Who has the best offense in the NBA? It’s a hard thing to measure, but when it comes to points per possession, the Miami Heat, the NBA Champions, are the best in the league, mostly thanks to the best and most efficient player in the league, LeBron James.
Not saying that the other NBA top scorers aren’t useful – Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden all specify and excell in certain aspect of different types of offense. Still, it’s James that continues to be the overall beacon for versatility and ability to create for himself and others in more than just one way.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the top isolation team in the NBA, but it hasn’t really meant thier offense is good enough to carry them to wins, currently with an abysmal 15-20 record, especially considering the star-power and expectations.
Despite the criticism, Kobe Bryant is having a special season. He’s averaging 30.1 points per game while shooting 47.5% from the field, better than he has ever done in his career. His efficiency in isolation plays makes the Lakers, surprise, surprise, better than anyone in this category this season, averaging 0.92 points per possession on isolation plays, using it 11.6% of the time. Bryant is the league’s best post scorer (1.15 PPP) this season, hitting over 63% of his shots, but it only accounts for 8% of his field goal attempts, which means he’s taking long range shots way too much.
When it comes to posting up thought, nobody does it better than the New York Knicks, who play a very simply offense, that’s mostly based on Carmelo Anthony drawing attention and using his fantastic game with his back to the basket.
The Knicks are averaging 0.95 points per possession on post up plays, accounting for 5% of their possessions. Of the Knicks’ 165 post attempts this season, 93 of those have gone to Carmelo Anthony. He’s averaging 1.04 points per possession in the post, 6th among NBA players which is rare for a guy out of position in the 4.
When it comes to Pick and Roll, there are two different types of offenses. There are the Miami Heat, who base their P&R on the rolling man, which is almost always Chris Bosh. With LeBron James in charge of the passing around the arc, it’s easy to see why Bosh s the 10th best roll man in the NBA, scoring 1.23 PPP, using those dives to the rim to make up 18.4% of his total attempts. The Heat score 1.29 PPP off Pick n Rolls that go to their roll man.
If it’s P&R that relies on the ball handler getting the points, better known as the pick n’ pop, no one does it better than the Houston Rockets, averaging 92 PPP, accounting for 13.5% of all possessions.
It’s not bad having Jeremy Lin (12.3 points) and especially James Harden (26.5 points per game) in the backcourt. Harden doesn’t shoot off the screen as often as Lin does, but he averages 1.11 points per possession on these plays, better than anyone else in the league. They’re doing that without a major threat in the paint to draw more attention.
One of the more predictable results of this survey is finding out that the best off-screen team in the NBA are the San Antonio Spurs. They average 1.1 points per possession, accounting for 5.6% of all their possessions, and Tony Parker, if you haven’t guessed already, is the most efficient player on this team coming off screen.
He’s also the best in the league, averaging 1.3 PPP while shooting 63% from the field in these situations, being the most dangerous player in the Spurs’ motion offense.
The best spot up team in the NBA are the Golden State Warriors. Not something complex here, but to run it efficiently, which the Warriors have, hence their 22-12 record and 38.7% from beyond the arc (4th in the NBA). The key is getting the right guys to take these shots for you.
The Warriors are doing just that, relying on Stephen Curry (20.2 points, 45.2% from three) and Klay Thompson (15.9 points, 39.2% from beyond the arc) with the both combining for 75% of the Warriors’ spot up attempts. They’re averaging 1.12 PPP, 18.2% of all their possessions, whiel both Curry and Thompson have a PPP better than 1.3.
Overall, the title (at this stage of the season) for most efficient offense goes to the Miami Heat. There’s a big difference between their home games and road games (7-8 away from home), but rank first in points per possessions with 1.00, squeezing just ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The main reason: LeBron James, who is 11th in isolation (.99 PPP, 24.7% of possessions), 9th as a pick-and-roll ballhandler (.97 PPP, 18%), and 1st as a spot-up shooter (1.55 PPP, 8%).