NBA Player Stats: Top 5 Players – Defensive Impact


This season added a new component to their stats page called Player Tracking which looks at NBA Player Stats not previously available, at least publicly.

Player tracking uses 6 cameras to track each player and the video collected provides details on things like ball and player movement, shows their efficiency and areas of the game previously unmeasured such as number of passes or rebound opportunities.

In Part 1 of this series I outlined Distance and Speed, Part 2 covered Touches and Possessions, Part 3 focused on Passing. In this installment we’ll look at the top 5 players and top ranked Houston Rockets in the Defensive Impact Category.

Part 4: Defensive Impact

Definition of this category as per Defensive Impact- Statistics measuring the impact a player has on defense, including blocks, steals and protecting the rim, which measures the opponent’s field goal percentage at the rim while it is being defended. Rim protection is defined as the defender being within five feet of the basket and within five feet of the offensive player attempting the shot.

As per Players are ranked based on:

  • Steals Per Game: When a defensive player takes the ball away from an offensive player, this category registers the times this occurred per game.
  • Blocks Per Game: When a defensive player tips the ball away from an offensive player attempting a shot. Stat registered in times per game.
  • Total Blocks: Total number of occurrences of above.
  • Opponent Field Goals Made At Rim: All 2 and 3 point field goals made by opponent while player on court
  • Opponent Field Goals Attempted At Rim: All 2 and 3 point field goals attempted by opponent while player on court
  • Opponent Field Goal Percentage: Total determined by attempts versus makes while player on court

Apr 18, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) reacts after scoring a basket during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Mavericks 118-108. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


[table id=189 /]

Corey Brewer ties Kawhi Leonard (2.3) first overall, however these stats reflect only his time with Minnesota (1.4 combined teams total). It’s not that he doesn’t have the capacity to be the top steal getter, but with James Harden and Trevor Ariza tied for fourth each with 1.9 steals per game it highlights how good the team is as a whole on pressuring the pass.

Oct 23, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) passes as New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis (23) defends during the second half of a preseason game at New Orleans Arena. The Heat defeated the Pelicans 108-95. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports



[table id=190 /]

Not a big surprise the top of the leader board features Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Serge Ibaka and DeAndre Jordan since a key part of their role is rim protection. For the Rockets the key guys are Terrence Jones who tied for 8th and may have performed better if he’d had a fully healthy season. Ditto for K.J. McDaniels who wasn’t played much once he came over to Houston. Factor in Dwight Howard was out for half the season and it’s understandable why he’s not atop the ladder.

Mar 12, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) boxes out Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas (20) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent Field Goal Makes, Attempts and Percent:


[table id=191 /]

When selecting this section of the player tracking stats I chose to set some parameters. To make the top 5 list, players had to:

  • have played in 64 games or more
  • have had 2.9 shot attempts taken by the opponent while they were on court.

Again K.J. McDaniels impresses especially considering most of his production came while suited up as a 76er.

Of all the signings this off season (and with apologies to Ty Lawson) I’m very anxious to see what McDaniels accomplishes in 2015-16 with playing time.

Next up in the series we’ll look at Rebounding Stats.

Remember to stay connected with Space City Scoop and make us a daily stop on your reading list for all things Houston Rockets.

Next: Player Stats - Rebounding

More from Space City Scoop