Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Revisiting the Effectiveness of Blocked Shots

I'm not John Hollinger, but I have had some thoughts about the way blocked shots are recorded recently. I've noticed a growing trend of blocked shots that go out of bounds. Some examples are LeBron's blocks: he runs down on another players fast breaks and usually bats the balls out of bounds. Also, most of Dwight Howard's blocks go out of bounds.

While this is still a play the helps (the blocks that go out), it's not near as effective as a block that starts a fast break. All these blocks do is prevent an easy shot from going. They just force a team to regroup offensively. I'm not sure how many of the sets after blocked shots are successful, but most good teams can execute halfcourt offense pretty well. So that begs the question, how should we change the way blocks are recorded?

The simple solution is to classify blocks that go out of bounds and blocks that stay in bounds. Blocks on box scores are recorded under the acronym BS. The simple solution would be to use these two acronyms and an additional column instead of one: BSI (blocked shots inbounds), BSO (blocked shots out of bounds) and a total blocks column.

Statisticians have to record blocks anyway, why not add one little extra thing? It would really be beneficial. Blocks that go out of bounds are totally different from blocks that stay in. Like I said earlier, if you keep the ball in bounds, you create a chance for your team to get out and run. You also risk the other team getting the ball back. But, if you ask me, the more effective play is the BSI.

I know basketball legend Bill Russell would be in favor of this change. He was famous for blocking shots to his teammates in order to start the offense. That's what effective defense should do anyway. Defense is the best offense, right?

I want LeBron and Dwight to start blocking shots in bounds. They will start offense that way. Their teams offensive efficiency could improve dramatically. As their efficiency increases, they'll be more likely to be victorious. That's always the goal.

I might start doing a series of these random statistical posts. It's the off-season, so I'm doing more thinking about the game than watching. As unfortunate as that is.

Any random statistical thoughts, readers?