Stats don't lie: The best teams so far
MIES (Switzerland) - Conventional wisdom states that offense wins games while defense wins championships, so which are the best teams on both ends of the floor in the 2019-20 Basketball Champions League?
We are almost at the halfway point of the Regular Season, and therefore we have a sufficient sample size to delve into the stats and try to answer that question. Be warned though that you might find some of the findings rather surprising!
A glimpse at the stats tab of the BCL website will tell you that UNET Holon are the highest-scoring team in the competition, averaging 92.5 points per game, that Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem have (by far) the highest 2-point field goal percentage at 62.6 percent and that Holon also lead the league in three-point shooting, as they convert an eye-popping 45 percent of their shots behind the arc, on average.
The team with the highest rating offensive rating however, and therefore arguably the 'best offense' of the competition so far, is San Pablo Burgos. How is this possible, you ask, if the Spanish team's shooting is nowhere near as accurate as that of either of the Israeli teams (this becomes apparent in the effective field goal percentage table further down)?
Burgos lead the league in offensive rebounding and score a lot of second-chance points, while their up-tempo pace also helps them get a lot more possessions than average.
Note that all five top teams have a 3-3 or better record.
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY TOP-5
|San Pablo Burgos||121.4|
Offensive Efficiency (or Offensive Rating) is defined as the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions
Best Offense...For Real?
Rather than asking ourselves whether Burgos is truly the best offense in the competition, a better question is probably whether the factors behind the Spanish team's high ranking are so sustainable in the long term.
Just how well a team shoots the ball doesn't vary enormously throughout the season, and effective field goal percentage is possibly the best way to measure shooting prowess. The eFG% table gives us a completely different snapshot of the best offenses so far, with Holon and Hapoel Jerusalem leading the way.
The two Israeli teams are also in the top-5 on the assist ratio table, which suggests that their high shooting accuracy is the result of their ability to generate more open looks. Note that all teams in the top-5 of the effective field goal percentage are currently holding a positive win-loss record.
EFFECTIVE FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE TOP-5
|Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem||57.5%|
|Happy Casa Brindisi||56.3%|
The Effective Field Goal Percentage formula is (Field Goals Made + 0.5 X 3-Pointers Made) divided by (Field Goals Attempted).
ASSIST RATIO TOP-5
|Polski Cukier Torun||21.8|
|Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem||20.0|
Assist Ratio is defined as the percentage of possessions that end in an assist
TURNOVER RATIO TOP-5
|Polski Cukier Torun||10.0|
Turnover Ratio is defined as the percentage of possessions that end in a turnover
It is truly remarkable that we find four of the top five defenses of the competition in Group C. Iberostar Tenerife, the only team to still march unbeaten in this season's BCL, have the second-best rated defense in the competition, right behind ERA Nymburk. Group D joint leaders JDA Dijon are the odd team out in the defensive top-5, just to prove that C...doesn't stand for defense.
Another way of course to read these findings is that Group C doesn't include any truly formidable offensive teams, so defenses might appear better than they would be in a vacuum, and that is also a valid interpretation.
A noteworthy detail is that all teams in the defensive rating top-5 hold a 50 percent (or better) win-loss record.
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY TOP-5
Defensive Efficiency (or Rating) is defined as the number of points a team allows per 100 possessions
No Shooting Please
The defensive prowess of Peristeri, Nymburk and Tenerife is partially explained by how successful they defend shots from within the three-point arc.
When it comes to long-range shooting, BAXI Manresa make it practically impossible for opponents to hit a shot, so there is a lot to be said about the way the Spanish side runs teams off the three-point line.
An important detail here is that Turk Telekom are the only team that, in a way, defends both two-point and three-point shots equally effectively.
Those who believe that defense is the hallmark of a winning team will probably consider that Filou Oostende and Falco are destined to climb in the standings in the second half of the Regular Season - the Belgian and the Hungarian team, both at 2-4, are the only teams here with a record lower than 50 percent.
OPPONENTS' 2-POINT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE TOP-5
(opponents' percentage, so lower is better)
OPPONENTS' 3-POINT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE TOP-5
(opponents' percentage, so lower is better)
Battle On The Glass
Coaches the world over insist that they cannot possibly overstate the importance of getting the rebound, but out stats so far this season suggest that dominating the boards is not a guarantee of success. The most consistent rebounding team in the competition so far is Telenet Giants Antwerp, yet they stand at 2-4 in Group B, while none of the five best defensive rebounding teams is currently holding a win-loss record better than 50 percent!
OFFENSIVE REBOUND RATE TOP-5
|Team||Off. Rebound Rate|
|San Pablo Burgos||39.7%|
|Telenet Giants Antwerp||36.2%|
DEFENSIVE REBOUND RATE TOP-5
|Team||Def. Rebound Rate|
|Besiktas Sompo Sigorta||74.7%|
|Telenet Giants Antwerp||73.9%|