive numbers, it will make the hard hedge with the big outside the arc a bit more effective. Whereas before when Heldt or John were caught pressing up high it could often result in an easy pass over the top of the original defender (Rowsey or Howard), now Chartouny’s length may make those over the top passes a bit more difficult to pull off cleanly, dissuading the ball handler from making it or at least making it a more difficult entry feed.

Defense is so difficult to quantify numerically, because some of the best defensive plays don’t result in a box score stat. A good hedge that forces the opponent into a timeout doesn’t get logged. A smart double that causes an outlet and a reset won’t go on any highlight reel. Watching Chartouny’s clips this past weekend I was very impressed with his patience on defense. Yes, he takes risks going for steals, but watching him defend the P&R, he was very calm in going around screens and trusted his instincts and length to either contest the shot or close the space. 

And one other fairly important note. Jaden Daly of Daly Dose of Hoops, an outlet that covers New York basketball up close and personal has said multiple times that Chartouny wasn’t healthy all season and his injuries affected his shooting. But I think they may have also affected his defense. Chartouny only allowed 5 points against the pick and roll in the final 15 possessions after giving up 10 points in the first 5. He also helped create 4 turnovers in the final 9 P&R possessions after not creating 1 in the first 11. 

In the end, having that extra bit of length and defensive feel will have a tremendous positive impact in one of Marquette’s biggest areas of weakness. 

Spot-Up Shot Contesting  

The other enormous size issue that presented itself last season was that, even if the defensive rotations were timely and efficient, they were only somewhat effective due to a lack of height. Having Rowsey or Howard running at you on a contest doesn’t do much to affect your shot or even your confidence, because they simply didn’t have the length or athleticism to alter, let alone block, a shot. And outside of luck, length and athleticism are really the only effective ways to play spot-up D. 

For example, as a team, Marquette was below average at defending spot-up shots, ranking in the 17th percentile of all teams, conceding  1.002 PPP on 570 possessions. That’s obviously not great, but drilling down to individual defenders tells a bit of a different story. Here is the Synergy chart:

Spot Up.JPG

Only 4 players last year were below average or poor defending spot up shots. Of those 4, 2 were bigs that aren’t the most agile and really shouldn’t be on the perimeter contesting shots, as that means there was already a breakdown defensively. Plus Heldt and John combined only defended 61 possessions all season, just under 11% of all attempts. 

The other 2 culprits were Howard and Rowsey, who each gave up over 1.07 PPP on a decent amount of attempts (182). One last time, any effectiveness from positioning or floor IQ is negated or at least muted by their lack of height and length. It’s not a coincidence Marquette’s longest and most athletic players show up well in this chart. 

Enter Chartouny. He’s not some wingspan monster like Cain, and does not have Anim’s athleticism, but he has bursts of quickness and rapid reaction times that make him a tremendous defender. He just has a knack for getting to the ball, and more importantly for our purposes, the length to make those contests effective. 

Last season, he was credited as defending 160 spot up possessions. That led the A-10 and would have also led the Big East. In fact, it was in the top 35 of all players. Not just D1, all collegiate basketball players (21,158 according to Synergy). It was not some fluke of a season, either. He’s contested over 100 spot up shots all 3 years at Fordham. 

While his effectiveness at contesting these shots was rated as average last season, .956 PPP, the simple volume is something not seen at Marquette under Wojo. That he’s replacing a sub-6 foot player that was below average at contesting spot ups makes him that much more important.   

Overall Impact

Andrew Rowsey had one of the most prolific offensive seasons in Marquette basketball history. No transfer or recruit available was going to replace his scoring or shooting. But the beauty of the 2019 version of the Golden Eagles is that no one player has to. Rowsey’s usage was the highest single season number of the past 10 years. 

And despite his effectiveness and efficiency, I would say that you don’t want a player taking up that many of a team’s possessions, particularly when you already have a high volume shooter (and scorer) in Howard. With both players taking up 29%+ of possessions, there was very little ball left to work with for players like Sam Hauser, who put up the single highest ORtg in the past 10 years of the Big East (with at least 18% usage). 

With the returning pieces, there is enough offensive firepower collectively to at least dampen the effect of losing Rowsey on offense. Add in a little Hauser who is rated as a top-50 recruit, an experienced banger in Morrow to clean up the boards and whatever Bailey and Eke can give you, and there won’t be any need for Chartouny to create for himself on most possessions. 

There is no denying Chartouny struggled in every facet of the game offensively last season, but by not having to force the action for himself as much with a much more accurate supporting cast, he will be able to pick and choose his spots more efficiently this season. 

To bring it all home, Chartouny is a proven distributor who can get the ball into the hands of his best shooters in all sorts of ways. He’s a nimble defender with a gift for picking pockets and the size to add a degree of difficulty to opposing ball handlers. Getting an average to below average offensive threat is still a home run, provided the usage stays within the realm it has been his whole career at Fordham, around 21% of shots. If he can get back to his pre-injury form offensively, that’s just a cherry on top. 

It may take some time for all parties to adjust, but this Chartouny and Marquette are a dream pairing. Square hole, meet square peg. 

Is it November yet?

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Categories: Analysis, Home, Recruiting

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