Five Interesting Outliers in Individual Statistics

Published 03/12/2016 by Mika Honkasalo
  • DeAndre Jordan ranks first in Points per Shot at 1.64. Emmanuel Mudiay has been the least efficient at 0.85.

  • Stephen Curry leads in Indirect Pass Rate at 20.17. Rajon Rondo ranks last at 6.83.

  • Cole Aldrich has the highest Roll% at 64.62. Patrick Patterson has the lowest Roll% at 9.45.

Nikola Vucevic – Post Passing Frequency

Among 100 qualified players, Vucevic leads the league in Assist+ Post% at 42.59. The player with the second highest rate is Boris Diaw at 37.30 percent.

Right now, Vucevic is getting repetitions to practice his passing from the post unlike any other player. Due to the lack of shooting on the perimeter for the Magic, mainly Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton, opponents are always doubling down on the post and are not uncomfortable leaving the player they are defending open on the perimeter.

For the season, Vucevic ranks 23rd among 161 big men in Assist+ per 100 Chances at 4.76, and he has been steadily improving as a post passer. Most of Vucevic’s assists come from doubling down on the post from up top, and he’s become great at making the quick read and on-target pass to the open shooter—though that shooter is often open on purpose.

Nerlens Noel – Deflections

Noel leads the NBA in Deflections per 100 Chances at 1.97. In the top 10 players in that category, there’s only one other big man—Paul Millsap, who ranks 5th at 1.59 Deflections per 100 Chances.

With quick hands, Noel bothers opponents in the pick-and-roll, and he’s an incredibly active and mobile defender. Noel’s long reach helps him reach for steals against unsuspecting players posting up on him.

This season, Noel is the only player to average both 1.9 steals and blocks per 36 minutes this season. Provided Noel continues on the same pace in steals, Noel could become just the fourth big man in NBA history with multiple seasons averaging over 2.0 steals per 36 minutes.

Ben McLemore – Getting Back in Transition

The Kings’ transition defense has been terrible this season, ranking 28th in the league with a 2.59 Beat Back on D Rate. Among players, McLemore ranks last by a mile among 274 qualified players with a 1.04 Beat Back on D Rate. The second worst player is Jordan Hill with a 0.96 Beat Back on D Rate.

As a unit, the Kings have a terrible floor balance, and often all five players are hanging around below the foul line after a shot is taken. Turnovers are another contributing factor, and the Kings rank 29th in TO per 100 Touches at 5.22. It’s almost impossible to have a great defense with a high turnover rate.

Tim Duncan – Blocking Shots to Teammates

Duncan is turning 40 years old in April, yet he still remains among the best defenders in the NBA. Duncan has a Points Against per Shot average of 0.85, ranking him number one in the league. Duncan’s Opponent Inside Shot% of 43.5 is is also elite.

In Block-to-Possession Rate, Duncan blows away the rest of the league 75.86 percent. No other player has a Block-to-Possession rate above 70.0, and the league average is currently 56.36.

The value of a blocked shot goes up when your teammates are able to collect it. Often, blocks are somewhat unexpected and being able to recover the possession puts the transition defense at a disadvantage.

Blocking a shot to the opponent only takes time off the clock, which is valuable, but if a player swats the ball randomly, blocks can also lead to surprising open shots the defense can’t cover. Blocking the shot out of bounds stops the clock, and teams that have clever inbounds sets are able to get good looks even in limited time.

Stephen Curry’s Hockey Assists vs. Rajon Rondo’s Assists

Among 72 qualified players, Curry leads the NBA in Indirect Pass Rate at 20.17, which is twice the rate of the positional average.

Teams double Curry on a ton of pick-and-rolls, and Curry has mastered making overhead and pocket passes to the roll man. Defenses have to rotate middle and that allows open shooters to get looks.

By now, everyone knows the effect Curry has on defenses. But in contrast, Rajon Rondo’s league worst 6.83 Indirect Pass Rate is interesting. Rondo leads the NBA in Assist+ per 100 Chances at 16.52, a category where Curry ranks 23rd.

A huge number of Rondo’s passes lead directly to a shot, whereas Curry’s effect is typically realized two or three passes down the line after the defense has rotated itself into impossible situations.