Advanced stats reveal lottery team needs

There will be plenty of time to project picks as the draft nears, but here is a quick capsule on each lottery team’s biggest needs from an advanced stat perspective.

Charlotte Bobcats

Need: Defensive presence

The Bobcats were the worst defensive team in the league during the regular season, allowing the most points per play. The Bobcats were especially poor defensively in the half court, allowing opponents to score 44% of the time, worst in the league.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Need: One-on-one defender, post defender

The Cavaliers allowed the highest field goal percentage when defending isolations during the regular season. Cleveland’s opponents scored on 44 percent of isolation plays, the highest rate during the regular season. The Cavaliers allowed the highest field goal percentage on post-ups during the regular season.

Dallas Mavericks

Rebounding/transition defense

The Mavericks had a 21.8 percent offensive rebounding percentage (nearly five percentage points below league average). They were also fourth from the bottom of the league with 10.7 second-chance points per game during the regular season.

Despite committing the fifth-fewest turnovers, the Mavericks allowed 17.1 points off turnovers per game, ninth-most in the league.

Dallas’ opponents averaged 1.22 points off each Mavericks turnover, the highest rate in the league. Of the 10 teams that allowed the most points per turnover, eight failed to make the playoffs.

Detroit Pistons

Perimeter defender/playmaker

The Pistons were 29th in the league defending the pick-and-roll ball handler, allowing opponents to score on 40% of such plays.

Pistons guards Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum, who faced this play most frequently for the team, ranked in the bottom third among 125 players who defended the pick-and-roll ball handler on at least 100 plays.

The Pistons ranked in the bottom third of the league with 21.2 assists per game this season. Detroit turned the ball over on 20% of its pick-and-roll plays, the fifth-worst rate in the league.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Interior defender

Timberwolves opponents converted 58.1 percent of their field goal attempts from inside 10 feet, the second-highest rate against a team in the league.

New Orleans Pelicans

On-Ball defender

The Pelicans’ defense allowed a league-high 0.90 points per play in isolation during the regular season, allowing opponents to shoot better than 40% on such plays.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Inside scoring

Post-up plays made up seven percent of the Thunder’s offense this season (the NBA average was nine percent).

Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka are the only Thunder players who rank in the top half of the league in post-up points per play.

Orlando Magic

Ball handler/transition scorer

The Magic bottomed out in two notable statistical areas. They averaged 1.01 points per play in transition, scoring on only 49 percent of their transition plays. That ranked last in the NBA. They also ranked third-worst in the NBA in how often their ballhandler scored in the pick-and-roll (34 percent of the time).

Philadelphia 76ers

Transition scorer

The 76ers averaged 1.08 points per play in transition during the regular season, the fifth-lowest rate in the NBA. Philadelphia scored on 51% of its transition plays, the fourth-lowest rate in the league.

Phoenix Suns

Defensive presence

Opposing teams ran plays off screens 449 times versus the Suns this season and scored 1.03 points per play on 45.7 percent shooting, both of which ranked worst in the league from a defensive perspective.

Portland Trail Blazers

Interior offensive and defensive presence

The Trail Blazers scored 38 percent of their points in the paint, the third-worst mark in the league.

J.J. Hickson accounted for nearly one-quarter of those and will be a free agent this summer.

The Trail Blazers allowed the most points in the paint in the league during the regular season –- by 100 points more than the next team. Opponents shot 47.4 percent from this area, second-highest against a team in the league.

Sacramento Kings

Interior defender

Sacramento’s opponents shot 58.5 percent in the paint, the highest opponents’ shooting percentage in the paint in the league.

The Kings allowed the most points and second-highest effective field goal percentage in transition during the regular season.

Toronto Raptors


During the regular season, 33 percent of all Toronto’s made field goals were unassisted.

Despite having the most field goals attempted off the dribble in the league, the Raptors were 20th in both points per play and effective field goal percentage off the dribble

Utah Jazz

Playmaker/post defender

The Jazz used plays involving the pick-and-roll ball handler eight percent of the time, the second-lowest rate in the league (league average was 13 percent).

When using this type of play, the Jazz ranked last in field goal percentage and second-last in how frequently they converted plays into points (score percentage.

Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, who are both set to be unrestricted free agents, excelled at defending post-ups, limiting opponents to a 43.4 percent shooting. Their two primary back-ups, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, combined to allow opponents to shoot 46.5 percent from the field when defending post-ups.

Washington Wizards

Outside shooter

The Wizards struggled to shoot and opponents knew it. Despite being unguarded in catch-and-shoot attempts at the third-most frequent rate, the Wizards made 38.7 percent of such attempts, fourth-worst in the league.