As someone who each week watches about a dozen NBA games for a living, I have my fair share of pet peeves. Like many fans, I lose my patience with the glitchy League Pass whenever I’m forced to stream a game on my laptop. By the ends of close games, I’ve often lost interest during the 15-minute span it takes to play the final two minutes. I have a special place reserved, though, for players who fail to get back on defense. In particular, nothing drives me up the wall like seeing a complaint from a player about a no-call lead to a 5-on-4 advantage on the other end of the floor and a basket by the opposing club. Now, instead of losing out on just 2 points from the no-call, a 4- or 5-point swing has taken place in mere seconds. With that in mind, I wanted to find a fun way to estimate which players most frequently take the longest to get back on defense, because of complaints or other reasons. Even with all the fancy new player-tracking systems, there’s no “lagging” stat. So we tried to approximate it. Brittni Donaldson, a data analyst from SportVU, the NBA’s camera-based tracking system, sent me how many times each player had trailed the ball across the half-court line this season (as of March 21) after a failed offensive possession. But a player might be slow across the line for lots of reasons, some more legitimate than arguing with the refs — battling under the boards, for example. So to get a better sense of who’s taking their sweet time instead of getting back on D, we baked another layer of data into our analysis, looking at how many times each player took more than 3 seconds to reach half court once the ball had already crossed that point. From there, we divided the second number by the first one to find how often a player was lagging way behind. And voila — that’s what we’re calling “Lag Rate.”1 Players who rank highly don’t always trail the ball across half court — but when they do, they’re behind it by seconds and seconds.
The NBA Players Who Are Too Busy Complaining To Get Back On D
Five Thirty Eight | Apr 20