Shot volume index


Masters of the SVI genre. (AP)

For the time being I’m taking what I’ll call a shot volume index out for a test drive to see if it can be of any use. The SVI can be thought of as the number of shot attempts a team would record in 100 offensive possessions with average shooting accuracy (determined collectively by 75 teams in major-conference play in 2016), and, most improbably, zero free throws.

I need hardly add that I’m far from the first observer to look at and measure this aspect of the game. Consider this merely one more dish at the buffet.

Last February when I was juggling Tuesday Truths and other stuff, I whipped up a little shot volume casserole in the microwave, and it was, I trust, passable. But with a bit more time to prepare, I’ve come to prefer the slow-cooked SVI and its fair degree of accuracy in predicting how many points your team will score. Also, allow me to extend a big thank you to Svi Mykhailiuk at Kansas for cheerfully loaning his name to this undertaking.

Great offensive rebounding teams that commit a turnover before they attempt a shot don’t get a chance to display their greatness. Conversely teams that excel at taking care of the ball but place a transition-D-focused ban on offensive boards see their shot volumes suffer relative to competitors with identical or even significantly higher turnover rates. The SVI proudly carries this brand of sequential flow-charting horse sense in its DNA.

In major-conference play in 2016, your shot volume extremes and mean looked like this:

                          TO%      OR%         SVI
1.  North Carolina       0.161    0.411       103.3
2.  Kentucky             0.147    0.370       103.0
43. Virginia             0.164    0.276        96.6 (mean)
74. Marquette            0.207    0.247        90.3
75. Boston College       0.217    0.217        87.8

This particular ACC-heavy grouping makes it look like shot volume is just a fancy euphemism for offensive rebounding. Au contraire. Elsewhere in the conference, Mike Brey’s men showed you can in fact achieve near-UNC results with far fewer offensive boards.

                          TO%      OR%         SVI
3.  Notre Dame           0.133    0.317       102.1

Fans of meta-narratives will note that over the last decade major-conference hoops has seen a decline in both turnovers and offensive boards. The net result of these twin decreases — one being inflationary with regard to attempts from the field, the other deflationary — has been a paradoxically steady shot volume.

Then again maybe someday soon a whiz kid up-and-coming coach will think to marry the robust offensive rebounding of the 2010 Big East with the meticulous turnover-avoidance of the 2016 Big Ten or Pac-12. By gar, then we’ll see something.