The NBA has gone away form the post-up and only some teams with the best offensive big men will even try to feed the post once in a while, as all teams have increased their outside shooting and pick and roll offense. As offenses from the perimeter by guards is far more efficient than feeding it inside. Looking at NBA data, between 2005 and 2010 the average team posted up over 10% of the time, which means if a game had 100 possessions the team had a player post up at least 10 times a game. Fast forward to 2020, and the number has dropped to 4.7%, an all time low in NBA history. The Philadelphia 76ers post up the most with 11.6% of plays resulting in Post ups (Because of Joel Embiid), and the Brooklyn Nets are the lowest with only 0.4% Post up this past season, only attempting 27 total shots in the post during the entire 72 games.
Shouldn’t all tall players post up? The answer is no, unless you are Joel Embiid.
Joel Embiid posted up the most in the NBA this 2019/20 season, 37.2% of all his plays where Post Ups and he scored 471 Points out of 429 Attempts, resulting in a very efficient 1.10 PPP. He posts up the most and also is the most efficient in the NBA.
To give a good example of a very tall player that is really bad posting up lets look at Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks, he stands 2.21m but is a much better shooter than he is a post up player. He does post up 15.2% of the time but only scored 140 points in 173 possessions, resulting in a horrendous 0.81 PPP. During an interview in January of 2020 Rick Carlisle stated: “A post-up is not a good play anymore. It’s just not a good play. It’s not a good play for a 7-foot-3 guy. It’s a low-value situation.” In response to Charles Barkley saying he should post up more. Facts and numbers prove that Carlisle is right and that we should think twice before listening to Charles Barkley.
Now let’s look at the CBA, during the 2019/20 Season the team that posted up the most frequently were the now disbanded Bayi Rockets. They posed up 9.2% of the time only scoring 336 points in 426 possessions, resulting in a very poor 0.79 PPP. Maybe also the reason they finished in last place. Did Wang Zhizhi do this on purpose and is he a bad coach because of it? It looks like although both were former top players, Wang Zhizhi and Charles Barkley are both left behind in the modern basketball era and need to change their mindset.
The Zhejiang Bulls posted up by far the least at only 1.4%, scoring 55 points in 68 possessions resulting in 0.81 PPP, a smart team that had Wu Qian run most their offense.
Overall the Post Up play type is the least efficient play type in the CBA at 0.88 PPP, which is clearly worse than the average CBA offense which was 1.10 PPP during the 2019/20 season.
Looking at players in the CBA that posted up more than 50 times during the 2019/20 season.
Zou Yuchen was the player with the highest post up rate at 29.3%, posting up 58 times and scoring 53 points, resulting in 0.91 PPP.
The top 3 post up players in China are Yi Jianlian, Wang Zhelin, and Han Dejun. Yi Jianlian posts up only 9.1% of the time, but scored 76 points in 63 possessions, resulting in a super efficient 1.21 PPP, even higher than Joel Embiid, but of course against much weaker defense and nearly as much. Wang Zhelin, who posts up 12.5% of the time, scored 131 points in 126 possessions resulting in a very respectable 1.04 PPP. Han Dejun posts up a bit more at 17.5% of the time, scoring 133 points in 132 possessions, resulting in 1.01 PPP.
The worst post up player in China is Xu Zhonghao of the Bayi Rockets, who posted up 28% of his offensive possessions resulting in 70 attempts, but only scoring 28 points, resulting in a shockingly bad 0.4 PPP. In more detail, he only made 22.4% of his shots and turned it over 21.4% when posting up, part of the reason why Bayi has been the worst team in the league.
We want to focus on the Chinese players but will mention that many import players are between 1.00 and 1.10 PPP as they are obviously overall better players in this league.
In conclusion we can see that as we predicted the CBA is no different than the NBA and the post up is a very inefficient type of offense. The Post up is actually even worse in the CBA at 0.88 PPP compared to 0.92 in the NBA.
Further discussion: Would the post up still be a bad play if there was no help defense? How many misses or turnovers are because of team defense and teammates coming over to trap or dig the post up?
The Post up may be an inefficient type of offense in the CBA but what about other leagues in China? We want to research the CUBA in the future as we predict the post up is still an inefficient play type. But at the Highschool level we predict it to be much more efficient compared to other players types because lack of shooting ability. In high level wildball we predict it to be a good play type because outside shooting can a challenge with inconsistent balls being used, inconsistent rims and even sometimes having to shoot with wind if games are outdoors.