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Archive for the 'Trivia' Category

Best Road Performances in Opening-Round Game 1s?

18th April 2011

It was a banner weekend for underdogs, as the away teams kicked off the 2011 Playoffs with 3 wins, including victories by the Western Conference #8 and #7 seeds. How do the road teams' performances in this set of opening-round game 1s compare to other years since the playoffs expanded in 1984?

Let's take a look (all numbers from the perspective of the average road team in Game 1 of the 1st round):

Year roadW roadL WPct Margin expected Mgn Diff
2011 3 5 0.375 -0.63 -7.37 6.75
2010 1 7 0.125 -7.88 -4.88 -2.99
2009 4 4 0.500 -5.88 -7.46 1.58
2008 2 6 0.250 -7.13 -6.25 -0.88
2007 3 5 0.375 -2.75 -7.71 4.96
2006 1 7 0.125 -10.38 -6.14 -4.24
2005 2 6 0.250 -8.25 -6.23 -2.02
2004 0 8 0.000 -14.75 -7.02 -7.73
2003 4 4 0.500 -1.13 -6.95 5.82
2002 1 7 0.125 -8.25 -5.92 -2.33
2001 3 5 0.375 -1.25 -5.03 3.78
2000 2 6 0.250 -3.63 -6.29 2.67
1999 2 6 0.250 -7.75 -6.41 -1.34
1998 2 6 0.250 -8.13 -6.67 -1.45
1997 1 7 0.125 -15.13 -7.42 -7.70
1996 3 5 0.375 -5.00 -7.94 2.94
1995 1 7 0.125 -17.63 -6.90 -10.73
1994 2 6 0.250 -8.88 -6.41 -2.46
1993 2 6 0.250 -10.75 -8.19 -2.56
1992 1 7 0.125 -12.50 -9.63 -2.87
1991 3 5 0.375 -1.75 -9.25 7.50
1990 0 8 0.000 -11.75 -8.46 -3.29
1989 2 6 0.250 -4.75 -9.61 4.86
1988 0 8 0.000 -10.00 -9.86 -0.14
1987 1 7 0.125 -12.00 -10.24 -1.76
1986 1 7 0.125 -16.25 -9.91 -6.34
1985 1 7 0.125 -11.38 -7.78 -3.60
1984 3 5 0.375 -2.00 -7.87 5.87

(Click column headers to sort by each category.)

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Posted in Analysis, History, Playoffs, SRS, Statgeekery, Trivia | 3 Comments »

Mailbag: The Redd-Randolph All-Stars

11th April 2011

Here's an idea sent my way courtesy of BBR reader Rob P.:

"Can you think of players who had excellent 'per-36-minute' stat lines on limited
minutes, and who either outperformed or seriously underperformed those 'per-36'
numbers once given an increase in minutes?

I'm a Celtics fan, so Glen Davis comes to mind as being a good example of
someone who produced close to their per-36 averages upon being given a larger

I'm curious about some of the extremes; players whose averages were seriously
impacted by an increase in minutes. Basically examples that make you think, 'it
was a bad idea to give this guy more minutes' OR 'I can't believe he's been
coming off the bench all this time instead of starting!'"

One of the big early battlegrounds of APBRmetrics was the philosophical debate between per-minute and per-game statistics. Per-game was the traditional standard, but analysts like John Hollinger began to tear that way of thinking down after realizing per-minute performance held over for most players who received more playing time. From Hollinger's seminal 2004-05 Pro Basketball Forecast:

"It's a pretty simple concept, but one that has largely escaped most NBA front offices: The idea that what a player does on a per-minute basis is far more important than his per-game stats. The latter tend to be influenced more by playing time than by the quality of play, yet remain the most common metric of player performance.


Unfortunately, many NBA execs and fans still believe that somebody can be a '20 minute player' -- that he's only useful in short stretches but can't play a full game. With the exception of the rare few who are scandalously out of shape (Oliver Miller, for example), this is profoundly untrue. [Michael] Redd was the perfect example -- he was thought of as a bench player simple because that's what he'd always been, but there was no reason he couldn't play 40 minutes a night. There's a supposition that some players' production will decrease with increased minutes, but within reason that's completely untrue. The first Prospectus emphatically proved this with research showing that most player's [sic] performance improves with greater playing time."

Hollinger's examples of predictable "breakouts" from per-minute stats included Redd, Zach Randolph, Carlos Boozer, and Andrei Kirilenko, all of whom held onto their low-MPG production when thrust into bigger roles. In fact, Hollinger featured Redd on the cover of his 2nd book as an example of a player with great per-minute stats who was underrated because of a lack of playing time.

So, to answer Rob's original question, and in honor of Hollinger's early per-minute darlings, here are the "Redd-Randolph All-Stars". To qualify, a player had to:

  • play in the "Hollinger Era" (the 1990s, 2000s, or 2010s)
  • play at least 41 games in back-to-back seasons
  • play less than 24 MPG in the first of the back-to-back seasons, and more than 24 MPG in the second
  • see an increase of at least 7 MPG between the two seasons

Of that group (which included 320 players since 1990), I'll list 3 top-5 lists: players who improved their PERs the most when given increased playing time, players whose PERs were the closest to what they had been before when given increased playing time, and players whose PERs declined the most with an increase in PT. This will capture all of the possible extremes Rob mentioned, plus the Hollinger prototype of players whose PERs didn't change at all.

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Posted in Analysis, BBR Mailbag, History, Statgeekery, Totally Useless, Trivia | 33 Comments »

Mailbag: Last-Place Teams Who Beat the League’s Best

6th April 2011

Longtime BBR reader Imadogg had a great observation/question last Wednesday:

"Last night, the last place Cavs beat the Greatest Team Ever Assembled, the Miami Heat. That means this year, the Cavaliers have defeated the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami Heat... 3 of the top 6 teams in the league (record-wise, as of now), and the current 2, 2, and 3 seeds.

When was the last time this happened, that the last place team in the entire league defeated half of the top 6 teams in a single season? Maybe it happens more often than I think, but I'd be surprised."

I was finally able to research this today. First, I searched for teams ranked last (or tied for last) in the NBA in WPct. Then, I searched for teams ranked in the top 6 (again, with ties) in WPct, and counted how many different times those teams had been beaten by the last-place teams. Here's every instance in NBA history where a last-place team by WPct beat at least 3 of the top 6 teams by WPct:

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Just For Fun, Trivia | 15 Comments »

BBR Mailbag: Best Records After the All-Star Break

24th March 2011

Today we have a big data dump thanks to this question from Ifeanyi:

"If the LA Lakers win the rest of their 11 games this season, that'll give them a 24-1 post all-star break record. My question to you is, what is the NBA's all time best record for regular season games played after the break?"

Including 2011 to date, here are the all-time best W-L records after the All-Star break:

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, Data Dump, History, Trivia | 20 Comments »

BBR Mailbag: Individuals w/ the Highest % of Team Win Shares

15th March 2011

Frequent BBR commenter "Panic" has a good topic for a data dump today:

"I have a modest proposal for a data dump, if you haven't already looked at this: Kevin Love has 10.9 win shares and his team has an expected 20 wins, for a Love-contributed 54.5% of wins, by far the league's highest percentage of his team's wins by one player. Where does this measure up historically? I'm guessing below maybe Bellamy's rookie year and the Warriors when Arizin was in Korea, maybe a Wilt season or two. Any in the modern era?"

Let's take a look -- here are the players with the highest ratio of individual Win Shares to team wins in a single season (numbers thru Sunday's games):

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, Trivia, Win Shares | 15 Comments »

Chris Bosh and the Most Offensively Detrimental Games in Our Database (*according to statistical +/-)

25th February 2011

During Chris Bosh's brickfest last night, all I could think of was, "Wow, this is a John Starks-ian performance." Turns out it was even worse, albeit in a much less critical situation than Game 7 of the Finals.

Using offensive statistical plus/minus (OSPM), I put together a list of the most detrimental offensive games in our box score database (this spans 1987-2011 for the regular season, and 1991-2010 for the playoffs). For every game, I calculated the player's OSPM, the team's offensive rating, and what the team's offensive rating would have been had the player turned in a league-average performance. The most detrimental performances were the ones that sucked the most points from a team's offensive rating. I also added one requirement to qualify for the list: the player's offense must have cost his team a win -- i.e., with an average offensive performance from a player in his minutes, they would have outscored the opponent, but instead lost the game.

Let's use Bosh as an example. Last night, Bosh had an OSPM of -15.18, which means for every 100 possessions he was on the floor, he drained more than 15 points away from Miami's offensive rating relative to a league-average performance. Miami's actual offensive rating was 95.3, but if Bosh had just been average, Miami's rating would have been 108.5 -- meaning he cost them 13.16 points of offensive rating over the course of the entire game. Worse yet, Chicago's offensive rating was 99.6, so if Bosh had been average (or even merely below-average), Miami would have won the game. That's why Bosh qualifies for the list, because his poor offense cost his team a win.

Anyway, here are the most detrimental offensive performances in our database (mouse over column headers for descriptions):

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Posted in Analysis, Data Dump, Statgeekery, Statistical +/-, Trivia | 26 Comments »

The Best Players Ever to be Traded Midseason

22nd February 2011

Well, it's (quasi) official now: Carmelo Anthony is a member of the New York Knicks.

Finally, we can put aside the trade speculation and ask the really important questions about the deal. No, I'm not talking about how this shifts the balance of power in the East, or if 'Melo and Amare Stoudemire can coexist in the Big Apple... I'm talking about where Carmelo ranks among all-time players who were traded in the middle of the season.

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Posted in Data Dump, History, Statgeekery, Trivia, Win Shares | 37 Comments »

Replacing an Institution

7th February 2011

In last night's Super Bowl, the Packers defeated the Steelers on the strength of an MVP effort from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. What made Rodgers' accomplishment more impressive was the fact that, less than three years ago, he was tasked with replacing Brett Favre, an institution at QB for Green Bay. Favre had been the Pack's starter for 16 consecutive years before the team moved on to Rodgers, but it's hard to argue that the decision was anything other than a success in light of their championship last night. Here are some similar situations in the NBA (when a team replaced a longtime fixture at a given position), many of which didn't work out as well as the Favre/Rodgers transition did:

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Posted in History, Trivia | 10 Comments »

Team W-L Record in Games as a Leading Scorer

3rd February 2011

This post is a major data dump, and really more for trivia purposes than anything else. But I put together a list of every player who led an NBA team in scoring in a regular-season game from 1987-2011, along with their PPG in those team-leading games, and the team's W-L record in those games (for the full list of players, click here). Here were the 50 players with the most games as a leading scorer:

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Posted in Data Dump, History, Statgeekery, Totally Useless, Trivia | 8 Comments »

Layups: Semih Erden’s Chances of Becoming the Best Last Pick Ever

27th January 2011

Here's a fun post from Ryan DeGama of CelticsHub:

Semih Erden: Greatest Of All Time? |

In it, Ryan examines whether or not Semih Erden can eventually overtake Sean Higgins, Don Reid, and Zeljko Rebraca as the top player ever to be selected last in an NBA draft.

(Hat tip to TrueHoop for the link.)

Posted in History, Just For Fun, Layups, NBA Draft, Trivia | 17 Comments »