Welcome back to Corner Stats! Our journey dedicated to NBA situations has ended, so now we can return to Italy and take a first look at some numbers, with a quick but needed disclaimer. We will be back on the NBA, but now let’s talk about Serie A!
This is the disclaimer: speaking of numbers based on a four-game sample, you can not rely totally on them, but can still be used to highlight possible trends and keep an eye on it to see whether they will continue with that tendency or not.
That said, I would start with the ratings and the related chart:
The 111 of League Rating is the highest value since the late 1990s. At the start of the 2000s until the 2015/2016 season, the Serie A had highlighted a steady decrease in average efficiency. In the last three seasons this trend has reversed, as you can see in the chart below:
If the League Rating will remain around 111 points per 100 possessions would be a fair leap: in the last three seasons, the differences are in the order of 1/2 points, while here we talk about at least 3 points.
This trend is not only being recorded in Italy but also in Euroleague, in Eurocup and especially in the NBA. It is an era in which the attacks are ruling on defenses, both for the game change (the first goal is to spread the court) and for the presence of players with new characteristics.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see if during the season the League Rating will fall or remain at these levels.
Even the pace is increasing:
And, even in this case, this tendency can be also found in the other major leagues: this is another factor that confirms how the game change is underway. The partial abandonment of static big men is leading to a faster game.
Let’s go back to the ratings chart and focus on some teams: Milano is averaging a terrific Offensive Rating; that value over 130 is very high, which shows the offensive power of the Olimpia Milano.
Venice is the one with the best defense: in the last two years, Reyer has always been a top team, but it never had a Defensive Rating less than 100 points per 100 possessions (106.7 in the last season, 103.8 in the 2016/2017 season). It is no coincidence that this value fell below that threshold after they added players such as Washington or Stone, two excellent perimeter defenders. This aspect could be an important factor to make Venice return in the Serie A finals.
In the quadrant of the worst teams, we can also find Trento, confirming the period of crisis that is going through. The Aquila has already reborn during the second part of the season, but at the moment the situation is quite delicate. The Ratings are not the only stats that highlight the problems of the Trento: the 68,5 of DR% and the 47 of TR% (League average 73 and 50 respectively) report rebounding problems, where only Jovanovic is making a real contribution. Even Hogue, a key player under the boards for Buscaglia, is having rebounding trouble: right now, with not excellent ballistic performances (54% of team TS%, lower than the league average, 57%), Hogue’s offensive rebounding ability would guarantee some important second chance shots, but this contribution is missing (4,9% of OR for him, well below his capacity).
The other teams are still almost all close to the center of the chart: we will still have to wait for few games to see how the teams will actually be distributed. We will definitely be back.
Brindisi is near the center of the chart: its starting line-up is a valuable one, but the lack of Italian back-ups forces Vitucci to over-use his starters. This involves a general lowering of team efficiency and therefore of the ratings themselves. The same analysis can be made for Cantù too. Therefore, for both teams, it is important to understand whether they will be able to maintain this good level or if in the end will fall.
In conclusion, these initial data confirm that the increasing trend in scores and pace are also happening in Italy. With the continuation of the championship, we will check whether these trends are confirmed or not and, at the same time, we will check how the sixteen teams behave.