We’ll that’s been fun. We’re almost halfway through the NBA season at the turn of the new year. Samples are no longer small, standings make more sense, and pretender teams have faded away. Our ever growing and updating daily Forum Blue & Gold NBA data spreadsheet can tell us much about this NBA season. Here are some of my key takeaways from each of the spreadsheet’s major tabs, which you can peruse at your own pleasure at any point by going here.
*These projections are based off of how teams have played so far (this is key) and their remaining games (specific teams, rest days, home/away).
- The Lakers, who peaked in the low 40s earlier in the year, are now projected to be tied for the worst record in the league
- Watch out for the Raptors. They’re 24-10, but are playing like a 60 win team.
This tab shows the POE and win projection for each of the 30 NBA teams. The difference between the teams’ win percentage so far and their expected win percentage based on their POE and remaining schedule is shown. In addition, team strength of schedule so far, moving forward, and overall is shown.
- 24 of 30 NBA teams’ win percentage so far is within 5% of their expected win percentage. Three teams are playing far worse than their record would indicate and three are playing much better than their record shows.
- Atlanta (10.6%), Dallas (7.0%), and New Orleans (5.9%) have played better than you’d think from their records so far. Expect them to win more moving forward if they continue to play as well as they have so far.
- Chicago (7.1%), San Antonio (5.9%), and Phoenix (5.6%) are playing worse so far this year than their records would lead you to believe. Kawhi being added to the Spurs should take them off this list in time, but the Bulls and Suns may have regression looming.
- Based on POE, the teams with the hardest schedule so far have been: Philadelphia, Memphis, Sacramento, Chicago, and Dallas. The teams with the easiest schedule so far have been Phoenix, Minnesota, Cleveland, Golden State, and Houston.
- The teams with the hardest remaining schedules are: Phoenix, New York, Portland, Chicago, and Brooklyn. Memphis, Dallas, Charlotte, Miami, and Golden State have the easiest remaining schedules.
This tab allows you to select any player and see which players have offensive styles most like theirs based on their play type frequencies. This isn’t an efficiency, impact, or talent comparison. Purely style.
- Here is the top player comp for each of the top 10 draft picks this year (and Ben Simmons)
- Markelle Fultz – Wesley Iwundu
- Lonzo Ball – T.J. McConnell
- Jayson Tatum – Tobias Harris
- Josh Jackson – Buddy Hield (lol)
- De Aaron Fox – Tyreke Evans
- Jonathan Isaac – Lance Thomas
- Lauri Markkanen – Marreese Speights
- Frank Ntilikina – Tyler Ennis
- Dennis Smith Jr. – Austin Rivers
- Zach Collins – David West
- Here is the top player comp for each of the top 10 draft picks last year
- Ben Simmons – Dejounte Murray
- Brandon Ingram – Kyrie Irving
- Jaylen Brown – Wilson Chandler
- Dragan Bender – Davis Bertans
- Kris Dunn – Elfrid Payton
- Buddy Hield – Tim Hardaway Jr.
- Jamal Murray – Kyle Lowry
- Marquese Chriss – Draymond Green
- Jakob Poeltl – Bismack Biyombo
- Thon Maker – Pascal Siakam
- Here is the top player comp for each of the top 10 players this year in season Points Over Expectation
- James Harden – John Wall
- Anthony Davis – Willie Cauley-Stein
- Stephen Curry – Bradley Beal
- LeBron James – Dwyane Wade(!)
- Kyrie Irving – Brandon Ingram
- Jimmy Butler – Andrew Wiggins
- Al Horford – Pau Gasol
- Giannis Antetokounmpo – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
- Jayson Tatum – Tobias Harris
- Kevin Durant – Jrue Holiday
These are just the top comps for each player. The top 5 players can be found on the spreadsheet, as well as each of their similarity scores with the chosen player.
Player POE, CPOE, & DPOE Data
These tabs show the overall scoring, offensive scoring, and primary defensive impact of individual players, broken down by play type.
Offense – CPOE
- The gap between first place James Harden (170.9 season CPOE) and tenth place Kevin Durant (82.0 sCPOE) is as large as the gap between tenth place KD and 263rd place Derrick Rose (-6.9 sCPOE). He’s having quite a year.
- James Harden, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, and Anthony Davis lead the NBA in season CPOE.Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jusuf Nurkic, Marcus Smart, and Russell Westbrook are the bottom five.
- Steph Curry has scored the Warriors 115.8 points above the expectation this season. Lonzo Ball has been the anti-Steph Curry and cost his team 112.1 points vs what an average player would be expected to score on the same possessions.
- The player with the highest expected points per possession who has at least 10 possessions per game is Clint Capela at 1.073 ePPP. The lowest is Sean Kilpatrick at 0.873 ePPP.
- Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker, DeMar DeRozan, and Tyreke Evans are the league leaders in pick and roll ball handler CPOE. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Caris LeVert, Ricky Rubio, and De’Aaron Fox have the lowest PnR BH CPOE.
Defense – DPOE
- Al Horford has saved the most points as a primary defender of any player this season with opponents scoring 80.5 points below the expectation when he was guarding them. Jarrett Jack has the worst DPOE of any player, conceding 59.9 points more than expected on the possessions he faced.
- Tony Snell, Kevin Durant, and DeMarcus Cousins have saved the most points in iso of all players. Otto Porter Jr., Jonas Jerebko, and Dragan Bender have the worst iso DPOE figures.
- Known dominant post presence James Harden obviously checks in at first among all players in points saved defending the post, with a -22.9 post DPOE. KCP has the worst post DPOE of all players at +18.2.
- Anthony Davis (0.832) and Marc Gasol (0.834) have roughly the same defensive PPP. But Davis’ expected defensive PPP was 0.959 and Gasol’s was 0.872 PPP.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder have the highest trio of defensive players by DPOE with Steven Adams (7th), Raymond Felton (8th), and Andre Roberson (9th) all in the top ten. Jerami Grant is also 14th.
Overall Scoring & Primary Defense – POE
- There are 11 rookies with positive points over expectation figures: Jayson Tatum, Damyean Dotson, OG Anunoby, Alec Peters, John Collins, Donovan Mitchell, Derrick White, Luke Kennard, Jordan Bell, Tyler Dorsey, Kyle Kuzma
- The highest rookie POE last season was Malcolm Brogdon’s 0.5 POE. That was outside the top 100 players last season. This year’s rookie POE leader is Jayson Tatum, whose 2.6 POE is 14th among all players.
- The top 10 NBA players in POE are: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Lou Williams
- Ish Smith has been the definition of mediocrity when it comes to POE. He’s the only player with a 0.0 season POE.
- Josh Jackson, Dennis Smith Jr., and De’Aaron Fox have the three lowest season POE figures.
Team CPOE Data
This tab of the spreadsheet show us how each team compares in CPOE, broken down by play type.
- The top three teams in half court CPOE (so every play type but transition) are Cleveland, Houston, and New Orleans. The bottom three are Chicago, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.
- The Warriors have scored 96 transition points more than an average team would be expected to score if given the same number of transition possessions, 1st place in the league. The Lakers are last place with 65.8 points scored below the expectation.
- The Portland Trail Blazers have scored 87.9 points more than the expectation from their pick and roll ball handlers, most of any team. They have negative CPOE values for eight of the other 10 play types. The Lakers are last place with 72.9 points scored below expectation.
- The Rockets have scored 111.4 points above the expectation in isolation alone, more than any team for any play type. The next highest team in isolation CPOE is the Clippers, who have scored 47.7 points more than the expectation.
- There are 11 total play types. The only team with a positive CPOE in all 11 is Cleveland. Houston (10), New Orleans (9), Minnesota (9), Milwaukee (8), and Atlanta (8) round out the top six teams. The Lakers, Kings, and Bulls are all only above average in two play types each.
Team Offensive Styles
This tab of the spreadsheet shows each Synergy play type and what percentage of each NBA team’s offense is generated from those possessions. NBA average points per possession data is used from each play type along with these percentages to calculate team expected points per possession.
- The three teams with the lowest percentage of their offense coming from pick and roll ball handler possessions are 1st, 3rd, and 4th in overall offensive points per possession.
- The top two teams in transition frequency are the Lakers (20.01%) and Warriors (19.40%). The Dubs have had 2 more transition possessions than LA and have scored 164 more points.
- The Warriors have the highest expected points per possession (ePPP) based on their play type profile and the highest actual points per possession (aPPP) as well. The Pacers are 2nd in ePPP and 8th in aPPP. The Lakers and Bulls are 3rd and 4th in 3PPP but are 30th and 28th in aPPP, respectively. They are 1st and 2nd in the degree of which they’re underperforming their ePPP.
- The teams most over performing their ePPP with their aPPP are the Rockets, Cavs, Warriors, Pelicans, and Timberwolves.
- Only one team has 10% or more of their offensive possessions from cuts. There’s also only one team with 10% or more of their offense coming from off screen possessions. The Warriors are both of those teams.