Making Safe Places Dangerous – The Pacers' Shot Defense


The Pacers are the best in the NBA at making teams miss shots. The above chart shows where they separate themselves — in a Secretariat-like way — from the pack.

Any self-respecting stat-head will tell you that the best place to get shots is at the rim. Second best place? Corner threes. Coach Frank Vogel’s defense is the best in the league at defending both.

And when I say “best,” I mean, there is no contest.

The shot chart above shows zones in 8-foot ranges. The Pacers allow only 47.8% inside 8-feet. Leaguewide, teams hit 55.1%. Denver is second best in the Association at defending this shot, and they allow 51.7%.

For context, the gap between #1 and #2 here is the same size as the gap between 2 and the 17th-ranked Golden State Warriors. That is ridiculous.

If you parse it down to the restricted area (roughly 5-feet and in), the Pacers are just as dominant.

They allow only 52.1% in a league that allows, on average, 59.2%.

The second place Thunder allow 55.1%.

Again, ridiculous.

But, they don’t just camp out at the rim. This defense covers the whole floor, and the 31.2% allowed on Corner threes is almost 3 full percentage points better than second place Miami’s numbers.

It’s almost EIGHT full percentage points better than the league average.

No place is safe for opposing shooters.

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