08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
to read

Stats don't lie: Offense rules in Round of 16

MIES (Switzerland) - The Basketball Champions League Play-Offs were interrupted abruptly due to the coronavirus outbreak, but six of the eight Round of 16 series concluded prior to the competition's suspension.

We delved into the stats of the ten teams that are still in the Play-Offs race - the six teams that completed a 2-0 sweep of their respective series and the four whose series was tied when the league was suspended - compared them with their corresponding stats in the Regular Season and found out that there is a common theme in the Round of 16.

Simply put, the vast majority of team that have been successful so far in the postseason achieved this on the basis of improved offense. In fact, and contrary to what you would expect, defense took the back seat in the Play-Offs and we saw a higher offensive output and accuracy across the board.

Let's have a closer look at some interesting advanced stat categories:


There is rarely such a uniform shift in the same direction as the one we observed in the offensive efficiency of the ten teams that are still in the Play-Offs race, compared to their offensive rating during the Regular Season.

Oostende improved by a whopping 13.5 points per 100 possessions, proving that the best way to get a win against the team that had the Regular Season's second-best defensive rating, Iberostar Tenerife, is to dramatically improve your offense! Nymburk, who improved by 11.8 points per 100 possessions and Zaragoza, whose output rose by 10.6 points, complete the podium here.

The only team that went against the tide is Hapoel, as their offensive efficiency reduced by 3.3 points per 100 possessions in the series against Peristeri. Jerusalem had of course the highest offensive rating - among all teams in the competition - during the Regular Season, so even after this drop they are comfortably in fifth place in this category.

-- Offensive Efficiency (or Offensive Rating) is defined as the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions. Green denotes improvement relative to the Regular Season --

Team Round of 16 Regular Season
 AEK 117.3 111.4
Casademont Zaragoza 115.9 105.3
ERA Nymburk 119.0 107.2
Filou Oostende 113.3 99.8
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 117.7 121.0
Iberostar Tenerife 114.8 111.9
JDA Dijon 118.4 109.4
Nizhny Novgorod 114.7 106.3
San Pablo Burgos 124.0 118.2
Turk Telekom 121.8 115.7




With the obvious exception of Hapoel, which as we saw above had a lower offensive rating in the Play-Offs and therefore it is unsurprising that their shooting accuracy and passing showed a slight decrease, the only surprise here is AEK.

The Greek team's effective field goal percentage declined slightly, their passing efficiency declined significantly, yet as we saw above they still managed to increase, albeit marginally, their offensive rating.

As for the teams that showed the larger improvement, Nizhny is definitely a winner here since their effective field goal percentage surged to 63.2 percent from 51.8 percent (that is a whopping 22 percent rise) and their assist ratio improved by 3.

Turk Telekom meanwhile were already very good in sharing the ball but still managed to improve remarkably in that aspect and reached an assist ratio of 23.9. That means that nearly one in every four Turk Telekom possessions ended in an assist, up from one every five possessions in the Regular Season.

-- The Effective Field Goal Percentage formula is (Field Goals Made + 0.5 X 3-Pointers Made) divided by (Field Goals Attempted). Assist ratio is defined as the percentage of a team's possessions that ends in an assist. Green denotes improvement relative to the Regular Season --

 Team Round of 16  Regular Season
AEK 52.1% 54.5%
Casademont Zaragoza 61.3% 51.0%
ERA Nymburk 57.1% 50.7%
Filou Oostende 56.4% 49.3%
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 56.1% 58.6%
Iberostar Tenerife 56.1% 54.6%
JDA Dijon 64.4% 55.6%
Nizhny Novgorod 63.2% 51.8%
San Pablo Burgos 60.0% 55.8%
Turk Telekom 62.8% 57.2%


 Team Round of 16  Regular Season
AEK 12.4 17.0
Casademont Zaragoza 19.4 17.2
ERA Nymburk 20.2 16.0
Filou Oostende 14.5 15.3
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 18.6 20.2
Iberostar Tenerife 18.7 20.0
JDA Dijon 19.6 19.9
Nizhny Novgorod 20.5 17.5
San Pablo Burgos 15.3 19.7
Turk Telekom 23.9 20.0




As you were suspecting, there was a reason why Hapoel's offense took a step backwards in the Play-Offs and yet they were still very good, and that reason is the Jerusalem side tightened the screws on defense and allowed 9.1 points per 100 possession less than what they did in the Regular Season.

The other two teams whose defense improved in the Play-Offs are Turk Telekom and San Pablo Burgos, while it can be argued that AEK and Nymburk maintained a roughly similar level of defensive efficiency, as they only gave up 0.7 point and 0.4 point more, respectively.

Nymburk were the best defensive team in the Regular Season and stayed in first place while Tenerife, who were second, experienced a very sharp drop of 17.7 points per 100 possessions. This is in fact the most drastic change we observed in Play-Offs stats.

The fact that seven of the ten teams' defensive rating decreased is of course contrary to conventional wisdom in basketball, which mandates that defense steps up in the play-offs, but as we noted at the top, teams were clearly much more offensive-minded in the Round of 16.

-- Defensive Efficiency (or Rating) is defined as the number of points a team allows per 100 possessions. Green denotes improvement relative to the Regular Season, yellow denotes no or little major change --

 Team Round of 16  Regular Season
AEK 107.8 107.4
Casademont Zaragoza 108.5 101.4
ERA Nymburk 96.1 95.4
Filou Oostende 114.8 104.7
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 103.3 112.4
Iberostar Tenerife 113.3 95.8
JDA Dijon 114.7 104.5
Nizhny Novgorod 118.4 104.1
San Pablo Burgos 111.7 112.0
Turk Telekom 101.4 104.7



Burgos had the highest offensive rebounding rate in the Regular Season but in the Round of 16 the Spanish team took it to new heights (quite literally) and they brought down 41.3 percent of available boards on the offensive glass in their series against Sassari. That is a truly outstanding, and possibly unprecedented, rate.

The Burgos feat in terms of offensive rebounding steals the spotlight from the remarkable achievements of Zaragoza and AEK on the defensive glass, as those two teams literally dominated the boards to such an extent that made opponents feel that grabbing an offensive board was out of the question.

 Team Round of 16 Regular Season
AEK 85.5% 67.0%
Casademont Zaragoza 85.7% 69.2%
ERA Nymburk 68.8% 69.9%
Filou Oostende 78.2% 71.9%
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 64.6% 65.8%
Iberostar Tenerife 69.8% 68.3%
JDA Dijon 66.7% 68.3%
Nizhny Novgorod 80.8% 71.3%
San Pablo Burgos 75.7% 67.6%
Turk Telekom 75.0% 72.6%


 Team Round of 16 Regular Season
AEK 30.0% 28.6%
Casademont Zaragoza 30.5% 33.6%
ERA Nymburk 35.1% 35.6%
Filou Oostende 30.2% 29.9%
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 29.9% 29.9%
Iberostar Tenerife 21.8% 27.6%
JDA Dijon 19.2% 23.0%
Nizhny Novgorod 33.3% 31.1%
San Pablo Burgos 41.3% 36.8%
Turk Telekom 16.7% 26.8%