COLUMN: Expounding on the 24-second shot clock theory

Posted at 01/21/2014 7:40 PM | Updated as of 01/21/2014 7:42 PM

The PBA D-League match between Cagayan Valley and National University-BDO last Monday at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao can best be summarized with this:

CV answered every run of NU-BDO’s with one of their own. Even when the Bulldogs threatened to take over the game, the Rising Suns hit some huge shots, the biggest of which were the back-to-back threes by Don Trollano and Adrian Celada that answered Troy Rosario's and Robin Roño's own triples to make it 97-90 for CV with 2:32 left.

The Rising Suns attacked inside early with Mark Bringas and Jason Melano doing damage inside. Michael Mabulac and Jessie Collado also hit some big shots inside the lane. With no real center to protect the lane, NU-BDO played a 2-3 zone.

When the Bulldogs went zone, the Rising Suns positioned their shooters outside the arc in Celada and Trollano. Nard Pinto and Marvin Cruz were off with their shooting as they had to contend with their frenetic guarding of Cedric Labing-Isa and Roño. The rotation was sometimes a second late in running out to the open shooter.

The physical play by CV on BDO-NU bothered the players but not too much as they made the Rising Suns pay by going to the line 40 times (but converted only 31 for 77%).

Ray Parks of NU-BDO was held to two points off two free throws in the second half but to the Bulldogs' credit, they didn’t crumble. Troy Rosario played huge by scoring 21 points including an acrobatic twisting reverse lay-up off a drop pass by Glenn Khobuntin who himself was unstoppable on his drives. The guard corps of Cedric Labing-Isa (who has played a string of terrific games), Robin Roño and Paolo Javellona all came up big in the absence of Gelo Alolino.

For CV, even when some of their players were in foul trouble the bench played well. Aside from the aforementioned players, some like Phil Mercader and Kenneth Ighalo came up with solid games (e.g. guarding Parks) with their contributions not showing up in the stat column. But the offensive rebound by Mercader in the last two minutes of overtime was huge for the Rising Suns as they scored.

I kept track of the shot clock management of the Bulldogs. This was to test that 24-second shot clock theory that I discussed with Tim Cone about two years ago. I wrote two articles about that as I followed Cone’s B-Meg teams and well, by game’s end, the theory was proven.

I am going to lift some passages from that article I wrote:

"The Phoenix Suns teams of Mike D’Antoni made its ‘seven-seconds-or-less’ offense forever a part of basketball lexicon. While it’s not ‘Moneyball’ as that pertains to a different aspect of baseball, I think it’s all about getting the easiest shots and points possible. Now when I look at a Tim Cone-coached team, what I look for is its adherence to the prescribed system and the management of the shot clock. Efficiency if you will.

"Theoretically, a basketball team has five opportunities in a 24-second shot clock.

"The first six seconds are usually off the fastbreak where the percentages are higher.

"The next six are of lower percentages because the defense is better set.

"In the next six (18 seconds), the percentages are better because this is when an offensive team should pick apart the defense with its set plays.

"The next three seconds are still good because the designated scorer should have the ball in his hands.

"The last three seconds, the percentages plummet because this is what you call the desperation shot."

I wanted to check this out with the Bulldogs in their game against Cagayan Valley Monday. Having watched this team for quite some time, I felt that this was a team that was better suited to a fastbreak game rather than a slow it down half court set.

Here’s the data I recorded with a slight difference, I grouped the shot clock attempts into increments of eight. By the next game, I’ll go back to the breakdown of the proper five attempts per 24 seconds.

Anyways, here are the stats on the clock management:

1st eight seconds 24-17: made 23 shots then missed 15
2nd eight seconds 16-9: made 7 then missed 15
last eight seconds 8-1: made 8 then missed 6.

I am missing five shots.

Here are figures:

NU: 38-79 field goals (77%)
Fastbreak points: 22 points (to the 4 of Cagayan Valley)

So if they made 23 baskets in the first eight seconds of the shot clock, should that theoretically translate to at least 46 points? So why 22 points only in the official stat sheet?

You also have to take into consideration the second chance points.

For example, on three consecutive possessions, NU-BDO scored on putbacks off missed attempts. That means the shot clock was reset to 24, hence, the quick score.

How many second chance points did NU-BDO score? Fifteen points (to the 11 of Cagayan Valley). And there are the free throws to go with the and-ones.

But ultimately, this made the big difference in the end result: 14-33 (42.4%) three-point shooting by Cagayan Valley to the 3-19 for NU-BDO.

What this means is the Bulldogs have to quicken the pace that is more their game and to defend that three-point zone better.

Anyways, for the next match, we’ll do our best to break down the 24-shot clock theory in its five basic attempts.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.