By the Numbers: Available data support Baldwin's unfiltered takes

Paul Kennedy Lintag on Jun 25, 2020 04:29 PM
By the Numbers: Available data support Baldwin's takes
Commenting on the league's format, among other things, Baldwin drew the ire of the PBA, leading to a three-game suspension and a P75,000 fine.

Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin sure caused a stir the other week when he made his comments regarding the PBA.

Commenting on the league's format, among other things, Baldwin drew the ire of the PBA, leading to a three-game suspension and a P75,000 fine.

[Related: PBA: Baldwin fined P75k and suspended for three games]

But what did coach Tab really said that caused all this trouble?

The two topics that were seen as most sensitive were Baldwin's take on the PBA having only one-import tournaments and coaches having "tactical immaturity" for which Coach Tab said is not entirely the fault of PBA mentors.

Here's coach Tab's comment on the PBA imports:

"As an industry here, we have one major flaw in the basketball landscape of the Philippines and it's a regulatory flaw and that is that in the PBA, we have three conferences, two of those are single-import conferences. This is a big mistake.

We should never have a single import playing on a team. Further, we should never have a single import that is given all the latitude that the imports are given here by the referees... So in other words, to put it in layman's terms, a foul for a local player isn't a foul on an import, and the foul on an import, that same foul on a local player isn't a foul. So our local players are competitively disadvantaged in their ability to compete against the import players, and this is not the case in other countries."

As for Baldwin's comments regarding the PBA coaches' "tactical immaturity," here's Coach Tab's full quote:

"You ask yourself why one PBA coach after another, when they start their games, they don't match up the imports against one another? Why is that? Well, it's tactically smart, tactically sound because they can afford the fouls, because they know that the imports produce so much offense for their teams.

But that's not so bad as in fact, and this gets back to my original point, gets back to the fact that if you're a PBA coach and you don't tactically run your systems through the import, you're pretty stupid because they are given all of the advantages. The PBA coaches are a smart lot, they're good basketball coaches, but they could be much better if they were forced to coach much more. I think then they would show their real talents.  But I think that because of the way our imports are treated here, it's not sound thinking for a coach to not exploit what is obvious to every PBA coach, and that is to run your offensive systems through your import.

I think that system it creates a false landscape for our basketball coaches and our basketball players. And I think it needs to be changed sooner rather than later."

Since Baldwin's comments, his takes have become trending topics on the local hoops scene.

But does Coach Tab really have a point? An independent researcher crunched available data from the PBA's previous season and some findings actually support Baldwin's claims.

Here's a By the Numbers take on what was found with some good old-fashioned calculating.

 


9.34

Free throw attempts for imports per 48 minutes.

For comparison, local players only get an average of 3.83 free throw attempts per 48 minutes, a significant decrease.

This supports Baldwin's observation that imports generate most of the offense.

As supporting data, imports get an average of 28.46 free throw attempts per 100 possessions, as opposed to local players generating only 18.56 free thows.

 


3.41

Fouls called on imports per 48 minutes.

As for local players, they are called for an average of 4.71 fouls per 48 minutes, supporting Coach Tab's claim that, "a foul for a local player isn't a foul on an import, and the foul on an import, that same foul on a local player isn't a foul. So our local players are competitively disadvantaged in their ability to compete against the import players."

 


14.23 percent

Free throw trips per scoring possession for imports.

Local players get to the line only 9.28 percent of the time per scoring possessions.

Simply said, imports just get to the line more, which means more free throw attempts and more chances to score.

 


23.82

Field goal attempts for imports per 48 minutes. Local players only average 15.9 field goal attempts per 48 minutes.

Again, this is in favor of Baldwin's statements that PBA coaches are a "smart lot" for running their offense through the import.

It's simply the obvious choice as it generates the most chances of scoring.

 


Baldwin's unfiltered takes were no doubt controversial and it appears that the issue with the PBA has been resolved for the most part.

Nevertheless, key numbers prove that Coach Tab was on to something when he said what he said.

 


Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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