Spurs’ individual rankings through 62 games

With 20 games remaining on the San Antonio Spurs’ 2013-2104 regular season schedule, here’s a quick glimpse of where their core players rank between 1-25 overall in the NBA using MySyngerySports.com data.

Read below for an explanation of what some of the metrics such as (PPP) Points per play, (OPPP) Opponent Points per play, and other relevant terms mean.

Offensive Rank

Tony Parker

·         1st in scoring off cuts (1.73 points per play)

·         17th in scoring as the pick-and-roll ball handler (0.94 points per play) – With the system San Antonio has built predicated on screens, motion, and ball movement, it’s never an easy night for a defense to defend Parker, as he can attack one-on-one, in the pick-and-roll, or as the data shows, off the ball as well.

Tim Duncan

·         4th in scoring off offensive rebounds (1.33 PPP) – With two key ways the Spurs attack teams coming off pick-and-roll plays, or spot-up shots, Duncan has the opportunity to grab offensive rebounds and put them back in for scores. Sometimes, Duncan even collects his own misses under the rim for points.

Manu Ginobili

·         11th in scoring off cuts (1.45 PPP)

·         18th in scoring off hand offs (1.02 PPP)

·         2nd in scoring off other plays (0.92 PPP) – Like Parker, Ginobili can also be a nuisance for a defense with his play off the ball. One of Ginobili’s preferred ways to score is in this sequence: 1) Call for a pick. 2) Go around the pick a few feet. 3) Give the ball back to the man setting the pick. 4) The man with the ball hands off the ball to Ginobili as he’s curling. 5) When Ginobili gets the ball back, he’s usually ahead of his chasing defender and is now in the paint, where he can attempt a score or pitch out to another teammate. For an explanation of “other” plays, read below in the explanation section. However, isn’t it just fitting for someone like Ginobili, who can be quite crafty to be ranked second in the league in scoring by other methods?

Kawhi Leonard

·         2nd in scoring on post ups (1.18 PPP)

·         3rd in scoring on isolations (1.09 PPP)

·         9th in scoring off cuts (1.47 PPP) – Though his points mainly come from transition opportunities, Leonard’s data projects him to be a playmaker either in isolation or post-up opportunities. Like Parker and Ginobili, Leonard is also very active off the ball in cutting to the rim – usually for dunks when a defense ‘falls asleep.’

Marco Belinelli

·         9th in scoring off spot ups (1.31 PPP)

·         15th in scoring off screens (1.13 PPP) – These two rankings are supported both by the data and by the eye test. If you watch a majority of Belinelli’s made baskets, they come from spot-up shots and when he’s curling off a screen for the reception and shot on a jumper. What’s more incredible is how Belinelli, in only his first season, has already found the perfect places to move and be ready for a pass, so that he can shoot an efficient perimeter shot.

Boris Diaw

·         13th in scoring in post ups (1.03 PPP) – Like Leonard, Diaw doesn’t get too many chances to post up, but when he does, he’s quite efficient in the post in converting the attempts into points. Where these small samples of data could become valuable are in the playoffs, if the Spurs see a mismatch with the team they’re facing. They know they can go to either Diaw or Leonard in the post during certain possessions, if the matchups present themselves.

Patrick Mills

·         5th in scoring off “other” plays (0.89 PPP)

·         8th in scoring off spot ups (1.32 PPP)

·         13th in scoring as the pick and roll ball handler (0.96 PPP)

·         19th in scoring off hand offs (1.00 PPP) – The eighth ranked in spot ups number isn’t too surprising, as Mills has historically been known as an outside shooter. The two areas where Mills has grown are in scoring as the pick and roll ball handler and scoring off hand offs. The month of February was important to Mills’ development as he became the Spurs’ primary option on offense for bulks of games, with Parker and other key core players out due to injuries.  

Danny Green

·         4th off cuts (1.58 PPP) – Though Green’s scoring mainly comes from his outside shooting, when he cuts to the rim in the half court, he’s actually very solid in scoring that way. The problem is that Green can’t always be slashing and cutting since the Spurs rely on his outside shooting to spread the floor for their ball handlers.



·         5th in defense off screens (0.59 opponent points per play) – Using his speed and ability to fight through screens, Parker is capable of chasing opponents who try to score by going around screens.


·         15th in defending the pick and roll man (0.74 OPPP) – The Spurs’ defensive system is committed more to defending the paint rather than putting forth all attention in mid-range jumpers. Because of this, Duncan patrols the paint and would rather have his opponents shoot 15-foot jumpers, rather than drive in. The maneuver continues to work as he’s ranked 15th in defending the pick and roll man on pick and rolls.


·         16th in defending the pick and roll ball handler (0.64 OPPP) – Ginobili too would rather live with his opponent making a 15-footer rather than going into the paint. When he gets screened, he usually sticks his hand in after the ball handler gets by to try to disrupt the play or he’ll try to block the shot late as long as it’s a pull-up jumper. Ginobili hustles if his opponent is driving in and either he recovers to help defend the shot, or one of his teammates is there for support in deterring the shot in the paint.


·         6th in defending hand offs (0.56 OPPP) – As Ginobili has said of Leonard lately, his long arms and large hands really help in making plays on the defensive end of the floor. When a hand off is usually an easy maneuver to pull off, Leonard can make it difficult with his long arms, quickness, and ability to recover when he’s a step off.


·         7th in pick and roll man defense (0.68 OPPP) – Diaw’s deceptive quickness make him a prime defender for more athletic forwards, or he can guard small forwards at times. Diaw is fairly efficient at contesting pick-and-pop mid-range jumpers or making sure to help in the paint when his man is rolling.

Danny Green

·         22nd in defending pick and roll ball handlers (0.66 OPPP) – Green too has a knack for knowing how to get around screens and recover to his man when defending the pick and roll ball handler.

Tiago Splitter

·         25th in defending post ups (0.67 OPPP) – Though he doesn’t look like the most athletically gifted athlete, Splitter knows how to move his feet and beat his defender to their favorite positions in the paint, while his large frame allows him to maintain position when receiving contact in the post.

Explanation of metrics

Per Synergy: (PPP) Points Per Play – A “Play” is always ended with a shot attempt, turnover or getting to the free throw line. PPP is the player’s total points, excluding technical free throws, divided by their total plays.

(OPPP) Opponent Points Per Play – It’s the same metric as PPP, only it’s measuring how much a team or individual limits the PPP from an opposing team or player.

Per Synergy: All Other Plays – This category includes any offensive plays that do not fit into any of the main play types. This category includes things like last second heaves from the back court and when a player is intentionally fouled and sent to the free throw line.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX, and the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. Paul has been featured on WOAI, Fox 29, and numerous nationwide radio shows.