Overview of Assisted Field Goals for Euroleague 2018-19, Rounds 1 to 4

Since we are going towards the 5th Round of this year’s Euroleague, I thought that we have in our hands enough sample to start looking on some overall statistics and visualizations.  I chose to focus on the Assisted Field Goals for each team. This means that we would be looking on the Field Goals Made from each team which resulted from an Assist.

Assists have been always been used a good indication about a team’s level of teamwork and the guards were taking the credit for their great passing. Dean Oliver in his Basketball on Paper (2003) argued that not all assists are the same and credit should be distributed between the player who passed and the player who received the pass. As an example he gives 2 scenarios: 1) the guard passes to the power forward who makes a 3pointer and 2) the guard passes the ball to the center just below the basket and he dunks. It is obvious that the guard should be given more credit on the 2nd scenario than the 1st. But what about the center? Shouldn’t he get credit for optimally positioning himself to receive the pass? For that matter he developed some formulas to estimate the “real” value of each assist.

NBA started providing more advanced and detailed data so there are more convoluted calculations of this metric like this one Crediting Assists: A Fairly Risky Method . Since we don’t have similar data available and I found it difficult to express a team’s assisting behavior, I thought that by visualizing the shots made out of assists would give us more insights. Let start by examining the Assisted Field Goals for the top 4 teams on total assists.

Ranks 1-4

Notice how Real Madrid gives more assists close to the baseline rather than close to the free throw line. Fenerbache manages to pass the ball very close to the basket, hence the red color in that area. Olympiakos has less assists that result in 3pointers (19) than the other teams. Finally, Anadolu Efes how their assists are evenly spread throughout the court, which makes harder to predict their game.


Rank 5-8

Barcelona doesn’t have many assisted top-of-key 3pointers, and almost no assists outside the box. Panathinaikos manages to pass much closer to the basket, with alley-hoop specialists Calathes-Gist being primarily responsible for that. Zalgiris being pretty balanced, with slightly more 3pointers from the left side. And finally Khimki relying much more to their shooting abilities, being the only team with less assists for 2pointers rather than 3pointers (29 to 32)


Rank 9-12

Notice the big difference between Maccabi’s assists and Real Madrid’s.  Maccabi doesn’t utilize at all the baseline. Gran Canaria hasn’t manage to give assists for corner 3pointers. CSKA and Baskonia rely more on their shooting abilities with 24 assists resulting in 3pointers. Also CSKA gives many more assists from the left side.


Rand 13-16

Bayern and especially Darussafaka try to utilize the baseline, especially from the left side. Armani Milano relies a lot on their shooting, having a high percentage of assists resulting in 3pointers (21). They do manage to pass the ball close to the basket, but they don’t have many assishts outside the box and not many assisted 3pointers from the right side. Buducnost has the fewer assists than all the Euroleague teams.


Hope the visualizations of the assisted field goals gave you a better understanding on how the teams distribute their assists and how they utilize them. As always for any comments or feedback, reach out to me in https://twitter.com/EDataguy

Euroleague 2018-19, Regular Season, Round 4

Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow are continuing their undefeated row and as you can imagine they have a lot of entries in the top lineup rankings. All the usual suspects are there, but there is time there is a new member of CSKA.

It was suggested that also the rankings for pairs of players might be interesting as well, so I will be showing the plus-minus for this category as well.

Best Line-ups for PlusMinus

  • Anadolu Efes with the lineup of BEAUBOIS | MICIC | MOERMAN | PLEISS | SIMON managed to win Fenerbache recording a +12 in 6 minutes
  • CSKA Moscow having two lineups CLYBURN | DE COLO | HUNTER | PETERS | RODRIGUEZ and another one with HIGGINS in the place of RODRIGUEZ recording +11 in 5 minutes and +9 in just 2 minutes
  • Real Madrid with their well established lineup of CAUSEUR | LLULL | RANDOLPH | TAVARES | TAYLOR recording a +9 in 13 minutes
  • Barcelona Lassa with CLAVER | KURIC | PANGOS | SINGLETON | TOMIC recording a +10 in 9 minutes managed to get the victory in Istabul. Notice that is the only lineup with 3 transfers.
  • Zalgiris Kaunas surprised Panathinaikos with an away victory and the best lineup for them was DAVIES | ULANOVAS | WALKUP | WHITE | WOLTERS recording a +8 in 7 minutes


Line-ups with Most Minutes Played

  • Nothing worked for Buducnost VOLI Podgorica and the lineup CLARK | CLARKE | CRAFT | GORDIC | OMIC recording the worst plus-minus for all the rounds for the lineup with the most minutes played: -13 in 14 minutes. I guess this is reasonable given the -34 loss
  • As we mentioned Real Madrid chooses CAUSEUR | LLULL | RANDOLPH | TAVARES | TAYLOR in almost every round, this time stayed together for 13 minutes
  • The rest of the entries are a bit odd. We have Bayern BARTHEL | BOOKER | DEDOVIC | JOVIC | LUCIC recording a -6 and staying in the court for 12 minutes in a winning game! Same goes for Anadolu Efes BALBAY | BEAUBOIS | DUNSTON | MOERMAN | SIMON recording -2 in 10 minutes again in a winning game. On the opposite side, we have Fenerbahce GUDURIC | KALINIC | MELLI | SLOUKAS | VESELY recording +3 in 12 minutes in a losing game.


Best Pair of Players for PlusMinus

Now we can notice something. PETERS, ALEC has been part of the top-3 entries for pair of players. I noticed that his PIR ranking is not even in the top-3 of CSKA players for this round! You can see the positive influence he had in CSKA’s game in the rankings below. On his own he had a +27 in 29 minutes.

He was well-combined with CLYBURN, DE COLO and HUNTER. In the list there is also another pair from CSKA CLYBURN | RODRIGUEZ recording a +18 in 20 minutes while being together on the court. Of course the other powerhouse Real Madrid had yet again another entry on this list with CAMPAZZO | CARROLL recording a +18 in 19 minutes


Euroleague 2018-19, Regular Season, Round 3

As always, when there is a double-game week we always have interesting results and surprises. The home teams manage to win only half of the games. Let’s have a look on the lineup rankings for Round 3 of Euroleague 2018-19, Regular Season.

Best Line-ups for PlusMinus

  • Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, BLACK | CALOIARO | KANE | ROLL | WILBEKIN managed to record the best performance on a single round recording +16 in 19 minutes!
  • Real Madrid is having yet another entry in the top plus-minus with a different line-up every round! This time it was CAMPAZZO | CARROLL | FERNANDEZ | REYES | TAVARES who recorded +11 in 8 minutes. The Round 2 included Causer and Randolph and Round 1 Llull and Taylor
  • As you have noticed I have included the top 10 entries because I wanted to highlight AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan lineup ratings. JAMES and NEDOVIC are part of 3 different lineups in this top-10.  They were together part of another lineup which recorded a -6 in 9 minutes making altogether an impressive +20 for the 24 minutes they stayed together on the court.


Line-ups with Most Minutes Played

  • Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv,BLACK | CALOIARO | KANE | ROLL | WILBEKIN rightfully stayed for 19 minutes making them also the lineup with the most minutes on the court
  • As a general observation we can tell from the chart below that coaches are learning their teams better and can correctly identify in which line-up they should give more time on the court. You can see that there is only Buducnost recording a 0 in the plus minus. Even in that case this lineup was not so bad, considering they lost with 10 points. All the other entries have positive plus-minus which shows that staffs  are making better decisions on their player choices as the season progresses.


I am preparing the aggregated results for all the rounds and once we have few more games I will release them. As always reach out to me via twitter on https://twitter.com/EDataguy for remarks and questions.

Euroleague 2018-19, Regular Season, Round 2

The analysis on the previous round’s line-ups results gave us a clear understanding of which lineups worked and which didn’t and also about the way coaches choose to approach each game. Let’s run the same analysis on Round 2 of Euroleague 2018-19, Regular Season.

Best Line-ups for PlusMinus

  • Real Madrid managed to have again the best lineup in plus-minus with CAMPAZZO, TAVARES, RANDOLPH, FERNANDEZ, CARROLL recording a +10 in 8 minutes. Also very good performance from the lineup including CAMPAZZO, REYES, CARROLL, CAUSEUR, RANDOLPH, recording a +8 in 5 minutes
  • Zalgiris looks like they find a good replacement for Pangos with Westermann being part of the best lineup ( ULANOVAS, WESTERMANN, MILAKNIS, DAVIES, KAVALIAUSKAS ) for this round recording a +10 in 5 minutes.
  • Panathinaikos, even though they lost they managed to record a +10 in 4 minutes with LEKAVICIUS, PAPPAS, GIST, LANGFORD, MITOGLOU. An interesting observation is that compared to previous round’s best line-up for Panathinaikos with LANGFORD, CALATHES, LASME, LOJESKI, THOMAS (+9 in 3mins) the only common player is LANGFORD
  • Olympiakos MILUTINOV, TOUPANE, STRELNIEKS, PAPANIKOLAOU, LEDAY recorded an impressive +8 in just 1 minute!
  • While Barcelona, Khimki lost, they managed to show some improvement in their game with plus-minus +8 for this round. Same numbers for Armani even though they lost as well.


Line-ups with Most Minutes Played

  • Barcelona PANGOS, SINGLETON, KURIC, CLAVER, TOMIC was by far the best lineup with many minutes on the court recording plus-minus +8 in 13 minutes
  • FC Bayern Munich LUCIC, DEDOVIC, JOVIC, BARTHEL, BOOKER stayed for the maximum 18 minutes on the court recording -1
  • Buducnost CLARK, CLARKE, GORDIC, CRAFT, NIKOLIC and Gran Canaria HANNAH, BAEZ, EVANS, STRAWBERRY, BALVIN stayed for 10 minutes on the court recording -2 and 0 respectively in the plus-minus category.
  • And……..Khimki SHVED, BOST, CROCKER, GILL, MICKEY were kept in the game for 10 minutes, recording a -8 this time, one of the worst plus-minus for line-ups with many minutes on the court. Last round the same lineup stayed for 16 minutes only recording a +1.


As you have noticed I chose not to include the rankings for Points Scored Per Minute and Points Against Per Minute as I don’t think they give us a clear understanding of how efficient one line-up is on offense or on defense.

Consider the following example. Olympiakos MILUTINOV, TOUPANE, STRELNIEKS, PAPANIKOLAOU, LEDAY scored 8 points in 1 minute. On the other hand, Real Madrid CAMPAZZO, REYES, CARROLL, CAUSEUR, RANDOLPH scored 21 points in 5 minutes, meaning 4.2 points per minute. As you can see, it’s not fair for the Real Madrid lineup to claim that Olympiakos lineup is better on offense.

For better conclusions, we will wait for few more rounds to gather more data to better understand which lineups are more efficient on the two sides of the court.


Euroleague 2018-19, Regular Season, Round 1

I started thinking of additional information we can extract from the Euroleague data to give us a better understanding of what happened in each round. What I realized is that there isn’t much work done on evaluating lineups instead of teams and individual players. Since we have the play-by-play data a simple analysis based on the scoring and the minutes played can be made.

The most interesting findings, based on my opinion are:

The usual offensive and defensive powerhouses

  • Real Madrid CAUSEUR, RANDOLPH, TAVARES, LLULL, TAYLOR  with 55 points scored in 17 minutes and plus-minus +14. This is also the highest time on the court for any lineup.
  • CSKA Moscow VORONTSEVICH, HINES, RODRIGUEZ, CLYBURN, HIGGINS with 37 points scored in 13 minutes and plus-minus +12. The second highest time on the court
  • Fenerbahce MELLI, SLOUKAS, GUDURIC, DUVERIOGLU, DATOME suffered only 2 points on defense in 5 minutes.

Promising Transfers

The following lineups are in the top-5 in the plus-minus ranking while having at least 2 new players:

  • Efes BALBAY, BEAUBOIS, PLEISS, MOTUM, LARKIN with plus-minus +11
  • Efes MOERMAN, DUNSTON, MICIC, SIMON, BALBAY with plus-minus +9
  • Panathinaikos LANGFORD, CALATHES, LASME, LOJESKI, THOMAS with plus-minus +9

Anadolu Efes (for good reasons)

As you noticed they have 2 lineups in the plus-minus category and in the points scored per minute category with only one player in common! MOERMAN, DUNSTON, MICIC, SIMON, BALBAY also record very impressive defensive performance with 0.5 points against per minute.

Khimki and Maccabi Tel Aviv (for bad reasons)

The coaches insisted in line-ups that didn’t fulfill their expectations:

  • Khimki SHVED, BOST, CROCKER, GILL, MICKEY stayed in the court for 16 minutes recording only +1 as plus-minus
  • Maccabi WILBEKIN, O’BRYANT III, ROLL, KANE, BLACK stayed in the court for 11 minutes recording 0 as plus-minus

Find below the detailed results.

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Since I have developed the code needed to produce the above, its very easy to produce the above statistics for every round and also the aggregates for each phase. I am looking to enrich these with more analytics so any suggestion is welcome.

If you would like to see something, or you think something doesn’t make much sense please reach out on my twitter account @EDataGuy

Identifying Fast-paced Euroleague Teams

In the previous blog post I plotted Spanoulis’ field goal attempts over the years. The heatmaps provided us with an overview of how his offensive game has evolved over all those years. In this post, I will attempt something less visually appealing, but hopefully the results of this analysis would give some useful insights. If you have watched all of the Euroleague games of the last few seasons you are able to understand which teams have fast pace in their game and which don’t. My target is to assign a metric for each team that would somehow quantify their pace level.

From all the previous work that has been done in the NBA, the recommended way to do so is by counting the possessions per game for each team. The analytics on the team and player possessions are not something new and they are already used in the advanced stats of NBA.com. Because it’s not feasible to watch all the games throughout the years, certain formulas have emerged which try to estimate the possessions of teams/players based on the boxscore statistics.

However since play-by-play data are available for the Euroleague, I thought I could use them to rank the Euroleague teams for the last 3 seasons. Just to be clear, a possession is terminated by a team when they make a field goal or when they miss a field goal without getting an offensive rebound.

Euroleague 2015-2016

The fastest team of this year was Laboral Kutxa Vitoria with 76.41 possessions per game with Unicaja Malaga and Zielona Gora ranking last with almost 3 possessions less than the next team.


Euroleague 2016-2017

Besides 2016-2017 being one of their best seasons, Anadolu Efes was also the fastest team with 78.43 possessions per game. The slowest team for this year was Unics Kazan with 70.82 possessions.


Euroleague 2017-2018

This year highlights the importance of efficiency, as even though Maccabi was the fastest team with 78.14 possessions per game, they didn’t even make it to the playoffs. They recorded only one more victory compared to Valencia which was the slowest team with 72.92 possessions per pame.



It’s evident that the Euroleague teams are becoming faster over the years. The slowest team of 2017-2018 season (Valencia) would rank close to the middle in the 2015-2016 season. Moreover, the gap between the first and the last team in this ranking is becoming smaller, going from approximately 8 possessions to just 5.

These rankings also clearly show which are the traditionally fast-paced teams, being ranked in the top-5 in these years: CSKA Moscow, Baskonia and Real Madrid. Another interesting case for these last 3 seasons is how drastically has Maccabi changed their game adding every year almost 3 possessions per game.

Finally, the volume of possessions is highly important as it forms the basis for a wide range of statistics. We can evaluate much better the performance of each team/player on a per possession basis. For instance, as a player it’s much more efficient to score 12 points in 10 possessions than 25 points in 30 possessions.


Spanoulis Field Goal Attempts evolution over the years

For the first post, we chose to focus on Euroleague’s leading scorer Vasilis Spanoulis (after the recently retired Juan Carlos Navarro). With his two Euroleague teams (Panathinaikos, Olympiacos) he has celebrated 3 Euroleague titles and was awarded equal times the title of Euroleague’s Final Four MVP. Since he is well-known for his scoring skills we will try to visualize his shooting attempts throughout all his 11 Euroleague seasons.

Animation of Spanoulis shooting attempts throughout all his 11 Euroleague seasons

The animation was created by plotting all the locations of his Field Goal Attempts per season. With this technique, we are able to get quickly an overview of his Field Goal Attempts and understand how his offensive game has evolved throughout all these years. Let’s have a deep dive on different periods of his career.

Early Years with Panathinaikos (2007-2009)

From our analysis, the first Euroleague season with Panathinaikos (2005-2006) is excluded because we don’t have access to this type of data.

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As it’s clear from his early years, his game relies heavy on drives close to the basket. Check out his successful right-side drives against CSKA Moscow in the 2009 Final.

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From Panathinaikos (2009-2010) to Olympiakos (2010-2011)

In the summer of 2010 he made the move to Olympiakos and became the undisputed leader and main contributor in team’s scoring.

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As it’s clear from the plot he started taking more attempts but still having the right-side drives his most characteristic play.

Euroleague Titles with Olympiakos (2012, 2013)

Seasons 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 were without a doubt the most successful in team’s recent history. Spanoulis’ contribution was vital. An interesting observation is that in these seasons he attempted more drives from the left side.

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Taking more drives attempts from the left side shows his level of confidence during these years. Check the following examples of these plays in crucial games:

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Recent Olympiakos Years (2013 – 2018)

His game changed from the year 2013 and onwards, as he started to take more three-pointers, especially from the center and right side.

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He didn’t hesitate to take deep three-pointers even during crunch times.

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While he now relies more on his deep three-pointers, it’s not an easy player to defend as he can still drive very efficiently towards the basket. In a coming post we will examine how he is impacting Olympiakos game beyond scoring but also how his not-so-strong defensive game affects the teams performance.

Let us know for similar visualizations that you would like to see!