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EUROLEAGUE PROSPECTS: NBA DRAFT CLASS OF 2006 A statistical overview

NBA Statistical Analyst Steven Houston

by Steven Houston, 6/13/06




The Euroleague is regarded as the best quality basketball league outside of the USA. Only the top sides from each National league qualify to play in it each year. It is a breeding ground for many rising European stars. A special European interest is being held in this year’s draft with it being widely predicted that the young Italian, Andrea Bargnani, will be picked as either 1st or 2nd with LaMarcus Aldridge.

Insight into the Format of the Euroleague:

The Euroleague is currently contested in four phases.

The first phase is the regular season in which 24 teams participate. These teams are then divided into three groups of eight. Each team plays two games against every other team in it’s group and at the end of the regular season the field is cut from 24 to 16. The surviving teams are then divided into four groups.

The second phase, known as the Top 16, then begins. As in the regular season, each Top 16 group is contested in a double round-robin format.

The third phase, the quarterfinal round, has been played since the 2004-05 season. Previously, the group winners advanced to the Final Four. Now, the first-place team from each group is matched against a second-place team from another group in a best-of-three series, with two of the three possible games scheduled at the first-place team's home court.

The Final Four, held at a neutral site, features the winners of the four quarterfinal series in one-off knockout matches. The semi-final losers play for third place; the winners play for the championship. CSKA Moscow defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 2006 single game finale.

A statistical overview

In this overview I want use some of the advanced statistical analysis that has been developed in the past 2 years mainly relating to NBA basketball to evaluate player performance in Europe. Essentially one of the key cornerstones of the analysis is to look at the numbers in terms of 'per possession' as opposed to per game.

Using these various rating factors I have produced Quartile breakdowns (‘Quartile trees? for each player. This allows you to see which attributes they are competing efficiently. All Quartile and Ranking positions are based solely against Guards, Forwards or Centers only dependent on the highlighted player’s own position.

All stats are based on the Euroleague Season 2005/6



Andrea Bargnani
Power Forward, Benetton Treviso
1985

Overall, Bargnani is a very efficient player. He attained High Field Goal Percentages (eFG%, TS%), PSA and most impressively the 5th highest PER rating amongst all Forwards in the Euroleague. His high % Poss shows that he is comfortable using a large number of the possessions when on the floor. His other extremely positive attribute is his block ratio, which is very high for a forward.

His Quartile 2 attributes give some interesting insight into his inside game. He has a solid Rebound Rate and FTA/FGA %. His FTA/FGA % highlights that although favouring his outside shot, he is able to get to the line. Despite a Good Rebound Rate my worry is that with the much more physical inside presence in the NBA I would anticipate his early Rebound Rates to be lower.

The 2 most worrying stats are his assists and turnovers. Even for a forward he has a very low Assist Ratio (Lowest on team). This has to raise some questions concerning his distribution and passing ability. He also has an above average Turnover Ratio (Joint highest on team).

Bargnani has been hailed by some commentators as the next Dirk Nowitzki. Others are more comfortable calling him the next Detlef Schrempf. I’m much happier with a cross between the two, Dirk Schrempf if you will. I can’t see him developing a powerful inside presence very quickly but I can certainly see him being a go to guy in the NBA and the next European star.

Quartile 1
Statistic Value Rank
eFG% 59.6% 15
TS% 63.2% 14
PER 23.2 5
PSA 1.26 14
BlockR 8.8 11
%Poss 24.0% 12

Quartile 2
Statistic Value Rank
RebR 27.3% 37
PProd 8.9 29
StlR 12.4 32
FTA/FGA 45.4% 29

Quartile 3
Statistic Value Rank
ToR 15.0 53

Quartile 4
Statistic Value Rank
AstR 4.6 88


Tiago Splitter
Center, Tau Vitoria
1985

Quartile 1
Statistic Value Rank
eFG% 59.9% 6
TS% 60.4% 9
PER 20.6 7
PSA 1.21 9
StlR 12.7 8
FTA/FGA 74.6% 8

Quartile 2
Statistic Value Rank
PProd 8.8 12
AstR 6.4 20
ToR 13.6 17
%Poss 20.9% 18

Quartile 3
Statistic Value Rank
RebR 28.8% 26
BlockR 5.1 27


Key Points

  • Very Efficient Field Goal Percentages (eFG%, TS%) and PSA ranking
  • High PER rating
  • High Steal Ratio
  • Good Ability to get to the foul line
  • Low Rebound Rate
  • Low Block Ratio


Yotam Halperin
Shooting Guard, Union Olimpija
1984

Quartile 1
Statistic Value Rank
PER 18.2 15
PProd 12.9 9

Quartile 2
Statistic Value Rank
eFG% 53.7% 40
TS% 58.9% 36
PSA 1.18 36
AstR 20.2 32
ToR 13.3 41
RebR 12.9% 34
StlR 12.5 26
%Poss 20.1% 39

Quartile 3
Statistic Value Rank
FTA/FGA 27.2% 57


Key Points

  • High PER rating
  • Solid Field Goal Percentages (eFG%, TS%)
  • All round consistent player
  • Ability to get to the foul line is only attribute that rates below average


Damir Markota
SF/PF, Cibona
1985

Quartile 1
Statistic Value Rank
RebR 32.5% 18

Quartile 2
Statistic Value Rank
eFG% 54.5% 35
TS% 55.9% 43
PER 15.7 41
PProd 6.8 47
PSA 1.12 43
BlockR 3.5 36
%Poss 20.9% 39

Quartile 3
Statistic Value Rank
AstR 7.0 75
ToR 16.2 65

Quartile 4
Statistic Value Rank
StlR 4.1 94
FTA/FGA 21.5% 79


Key Points

  • High PER rating
  • Solid Field Goal Percentages (eFG%, TS%)
  • High Rebound Rate
  • Doesn’t get to the line very often
  • Poor Steal Ratio
  • Low Assist Ratio


Panagiotis Vasilopoulos
Shooting Forward, Olympiacos
1984

Quartile 1
Statistic Value Rank
eFG% 59.4% 16
TS% 61.6% 17
PSA 1.23 17
RebR 31.0% 24
BlockR 7.3 13

Quartile 2
Statistic Value Rank
PER 15.3 48
AstR 12.4 27

Quartile 3
Statistic Value Rank
PProd 6.3 52
StlR 7.3 72
%Poss 17.9% 61
FTA/FGA 23.2% 75

Quartile 4
Statistic Value Rank
ToR 18.0 81


Key Points

  • High Field Goal Percentages (eFG%, TS%)
  • Good Shot-blocker
  • High Rebound Rate
  • High Turnover Rate
  • Doesn’t get to the line very often


Paulius Jankunas
Power Forward, Zalgiris Kaunas
1984

Quartile 1
Statistic Value Rank
PER 18.2 24
PProd 10.2 17
RebR 31.6% 20
FTA/FGA 53.8% 17

Quartile 2
Statistic Value Rank
TS% 55.7% 45
PSA 1.11 45
ToR 12.2 29
BlockR 2.4 43
%Poss 21.9% 31

Quartile 3
Statistic Value Rank
eFG% 49.7% 56
AstR 9.4 57

Quartile 4
Statistic Value Rank
StlR 2.8 100


Key Points

  • High Rebound Rate
  • High PER rating
  • Good Ability to get to the foul line (FTA/FGA)
  • Poor Steal Ratio
  • Below average eFG%


Kosta Perovic
Center, Partizan
1985

Quartile 1
Statistic Value Rank
PProd 9.3 9
StlR 15.6 2

Quartile 2
Statistic Value Rank
TS% 56.0% 19
PER 17.2 19
PSA 1.12 19
ToR 14.9 21
FTA/FGA 61.1% 13

Quartile 3
Statistic Value Rank
eFG% 50.5% 23
BlockR 5.4 22
%Poss 19.3% 27

Quartile 4
Statistic Value Rank
AstR 3.4 37
RebR 22.7% 40


Key Points

  • 2nd highest Steal Ratio amongst all Centers
  • Solid PER and PSA ratings
  • Average Field Goal Percentages (eFG%, TS%)
  • 5th lowest Rebound Rate amongst all Centers
  • Low Assist Ratio


GLOSSARY OF EUROLEAGUE TOOLS USED

eFG%
Effective field goal percentage; This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. For example, suppose Player A goes 4 for 10 with 2 threes, while Player B goes 5 for 10 with 0 threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%).

TS%
True shooting percentage; This statistic adjusts for a player's performance at the free-throw line and thus considers their efficiency on all types of shots.

PER
PER is a rating developed by John Hollinger, author of Pro Basketball Forecast. In Mr. Hollinger's words, "The PER sums up all a player's positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player's performance. It is currently regarding as the premier ‘overall rating?in evaluating player performance.

PProd
Points produced; Dean Oliver's measure of offensive points produced. It doesn’t simply look at the number of points a player has at the end of the game but also takes into account points generated by a player in dishing assists, offensive rebounds etc. This rating was developed by Dean Oliver, author of Basketball on Paper. See book for details.

PSA
Points per shot attempt.

AstR
Assist Ratio; Assist ratio is an estimate of assists per 100 possessions.

ToR
Turnover Ratio; Turnover ratio is an estimate of turnovers per 100 possessions.

RebR
Rebound rate; Rebound rate is an estimate of the percentage of missed shots a player rebounded while he was on the floor.

% Poss
Estimate of the % of teams possessions that a player uses when on the floor. With 5 players on the court the average is 20%. This rating was developed by Dean Oliver, author of Basketball on Paper. See book for details.

FTA/FGA
Highlights how often a player gets to the line in relation to how often they shoot.


Acknowledgments

Over the past 2-3 years tremendous strides have been by the statistical community in helping the basketball world become more conscious of the tremendous insight into player/team evaluation that statistics can bring. I regard people such as Dean Oliver, John Hollinger, Dan Rosenbaum, Roland Beech, Daryl Morey to name a few as pioneers. With groups such as APBRmetrics the importance of theirs and other tools will continue to grow. My aim is only to further interest in this field and generate further discussion.

The great sites and books used to generate this article include:

www.sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/

www.basketball-reference.com

Basketball On Paper: Rules And Tools For Performance Analysis by Dean Oliver

Pro Basketball Forecast: 2005-06 (Pro Basketball Prospectus) by John Hollinger

Author

Steven Houston is a European based analyst. He is currently in the process of compiling similar statistical insight for every national European league since their conception. You can contact him at [email protected] with your thoughts, comments and insight.


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