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January 17, 2013P.J. Hairston has been a steady source of offense coming off the bench this season for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
UNC Head Coach Roy Williams seems content to keep Hairston's role that of a sixth man variety.
A stellar super-sub forces opponents to match UNC's bench production. Having a player like Hairston excelling in the role he currently inhabits can be a great weapon.
Some Tar Heel fans have called for Hairston to have an expanded role. They claim he should take more shots, be more aggressive, get more minutes or even become a full-fledged member of the starting line-up.
This article won't try to coach Roy Williams' team for him. His body of work suggests he knows what he's doing.
However, it will attempt to illustrate a few trends regarding Hairston's production and provide some interesting tidbits that could impress those sitting around you during the North Carolina's game against Maryland Saturday afternoon.
P.J. Hairston trends and stats
All stats are based on games Hairston actually played in (he missed the Indiana game, thus those stats aren't included).
-For those wondering about Hairston's production rate: Hairston averages 20 minutes a game and shoots the ball, on average, 10 times a game. This means
Hairston attempts a field goal attempt every two minutes he's in a game. In games that Hairston hits his average of one shot for every two minutes of game action, North Carolina's margin between points scored and points given up is a difference of almost 15 points per game. When he doesn't, that margin drops to 10.
-UNC is 3-3 in games that Hairston scores single digit points.
-UNC is 8-1 when Hairston scores double digit points.
-Hairston has taken less than double digit
shots in a game six times this season. UNC is 4-2 in those games. In the four victories, UNC's average margin of victory was 26.5 (21.5 for the season). In two defeats, UNC's average margin of loss was 9 (11.75 for the season).
-When he takes double digit shots UNC is 7-1 winning by 18.6 points per game (21.5 for the season). In the lone defeat, UNC lost by 11 points to Butler.
-Hairston hasn't made double digit shots in a game this season (although he came close with 9 against Florida State).
-Hairston has only had two games where he didn't attempt five or more three-point attempts. 60 percent of Hairston's shots have been three-pointers, of which he's hit 34 percent of them. Hairston's total shooting percentage is 39 percent. When he doesn't take a three-point shot he shoots 41 percent.
-Hairston has made a three-point shot in every game he's played in this season except one (Gardner-Webb).
-Hairston has shot 100% from the free-throw line four times this season. UNC is 3-1 in those games.
-In games that Hairston plays, UNC averages an 81-64 victory over its opponents.
-UNC got annihilated against Indiana, the lone game Hairston has not participated in (injury).
-When Hairston shoots over 40% from the field, the Tar Heels are undefeated (7-0).
-When Hairston shoots under 40% from the field, the Tar Heels are 4-4.
Without using stats, and only going by the eye ball test, Hairston is a scorer first, a large guard second and possibly the key to North Carolina going from a middle-of-the-road ACC team this season to a title challenger.
UNC has struggled using its trio of freshmen (Joel James, Desmond Hubert and Brice Johnson) as the fifth starter. All three have obvious flaws. James has had trouble adjusting to the speed of next level basketball. Johnson has had mental lapses on his defensive rotations. Hubert has gotten pushed around by bigger players who know how to use their size.
Currently, UNC is third in the nation in rebounding per game (43.2 RPG). By inserting Hairston into the starting line-up they would have an unusually small starting five that would allow opponents to close the rebounding margin.
However, Hairston's consistently good at one thing (scoring) and can be trusted to deliver on that ability.
Coach Williams' is coaching a young team that doesn't have an obviously strong leader. James Michael McAdoo is the highest profile and Reggie Bullock has emerged as the team's best player but the key (Hairston's scoring) to the Cadillac (ACC Championship) may reside with Hairston.