Monday, August 15, 2011

The Accelerators: Point Guards who Pick up the Pace

When Pooh Jeter took the court for the Sacramento Kings last season, his teammates had to be ready to run. Based on a metric comparing team pace with and without each NBA player on the court, Jeter increased the pace more than any other point guard.

The Kings had 4.1 more possessions per 48 minutes when Jeter played versus when he sat. Only three players at any position – who saw at least 750 minutes in 2010-11– surpassed him.

This stat is just one way to put words into numbers and tell a story. While a scouting report saying a player pushes the ball is strong evidence, it becomes even more powerful when hard statistical information backs it up.

Three starting one guards followed Jeter in this category: Jose Calderon, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry. Jeff Teague, another backup point known for his quickness, placed fifth.

This metric may not always demonstrate speed. Calderon, for example, could excel at getting the Raptors a good shot early in their offensive sets. So while he’s not the type of guard who usually pushes the ball, Toronto still played faster with Calderon in the game.

This stat does get influenced by who shares the court with each point guard. Obviously, you can’t run if your teammates can’t keep up. It also matters who plays the same position for their team.

Nonetheless, NBA agents now have another tool to show how their free agents can impact clubs looking to up the tempo.

1 comment:

  1. Does this statistic also get influenced by how fast the other team is playing? If the other team consistently shoots earlier in the shot clock, that could lead to more possessions for the team you are evaluating.