Tracking Bulls numbers through SportVU

Tracking Bulls numbers through SportVU
November 1, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Mark Strotman

Advanced statistics become more relevant in the NBA each year, and 2013-14 is certainly no exception. The introduction of SportVU, a camera system developed by STATS LLC that tracks every player's movement and the ball on the court. Essentially the game plays itself out on camera and numbers such as the amount of touches a player receives in a game, the amount of rebound chances a player had and how many he grabbed or how many passes a player had can be accumulated. It allows teams to gameplan better, and throughout the season CSN Chicago and Bulls Talk will be analyzing these stats, courtesy of NBA.com.

Here are a few categories where members of the Bulls rank among the best in the NBA, albeit through two games.

Total touches

Derrick Rose may still be working off the rust, but the Bulls are sure giving him an opportunity to do it quickly. Of teams that have played twice, only Chris Paul (214) has touched the ball more times than the Bulls' floor general (184). It's not a surprising statistic, but the Bulls are putting the ball in Rose's hands early and often, and once the ball is out of his hands he's getting open later in the shot clock.

Rk Player Touches
1. Chris Paul 214
2. Derrick Rose 184
3. LeBron James 167
4. Jameer Nelson 166
5. George Hill 156

Secondary assists

For a long time advanced stat geeks have clamored for some statistic to determine how efficient the best passers really were. Simply tracking assists per game doesn't do the trick because of "hockey assists" as well as passes that lead to free-throw attempts for the player on the receiving end. Well, SportVU has done just that, and Rose ranks among the league's best in secondary assists per game ("hockey assists").

Rk Player Secondary asts
1. John Wall 4.0
2. Will Bynum 3.0
3. John Lucas III 3.0
4. Jose Calderon 3.0
5. Derrick Rose 2.5

"Close shots" FG percentage

In the (very) early season, Carlos Boozer has been arguably the Bulls' best offensive performer, averaging 22.5 points on 72 percent shooting. But he's also been very effective around the rim. Of players who have scored four or more points on "close shots," or shots near the basket, Boozer ranks fifth in the NBA in field-goal percentage.

Rk Player FG%
1. Trevor Ariza 100.0%
2. JJ Hickson 100.0%
3. Nene 100.0%
4. Greg Monroe 100.0%
5. John Henson 100.0%
6. Blake Griffin 87.5%
7. Carlos Boozer 80.0%

Points per touch

It's fine if a player touches the ball dozens of times per game, but it means more if said player is efficient with his touches, scoring at a high rate within those touches. And Carlos Boozer, again, has been efficient. Of players who have averaged 30 minutes per game or more in one or two games, Boozer is fifth in the NBA in points per touch.

Rk Player Touches/game Pts/Touch
1. Klay Thompson 33.0 0.73
2. Brook Lopez 34.0 0.62
3. Eric Gordon 42.0 0.60
4. Kevin Durant 71.0 0.59
5. Francisco Garcia 36.0 0.53
6. Carlos Boozer 46.0 0.49

Just two games into the season, these numbers don't mean much. But they are simply a few examples of the data we'll be looking at through the year to see how efficient the Bulls are within their offense and defense. Stay tuned.