Today's Number: 1.43
In the first edition of By The Numbers, we examined Chase Budinger's transition offense. Today, we'll look at Luis Scola in transition, and rather than criticize like we did with Budinger, we'll instead show some praise for one of the most effective transition players in the entire league last season, especially among power forwards. All data is provided using Synergy sports technology.
Scola's 1.43 points per possession ranked him 18th in the NBA in 2009-10. He made 56 of 79 field goal attempts in transition, which accounted for seven percent of his offensive output. If you don't think that 79 transition attempts is very many for a power forward, consider that Chris Bosh, known as a mobile, versatile PF in his own right, only attempted 46 transition field goals last season, finishing with a 1.11 ppp (good for 183rd in the league). Amar'e Stoudemire, a player of similar height in a faster paced offense, had 82 attempts. Luis will get out and run, that's for sure.
But Luis doesn't just make the trip down the court for fun: he converts at a very high rate. Stoudemire actually shot a better percentage in transition than Scola - 73.2 percent - but his points per possession was only 1.27. Why was this? Stoudemire turned the ball over 17.2 percent of the time. Scola turned the ball over 4.3 percent of the time in transition. That's very impressive.
If you want more numbers, consider that Josh Smith finished with a 1.21 ppp and a turnover percentage of 17.5 in transition. Kevin Garnett finished with a ppp of 1.31. Carlos Boozer tied Scola with a 1.43 ppp. Pau Gasol is the most notable power forward who is more effective in transition than Scola: his 1.51 ppp ranked him sixth in the league.
Any way you put it, Scola's effectiveness in transition sheds more light towards how valuable and versatile he is to the Rockets.