So we all know Anderson Varejao as the goofy, floppy-haired Brazilian who flops like a little girl takes charges at the first hint of contact.
But did you also know that by at least one statistical category, Varejao is one of the three most important players in the league?
As of Saturday, he even led the NBA in plus/minus which, for those of you who have been under a rock for the last decade or so, is a measure of the amount of points a player’s team scores while he is on the floor compared to the amount it gives up. (He has since relinquished his lead, being passed by Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest.) Varejao is +301 points so far this season, after only 34 games played.
So how is it that Vareajo is so high on the list?
Well, first of all, it has to do with the team he plays on. Because Varejao is on a good team, his numbers are up simply due to the fact that his team normally outscores its opponent. The plus/minus stat, unlike adjusted plus/minus, does not adjust for the caliber of one’s team.
But still, is there a reason someone known more than anything else for his whining, flopping and hair is so high in plus/minus, higher even then his teammate Lebron James?
According to TrueHoop, Varejao’s coach Mike Brown seems to think so.
“I play Hickson with Shaq because I want to play Andy the whole game, but I can’t play him the whole game. So I decided to start J.J. because in the first eight minutes of the game, we’re not going to win or lose it,” Brown said.
“So if I play him 8 minutes in the first half and 8 in the second, that’s 16 minutes I don’t have to play Andy and it’s really not going to affect the game. A lot of times now, if you watch our games lately, when Andy goes in he ain’t coming out. I don’t care if Z is in or Shaq’s coming back in.
“It’s just at the start of the game it makes more sense for me and for the team to have someone else, and not play Andy 38-39 minutes a game. But his value to us with whoever’s on the floor is off the charts.”