What the Thunder's statistics say about ball movement
Thunder coach Billy Donovan saw the statistics on his team’s isolation percentage, but he wasn’t ready to take them at face value.
“When I saw the iso situation, I went back and watched all the isos,” Donovan said. “And those aren’t isos to me. Just based on the metrics and the way they do it, if a player gets the basketball, catches it and drives a guy, they’re looking at it as iso. That’s not iso to me. Iso to me is when you throw it to a guy, he holds it for four or five seconds, he’s sizing a guy up or he’s just holding the ball. So, I don’t necessarily agree with how they’re doing it metrics-wise. Now, there are some that are isos.”
According to NBA.com, the Thunder ran isolation plays 9.4 percent of the time in its first six games, which ranks No. 3 in the NBA. The Rockets lead the league with 18 percent.
The Thunder has put an emphasis on ball movement this season, which goes hand-in-hand with cutting down on isolation plays and increasing passing. The Thunder ranks second-to-last in the league in assists (18.3 per game), above only the Trail Blazers (18.0). But OKC also is shooting just 43.8 percent from the field.
- Related to this story
- Article: How Chris Paul's leadership style is helping a young Thunder team
- Video: OKC Thunder - Bazley's Breakout (Game 6 of 82)
- Video: OKC Thunder - Danilo Gallinari vs Pelicans (Game 6 of 82)
- Video: OKC Thunder - Chris Paul vs Pelicans (Game 6 of 82)
- Video: OKC Thunder - Darius Bazley vs Pelicans (Game 6 of 82)
“But the potential assists, we need to be up,” Donovan said. “That means the ball’s moving to guys on catch-and-shoot situations and we’re taking those. I’m less worried about the isos and more focused on the potential assists and the ability to get assists.”
The Thunder is still in the bottom half of the league in potential assists (No. 25 with 37.7 per game). However, OKC ranks in the top 10 in secondary assists and passes. Last year, the Thunder finished the season dead last in passes made.