George Hill vs. C.J. Watson: The Numbers on Indiana's Point Guards

geroge hill cj watson

It’s the hometown hero vs. the free agent pick-up. It’s a battle that has been raging in the heads of some Pacers fans of late due to the performances of both players, and frankly, when it comes to statistics, it’s a battle that deserves a good look.

When comparing George Hill and C.J. Watson, the biggest difference between the two is an obvious one: minutes per game. Hill is averaging around 32.7 MPG whereas Watson gets around 20.2 MPG. Statistically, it can be tough to compare the two, but let’s take a look starting on the offensive side of the ball:

Hill v. Watson Basics

George Hill’s point and assist numbers are inflated by his minutes, but if you were to calcuate C.J. Watson’s numbers per 32.7 minutes, then he comes out to about 10.5 PPG and a little over 3 APG.

Simply, advantage Hill.

Effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and true shooting percentage (TS%) are two newer, “advanced” stats that help show how efficiency a player shoots, and I love both of them. eFG% is pretty simple to understand — it is basically the player’s field goal percentage adjusted for 3 pointers to be worth 1.5x that of a regular 2 point field goal. TS% is basically that, but again elevated slightly to adjust for free throws.

Neither player has shot particularly well this season (except for from the free-throw line), but in both cases the advantage goes to George Hill. His 48.9% eFG and 53.7% TS% outpace Watson’s 46.3% and 52.5%, respectively, largely due to Hill’s good 3-point shooting (38.5% compared to Watson’s 33.9%).

Scoring isn’t a point guard’s main task, however, unless your name is Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. To compare how efficiently Watson and Hill move the ball, I looked at some of the advanced metrics that NBA.com’s Statistics page provided.

Hill v. Watson 2

The passes per game figure doesn’t reveal much, but it’s worth noting that despite the minutes per game played, George Hill still passes the ball almost twice as many times as Watson. This is likely because Hill shares more minutes with the other starters and thus is surrounded by good scoring options whereas Watson often has to search harder for players among the reserves who can get themselves into good spots.

The “assist opportunity per game” category means that if all players shot 100% coming off of a pass, that’s how many assists Hill and Watson would average per game. Compared to their averages currently, that statistic lines up (Hill = 4 APG/Watson = 1.9 APG). The last category is “points created by assist per game,” which category looks at about how many points per game are scored by their assists.

While stats aren’t everything, they say a lot about a player’s total impact when it comes to helping the team. And while the 20-3 Pacers have not had much to worry about when it comes to production from their backcourt, it is clear that Hill has put up the better numbers so far.

George Hill (via @CJZero)

via @CJZero

Topics: Stat Talk

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  • Jack Wright

    I wouldn’t have guessed those types of numbers. It’d be interesting to see some stats on George Hill at home vs away. The frustrating thing about Hill is that he’ll have a great game, followed by two or three poor games, then a decent game, then a great game, then a few poor ones, etc. Watson seems steadier but not as productive on average, maybe? Idk.

    • Scott S

      You’re exactly right though Jack. Watson does seem to have more “break out” types of games whereas Hill is the (somewhat) more consistent player. It’s tough to hop on either train as a starter.

  • vanstamps

    I’d like to see Lance get some run at the point guard spot. But that will probably never happen. It would make sense to try it at some point when Danny returns.