Defensive Roles

Defensive Positions use Krishna Narsu’s matchup data, pulled from stats.nba.com, and gives us a percentage of possessions each player spent guarding each of the eight Offensive Roles. Using this data, matchup data crossed with our eight offensive roles and other data, a Position is determined for each player: Point of Attack, Chaser, Helper, Wing Stopper, Perimeter Big, Mobile Big, or Anchor Big. Just like roles, a player’s Defensive Position can change from year to year based on how he’s used defensively in that particular season.

A brief description of each Defensive Position:

  • Point of Attack: A guard who defends smaller ball handlers in pick-and-roll and in isolation on the perimeter with limited off-ball help responsibilities.
  • Chaser: A guard who sticks to shooters and cutters on the perimeter with limited off-ball help responsibilities.
  • Helper: A guard or wing helps away from his matchup, both on drives and at the rim.
  • Wing Stopper: A wing who defends bigger ball handlers in pick-and-roll and in isolation on the perimeter, with some off-ball help responsibilities.
  • Perimeter Big: A big who does not defend in pick-and-roll as often and either stays with shooters on the perimeter or can rotate to help at the rim.
  • Mobile Big: A big who defends aggressively in pick-and-roll, often switching and hedging to push ball handlers away from the rim.
  • Anchor Big: A big who defends deep in pick-and-roll, often dropping to protect the rim.

Each player’s statistical profile includes a pair of percentiles to the left of each statistic. The first number is his percentile rank in that stat among players who share his Offensive Role in a particular season and the second is his percentile rank among players who share his Defensive Position. Each team is also ranked in the various available statistics.