What are swing rates?
swing rates measure how quickly the ball is traveling across the court and are a valuable asset for any team. For example, when a player misses a layup, the swing rate could be as low as 70%, while when he commits a three-point play he’s expected to have swing rates between 85% and 95%.
A little background: Swing is a metric that represents the average length of a shot from each team in a given moment. For example, a team could have a shot clock start in the beginning seconds of a game, meaning that a player will only have to move their hands up and down five times to make a single pass and finish, but if that team uses a clock they will have a chance to score, shoot, and move their hands to make a few more passes, but they won’t have to make any more. With players generally reaching the rim five times, the player could be expected to reach for around 20% of the court, or an average of 8.83 attempts.
But how accurate are swing rates?
It’s been said that for any given moment one team’s swing rate should be around their turnover rate. A good example is the Houston Rockets from 1995-96, who ranked second in the league in possessions per game (the number of times a player could make a pass, shoot, or move his hand in order to score). That’s the best mark of all time by far, but that was a low season. There would be no way that any team would have made an All-Star game if they only had 12.5 possessions per game. A team should have 20 to 22.5 to try and keep up with their best.
While the NBA does have player information, such as a player’s averages and their season’s scoring average, a true measure of how quickly a player was able to score has to take into account the actual shot made. In a basketball game, even when there is no score, there are only a few people with full knowledge of the situation. So the swing of a pass will vary depending on how the pass was made. Also, a higher percentage of players are expected to make a certain number of drives to the hoop, while a dribble handoff will be quicker.
In the following table, you can find data for each player as well as the percentage of the time he is driving to the hoop. The data is broken down by offensive set-ups and for two sets: the
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