One Team, One Stat: Iso-Aldridge

VIDEO: Schuhmann’s Advanced Stats: San Antonio Spurs’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2015-16 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the San Antonio Spurs, who will be integrating a different kind of player this season.

The stat


The context

20151023_sas_basicsAccording to SportVU, LaMarcus Aldridge ranked second in the league (behind James Harden) in isolations, with almost three times as much as anybody on the Spurs last season.

We know that the Spurs’ offense is built on passing, where the ball moves until it finds the open man and good shots are passed up for great ones. While the Spurs (3.58) were near the top of the league in passes per possession, the Blazers (2.98) were in the middle of the pack. Portland often got the ball to Aldridge in the mid-post and let him go to work one-on-one.

Aldridge’s shot chart doesn’t match that of his new team either. The Spurs aren’t exactly the Rockets in regard to limiting their mid-range shots, but they’ve been generally ahead of the curve in trying to find the most efficient shots on the floor. Aldridge, meanwhile, has led the league in mid-range shots for the last three seasons, taking 560 more than any other player in the league and more than twice as many as any Spur.


Those Aldridge mid-range shots have been worth just 0.84 points per attempt, well below the league average (1.00). But that doesn’t mean that Aldridge isolations are bad offense. The Blazers scored more points per possession on Aldridge’s isolations (1.12) than the Spurs did on pick-and-roll possessions (1.07). He kept his turnovers low (just 25 on those 569 isos) and he was more likely to draw a foul on an isolation (17.6 fouls drawn per 100 isos) than Harden (17.0).

So while Aldridge will have to adjust to the Spurs, they will also have to adjust to him. And we can expect Gregg Popovich‘s offense to change a bit this season.

But hey, Popovich is the best coach in the game, according to 93 percent of the league’s general managers. And if he can successfully integrate Aldridge’s skills into the Spurs’ system, the Spurs could have a top-five offense for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions


  1. Tigger Blood says:

    @Caldron Pool – I don’t know if I would say that Aldridge is overrated, but I will say that San Antonio is going to have to walking around on egg shells with Aldridge. He has trust issues and anytime he feels that someone has slighted him in anyway he gives them the cold shoulder. That can be a cancer to a team. I am not saying that the Blazers are going to be better team with out Aldridge (especially this year), but his game is predicated on the ball being in his hands. Ball movement tends to stagnate when he is no the court. I believe (and this is just me) that in San Antonio’ s offense Aldridge’s numbers will wain. He wont make the All Star team (wont really be in the talk of making it actually). With his numbers down and not making the All Star Team his confidence will crumble.

    I do agree about where you think that the Spurs will end up in the West. I think it will be 5th or 6th and out in the first round. Aldridge is not a savior for any team. He is more of an albatross.

    One last thing. The whole hype that Aldridge left Portland to be closer to his family is a crock. If he really wanted to be close to his family he would have gone back to Texas and spent time with his family in the off-season rather than going an living in his house in California. It had nothing to do with being close to his family.

  2. so literally you are saying that pop is a crazy coach, and mike b. too and you are a genius, i can see you landing pop job the next year.

  3. Imoor says:

    How’s Aldridge super inefficient? Aldridge can shoot the ball like a guard. He can post down low better than a lot of guys. I don’t see how you can say that he’s overrated.

  4. Caldron Pool says:

    I’ll tell you right now Aldridge is the most overrated player in the league, and his acquisition by the Spurs is the most overrated transaction of the off season. Aldridge is super inefficient, which makes him a very illogical fit with the spurs. The one way they’ve been able to compete is by ball movement, making Aldridge one of the worst fits possible in their system. He’s also got a big ego, which is another bad fit for the team. Portland’s starting 5 last year was at least as good as the Spurs this year, and Aldridge couldn’t get them anywhere.

    He is a good player, but I think he was worth way more to Portland than he will be to the Spurs. The loss of Splitter and Belinelli is being vastly overlooked, as both played key roles to their last title. The D West acquisition is also a non factor, as he is now completely ineffective in this league.

    Spurs will be a 6 seed again, start the first round on the road, and lose in 6 to OKC, LAC, or HOU in the first round.

    • Thanks for your opinion on the upcoming Spurs season, me being a Spurs fan for 40 years now I will just for go this season and take your opinion and just call it quits just fold up the Spurs tent for 2016 and jump on the Cleveland bandwagon.