Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Exploring the Pelicans with SportsVu: Movement and Possession

Every NBA season we are gifted with some new type of stat to help us understand the game more and more.

The innovation has led to things like PER, per 36 minute and 100 possession rate stats and on/off court data.

This season we were gifted with the new SportVu Player Tracking data that has so graciously provided us with a taste of, now that every arena in the league has the six cameras necessary for the tracking to be done installed in their catwalk.

What it did was give us some really cool information that we never had before and may never even have thought about in the context of an NBA basketball game.

Now that the first season is done I took a run through all the available data to find some interesting things in regards to the Pelicans in 2013-2014.

Just a reminder though before we get to those numbers; this is the first year we have any of this data, so drawing too many conclusions from it is a bad idea. We don’t know what is good or bad yet and what may just be an outlier. All that kind of stuff comes with future season’s worth of data. For this season we can just compare to what players did this year compared to the league, which still is incredibly useful.

So without further ado, your 2013-2014 Pelicans SportsVu tracking highlights.

Distance Covered:

Have you ever wondered just how much an NBA player runs during a season or game? Well this season Anthony Davis led New Orleans in total distance covered by running a whopping 160.2 miles over the course of the season. On a per-game basis Davis ran 2.4 miles to hit that mark. Al-Farouq Aminu finished second on the roster with 148.9 total miles and 1.9 miles per game. The numbers landed both Aminu and Davis in the top 100 players in the league in total distance covered.


Ever wondered which Pelican moved the fastest when they were on the floor?

Well among regulars there was a group of players who led the team in average miles per hour of any movement while they were on the floor. They were Jrue Holiday, Brian Roberts, Luke Babbitt, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jeff Withey who all checked in at 4.3 miles per hour.

Who were the slowest regulars? Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Darius Miller all clocked in at 4 miles per hour.


Ever wonder which Pelican possessed the ball most often during a game?

This season on a per game basis that player was Jrue Holiday, who averaged 81 touches per game when he was healthy, a number that placed him in the top 20 in the league in the stat. With Holiday down the offense shifted to running through Anthony Davis, and sure enough Davis finished second on the team with 53.7 touches per game.

Due to injuries though neither Davis or Holiday finished in the top two on the team in total touches though as Tyreke Evans led the roster with 3,777 and was followed by Brian Roberts who possessed the ball 3,684 times in 2013-2014. Davis meanwhile finished with 3,600 while playing five fewer games than either Evans or Roberts.

Now touches are one thing but time of possession is another and in that category the Pelican guards reigned supreme. Holiday led the team by having the ball for 6.4 minutes per game, and was followed by Roberts at 4.4, Austin Rivers at 3.7 and Evans at 3.4. Davis on the other hand, the best player on the team and the guy the offense ran through finished with just 1.5 minutes of possession per game.

Luckily for Davis and the Pelicans, despite possessing the ball the sixth longest on the team (Eric Gordon also beat him out in time of possession) he finished tied with Ryan Anderson for the most points scored per half court touch at 0.66, a number that actually ranked sixth among rotation players this season. What separates Davis from most of the group  above him (Andre Drummond, Chris Anderson, Brook Lopez, Brandon Wright, Jermaine O’Neal and Nikola Pekovic)is that the Pelicans offense ran through him, instead of him being a catch and finish player like Drummond, Anderson, Wright and O’Neal. Pekovic meanwhile was the second or third option for the Wolves most nights, though he is a bully of a post player and a much more capable weapon than those other guys at this point.  So Davis and Lopez (who played just 17 games this season) were the most efficient number one options in the league this season on a per touch basis.

Anderson meanwhile ranked as the best catch-and-shoot type player on a per touch basis this season, again showing just how much the Pelicans missed him to help with floor spacing. Either way the numbers for both players should thrill the Pelicans brass as both seem able to still grow a bit as players. Davis by getting stronger and being able to play in the post a bit more and also by adding to his range and Anderson by continuing to develop a bit of an off-the-dribble game to attack defenders closing out too hard on his deadly jumper.

That concludes today’s look at the SportsVu data in regards to the Pelicans this season but make sure to check back over the next few days as we explore passing, defense, rebounding, drives, catch and shoot, pull up and shooting efficiency numbers to see what we can learn from them. In the meantime if you want to explore the date for yourself feel free to check it all out here.


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Tags: Anthony Davis New Orleans Pelicans

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