The Wizards' John Wall and the Raptors' Kyle Lowry are both driving PGs who rack up assists and get to the line.
They're both advanced stats darlings with > 20 PERs, > 4.5 Win Shares, stellar NetRtgs, top 20 Real +/- and top 10 WAR.
Wall passes more. Lowry scores more. But otherwise, by the old and the new numbers they look like similar players.
And of course, Lowry and Wall are both Eastern Conference All-Star starters. #NBABallot
But this is all misleading. You wouldn't notice by the numbers, but Lowry and Wall are very different point guards.
How? It's about mentality: When Wall and Lowry are trying to lead their teams to a comeback, they take their offence in opposite directions.
With the Raptors trailing, Lowry shoots more often than he normally does--a healthy 7 per cent more than his overall rate. *
Wall meanwhile actually shoots less. He decreases his shooting rate by 8 per cent when behind. *
In fact, if you rank the 50 players who've shot the most by how their shooting mentality changes in comebacks, Lowry is #1 and Wall is #50--by a fair margin:
They pass differently in comebacks too.
Wall increases his assist rate 9 per cent when the Wizards are trailing and Lowry decreases his by 7 per cent when the Raps are behind. *
Of the 30 NBA players with the most total assists, Wall has the 5th most aggressive passing mentality when trailing.
Lowry meanwhile decreases his assist rate in comebacks more than anyone on the list (except Lebron):
So, even though their games are similar overall, Lowry and Wall are polar opposites when their teams' need them.
In comebacks, Wall becomes a consummate team player while Lowry says "I got this," and goes to the rim.
Funny thing: both approaches work. With Lowry on the court, the Raps are +5.9 in +/-per48 overall and +16.1 when trailing.
Meanwhile, with Wall playing the Wiz are +7.0 in +/-per48 overall and +22 when trailing.
UPDATE: These numbers are adjusted against the league average tendency to shoot more and record more assists when trailing. Why exactly there a league average tendency to shoot more when trailing? Who knows, but if I don't adjust then the graph get's shifted much more towards the positive end and it looks all wonky.
The average NBA player is 5.4% more likely to take a true shooting attempt when trailing. He's also 3.9% more likely to record an assist.
So, by the raw unadjusted numbers, Lowry increases his True Shot Attempt rate by 12.3% when trailing while Wall decreases his by only 2.6%.
Wall meanwhile increases his unadjusted assist rate by 13.2 while trailing. Lowry decreases his by just 3.0. Got it?