Part II: The Most Efficient Passers For The 2015-2016 NBA Season

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Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images

In January, I analyzed who the most efficient passers were in the NBA. (You can find that article by clicking here: https://basketballsocietyonline.com/arams-analytical-analysis-the-most-efficient-passers-in-the-nba).

In that article, I came up with a new formula called EPR (Efficient Passing Rating) which essentially calculated how many times a player was able to pass the ball around in the offense before turning the ball over. I took the top 10 assist per game leaders and calculated EPR for each one of them. I found that Isaiah Thomas had the highest rating by a good margin.

So, now that the regular season is over and the playoffs are well underway, I’ve decided to revisit that same topic in this article with an update. This time, I did things a little differently.

I want to keep the same format that I had last time, but this time instead of taking the top 10 assist per game leaders, I’ve taken the top 20 players in assists per game for the regular season. Here they are:

top 20 assists per game leaders chart

As many of you already know, Rajon Rondo was 1st in the NBA with 11.7 assists per game. Nicolas Batum, Deron Williams, and Goran Dragic were all tied for 18th with 5.8 assists.

Now, for each one of these top 20 assist per game leaders, I looked at the amount of passes per game they make. Here is that list:

leaders in passes made chart

Rajon Rondo leads in passes per game with 74.2. Deron Williams had the 2nd most with 71.5 passes. Next, we have to look at the bad pass turnovers made per game by each one of these players. Here is that chart.

(From NBA Miner)

leaders in bad pass turnovers per game chart

Isaiah Thomas leads this list of players in bad pass turnovers per game. He only turns over the ball off a bad pass 0.98 times per game. James Harden, on the other end of the spectrum, has the most turnovers off bad passes per game as he is at 2.43.

Finally, to calculate EPR, as mentioned before, we have to take the total passes per game by each player and divide it by the bad pass turnovers per game.

Here are the leaders in EPR:

EPR leaders chart

Some of these names might come as a shock to you. When you think of the most efficient passers, you don’t often think of Deron Williams, Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic, and Ish Smith. But, it just so happens that this statistic lists them as the top 4.

Deron Williams being #1 on this list doesn’t necessarily mean that he is the best passer in the NBA. But, what the EPR statistic does say is that Deron Williams was the most efficient passer out of the top 20 assist per game leaders this season.

Sure, you can argue that Deron Williams does not make the tough passes that players like Russell Westbrook and James Harden make, but nevertheless, he still leads in this category because he is exceptional at getting the ball to his teammates efficiently. So, if a team is solely looking for a player who passes the ball well and doesn’t turn over the ball when moving the ball around in the offense, Deron Williams and Isaiah Thomas might be your best options.

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