Introducing Synergy (and why opponents should screen Will Bynum more)

I’ve holding off an writing about this for a while – because it’s so awesome. The TrueHoop Network has been given access to Synergy, a video scouting service. Every time I’ve opened it, I’ve been drawn in and spent a significant amount of time watching plays. With work, I had to put it away for a while.

Here’s an example of what I’ve learned:

Will Bynum doesn’t fight through screens

Will Bynum allowed 1.24 points per play when his man took him off a screen last year. There were only 25 such plays all season, so Bynum didn’t have enough data to rank on Synergy’s database. But for perspective, the Pistons allowed .88 points per play of that type, 16th in the league

With Synergy, I could easily call up video to watch every time Bynum was in that situation – and it wasn’t pretty.

Bynum shows absolutely no ability to fight through screens, and opponents almost always ended up making an open jumper. Even when they missed, they had good looks.

And double screens? Forget about it. Bynum ran in a giant loop to avoid contact, completely taking him out of the play.

His defense in this situation is so bad that I question how how much value he really has this summer.

The caveat

I think the previous example shows what’s great about Synergy. Bynum wasn’t taken off enough screens to really make me notice this deficiency during the season. But because of the way Synergy sorts its data, I could watch every play like that in a row and learn something.

But only plays that end with a shot, turnover or free throws are included. Maybe Bynum is great at covering his man off screens, closing on him and taking his shot away. When this happens it’s not included. And of course, when he makes the play well, his man is far less likely to shoot.

So, this data may be skewed against Bynum. But he looked so terrible in the videos, I doubt it. You’d think sometimes he’d cover the play well, and his man would shoot anyway. But that maybe happened once.

So, I think I learned something, but I don’t think I can say Synergy is a be-all, end-all for this type of analysis.

What this means to you

I will use Synergy in the analysis you read on this site , but if you want to see it for yourself, you can. You can go to Synergy and sample what it offers for two players: LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire.

If you want to go further, it costs $29.95 to sign up. If you’re a die-hard or are writing about basketball, it may be worth it. Honestly, if you’re only a casual fan, it’s probably not (although as Synergy continues to enhance its system, that may change).

Of course, if you have any tips about what I should investigate with Synergy, please drop a note in the comments or e-mail me (danfeld11[at]gmail[dot]com).

Tags: Will Bynum

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