In my last post I looked at shot selection and Guards. This time I am going to look at Wings, AKA small forwards.
Again, I used a two step Cluster analysis based purely on shot locations without regard to how good the player was at making shots from any particular spot. I only used players that played more than 150 minutes in the 2012-2013 season to limit complete noise. At some point I will probably need to redo the cluster analysis with more years of data if I ever want to do more analysis with it. But, like the Guard analysis this one gave me some interesting starter results.
Just like the Guards, Wings can be said to fall into clusters of players who try to get to the rim, Slash Wings, and three ball shooters, or what I am calling Stretch Wings. For the most part the cluster analysis output was pretty intuitive. Here are a couple prominent Slash Wings and Stretch Wings selected by top ePTS (Effective Field Goal percentage times shots).
|LeBron James||Slash Wing|
|Kevin Durant||Slash Wing|
|Carmelo Anthony||Slash Wing|
|Paul Pierce||Slash Wing|
|Chandler Parsons||Stretch Wing|
|Thaddeus Young||Slash Wing|
|Danilo Gallinari||Stretch Wing|
|Nicolas Batum||Stretch Wing|
|Kyle Korver||Stretch Wing|
|Martell Webster||Stretch Wing|
|Jimmy Butler||Slash Wing|
LeBron shot over 40% of his shots at the rim in the regular season according to HoopData, no wonder Popovich tried to pack the paint during the finals. Durant is also more of a Slasher than one might think, though clearly less than LeBron. Durant took 25% of his attempts at the rim and 24% behind the arc. By contrast Martell Webster, Kyle Korver and Batum shot over 50% of their attempts for three. Paul Pierce is probably the closest to switching clusters, which may actually happen next year as he gets a year older and is a little less able to convert at the rim.
The amount of 'stretch' appears to be pretty consistent between Guards and Wings. Stretch Wings shot an average of over 50% of their shots from outside the arc, very close to the Three Point shooting Guards. Slash Wings took 34% of their shots at the rim, just like the Slasher guards.
|COUNT||AVG Att at Rim||AVG Att at 3-9 Ft||AVG Att of Mid Range (10-15)||AVG Att of Long Two (16-23)||AVG Att of Three Pointer||AVERAGE of eFG|
There were also similarities in the non-shooting statistics the Stretch Wings had significantly better effective field goal percentages and better true shooting percentages, though difference isless dramatic because Slash Wings get to the line more often. The Slash Wings had better rebounding numbers particularly on the offensive end.
|COUNT||Avg TS%||Avg eFG%||Avg ORB%||Avg DRB%||Avg AST%||Avg TOV%|
As far as the advanced 1 number metrics go all of them liked the Slash Wings just a bit more, but overall they were fairly even. As with the guards, I am using Nathan Walker's xRAPM projection and a three year average Wins Produced per 48 from Arturo Galleti, while Win Shares and Daniel Meyer's ASPM is a two year average weighted by minutes.
|COUNT||Avg Proj xRAPM||Avg Wghtd 2 Yr ASPM||Avg WS/48||Avg WP 3 yrs|
Of course, the fact that both LeBron and Durant fall into the Slash Wing cluster helps the group scores on the player metrics.
I think both the Guards and the Wings look like there are probaby two fairly distinct styles of back court play. One leaning on shooting ability and stretching defenses, the other more on raw athleticism.
Next I will write up my findings on the Bigs. The Bigs are interesting since the Cluster analysis indicated three clusters, that I dubbed At the Rim, Hybrids, and Stretches.