Basketball Analytics: EuroLeague 2022-23 Rounds 1-11 Ratings, Four Factors

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Almost a third of the regular season has passed and there are some clear trends. Fenerbahce leads the way, all four 2022 Final 4 teams are playoff-bound, and four teams are just one win behind the payoff spots. A few questions are torturing my mind: will Panathinaikos continue their impressive run? Can Olympiacos recover from their slump? Will coaches Messina and Obradovic turn around the negative records that Armani and Partizan have?

I’m not the one to ask for predictions. But I can present an advanced stats view.

A graphical representation of stats helps paint a better picture. 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.

Fenerbahce is on a good path to claiming the top of Europe, having the best offense in the league and the 2nd best defense. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Olympiacos, and Anadolu Efes are the other four teams with above average offense and defense.

What really stands out is that the best defense in Europe is also the worst offensive team – and also in last place overall: coach Messina’s Armani Milano. At the other end, Zeliko Obradovic’ Partizan is the 3rd best offensive team but the worst defensive team. Huge surprises here!

I find it interesting how, despite Monaco and Efes having similar offensive ratings, Monaco is worse defensively but has 2 additional wins.

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%, Fener and Baskonia lead the way, followed by Barça, Olympiacos, Real Madrid, and Anadolu Efes.

In terms of defensive eG%, Barca and Bologna, followed by ALBA Berlin and Fener, are ahead of the rest.

It’s interesting to see how average Maccabi and Zalgiris are.

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 generally in the right direction.

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.

This factor explains Monaco’s success so far this year: the best offensive and defensive turnover percentage is theirs. Brown, Diallo, James, and the rest of the gang are extremely eficient in forcing turnovers as well as not losing the ball.

On the other side, Anadolu Efes seem to be fairly relaxed defensively, as they force the least turnovers. They are 2nd best in not losing the ball though, so there is a balance.

Zalgitis lose the ball the most, followed by Bologna and Villeurbanne.

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 Tavares and Deck to thank for their impressive 75% and 35% defensive and offensive rebound percentages. Besides Real, only Zalgiris and Barcelona are in the “good” quartile of good rebounding teams.

Olympiacos, where the best rebounder of the league Vezenkov plays, is in the top 5 defensive rebounding teams but below average in offensive rebounds.

What stands out is that Maccabi is in the top 3 in offensive rebounding but last in defensive rebounding. That’s just weird.

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.

Coach Saras and Barcelona continue last year’s pattern: get our opponents to the line. It’s counter-intuitive but kind of works for them.

Monaco is the top team in offensive free throw rate, thanks mainly to Mike James. Anadolu Efes is last in defensive free throw rate, indicating how non aggressive they have been so far.

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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