Stats Review: Single-game player efficiency – News

Round 14 included one of the best individual performances in EuroLeague regular season history, but it was second in efficiency for the week during a season when many different players are having near-perfect games.

High-Gravity Matchups

Last week ‘s edition of El Clásico was a memorable one as FC Barcelona secured a 93-80 victory in Palau Blaugrana to not just set the tone for this season ‘s rivalry but also to break the tie between the two clubs at the top of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague standings. Outscoring Real Madrid 26-11 at the foul line, Barcelona ‘s free throw shooting was key to the double-digit win.

Single-Game Efficiency

Nikola Mirotic recorded 31 points and 10 rebounds over 29 minutes in Barcelona’s Round 14 win. While he went 4-for-4 inside the arc and 3-for-6 from three-point range and posted a 2021-22 regular season-best PIR of 39, his 14-for-15 shooting from the foul line was perhaps the most impressive element of his performance, ranking among the top 25 free throw shooting performances in EuroLeague history.

The 31 points Mirotic scored over the 21 possessions he used stands among the most efficient performances of the 2021-22 season. The graph above plots every single individual game of the season so far by those standards revealing just how far above the norm performances like Mirotic ‘s are – despite Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul putting together an even more productive effort just one day earlier.

Players have scored over 1.4 points per possession while using more than 15 possessions just 16 times this season. With their efforts in Round 14, however, Mirotic and Vesely joined Scottie Wilbekin of Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv as the only three players to do so while using more than 20 possessions in a game. While those three games rank among the most memorable so far, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens guard Daryl Macon’s 33-point outburst over just 16 possessions in Round 6 remains this season’s true outlier. Shooting 9-for-12 from beyond the arc over 26 minutes, Macon got hot and stayed hot to propel Panathinaikos to a blowout win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

While it is noteworthy just how well Macon, Mirotic, and others have scored the ball in a few key games this season, the graph above reveals some other things about what having the hot hand means in the EuroLeague. Perhaps the most glaring characteristic of the graph is how there few inefficient volume performances there have been.

In some competitions, coaches will stick with a star player through scoring slumps. In the EuroLeague, with its roster depth and urgency to win, coaches can and do pivot quickly to alternatives when a key player is struggling offensively.

It is also worth noting how many different roles are reflected at the top of the single-game efficiency list. While all the top performances have come from established contributors this season, that group includes wings (Macon, Rodrigue Beaubois), stretch forwards (Mirotic), point guards (Wilbekin) and true centers (Vesely). There’s great variety in the ways EuroLeague teams find their hot hands.

Looking Ahead to Round 14

With all three Russian teams currently sitting in playoff positions, fifth through eighth place, the domestic faceoff between UNICS Kazan and CSKA Moscow holds special significance next week. UNICS currently ranks as the EuroLeague’s top defense, allowing just 0.91 points per possession, while CSKA has won four straight games and is scoring an impressive 1.05 points per possession in Megasport Arena this season.

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