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DSS: Kentucky versus Marist

For those who haven't seen this before, you can read an introduction here (I should note that Dean Oliver is now with ESPN instead of the Nuggets).

The Defensive Score Sheet (DSS) is back!  After a summer of thinking and experimenting, I've got some new ways to present individual defense that I think you will like and hopefully will be a bit easier to read and understand. 

Despite some problems that Glenn diagrammed so beautifully, the Cats turned in a fine defensive performance in their first game, holding an overmatched Marist team to 58 points in 75 possessions.  Here's how the individual players contributed to that effort.

I'll make a few comments and observations, but I'll have more to say about the results in future games.  Mostly I'm treating this as a (re-)introduction to the project.

These first 2 tables are new: a Defense Box Score.  This is exactly like a regular box score, except everything is from the perspective of defense.  So for example, you can see that MKG only allowed a single made FG (a 3 pointer) while defending 7.5 attempts.  He sent Marist players to the line 2 times and forced 3.5 turnovers.  Overall, only 4 points were scored against him. 

You should take particular note of the "TEAM" line for UK.  This line is a catch-all for any results that can't be attributed to a player.  Open shots go here, as do turnovers that aren't a result of the defense (such as throwing a pass out of bounds while not being guarded).  UK only allowed 4 open shots which is a terrifically low total - one of the good things UK did this game was to at least marginally contest most shots.


Here are the calculated defensive ratings.   I've included the exact totals for stops and scores so you can see how well the estimates match them.  It is typical for stops to be overestimated and scores to be underestimated due to free throws.

  • Stops are the number of possessions when a team prevents a score of any kind, whereas scores are the number of possessions in which the opponent scores at least 1 point. 
  • Plays is just the sum of stops and scores. 
  • Stop% is the percentage of times a player gets a stop
  • Usage% is the percentage of defensive possessions that a player is involved in while they are on the floor. 
  • DefRtg (short for Defensive Rating) is the number of points a player would allow if they guarded 100 possessions (lower is better).


The stars of this game for UK were Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis who combined outstanding ratings with active participation in the defense.  Those Stop% of 86% and 89% are absolutely sick (for the opponent).  Eloy Vargas also shined in his limited minutes, thanks mostly to his 7 defensive rebounds.  On the down side Miller, Lamb, and Teague had (relative) trouble with Marist's guards and wings as each had a defensive rating worse than the overall team rating of 77.3.  Wiltjer was somewhat of a mixed bag - he had a Defensive Rating worse than the team, but his Stop% of 59% is quite good.

This last chart is something I'm excited about this year: a grid showing who the Wildcats made their plays against.  For example, MKG was all over the place making plays against 8 of the 11 Marist players who took the floor and you can see that Davis made 6 plays against Dorvell Carter which is who I observed him guarding for a good bit of the game.