HOW BAD ARE THE CELTICS AT EXECUTING 2-FOR-1 SITUATIONS?

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HOW BAD ARE THE CELTICS AT EXECUTING 2-FOR-1 SITUATIONS?

Post by bobheckler on Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:05 am

http://www.celticshub.com/2017/03/27/bad-celtics-executing-2-1-situations/



HOW BAD ARE THE CELTICS AT EXECUTING 2-FOR-1 SITUATIONS?




By Ryan Bernardoni



On March 27, 2017








Part of managing the end of quarters is generating extra possessions. Teams do this through clock management decisions usually referred to as a 2-for-1. The idea is that, if a team starts a possession with a certain amount of time left in a quarter, it’s better to take a lower quality shot that leaves enough time for a second shot instead of working longer for a better one.

The vast majority of the time this doesn’t matter. Management of these situations is the type of “extra 2%” edge that smart teams try to generate, though. A well executed 2-for-1 is believed to create around 0.6 additional points, on average, and in some games can stack if a single team gets lucky with opportunities.

Anecdotally, the Celtics have been terrible in executing 2-for-1’s this season. It feels like every week we see Terry Rozier (usually) dribble down from 40 seconds to 22, leaving the last shot to the opponent. Isaiah Thomas seems to manage the situations well but it’s one place where Evan Turner’s presence has been missed. I’ve spent enough time complaining about it this year so I decided to look into if Boston has actually been bad at it, or if there have just been some bad examples that stand out in the memory.

To do this, I took a collection of every shot taken in the last 48 seconds of quarters 1-3 in games within 15 points. Fourth quarters play out differently as teams are in end-game so I excluded those. I also removed blow-out situations, even early in the game, so as not to capture situations with low intensity and deep-bench units. This left me with over 11,000 shot events on the season.

I defined a “2-for 1 opportunity” (somewhat arbitrarily) as one where a team attempts a field goal or free throw with 40-48 seconds left in a quarter. The last shot in that time window creates an opportunity for the opponent. If the opponent attempts a FG or FT in the “2-for-1 zone” of 30-39 seconds left in the quarter, they are considered to have successfully attempted a 2-for-1.

If they do not get off a shot of their own in that specific period of time, they failed in the attempt. A failure can come from not securing a rebound after the opponent miss, turning the ball over, shooting too quickly or too late, or any other possibility resulting in no shot attempt. I am not measuring if the team actually got more possessions than their opponent, or even made the shots they took. I’m only trying to determine what teams are good at identifying the opportunity and trying to exploit it.

I found 1,569 total shots that created a 2-for-1 opportunity under this definition. For each one, I built a shot sequence through the end of the quarter that looks like this:




In the first example, Isaiah Thomas successfully executes a 2-for-1 opportunity by shooting with 32 seconds to go, leaving 8 seconds for the team to get a second shot even if the Warriors were to run out their shot clock. In the second example, Marcus Smart fails in the execution by shooting with 27 seconds left, not leaving enough time for a good 2-for-1. In both cases, a team did also get an end of quarter heave but not an effective shot.

With all of these sequences built, I then determined which team had the opportunity and their rates of success.


2-for-1 Opportunities by Team (2016-17)

Team..............................Successful 2-for-1 Starts.....Failed 2-for-1 Starts.....Success%
Toronto Raptors................37...................................13.............................74.0%
Utah Jazz........................39....................................14.............................73.6%
Dallas Mavericks...............30...................................13.............................69.8%
Los Angeles Lakers............34...................................16.............................68.0%
Golden State Warriors........31...................................15.............................67.4%
Portland Trail Blazers.........33...................................17.............................66.0%
Oklahoma City Thunder.......45..................................24..............................65.2%
Atlanta Hawks...................29..................................17..............................63.0%
Houston Rockets................35..................................21..............................62.5%
New Orleans Pelicans.........38..................................26...............................59.4%
Los Angeles Clippers..........27..................................20...............................57.4%
Philadelphia 76ers.............26..................................20...............................56.5%
Brooklyn Nets...................31..................................24...............................56.4%
Memphis Grizzlies..............27..................................21...............................56.3%
Charlotte Hornets...............28..................................22...............................56.0%
Cleveland Cavaliers............28..................................23...............................54.9%
Milwaukee Bucks................23..................................19...............................54.8%
Denver Nuggets.................36..................................30................................54.5%
New York Knicks................26..................................23................................53.1%
Washington Wizards............28..................................25................................52.8%
Phoenix Suns.....................27..................................26................................50.9%
Boston Celtics..................32..................................33................................49.2%
Indiana Pacers...................27..................................29.................................48.2%
Sacramento Kings...............27.................................30.................................47.4%
Chicago Bulls.....................21.................................24..................................46.7%
San Antonio Spurs...............25................................31...................................44.6%
Detroit Pistons....................20................................25...................................44.4%
Minnesota Timberwolves.......20................................32...................................38.5%
Orlando Magic.....................22................................36...................................37.9%
Miami Heat.........................16................................32...................................33.3%


League Findings

The first thing to note is that, at the team level, samples are still small. A team can look bad because they gave up a few more offensive rebounds than normal, or took a couple of shots with 29 seconds instead of 30. Still, the gap is wide between the top and bottom so there’s probably enough to say that certain teams are good at this, or focus on it, while other are not. A few of the famed purveyors of this skill, Lou Williams and DeMar Derozan, powered their teams to the top of the standings. The Mavericks have a collection of PGs in J.J. Barea, Seth Curry, and Yogi Ferrell who are willing to jack up shots without much encouragement. The Warriors have Curry, Klay, and KD who are all able to create a quick shot on almost any trip.

At the other end, the Heat may just not care. We saw this at the end of the half in their last game against the Celtics when they received the ball with 42 seconds left, took a timeout with 32 seconds, and shot at 20 seconds, voluntarily bypassing a 2-for-1 chance. The Magic have Elrid Payton playing PG, who doesn’t exactly have a 2-for-1 friendly game. The Timberwolves have a similar disadvantage with Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn.

The top-10 individuals players are:




A few general items to note are that there is little correlation between the quality of an overall offense and their ability to execute 2-for-1’s. There’s no correlation between defensive rebounding and 2-for-1’s, which I worried might skew this particular definition of an “opportunity.” To me, it looks to be more a philosophical choice for teams, or a function of luck, than something that teams would inherently be good or bad at. It’s looks like an advantage to have a scoring PG, but the Jazz are 2nd and don’t really have that while Boston have Thomas and are in the bottom-10 so it’s not just that.


Celtics Outlook

Boston does appear to be bad at executing 2-for-1’s, but as usual it’s not as simple as it seems. First off, Isaiah Thomas has eight successful creations on the season, tying him with seven other players for 13th. That’s not all that surprising. Much more surprising, to me at least, is that Terry Rozier is just behind him with seven successes of his own. However, all seven of these came before mid-December, meaning that he was as good as anyone in the league early on, but has been inept, or uncaring, since then. Marcus Smart has only four success on the season, one fewer than Kelly Olynyk, but his are more recent. It looks like Brad Stevens gave Terry control of the ball early in the season and he executed this well, but after a long period of poor execution, turned the responsibility over to Smart.

Again, this probably doesn’t matter all that much, but when a single playoff game can be decided by one point it’s better to be taking advantage of it than not. When Isaiah is on the court the team should be diligent about creating the opportunities and hopefully Rozier can get back to his early season level of execution. Boston could face Atlanta and Toronto in the playoffs and bleed a few points on late quarter execution. If the Celtics play the Heat and then Wizards, it’s possible everyone will just dribble the clock down as I rant on Twitter.




bob
MY NOTE:  This is a great example of how misleading stats can be.  It's one thing to use stats to support your eyeballs (or rebut your eyeballs), it's a whole other thing to use stats to create an argument.  As he pointed out, the sample size here is small, so therefore any conclusions made are weak.  Also, when I see the Lakers, who are the 2nd worst team in the league and doing everything in their power to be the #1 worst, are the fifth best team in the league at 2-1s I know that this is a UNimpactful stat.  The Spurs are 5th from the bottom?!  The Spurs?  They're a freaking machine!  The Brooklyn Nyets are 9 positions ahead of us?  What does all that say?!  It says to me he's right, things aren't this simple.  Better execution over the 11 minutes that are not 2-1 opportunities will make that quarter's final minute less relevant, and you will win or lose more games in those 44 total game minutes than in the 4 minutes of 2-1 opportunities. If you are counting on last minute 2-1s to win games for you you have bigger problems than that.

As Brad always says there is room for improvement.  Is this one of those areas?  Sure.  Squeezing every last effective, productive possession out of a game is in our benefit and could save our bacon one day, but ball don't lie.  We have 8 games left and are in 1st place in the EC for a reason and it isn't because our poor 2-1 executions have seriously hurt us.



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Re: HOW BAD ARE THE CELTICS AT EXECUTING 2-FOR-1 SITUATIONS?

Post by Shamrock1000 on Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:10 pm

Perfect example of someone getting in over their head with stats. Every writer and many casual fans now think they are the Billy Beane of basketball. Unfortunately most don't have even the most rudimentary understanding of statistics.

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Re: HOW BAD ARE THE CELTICS AT EXECUTING 2-FOR-1 SITUATIONS?

Post by worcester on Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:31 pm

All this makes me miss Sam even more.
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Re: HOW BAD ARE THE CELTICS AT EXECUTING 2-FOR-1 SITUATIONS?

Post by NYCelt on Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:29 pm

The by-line on this could have been signed "Bureau of Stupid Statistics."
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Re: HOW BAD ARE THE CELTICS AT EXECUTING 2-FOR-1 SITUATIONS?

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