It may seem a bit deceiving and contrary to popular belief, but Mark Jackson’s Golden State Warriors are the most efficient team during offensive plays following a timeout.
Deadspin published an interesting story chronicling which coaches are best at designing plays out of timeouts. They essentially took how many points a team scored per 100 possessions and subtracted it from how many points it scores out of timeouts per 100 possessions, and here are the results (graphic via Deadspin):
As you can see, the Warriors have a whopping 20.2 Timeout Play Efficiency, scoring almost 112 points per 100 possessions coming out of the huddle.
This may seem confusing because Jackson isn’t exactly known for being an “X’s and O’s” type of coach. Last season, he largely depended on top assistant coach Michael Malone — now the head coach of the Kings — to draw up plays during timeouts late in games. It is not known if Jackson has taken up a bigger role in drawing up plays this season without Malone, but he does depend upon his assistants often.
Here’s what Deadspin had to say about the Warriors leading the league in this rather obscure stat:
Golden State runs a lot of novel actions on its set plays to spring Steph and Klay for shots, like the universally loved Elevator Doors play, or the Split Actionplay that sends two players smashing into each other and then away, to open space. Most often these happen in open play, but they’re also used out of dead balls to good effect. Having bigs like David Lee and Bogut, as well as the addition of a spatially savvy player like Andre Iguodala, makes the Dubs just a sublime team to watch. And of course, having Steph lets you do things no one else really can.
What the stat doesn’t account for, however, is how often teams call timeouts and whether or not they call timeouts late in a close game. If the Warriors have possession late in a game and are tied or trailing by a few points, Jackson has rarely taken a timeout. Thus, the majority of Warriors’ timeouts occur during less-pressured situations, where the coaches can draw up a play to get the offense flowing and take advantage of a defense that’s not exactly on high-alert.
So are the Warriors the NBA’s best team at designing plays out of timeouts? Yes, but when put in perspective, it’s not really that big of a deal.