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Distributing Responsibilities

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Keeping track of who was initiating the offense tonight was an eye-opener for me. My only regret is that I don't have a before to compare to this after. Doug Collins set the tone by declaring Andre Iguodala would shoulder more of the playmaking load as a point forward, let's see what happened in the road win vs. New Jersey.

Part of Collins further explanation of his original comments centered around his belief that they had four guys capable of getting the team into their offense, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Evan Turner. My basic goal in tracking this trend was to see how the playmaking responsibilities were shared, as a percentage.

A quick word on how I tracked. Who brought the ball up didn't matter. That's not what I was looking for. I was looking for where the ball was when the offense started, when a pick was set, when cuts were made, when the team started looking to score. For example, Jrue brings the ball up the floor, when he gets to the top of the key, Iguodala fakes taking his man baseline, then pops back out beyond the three-point line, receives the pass, then a pick comes for Iguodala. That's an Iguodala possession. The play was called to get Iguodala the ball on the wing, then start attacking the defense. Also, transition plays did not count. What I was looking for was straight half-court offense, where the defense was set and the Sixers were calling and running a play. They were making a conscious decision as to who would get the ball to make a play. There was one play where I legitimately couldn't decide who the play was for, probably because I'm pretty sure there was no play. New Jersey was in a zone, the Sixers basically played hot potato with the ball, passing it around the perimeter until someone heaved a contested jumper. That play is marked as "None" in the initiator column in the second half, basically the same as a transition play where nothing could be assigned.

Let's start with the summary, then look quarter-by-quarter. Possessions in the chart is the number of possessions on which the player was the playmaker, by design. % of total is the percentage of total possessions for the game the player was the playmaker. % while on the floor, is the percentage of only the possessions that player was actually on the floor for in which he was the playmaker. % in HC is the percentage of plays the player was on the floor for, when the team was in the half-court offense, in which he was the playmaker. Points is self-explanatory. PPP is the points-per-possession on the plays the player was the playmaker on. Hope that's all clear, if not, let me know in the comments and I'll try to do a better job explaining:

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OK, now I want to stay away from too much analysis here, but the key number, for me is % in HC. So half the time when Lou was on the floor and the team was forced into the half-court offense, Lou is your playmaker. He was the guy making the decisions, the guy handling the ball, the guy the offense was geared toward. I wouldn't put much weight at all in the points or PPP numbers because I only counted possessions. By that, I mean if the Sixers were in the half-court offense, Iguodala ran the play, and they missed a shot, Brand got the offensive rebound, kicked it out to Jrue who drove the lane and hit Meeks in the corner for a made three, that would be three points for an Iguodala play. I didn't re-set after the offensive rebounds. I just wanted a pure measure of possessions as playmaker, I only kept track of the points because it was easy to do. I don't think those numbers are meaningful.

Here's the quarter-by-quarter breakdown. I color-coded the initiator column so you can sort of see how the game flowed. Who was behind the wheel when.

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A couple numbers that I found interesting:

  • Jrue and Lou on the floor together
    • 35 total possessions
    • 26 possessions in the half court
    • Lou - 11 possessions (42.3%)
    • Jrue - 7 possessoins (26.9%)
  • Jrue and Iguodala on the floor together, without Lou
    • 30 possessions
    • 21 possessions in the half court
    • Iguodala - 11 possessions (52%)
    • Jrue - 9 possessions (43%)
  • From the numbers above, check out the percentage of plays in transition
    • With Lou - 25.7%
    • Jrue and Iguodala without Lou - 30%
Again, these numbers are completely in a vacuum. I have no idea what they looked like prior to Collins' change in philosophy. I have no idea if this game is representative of previous games in any way. The only thing this tells us, definitively, is that Jrue was not the primary playmaker in the half-court in any combination at the 1,2,3. He wasn't the primary playmaker, yet he finished with 11 assists, which is pretty impressive.

What do you guys think? Did any of these numbers shock you?