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NBA Player Stats: Top 6 Players – Passing

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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This season nba.com 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 and Part 3 focuses on Passing. In this installment we’ll look at the top 6 players with 2 Houston Rockets again featured prominently.

Part 3: Passing

Definition of this category as per nba.com: Passing – The total number of passes a player makes and the scoring opportunities that come from those passes, whether they lead directly to a teammate scoring a basket or free throw, or if they set up an assist for another teammate

As per nba.com Players are ranked based on:

  • Assists Per Game: Number of times a player completes a pass leading to a field goal by a team mate per game
  • Total Assists: Total number of times a player completes a pass leading to a field goal by a team mate
  • Passes Per Game: Number of passes made or received to or from given player per game
  • Free Throw Assists: Quantity of passes made by a player to a recipient who was fouled, missed the shot if shooting and made at least 1 free throw. Recipient required to have the ball less than 4 seconds and less than 2 dribbles for passer to earn a free throw assist.
  • Secondary Assists: Quantity of passes made by a player to a player who earned an assist on a made shot. Assister required to have the ball less than 4 seconds and less than 2 dribbles for passer to earn a secondary assist.
  • Assist Opportunities Per Game: (Potential Assists) Passes by a player to a player which leads to a shot attempt and if made, would be an assist.
  • Points Created By Assists Per Game: Points created by a player or team through assists per game.
  • Points Points Created By Assists Per 48 Minutes: Points created by a player or team through assists per 48 minutes

[table id=188 /]

Mar 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) tries to dribble past New Orleans Pelicans guard Norris Cole (30) during the first quarter at Staples Center. The Clippers won 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Top 6 Players Including 2 Top Rockets:

1. Chris Paul

There’s a reason most pundits still consider CP3 the best in the business at his position as a prototypical point guard. Review of the sub-categories he ranks first in all but three areas: free throw assists, assist opportunities and passes per game and in those areas he ranks second.

2. John Wall

Wall ranks first in two sub categories free throw assists and passes per game and is second in most of the other areas.

3. Ty Lawson

Houston Rockets earmarked their starting point guard position as a priority to upgrade in the off season and Lawson more than measures up. He ranks first in assist opportunities, tied for second in free throw assists per game and is third in most other categories including assists per game with 9.6.

4. Stephen Curry

Ironically Curry doesn’t rank at the top for any passing category and is tied for second only in the secondary assist category. For a team who prides themselves on ball movement that is a surprising stat.

5. Russell Westbrook

The walking triple-double machine may not have appear at the top in any category, but when you factor in the responsibility he shouldered it’s amazing he ranks in the top 3 to 5 in each sub category. Add back a healthy Kevin Durant into the mix and the numerous Thunder players out due to injury and I suspect he moves higher up the list.

6. James Harden

Again Harden finds himself in the prestigious  company of the Association’s best point guards ranking sixth on the list. He ranks third for secondary assists and performs well across all categories.

The more I examine the numbers specifically in touches and passing it leads one to wonder if Lawson and Harden might be on the precipice of breaking some long standing Rockets back court records this upcoming season.

Next up in the series we’ll look at Defensive Impact 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 - Defensive Impact

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