You Are Here > Basketball-Reference.com > BBR Blog > NBA and College Basketball Analysis

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all Basketball-Reference content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing Basketball-Reference blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Basketball-Reference.com // Sports Reference

For more from Neil, check out his new work at BasketballProspectus.com.

Archive for the 'Just For Fun' Category

Danny Crawford and the Mavs

19th April 2011

ESPN had an interesting news story today about Danny Crawford's history with the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs:

NBA playoffs 2011: Referee Danny Crawford assigned to Game 2 of Dallas Mavericks-Portland Trail Blazers series - ESPN Dallas

The gist is this:

"The Mavs have a 2-16 record in playoff games officiated by Crawford, including 16 losses in the last 17 games. Dallas is 48-41 in the rest of their playoff games during the ownership tenure of Mark Cuban, who has been fined millions of dollars in the last 11 years for publicly complaining about officiating."

At the risk of running afoul of the Wyatt Earp Effect again, what is the probability that this has happened due to chance alone?

In his book Mathletics, Wayne Winston finds that the final margin of victory  in an NBA game can be approximated by a normal random variable with a mean of the point spread and a standard deviation of 12. Using that knowledge and the handy chart ESPN provided at the bottom of their story on Crawford, we can calculate the probability of Dallas winning each of their Crawford-officiated games since 2001:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Playoffs, Rants & Ramblings, Statgeekery | 36 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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Double, Triple, and Quad-Double Leaders (1986-2011)

4th April 2011

A lot of users have been asking for double- and triple-double leaderboards, so I thought I would make some now that we have gamelog data going back to 1986.

Here are the career double-double leaders since then:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Data Dump, History, Just For Fun | 32 Comments »

Layups: NBA Portraits – One Player from Every NBA Team

22nd March 2011

As part of the impressive 12 by 30 online art project, artist Dustin Watson is creating portraits of 30 NBA players (1 for each team). They're really great, so check them out at Dustin's blog -- or go to the 12 by 30 main site, go through each day #, and try to identify the players from their eyes alone before clicking to see the full pic. (Can you guess which option I chose?)

Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, No Math Required | 2 Comments »

The Don Nelson All-Star Team

5th March 2011

Hanging out with Hoopism's Bailey brothers (Jason & Matt) and Harold Shanafield of Haystack Scouting on Friday night, we had a great conversation about the "ultimate teams" of a given coach. The idea is this: if you had a certain coach, and you had to play a pickup game in his signature style with players from NBA history, who do you pick to play?

Specifically, we were joking around and picking Don Nelson all-stars, thinking of freakish lineups with a SF at the 1, a PG at the 2, a SG at the 3, a SF at the 4, and a PF at the 5. Jason had a few too many beers and picked Travis Outlaw as his PG, I called on Antoine Walker's services at point forward, Matt built a team around Anthony Mason, and I also think Wang Zhizhi was somehow involved. This was all for fun, but what if we actually picked the players who put up the most Win Shares while playing for Nelson?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Rants & Ramblings, Totally Useless, Win Shares | 26 Comments »

Searching For the NBA’s Version of the Charlie Sheen Fiasco

2nd March 2011

In the wake of the ongoing Charlie Sheen chaos, I was (of course) racking my brain to find a comparable NBA analogy. Ideally you'd want to find a situation with the following parallels:

  • It involves a winning team. Although I have personally never seen an episode, Sheen's show Two and a Half Men is apparently wildly successful, as Sheen is quick to point out to anyone who will listen. So any NBA equivalent would have to involve a good team, probably one that had been a contender for multiple years.
  • It involves that team's best player. Monetarily speaking, Sheen is the #1 scorer on Two and a Half Men, and in fact the league's top player -- he made $1.8 million/episode in 2010, making him the highest-paid actor on television. The basketball equivalent would have to deal with a similar star in his prime.
  • The team releases that player mid-season. Production on Two and a Half Men's 8th season was halted midway due to Sheen's behavioral problems, so an NBA version would have to involve a team waiving their best player in the middle of the season.

Unfortunately, there isn't a single situation in NBA history that meets all of those requirements. In fact, as far as I can tell, there are only a few remotely comparable situations:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, History, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, No Math Required, Rants & Ramblings | 21 Comments »

How Would You Fill the “NBA Hall of Relevance”?

24th February 2011

I've been thinking about this concept for a while, but I want to throw it out there for the readers and see what they think...

Everyone knows we already have a Basketball Hall of Fame. But from an NBA perspective, a lot of people think it's broken -- as the argument goes, too many non-NBA people get inducted while great NBA players are left out in the cold. So there's a growing push to create an NBA-only Hall of Fame. How do you stock such a Hall, though? It seems like the other major sports have a pretty clear focus in their induction processes: baseball's hall is largely about longevity and statistical milestones, while football's hall is heavily focused on guys who won championships and/or changed the game.

So what should the NBA's angle be? I want to propose that this hypothetical Hall be about "relevance". As in, who were the relevant players in a given season or span of seasons? Who were the essential names? When you tell the Story Of The NBA, which players would it be inexcusable not to mention? If the Hall of Fame is about celebrating the history of the league, then including the guys that fundamentally shaped the narrative is a pretty good mandate. And if we can tell the NBA's story without mentioning a certain player, it's hard to argue that he belongs in the Hall.

The good news is that you can generate the majority of this list by setting up a basic checklist of requirements. But I want to know what you think those requirements are.

Off the top of my head, here's a basic list of requirements that capture the "relevant" players each season:

  • Top 3 in each season's MVP voting
  • Every Sporting News MVP
  • Every season's 1st-team All-NBAers
  • Every Finals MVP
  • Top 3 players on each NBA champion
  • Best player on Finals runner-up
  • Best player on team with NBA's best record
  • PER leader for seasons 2000-present
  • Win Shares leader for seasons 2004-present

This is the list of players generated by those criteria:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Hall of Fame, History, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Rants & Ramblings, Win Shares | 53 Comments »

Who Are the Most Similar Players to This Year’s All-Stars?

19th February 2011

Reading yesterday about Dave Duerson's tragic passing made me think about the player similarity system he inspired at PFR, and that in turn caused me to remember a similar system I concocted for basketball players.

Using the methodology I outlined, who are the most comparable players to this year's All-Stars in terms of career quality and shape (through their current age)?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in All-Star Game, History, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Statgeekery, Totally Useless, Win Shares | 10 Comments »

Layups: The ‘Black Hole Atlas’

15th February 2011

How in the cosmos did I miss this the first time around?

Two weeks ago, while I was busy with Super Bowl/Hall of Fame work at PFR, SBNation's Tom Ziller posted a story -- and an awesome graphic -- about the biggest "black holes" (players who never pass) in the NBA.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, Just For Fun, Layups, Statgeekery | 21 Comments »

Layups: The NBA’s Greatest Shots

14th February 2011

From Hoopism, makers of the dunk contest video library and various other neat NBA visualizations, comes an extremely cool Valentine's Day gift for b-ball aficionados:

NBA’s Greatest Shots – Court Location & Video

Posted in History, Holidays, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Layups, No Math Required, YouTube Finds | 2 Comments »