Team Defense

A team's defense can be evaluated using the same 7 stats:

  1. 3P%: opponent's 3-point field goal percentage
  2. 2P%: opponent's 2-point field goal percentage
  3. FT%: opponent's free throw percentage
  4. Blk%: opponent's block percentage
  5. St%: opponent's steal percentage
  6. A%: opponent's assist percentage
  7. 3PA%: opponent's 3-point attempt percentage

3P%

A team's defensive 3-point field goal percentage is its opponents' made 3-point shots divided by its opponents' attempted 3-point shots.

3P% = Opp. 3PM / Opp. 3PA * 100

Gonzaga's defensive 3P% was 29.0% in the 2016-2017 season, good for 2nd amongst all Division-I teams.

Its opponents made 223 3-point shots in 771 attempts.

3P% = 223 / 771 * 100 = 28.92%

For a comparison, Pepperdine opponents made 42% of their 3-point shots. That's good last (351st) in the country in 2016-2017.

KenPom has written extensively about why a team's 3P% defense should not be defined by its opponents 3P% offense.

2P%

A team's defensive 2-point field goal percentage is calculated by taking its opponents' 2-point makes and dividing them by its opponents' 2-point attempts.

2P% = Opp. 2PM / Opp. 2PA * 100

The 2016-2017 Wisconsin Badgers ranked 11th in the nation limiting opponents' 2P% to 43.1%.

Wisconsin opponents made 571 of 1325 2-point shot attempts.

2P% = 510 / 1235 * 100 = 43.09

For some contrast, Arizona State's opponents made 55.9% of its 2-point shots. That clip was 343rd amongst all Division-I teams.

While 3P% is not indicative of a team's 3-point defense, 2P% can be attributed some to how a team protects the rim and defends overall.

FT%

A team's defensive free throw percentage is its opponents' free throw makes divided by its opponents free throw attempts.

FT% = FTM / FTA * 100

North Carolina Central opponents made 63.9% of its free throws in the 2016-2017 season. This percentage put the Eagles at 2nd in the country.

And in comparison, Clemson opponents made 76.4% of their free throw attempts. This was rated 351st out of all teams in 2016-2017.

Obviously you can't defend free throws. It's an uncontested shot. But if you can limit a team from attempting free throws, it could be a big factor. Can't make them if you don't take them.

Blk%

Defensive Block percentage is a team's total blocked shots divided by its opponents' 2-point field goal attempts.

Blk% = Blocked shots / Opp. 2PA * 100

Oregon ranked 1st in the country blocking 17.0% of its opponents' 2-point shot attempts.

The Ducks blocked 248 of its opponents' 1438 2-point shot attempts.

Blk = 248 / 1438 * 100 = 17%

This make sense, as Oregon limited its opponents to shoot 46.1% for inside the 3-point line.

Milwaukee blocked only 4.4% of its opponents' shots in 2016-2017. This clip ranked last in the country.

Stl%

A team's defensive steals percentage is a team's total number of steals divided by a its opponents' offensive possessions.

Stls% = Total steals / Possessions

West Virginia posted a 13.8% steals percentage in 2016-2017. This was good for 3rd in the country.

The Mountaineers recorded 371 steals in its opponents' estimated 2,690 offensive possessions.

Stls% = 371 / 2,690 * 100 = 13.79

In comparison, Virginia Tech's defensive steal percentage was more than half of that at 5.7%. This ranked 347th in the country.

A%

A team's defensive assist percentage is its opponents' total amount of assists divided by its opponents' made field goals. This includes both 3-point and 2-point makes.

A% = Opp. assists / Opp. FGM * 100

Saint Mary's led all Division-I teams limiting its opponents to a 40.2% assist percentage. Saint Mary's opponents had 297 assists on 738 made baskets.

A% = 297 / 738 * 100 = 40.24

Syracuse opponents registered a 67.2% assist percentage in the 2016-2017 season. This was last (351st) amongst all teams.

Assist percentage sometimes has less do with defense, and more to do with style of play. Syracuse is known for its 2-3 zone, and to beat a zone, you must share the ball.

3PA%

A team's defensive 3-point attempt percentage is the percentage of 3-point shots its opponents attempt divided by their opponents' total shot attempts.

3PA% = Opp. 3PA / Opp. FGA * 100

Duke's opponents took 28.8% of their shots from behind the 3-point line in the 2016-2017 season. This was 1st amongst all Division-I teams.

The Blue Devils opponents' attempted 639 3-pointers out of 2,218 total shot attempts.

3PA% = 639 / 2218 * 100 = 28.81

In contrast, SMU's opponents attempted 45.5% of their shots from behind the 3-point line. That's percentage ranked 345th in the country.

Remember: Teams have much more control over how many 3-point shots their opponents shoot than how many they make.

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