Offense or Defense? Which One Helps NBA Teams Win?

The legendary Alabama coach Paul Bryant once said: “Defense wins championships“. We wanted to see if this is true for basketball as well. In the context of professional basketball, we have another saying in the NBA, “Good defense create good offense”, which also would lead a team to victory. That being said, let’s analyze the theory that suggests defense wins NBA championships.

I want you to be in the know that research has been made by using only the data of the last 10 NBA regular season; if we date back to previous seasons we will get different results. After the regular season, I will also be testing the relationship degree between playoff wins vs. efficiencies. Now, we can proceed to article safely.

In a ball game, we assume that both teams share the total ball possessions roughly equal. So what? Offensive and defensive efforts should have same importance degree. No! In terms of efficiency, the offense is more important in the NBA 2007-2008 regular season when it comes to winning. According to correlation coefficients, focusing on offense works better for the home teams to pull out a victory. Home cooking calls, fans noise, motivated squad, etc. could make a home team look more offensive than it is. But this is out of the subject of my article.

Here are the quick research results about what NBA teams have to do to win regular-season games.

(1) Offense wins games. We really think we are confident enough because offensive efficiency has 0.1 higher correlation coefficient than defensive efficiency. If you don’t agree to our analysis, you can give a shot at bet
Defensive efficiency has a -0.74 correlation with W/L percentage. For those of you who are not familiar with this stuff let me give an example. If the correlation coefficient is at -1 or at +1 we can say that there is a perfect relationship. Defensive efficiency coefficients are in negative figures in opposition to offense because a higher defensive efficiency value means bad defense.

(2) Playing on the road or playing at home also have different impacts on winning games. As I mentioned before, home teams have to concentrate more on offense. You may look at the team efficiency page for the results in situational splits.

(3) I got bad news for the coaches who love to play run & gun style: I’m sorry but stats can’t help you at this time as playing up-tempo style is not statistically significant enough to say a there’s a relationship between pace and W/L percentage.

The quality of defense heavily impacts winning games or even championships, some parts of defense are more important than others. Teams who want to contend have to focus more on opponent field goal percentage than forcing turnovers and defensive rebound rate.