Elfrid Payton shoots over Sacramento guard De'Aaron Fox

Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Pelicans at Kings (4/7/19)

by Jim Eichenhofer

A look at three key numbers related to Sunday’s game at Golden 1 Center between New Orleans and Sacramento (8 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, WRNO 99.5 FM): 

2, 3: Ranking among the 30 NBA teams in pace this regular season for Sacramento and New Orleans, respectively, at 103.91 and 103.89 possessions per 48 minutes, via NBA.com. The Kings and Pelicans have fully participated in the league’s overall upswing in tempo, playing faster than all teams with the exception of Atlanta (104.53 possessions per 48 minutes). Since the All-Star break in mid-February, the Pelicans have actually pushed their pace to an even greater degree, at 106.53, which is No. 1 in the NBA since game action resumed Feb. 21. Interestingly, Sacramento’s second-half pace (103.51) is nearly identical to its first half, but that ranks the Kings only sixth in post-All-Star break tempo, because several other teams have significantly increased theirs over the past six weeks. According to Basketball Reference, the NBA’s league-average pace is the fastest it has been in three decades, with ’88-89 featuring slightly more possessions per 48 minutes. Pace has increased nearly every season of this decade, as is also the case for scoring and three-point shooting (both makes and attempts).

7, 19: Rank among the 30 NBA teams in offensive rebounding percentage for New Orleans and Sacramento this season, respectively. The Pelicans have generally been a below-average rebounding team in recent seasons, particularly at the offensive end, but not in ’18-19. New Orleans is collecting 28.6 percent of available rebounds when it is on offense, well above the league average of 22.9 percent. The only teams better in that category have been Denver, Portland, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Miami and Detroit. Interestingly, offensive rebounding percentage has steadily decreased in recent years, as teams have put greater emphasis on transition defense, instead of sending as many potential rebounders as possible to the offensive glass. According to Basketball Reference, offensive rebounding percentage had dropped in every ensuing season from ‘11-12 (27.0 percent of all rebounds came at the offensive end) through ’17-18 (22.3), but there has been a slight uptick this season (22.9).

9: New Orleans players available to play during Friday’s 133-126 overtime loss at Phoenix. It’s possible that will also be the case Sunday in Sacramento, because among the roster’s 16 total players, six Pelicans have already been ruled out, while Anthony Davis (back spasms) hasn’t played in any game since March 24 vs. Houston. The Kings also have a growing injury list, with bigs Harry Giles and Kosta Koufos already ruled out, while De’Aaron Fox is listed as probable for Sacramento’s final home game. The Kings (39-41) are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but still have a chance to finish with a .500 record for the first time since ’06.


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