Points, rebounds, block, steals. Traditional stats are cool and all, but when nba.com provides all the advanced stats you could ever dream of, ones that give you a peek into how games are won and lost on a deeper level, why would you not take advantage of that knowledge? From finding out which player's assists are the most valuable to how much impact Stephen Curry has on a Warriors' win, these are the coolest advanced stats of the week.
The Orlando Magic Move. Like A Lot
The top two players in terms of distance traveled on the court are the Orlando Magic's Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier. Elfrid Payton, another Magic starter, comes in 16th.
Oladipo has run 24 miles in the Magic's eight games this season, followed by Fournier at 22. There are a couple reasons for this. One, the Magic, with new head coach Scott Skiles, want to push the pace on offense. Things haven't fully blossomed yet—the Magic rank 18th in pace (possessions per 48 minutes)—but they are averaging over 100 points per game. Players are running, but the scoring results aren't quite yet where the team wants them to be.
Second, in the case of Oladipo, most of his shots come after zero dribbles, which means he's running around screens to get himself open before pulling up for a catch-and-shoot. This is also the case with Fournier, who takes over 45 percent of his shots after zero dribbles. Oladipo is also 18th in the NBA in steals (1.7 per game), and after many of them, he bolts downcourt to start a fast break.
Skiles has praised Oladipo's defense early on this season, like how he's been fighting through screens to stay on his man; and this could be a big reason why he's run 11 miles on defense already. Although the Magic are still figuring out their offense, their young players can be seen flying around the court at any given time.
Stephen Curry Does it All For the Warriors
Beyond hitting 3-pointers from across the Golden Gate Bridge, turning opponents' ankles to dust and generally being completely unguardable, NBA MVP Stephen Curry is an all-encompassing player for the Warriors. Nba.com publishes a cool stat called Player Impact Estimate, or PIE, which purports to measure how much a player impacts a game, including points, rebounds, assists and other data. The official definition of PIE is "the percentage of game events a player achieves."
The average PIE percentage, as reported by nba.com, is 10 percent. Steph Curry's PIE rating? Oh, just a casual 23.1 percent, tops in the league. Golden State has also yet to lose a game this season. Coincidence? We think not, especially when their marquee player does everything, and does it all so well, on the floor for 34 minutes per game.
Kelly Olynyk . . . Defensive Juggernaut?
What are some names that come to mind when you think of the best defensive players in the NBA? Dwight Howard? Kawhi Leonard? Kelly Olynyk? That last name may come as a bit of a surprise, since the Boston Celtics forward is probably best known for pulling Kevin Love's arm out of its socket in last year's playoffs. But in five games this season, Olynyk is No. 1 in the NBA in defensive rating, which is the points allowed per 100 possessions by a team when said player is on the court.
With Olynyk on the court, the Celtics are giving up just 72.9 points per 100 possessions, lowest in the league by a wide margin. Raul Neto, a guard for the Utah Jazz, is second at 79.6. To be fair, Olynyk is playing only 17 minutes a game off the bench, so the sample size is admittedly small. But in the five games he's played, Olynyk has anchored a stiff defensive effort for the Celtics while he's on the court.
Russell Westbrook Has the Most Valuable Assist in the League
When we think of Russell Westbrook, the human wind-up doll who charges at the rim with reckless abandon at any sign of an opening, we continually envision a "score first" point guard; and we have criticized him for his inability to distribute the ball and play off of his running mate, Kevin Durant. And we were wrong.
Fresh off posting a triple-double last night against the Washington Wizards, Westbrook is not only averaging 10.9 assists per game, but his assists are also the most valuable assists in the league. What do we mean by that? His Oklahoma City Thunder teammates are scoring 25.3 points off assists from Westbrook, good for tops in the NBA. The next highest come from John Wall, five points below Westbrook at 20.3 a game.
It's time to stop thinking of Westbrook as a pure scorer.
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