INSIDER – What stats correlate to winning.

The following is a look at certain characteristics of each NBA team and how much they correlate to winning. I have broken this into 4 parts the top 20% (6) of teams, the top 33% (10) of teams, the bottom 33% and the bottom 20%. For example, the top 20% of teams in offensive rebounding win at 46% percentage or the bottom 20% of team at forcing turnovers win at 47%. As you can see below you have to be great at offense or defense to win a lot. Some stats have no correlation to winning while others have a surprising correlation to winning.

The left hand column is the stat. The next 4 columns are teams at that stat. So the Top 20% (6 teams) in offensive efficiency win 71% of their games. The top 33% of teams in defensive efficiency win at 64% of their games.

EFG% – is effective field goal % which weighs 3 pt shots
DEFG% – is the defensive effective field goal%

STAT TOP 20% TOP THIRD BOTTOM THIRD BOTTOM 20%
Offensive Efficiency 71% 65% 40% 39%
Defensive Efficiency 63% 64% 30% 28%
Pace of Play 57% 46% 60% 46%
Offensive Rebounding % 46% 43% 50% 57%
Defensive Rebounding % 58% 56% 40% 44%
Turnover % 46% 47% 50% 58%
Defensive Turnover % 61% 52% 50% 47%
FTA per game 53% 52% 50% 39%
FTA allowed per game 55% 57% 40% 34%
EFG% 71% 65% 40% 37%
DEFG% 69% 65% 40% 39%
% of poss used for 3pt FGA 57% 53% 50% 52%

The items that jump out at me are …

  • Elite offensive teams win more than elite defensive teams but bad defensive teams have no shot
  • Bottom 10 pace of play teams win 60% – this may be skewed by a few teams but it is interesting that slower pace wins more
  • Offensive rebounding has no correlation to winning in fact the lack of offensive rebounding does. San Antonio and Boston do not believe in offensive rebounding because it negatively impacts the defense
  • Turnovers are totally overrated
  • Forcing turnovers has a real impact – surprised about this since I have always thought not forcing turnovers was helpful to defense
  • You can’t foul and win in this league
  • This game really comes down to the shot and defending the shot