“Coach Killer” as defined by urbandictionary.com – "Any dumb or accidental action that causes an enormous let down, especially if it occurs at a critical time ".
I couldn’t put it better myself.
Whether you are a coach, player or fan there are certain coach killing plays that NBA players make on the court that just leaves you scratching your head.
There are some NBA players that repeat these acts over and over again and if you are a coach or a teammate of one of these players you will know the feeling you get when a repeat offender strikes again.
You roll your eyes, drop your head, it takes the wind out of the team and you lose trust in that player. Even when that player does something good on the court it hardly gives the team a lift. All of these coach killing acts have a compounding effect throughout the season and take their toll.
So what I have set out to do is put a value on these coach killing acts and see what players are actually costing teams in points per game on the scoreboard. The intent here isn’t to determine the wins/losses produced by these acts but to begin identifying players who make poor decisions and make basic skill errors.
The numbers my Coach Killer metric produce do not capture all coach killing acts but it will flag those players that may need to have closer attention paid to them as basic box score and advanced metrics stats may not be telling the full picture of players that inherently let down their team with coach killing acts.
Getting into the nitty-gritty of the Coach Killer Metric, I have created what is known as a linear weighted formula. In short it takes a number of different actions on the court and assigns a weight to each, in this case the weight is the number of points that action costs a team. We then simply add up the points for each action to give a weighted total which therefore forms the Coach Killing metric.
So let’s first look at the actions we are tracking:
There are a few actions I have purposely left out, the first being defensive goal-tending. Yes it does cost your team an automatic 2 points, but many coaches are on the record of saying they can live with a player goal tending as it puts fear into the offensive player the next time they shoot. It means the defensive player is being aggressive which I don’t think should be penalized here.
The other action I have ignored is shot selection. In the 3 point happy, run and gun era of the NBA it is very hard to distinguish what is a bad shot as the interpretation can differ between teams depending on their offensive philosophy.
Let’s take a look at the results based on last season stats. The below tables are interactive, feel free to sort the data and hover over it to reveal more information. I have included the overall Coach Killer number for each player as well as just for decisions and skills which all can be sorted. The tables below are best viewed on a laptop, desktop or tablet.
For player data I have calculated the “Per 36min” total for each player. Meaning how many Coach Killing points a player costs a team per 36 minutes on the court. 36 minutes is used in many advanced metric stats and basically is a way of comparing players evenly, where 36 minutes is roughly how much a “starting” player typically plays. I have also filtered out any players who played less than 10 games or 100 minutes.
Let’s now take a look at how each team ranked last season…
Finally, I have included all of the raw data for each action that is calculated in the formula. This will allow you to drill into and sort by specific actions.
As I stated from the beginning, the purpose of this metric is not to tell us that a certain amount of Coach Killing plays cost “x” amount of wins. The purpose is to find a way to measure players who may do more harm than good on the court and who consistently demonstrate poor decision making, which may then creep into other facets of their game.
The intention is that the metric will flag those players whose overall decision making and basic skill set may need to be evaluated closer as they may be costing teams more than current stats suggest.
Would love to hear feedback from readers with suggestions on tweaks and improvements as this is a work in progress. I will also be tracking the current season and will give periodic updates to how players are tracking this season.
Thanks again to nbastuffer.com for providing the play by play data