New Player Tracking Stats
I know there are more exciting things going on in the NBA, but with the new player tracking stats, I am like a kid in a candy store. I love these stats. After looking through them, I found ten interesting truths buried in the numbers.
I would love to get a conversation going about these and other advanced stats, even if there are more interesting topics out there.
1. Bismack Biyumbo is not a bust. Quietly, he has become the best rim protector in the NBA. That's right. THE BEST. He holds opposing teams to a ridiculous 38% at the rim, which is by far the best percentage in the NBA among players who play as much or more than he does. (Ryan Hollins had a lower percentage, but his opportunities and minutes are way lower than Biyombo.
2. Paul George is not as good of a scorer as you think, but Lance Stephenson is better than you think. George only makes 45% of his drives. He really struggles to create and finish his own shots going to the rim. However, Stephenson makes 58% of his drives, which is good enough for 6th in the NBA (among players with at least 100 driving shots).
3. James Harden is not as good of a scorer as you think. He averages 48% on drives and 39% on pullup twos. His above average three point shooting, ability to draw fouls, and usage rate are what make him look like a great scorer. I'M DEFINITELY NOT SAYING THAT HE IS A BAD SCORER! JUST THAT HIS ACTUAL ABILITIES DON'T MATCH UP WITH HIS HYPE.
4. Westbrook really needs to stop shooting so many pullup twos. That's not really a new find, but the stats confirm it. He shoots the third most in the NBA after Curry and Wall, but he only makes 38% of them! But before you beat up on him, and he is an easy target, realize that John Wall shoots more per game but only makes 34%.
5. Jimmer Fredette needs some shots. He is one of the top in the NBA at both pullups (48%) and spotups (50%) threes.
6. Tristan Thompson has one of the lowest rebounding rates of any big man. He had 17 opportunities a game to get a rebound, but was only able to pull in 9. That is, by far, the lowest rate of any big man who has that many opportunities a game. That was supposed to be his one strength, but apparently the only reason his RPG were decently high was because of his opportunities. (I found this before the Lebron announcement, but this confirms to me that Thompson is just not a good fit next to Lebron - no spacing, no rim protection, and only average rebounding and finishing abilities)
7. The Jazz forcefed both Kanter and Favors the ball last year. Kanter had 5.8 post touches a game and 3.9 elbow touches. Favors had 6.7 and 5.3. Each seperately had a comparable amount of touches to Dwight Howard, Zach Randolph, and Demarcus Cousins. That is a lot of touches, a lot of offense focused on the post, and a lot of two-true-bigs playing at the same time. One has to wonder if that play style hampered Burks, Burke, and Hayward's development as drivers. If they continue to pin their hopes on those two bigs, will that hurt Dante Exum's strength as a driver, too? I like both bigs, but not necessarily together with the guards they have. I wonder if Kanter could be had for a true strentch power forward in order to open the floor for their guards?
8. The Bobcat offense relied heavily on Kemba Walker last year, which is probably why they are trying get him help this year. He had more touches per game than anyone else in the league at 100!
9.Ricky Rubio is a lot better than people think. In his third NBA season, not only was he 6th in the NBA in APG (8.6), but he also averaged the most free throw assists per game (1.3 - assists leading to free throws), averaged the second most secondary assists (2.2 - these are passes to players who then get an assist), and averaged the fifth most assist opportunities a game (20.2 - passes that lead to a shot that, if made, would be an assist), IN HIS THIRD SEASON. He might never be able to shoot (although he was a respectable 33% from three last season), but Rubio is a wizard with the basketball. He's not a ball-hog who looks for his own assists every player. He knows the game of the basketball and plays it the right way. If you put him with the right players, Rubio is a championship level player.
10. Either the Pelicans defensive strategy is terrible or opposing teams intentionally pull Davis away from the basket. He only average 6.6 shots at the rim against him last year, which is comparable to the amounts by Timofey Mosgov, Elton Brand, and Chris Kaman. He held opponents to a really good 48% at the rim, but why doesn't the Pelicans' defensive scheme funnel everything into him. Why don't they ice screens and let Davis just wait for players to drive toward him? Not only is their team an awkward fit offensively, but their defensive scheme seems like it is not taking advantage of one of their chief strengths.
Anyway, there are a ton of fascinating little tid-bits buried in those numbers. Anything that you note from those numbers? Anything stick out to you?
Thanks - I now value Biyombo a lot more than I previously valued him
I'm a Celtics fan. They need a defender in the middle to pair with Olynyk or Sullinger. Would you take Brandon Bass or Faverani and a future protected first round pick for him?
I was just looking at bismack yesterday hes a physical presence for sure but his stats aren't eye popping he isn't ben Wallace like ppl thought he could be.
I think hes on his way out of cha vonleh,zeller,al I don't see bismack being there for to long especially if he wants a raise.
hes only "21" if I was a team with nothing to lose I would ask about him. (nudges hinkie).
I can see him having a chris Anderson impact one day.
Great job OP.
One thing i might add, everyone is well aware on Jimmer. we all know he can really shoot the ball. Its his defense which prevents coaches giving him enough minutes and touches.
True. I just didn't realize how efficient he was on both pullup and spotup threes. I guess I figured that with that elite of an NBA skill, he is worth playing and running an offense through for 10-15 minutes a game, even if you have a reconfigure your entire defense to cover him up.
Those stats are cool and they definitely have a lot of value, but as for almost every stat they shouldn't lead to conclusive thoughts. I mean, it's not so surprising that Biyombo is a great defensive presence. Maybe it's interesting to find out he protected the rim better than anyone else last year (thought that doesn't automatically mean he's the best rim protector in the league, mostly because he played a lot against bench units and lesser players and also his playing time decreased last season, making the sample smaller), but again, that doesn't change much in his scouting report, he's a great defensive presence but it's hard to play him nonetheless because he's such a liability on offense. So for a 7th pick in the draft he's still kind of a bust, in my opinion.
For James Harden: the ability to draw fouls and get to the line doesn't make him look like a great scorer, it makes him an actual great scorer. Drawing fouls and shooting free throws is one of the most efficient scoring sources, plus it has a secondary positive effect as fouls might force opposing players to sit. I think shooting selection hurts Harden's %s, he takes tons of bad step back jumpers, but he's definitely capable and one of the best creators in the league.
And Davis plays a lot far from the rim because Pelicans' opponents are smart and they know New Orleans has no rim protectors other than him, so they involve him in pick and rolls and other stuff far from the basket to open up the lanes, nothing so surprising, but again, those kind of stats can't take strategy into account.
I think you are kind of playing the devil's advocate, and I may agree with you somewhat, but you may be taking it too far the other way.
It really doesn't change Biyumbo's scouting report, but my point wasn't that he is an offensive machine. My point was that he was even better at defending the rim than we assumed . Those stats may not be everything, but they do suggest that he needs more opportunities to defend the rim to see if his success was just a small sample size.
About Harden, before i accept statements like "Drawing fouls and shooting free throws is one of the most efficient scoring sources," I will need to see statistical proof. San Antonio had the most efficient offense in the NBA last year, but shot the least free throws. I wasn't talking about one aspect of Harden's game. The totality of Harden's game as a scorer is not as effective as we might assume, and one of the reasons is because our box scores make free throws and three points look really good.
I didn't watch many Pelican's games last year, but even if opponents did gameplan to pull Davis from the rim, why didn't the Pelicans gameplan back to get him near the rim? Why isn't one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA using that key ability?
Anyway, great thoughts. Stats don't promise future success. The cause of those stats could be any number of things, but stats are like breadcrumbs that can lead us to truths about players.
Where can you find these stats? Are all sites using these now?