For people who wonder “if only there was a stat for that,” Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog is a bit of a goldmine. For Kings forward Anthony Tolliver, it’s where he’s reached his pinnacle. In one very specific category. Thanks to Chris Herring, senior NBA writer for FiveThirtyEight and ESPN’s TrueHoop network.
In Herring’s article, he notes that on the surface, Tolliver could be rendered unnoteworthy: He’s an undrafted journeyman who has played for nine teams in nine seasons. With the Kings, he’s averaging 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 23.0 minutes. But standard metrics don’t do justice to what Herring showcases as his singular talent: the rate at which Tolliver successfully draws a charge on defense rather than a blocking foul.
When it comes to “Charge Rate,” or total charges drawn divided by total number of whistled collisions, Tolliver is the best in the NBA.
FiveThirtyEight’s list ranking players in that metric since the 2014-15 season shows Tolliver at No. 1 at 77.7 percent (this season, he’s drawn 10 charges in 12 collisions), followed by Charlotte’s Kemba Walker (70.4), Golden State’s Draymond Green (69.7) and New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins (68.9), for games through March 14 using data from NBA Miner, BigDataBall and basketball-reference.com.
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Since mid-January, Tolliver has seen an uptick in playing time, partially due to injuries to Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi and Garrett Temple throughout the season. He’s done his best to solidify his role, hoping to stick around in Sacramento on his two-year, $16 million contract.
But, as he told The Bee’s Ailene Voisin in February, “I don’t care about points, accolades – any of the stuff most basketball players care about.”
He said he just wants to help the Kings win. That’s a stat where they have some work to do.