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Post Timeout Performance

by Roland Beech, founder of nbatop.com

post timeout perforamnce in NBA Basketball

In the past we've made a few attempts at developing "coach ratings" with Stats for Mr. Simmons and Stats for Mr. Simmons, part II.

In addition another of our more popular efforts and an obvious statistical area to look at where a coach might be believed to have strong influence is in the possessions following a timeout. With time to draw up a play (or draw up the defense) and substitute in and out the desired players for maximum effect, the ‘first possession?following the timeout can be viewed as a mini-test of the coach’s in game strategies.

We posted two articles on this subject for the 2005-06 season: NBA '05-06 Post Timeout Performance and a follow-up Alternative Post Timeout Ratings after many readers wrote in suggesting that looking at the difference between overall performance and post-timeout would be more revealing (to which I actually disagree).

It's time though to look at the more recent 2006-07 season under the same spotlight. Using the regular season games we can compile a hefty sample size if we use all post-timeout action, which may include a fair amount of moments at less than crucial times, and especially in the early stages of games a timeout may be called less for the purposes of setting up the next play and more for discussing the way the game is going and what, ahem, might need to be changed (the proverbial ‘yelling at the players?stoppage). Still, these numbers should provide a decent read on how a coach’s play-scripting panned out. In addition this time we will also get to some Playoff specific post-timeout activity!

Offensive performance immediately following a timeout
The following numbers represent the immediate first possession after a timeout when the team was on offense and inbounding the ball.

2006-07 Regular Season
Rank
Team
FGM
FGA
FG%
FTM
FTA
T/O
Pts/Poss*
1  Phoenix 129 301 .429 199 239 50 125.0
2  Sacramento 150 344 .436 280 361 48 124.9
3  Washington 195 429 .455 255 346 69 121.6
4  L.A. Clippers 152 341 .446 280 345 76 120.5
5  Utah 117 272 .430 231 308 47 118.7
6  Dallas 161 361 .446 235 278 74 116.1
7  Boston 176 416 .423 243 305 66 115.8
8  New York 184 392 .469 245 330 77 115.8
9  L.A. Lakers 169 384 .440 207 272 68 115.3
10  Denver 144 347 .415 214 270 64 114.5
11  Memphis 170 404 .421 266 353 75 113.1
12  Detroit 173 411 .421 203 272 48 112.1
13  Golden State 148 330 .448 174 245 57 111.4
14  Miami 188 401 .469 183 265 86 111.4
15  Seattle 170 415 .410 259 325 83 111.3
16  Portland 203 469 .433 240 298 80 111.2
17  New Orleans/OK 148 388 .381 211 267 64 110.9
18  Orlando 157 393 .399 259 370 63 108.0
19  Toronto 164 387 .424 208 265 74 108.0
20  Minnesota 181 433 .418 216 286 72 107.7
21  Atlanta 190 453 .419 216 284 70 107.5
22  Houston 177 430 .412 204 253 76 107.4
23  San Antonio 173 393 .440 184 258 77 105.7
24  Chicago 166 374 .444 207 266 93 105.6
25  Charlotte 229 535 .428 203 283 90 105.4
26  New Jersey 186 476 .391 244 332 80 104.4
27  Milwaukee 156 388 .402 203 278 78 104.1
28  Cleveland 154 386 .399 190 286 66 102.1
29  Philadelphia 195 500 .390 250 332 92 101.2
30  Indiana 202 528 .383 192 252 101 100.3

*Pts/Poss = Points per 100 possessions, accounting for offensive rebounds

The makeup of a roster probably has a lot to say with how a team can go about designing and executing plays, so it's a little unfair to label these things "coach ratings" as a result. Along with that, by using a full season we're dealing with varying levels of intensity and degree of difficulty (a play post timeout in garbage time versus a last second shot with only one second to inbound and shoot).

Nonetheless these are the stats, yet since only six of the top ten most efficienct clubs are even playoff qualifiers, while five of the bottom ten made the postseason (including the two conference winners), it might be deemed a non-essential area! Just as important for a coach presumably is to set the defense coming back from a timeout -- being able to predict his opponent’s moves and ready the countering answer:

Defensive performance immediately following a timeout
...and the defensive equivalents

2006-07 Regular Season
Rank
Team
FGM
FGA
FG%
FTM
FTA
T/O
Pts/Poss*
1  Chicago 139 384 .362 189 252 97 93.1
2  L.A. Lakers 160 405 .395 265 346 77 105.8
3  Atlanta 144 352 .409 232 316 71 107.0
4  Memphis 154 392 .393 201 261 64 107.0
5  Miami 177 425 .416 188 253 86 107.1
6  Sacramento 154 376 .410 229 287 83 107.1
7  New Orleans/OK 164 412 .398 210 288 67 107.6
8  San Antonio 177 416 .425 165 231 50 107.6
9  Cleveland 163 403 .404 241 329 73 107.7
10  L.A. Clippers 149 383 .389 242 303 69 107.8
11  Minnesota 160 398 .402 211 274 71 108.8
12  Denver 178 409 .435 207 281 92 108.9
13  Charlotte 155 378 .410 214 291 64 109.1
14  Boston 167 389 .429 236 323 72 109.6
15  Detroit 184 437 .421 241 314 83 110.4
16  Orlando 166 398 .417 227 310 69 111.0
17  New Jersey 165 385 .429 220 272 73 112.1
18  New York 184 421 .437 222 284 80 112.2
19  Utah 170 405 .420 284 377 62 112.5
20  Dallas 178 420 .424 244 325 74 113.0
21  Phoenix 230 504 .456 245 324 81 113.3
22  Houston 182 425 .428 202 259 66 113.7
23  Toronto 182 407 .447 212 264 72 113.9
24  Portland 154 362 .425 245 299 63 114.6
25  Milwaukee 185 432 .428 243 325 71 115.2
26  Seattle 179 424 .422 221 283 73 115.5
27  Philadelphia 179 380 .471 180 242 66 115.8
28  Golden State 161 383 .420 261 340 74 116.1
29  Indiana 166 372 .446 231 314 52 118.3
30  Washington 201 404 .498 193 257 69 121.1

Aside from the -- Wow! Chicago was much, much the best at this -- there is again no real strong pattern of the best teams ranking high. Indeed five teams in the top ten and five teams in the bottom ten made the playoffs!

One more wrinkle to consider though is that teams during a timeout may not only plan what happens on the inbounds play but on the subsequent possession going the other way. We've also compiled stats for "offense 2" and "defense 2" where it is the second game possession following a timeout (the team on defense at the inbounds going back on offense and vice versa).

Rather than show the full stats though, we'll list each team with its rank in the various segments.

Overall Post-Timeout ratings
Let's try and combine the different post timeout scenarios into one rating.

Rank
Team
Off1
Off2
Def1
Def2
Score
Wins
1  L.A. Lakers 9 4 2 5 5.3 42
2  Sacramento 2 13 6 15 6.5 33
3  Boston 7 11 14 6 10.0 24
4  L.A. Clippers 4 23 10 22 10.9 40
5  Chicago 24 14 1 1 11.3 49
6  Phoenix 1 15 21 14 11.9 61
7  Utah 5 6 19 19 12.1 51
8  Memphis 11 29 4 25 12.4 22
9  New York 8 8 18 13 12.4 33
10  San Antonio 23 7 8 4 13.0 58
11  Detroit 12 16 15 8 13.1 53
12  Dallas 6 21 20 7 13.3 67
13  Miami 14 22 5 30 13.6 44
14  New Orleans/OK 17 18 7 26 14.5 39
15  Washington 3 9 30 11 14.9 41
16  Denver 10 28 12 29 15.4 45
17  Portland 16 3 24 2 15.6 32
18  Minnesota 20 25 11 10 16.0 32
19  Atlanta 21 30 3 27 16.1 30
20  Seattle 15 1 26 9 16.6 31
21  Toronto 19 5 23 3 16.8 47
22  Charlotte 25 2 13 21 17.1 33
23  Orlando 18 24 16 17 17.9 40
24  Cleveland 28 12 9 23 18.3 50
25  Golden State 13 10 28 24 19.6 42
26  New Jersey 26 19 17 16 20.5 41
27  Houston 22 27 22 20 22.4 52
28  Philadelphia 29 20 27 12 25.0 35
29  Milwaukee 27 17 25 28 25.1 28
30  Indiana 30 26 29 18 27.6 35

Legend:
Off1 = 1st Offensive possession post timeout when team had ball from inbounds
Off2 = 1st Offensive production when team was on defense coming back from the timeout
Def1 = 1st Defensive possession when team was on defense after the timeout
Def2 = 1st Defensive production when team was on offense coming back from the timeout
Score = weighted ranks formula: [3*Off1)+(3*Def1)+Off2+Def2]/8

So when you use our little two second formula, the L.A. Lakers come out on top as the best team in the NBA post timeout. Kudos to Phil Jackson? On the other hand, no one is going to claim Don Nelson is a bad coach just because the Warriors rank low in the post timeout stats!

These numbers are clearly more of a "fun value" at this stage, but what if we change it to "clutch" post timeout performance, meaning fourth quarter on of a close game (neither team ahead by more than five points)?

"CLUTCH" Post-Timeout ratings
This is the same combined scenario ranking, only for "clutch" moments of a game, defined as 4th quarter and overtime where neither team is ahead by more than five points. post timeout perforamnce in NBA Basketball

Rank
Team
Off1
Off2
Def1
Def2
Score
Wins
1  San Antonio 5 3 7 9 6.0 58
2  Miami 3 14 6 14 6.9 44
3  Dallas 11 11 2 18 8.5 67
4  New York 8 17 8 13 9.8 33
5  Utah 1 6 16 22 9.9 51
6  Chicago 18 13 3 8 10.5 49
7  Memphis 2 24 9 30 10.9 22
8  Orlando 12 29 1 21 11.1 40
9  Denver 9 26 4 28 11.6 45
10  L.A. Lakers 22 10 5 2 11.6 42
11  Houston 14 4 11 20 12.4 52
12  L.A. Clippers 7 18 12 29 13.0 40
13  Portland 4 2 26 17 13.6 32
14  Sacramento 10 5 23 15 14.9 33
15  Boston 15 28 14 4 14.9 24
16  Phoenix 20 7 13 16 15.3 61
17  Charlotte 21 1 21 1 16.0 33
18  Washington 6 8 30 19 16.9 41
19  Minnesota 26 16 10 11 16.9 32
20  Seattle 16 9 28 5 18.3 31
21  Toronto 23 15 17 12 18.4 47
22  New Jersey 13 12 29 10 18.5 41
23  Detroit 24 19 19 3 18.9 53
24  Philadelphia 19 20 24 6 19.4 35
25  New Orleans/OK 17 27 22 23 20.9 39
26  Atlanta 27 22 18 25 22.8 30
27  Golden State 25 25 27 7 23.5 42
28  Milwaukee 29 21 20 24 24.0 28
29  Cleveland 30 30 15 27 24.0 50
30  Indiana 28 23 25 26 26.0 35

Legend:
Off1 = 1st Offensive possession post timeout when team had ball from inbounds
Off2 = 1st Offensive production when team was on defense coming back from the timeout
Def1 = 1st Defensive possession when team was on defense after the timeout
Def2 = 1st Defensive production when team was on offense coming back from the timeout
Score = weighted ranks formula: [3*Off1)+(3*Def1)+Off2+Def2]/8

This looks better on the surface or from a "laugh test" perspective, since you get highly esteemed coaches like Popovich, Riley, and Johnson topping the charts. Still it's not going to win everyone over when NYK's whipping boy Mr. Thomas checks in at #4, and Don Nelson's Warriors still trundle around near the bottom.

Fun stats perhaps, but not the best way to judge a coach!


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