Defensive Roles

Defensive Roles use matchup data to analyze the time each player spends guarding PGs, SGs, SFs, PFs, and Cs, along with each of our 12 Offensive Archetypes, to gauge what each player’s job is on defense.

Using this data, matchup data is integrated with some other data points, such as time defending the rim, to determine a role for each player: Point of Attack, Chaser, Helper, Low Activity, Wing Stopper, Mobile Big, or Anchor Big.

Just like Offensive Archetypes, a player’s Defensive Role can change in-season and from year to year based on how he’s used defensively in that particular season. Better fit of skill set to role may further optimize a player’s defensive performance and result in higher values in D-LEBRON and other defensive impact metrics.

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. In this role, Matchup Difficulty is generally an important stat for success.

  • Chaser: A guard who sticks to shooters and cutters on the perimeter with limited off-ball help responsibilities.

  • Helper: A defender who often helps away from his matchup, both on drives and at the rim. Rotational ability (trapping the box, tagging rollers, sinking to “help the helper,” and fill) is important for success in this role.

  • Low Activity: Players in this role often aren’t guarding high difficulty matchups, aren’t involved in defending screening actions often, and also aren’t active helping off of the ball on drives or at the rim. Players in this role are often purposefully deployed in less strenuous ways, and can add value with communication ability.

  • Wing Stopper: A wing who defends Shot Creators often and is defending in pick-and-roll and in isolation on the perimeter, with some off-ball help responsibilities. In this role, Matchup Difficulty and Defensive Positional Versatility are generally important stats for success.

  • 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. Defensive Positional Versatility and Matchup Difficulty generally aren’t important stats for success in this role.