Do Free throws result in a Set Defence?

A couple weeks ago, I published an article detailing how Demar Derozan’s return would benefit the Raptor’s defence. After further research, another correlation between Derozan and good defence was his free throw proficiency. According to both Blake Murphy at Raptors Republic and Michael Grange at Sportsnet, Derozan’s prescence would result in less points given up in fast breaks. In my previous article, I went over the basic advantages of the new Synergy data, and one of them was the fact that transition possessions result in the most points, to it is best to have a set defence.

I crunched some numbers to try to find a correlation between a team’s free throw shooting and the frequency of transition possessions that they give up. Therefore, I plotted a team’s FTA per 100 possessions agains the frequency of transition possessions they give up. The results were… less than encouraging.

FT vs Fast break fq

As you can see, the data points are all over the place. Although the trend of the line is expected, where increasing free throws decreases fast breaks, it has both a very shallow slope and very wide range of data range. There is not much correlation here.

A possible explanation for this would be the fact the the Synergy data this comes from is highly unreliable. As always, the most likely culprit is the small sample size. Nevertheless, I took the data for Transition Frequency and used another NBA cliche – that keeping turnovers down will result in better defence.

TO vs Fast Break

As you can see, this graph is still very scattered, but getting closer towards the line of best fit. The correlation goes from almost 0 to about 0.3, not good by any means but still interesting in comparison. Therefore, just from this, I can conclude the turnovers have a more direct relationship with fast break opportunities.

Until next time.


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