Surely we are not doing this again…
You bet your ass we are. Lets dive in, and see if we can’t talk ourselves into making this mistake AGAIN in 2023.
Honestly, I am sitting here right now with a glass of wine trying to work out how I even start trying to work out what Pangai is going to be doing this year. Part of my mind is dancing around the articles around his weightloss, new found dedication to training, blah blah blah. I won’t comment too much on it, but here is an article from Fox Sports after his boxing bout.
Now, back to the non-training the house down stuff. Josh Jackson (retired) and Paul Vaughan (Super League) have departed, leaving about 120 minutes per game on the table. We expect those to be absorbed by Kikau and Sutton, so where is the increase in minutes for Pangai?
Well, in short, Corey Waddell played 18 matches for the Dogs in 2022 at an average of 73 minutes, which frankly should not happen. We actually are expecting Kikau to take this role, and Pangai to step (more or less) into the Jackson role, mins a few minutes that Sutton will take over and above what Paul Vaughan was doing in 2022, increasing from about 48 minutes per game to 55, leaving Pangai with the other 60-65 minutes per game between the middle and edge.
In 2022, we got 5 performances from TPJ between 50 and 70 minutes, which yielded a 61.2 point average in 57.2 minutes (PPM of 1.07). Now, obviously I won’t be projecting Pangai at 60-65 mins x 1.07PPM, although this does actually represent a “high end” projection which is likely unrealistic. Instead, I want to look at a larger sample…
Back Row (20-25 mins): 18 matches in the last 3 years, 54.9 avg in 76.2 mins (0.72PPM)
This would give him an average of 14-18 points in his edge minutes
Middle (35-45 mins): 28 matches in the last 3 years, 45.6 avg in 47.4 mins (0.96PPM)
This would give him an average of 34-43 points in his middle minutes
Now 70 minutes is probably a bit high, so its not as simple as adding 18+43 to give the high end projection, which would be 61 points. We really need to add 14+34 for the floor = 48 average, 18+34 for the “likely” outcome = 52 and 14+43 for the high end outcome = 57.
So, long story short we have a player, starting at $593K (41 average), with a “floor” of a 48 average, and a ceiling of a 57 average, with the most likely outcome in the low 50s. Now, traditionally, that would make the player a clear buy (and pray), but we have all been there with TPJ before. Essentially, what are we looking for to make TPJ a buy?
- Does he start on the edge in Round 1, with RFM on the bench?
- How does his weight and fitness look?
Just being real, a fit and “thin” (110kg is still a big man) TPJ is hands down the most destructive player in the game. Swapping Jackson, Vaughan and Marshall-King for Kikau, Sutton and Mahoney is going to push the Dogs into a more up tempo style (if the coach has a brain), which means more attacking stats for all involved, and potentially with a “star power” multiplier on the TPJ offloads. Pangai offloaded 10 times in a game last year in 51 minutes – that is ridiculous.
Now, this comes with the mother of all caveats.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is this advice to buy Tevita Pangai Jr. We are here to provide analysis, and what we deem to be “likely outcomes”. If TPJ is named in the middle straight up with RFM on the edge this is likely a hard abort. Even if all goes as planned, there is a very real chance he will not be in the same role all year based on history.
If you want to ride the lightning, you do so with our blessing but with us taking precisely zero of the responsibility if it goes sideways and all of the credit if it goes as planned.
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