All stats from NBA.com/Stats. Stats compiled February 22, 2015.
Last week I took a look at DeMar DeRozan's passing game, something he has improved on immensely of late. This is very good for both DeRozan and the Raptors considering how ineffective he has been as a scorer this season. That was a fairly optimistic piece. Fair warning: this one won't be.
NBA.com has recently added their Synergy stats (sorting by play type) to their publicly available data. It has yielded all sorts of interesting info. For example, some think Jonas Valanciunas' high efficiency would not translate to more post-ups, but he already finishes more than a third of his possessions from post ups, the 13th highest proportion of possessions finished that way in the league. Greivis Vasquez has isolated 33 times on the season. He is the worst on the team in converting those, by far, with 0.48 points per possession on a 21% effective field goal percentage (eFG%). (Note: only players who have made 10 attempts at a play type are included in the data.)
Synergy has also improved their statistics collection to include plays on which players are fouled. So all of the below stats include points DeRozan has gotten from free throws resulting from the various play types.
Anyway, I thought I'd use those stats to take a look at what areas of DeRozan's game are struggling, and what he can change to improve.
First, let's look at the periphery play types, the ones you don't really control in an offensive set. Put backs, cuts, spot up shots, and transition shots. Put backs are great, but you typically get them when you aren't involved in the play. Cuts are good too, but again it typically means you are a tertiary option on the play. Spot up shots are basically just catching and shooting, so the play is run through someone else. And finally, transition scoring is under the player's control, but is not part of a half court set.
So, for DeMar:
Play Type | Percentage of plays | Offensive Rating (ORTG)
Transition | 10% | 128
Spot Up | 14% | 76
Cuts | 3% | 153
Put Backs | 2% | 127
So DeRozan is fantastic in transition (and in cuts and putbacks, but those are very small samples), which makes up only 10 percent of his possessions. His spot up shooting is bad though.
Now let's take a look at the play types that are indicative of a play that either is run for the player, or has the player initiating the offence. These include isolation, of course, along with pick-and-roll ball handler, post ups, hand offs and off screen plays.
(These last two are pretty much the same thing, the difference being when they get the ball - before or after the screen. These two plays are the Raptors' bread and butter as they run Horns quite often, though some of those plays get filed under pick and roll).
Play Type | Percentage of plays | ORTG
Isolation | 14% | 78
PnR Ball Handler | 21% | 72
Post up | 11% | 90
Hand off | 6% | 78
Off screen | 15% | 76
Notice the pattern? Outside of post ups, he's consistently inefficient, between 72 and 78 ORTG for isolation, pick and roll, hand off, off screen and even spot up shooting. As a note, only Vasquez is less efficient in isolation (he's also done it only a third as much, in 20 more games). That includes JV and his 10 isolation attempts (80 ORTG). Only Terrence Ross is worse in pick and roll. Only Vasquez is worse in hand off situations (turns out GV is kind of bad). No one is worse in off-screen situations.
He's also by far the least efficient spot up shooter on the team (outside of Tyler Hansbrough, who is hilarious and sad all at once, with a 40 ORTG in spot up shooting situations).
So, if DeRozan wants to score more efficiently, the post is probably his best bet, while continuing to run in transition. Failing that, perhaps he should just stop shooting? His inefficiency is scarily consistent across all major play types. No matter what he does leading up to the shot, if he's the primary option on the play, he's effectively going to score six points on eight attempts (and that's corrected to include free throws).
How's that for a bleak picture? What do you guys think?