Five Stats the NBA Should Keep (Part I)
1. Double Team Assists (DTA)
Shaq gets the ball in the low post, so the opposition sends an extra player to defend him. O’Neal passes it out to Wade who is met by a rotating defender. Wade passes it to a wide open Eddie Jones, who drains the jumper without any defensive pressure. Eddie gets the points, Wade gets the assist, and Shaq gets a warm fuzzy feeling knowing he helped his teammates score.
Obviously Eddie Jones wouldn’t have had 10 feet of real estate to get his shot off if not for the double team Shaq draws. So let’s give the big guy a little recognition. Credit a double team assist (DTA) to any player who causes a defensive breakdown that directly allows another teammate to score. Don’t count it for plays in where the DTA recipient actually gets an assist. For example if Shaq gets doubled and passes to a cutting Wade who hits a layup, Shaq gets an assist. No need for a DTA. Being able to draw double teams, whether it be due to a post up game or driving ability, is an important aspect of offense. Let’s give credit where it is due.
2. Charges Taken (CT)
On the defensive end, Kobe Bryant strips the other team, and heads up the court for a 3 on 2 Lakers fast break. Bryant passes the ball to a cutting Odom for an easy hoop. The only impediment is Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward. The former Seminole quarterback, stands perfectly still outside of the paint, and takes a hit from Lamar. The ball goes in, but the referees whistle the play off. Offensive charging. The score is wiped off the board, the Rockets get the ball, and Ward gets nothing but a few black & blues.
It’s a crime that the NBA doesn’t already keep this stat. With the carwreck of players that needs to be cleaned up under the hoop after a charge, the scorekeepers have plenty of time to jot it down. Forcing an opponent to commit an offensive foul is better than a blocked shot. Some blocked shots go out of bounds, while others are recovered by the offense. On the other hand, a charge always causes a change in possession.
3. Possessions saved (PS)
The Suns are in town, and Nash launches a three pointer. Amare and Nazr battle for the rebound, but it gets tipped toward the baseline. Jerome Williams speeds towards the ball. Launching himself into the row of photographers, the “Junk Yard Dog” tips the ball back inbounds to a teammate. Acknowledging Williams’ effort, the Garden crowd errupts into barking that seems more suitable for the Westminster dog show.
While possessions saved (PS) isn’t a number you’d want to build your team around, not all stats have to be earth shattering. Let JYD get some tangible recognition for his hustle. Credit a player with a possession saved (PS) when he directs a loose ball back to a teammate and his momentum causes him to have two feet land out of bounds. The worst this stat can do is get a few more players to dive for loose balls, which is usually an exciting play. If possessions saved is too blas?, “hustle points” will do. It’s the kind of stat that kids can identify with, and if you’ve been to an NBA game lately, you know how much the NBA likes to appeal to children.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2.