This post takes a look at the four factors Dean Oliver believes leads to basketball success. More information on these advanced statistics can be found here.
The Indiana Pacers are bringing their league best record (17-2) into San Antonio Saturday night for what could be a realistic look ahead to the NBA Finals. Paul George has become a flat-out superstar since the Spurs last saw them, and Roy Hibbert has been down right destructive on the defensive end this season.
Here’s a look at how the Spurs matchup with the Pacers as far as the four factors go:
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Spurs – .539 (2nd)
Pacers – .495 (14th)
The Spurs get the nod in eFG%, and a big reason is Marco Belinelli. San Antonio’s Italian Stallion is shooting .563 from behind the arc, helping the Spurs become the 7th best shooting team from three point range. Having this ability, while coming off the bench, is quite defeating for the opposing defense. This is his shot chart from deep:
That, my friends, is nothing but green.
The Pacers are actually last in the NBA in FG%, but make up for it by hitting threes which tends send eFG% upward. Indiana ranks 19th in points per game (97.6) but doesn’t need very many when they are the most efficient team in the league defensively.
Turnover Percentage (TOV%)
Spurs – 14.2% (16th)
Pacer – 14.8% (19th)
The Spurs are turning over the ball on a fewer percentage of possessions than the Pacers, though it’s close. Both teams have solid point guards and are well coached on the offensive side. What will push this factor over the edge is whoever can create more steals on the defensive end, which may side with Indiana.
Offensive Rebound Percentage (ORB%)
Spurs – 20.1 (20th)
Pacers – 26.0% (13th)
Offensive rebounds are tough to come by for the Spurs. This could be due to how quickly they retreat back on defense after a shot goes up. San Antonio is actually a good rebounding team, tied first in the
NBA in defensive rebound percentage by pulling in 77.4%. This is just a matter of their positioning on offense. But this also means that Indiana is getting more second chance shots up, which can’t be great news for the Spurs with a scorer like Paul George.
Free Throws per Field Goal Attempt (FT/FGA)
Spurs – .153 (30th)
Pacers – .223 (9th)
This one looks rough because it is. The Spurs are one of the more efficient teams on the offensive side of the ball, which is great because they never get to the line. While the Pacers aren’t necessarily super great in this statistic either, San Antonio is dead last. To make things worse in this department, Indiana is 2nd in the league in free-throw percentage, hitting over 79%. Indiana has the upper hand in this factor by a long shot, but may not be able to display it because of how seldom San Antonio fouls opposing teams. The Spurs have committed the fewest fouls in the NBA so far.