Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets - Game Two

This Season In SportVU: Regular Season Player Tracking Stats

It’s been some time since we’ve looked at the available data from the network of motion-tracking cameras that have been installed in all 29 NBA arenas known as SportVU. The NBA describes the technology as, “Using six cameras installed in the catwalks of every NBA arena, SportVU software tracks the movements of every player on the court and the basketball 25 times per second. The data collected provides a plethora of innovative statistics based around speed, distance, player separation and ball possession.”

So here’s how the Trail Blazers ended the regular season in regard to their stats in SportVU. All stats are courtesy of NBA.com/stats.

Now, some of the interesting numbers …

SPEED AND DISTANCE

As many of you probably know, Nicolas Batum finished the regular season as the player who covered the most ground in the NBA. Batum finished the season having covered 216.0 miles, which is eight miles more than the next closest player. All of Portland’s starting backcourt ended the season in the Top 10 in distance traveled, with Damian Lillard coming in third at 207.5 miles and Wesley Matthews traveling 199.2 miles, good for eighth this season.

Batum also finished the season third in distance traveled per game at 2.6 miles per game. Lillard finished 12th in the NBA at 2.5 miles per game.

As a team, the Trail Blazers travelled 1,400.5 miles this season, fourth-most in the NBA behind the Spurs (1,443.8 miles), the Sixers (1,438.8 miles) and the Cavaliers (1,414.2 miles). The average speed of the team was 4.2 miles per hour and their distanced traveled per game was 17.1 miles.

TOUCHES AND POSSESSION

As you would expect, Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers in touches per game (which is defines as “the number of times a player touches AND possesses the ball”) with 84.0, which was good enough for 11th in the NBA this season. Lillard logged 6,888 total touches this season, fifth-best in the NBA, and possessed the ball an average of 6.9 minutes per game, eighth-best in the league.

In regards to elbow touches (which the NBA defines as “touches that originate within the 5 foot radius nearing the edge of the lane), LaMarcus Aldridge finished the season averaging 7.6 per game, good for ninth in the NBA.

The Trail Blazers as a team were 18th in the league this season in touches per game with an average of 416.0, which comes to 34,113 total touches this season. Portland possessed the ball an average of 18.8 minutes per game, 12th in the NBA, and were eighth in points per touch at 0.26. Portland’s 13.1 close touches per game (defined by the NBA as “all touches that originate within 12 feet of the basket, excluding drives) was third-worst in the NBA this season. By contrast, the Grizzlies led the NBA in close touches per game with 24.9.

PASSING

In another non-surprise, Damian Lillard finished first on the team in passes per game with an average of 60.8, 14th-best in the NBA this season. Lillard also led the team in secondary assists (aka “hockey assists”) with 1.2 per game, just tick up from Nicolas Batum at 0.9 per game. Lillard also led in assist opportunities per game with 10.9, with Batum once against right behind him at 9.4 per game. Batum did just edged out Lillard in free throw assists at 0.7 per game.

As a team, the Blazers averaged 295.5 passes per game, 18th in the league this season. They were also 18th in free throw assists at 2.4 per game and were 17th in secondary assists with 5.4 per game.

Portland’s 45.8 assist opportunities per game was good for ninth in the league this season while their average of 55.8 points created by assist per game was seventh-best in the NBA.

DEFENSIVE IMPACT

When it comes to rim protection, our beloved Robin Lopez finished the regular season ranked third in opponent field goal attempts at the rim with 10.3 per game, which put him right behind DeAndre Jordan and just ahead of Roy Hibbert. RoLo’s opponents converted an average of 4.4 attempts at the rim per game, which was 11th in the NBA. Divide one by the other and Lopez’s opponents shot just 42.5 percent at the rim this season, which puts him behind only Hibbert in opponent field gaol percentage at the rim (minimum 25 games and six opponent field goal attempts at the rim per game). What a difference from last year.

As a team, Portland gave up the third-most attempts at the rim with an average of 23.8 per game. However, the Trail Blazers were 13th in opponent makes at the rim with 11.7 per game, which pencils out to a 49.2 opponent shooting percentage at the rim, which was the fourth-best mark in the NBA this season. So whatever issues the Blazers had on defense this season, rim protection wasn’t one of them.

REBOUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

When it comes to rebound chances per game (which the NBA defines as “the number of times a player was within 3.5 feet of a rebound”), LaMarcus Aldridge ended the season averaging 16.7 chances per game, which was ninth in the NBA this season. Many of those rebound opportunities were uncontested (which the NBA defines as “rebounds gathered where no opponent is within 3.5 feet) as Aldridge finished behind only DeAndre Jordan for the most uncontested rebounds in the league with year with 8.1 per game.

With Aldridge holding down the uncontested rebounds, Robin Lopez went to work on the contested rebounds. RoLo averaged 4.3 contested rebounds (with the NBA defines as “rebounds gathered with an opponent within 3.5 feet” naturally) per game, the sixth-best mark in the NBA this season.

The Trail Blazers led the NBA in rebounding this season with 3,808 and also led the league in rebound chances with 78.8 per game. They were also first in uncontested rebounds with 32.3 per game and ninth in contested rebounds with 14.1 per game.

DRIVES

Damian Lillard tallied 623 drives this season (which the NBA defines as “any touch that starts at least 20 feet from the hoop and is dribbled with 10 feet of the hoop, fastbreaks not included”), ninth-most in the NBA. Lillard scored 461 points on drives, which was fifth-best in the NBA.

CATCH AND SHOOT

The Trail Blazers are one of the most frequent uses of the catch and shoot, both from two and three. Wesley Matthews finished fifth in the NBA in points off of catch and shoot opportunities this season with 554 points. Matthews attempted 5.1 catch and shoot three-pointers per game, third-most in the NBA, and made an average of 2.1 per game, sixth-best in the NBA. HIs 6.8 points per game on catch and shoot attempts was good for 10th in the NBA this season. LaMarcus Aldridge was close behind with 6.2 catch and shoot points per game.

Matthews shot 41.9 percent on catch and shoot threes this season, which was the second best mark on the team (minimum three attempts per game) to Damian Lillard’s 42.2 percentage on catch and shoot threes.

As far as catch and shoot attempts from anywhere on the court, Aldridge finished fourth in the league this season in both attempts (6.7 per game) and makes (3.1 makes per game).

As a team, the Trail Blazers finished with 2,493 points on catch and shoot attempts this season for an average of 30.6 catch and shoot points per game. Both marks were second only to the Hawks this season.

The Trail Blazers were also second in catch and shoot attempts with 28.3 per game and shot 41.4 percent on those attempts, the fifth-best mark this season. Portland was second in catch and shoot three-pointers with 7.5 per game despite being 10th in catch and shoot three-point attempts.

PULL UP

After starting the season near the top of the pull up shot rankings, Damian Lillard finished the season attempting 5.9 pull ups per game, with was 14th most in the NBA this season. However, he did finish eighth in points on pull up shots this season with 480. That makes sense considering that Lillard’s 1.2 three-point pull up shots per game was the third-best mark in the NBA this season.

And just as was the case with catch and shoot shots, the Trail Blazers were one of the most prolific pull up shot-taking teams in the NBA this season. Their 1,664 points on pull ups shots this season was second only to Oklahoma City this season. The Trail Blazers were first in pull up shot attempts at 24.4 per game and third in three-point pull up attempts with 6.9 per game. Portland shot 37.1 percent on all pull ups, putting them at 15th in the NBA this season, and 31.7 percent on three-point pull up shots,  which ranked 11th this season.