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Spreading It Around

Posted by Neil Paine on November 5, 2009

7600811220189_Rockets_at_MagicBack in September '06, Doug Drinen wrote a post over at PFR about how Tom Brady would have to spread the ball around in the passing offense more than ever before after the Patriots traded away their #1 receiver, Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch (yes, there was a time when Branch was New England's #1 receiver... what would he have been, like, the #4 receiver on the '07 Pats?). Anyway, the post looked at which historical teams had spread the ball around most amongst their receiving corps by looking at how balanced a team's top 6 pass-catchers were in terms of receiving yards, with the '89 Bears coming out on top.

What does this have to do with the NBA? Well, I think there could be a parallel to the whole Branch situation in Houston this year. Just as Brady had to cobble together a passing attack while throwing to Reche Caldwell, Doug Gabriel, Jabar Gaffney, and the aging remains of Troy Brown, the Rockets are facing the Yao-less, McGrady-less reality of forging an offense from a lineup without stars. The early returns have Trevor Ariza, Aaron Brooks, and Luis Scola shouldering the brunt of the workload, combining to take on 245 of Houston's 473 possessions so far this season, but you have to think that the offense will start to be spread out more as the season goes on, since all of Houston's players -- those three included -- are charting new territory in terms of usage.

With that in mind, which teams have "spread it around" the most offensively since 1978? I'm going to look at this multiple ways, but the core method will remain the same: look at the top five players on each team in a certain stat, and compute a simple average of their totals in that category. Then take a weighted average of the same five players, with the top guy getting a weight of one, the next guy a weight of two, and so on down to the fifth guy, who gets a weight of five. Divide the weighted average by the simple average (and multiply by 100 to make it easier on the eyes) and you've got the index. The maximum possible index --- which would be attained if all six players had the same total --- is 100. Got it? Good. Let's start with the teams that spread around their FGA the most:

Player Pos Year Tm FGA Index
Steve Nash G 2009 PHO 851 97.5
Shaquille O'Neal C 2009 PHO 841 97.5
Leandro Barbosa G 2009 PHO 759 97.5
Jason Richardson G 2009 PHO 754 97.5
Amare Stoudemire F-C 2009 PHO 749 97.5
Leandro Barbosa G 2007 PHO 1111 97.3
Shawn Marion F 2007 PHO 1071 97.3
Amare Stoudemire F-C 2007 PHO 1055 97.3
Steve Nash G 2007 PHO 971 97.3
Raja Bell G 2007 PHO 950 97.3
Kevin Martin G 2009 SAC 811 97.2
Spencer Hawes C 2009 SAC 800 97.2
John Salmons G 2009 SAC 744 97.2
Jason Thompson F 2009 SAC 717 97.2
Beno Udrih G 2009 SAC 696 97.2
Johnny Davis G 1979 IND 1240 96.8
Ricky Sobers G 1979 IND 1194 96.8
Alex English F 1979 IND 1102 96.8
James Edwards C-F 1979 IND 1065 96.8
Mike Bantom F-C 1979 IND 1036 96.8
Chris Mills F 1995 CLE 855 96.8
Bobby Phills G 1995 CLE 816 96.8
Hot Rod Williams F-C 1995 CLE 810 96.8
Terrell Brandon G 1995 CLE 762 96.8
Tyrone Hill F 1995 CLE 694 96.8
John Long G-F 1981 DET 957 96.6
Keith Herron G-F 1981 DET 954 96.6
Terry Tyler F-G 1981 DET 895 96.6
Phil Hubbard F-C 1981 DET 880 96.6
Kent Benson C 1981 DET 770 96.6
Mike Miller F 2005 MEM 766 96.6
Pau Gasol F 2005 MEM 695 96.6
Lorenzen Wright F-C 2005 MEM 683 96.6
Jason Williams G 2005 MEM 644 96.6
Bonzi Wells G-F 2005 MEM 617 96.6
Rex Chapman G 1998 PHO 956 96.4
Antonio McDyess F-C 1998 PHO 927 96.4
Clifford Robinson F-C 1998 PHO 895 96.4
Jason Kidd G 1998 PHO 859 96.4
Danny Manning F-C 1998 PHO 756 96.4
Hersey Hawkins G 1992 PHI 1127 96.3
Charles Barkley F 1992 PHI 1126 96.3
Ron Anderson F-G 1992 PHI 1008 96.3
Armen Gilliam F-C 1992 PHI 1001 96.3
Johnny Dawkins G 1992 PHI 902 96.3
Eric Murdock G 1994 MIL 1019 96.2
Ken Norman F 1994 MIL 919 96.2
Vin Baker F 1994 MIL 869 96.2
Todd Day G-F 1994 MIL 845 96.2
Blue Edwards G-F 1994 MIL 800 96.2

And the least:

Player Pos Year Tm FGA Index
Kobe Bryant G 2006 LAL 2173 73.6
Lamar Odom F 2006 LAL 925 73.6
Smush Parker G 2006 LAL 779 73.6
Brian Cook F 2006 LAL 511 73.6
Chris Mihm C 2006 LAL 459 73.6
Jerry Stackhouse G-F 2001 DET 1927 73.7
Chucky Atkins G 2001 DET 952 73.7
Joe Smith F 2001 DET 765 73.7
Ben Wallace F-C 2001 DET 439 73.7
Dana Barros G 2001 DET 412 73.7
Michael Jordan G-F 1997 CHI 1892 74.2
Scottie Pippen F-G 1997 CHI 1366 74.2
Toni Kukoc F 1997 CHI 605 74.2
Luc Longley C 1997 CHI 485 74.2
Steve Kerr G 1997 CHI 467 74.2
Antoine Walker F 2002 BOS 1689 74.7
Paul Pierce F 2002 BOS 1598 74.7
Kenny Anderson G 2002 BOS 716 74.7
Erick Strickland G 2002 BOS 488 74.7
Tony Battie C-F 2002 BOS 390 74.7
Antoine Walker F 2001 BOS 1720 75.5
Paul Pierce F 2001 BOS 1513 75.5
Bryant Stith G 2001 BOS 611 75.5
Vitaly Potapenko C 2001 BOS 521 75.5
Eric Williams F 2001 BOS 448 75.5
Michael Jordan G-F 1993 CHI 2003 76.2
Scottie Pippen F-G 1993 CHI 1327 76.2
Horace Grant F-C 1993 CHI 829 76.2
B.J. Armstrong G 1993 CHI 818 76.2
Scott Williams F-C 1993 CHI 356 76.2
Michael Jordan G-F 1987 CHI 2279 76.5
Charles Oakley F-C 1987 CHI 1052 76.5
John Paxson G 1987 CHI 793 76.5
Dave Corzine C 1987 CHI 619 76.5
Brad Sellers C-F 1987 CHI 606 76.5
Michael Jordan G-F 1996 CHI 1850 76.6
Scottie Pippen F-G 1996 CHI 1216 76.6
Toni Kukoc F 1996 CHI 787 76.6
Luc Longley C 1996 CHI 502 76.6
Ron Harper G-F 1996 CHI 501 76.6
LeBron James F 2004 CLE 1492 76.8
Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 2004 CLE 965 76.8
Carlos Boozer F-C 2004 CLE 900 76.8
Eric Williams F 2004 CLE 421 76.8
Jeff McInnis G 2004 CLE 331 76.8
Kobe Bryant G 2003 LAL 1924 76.8
Shaquille O'Neal C 2003 LAL 1211 76.8
Derek Fisher G 2003 LAL 775 76.8
Rick Fox F-G 2003 LAL 621 76.8
Robert Horry F 2003 LAL 476 76.8

Okay, so those lists covered how teams spread out their shots... What about their points scored? Here are the most balanced teams:

Player Pos Year Tm PTS Index
Chris Mills F 1995 CLE 986 97.9
Tyrone Hill F 1995 CLE 963 97.9
Hot Rod Williams F-C 1995 CLE 929 97.9
Terrell Brandon G 1995 CLE 889 97.9
Bobby Phills G 1995 CLE 878 97.9
Isaiah Rider G 1999 POR 651 97.5
Damon Stoudamire G 1999 POR 631 97.5
Rasheed Wallace F-C 1999 POR 628 97.5
Arvydas Sabonis C 1999 POR 606 97.5
Brian Grant F 1999 POR 550 97.5
Johnny Davis G 1979 IND 1444 97.0
Ricky Sobers G 1979 IND 1404 97.0
James Edwards C-F 1979 IND 1366 97.0
Alex English F 1979 IND 1299 97.0
Mike Bantom F-C 1979 IND 1191 97.0
Sedale Threatt G 1992 LAL 1240 96.8
Byron Scott G 1992 LAL 1218 96.8
A.C. Green F-C 1992 LAL 1116 96.8
James Worthy F 1992 LAL 1075 96.8
Sam Perkins F-C 1992 LAL 1041 96.8
Donyell Marshall F 2000 GSW 910 96.8
Jason Caffey F 2000 GSW 852 96.8
Antawn Jamison F 2000 GSW 841 96.8
Mookie Blaylock G 2000 GSW 822 96.8
Larry Hughes G 2000 GSW 725 96.8
Phil Hubbard F-C 1981 DET 1161 96.7
Terry Tyler F-G 1981 DET 1100 96.7
Keith Herron G-F 1981 DET 1094 96.7
John Long G-F 1981 DET 1044 96.7
Kent Benson C 1981 DET 924 96.7
Primoz Brezec C 2006 CHA 982 96.4
Raymond Felton G 2006 CHA 948 96.4
Brevin Knight G 2006 CHA 871 96.4
Gerald Wallace F 2006 CHA 836 96.4
Jumaine Jones F 2006 CHA 799 96.4
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf G 1995 DEN 1165 96.4
Reggie Williams F-G 1995 DEN 993 96.4
Rodney Rogers F 1995 DEN 979 96.4
Dikembe Mutombo C 1995 DEN 946 96.4
Dale Ellis G-F 1995 DEN 918 96.4
Reggie Lewis G-F 1991 BOS 1478 96.3
Kevin Gamble F-G 1991 BOS 1281 96.3
Kevin McHale F-C 1991 BOS 1251 96.3
Robert Parish C 1991 BOS 1207 96.3
Larry Bird F 1991 BOS 1164 96.3
Rick Fox F-G 1996 BOS 1137 96.0
Dino Radja F-C 1996 BOS 1043 96.0
Dana Barros G 1996 BOS 1038 96.0
David Wesley G 1996 BOS 1009 96.0
Todd Day G-F 1996 BOS 849 96.0

And the least balanced:

Player Pos Year Tm PTS Index
Jerry Stackhouse G-F 2001 DET 2380 72.6
Chucky Atkins G 2001 DET 971 72.6
Joe Smith F 2001 DET 847 72.6
Ben Wallace F-C 2001 DET 511 72.6
Dana Barros G 2001 DET 478 72.6
Kobe Bryant G 2006 LAL 2832 73.1
Lamar Odom F 2006 LAL 1186 73.1
Smush Parker G 2006 LAL 941 73.1
Brian Cook F 2006 LAL 642 73.1
Chris Mihm C 2006 LAL 604 73.1
Michael Jordan G-F 1987 CHI 3041 73.3
Charles Oakley F-C 1987 CHI 1192 73.3
John Paxson G 1987 CHI 930 73.3
Dave Corzine C 1987 CHI 683 73.3
Brad Sellers C-F 1987 CHI 680 73.3
Adrian Dantley F-G 1981 UTA 2452 73.3
Darrell Griffith G 1981 UTA 1671 73.3
Ben Poquette F-C 1981 UTA 777 73.3
Allan Bristow F-G 1981 UTA 713 73.3
Wayne Cooper C-F 1981 UTA 489 73.3
Kobe Bryant G 2003 LAL 2461 73.6
Shaquille O'Neal C 2003 LAL 1841 73.6
Derek Fisher G 2003 LAL 863 73.6
Rick Fox F-G 2003 LAL 681 73.6
Robert Horry F 2003 LAL 522 73.6
Michael Jordan G-F 1997 CHI 2431 73.8
Scottie Pippen F-G 1997 CHI 1656 73.8
Toni Kukoc F 1997 CHI 754 73.8
Steve Kerr G 1997 CHI 662 73.8
Jason Caffey F 1997 CHI 549 73.8
Paul Pierce F 2002 BOS 2144 74.3
Antoine Walker F 2002 BOS 1794 74.3
Kenny Anderson G 2002 BOS 731 74.3
Erick Strickland G 2002 BOS 606 74.3
Tony Battie C-F 2002 BOS 510 74.3
Michael Jordan G-F 1988 CHI 2868 74.4
Charles Oakley F-C 1988 CHI 1014 74.4
Dave Corzine C 1988 CHI 804 74.4
Brad Sellers C-F 1988 CHI 777 74.4
John Paxson G 1988 CHI 640 74.4
LeBron James F 2008 CLE 2250 74.9
Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 2008 CLE 1029 74.9
Daniel Gibson G 2008 CLE 605 74.9
Devin Brown G 2008 CLE 586 74.9
Drew Gooden F 2008 CLE 574 74.9
Shaquille O'Neal C 2001 LAL 2125 75.0
Kobe Bryant G 2001 LAL 1938 75.0
Rick Fox F-G 2001 LAL 787 75.0
Horace Grant F-C 2001 LAL 657 75.0
Isaiah Rider G 2001 LAL 507 75.0

Finally, here are the teams that spread out their Points Produced the most:

Player Pos Year Tm PProd Index
Gerald Wilkins G-F 1986 NYK 938.2 99.0
Patrick Ewing C-F 1986 NYK 925.0 99.0
Darrell Walker G 1986 NYK 915.0 99.0
Rory Sparrow G 1986 NYK 899.4 99.0
Louis Orr F 1986 NYK 879.3 99.0
Tyrone Hill F 1995 CLE 950.0 98.5
Hot Rod Williams F-C 1995 CLE 949.1 98.5
Terrell Brandon G 1995 CLE 928.2 98.5
Chris Mills F 1995 CLE 922.5 98.5
Bobby Phills G 1995 CLE 860.5 98.5
Reggie Lewis G-F 1991 BOS 1373.2 97.0
Brian Shaw G 1991 BOS 1283.1 97.0
Larry Bird F 1991 BOS 1202.4 97.0
Kevin Gamble F-G 1991 BOS 1183.2 97.0
Robert Parish C 1991 BOS 1140.5 97.0
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf G 1995 DEN 1084.9 96.9
Dikembe Mutombo C 1995 DEN 1010.0 96.9
Reggie Williams F-G 1995 DEN 970.9 96.9
Rodney Rogers F 1995 DEN 945.0 96.9
Bryant Stith G 1995 DEN 887.9 96.9
Bryant Stith G 1996 DEN 1122.9 96.8
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf G 1996 DEN 1092.7 96.8
Dale Ellis G-F 1996 DEN 1041.8 96.8
Antonio McDyess F-C 1996 DEN 974.1 96.8
Jalen Rose G 1996 DEN 937.0 96.8
Mike Woodson G-F 1982 KCK 1136.8 96.6
Ernie Grunfeld G-F 1982 KCK 1003.0 96.6
Reggie King F 1982 KCK 964.8 96.6
Larry Drew G 1982 KCK 945.7 96.6
Steve Johnson C-F 1982 KCK 912.8 96.6
Damon Stoudamire G 1999 POR 702.1 96.5
Isaiah Rider G 1999 POR 610.8 96.5
Arvydas Sabonis C 1999 POR 596.9 96.5
Brian Grant F 1999 POR 582.5 96.5
Rasheed Wallace F-C 1999 POR 557.3 96.5
Johnny Davis G 1979 IND 1454.2 96.5
Ricky Sobers G 1979 IND 1443.1 96.5
Alex English F 1979 IND 1308.7 96.5
James Edwards C-F 1979 IND 1244.4 96.5
Mike Bantom F-C 1979 IND 1204.6 96.5
David Lee F 2009 NYK 1311.5 96.5
Nate Robinson G 2009 NYK 1285.1 96.5
Al Harrington F 2009 NYK 1237.1 96.5
Wilson Chandler F 2009 NYK 1121.8 96.5
Chris Duhon G 2009 NYK 1076.3 96.5
Walter Davis G-F 1983 PHO 1427.0 96.5
Larry Nance F-C 1983 PHO 1292.8 96.5
Maurice Lucas F-C 1983 PHO 1249.1 96.5
Alvan Adams C-F 1983 PHO 1190.1 96.5
Dennis Johnson G 1983 PHO 1145.6 96.5

And the least:

Player Pos Year Tm PProd Index
Kobe Bryant G 2006 LAL 2575.3 74.2
Lamar Odom F 2006 LAL 1314.9 74.2
Smush Parker G 2006 LAL 936.0 74.2
Chris Mihm C 2006 LAL 606.2 74.2
Brian Cook F 2006 LAL 594.0 74.2
LeBron James F 2008 CLE 2223.9 74.7
Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 2008 CLE 1035.5 74.7
Devin Brown G 2008 CLE 608.5 74.7
Daniel Gibson G 2008 CLE 568.7 74.7
Drew Gooden F 2008 CLE 560.1 74.7
Jerry Stackhouse G-F 2001 DET 2258.6 74.8
Chucky Atkins G 2001 DET 963.6 74.8
Joe Smith F 2001 DET 833.4 74.8
Ben Wallace F-C 2001 DET 634.5 74.8
Mateen Cleaves G 2001 DET 469.2 74.8
Michael Jordan G-F 1997 CHI 2165.9 75.4
Scottie Pippen F-G 1997 CHI 1631.0 75.4
Toni Kukoc F 1997 CHI 784.5 75.4
Steve Kerr G 1997 CHI 588.7 75.4
Luc Longley C 1997 CHI 571.8 75.4
LeBron James F 2006 CLE 2403.3 75.5
Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 2006 CLE 1196.3 75.5
Drew Gooden F 2006 CLE 861.8 75.5
Donyell Marshall F 2006 CLE 700.1 75.5
Larry Hughes G 2006 CLE 554.1 75.5
Kevin Garnett F 2004 MIN 1977.4 75.8
Sam Cassell G 2004 MIN 1637.9 75.8
Latrell Sprewell G 2004 MIN 1304.5 75.8
Fred Hoiberg G 2004 MIN 483.0 75.8
Trenton Hassell G 2004 MIN 433.9 75.8
Michael Jordan G-F 1987 CHI 2741.7 75.8
Charles Oakley F-C 1987 CHI 1273.1 75.8
John Paxson G 1987 CHI 962.3 75.8
Dave Corzine C 1987 CHI 750.2 75.8
Brad Sellers C-F 1987 CHI 676.7 75.8
Michael Jordan G-F 1988 CHI 2626.7 75.8
Charles Oakley F-C 1988 CHI 1133.4 75.8
Dave Corzine C 1988 CHI 809.4 75.8
Brad Sellers C-F 1988 CHI 751.5 75.8
John Paxson G 1988 CHI 652.2 75.8
Adrian Dantley F-G 1981 UTA 2265.2 76.5
Darrell Griffith G 1981 UTA 1492.8 76.5
Allan Bristow F-G 1981 UTA 848.1 76.5
Ben Poquette F-C 1981 UTA 796.3 76.5
Wayne Cooper C-F 1981 UTA 522.0 76.5
Paul Pierce F 2003 BOS 1985.1 76.6
Antoine Walker F 2003 BOS 1558.1 76.6
Eric Williams F 2003 BOS 780.7 76.6
Tony Delk G 2003 BOS 621.1 76.6
J.R. Bremer G 2003 BOS 529.7 76.6

Right now, Houston is falling right in the middle of the "most balanced'-"least balanced" spectrum, but a lot of things can change between now and McGrady's return. Suffice to say that this Rockets team is going to be an interesting test case all season long.

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3 Responses to “Spreading It Around”

  1. Gabe Says:

    After all the conventional wisdom talk about how Detroit's most recent championship team was a bunch of role player without a star, I'm curious where they fall on these lists. I guess the assumption would be that they're near the top of the most balanced, right?

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    Here are Detroit's 30 most balanced teams in terms of points scored (2010 is through Tuesday):

    Rk (of 878) Year Tm Index
    6 1981 DET 96.7
    20 1979 DET 95.1
    69 1990 DET 93.1
    74 2009 DET 93.0
    102 1988 DET 92.4
    104 1984 DET 92.3
    134 1989 DET 91.4
    146 2005 DET 91.2
    186 1991 DET 90.5
    195 1995 DET 90.3
    198 2008 DET 90.3
    218 1987 DET 89.9
    219 1985 DET 89.9
    232 1994 DET 89.7
    235 1997 DET 89.7
    244 1978 DET 89.5
    245 1983 DET 89.5
    285 1980 DET 89.0
    320 1986 DET 88.5
    339 2007 DET 88.3
    347 2004 DET 88.2
    358 2002 DET 88.1
    371 1998 DET 87.9
    395 2006 DET 87.5
    431 1992 DET 87.2
    459 1982 DET 86.8
    529 1999 DET 85.9
    533 1996 DET 85.9
    559 2003 DET 85.5
    691 2010 DET 83.0

    They definitely tended toward the "balanced" side, but they were nowhere near as extreme as some teams. I think it has to do with Ben Wallace -- if we looked at each team's top 4 rather than the top 5, I think they'd look more balanced, but Wallace not really scoring at all makes them look less balanced.

  3. Walter Says:

    As a Laker fan it is sickening to see that 2006 squad in which the most shot attempts taken after Kobe and Lamar were Smush Parker, Brian Cook, and Chris Mihm. That had to be one of the worst supporting casts ever for a team with a winning record.