Detroit Pistons replay center: Blake Griffin post ups

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Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Detroit Pistons Replay Center is a series where we’ll be analyzing film and numbers to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And most importantly why.

I’ve been going over the tape to see what makes the Detroit Pistons tick. And I have lots of things to say, hence the Detroit Pistons Replay Center. In what I hope to be a running series, we’ll be analyzing film and numbers to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And most importantly why.

The analysis will be as deep as I can handle and I hope both you and I learn a lot from this exercise. This is a place where everyone is welcome to flesh out their thoughts about the intricacies of the game of basketball and that is what I’ll be doing as well. So bear with me.

I figured that Blake Griffin post-ups would be a perfect start as they were the main source of offense, sometimes to a fault, at the start of the season. That was rather odd because Casey explicitly said before the season that he wouldn’t be running a lot of post-ups. But I digress.

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Griffin has been one of the best post-up players in the NBA for years and the eye test definitely supports that theory. So let’s look at the numbers. Griffin was fourth in attempts (4.4) with 0.92 points per possession and ranked in the 49.5 percentile which makes him….average? Wait, what?

That can’t be right. Ok, those numbers only take into account field goals, turnovers and fouls, not passing. But these numbers do. Ok, according to this he had 3.1 attempts and 3.6 passes, so he basically passed as much as he finished. Still doesn’t tell us a lot about the efficiency of the attempts his passing produced.

Plus, it makes no sense that one page claims 3.1 attempts while the other claims 4.4. That should be the same number. I think I know what’s going on. Those numbers are from Second Spectrum and are generated by machine learning processes.

Related Story: Previewing Blake Griffin's 2019-20 season

So, the definition of a post-up could be different for different measurements and certainly not perfectly matching reality. Machines are adequate at recognizing a post up but they’re not as good as a human at it. Fortunately, I’m human. Or am I?

Basically, the numbers are not very helpful, so we’ll have to take a deep dive into this. First, let’s look at the basic sets Casey used to get Griffin good post position.

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