Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top post defenders in the NBA (2013)

This week I'm working on an article and study regarding Synergy Sports Postup stats (both offense and defense) in order to expand my understanding of the NBA game, as well as improve upon my NBA 2K Post Offense/Defense rating formulas. 

I figure it can't hurt to tease with the top post defenders in the NBA. A lot of people criticize Synergy's raw data but I'd say they look pretty damn accurate when implementing tighter controls.

Synergy's flaw is that it "ranks" every player with 26+ possessions (a paltry number, leading to nearly 300 qualifiers) and does not differentiate by position.  It's extremely important to distinguish position when comparing the ranking.  Tony Parker (0.69 Points Per Possession Allowed) may have a better "score" than Tim Duncan (0.75 PPP allowed) but a point guard is going to be hopelessly outmatched against a center, or even a big wing.  Given such a contrast in the quality of opposition, positional context is required for the data to make sense.

Not only have I broken things down by position, but also raised the possession requirement from 26+ possessions to 100+ possessions.  This should help us avoid statistical anomalies that are more likely to occur with smaller sample sizes (Hamed Haddadi's 0.53 PPP allowed in 30 possessions is a key example).  I'm looking strictly at NBA players who played regular minutes.

CENTERS (Median Poss% = 36, Range = 23-51)
0.58 Dwight Howard
0.64 Tiago Splitter
0.64 Tyson Chandler
0.64 Kevin Garnett
0.65 Marcin Gortat
0.66 Marc Gasol
0.70 Larry Sanders
0.72 Nikola Pekovic
0.73 Robin Lopez
0.73 Joakim Noah
0.73 Chuck Hayes
0.74 DeMarcus Cousins
0.75 Tim Duncan
0.75 JaVale McGee
0.76 Emeka Okafor
0.76 Festus Ezeli
0.77 Andre Drummond
0.78 Kosta Koufos
0.78 Chris Kaman
0.79 Al Horford
0.79 Al Jefferson
0.79 Roy Hibbert
0.80 Elton Brand
0.81 Chris Bosh
0.81 Kevin Seraphin
0.83 Kendrick Perkins
0.83 Bismack Biyombo
0.84 Jonas Valanciunas
0.84 Epke Udoh
0.85 DeAndre Jordan
0.85 Omer Asik
0.86 Greg Stiemsma
0.88 Brook Lopez
0.89 Nikola Vucevic

0.89 Lavoy Allen
0.90 Spencer Hawes
0.93 Greg Monroe
0.94 J.J. Hickson
0.97 Greg Smith
0.98 Meyers Leonard
1.01 Tyler Zeller

POWER FORWARDS (Median Poss% = 28; Range = 21-40)
0.64 Carmelo Anthony
0.71 Josh Smith
0.71 LaMarcus Aldridge
0.73 Shane Battier
0.75 Pau Gasol
0.75 Nick Collison
0.76 Zach Randolph
0.76 Brandon Bass
0.79 Tristan Thompson
0.79 Jason Thompson
0.79 Lamar Odom
0.80 Paul Millsap
0.81 Udonis Haslem
0.81 Jason Maxiell
0.83 Luis Scola
0.84 David Lee
0.84 Serge Ibaka
0.84 Amir Johnson
0.84 Boris Diaw
0.86 Carl Landry
0.86 Ryan Anderson
0.88 Blake Griffin
0.88 Markieff Morris
0.89 Thaddeus Young
0.89 Kenneth Faried
0.89 David West
0.90 Carlos Boozer
0.90 Anthony Davis
0.92 Patrick Patterson (HOU)
0.96 Derrick Williams
0.97 Dante Cunningham
1.02 Ersan Ilyasova
1.06 Reggie Evans

SMALL FORWARDS (13-16 Poss% for these elite SFs)
0.72 Jeff Green
0.75 Metta World Peace
0.84 Jimmy Butler
0.87 Paul George

NO QUALIFIERS for Shooting Guard or Point Guard position. (J.R. Smith was close w/ 99)

Given the low number of SFs who qualified (it's certainly worth noting the ones who did), I'm going to lower the bar for the perimeter positions to squeeze out the top performers at each position.

SMALL FORWARDS (80+ poss; Range = 9-16%)
0.71 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
0.72 Jeff Green
0.75 Metta World Peace
0.75 Kevin Durant
0.78 Luol Deng
0.80 Caron Butler
0.80 Paul Pierce
0.84 Jimmy Butler
0.87 Paul George
0.88 Chandler Parsons
0.89 Evan Turner

You may notice the absence of LeBron James.  I myself am a bit shocked given that Synergy includes playoff games in their data. LeBron had 99 games and 3,837 minutes under his belt, yet still did not qualify.  LeBron recorded only 50 post defense possessions across that time, and it made up only 5.6% of his defense (surprisingly low given his defensive acumen and the fact that he's playing more PF than ever before).  He had a ton of success when he did defend the post, with 0.56 PPP allowed (6th best mark in Synergy's database).

LeBron's 0.56 PPPA
 in those 50 possessions is a great example of why I placed these restrictions on the data, as his overall mark is great but he's defending postups half as much as other small forwards.  Sample size is definitely an issue given that his mark is so far ahead of the pack.  LeBron may very well be the best post defender at the SF position, but we need more data to conclusively say that.

SHOOTING GUARDS (65+ poss; Range = 8-11%)
0.61 Kevin Martin
0.71 Danny Green
0.78 James Harden
0.82 Monta Ellis
0.88 Dwyane Wade
0.91 Luke Ridnour
0.93 J.R. Smith
0.93 Arron Afflalo
0.95 Klay Thompson
0.94 Lance Stephenson
1.06 Jason Kidd
1.06 Randy Foye

POINT GUARDS (50+ poss; Range = 5-8%)
0.69 Isaiah Thomas
0.67 Tony Parker
0.75 Chris Paul
0.80 Raymond Felton
0.81 George Hill
0.86 Ty Lawson
0.89 Jarrett Jack
0.98 Damian Lillard

I have thoughts on each of these, but you'll have to wait until the completion of the article.  For now, enjoy!


Justin Eword said...

so according to those stats
carmelo anthony has the best post defense statistics for players playing the pf?

Rashidi said...

Yes but it's important to note that Melo doesn't guard centers, and he did play some SF last year. Having a low score doesn't mean his post defense is on par with Kevin Garnett.

Justin Eword said...

right right right
i figure that which is why i said statistics
still it is pretty hard to believe from the outside looking in

The Failers said...

Rashidi thank you for this article, now how would you translate this into NBA2K stats ? I mean, for example would you rate Splitter post-D better than Duncan ? I'm currently working on a project to re-adjust every players rating, maybe you'll be interested.