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Article from Nylon Calculus: boxscore Opportunities Created (versus assists)
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Posts: 47485
Alba Posts: 106
Joined: 7/24/2001
Member: #2
8/11/2017  3:07 PM

Man, these guys bring it, interesting stuff. Here is the premise:

Assists aren’t a great measure of offensive shot creation. They suffer from the problem of the “Rondo Assist,” when credit is given for passing to a good isolation scorer, or hitting teammates freed by a screen. These vanilla passes don’t tell us whether a player broke down the defense and created an open opportunity for a teammate.

During my stat-tracking days, I expanded the box score to include a metric called “Opportunities Created” that would account for open scoring attempts generated by players. The basic idea was to give credit to players who create open shots for teammates, regardless of whether that player made the final pass, and regardless of whether the shot even went in (to account for variance in teammate quality.) It wasn’t a perfect solution — for example, should two players receive fifty-fifty credit for a pick-and-roll? — but it captured defensive warping in a way assists alone cannot.

In recent years, optical tracking has created more fluid approaches to measuring these kinds of effects, but Opportunities Created still represent a fundamental concept missing from the original box score. With a few hundred games of data, I (finally) got around to regressing the box onto Opportunities Created to determine if it can predict creation.

And good news…It can!

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Article from Nylon Calculus: boxscore Opportunities Created (versus assists)

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