Deep Thoughts by XstreamINsanity: Assists

When I visited today I saw that they had up the top 10 plays videos for everything. The season, each team, blocks, dunks, etc. Sadly, Brandon Knight was #1 for the season, blocks and Clippers. But as I watched the Clippers highlights, and after having reworked some things in my program that analyzes the Play-By-Play data, I started wondering: Could we be overvaluing assists as a whole?

You can easily compare a players stats on a number of websites and say Player X doesn't make as many assists as Player Y. But when I started thinking about the way players get credited with an assist, it made me start to wonder on the validity of assists. Take Lob City. They have a lot of fast break plays that end up in dunks. Many of these (and every team has them) fast break dunks are uncontested because it's from a steal and the player didn't get back on defense. To me, this assist doesn't mean as much to the PG's ability as making the right pass at the right time to a cutter, passing to the open man because you've drawn their player off of them when you drove to the hoop, or an alley oop dunk in traffic. Here is a video of two "valuable" assists sandwiched around what I don't think should be counted as an assist.

Now, in my program that I wrote to analyze the Play-By-Play data, I added in some code to determine how many times each player assisted another on each different type of shot. At first I thought there would only be a few kinds of defined shot types: Layup, Jump, Dunk, 3pt, etc. Boy, was I wrong. Here is a list of all the types of shots that were defined in the Pistons season Play-By-Play data (there may be others in the system that were executed by other teams.):

  • 3pt Shot
  • Layup Shot
  • Reverse Layup Shot
  • Running Layup Shot
  • Alley Oop Layup Shot
  • Driving Layup Shot
  • Driving Reverse Layup Shot
  • Running Reverse Layup Shot
  • Driving Finger Roll Layup Shot
  • Running Finger Roll Layup Shot
  • Finger Roll Layup Shot
  • Jump Shot
  • Running Jump Shot
  • Floating Jump Shot
  • Turnaround Jump Shot
  • Pullup Jump Shot
  • Fadeaway Jump Shot
  • Step Back Jump Shot
  • Driving Jump Shot
  • Turnaround Fadeaway Shot
  • Dunk Shot
  • Alley Oop Dunk Shot
  • Slam Dunk Shot
  • Running Dunk Shot
  • Driving Dunk Shot
  • Reverse Dunk Shot
  • Driving Slam Dunk Shot
  • Hook Shot
  • Driving Hook Shot
  • Turnaround Hook Shot
  • Running Hook Shot
  • Jump Hook Shot
  • Jump Bank Shot
  • Fadeaway Bank Shot
  • Hook Bank Shot
  • Running Bank Shot
  • Turnaround Bank Shot

Unfortunately, as you can see in there, either because the Pistons never had one or they don't keep track of it, but there's nothing that states Fast Break. But this would allow me to determine the frequency of assists a player has, to whom, and what kind of player they are. This could show patterns in different PGs to show who best fits that team.

Player Games Total Assists 3pt 3pt% Layups Layups% Jumpers Jumpers% Dunks Dunks% Rest Rest%
Calderon 28 185 37 20.00% 64 34.59% 55 29.73% 18 9.73% 11 5.95%
Knight 75 303 56 18.48% 95 31.35% 89 29.37% 46 15.18% 13 4.29%
Bynum 65 231 74 32.03% 71 30.74% 28 12.12% 50 21.65% 7 3.03%

The "Rest" column refers to any shot that has "Hook" or "Bank" in it, though I'm sure they could have been separated as some have "Jump" in it. I find it kind of interesting that Bynum assisted on the most (and quite higher percentage) of 3 pt shots considering he played a lot with Villanueva who shot a horrid 34.7% from 3 this year. I find it funny how the three people Bynum assisted to 3's the most was (in order) Villanueva (27), Daye (10) and Stuckey (9). But I guess I shouldn't find it that surprising. Calderon is the 3 point shooter in the starting lineup (he's assisted Knight on 14 3's), Knight only has 98 fewer turnovers than assists, and Bynum played on the second unit where most of our 3pt shooters were.

How much value do you put in analyzing the types of assists vs. the overall total? I actually have the full breakdown of assists by whom to whom for what kind of shot. Thought about making a complete FanPost for it, but it ended up being way too long. If you're interested in specific details, just ask and I'll share them.

FanPosts are user-created posts from the Detroit Bad Boys community and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all fans or the staff at DBB. The DBB staff reserves the right at any time to edit the contents of FanPosts as they reasonably see fit.

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