Now that we're two weeks into the season, we have a decent enough sample of games to take a look at what teams are doing well and what teams are doing poorly. For a broad look a team's performances, I use the Four Factors, created by Dean Oliver and seen in his book Basketball on Paper. From Basketball-Reference:
How do basketball teams win games? While searching for an answer to that question, Dean Oliver identified what he called the "Four Factors of Basketball Success":
- Shooting (40%)
- Turnovers (25%)
- Rebounding (20%)
- Free Throws (15%)
The number in parentheses is the approximate weight Mr. Oliver assigned each factor. Shooting is the most important factor, followed by turnovers, rebounding, and free throws. [Editor's note: I agree with the order, but disagree with the weightings.] These factors can be applied to both a team's offense and defense, which in a sense gives us eight factors.
First of all, to get a handle on what the factors mean for the various teams, we need to know how the league has performed so far. League pace is down from last season from 104.5 possessions per game to 97.3. Unsurprisingly, as the pace has gotten less frenetic, offenses are succeeding more often. The league offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) is up to a robust 106.9 from only 97 last season. This efficiency mark is actually equivalent to the NBA's mark so far in 2010-2011. This can only be a good thing for D-League players, as their game is, at least superficially, far more similar to the NBA game than last year. Shooting percentages have settled around an effective field goal percentage (field goal percentage with the extra point from threes factored in) of 50%. Team's are rebounding 28% of missed shots, turning the ball over in 16% of possessions, and reaching the free throw line 0.3 times per field goal attempted.
The team with the largest positive efficiency differential so far is the 3-1 Erie Bayhawks, with a 111.7 ORtg and a 97.5 DRtg. They're accomplishing this with excellent shooting (54% effective field goal percentage, and decent offensive rebounding and ball security. They are also playing fantastic field goal defense, allowing a paltry 44% eFG%, driving much of their success on the defensive side of the ball.
On the other side of the coin is the 0-4 Idaho Stampede. They've actually scored at a decent rate, with a 112.5 ORtg based on average shooting and fantastic ball security (12% turnover rate). However, they just haven't been able to do anything on defense, allowing a staggering 123.6 points per 100 defensive possessions. In every facet of the game, Idaho has been awful, allowing a 56% eFG, allowing opponents to collect 29% of offensive boards, only forcing turnovers in 9% of possessions, and allowing opponents to reach the line more often than average. The next worst DRtg sits at 113.6 (by the Texas Legends), putting the Stampede in a league of poor defense all by their lonesome.
To see these statistics for every DLeague team, check out the PDF file below. For pace statistics, blue means slow and red means fast, and darker colors represent the extremes. For the others, red represents worse than average and green represents better than average, again with darker colors representing the extremes.