We continue our introduction of new Vantage Stats that correct many of the problems inherent in using traditional statistics by looking at Help and Double Team Defense. For an overview of our project, please read our post on On-Ball & Screen Defense. As a reminder, we will introduce new statistics in the following categories:
5) Turnovers and Fouling
6) Shot Defense
8) On-Ball/Screen Defense:
- Keep in Front % (KIF%)
- Close Out Points Allowed
- Points Allowed Per Screen
- Effective Screen Defense Rate
10) Movement and Involvement
We are using data gathered at the recently completed Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT) to illustrate the Vantage Stats.
Double Team/Help Defense
Efficient team defense is dependent on the ability of the players on the court to act in concert helping after No Keep in Fronts (see On-Ball/Screen Defense), double teaming with speed and purpose, and closing out quickly on shooters. Vantage Stats measure the frequency and effectiveness of these skills.
Help Defense arises after a No Keep in Front by a teammate as the player attempts to stop penetration. Effective Help consists of keeping the offensive player in front, stopping scores, contesting shots, and disallowing assists, passes to missed open shots and crucial passes leading to assists/missed open shots (we call these four types of passes combined, Assist+).
Double Teams arise when a defender affirmatively moves to guard an offensive player who is already being guarded. Similar to Helps, an effective Double Team prevents the offense from scoring or getting an Assist+. Vantage Stats include parallel stats for both Double Team and Help, including Double Teams/Help Per 100 Chances, Points Allowed Per Double Team/Help, and Effective Double Team/Help Rate.
Double Teams/Helps Per 100 Chances
Double Teams/Helps Per 100 Chances is simply the number of Double Teams or Helps per 100 defensive chances. It measures a player's ability to play off the ball and recognize when a Double Team or Help is needed.
Points Allowed Per Double Team/Help
Points Allowed Per Double Team/Help measures just the points allowed during a Double Team or Help. A high number here means that the player is failing in his first responsibility, which is not allowing the offensive player to score during a Double Team or Help.
Effective Double Team/Help Rate is a broader measure that includes ineffective outcomes beyond just scoring, such as times when the player fouls and when he allows an Assist+ (see above for definition).
PIT Analysis of Help Defense
For the remainder of this post, we will focus only on Help Defense, as there were limited Double Team attempts during PIT (not surprising for defenses that had never played together and for defenders focused more on showing off their individual skill), but each of the following stats applies in the same way to Double Teams. Here are the 11 most active (highest Helps Per 100 Chances) help defenders at PIT along with their Points Allowed Per Help and their Effective Help Rate:
The tape shows the different styles of Help Defense of Jack Cooley (Notre Dame) and Reginald Buckner (Mississippi). Cooley is usually in better pre-Help position, which allows him to help faster and force the dribbler into quicker decision-making. However, this solid positioning is not accompanied by much athleticism and shot contesting. On the other hand, Buckner is usually in worse pre-Help position, meaning he has to move farther to provide help. However, Buckner is more athletic and is able to help quickly and contest a lot of shots (indeed, he boasted the highest Contest+ and Blocks Per 100 Chances in the tournament, which we'll detail in our Shot Defense post).
Overall, Buckner is the better help defender and shows the most upside if he learns to stay in better pre-help position and not rely so much on his athleticism.