Mar 04

Goldsberry: LaMarcus Aldridge One Of The League's Best Defenders At The Rim

By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers, LaMarcusAldridge


Over the weekend, the 7th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference took place in Boston, Massachusetts. Although it is concerned with all sports and not just the games themselves, but the business aspect as well, it's decidedly an NBA-centric event. Houston General Manager Daryl Morey co-founded the event in 2006 and was one of the featured guest speakers as well as Indiana GM Kevin Pritchard, San Antonio GM R.C. Buford, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and deputy commissioner Adam Silver.
One of the highlights of the conference was a paper and presentation called "The Dwight Effect A New Ensemble of Interior Defense Analytics for the NBA" by geography professor and scholar as well as contributor Kirk Goldsberry. The paper was centered about trying to use the fancy new SportVU data provided by STATS LLC., to find ways to quantify interior defensive performance.

He had two case studies in the paper, one of which, he called "The Basket Proximity Condition," to analyze which NBA interior defenders were best at protecting the rim.  Shooters attempting shots at the rim while LaMarcus Aldridge is within five feet of the basket shoot 43.9 percent. That percentage on "close" field goal attempts ranks fifth among interior defenders. According to the same research paper, NBA shooters make 49.7 percent of their attempts when there is a "qualifying interior defender" within five feet. So, NBA shooters are shooting 5.8 percentage points worse when Aldridge is within five feet of the basket. The data can be found in the first appendix of the paper.

If you're interested in more details about new technologies being used to quantify interior defense, check out Goldsberry's paper here (PDF).


  1. This is a great read Casey. Haven't check to see if the admin fixed my ability to blog yet or not, but there's so much good stuff to take from this. Namely, that it flies in the face of so many that slight Aldridge for being a poor defender or soft. Ya, the study has it's limitations, but it is simply amazing to think that he has that effect on the defensive end when he is spending so much energy scoring for a near 40 min a game.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 3/4/2013 5:29 PM
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