Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The top three-point shooting duos in the NBA

In today's NBA, virtually every team wants at least two (and preferably more) long-range shooters on the floor at all times. This opens up space inside for both post players and drivers, which can boost free throw rates and overall offensive efficiency as a result.

So which team has the best duo of three-point shooters?

I mapped 3P% vs 3PA/gm for each team's top two shooters, measured by total 3PA. (I put a minimum of 3.5 attempts/gm for each player, so if your favorite team isn't listed here, it's because you didn't have two players who met that criteria.)

Some takeaways:

  • It will surprise absolutely no one to see the Splash Brothers near the top-right of this chart. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are just doing their usual record-breaking thing (though Curry's 41.3% is really dragging his teammate down).
  • But how about Portland? Wesley Matthews continues to shoot out of his mind, and Damian Lillard may already be the second-best shooting lead guard in the league.
  • Kyle Korver is shooting precisely 50% on threes. I just... I mean... it's the only thing he really does, and teams still have no answer for it.
  • I love the way that Mike D'Antoni has deployed Jodie Meeks (46% from 3PT) and Steve Blake, as well as Shawne Williams and others, in his early-in-the-shot-clock, long-distance attack. It'll be interesting to see how this changes, in both volume and efficiency, with Kobe Bryant's return.
  • The fact that the Celtics with frickin' Jordan Crawford and Jeff Green are in the top left of this chart may be the strongest data point yet for Brad Stevens' Coach of the Year candidacy.
  • Ray Allen: under 39% so far. Shane Battier: hovering around 30%. These will improve - well at least Ray is guaranteed to, since he's a cyborg. And when they do, Miami's LeBron James-fueled, record-pace offense may get even better.
  • You knew the Pistons were going to suck here, correct?What you may not have realized is that Brandon Jennings is actually up to a respectable 36% from three-land. Josh Smith is at 27%. And has already chucked up 100 attempts, and is showing no signs of slowing down. (More on Smoove in the day ahead.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

10 great stats from NBAwowy

Here are five quick nuggets from the treasure trove that is

  1. With Marc Gasol on the floor, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph have true shooting percentages of 59.5 and 55.1, respectively. Without Marc, those dip to 50.2 and 50.6. Get better soon, Nasty.

  1. Just in case you thought (as I suspected) that Monta Ellis' growth this year was mostly from playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki: Monta with Dirk on the floor: 27.9 usage, 53.3 TS%. With Dirk on the bench: 27.5 usage, 59.5 TS%.
  2. The Kings are scoring 100 points per 100 possessions with Greivis Vasquez on the floor, which would rank about 20th in the NBA team rankings. Without Vasquez, they're scoring 108.5 points per 100 possessions, which would rank 2nd in the NBA, just behind the Heat's 108.8.
  3. Speaking of Miami, are we still pretending Udonis Haslem is integral to this team? With Udonis on the court, Miami scores 107 pts / 100 possessions and gives up a whopping 118 pts / 100 poss. With Udonis in the cheering section, the Heat outscore opponents 117.5 - 102 per 100 poss. More amazingly, in the 108 minutes that Haslem and LeBron James have played together, the Heat have been outscored by 20 points. UDONIS HASLEM CANCELS OUT LEBRON JAMES!
  4. LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard have been outstanding for the Blazers, and Wesley Matthews is shooting like Steve Kerr on steroids. But the real MVP for Portland might be Robin Lopez. With Lopez on the court, the Blazers outscore opponents 112-104 per 100 possessions. That's championship-level material. Without him, it's 110-109... basically a .500 team.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The best rebounders in the NBA, featuring Andre Drummond

Who are the best rebounders in the NBA? Looking at rebounds per game gets us a partial answer, but it doesn't account for a couple of important factors. First, different players get different numbers of opportunities for rebounds. Second, not all rebounds are created equal. Some are uncontested, while others are most definitely not.

The two charts below should give us some more insight. The top chart maps rebounding chances per game against the percentage of those chances that actually get rebounded. (We're including every player who gets at least 14 chances per game.) The second chart looks at the leaders in rebounds per 36 minutes, and breaks those rebounds into uncontested (in purple) and contested (in orange). defines "contested" as those rebounds where an opponent is within 3.5 feet of the rebound.

Having trouble viewing the chart? Click here.

Some takeaways:

  • It's probably premature to say definitively that Andre Drummond is the best rebounder in the NBA. But... not by much. He's leading all 29 players in the top chart by pulling in a whopping 73% of rebounding chances. If he's near the ball, he's getting it. Even more impressively, he's doing it the hard way - he's second in total rebounds / 36 mins, and has more contested rebounds AND fewer uncontested rebounds than any of the other top 9 players in that category. What a beast. Oh, did I mention he turned 20 this summer?
  • When it comes to board work, Kevin Love dishes out quality and quantity. He's averaging over 21 rebounding chances per game - nobody else in the game earns over 18 chances. That's proof of both his ability to stay on the floor and his incredible nose for the ball.
  • If Drummond is the best young rebounder in the game, DeMarcus Cousins certainly isn't far behind.
  • Only 29% of Dwight Howard's rebounds this season are contested, compared to 44% for Drummond and 41% for DeAndre Jordan. I have no idea what to make of this, honestly.
  • Speaking of Jordan, his improvement on the boards from past seasons has been remarkable. It's partly because he's staying on the floor, playing over 35 mpg after never even breaking 29 mpg in previous season. But he's also grabbing far more rebounds on a per-36-minutes basis (13.0 this year, compared to a career average of 10.8). Combined with Blake Griffin's usual rebounding excellence, the Clips at least have a solid 1-2 punch inside. (Too bad they also have the not-so-solid 3-4-5 punch of Ryan Hollins, Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens.)
  • Shout out to Carmelo Anthony, grabbing almost 70% of his rebounding chances. He's easily setting new career highs in both offensive and defensive rebounding rates, which is doubly impressive given his sky-high usage rate.
  • Anderson Varejao. Struggling.
(Primary data source: