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NBA Miner | NBA Players' Defensive Efficiencies
NBA Players' Defensive Efficiencies Statistics and Comparison
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Efficient Players on Defense

Success on DefenseUnlike to offense, measuring a player’s defensive capability using his basic game statistics can be misleading. But that can also be a good starting point to quantify the contribution of the player’s defensive effort for his team. In this analysis, we have determined a unique defensive efficiency metric for players, taking into account 2013-14 NBA season data.


To simplify, we used following basketball statistics to measure the defensive efficiency: defensive rebounds, steals, blocks and personal fouls.


First of all, let’s explore if these four stats are really significant to win the game and what are their importance coefficients. To find out, we took 2012-13 and 2013-14 team based data and applied a multiple linear regression to measure winning variable (0-1 binary) by these four defense variables. Not surprisingly all of them emerged highly significant for winning. And the regression line is:


Winning Game = 0.034*Defensive Rebound + 0.036*Steal + 0.022*Block – 0.014*Personal Fouls – 0.653


Looking to the coefficients, we see that to win the game, steals and defensive rebounds have slightly more importance than blocks; and personal fouls impact is even lower with the opposing direction (higher fouls, lower chance to win). By normalizing the coefficient values between them, the impact score of each defensive statistics are:


Defensive Stats

After that, we passed on players stats and composed an integrated defensive efficiency metric by the following formula:


Player Defensive Efficiency = (Player Def_Reb per Game / League Avg. Def_Reb per Game)*0.321 + (Player Steal per Game / League Avg. Steal per Game)*0.340 +

(Player Block per Game / League Avg. Block per Game)*0.208 –

(Player PF per Game / League Avg. PF per Game)*0.132




Here are the results:


Best Defensive Players

Best Defensive Efficiency – Top 10


Anthony Davis was the most efficient player on defense last season according to this metric. DeAndre Jordan was second best with small difference. All of the top 10 are close to rim players, 8 of them are pure centers.


We saw Joakim Noah, 2013-14 defensive player of the year, at number seven. On the other hand, Anthony Davis was the eight most ranked at this competition. (But you know that team success is also an important factor for such NBA voting.)


Some other interesting players are: Marc Gasol (#18) 1.713, Roy Hibbert (27#) 1.619, and Tyson chandler (#31) 1.565.



  • dulce

    how about point guards, positional ranking. thanks!

    • Gürhan Günday

      Between the point guards, top 5 efficient players on defense for 2013-14 season are:
      Chris Paul (#28) 1.619
      Ricky Rubio (#36) 1.523
      Russell Westbrook (#40) 1.478
      John Wall (#41) 1.460
      Eric Bledsoe (#54) 1.347

  • Luis

    Is this data available for all players in the current season?

    • Gürhan Günday

      For 2015-16 season, including games until 13.DEC.2015, top 3 efficient players are:
      Hassan Whiteside – 2,442
      Andre Drummond – 1,756
      Anthony Davis – 1,687

      But this time playing times are also considered, thus we calculated defensive efficiency rating according to per minutes played statistics. And we took into account only players who played at least 20 min/game.

      We are publishing positional rankings (among centers-forwards-guards) from our twitter account.

    • Rosa

      I guess finding useful, reliable inrtomafion on the internet isn’t hopeless after all.

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