A brief European basketball leagues comparison (2011-2016)
This post is a brief deep dive into the recent history of European basketball leagues ranging from Germany, Spain, Italy, France to Turkey as well as a league such as the Euroleague which is Pan-European. The aim is mainly to pin-point and highlight certain values that have been reached between 2011-2016 across different leagues while comparing how different domestic leagues have done against others in different regards. The reason why a five year span has been made use of is due to the fact that it makes it easier to average out and bring current data and values forward with adequate focus on proper analysis.
As mentioned above, this is a deep dive into historic statistical values that have been recorded and have further been worked up as a part of Advance Pro Basketball’s recent data acquisition.
To explain things further in terms of statistical values point production across Europe has always been a strategic point of impact across various domestic leagues. In Europe a natural balance is present; key defensive values impact the way teams create offense and visa versa. This this point in mind it should be noted that the pace of games across Europe are played at high levels and to a major extent non European players as well as European players alike have a further impact on how point production ends up being of high value. It should not be under estimated that defense is also critical in European basketball overall. Defensive Rating an effective statistic which collectively and initially accounts for player/team impact of defense across leagues has been put to use and an offensive comparison through Offensive Rating along side pace has also been taken into account as can seen below in the initial table. While ideally over the last five years varying leagues namely, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the Euroleague have been focal points and have seen top level competition in Mens’ basketball.
As seen in the table there has been a climb in all categories across all the leagues in Spain, Germany, France as well as in Turkey. This has obviously impacted the Euroleague wherein champions as well as contenders at the top of domestic European leagues compete on a weekly basis. With the recent format change in the Euroleague that has increased the number of games seems to have positively impacted the pan-european competition however the domestic leagues have suffered in the process.
Given the picture across Europe with the initial ORtg, DRtg and Pace it only makes sense to look closer at effective scoring across selective leagues. In this sense the decision to look at the Turkish BSL, German BBL and Italian Serie A leagues which have respectively differing stances in terms of foreign player restrictions, strategic player rotations, coaching strategies and most importantly team/league value ($$ vs. player production).
With the above graphs on the left hand side it becomes evident that while during the 12-13 season in Italy turnovers where at a 5 year high with 18,3% turnovers across the league it should be noted overall that domestic leagues games spanning across a season in Europe usually range on average between 33-35 games. Moreover a 5 year low was hit back in the same season in Turkey with 14,8% turnovers across the league proving that ball possession was critical to teams/players competing in the BSL (then Turkish basketball league). Once more its best to point out that TOV% is a good indicator to effective scoring production especially when it comes to analyzing league and historical values in this kind of setting.
To put a spotlight focus on direct effective scoring production its only sensible to look directly at True Shooting percentages (TS%) as well as effective Field Goal percentages (eFG%) which are both by far the most highly regarded statistics that allow for effective analysis.
As seen in the right hand side of the graph, in terms of TS% the Italian league has seen both peaks of highest and lowest percentages in two (13-14, 15-16) seasons.
On the other hand in terms of eFG% a commentary as follows can be made. The Turkish BSL which underwent a change in increasing its foreign player count for teams was positively impacted in the process. While in the German BBL the stability that had started with the 2010-2011 season which prior dates yet can be seen as a precursor to how overall effective scoring and point production has made the German BBL one of the most of not the most marketable league within this analysis. In terms of the Italian Serie a league which has seen its share of issues on the court with only a hand full of teams being able to make effective use of realistic $$ vs. player production had hit the highest mark by the end of the 2013-2014 season.
Differences of Play
To put a spin on things further, here is a more plain look at how different leagues across 5 years have soared. France where predominantly a fast paced style of play with a median pace within the mid 80s had been hit. On the other end of the spectrum where we see more high volume possessions which effectively mean hihg level of figures with closer to +85 pace figures have been hit in the Turkish BSL prove a clear contrast between the leagues initially. With this in focus we can take a closer look at how basic stats looked like in the past between the French Pro A and BSL leagues.
There is close to enough evidence that overall European basketball has varying styles and strengths of play ranging from high level offense to high level defense. At a glance very simplistically when all aspects considered the Turkish Basketball Super League seems to be the league best adapted to all the current changes and has in the process become the league for players especially foreigners without a doubt. It is still a question to be answered whether the domestic players within the BSL can shine as well as they have in the past and contribute to key wins as the current season continues.