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Archive for the 'Insane ideas' Category

Basketball on Paper WAR and the Best Peak Regular-Season Players Since 1978

27th July 2011

If you've been following the blog recently, I've developed a way to convert a player's Basketball on Paper stats to a Statistical Plus/Minus estimate. I'll spare you the gory details (which you can read about at the bottom of this page), and simply say that this version of SPM is less biased toward any one position and captures defense better than the original edition, making it the superior SPM in my opinion (although, as always, I'm certainly open to critiques).

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Posted in Analysis, History, Insane ideas, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 83 Comments »

2012 APBRmetric Player Rankings: By Position

11th July 2011

As a follow-up to this afternoon's list of the Top 593 Players of 2012, here's a positional breakdown for the 452 players who played at least 1 game in 2011:

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Projections, Statgeekery, Statistical +/-, Win Shares | 66 Comments »

The (APBRmetric) Top 593 Players of 2012

11th July 2011

(Note: File this squarely under "Insane Ideas".)

Watching one of the NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2011" shows this weekend, I was inspired to create a similar list for the NBA using APBRmetric stats. But why stop at 100? Instead, I ranked all 593 players who played at least 1 NBA game since 2008-09.

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Projections, Statgeekery, Statistical +/-, Win Shares | 35 Comments »

Which Rate Stats Correlate More With a Player’s Role Than His Skill?

9th July 2011

Here's a quick-n-dirty study I ran this morning... The idea is this:

Some stats seem to be more correlated with a player's role than his actual skill. Take a player out of the role, plug another similar player in, the new player produces just like the old one (and the old one can't "take the stats with him" to his new destination).

How can we quantify this, though? Well, let's identify players whose circumstances changed. I took every team since 1978 and assigned its players to 10 "roles" -- primary PG, backup PG, primary SG, etc. -- based on my detailed position file and where the players ranked on the team in terms of minutes played. I then isolated every player in that sample who:

  • Played at least 500 minutes in back-to-back seasons
  • Was between age 24 and 34 in back-to-back seasons (to filter out potential aging effects)
  • Moved to a new "role"
  • Was replacing a player who played >= 500 MP in the role and was between age 24 and 34 the previous season

This leaves us with 1,866 player-seasons to look at. For each of those, I need to know which predicts the player's performance in Year Y better -- his own stats from Year Y-1, or the Year Y-1 stats of the player whose role he took?

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Posted in Analysis, Insane ideas, Statgeekery, Win Shares | 9 Comments »

Stathead Blog

25th April 2011

Sports Reference's New Blog: Stathead

I have to admit that I find it very hard to follow all of the great research that people people are producing every day on the web. It's hard enough just checking the two or three largest sites, but when you add in team blogs, other stathead blogs and everything else, it becomes impossible. This doesn't even include trying to locate recent research in hockey, baseball, football and soccer.

So we've decided to do something about it. Every weekday, the Stathead blog will summarize the best research-related studies, news, conferences, and resources for baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer.

The blog will primarily be edited by Neil Paine and will typically feature 20-30 links to analytic content around the internet. We've been working out the format over the last two weeks, and we think you'll soon appreciate our concise summaries for all of the articles we write about.

Feedback as always is welcome.

Posted in Analysis, Announcements, From the NBA Blogosphere, General, Insane ideas | 1 Comment »

Playoff RAPM Power Rankings

21st April 2011

What happens if you create power rankings using Jeremias Engelmann's 4-year Regularized Plus-Minus ratings (the most predictive version of APM) and each playoff team's distribution of minutes through two games?

Take a look:

Team MP Offense Defense Overall
MIA 479 11.0 6.2 17.0
LAL 482 6.9 6.9 13.9
BOS 479 4.1 9.0 13.2
POR 479 6.3 6.6 13.1
ORL 482 7.7 5.3 12.9
DAL 480 6.7 5.9 12.6
SAS 480 6.3 5.9 11.9
DEN 480 5.8 4.9 10.6
CHI 478 3.8 6.5 10.3
OKC 481 4.0 5.4 9.3
MEM 480 3.0 5.4 8.2
NYK 482 7.3 -1.0 6.4
PHI 479 2.1 3.5 5.5
NOH 480 2.7 2.7 5.4
ATL 481 2.1 3.3 5.3
IND 479 1.7 2.9 4.7

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Posted in Analysis, Insane ideas, Statgeekery | 19 Comments »

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:

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

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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:

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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:

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