Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is getting the job done in isolation. According to a recent piece from Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, Lillard ranks among the NBA’s best in that offensive category this season.
Favale crunched the numbers by looking at isolation numbers from Synergy on NBA.com and then...well, I’ll let him explain it.
Entering games on Dec. 16, the average iso touch is yielding a little over 0.94 points per possession. We will subtract this number from every player’s own points per possession. Then, to account for volume, we’ll multiply the difference by the total number of possessions they have used.
Example time: Jayson Tatum is averaging 1.01 points per isolation. Subtract the league average (roughly 0.94) from that number, multiply it by the possessions he’s finished (113), and he ends up with a total iso value added of 7.81.
By Favale’s home-cooked metric of “Total Iso Value Added,” Lillard comes in at fifth-best in the NBA with a mark of 20.73, despite missing 12 games due to injury. And he’s doing it at a super efficient rate.
Damian Lillard ranks among the least surprising inclusions. Unless, of course, you were worried and losing sleep over the prospect that his missing 12 games would cost him. That’s fair. And it definitely cost him in the volume department.
Yet, here he is, still inside the top five.
Posting an effective field-goal percentage of 62.1 on 62 total shots will do that. That isn’t just the highest mark of anyone on this list either.
Among 59 players who have attempted at least 30 shots out of isos this season, only Bojan Bogdanović (!!!!) owns a higher effective field-goal rate.
As Favale points out, Lillard’s inclusion on this list isn’t the biggest surprise. Last night he became just the eighth active player to reach 18,000 career points. But the numbers are still encouraging to see considering the context. In Year 11 for Lillard, at 32, after missing most of last season, he still has that burst and that elite stroke to torch the league’s best defenders.