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Offense is always easiest to figure out. In Moneyball (the book, not the ever-vaguer Idea) the A’s essentially ignored defense to take advantage of an easy-to-measure offensive stat that was undervalued. Baseball didn’t really even have reliable defensive stats until the past few years and the public ones still come with much larger error bars than offensive ones. The NBA is probably moving the quickest toward defense being accounted for but it’s still an area where we don’t really know nearly as much as scoring the ball. The analytics community in soccer has made great progress looking at strikers and team shooting as a whole but the opposite side hasn’t seen similar progress. This is mainly because offenses dictate the game in a way defenses cannot and simple shot totals get you a lot of the way there on offense (.55 R2 comparing shots to goals) while on defense the gap remains large (.33 R2). A tweet from StatsBomb founder Ted Knutson about trying to find what good defensive teams actually do sparked this dive into trying to find that out.