A Stat Geek’s Guide to the Perfect NBA Offense

November 20th, 2012 by Ethan Sherwood Strauss Leave a reply »
The Basketball Analytics blog came out with a fascinating take on how to run an offense. I'd recommend that everybody read it in its entirety. Here are two hard and fast rules, as outlined by the piece: 

"(1) teams should take more threes and evenly distribute them among the players in each lineup (e.g. teams should spread the floor with multiple shooters) and (2) the role of initiating the offense should be narrowly defined, limited to few players"

I am in complete agreement with these rules, but there are limits to the application of these edicts. The Houston Rockets are attempting to apply this strategy, but to limited success. Currently, the Rockets rank out first in the NBA for three point attempts (via HoopData), averaging a whole two of them more than the second-ranked New York Knicks. 

So what's the problem? Well, Houston isn't making many of these threes. They're twenty-third in the NBA on three point percentage, probably because the greenlit players are just chucking. It's easy to tell your team, "Shoot many, many threes" and harder to rein that impulse in to only include open shots. 

James ...

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