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Archive for March, 2009

So, Who’s This “Replacement Player” I Keep Hearing About, Anyway?

31st March 2009

This past week,'s John Hollinger rolled out a new stat that compares a player's PER (Player Efficiency Rating) to that of a "replacement-level" player, in an effort to incorporate minutes played into an evaluation of the player's worth. Said JH:

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Posted in General, No Math Required | 8 Comments »

Layups: 82games on Player Development

31st March 2009

I confess that I've been accidentally overlooking something important over the past month and a half -- I haven't linked to Roland Beech's ongoing player development study over at 82games yet. And that was wrong, because it's very informative stuff. Luckily, you can catch up on the entire series at the link above, and he's only a little bit more than halfway finished with it, so there's a lot more cool data coming up (including a piece on coaches and player development).

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Layups: Most Tourney Appearances Quiz

28th March 2009

Here at BBR, we love the basketball-themed quizzes they have at Sporcle, so it should come as no surprise that we were digging this one -- can you name the schools with the most NCAA Tournament appearances?

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Layups: TrueHoop on End-of-Quarter Scorers

27th March 2009

TrueHoop's Henry Abbott was recently watching a Blazer game -- I know, so what else is new? -- and noticed that Rudy Fernandez has a special tendency to score in the final seconds of quarters, so he e-mailed NBA bettor extraordinaire Bob Voulgaris (who tracks an incredible amount of data about every game in a database) and asked him which players do the best in the closing sequences of a quarter. And this is what he came back with... It's a list of the guys who have scored the most in the final 24 seconds of any quarter this season.

Posted in Layups | 1 Comment »

Who Rules the Top Defenses?

27th March 2009

If you're familiar with any of the advanced stats we use on this site, it should be pretty clear that LeBron James is having the best statistical season of any NBA player right now. I mean, frankly, there really isn't a box score-based metric out there that doesn't rank James as the #1 player in the league this season. Plus, many people (myself included) have suggested that LeBron is having the NBA's best statistical campaign at least since the league started tracking turnovers in 1978. Simply put, if you put your faith in the numbers, LeBron's gotta be the league's top dog this year.

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Posted in Analysis | 27 Comments »

Layups: Pelton On the State of APBRmetrics

27th March 2009

In his latest post, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus evaluates the state of statistical analysis in basketball today -- where we've come from, where we are, and where we're headed.

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Layups: WARP vs. EWA

26th March 2009

The other day,'s John Hollinger rolled out a method for converting his famous Player Efficiency Rating to a "wins over replacement"-type stat. Now Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, who developed a similar metric (WARP), takes a look at the two methods side by side. Spoiler: mostly they agree (LeBron James owns everyone), but there are some subtle differences in the replacement level and the way defense is incorporated.

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Layups: R.I.P. John Brattain

26th March 2009

John Brattain didn't write about basketball. Rather, baseball was his specialty, and few people brought as sharp a wit to the blogosphere as he did in his analysis of the American Pastime.

But now comes the terrible news that John passed away this week, at the age of 44.

As someone who recently experienced a loss on this level, I know that there are few words I can type to make things better for John's wife and children. Besides, plenty of writers better than me have written fine appreciations of John's life and his work.

So from all of us at Sports Reference, I simply wanted to offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family during this time of grief. I hope his wife and daughters know that many people all over the world are thinking of and praying for them right now, and I hope knowing that gives them some small measure of comfort (just as it did for me several months ago).

R.I.P. John. He will be missed.

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The Top 10 Shooting Guards of All Time (*according to statistical +/-)

24th March 2009

This has been a surprisingly popular series so far, so because of reader demand I'm going to accelerate things and go ahead with the Top 10 "statistical +/-" shooting guards in NBA history (excluding seasons prior to 1951-52, when they didn't bother to track minutes). As a quick refresher, SPM is a linear regression formula that tries to predict the well-known adjusted plus-minus stat using just the conventional stats you’d find in the box score. Obviously some defensive value is going to be lost as a result, but so far the results haven't been horrible, so that's encouraging. Anyway, here are the best SGs by the method, in alphabetical order:

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statistical +/- | 48 Comments »

Layups: SLAM Interview w/ Roland Beech

24th March 2009

SLAM Online has a great interview with head honcho Roland Beech about the past, present, and future of statistical analysis in basketball. And I can say I don't find a single thing to disagree with in Roland's responses.

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