“Defense wins championships” is a mantra repeated that has been repeated in pretty much every sport for decades. Behind every flashy offense that gets all the headlines there is usually a pretty stingy defense as well. And sometimes defensive oriented teams grab the headlines. But what do the numbers actually show when looking at the most recent NBA champions. ElGee at Backpicks.com has just posted an interesting breakdown of the relative strengths of NBA champions dating back to the ’79-’80 season and there’s some interesting data here.
“We’ve been fed the adage that in the playoffs “you need to be able to get stops,” and “defense wins titles,” but offense has been a larger part of a championship pedigree than defense: Teams have outperformed their opponents by 6.1 points per 100 possessions on offense, and only 4.9 points per 100 on defense. More than half of the NBA champions since 1980 have been better offensive teams in the regular season and the nearly 60% better offensive teams in the playoffs.”
Obviously defense is a pretty important part of winning a championship, but maybe the old adage doesn’t hold quite as much weight as we’ve been led to believe.
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