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Archive for the 'BBR Mailbag' Category

Mini-Mailbag: MVP Winners, Team Winning %, & SRS

11th February 2011

Alex Sonty, who writes ChicagoNow's Load O' Bull blog, has been paying close attention to Henry Abbott's TrueHoop posts about Derrick Rose -- specifically, this post about past MVP winners and their teams' rankings in wins. Henry found that team wins were highly correlated with MVP voting, to the point that 19 of the last 20 MVPs came from a team with a top-3 record. This of course is bad news for Rose, as the Bulls are 6th in winning % at the moment.

But Alex was wondering how past winners stack up in a schedule-adjusted margin-of-victory based metric like the Simple Rating System, where the Bulls are 5th. So here's the master list -- every MVP winner, with their team's rank in both WPct and SRS:

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Posted in Analysis, Awards, BBR Mailbag, History, SRS | 14 Comments »

Mini-Mailbag: Worst in Offense and Defense

26th January 2011

As if Monday's post wasn't enough, we're back for another painful Cleveland history lesson courtesy of's Zach Lowe:

"Has any team finished last in both offensive and defensive efficiency? [...] Cavs now in danger of pulling off this double."

During the era in which we can apply the official possessions formula, two NBA teams can claim the unfortunate distinction of finishing last in both offensive rating & defensive rating in the same season:

Year Team W L Pts oPts Poss ORtg Rk DRtg Rk #Tms
1993 Dallas Mavericks 11 71 8141 9387 8181.2 99.5 27 114.7 27 27
1987 Los Angeles Clippers 12 70 8566 9503 8460.7 101.2 23 112.3 23 23

Of course, that's just since 1974. If we use my pre-1974 possessions estimator, the list doubles in size:

Year Team W L Pts oPts Poss ORtg Rk DRtg Rk #Tms
1993 Dallas Mavericks 11 71 8141 9387 8181.2 99.5 27 114.7 27 27
1987 Los Angeles Clippers 12 70 8566 9503 8460.7 101.2 23 112.3 23 23
1971 Cleveland Cavaliers 15 67 8373 9289 9081.1 92.2 17 102.3 17 17
1959 Cincinnati Royals 19 53 7421 8060 8626.6 86.0 8 93.4 8 8

How close are the 2011 Cavaliers, then? They're already dead last in offense, with a 0.9 pts/100 poss. cushion between them and #29 Milwaukee. They're also 28th in defense, fractionally ahead of #29 Toronto and 0.4 pts/100 poss. in front of last-place Phoenix. So it's certainly going to be possible for them to overtake (undertake?) the Suns before the season is over. Here's how they stack up against the other teams listed above:

Year Team W L Pts oPts Poss ORtg Rk DRtg Rk #Tms
1993 Dallas Mavericks 11 71 8141 9387 8181.2 99.5 27 114.7 27 27
1987 Los Angeles Clippers 12 70 8566 9503 8460.7 101.2 23 112.3 23 23
1971 Cleveland Cavaliers 15 67 8373 9289 9081.1 92.2 17 102.3 17 17
1959 Cincinnati Royals 19 53 7421 8060 8626.6 86.0 8 93.4 8 8
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers 8 37 4203 4711 4215.1 99.7 30 111.8 28 30

Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Trivia | 9 Comments »

Biggest Team Factor Declines

24th January 2011

This morning, Zach Lowe of's must-read Point Forward blog emailed me wondering how Utah's collapse in defensive rebounding % ranks among all-time declines. That got me wondering about the biggest drop-offs in all of the Four Factors, so I ran Z-scores on each team's numbers and looked at the biggest negative changes from one year to the next:

Offensive Effective FG%

Year Team z_eFG% Prev Diff
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers -1.717 1.595 -3.312
1989 Boston Celtics 0.559 2.946 -2.387
1998 Golden State Warriors -2.379 -0.015 -2.364
1997 Orlando Magic -0.713 1.507 -2.220
1997 San Antonio Spurs -1.203 0.852 -2.055
1977 Buffalo Braves -0.914 1.135 -2.049
1976 Chicago Bulls -2.844 -0.822 -2.022
2010 New Jersey Nets -2.175 -0.154 -2.021
2001 Detroit Pistons -1.141 0.860 -2.001
1975 Atlanta Hawks -1.553 0.386 -1.939

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Statgeekery | 52 Comments »

Quick Mailbag: 40+ Point Scoring Teammates in Same Game

18th January 2011

Last week we had a question that I wanted to get to, but didn't have a chance until today. David wrote:

"After seeing LeBron drop 44 and Wade drop 34 in the game today, I was wondering when was the last time two players on the same team both scored 40+?"

Our box score database goes back to 1986-87 -- 1991 for the playoffs -- so we have three games on hand where two teammates scored 40+ points in the same game (and oddly enough, two took place in the postseason):

  • Utah at Houston, May 5, 1995. Facing elimination in Game 4 of the 1995 West quarters, the Rockets got exactly the kind of performance they envisioned when they acquired Clyde Drexler to pair with Hakeem Olajuwon. Glide dropped 41, Dream poured in 40, and Houston dominated 123-106. Two nights later, Olajuwon & Drexler combined for 64 points to put Utah away, and they went on to power the team's 2nd consecutive NBA title bid that June.
  • Chicago at Indiana, February 18, 1996. For the Bulls, this was just one of 72 victories in a landmark 1996 campaign that still stands as the most successful in NBA history. Fresh off the All-Star break, Chicago took their 36th win in their last 39 games when Michael Jordan (44 points) and Scottie Pippen (40) combined for more than 76% of the team's scoring output all by themselves.
  • Philadelphia at Indiana, May 6, 2000. This time, Indiana was on the giving end of the scoring outbursts, as Jalen Rose and Reggie Miller each tallied 40 apiece during a 108-91 win over the Sixers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis. The Pacers would go on to take the series in 6 games, eventually advancing to the NBA Finals before running into a Laker buzz saw.

Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Trivia | 27 Comments »

BBR Mailbag: Most Consistent Franchises of the 2002-2011 Decade

17th January 2011

BBR reader Prashant wrote in with a good question yesterday:

"I just read John Hollinger’s article about the sustained success of the Spurs and Mavs and was wondering if there was any way to calculate the average deviation of a given team’s record over time? Basically, which teams are the most consistently good/bad/average over a set timeframe, say a decade? I would imagine the Spurs/Mavs/Clippers are atop that list, while the Celtics and Heat probably have a pretty wild deviation (from lottery team to title contender)."

Sure, the easiest way to look at this is to calculate the standard deviation of each franchise's year-to-year winning percentages over the given timeframe.

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Posted in Analysis, BBR Mailbag, Statgeekery | 3 Comments »

Send us Your Suggestions!

22nd December 2010

Just a friendly reminder that we welcome site feedback/suggestions via our feedback form:

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You can also email us directly at this address. We'll try to respond to everything within a week (although it may take longer this time of year, due to the holidays).

Posted in Announcements, BBR Mailbag, Site Features | 17 Comments »

BBR Mailbag: Most One-Dimensional Players

7th December 2010

Here's a quick mailbag from "Imadogg", who writes:

"I was wondering who the best 'one-sided' players of all time are. For example, when thinking of the best offensive players ever, a name like Jordan or Wilt might come to mind, but no one would dare call them one-sided or only offense. On the other hand, when I think of Steve Nash, I think of perfection on one side of the ball and nothing at all on the other. On defense, guys like Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace, or Dikembe Mutombo come to mind as amazing defenders who you would prefer never to give the ball to."

Imadogg went on to suggest looking at the percentage of a player's Win Shares devoted to offense vs. defense, so I'm going to take that approach when determining the most "one-dimensional" players in post-1952 NBA history.

I should note, one issue with using Win Shares is that they can sometimes be negative, which totally wreaks havoc on an exercise like this. But as a kludge, I just zeroed out the negative OWS/DWS, and took the percentage of those totals devoted to each side of the ball.

Among players with 10,000 career minutes, here are the players most extremely biased toward offense:

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Win Shares | 35 Comments »

BBR Mailbag: Highest Percentage of Shots Being 3-Pointers

8th November 2010

On Saturday, Nathan wrote this to us:

"Through five games, James Posey has 20 FGA, 18 of which are 3PA, making for a staggering 90% rate of 3PA to FGA. Even though Posey went for a 70% clip last season, I see very little in his play (or being involved in a Jim O'Brien system) to suggest he shouldn't shatter that number this year. I was wondering either what the top 3PA to FGA ratios were..."

Among players who, like Posey, took at least 4 field-goal attempts per team game, here are the guys who saw the biggest proportion of their shots come from behind the 3-point arc:

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Trivia | 2 Comments »

BBR Mailbag: Highest Percentage of Career Points From Free Throws

5th November 2010

Today's mailbag question comes in from my friend Jake, a Duke fan:

"Do you happen to know which players have the highest % of their career points coming from free throws? My friend and I were discussing where Corey Maggette would fall on that list."

Minimum 7,500 career points, here are all-time NBA players who had the highest percentage of their points come from the charity stripe:

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Trivia | 12 Comments »

PI Finds: Kidd Tidbits

1st November 2010

BBR reader Jim Keller used our Play Index Game Finder to do some interesting research on Jason Kidd's performance vs. Charlotte last Wednesday, so I thought I'd post his findings. Take it away, Jim (what follows in blockquotes is his work):

Kidd talked about the game here:

Plus/Minus traditionally loves it some Jason Kidd, and it's not hard to see why. Even at his advanced age, Kidd does just about everything you could ask of a guard at both ends (except stay with smaller, quicker PGs)... He distributes as well as anybody not named "Nash", "Paul", "Williams" or "Rondo"; he continues to rebound the ball at a high level; he's suddenly a deadly outside shooter; he can defend SGs or big PGs effectively; and he generally makes the Mavs a lot better when he's on the floor. People scoffed when Wayne Winston's +/- system said Kidd was one of the highest-impact players in the game, but I'm not so sure that was such a crazy idea after all.

Posted in BBR Mailbag, Play Index | 12 Comments »