Over at Black Shoe Diaries, they write a weekly Big Ten wrap-up that contains something they call a Tempo-Free Aerial. It is basically a scatterplot where each team in the Big Ten is plotted according to their offensive and defensive efficiency. This lets us know what makes each team good, bad, or mediocre. Some teams succeed with great defense (Wisconsin). Others rely more on offense (Michigan). Others just suck at both (Penn State). What's cool about the chart is that it's an easy way to see how teams do what they do.
I thought it might be interesting to do something similar but at a slightly lower level of analysis. In the Tempo-Free Aerial, they think of a team's overall success as a combination of two factors, offensive and defensive efficiency. We can also think of a team's offensive success as a combination of two factors--getting shots and making shots. Making shots can be represented by effective field goal percentage. Getting shots has to do with limiting turnovers and collecting offensive rebounds. In the chart below, I quantify "getting shots" as the number of shots a team could expect to take over the course of 100 possessions. (Generating the number requires a few unrealistic assumptions, but I don't think it makes much difference, and I doubt you care about the details.) Anyway, using those two numbers, we can arrange teams to see how they generate their offense--by getting shots or making shots.
One caveat is that my analysis only makes use of three of the four factors statistics--effective field goal percentage, rebounding percentage, and turnover rate. It completely ignores free throw rate. As a result it misses some important detail about a team like Indiana that really lives at the line.
Anyway, without further ado, here's the chart.
I think what's most interesting about this is to see the extent to which merely shooting better or merely getting more shots can make a difference. During Big Ten play, Purdue's offense has outperformed Nebraska's by about 7 points per 100 possessions, and nearly all of that is due to getting more opportunities through offensive rebounding and limiting turnovers. Or, to focus on the other dimension, Ohio State has outperformed Penn State by 14 points per 100 possessions, and that's nearly all attributable to their solid shooting.
Anyway, I hope this is interesting for stat-heads out there. When I have a few more spare minutes, I'll try to make a similar chart for defense as well.
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