Basketball Analytics: EuroLeague 2021-22 Rounds 1-14 Ratings, Four Factors, Shot Preference

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With 14 rounds played, this year’s EuroLeague storyline is quite exciting. The battle for the playoffs is expected to be quite intense. Can anyone stop the Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid?

What I wanted to do here is present the basic advanced statistics. A graphical representation of stats helps paint a better picture. Last time I did this analysis was after the 7th round, so with double the games played I felt this was a good opportunity. Whether you’re a EuroLeague fan (click here for all EuroLeague content) or a basketball analytics enthusiast (click here for tutorials and guides), this is for you!

Offensive and Defensive Ratings

Offensive and defensive ratings refer to the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions. Defining a possession is a challenge in itself. Have a look here on NBA Stuffer for a deeper definition and explanation of possessions. Two different formulas that estimate the number of possessions in a game are borrowed from and can be found below.

Basic Possession Formula=0.96*[(Field Goal Attempts)+(Turnovers)+0.44*(Free Throw Attempts)-(Offensive Rebounds)]

More Specific Possession Formula=0.5*((Field Goal Attempts + 0.4*Free Throw Attempts – 1.07*(Offensive Rebounds/(Offensive Rebounds + Opponent Defensive Rebounds))*(Field Goal Attempts – FG) + Turnovers) + (Opponent Field Goal Attempts + 0.4*(Opponent Free Throw Attempts) – 1.07*(Opponent Offensive Rebounds)/(Opponent Offensive Rebounds + Defensive Rebounds))*(Opponent Field Goal Attempts – Opponent FG) + Opponent Turnovers))

It’s quite obvious that a team should strive to have a high offensive rating and keep the opponents to a low offensive rating, i.e. a low defensive rating.

Barcelona is still the team with the best offensive rating so far in the EuroLeague. CSKA Moscow has the second best offensive rating but they have been struggling at the defensive end. Olympiacos is 3rd in offensive rating.

Real Madrid has the best defensive rating, up from 2nd place in the first 7 rounds. UNICS Kazan has the 2nd best defensive rating, interestingly enough. Barcelona is 3rd best defensively.

Four Factors

The Four Factors were defined by Dean Oliver in 2002 in his book Basketball on Paper. They answer the question “what are the main strategies related to success?”. The Four Factors can be simply described as Score, Protect, Crash, and Attack:

  • Effective Field Goal Percentage
  • Turnover Ratio
  • Rebound Percentage
  • Free Throw Rate

Effective Field Goal Percentage

In terms of offensive eG%, four teams lead the way and two teams lag behind the rest.

Villeurbanne stood out in the first 7 rounds but has fallen off quite a lot.

Barcelona is the only team with an eFG% above 55%. Olympiacos, Anadolu, and Fener are really close.

Baskonia is still the worst team in terms of shooting efficiency.

Olympiacos and Barcelona are the best defensive teams in forcing their opponents to bad shooting efficiency.

Dean Oliver put weights on each of the Four Factors and estimated that 40% of a team’s performance is dependant on its eFG%. Our findings here show that the estimate is in the right direction – and I’m not surprised.

Turnover Ratio

The Turnover Ratio is essentially an estimate of the number of turnovers either committed or forced per 100 possessions.

Dean Oliver estimated that 25% of a team’s success is dependant on the turnover ratio. Barcelona is quite average with respect to this metric, though Real Madrid is good in forcing turnovers but bad in making turnovers.

Rebound Percentage

The Rebounding factor is considered the third most important of the four factors with a 20% weight. The offensive rebound percentage is calculated by the formula OReb / (OReb + Opp DReb). The defensive rebound percentage is calculated by the formula DReb / (DReb + Opp OReb). A team should strive to have high rebound percentages at both ends.

Real Madrid has Walter Tavares and Vincent Poirier to thank for their over 75% and 30% defensive and offensive rebound percentages. Zenit and Maccabi are still great in defensive rebounds, with over 70%!

Five teams have over 30% Offensive Rebound percentages: CSKA, Zenit, Real, Barcelona, and Alba.

Free Throw Rate

The Free Throw rate is the last of the four factors and Dean Oliver had assigned a weight of 15% importance. It is calculated by dividing the number of free throws made over the number of field goals made.

Bayern Munich here is still a huge outlier. The team is first in free throw rate by a small difference to the rest of the teams. However, Andrea Trinchieri’s team has by far the highest defensive Free Throw rate. So many fouls committed!

At the other end, Baskonia still takes it easy and doesn’t like fouling much apparently.

Shot Preference

I decided to add the shot preference shot charts for the five teams that lead the standings so far.

Barcelona really likes driving to the basket and also has a preference of straight-up and wing 3-point shots.

Real Madrid has the advantage of Tavares attacking the basket and great 3-point shooters.

Olympiacos‘ chart shows the effect of Mustapha Fall as well as the team’s analytics-oriented approach: plenty of 3-pointers.

Armani Milano attacks a lot from the right sight of the court, with plenty of midrange shots and corner 3-pointers.

CSKA Moscow focused on the areas that matter most: corner 3s, wing 3s, and under the basket.

I hope you enjoyed the stats analysis. Feel free to reach out for questions! If you’d like a video tutorial or written code to do your own EuroLeague analysis, let me know in the comments or in a message.

What are your expectations for the rest of the EuroLeague season?

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