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Panagiotis Foteinakis1, Stefania Pavlidou1

1Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Democritus University of Thrace

Positional Differences in the Efficacy of Critical End-of-Game Possessions in EuroLeague Basketball

Sport Mont 2024, 22(2), 25-31 | DOI: 10.26773/smj.240704


In close basketball games where the final score is within a 5-point difference, end-of-game possessions are very important. However, previous studies have not examined the efficiency of various play types’ possessions regarding player positions. Therefore, the study aimed to identify play type actions during end-of-game possessions across player positions (guard, forward, and big) that directly influence the possession’s outcome. The analysis evaluated 1009 possessions from 100 EuroLeague games from the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 regular seasons using Sport Scout observation software (SportScout Group, Thessaloniki, Greece). The variables observed included isolation (ISO), pick and roll ball handler (PnRBH), pick and roll screener (PnRSC), off-ball screens (OBS), transition (TR), cuts (CUT), spot-up shooting (SUP), post-ups (PUP), handoffs (HO), inbound plays (IN), and putbacks (PB). Possession efficiency was evaluated based on points per possession (PPP) and the possession’s outcome (positive or negative). Chi-square (χ2) tests compared categorical variables, while the Kruskal–Wallis test assessed PPP differences across player positions. Additionally, the chi-square automatic interaction detector (CHAID) decision tree model was used to classify data and make meaningful predictions for the possession play types. The findings revealed that player positions significantly influenced possession efficiency, with noticeable variations in possession distribution. Decision tree analysis underscored the impact of possession play types on outcomes across player positions. In conclusion, the study highlights the predominant role of guards in endof- game possessions, relying heavily on isolation plays but achieving higher efficiency with teamwork-oriented strategies. Forwards demonstrate effectiveness in offensive rebounding situations and off-ball movement, while big players exhibit efficiency in proximity to the basket.


basketball, play type, observation analysis, crunch time

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