What Changed In Playoffs


Despite the small size of samples and postseason is not over, I have made a quantitative analysis of playoff teams. Download the analysis in spreadsheets in case you would like to.


Not to mention the results of the teams who were eliminated in the first round don't tell the whole story since they have played against only one opponent. First of all, let me explain what "4 factors" is.




You know how the teams win basketball games, by scoring more points than their opponents. Four factors helps us break how they are doing this down to 4 key factors.


  • Shooting: Shooting is measured by effective field goal percentage, which is points from two- or three-point field goals divided by field goals attempted. The easiest way to calculate this is: (FGM + .5*3PM)/FGA.


  • Rebounding: This method is better than just looking at rebounds per game because teams have differing opportunities to grab rebounds based on how fast a pace they play at and how good they are at shooting and preventing other teams from shooting. Rebounding is measured by a team's offensive and defensive rebounding percentages. These are measured by: OReb% = TmOReb / (TmOReb + OppDReb)
    DReb% = TmDReb/ (TmDReb + OppOReb)


  • Free Throws: Free Throws are really two skills - getting to the free-throw line and hitting them. This will be measured by taking a team's percentage of free throws made divided by their field goals attempted (100*FTM/FGA), which eliminates the influence of pace.


  • Turnovers: Turnovers are measured on a per-possession basis. A possesion in basketball ends when the ball changes hand, either on a made shot, a defensive rebound or a turnover. The formula is: TO/(FGA + (.44*FTA) - OR + TO). where [(FGA + (.44*FTA) - OR + TO)] is the formula of possession


Here are the results where


=worse in playoffs


√= better in playoffs.


Atl 7
Bos 15
Cle 13
Dal 5
Den 4
Det 12
Hou 6
Lal 10
Nor 12
Orl 10
Phi 6
Pho 5
San 12
Tor 5
Uta 12
Was 6
AVG +/- -3.36 -2.86 3.93 -3.09 0.17 1.19 -2.36 3.32 3.37 -0.43 -1.08


Wow, what an interesting table!


  • Pace went dramatically down (-3.36 fewer possessions per 48 minutes) except Toronto and San Antonio.
  • League average offensive efficiency declined by 2.86 points per 100 possessions. Only New Orleans and Lakers are attacking better than the regular season. What's more, only Lakers are shooting better in the playoffs. Rest of the teams have been struggled to find their shooting touch as the effective field goal percentage is declined by 3.1%
  • Cavs', Pistons', Suns' and Wizards' defenses were better as the playoff teams allowed 3.93 more points per 100 possession.
  • It appears that playoff teams have improved in offensive rebounding (+1.2%) to go along with getting to the charity stripe more (+3.32% more) and recording fewer turnovers (-0.43 lesser per possession) than they do in regular season.



Last Updated ( Monday, 14 July 2008 )
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