Blazers and Magic: Inside the Numbers

» December 8, 2009 8:41 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

Synergy Sports’ video and play-type data, reportedly used by a majority of NBA scouts, coaches and general managers, is tagged according to categories such as Isolation, Pick-and-roll ball-handler, Spot-up shooter, Post-up, Hand-off, etc. If, for example, I wanted to look at Chris Paul’s pick-and-roll offense, I could watch hundreds of sequences with the click of a button. Needless to say, the database is a veritable treasure-trove of information, which is why I’m thankful the high-level scouting videos are only available to high-paying customers, because quite frankly, I’m afraid I’d never leave my home if I could watch any play, any time. Fortunately for us, two of SBNation’s finest team blogs — Blazers Edge and Third Quarter Collapse — obtained Synergy reports on the Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic. I’m going to limit the excerpting here, because you must view the data in its entirety to appreciate the depth of analysis.

Ben Golliver, Blazers Edge:

Overall, Synergy likes the ball in Roy’s hands this year. Synergy rates him “Excellent” in isolation and “Very Good” in the pick and roll when you include his passing ability. He also rates “Very Good” or “Excellent” in various pass out situations derived from pick and rolls.  However, those ratings drop a bit when you only look at Roy’s personal scoring effectiveness in the pick and roll. He drops to just “Average” in effectiveness when he calls his own number. Taken together, Synergy tends to confirm that the Blazers have been better off with Roy probing the defense and looking for his teammates rather than looking for his own shot off the pick and roll.

Perhaps most startling, though, is Roy’s unbelievable accuracy when he takes shots coming off of screens. As mentioned above, his overall shooting percentage this season is down four points from last year, currently resting at 44%. Yet when Roy catches and shoots off of a pick, regardless of distance, he is connecting at an astonishing 60.6% clip. This ranks him “Excellent” and in the 93rd percentile league-wide. What’s more, when Roy comes off a pick in his preferred direction (left), those numbers jump up to 68.8% from the field, or the 97th percentile league-wide.

Eddy Rivera, Third Quarter Collapse:

For the Magic, the only play-types the team is “Average” in is ‘Post-Up’ (15%) and ‘Isolation’ (7%). That’s it. In every other category, Orlando rates “Good” or higher. Isolations aren’t not a strength (0.87 points per possession) for the Magic, given that the squad rates in the middle-of-the-pack in that category with a rank of 50% – thanks, mostly, to Nelson (see numbers below).

Even though Orlando can score in isolation if need be, it’s not the prescribed manner by which Van Gundy wants the players to execute on offense. Inside-out, not one-on-one, is the mantra for the Magic on the offensive side of the ball (thus, working the basketball through the post can’t be ignored). But if push comes to shove, again, there are individuals on the team who can create shots on their own. Van Gundy has said a number of times that the best teams in the NBA have at least one player who can get shots at will and to have someone like that on the Magic, particularly Carter, is good.


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