Passing doesn’t always bring happiness

2023-09-20T20:57:03+00:00 2023-09-20T20:57:03+00:00.

Aris Barkas

20/Sep/23 20:57

Despite averaging more passes than anyone else, Spain bailed out early in the FIBA World Cup, the USA were at the bottom but had the best offense and Germany won the title, without passing much

By Eurohoops team/

There’s an old Magic Johnson quote about the value of passing the ball: “Passing makes two people happy. Scoring only makes one person happy”.

However, happiness is debatable when you don’t win or don’t have a great offense.

That ended up being the case in the FIBA World Cup, according to the advanced statistics released by FIBA.

According to those numbers, Spain averaged a tournament-high 212.4 passes (including only front-court, non-out-of-bounds passes) per game, but that translated just to the 11th-best offense (85.8) on a tie with New Zeland and an early exit from the tournament.

The eventual World Cup winners, Germany, with 134.3 passes per game were near the bottom of this list, and on the very bottom, the USA averaged only 114.1 passes per game, the lowest among all teams.

It’s a shocking number because Steve Kerr himself called his unit just before the start of the tournamentmore of a passing team”, compared to the team of 2019 that “had many great individual scorers”.

And what’s even more shocking is that due to the scoring ability of players like Anthony Edwards and Austin Reaves the USA had the highest-scoring team at the World Cup, averaging 104.5 points. Those numbers, however, were not enough for a medal…

  Average passes per game
Spain 212.4
Italy 202
Iran 186.8
Finland 172.6
Venezuela 167.4
Mexico 162
Dominican Republic 162
Latvia 161.3
Lebanon 155.8
Ivory Coast 155.6
Serbia 155
China 154
France 150.4
Angola 150.4
Greece 150
Lithuania 143.5
Brazil 143.4
Puerto Rico 141.4
Montenegro 141.2
Australia 140.2
New Zealand 136
Jordan 135
Slovenia 134.6
Georgia 134.6
Germany 134.3
Canada 128.5
Japan 125
Cape Verde 124.4
South Sudan 123.4
Egypt 121.8
Philippines 118.4
United States 114.1

AutoStats data collected by Stats Perform