John Wall’s touches, Chris Paul’s vision and more revelations from SportsVU
Sometimes numbers reaffirm what we already know, and sometimes they tell us something completely different. But when it comes to the new SportsVU statistics at NBA.com, chances are the numbers will be compelling regardless. The influx of information is changing the way we look at players and teams, whether from a proficiency or futility standpoint. With that in mind, here are 10 random, interesting facts we gleaned from SportsVU:
John Wall touches the ball more than anyone. The Wizards’ point guard averages 100.6 touches per game, but the NBA’s two leading scorers, Kevin Durant (43rd) and Carmelo Anthony (40th), aren’t anywhere close to the top, both averaging fewer than 70 touches.
Andrew Bynum is the slowest player in the league. The Cavaliers’ lumbering center runs at an average speed of 3.6 mph (almost 17-minute miles) during games, the slowest mark of any player averaging at least 15 minutes. Surprisingly, Rockets shooting guard James Harden is on his tail at 3.7. The fastest player? Spurs spark plug Patty Mills at 4.8 mph.
Chris Paul is the best passer in the league … by far. Not only does the Clippers’ guard average an NBA-best 11.9 assists, but he’s also tied for the league lead in secondary assists (or “hockey assists”) with 2.1 per game. Having Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to throw alley-oops to probably helps.
Brad Stevens is a wizard, not a Celtic. Just how good is the Celtics’ first-year head coach? He’s turned Jordan Crawford into one of the most efficient shooters in the league. Crawford owns a 51.5 effective field-goal percentage on pull-up jumpers, the best in the NBA among players attempting at least seven per game. That’s one of the reasons Crawford has raised his shooting percentage to 45.9, up from his career mark of 40.2 entering this season.
The Gasol brothers own the elbow. Both Marc and Pau rank in the top four in elbow touches per game. Younger brother Marc blows away the field at 18 (second-place Blake Griffin comes in at 12.6).
Roy Hibbert is the Defensive Player of the Year. The Pacers’ center is holding opponents to just 39.7 percent shooting at the rim, best in the league among defenders who field at least six attempts. His league-leading 66 blocks further validates his prowess in the paint.
Brook Lopez makes the most of his touches. The Nets’ center is averaging the sixth-fewest touches (39.2 per game) of any player averaging at least 30 minutes, yet leads the league in points per touch (10.2).
Kevin Love is the smartest rebounder in the league. No one positions themselves better than the Wolves’ power forward, who averages a league-best 13.8 boards. Love is within the vicinity of a rebound (defined by 3½ feet, according to NBA.com) 21.1 times per game, also the most in the league.
Don’t let Kyle Korver catch the ball. The Hawks’ swingman is not only averaging the third-most points in catch-and-shoot scenarios (9.2), but he’s also leading the league in catch-and-shoot percentage (53.2) among the 63 players who have at least four such attempts per game. Deny. The. Ball.
Even at 36, Manu Ginobili is still an incredible finisher. The Spurs’ guard is shooting 74.1 percent on drives (Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin is second at 65.4), the best mark of any player taking at least three per game.
SportsVU statistics courtest of NBA.com/stats.