As mentioned here in an earlier post, the use of advanced analytics is becoming more and more popular as teams are constantly looking for effective competitive advantages.
Kirk Goldsberry and Eric Weiss of Harvard University recently presented a paper at the Sports Analytics Conference that summarizes two case studies that they used to measure interior (post) defense in the NBA.
The studies essentially track and measured two things: 1) How many shots were taken when a specific defender was within 5 feet and 2) What were the shooting percentages of those shots.
The results suggest that Dwight Howard of the Lakers is the biggest deterrent in the NBA – opponents just don’t shoot the ball very often when he is in anywhere close to them.
However, Larry Sanders of the Bucks appears to be the best interior defender as opponents only make 34.9% of their shots whenever he is within 5 feet of them.
On the other end of the spectrum, offensive players shoot 54.2% when Anderson Varejao is “protecting” the basket.
While this information may not apply directly to your own team, it does give us another way to evaluate post defense -are our post players good defenders, bad defenders, or deterrents?
To see the entire Goldsberry and Weiss paper and to dive into more basketball studies similar to this one visit Sloan Sports Conference.