Tag Archives: Synergy Sessions

Synergy Sessions: Synergy Compliments Rajon Rondo’s Defense

Since you don’t have mySynergySports and we do, we won’t rub it in too hard and we’ll even field a few questions for you.

Courtesy BasketballReference:

If we went by the electoral college coaches vote, your Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, isn’t even close to being the DPoY. Maybe Synergy will say better for Tyson. All Best and Worst Points-Per-Possession ratings are for a minimum 10% of play type. The leader for each category is bold.

Tony Allen Overall Rank 108, 0.80 PPP – Best, P&R Ball Handler Rank 23, 0.63 PPP – Worst,  Spot-Up Rank 260, 1.01 PPP

Dwight Howard Overall Rank 48, 0.75 PPP – Best, Isolation Rank 25, 0.61 PPP – Worst, P&R Roll Man Rank 44, 0.84 PPP

Serge Ibaka Overall Rank 280, 0.88 PPP – Best, Isolation Rank 147, 0.77 – Worst, Spot-Up Rank 217, 0.96 PPP

LeBron James Overall Rank 166, 0.83 PPP – Best, P&R Ball Handler Rank 34, 0.66 PPP – Worst, Spot-Up Rank 268, 1.02 PPP

Chris Paul Overall Rank 108, 0.80 PPP – Best, Isolation Rank 62, 0.67 PPP – Worst, Spot-Up Rank 118, 0.89 PPP

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Kobe Bryant Overall Rank 166, 0.83 PPP – Best, P&R Ball Handler Rank 42, 0.68 PPP – Worst, Spot-Up (37.9% of time) Rank 251, 1.00 PPP

Tyson Chandler Overall Rank 108, 0.80 PPP – Best, Isolation Rank 17, 0.59 PPP – Worst, Spot-Up (30%) Rank 322, 1.08 PPP

Luol Deng Overall Rank 108, 0.80 PPP – Best, Isolation Rank 84, 0.70 PPP – Worst, Spot-Up Rank 173, 0.93 PPP

Kevin Garnett Overall Rank 108, 0.80 PPP – Best, P&R Roll Man Rank 8, 0.69 PPP – Worst, Isolation Rank 270, 0.93

Rajon Rondo Overall Rank 40, 0.74 PPP – Best, Isolation Rank 14, 0.58 PPP – Worst, Spot-Up Rank 110, 0.88 PPP

By the Synergy numbers, your DPoY is at best T-3 among the coaches candidates, with your real winner emerging from the cellar of the 2nd Team. Your 2011-12 SynergySports Defensive Player of the Year is *drum roll* Rajon Rondo.

Skype that.

Channing Frye is a true stretch 4, and Michael Beasley’s been gravitating further out in the last couple of seasons.

From sister site HoopData:

The Synergy offensive numbers:

Beasley certainly has the potential yet to become an all-around offensive force, unlike Frye who prefers to be primarily a deep threat as shown by his Spot-Up numbers. Beasley was actually more efficient from range than Frye in about half the tries, as both their HoopData and Synergy numbers show. Frye was actually quite a bit better in the Post than I’d expected, an area Beas clearly still needs a back-to-the-basket game in.

In short, while Beasley isn’t going to “awe” you with his threes, Mr. McAwesome, he’s quite capable of making them at a Frye Guy clip, at least in a couple less pops a game. In time he may develop a rep as someone who can’t be left alone on the arc, but in the meantime I hope you’re a fan of hero-ball, cause that seems to be Beasley’s specialty until further notice.

Mitchell clarified his tweet to say how will Randy Foye, now a Jazzman, complement the guys he’ll be playing with. Here’s the Jazz’s current depth chart courtesy the mothership (Logjam? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?).

The logjam on the Jazz isn’t where we keep hearing it is, but on the wing where Alec Burks will do his best to demand minutes every second of playing time he gets. Hayward played the third-most minutes on the team last year so it wouldn’t surprise to see Burks get those minutes at the 2 while Foye slides over to spell Mo Williams at the 1.

At media day, after Foye made one of the oddest analogies ever where he compared Utah to a PBS program with “lions hunting Gisele,” he said this:

Foye: “I’m a combo guard so I’m guessin’ I’ll be playing both.”

David Locke: “You’d rather play 2 than 1?”

Foye: “I would rather play 2 than 1.”

-David Locke with Randy Foye

Synergy actually likes Foye at either spot — his PPP numbers from last year, where he was primarily a 2, and his numbers from 2009-10, where he was primarily a 1, are very similar with an almost directly inverse proportion of percentage in his two most-used offensive play types.

2009-10 Foye was the P&R Ball Handler 43.8% of the time, connecting on 0.88 PPP, ranked 52 and took Spot-Ups 19.1% of the time, hitting a solid 1.06 PPP, ranked 84.

2011-12 Foye was the P&R Ball Handler 18.8% of the time, connecting on 0.82 PPP, ranked 59 and took Spot-Ups 40.6% of the time hitting on 1.03 PPP, ranked 88.

Whatever capacity Ty Corbin chooses to use him in he should be about equally effective, and if Hayward is out there at the 3 facilitating, defenses won’t be able to leave the .366 career 3-shooter Foye floating which should open up some paint space for young guns Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter to operate more effectively than last season when Utah had no consistent perimeter threat.

With a career 19.5 AST% Foye is a good fit for Utah who will help bring a measure of patience, balance, and order to a young second unit.

Synergy Sessions: Debut Edition

A relatively new tool in the world of advanced statistics, mySynergySports offers much in the way of furthering the conversation, as chronicled in HP’s Understanding Advanced Stats series. Author’s note: Please excuse the funky symbols occasionally encountered in older posts — they’re simply HTML leftovers from the Malaysian assault suffered earlier this year. The relevant content is still all there. One day I’ll get around to fixing up my previous posts, but for now my bucket is pretty full.

Synergy is unique in the stats world in it’s approach, giving researchers stats and annual ranks on players by the possession, specifically Points Per Possession (heretofore referred to as “PPP”), as well as logging and categorizing every possession by every player in every game in video logs on offense and defense. The defensive part is especially helpful since defense can often be difficult to quantify by straight numbers. Used in conjunction with other defensive stats we can now get a clearer picture of which players are truly having an impact on the D end of the floor.

However, Synergy is a subscription service with a finite number of ‘scripts available, so much of the basketball world doesn’t have access to these particular metrics. Never fear, we’re here to help!

First up, expounding on the #NBArank conversation on Carmelo Anthony, I got into an interesting exchange with a couple of New York Knicks fans and a Utah Jazz writer wherein I intimated that Melo has been basically the same player his entire career.

Aside from Melo and Big Al’s BasketballReference advanced stats, let’s see what we can find from Synergy, specifically in regards to passing and defense, two of the main points of contention in the convo. Both players posted career highs in AST% last season — Melo by a little, Al by a little more — but when it comes to Synergy, we don’t yet have specifics for the assist stat aside from being the Pick-and-Roll Ball Handler. Nevertheless, we can still learn something about how these players play offense by looking at the types of offensive plays they do post at Synergy. For instance, an isolation play is exactly what it says it is, and not assisted by a pass from a teammate.

As one would expect, Melo is primarily an Iso player, going to it 35.4% of the time, scoring a relatively meager 0.84 PPP on a mere 37.4% field goals, good for only 59th-best in the NBA. By contract, Al goes Iso only 6.3% of the time, scoring 0.83 PPP, 65th-best. Synergy has only been around for three seasons, but Melo went to the Iso about 37% of the time when with the Nuggets.

Jefferson’s go-to move on offense is obviously the Post-up, nearly half the time at 48.2%, scoring 0.96 PPP on 47.5% FGs, 18th-best in the NBA. The Post-up is Melo’s second-most common O play at 13% of the time where he lands 0.95 PPP on 44.3% FGs, good for the 21st ranking in the category. Melo should clearly be posting up more and going iso less. In Al Jefferson’s last year with the Minnesota Timberwolves he went to the Post-up an astonishing 57% of the time. His first year with the Jazz that dropped to 38% of the time. Clearly, once on a team known for passing Jefferson’s game met with adjustments.

Both players post their best PPP in the halfcourt offense on Cuts, a play made by slipping a defender, moving to the basket without the ball, then being found by a teammate. This would be Al’s second-most-used offensive play, 13.9% of the time, where he lands an astounding 1.27 PPP on 63.4% FGs. His last year in Minnesota Al Cut a paltry 6.8% of the time. He’s benefited greatly from the improved offensive system in Utah as compared to that in Minny. Melo goes to the Cut only 4.3% of the time, but he’s very successful when he does, posting 1.21 PPP on 61.1% FGs.

As for defense, in 2009-10 on Minny, Jefferson was overall ranked 299th giving up 0.93 PPP. In 2010-11, his first year in Utah, he leaped all the way up to 70th giving up 38.5% FGs on 0.82 PPP and only 0.74 PPP on 35.5% FGs on Post-Up defensive plays, which was 49% of the time. Surprisingly, his best D-ranking came this year on PnR defense, ranked 36th-best while giving up 0.83 PPP, his being the target of opposing PnRs about 10% of the time. 2011-12 saw some regression on defense, Jefferson falling back to 199th overall, giving up 0.84 PPP. His Post-up D remained solid giving up 0.77 PPP, and while he was targeted on PnRs less, 9.3% of the time, he gave up a not-so-hot 0.91 PPP. Clearly there’s work to be done here on Al’s part. It may worth noting here that Al Jefferson is one the top three clutch-time shot-blockers, so we know he’s capable of a better effort when the chips are down. Utah was in a lot of late-game situations last year.

2009-10 Carmelo saw him ranked a lowly 398th overall on defense, giving up 1.03 PPP in Iso situations, 0.98 in Post-Up, and 1.01 on Spot-ups, his three most common defensive stances. Remember, there’s only about 400-450 active NBA players at a given time, so that’s really bad. 2010-11 saw a moderate improvement to 331st overall, but he was still giving up nearly 1.00 PPP in most defensive situations. As noted by both Knicks fans and Clark, Melo improved — for him — fairly dramatically on defense last season for New York, giving up 0.84 PPP overall, good for a 240 ranking. His Post-up defense was an incredible 0.52 PPP, good for 2nd in the NBA, although he is quite a bit bigger than much of his competition at the 3-spot. He showed little interest for chasing his man, however, posting a dismal 1.13 PPP on D in Spot-up situations, ranked 344th. It’s pretty clear Melo still only plays D when it suits him, and I’d bet without looking that he leaks out in transition often on said Spot-ups.

RAY’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!

With his third team in just over a year’s time, and before we bounce to PDX, it should be noted that Felton wasn’t even close to the same player in NY as in Denver, where he was a cog in the Carmelo force-out trade. Obviously, he is primarily a P&R Ball Handler, an average of 42% of the time for an average 0.81 PPP, but his role changed dramatically in Iso and Spot-up between the two locales.

In New York he rarely went Iso, only 7.8% of the time, good for 0.80 PPP. Once traded to Denver Iso became more prevalent, 10.9% of the time, but good for only a measly 0.59 PPP on 28% FGs. This negative effect was counteracted, though, by the most stark contrast to be found, in the Spot-up game. With the Knicks, Felton took Spot-ups only 8% of the time, whereas once in the Mile High City it skyrocketed to 19.8% of the time, 1.25 PPP on almost 48% FG shooting. Where Felton scores best seems to be in Hand Off situations. There were far more of these in New York where it was 9.4% of his offensive game, good for 0.95 PPP. In Denver he only did so 2.7% of the time, but hit on 1.44 PPG, on 66.7% shooting.

On defense he was again two different players between the Knicks and Nugs. As the PnR Ball Handler on D he went from giving up 0.88 PPP in NY to 0.71 in Denver. In Spot-ups he went from giving up 1.24 PPP to 1.04 PPP. But these gains were negated Off Screens where in NY he gave up only 0.64, to Denver where he failed to fight over or through screens properly giving up 1.26 PPP.

Once in Portland Felton played Ball Handler less often, 39.6% of the time where he scored poorly at 0.70 PPP, only ranked 116 on 40% FG shooting. The Spot-up trend obtained with the Nuggets continued where he did well 17.8% of the time for 0.99 PPP, but shot only 37.8%. Isolation, never a strength, was seen nealry 10% of the time, but he scored only 0.74 PPP and 33.8% FGs. The Trailblazers were a bad fit. But that’s not news to you.

Felton wasn’t awful defensively for Portland, defending the PnR Handler 45.9% of the time and holding him to 0.79 PPP, but that’s where the D highlights end. In Iso, Spot-up, and Off Screens he gave up at least 0.90 PPP, and was particularly susceptible to opposing Post-ups, giving back 0.97 PPP.

It will be interesting to see what Mike Woodson does with Felton now back in New York once again, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Hey, at least he’s reportedly less fluffy.


In case you haven’t yet been apprised of how Enes Kanter spent his summer, he spent it in a way that would make Vince McMahon proud.

Kanter posted up 112 times, 30.2% of the time he was on the floor on offense, but scored only 0.79 PPP on his man. Yes, he had trouble getting above the rim. Billed as a rebound beast coming in, he certainly lived up to that end of the deal where he’s extremely fundamentally sound, going glass 25.6% of the time, scoring 0.97 PPP on Offensive Rebounds, a massive proportion of percentage on O. He was most successful on Cuts, 17.5% of the time for 1.14 PPP. A pretty clear pattern emerges here for the Jazz, that being ball and player movement, where their big men can get easy looks.

On defense Kanter still has some work to do where he gave up 1.05 PPP in Post-ups. He showed some promise on PnR defense, but didn’t defend it enough to qualify for a ranking, and often lost his man in the screen switch.

It’s exciting to see a player work so hard to buff up in the offseason. I just hope he worked on his basketball skills just as hard.

If I didn’t get to your Synergy Session question this time keep ‘em coming, I’ll be sure to fit you in in future posts.

Send mySynergySports questions to @Clintonite33 on Twitter, hastag #SynergySession