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Archive for December, 2008

Another Measure of Player Importance

16th December 2008

Last week, I talked at some length about how vital Dwyane Wade was to the Miami Heat's offense this season. We quantified his importance using a number of different metrics -- % of team shots taken while on the floor, touches per minute, etc. -- before finally settling on his possession %, the rate of team possessions he uses (through scoring, passing, rebounding, and turning the ball over) while he's on the court. And as it turned out, Wade's possession % was on pace to be the best ever (and it still is; in fact, he's raised it to 37.2% now).

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Posted in Analysis | 6 Comments »

Layups: Jerry Sloan’s Amazing Run

14th December 2008

This is a great piece by Harlan Schreiber of HoopsAnalyst, regarding Jerry Sloan's remarkable tenure as head coach of the Utah Jazz. This past week, Sloan celebrated his 20th anniversary in Utah, and as you can imagine he's used a wide variety of strategies (defense-oriented, offense-oriented, slow pace, moderate pace, etc.) during that time. Which brought him the most success, though?

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Anatomy of a Champion: The 1963-64 Celtics

13th December 2008

Last night, the Boston Celtics beat the New Orleans Hornets at home, giving them an amazing 22-2 record on the season. That scorching mark not only puts them on pace to win an NBA-record 75 games by the end of the year, but it's also the best start in the history of the game's most storied franchise. Just think of all of the great Boston teams over the years -- from Russell and Cousy to Cowens and Havlicek and Bird and DJ -- and yet, none have started the season as red-hot as this year's Celtics squad.

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Posted in History | 1 Comment »

Layups: Freakonomics on NBA Stat Analysis

13th December 2008

Here is an article from the New York Times Magazine this past May, in which Freakonomics authors Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt discuss Mike Zarren and the use of advanced statistics in the Celtics' front office. Just a little more than a month later, Boston won its first NBA championship since 1986... Coincidence? I think not!

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Layups: Classic Articles About Underdogs and Pace

12th December 2008

Here are a couple of old posts by Dean Oliver, father of APBRmetrics, about controlling the pace of the game. Underdogs can maximize their chances of winning by slowing the tempo down to a halt, because the fewer possessions there are in a game, the greater the variance in both teams' offensive efficiencies (and thus the greater the chance for an upset). The 2nd article even comes with a handy calculator, though you'll have to think back to 1997 and remember that, unlike today, Bulls = good and Cavaliers = bad.

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D-Wade, One-Man Offense

11th December 2008

Okay, so that title isn't entirely true -- as we saw during his rare semi-healthy stretches last season, even Wade can't carry an offense to decency by himself. But how about the Miami guard's performance so far this season? Currently, Dwyane Wade is taking 33% of the Heat's shots when he's on the court, which ranks 2nd in the league among qualified players (behind Tony Parker, who has played 10 fewer games than D-Wade).

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Posted in Analysis, History | 6 Comments »

Layups: A BCS for the NBA

11th December 2008

A novel idea by Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton -- what if the NBA used a BCS-like system to determine its champion? Well, for starters, we'd have one great team on the outside looking in.

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Layups: Hollinger’s Take on the Suns-Bobcats trade

11th December 2008's John Hollinger breaks down the recent Phoenix-Charlotte deal as only he can. The verdict for the Suns? Great move. And for the Bobcats? Um, not so much...

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Layups: Early All-Star Candidates

11th December 2008

Here's a nice piece by's John Hollinger, regarding the early 2008-09 All-Star candidates. In the East, it's actually pretty clear-cut; out West, it's a little tougher of a call.

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Layups: Hollinger on OKC’s Horrendous Start

10th December 2008's John Hollinger tries to put the Thunder's ridiculously bad start in perspective. Did you know that they're on pace to have the worst record of all time?

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