Projecting the Return of Eric Gordon Part Two- Defense
In a two-part series by Michael McNamara and Mason Ginsberg, we take a look at how Eric Gordonís return could impact both individually players and the team as a whole. Part Two focuses on the impact Gordon could have on the defensive end.
Theory: The Hornets will allow fewer points in transition
The part of Eric Gordonís game that will benefit the Hornetsí offense the most is his ability to attack the rim, earning himself high-percentage attempts and free throw attempts while keeping his turnover rate down. What makes this part of his game even more beneficial is the impact it will have on New Orleansí transition defense.
What the Numbers Say
Look no further than the 2010-11 LA Clippers to see the kind of impact that Eric Gordon has on his teamís transition defense. With Gordon on the court, the Clippers allowed just 12.6 fast break points per 48 minutes. While he was on the bench, that number ballooned to 15.8. To compare, that 3.2 points per 48 minute difference this season is the same amount that separates the third best team (Oklahoma City Ė 11.7) from the seventh-worst team (Charlotte Ė 14.9). Given Gordonís unique skill set, it comes as no surprise that his teams allow fewer fast break opportunities with him than without him.
All too frequently this season (in addition to their turnover woes), the Hornets have been forced to jack up a bad shot with the shot clock winding down, which often leads to their opponent getting out on a fast break and scoring with relative ease. By getting into the paint more often, these transition buckets will undoubtedly decrease.
How it affects the Hornets
Per NBA.comís media stats tool, the Hornets turn the ball over on 16.2% of their possessions, tying them for 7th worst in the league. To make matters worse, they are 10th worst in the NBA in pace-adjusted fast break points allowed. Given the potential for Eric Gordon to both reduce the teamís turnover rate as well as limit the amount of inefficient long-range jumpers the Hornets are forced to take, the amount of fast break opportunities their opponents get should come down.
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