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Random Stat: Steal Types

Q: I would like to know if you could make a random stat about the different types of steals (stealing while dribbling, passes intercepted, etc..) and how frequently each type of steal occurs. -- Patrick Polvorosa

A: Ah yes, all steals may count the same in the box score, but they can come about by different means. You might think there are masters of the "pickpocket theft" (aka close proximity dribble swipes), while other defenders act more like NFL cornerbacks hauling in intercepted passes. You might think...and now you'll know!

Most Stolen Passes (05-06 season to 4/03)
Player
Team
Stolen
Passes
Stl.Pass
48min
 Marion PHO 121  1.95 
 Iverson PHI 88  1.53 
 Wallace CHA 83  2.35 
 Paul NOK 82  1.60 
 B.Wallace DET 82  1.51 
 Bryant LAL 81  1.30 
 E.Jones MEM 80  1.73 
 James CLE 76  1.17 
 Kidd NJN 75  1.34 
 Arenas WAS 75  1.22 
 Lewis SEA 71  1.31 
 Johnson ATL 70  1.14 
 Butler WAS 69  1.32 
 Allen SEA 68  1.22 
 Wade MIA 68  1.21 
 Redd MIL 68  1.17 
 Garnett MIN 68  1.14 
 Parker LAL 65  1.22 
 Jaric MIN 64  1.62 
 Iguodala PHI 63  1.11 
 Knight CHA 62  1.33 
 Pierce BOS 61  1.02 
 Terry DAL 59  1.12 
 Richardson GSW 59  1.08 
 Carter NJN 58  1.07 
 Miller DEN 57  1.01 
 Robinson CHA 56  2.13 
 Anthony DEN 55  0.98 
 Childress ATL 54  1.29 
 R.Wallace DET 54  1.00 
 Ginobili SAS 53  1.54 
 Peterson TOR 53  0.92 
 Daniels DAL 51  1.51 
 Claxton NOK 51  1.34 
 Felton CHA 51  1.18 
 Buckner DEN 50  1.53 
 Kirilenko UTA 50  1.03 
 Ridnour SEA 50  1.02 
 Parker SAS 50  0.97 
 Jackson IND 50  0.95 
 Odom LAL 50  0.82 


These random stats keep pulling up some of the same names, but are highlighting the player "specialties" -- we recently discovered that Shawn Marion was the runaway leader in most most Alley Oops, and now we find out he's also #1 in the NBA by a large margin at swiping opponent passes.

A number of NBA superstars show up in the top for stolen passes, and it's a good mix of some agile big men, wing scoring forces, and stellar point guards.

If you rank the players by "stolen passes per 48 minutes of playing time" (min 20 such steals):

2.35 Gerald Wallace
2.13 Bernard Robinson
1.95 Marion
1.73 Eddie Jones
1.69 Ariza
1.62 Jaric
1.60 Paul
1.56 Wells
1.54 Ginobili
1.54 Wilkins

The worst player in the NBA in this regard? That would be Jerome James with zero such steals in over 300 minutes of playing time...but if you don't pick on the easy fodder, then people like Hunter, Brezec and Shaq are near the bottom.

Team Leaders
452 Charlotte
387 Dallas
372 Denver
363 Phoenix
354 Atlanta
...
271 Miami
269 Portland
267 L.A. Clippers
267 Utah
264 Chicago

This season there's a -.01 correlation between stealing passes and winning, which probably suggests that the success rate is the key, not the total!

You may be wondering which players have their passes stolen the most? Survey says:

137 Steve Nash
  99 Andre Miller
  99 Mike Bibby
  91 Jason Kidd
  90 Allen Iverson

...since you've got some MVP's in there and all five leaders have great +/- influence it's safe to assume there's a risk-reward tradeoff at work here, and that the great ones aren't afraid to try the difficult pass!

Which teams get passes stolen the most?
383 New York
382 Sacramento
368 Utah
358 Indiana
355 Boston
...
276 L.A. Clippers
262 Washington
258 Toronto
254 Detroit
243 New Orleans

There's only a -.16 correlation to winning, so again it's not clear cut that this is a tipoff to a bad/good team.

Well we've come this far so we might as well look at the other side of the equation, which players are the kings of simply taking the ball out of your hands:

Most "Dribble/Loose Ball" steals
Player
Team
Dribble
Steals
Drib.Stl
48min
 Knight CHA 89  1.91 
 Paul NOK 70  1.36 
 Parker LAL 62  1.17 
 Wade MIA 62  1.11 
 Fisher GSW 61  1.32 
 Kidd NJN 61  1.09 
 Ridnour SEA 60  1.23 
 Arenas WAS 57  0.92 
 Davis GSW 55  1.34 
 Iguodala PHI 55  0.97 
 Claxton NOK 52  1.37 
 Webber PHI 52  0.94 
 Bryant LAL 49  0.79 
 B.Wallace DET 48  0.88 
 Snow CLE 47  1.05 
 E.Jones MEM 44  0.95 
 Kirilenko UTA 44  0.90 
 West BOS 42  0.88 
 Iverson PHI 42  0.73 
 Ginobili SAS 41  1.19 
 Alston HOU 41  0.96 
 Butler WAS 41  0.79 
 Ford MIL 40  0.85 


In this department we have a frontrunner in the clear in Brevin Knight who is again posting some big box score stats in Assists and Steals at least. On a rate basis per 48 minutes the leaderboard is:

1.91 Knight
1.57 Greene
1.37 Claxton
1.36 Paul
1.34 Baron Davis

Team Leaders
292 Charlotte
257 Philadelphia
251 L.A. Lakers
249 Denver
245 New Orleans
...
178 Milwaukee
160 Atlanta
156 New York
148 Dallas
122 Phoenix

The correlation to winning is -.21, which doesn't mean much given the confidence intervals, but still suggests that the good teams may focus more on good 'position' defense than trying for the steal.

Since you find some players are good at one type of steal but not the other, let's sort for best "dual threat" using the lower of the two numbers as the count. Doing this the ranks are:

1. Paul
2. Wade
3. Knight
4. Smush Parker
5. Kidd
6. Arenas
7. Iguodala
8. Claxton
9. Ridnour
10. Bryant

Well, we don't know about you, but this look has made us curious to do some charting on Mr. Marion in more detail to see just how he likes to make his presence felt in the passing lanes!


Do you have an idea for a cool "random stat" you would like to see? If so, drop us a line

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