Stats Attack: Final Four assists analysis

Jun 20, 2019 by Print

Much can be learned about how different teams operate by looking in detail at their assists. Not only the dry numbers, such as which teams and which players send out the most assists, but also who are the favorite targets of the assist-makers, which players score more baskets from assists, or which players score more often unassisted. Stats Attack takes a look at how the assists at this season's Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, were generated.

CSKA Moscow

CSKA scored the most points at the Final Four, with 186 over two games, but its 29 total assists were only the third-most. Nonetheless, CSKA kept the ball moving in ways that kept opponents guessing about where it was headed next. Daniel Hackett sent 7 assists to six different players, while his backcourt mate Nando De Colo dished 6 to five of his teammates. De Colo, whose 38 total points were tied for second-best at the event, also received assists from five different players. Nine different CSKA players scored off assists, but none received more than 2 from another single player.

CSKA scorched the nets by making 57.5% of its three-pointers (23 for 40) – but more than half of those, 12, were unassisted. Final Four MVP Will Clyburn (4), Sergio Rodriguez (3) and De Colo (2) each made multiple unassisted triples. Othello Hunter, meanwhile, had the second-most points at the Final Four, 15, without making an assist.

Anadolu Efes Istanbul

Efes relied on more isolation and individual creativity than any other team. Shane Larkin and All-EuroLeague point guard Vasilije Micic combined for 60% of the team's 25 assists. Curiously, of the 10 assists dished by their teammates, only 1 each went to Micic and Larkin, however they each assisted the other twice.

Larkin was the Final Four's top scorer with 59 points over two games, but when he found an open man, the ball went there; Larkin sent out a total of 9 assists to five different players. Bryant Dunston, whose 22 points were third most for Efes in Vitoria-Gasteiz, received 6 assists in total from four different players. Interestingly, the player with the most points scored without delivering a single assist was James Anderson (17). All 4 of the three-pointers that Anderson made over the weekend were assisted.

Real Madrid

Real tied the Final Four record with 46 total assists. The man behind that mark was Facu Campazzo, whose 21 assists smashed the record previously held by Dimitris Diamantidis, who had 18 in 2011. Campazzo had a favorite target for his passes: Gustavo Ayon. Among the Real center's 25 points in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Campazzo assisted Ayon 10 times. Another 5 of Campazzo's assists went to Fabien Causeur, including a pair that produced three-pointers. His remaining 6 assists went to five different players.

As a secondary playmaker, Rudy Fernandez kept defenses on their toes. His 9 assists -- tying the second-best total of the weekend -- went out to eight different players, which represented the most different targets by any player at the Final Four. Another amazing detail from Real's Final Four was that 16 of the team's 18 three-point shots made were assisted. Despite all the dishing by Real, Jaycee Carroll (13) and Anthony Randolph (12) had third- and fourth-most points at the Final Four without making any assists of their own.

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Fenerbahce had the most assist-makers at the Final Four, with 10 players joining in the fun, and its big men made the difference. Fenerbahce's centers and power forwards recorded more assists than the big men from any other Final Four team, with a total of 9 between Ahmet Duverioglu (3), Jan Vesely (2), Nikola Kalinic (2) and Nicolo Melli (2). Most of those dimes went to perimeter players who either hit open jump shots (including 3 three-pointers) or cut to the basket for layups.

The chief target of Fenerbahce's guards was EuroLeague MVP Jan Vesely. All 9 of Vesely's field goals were assisted, meaning that 19 of the 20 points he scored in Vitoria-Gasteiz came with help. Melih Mahmutoglu authored 3 of those assists. All told, nine of Fenerbahce's players dished out at least 2 assists each. One of them was Marko Guduric, who nearly doubled his regular season average (2.2 apg.) with a total of 8 assists to four players over two games.