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Random Stat: Two-Way Players

Q: I don't know if this is quantifiable but I have heard the term two-way player get thrown about. I was wondering who the best two-way player is, my guess would be someone like Duncan or Artest?

A: Defining how you want to measure "two way ability" is the key consideration. Since we haven't fully fleshed out our player defensive ratings at this point, we'll opt for the simple route with a random stat look:

On court/Off court team influence
Points per 100 possessions (Minimum 500 minutes)
Offense
Defense
Player
Team
On
Off
Net
On
Off
Net
 Kirilenko UTA 105.2  99.1  6.0  104.7  110.4  -5.7 
 Mobley LAC 107.0  101.4  5.6  102.8  110.0  -7.2 
 Prince DET 115.1  105.6  9.5  101.8  107.1  -5.3 
 R.Wallace DET 114.6  107.2  7.4  101.8  107.0  -5.2 
 B.Wallace DET 114.0  108.9  5.1  101.2  108.8  -7.5 
 Jaric MIN 106.6  101.7  4.9  103.0  108.4  -5.3 
 Diaw PHO 113.1  108.5  4.6  101.8  109.3  -7.5 
 Iguodala PHI 109.9  103.2  6.6  107.8  112.2  -4.5 
 Frye NYK 107.1  102.8  4.3  108.6  114.1  -5.5 
 Claxton NOK 106.2  101.9  4.3  102.9  107.4  -4.5 
 Battier MEM 107.0  102.9  4.1  101.0  110.5  -9.5 
 Bell MIL 108.1  105.0  3.1  103.9  109.2  -5.3 
 Davis BOS 108.1  105.0  3.1  107.5  110.9  -3.4 
 Deng CHI 105.9  103.0  2.9  103.7  107.5  -3.9 
 Ming HOU 104.9  102.1  2.8  101.0  107.3  -6.3 
 Patterson POR 104.6  100.5  4.1  110.3  113.1  -2.8 
 Collison SEA 114.4  110.1  4.3  115.5  118.3  -2.8 
 Artest SAC 109.1  106.4  2.7  98.4  108.2  -9.8 
 Artest IND 110.7  103.3  7.4  100.2  102.9  -2.7 
 Carter NJN 107.8  97.4  10.4  104.9  107.4  -2.5 
 Butler NOK 105.5  103.3  2.2  103.2  106.3  -3.1 
 Jefferson NJN 107.4  96.8  10.6  105.1  107.3  -2.2 
 Collins NJN 106.3  104.2  2.1  103.2  107.6  -4.4 
 Parker SAS 109.8  102.0  7.8  98.8  100.8  -2.0 
 Hamilton DET 113.3  110.8  2.5  102.7  104.7  -2.0 
 George LAL 109.9  108.0  1.9  104.9  108.8  -3.8 
 Nash PHO 113.1  107.7  5.4  103.5  105.4  -1.9 
 Francis ORL 106.8  105.0  1.8  109.0  111.9  -2.8 
 Robinson CHA 103.0  101.4  1.7  104.2  108.5  -4.3 
 Stojakovic IND 110.4  103.6  6.8  101.0  102.7  -1.7 
 Ely CHA 103.0  101.4  1.6  103.6  108.8  -5.2 
 Duncan SAS 108.1  106.5  1.6  98.1  102.5  -4.5 
 Jackson MEM 106.7  105.1  1.6  102.5  104.7  -2.2 
 Watson DEN 109.6  104.7  4.9  104.5  106.1  -1.6 
 Chandler CHI 106.0  103.7  2.4  104.2  105.8  -1.6 
 Palacio UTA 103.8  102.1  1.7  106.0  107.6  -1.6 
 Mourning MIA 111.6  110.2  1.5  101.7  108.5  -6.8 
 Robinson NYK 106.0  104.5  1.5  107.1  113.5  -6.5 



So yes, the usual disclaimers apply: raw on/off ratings don't account for who else is on the floor at the same time, for quality of backup, for game state, etc.

Nevertheless, for something like this they do a pretty fine job.

The cut off we've used is:
+1.5 or better on offense
-1.5 or lower on defense

Note: on defense a negative number is good since it means the team allows fewer points with the player on court.

So there are currently 38 players in the NBA who "qualify" as strong two way players by this measure, and we've ordered them based on the lesser of their absolute value offense/defense nets, eg if you're +5 on offense, and -3 on defense you would be a "3" rated two way player.

Is Andrei Kirilenko the best two way player in the game this season? Well we won't make a claim that strong, he is however one of the best...

Four of the five Detroit starters make the list (Billups is +0.0 on defense).

...and Ron Artest makes it with both teams he's played for this season!

Interestingly most of the top scorers in the league don't qualify -- and we've got someone embarking on a major research project looking at just that: the relationship between offense & defense...

...we posted this and within a short time, rczarnec suggested we also add a look at PER/Counterpart against the 15.0 baseline. Well sure, that's easy, although it does mix offense with defense since a player's PER has defensive components (shots blocked, steals, fouls, etc). What the heck!

PER/Counterpart Production
(Minimum 500 minutes)
Player
Team
PER
Opp
"Offense"
"Defense"
 Mourning MIA 20.2  11.2  +5.2  -3.8 
 Ginobili SAS 23.8  11.7  +8.8  -3.3 
 Ming HOU 25.9  11.7  +10.9  -3.3 
 Miller MEM 18.1  11.4  +3.1  -3.6 
 Stojakovic IND 21.1  12.0  +6.1  -3.0 
 Artest IND 19.5  12.1  +4.5  -2.9 
 Howard DAL 20.5  12.3  +5.5  -2.7 
 James CLE 29.2  12.7  +14.2  -2.3 
 Stackhouse DAL 17.3  12.1  +2.3  -2.9 
 O'Neal MIA 26.4  13.0  +11.4  -2.0 
 Redd MIL 21.9  13.0  +6.9  -2.0 
 Przybilla POR 17.0  12.9  +2.0  -2.1 
 Billups DET 24.9  13.1  +9.9  -1.9 
 Deng CHI 16.8  11.6  +1.8  -3.4 
 Kirilenko UTA 21.2  13.2  +6.2  -1.8 
 House PHO 16.7  13.0  +1.7  -2.0 
 Allen SEA 23.8  13.3  +8.8  -1.7 
 Jefferson NJN 20.2  13.3  +5.2  -1.7 
 Hinrich CHI 16.6  12.9  +1.6  -2.1 
 Boykins DEN 16.9  13.6  +1.9  -1.4 
 Brand LAC 29.3  13.6  +14.3  -1.4 
 Carter NJN 22.7  13.6  +7.7  -1.4 
 Wade MIA 30.1  13.7  +15.1  -1.3 
 Bryant LAL 30.5  13.8  +15.5  -1.2 
 Duncan SAS 24.9  13.8  +9.9  -1.2 
 Claxton NOK 18.0  13.8  +3.0  -1.2 
 Camby DEN 22.6  13.8  +7.6  -1.2 
 Parker SAS 22.4  13.8  +7.4  -1.2 
 B.Wallace DET 19.5  13.9  +4.5  -1.1 
 Pierce BOS 25.9  14.0  +10.9  -1.0 
 McGrady HOU 23.6  14.0  +8.6  -1.0 



There's no shortage of guys with high personal PER ratings, so really this becomes more of a search for the players with strong counterpart numbers.

The cut off we've used is:
+1.5 or better for "offense"
-1.0 or lower "defense"

This time we end up with 31 NBA players who qualify, and while there's a number of guys who make both lists, there are also some pretty radical differences! The dual rated "two way" guys include:

Mourning
Ming
Stojakovic (Ind)
Artest (Ind)
Kirilenko
Deng
Jefferson
Carter
Duncan
Claxton
Parker
Ben Wallace

So 12 players! There's your Olympic team (just kidding, they're not even all US eligible). It's no fluke though that all twelve have very healthy on court/off court plus minus numbers! These guys can play...

We'll be doing much more on this subject as we introduce some more detail from the charting efforts, but for now we prefer the first list!

Maybe you have an idea for a different way to measure two-way ability? Or a completely unrelated cool "random stat" you would like to see? If so, drop us a line


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