Basketball Assists Analysis

Basketball Assists Analysis:

by Prof. Roberto Azar - July 15, 2011

We can define to be the team that can best make the difficult passes that produce points. By means of the - the percentage of a team's field goals that were assisted on the eBA Basketball Statistics Analysis System tells us more about a team's style than their substance.

Most teams that play up tempo tend to avoid to turn the ball over many times while
scoring off of a lot of assists. This is a championship formula for any team. With few turnovers could have generate to the opponent a few more scoring opportunities in the open court, meanwhile a high number of assists indicate that there was great ball movement and unselfish play generally the only way you can be effective against defensive minded teams.

About the Concept:

Assist. A pass that lead directly to a basket.
Any assist is credited to the player tossing the last pass leading directly to a field goal, if and only if the player scoring the goal responds by demonstrating immediate reaction toward the basket.
No more than one assist is to be credited for each field goal.
An in-bounds pass can be an assist, if it leads directly to a field goal.


Another obvious element is that this metric is somewhat dependent on how often a team made three-pointers, because the circumstantial numerical evidence that so many three-pointers are assisted.

It is not surprising at all that three-pointers tend to get more assists, having a portion of two-pointers which are "un-assistable", the result of put-backs and tip-ins, while few threes are shot off of the dribble.
Another evidence in our assist analysis maybe a good shooting team that doesn't score often on put-backs, so there were more two-point assist opportunities.

The eBA Basketball Statistics Analysis System, is able to give two assists - like in hockey - on one play.
Many times, a point guard gives a great pass, and another player makes a pass that leads to the basket. The first pass gets a credit in the game analysis chapter - no at the stats numbers ! -, because it can be more important than the second pass. On the other hand, a great pass that leads to the shooter being fouled is credited as an assist.

In the case of free throws, the eBA System register the assist if the fouled player makes both (or the three) throws or one of them. But in this case, in our rate we give the assist a qualification of one point for each free throw made.

The eBA System registers the following stats about Assists, in addition to the Made and Received ones:

Defensive assists, missed assists, potential assists, assists in paint(external link), assists outside of paint, within each, assists leading to jump shots(external link), assists leading to lay-ups(external link), assists leading to foul shots(external link), and within each of these, are they part of fast break(external link) or not.


Before a number of proposals about the assists formulas, it is a good moment to review one of the "Statisticians Manual" with respect to what an assist means:

A player is credited with an assist when the player makes, in the judgment of the statistician, the principal pass contributing directly to a field goal(external link) (or an awarded score of two or three points).

Only one assist is to be credited on any field goal and only when the pass was a major part of the play(external link). Such a pass should be either:

xxa.- a pass that finds a player free after he or she has maneuvered without the ball for a positional advantage(external link), or:

xxb.- a pass that gives the receiving player a positional advantage, he or she otherwise would not have had.


An assist should be more than a routine pass that just happens to be followed by a field goal. It should be a conscious effort to find the open player(external link) or to help a player work free. There should not be a limit on the number of dribbles by the receiver. It is not even necessary that the assist be given on the last pass (external link). There is no restraint on the distance or type of shot made, for these are not the crucial factors in determining whether an assist should be credited(external link). (NCAA (external link) Basketball Statisticians' Manual, 2005)

Working at Basketball (external link) Analysis, the eBA System is very much flexible:
xx- an in-bounds pass can be an assist, if it leads directly to a field goal;

xx- dribble may be made if the player are not using it to evade an opponent;

xx- bounces can be taken if they don't help the shooter to pass by another player...

So, we take in question, we are working for a Coach which wants to know really which players promotes shooting opportunities for their teammates.

Assisted Percentage:

The eBA System refers to "assisted %"(external link) in the following concept: the percentage of the own shots on which an assist (external link) was recorded.

In another systems, the eBA Basketball Statistics Analysis System(external link) doesn't uses predictions, you'll find the formulas(external link) to predict the assisted field goal percentage employing the "assist share"(external link) factor. The "assist share" is the estimated percentage of assists a player is responsible for when he's on the floor. This reflects the fact that the player can't assist to himself.

So looking over the effective Assisted % for players - the percentage of their own shots on which an assist was recorded - we can see players creating its own shot(external link) from a top of 90% +/- (generally the forwards) to an opposite end of a 20% +/- ( generally the guards, and specially the point guard ).

One of the keys of this analysis is the three-points specialist rating(external link). The three-point shot are generally assisted(external link) and the less often a player shoot, and the more often this player shoot threes, the more of a three-point specialist the player is, and his Assisted % would be greater(external link).

About Formula Proposals:

1st. Assists Rating Proposal: Assume that the average team gets assists on 80% of its successful threes and 47% on its twos. For each team you can compute their expected value of the number of assists:

.8 x successful threes + .47 x successful twos

Then compare this number to their actual assists.

2nd. Assists Rating Proposal: It is a good way to identify good passers and bad ones.

If we have two players with identical assist/turnover ratios but one of them has twice as many assists and turnovers, that player is still the better passer/ball handler.

So: multiply assist/turnover ratio times assist rate (assists/minute), and then multiply by ten to give a more easily understood final number.

About the Assist Value in a Linear Formula:

A resumed thought with reference to that "not specified percentage" in each field of a linear formula (as the Tendex) about which we are speaking in our last expositions:
referred to assists I understand they must be counted and credited based on the lengths of the shots, as done at the eBA System(external link).

Long shots must be credited with a 25% to the player serving the assist, meanwhile short shots, lay-ups or shots within two meters +/- of the basket, in a relative manner easy shots, must be credited with a 50%. Finally medium range shots would have the credit of a 63% for the shooter and only the 37% for the player serving the assist, quantification which may be a proper average for assist in general. This idea will be extended and updated at the next eBA Basketball Statistics Analysis System Clinic(external link).

From Another Points of View:

Defensive Assist

Defensive Assist is a new statistic, which is being registered by the eBA System.
Defensive Assists (takeaways or defensive recovery of a fumble, or an interception) are credited to players for forcing an opponent into a turnover. (See Points Off Turnovers: Definition & Statistics(external link)).

Potential Assist

For the eBA Basketball Statistics Creative Analysis the most important pass in basketball is not the assist, but the pass that leads to the assist.

A basketball play usually develops with two or three passes before the score. And the game analyst see plays begin to develop long before they actually happen. Team's strong inclination for making the right pass early in a possession often leads to an easy shot even when he doesn't get the assist.

When we speaks about potential assists we are not speaking about those MISSED ones as the assists NOT CONCRETIZED, by example missed assists disappointingly unsuccessful by fouls, bad bounces or missed shot from sure points as under the basket.

Potential assist is the pass to another player, being oneself in a good shooting position, which misses the shot. For the passer only counts as a possession if the shot goes into the basket. Had the passer shot the ball himself, it would counts in the direction of possession usage, careless of whether the shot went in. But when he passes it off to a teammate, the stats register this possession for him as an assist only if the shot goes in: so, the eBA System register for this passer a "potential assist" at the game analysis chapter.

Both, the missed and the potential assists are registered in the eBA System as a game analysis element, not receiving any rate in any valuation rating.

Relationship between team assists and win-loss record:

Using research methodology for analysis of statistical data the eBA Archive was examined to test for a connectedness between team assists (a behavioral measure of teamwork) and win-loss record.
Team assist totals produced higher linear relationship with win-loss record than assist totals for the five players receiving the most playing time ("the starters").

Examining differences between "assisted team points" and "unassisted team points" in relationship to win-loss record derived a benefit for the former and powerfully suggested that how a Basketball team scores points is more important than the number of points it scores.

These outcomes of the research provide fully detailed support for the popular remark in competitive team sports that "Teamwork Means Success-Work Together, Win Together."

The point guard position

Paul Bessire explains us that "the point guard position is overvalued in the NBA. Any team that has a competent point guard, one who can pass well - which is almost every team
xx- should not worry about an upgrade at that position.

NBA teams do not differentiate themselves at the point guard position. Passing ability is important, but it is generally more important for a lineup to upgrade passing ability at the power forward and swing forward positions."

To be continued, enhanced and updated.

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Created by azarober. Last Modification: Monday 18 of July, 2011 23:13:58 UTC by azarober. (Version 3)

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