Defensive Box Scores: Sacramento Kings 2004-05 SeasonGame charting by Ed Peterson
Ed has charted all kinds of details for every visible play of the Sacramento Kings 2004-05 season and assigned defensive responsibility for field goal attempts, free throws, and turnovers. Admittedly many instances require subjective evaluation, and frequently the credit/blame is split between two players or even allocated to the "Team" as a whole.
Explanations: (all stats reflect assigned responsibility to a player).
Please note the RTG is not currently adjusted by the quality of the opposing player guarded, although this is likely to happen in the future!
Kings player defensive performance (through 1/30/2005)
It's interesting to compare the individual defensive "box score" data to the influence on overall team defense a player has when he is on the court
Player Team Defense Effect
Analysis: While on/off numbers have their issues (such as the raw versions do not adjust for the other players on the court at the time, nor are they taking into account the game state -- clutch vs garbage time, etc), there are some clear differences in how a player gets rated by the "defensive box score" approach to what that player seemingly contributes to the "greater defensive good" of the team defense. In particular a guy like the recently traded Doug Christie, long a player with an excellent defensive reputation, shows up as the second best on the Kings in team influence, yet was mediocre perhaps on the box score level. Certainly the 'box score' data does not capture how often a player simply deters his opponent from taking a shot, or even denies him the ball in the first place, and the team overall defense also gets at things like boxing out on rebounds and so forth.
Another good case is Chris Webber, who shows up in the middle of the team on the box score scheme, but is basically the worst in team effect if you ignore the seldom seen Michael Bradley. It's likely that when Webber is out there without Miller or Ostertag alongside that he can't provide the interior defensive presence that is lacking. Which gets to a point our friend Dean Oliver always raises -- Basketball is a game about roles.
For another deeper cut, we'll break down the box score data by contested versus uncontested shots:
Kings player defensive performance: Open vs Contested shots
There's all kinds of intriguing numbers you could create from the above: things like Free Throws per contested shot, Turnovers per contested possession, and so on. It's clear that big men give up fewer open shots on a percentage basis where they are assigned responsibility for the outcome from Ed, and how often a player contests a shot may not be a key indicator of individual defense either it seems -- playing good help defense may yield more open shots to 'your man' when the ball gets passed.
As it stands, measuring the value of an individual on the defensive front remains a work in progress...we'll have more to say on the subject in the near future!
For more data from Ed's incredible work on the charting front, see:
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