On the other side of the field, the defense saw a decline, with their efficiency slipping from 27.8% to 29.5%, causing their national ranking to drop from 46th to 63rd. This was compounded by the team’s ability to force turnovers, which decreased from a rate of 29.0% to 26.6%, also resulting in a significant fall in their national ranking from 38th to 67th. The decline in defensive performance, particularly in their ability to disrupt the opponent’s offense, became a challenge throughout the season.
In terms of possession, the Cavaliers experienced a slight decrease, with their per-game possession margin falling from +3.9 to +3.0 and their ranking dropping from 17th to 33rd nationally. Their draw-control win rate also witnessed a decline, from an impressive 63.2% to 58.2%, leading to a descent in national ranking from 9th to 19th. Extra possessions do not typically lead to victories directly, but they do take the pressure off the offense and defense, which tends to improve efficiency. They were still above-average in terms of possession-margin, but it wasn’t the strength it was in 2022.
Despite these challenges, the Cavaliers’ offensive proficiency, particularly their ability to keep turnovers low, was a highlight of their successful season. The offense’s ability to consistently convert possessions into goals was a driving force behind their rise in the LaxElo rating, moving up 7 places to 23rd nationally. This offensive stability, even as other areas experienced declines, underscores their overall successful campaign.
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P.S. What did I miss? Data-centric analyses like this can miss things that don’t show up in the stats (i.e. injuries/coaching changes). If you can help explain any of the above, put it in the comments.