Spurs Analysis: Individual Shot Creation

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While it’s not a perfect statistic to measure how many shots a player has to create by themselves, the Assisted Rate metric from CleaningTheGlass.com does provide a glimpse of which San Antonio Spurs players rely and don’t rely on other players to help them get their baskets.

When measuring this statistic, CTG is asking, ‘How often was the player assisted on their made shots?’

Basically, for someone like Davis Bertans, who is primarily a spot-up shooter, 93% of his made baskets have been assisted on, which means he relies heavily on others to create or move the ball to him, so he can take the shot most of the time. A 93% assisted rate means Bertans is in the 4th percentile among bigs, which is low in terms of shot creation.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, LaMarcus Aldridge is only assisted on 53% of his made baskets, which is in the 91st percentile (elite) among big men. When you think back to the eye test, this makes sense. With Kawhi Leonard unavailable for most of the season, the Spurs have had to rely on Aldridge’s post-up attack isolation ability when the drive-and-kick or pick-and-roll action just aren’t enough to get decent looks. This means most of Aldridge’s buckets come of out situations where he must create the scoring opportunity for himself.

Now that you’re more familiar with the assisted rate metric, let’s look at which Spurs players create most of their shots and then we’ll get even more detailed by looking at three specific areas of the floor – the rim, mid-range, and three. For this analysis, to make the list, players need to be in the 70th percentile or above at their position.

Overall

Player% of Assisted Made BasketsPercentile at Position
Rudy Gay49%94th among Forwards
LaMarcus Aldridge53%91st among Bigs
Kyle Anderson53%90th among Forwards
Manu Ginobili53%79th among Wings
Joffrey Lauvergne63%78th among Bigs

 

When you look at the five players above, the data supports what the eye test shows. When healthy, Gay can create off the dribble, out of the pick-and-roll, or from the post. Since Anderson doesn’t take many outside looks, he uses the space the defense provides to take defenders off the dribble and he can try to finish with a layup, try to get a foul call, or take the mid-range look. Despite being 40 years old, Ginobili is still one of the players at his position who creates off the dribble mainly with his pick-and-roll play, or driving ability when defenders close out on his 3-point shot. While Lauvergne mainly only plays when the Spurs are lacking big men due to injury, he has shown some craftiness in the low block with his post-up ability.

At the Rim

Player% of Assisted Made BasketsPercentile at Position
Aldridge55%81st among Bigs
Ginobili42%79th among Wings
Lauvergne57%78th among Bigs
Gay52%70th among Forwards

 

From Mid-Range

Player% of Assisted Made BasketsPercentile at Position
Aldridge47%85th among Bigs
Gay35%70th among Forwards

 

From Three

Player% of Assisted Made BasketsPercentile at Position
Gay64%96th among Forwards
Ginobili76%85th among Wings
Aldridge96%83rd among Bigs

 

Since February 1, the Spurs are spiraling in the wrong direction with a 3-10 record during that timeframe. Aside from Aldridge, Gay, Ginobili, and Anderson, some players who are playing a bulk of minutes but not in any of the categories above are Patty Mills, Danny Green, Dejounte Murray, Pau Gasol, Bertans, and Tony Parker.  Most of those players play out on the perimeter, which tells you that Ginobili is one of the few wings who can try to score without being assisted on the most among that group. That’s fine if Leonard is healthy but not so much when Leonard has missed most of the season.

The Spurs are limited with players who can create on their own and until Gay eventually starts getting back to the level he was playing at before suffering the right heel injury earlier this season, it’s going to continue to be difficult for Aldridge to have to carry the offense on most nights without a consistent second or third threat from the perimeter.

This is where Leonard becomes an X-factor. He’s reported to either return Tuesday or Thursday this week and though he only played in nine games with the Spurs, his small sample size shows that he will give San Antonio another shot creator on offense. Just check out what Leonard’s nine game sample size shows on assisted made baskets:

Overall: 23% of baskets made were assisted (100th percentile among Wings)

At the Rim: 12% of baskets made were assisted (98th percentile among Wings)

From Mid-Range: 12% of baskets made were assisted (95th percentile among Wings)

From Three: 64% of baskets made were assisted (96th percentile among Wings)

While part of those numbers were the team allowing Leonard to try to work from different areas on the floor to get comfortable, the other part is what makes Leonard an MVP caliber player when he’s fully healthy. He’s able to carry an offense by himself for stretches and if he’s able to stay healthy and figure out a balanced attack with Aldridge in the last 5 weeks of the season, he could help the Spurs get back on the right track.

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