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Archive for March, 2009

Layups: The NBA’s Best Penetrators

20th March 2009

Courtesy of Ryan Schwan over at, here's an interesting concept: how do we rank the best "penetrators", the best players in basketball when it comes to both creating their own shot and making those shots? To answer the question, Ryan uses FG% and 82games' % assisted stat. And the result? People always bring up the "Holy Trinity" of Kobe, LeBron, and D-Wade as the guys you'd most like to have handling the ball in a must-score situation, but perhaps we should think about stud PGs like Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Jameer Nelson in the same way...

Posted in Layups | 2 Comments »

Layups: Name the Naismith Winners

19th March 2009

In honor of March Madness kicking off this week, Sporcle's latest quiz asks you to dig deep into your memory banks and name all of the Naismith College Players of the Year... In an added bonus, this quiz also serves as a good reminder that college stardom is hardly a guarantee of success in the NBA.

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The Top 10 Small Forwards of All Time (*according to statistical +/-)

19th March 2009

This is a series we've been sporadically doing this month, and I figured today was as good a day as any to keep it going and check out the top 10 NBA/ABA small forwards since 1952 according to the “statistical plus-minus” method. To refresh everyone's memory, SPM is really just a linear regression formula that tries to predict adjusted plus-minus using just the conventional stats you’d find in the box score. It has its own biases like any boxscore metric, but I kinda like it, and it's pretty simple to use and understand -- the numbers that follow are estimation of a player's individual impact on his team's point differential per 100 possessions. So here’s what it has to say about the top 10 small forwards ever, in alphabetical order:

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statistical +/- | 12 Comments »

Layups: Seidman Live-Blogs Moneyball

18th March 2009

This is a basketball blog, as I'm sure you're aware of by now, but the plain truth is that much of the statistical analysis we do here is either derived from, inspired by, or at least tangentially connected to the pioneering work done in baseball's Sabermetrics, the older, more well-known sister field of APBRmetrics.

And for many of us, the epochal moment of our sabermetric lifetime came when Michael Lewis wrote a little book called Moneyball way back in 2003. The concepts were old hat to Bill James devotees, but never before had they been presented in such a mainstream way, with such a compelling test case as Billy Beane's Oakland A's. For all intents and purposes, statistical analysis in sports hit the big-time with the publishing of Moneyball.

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Posted in Layups, Non-Basketball | 5 Comments »

Layups: Correlations Between NCAA & NBA Stats

18th March 2009

Our friend Jon Nichols over at the Basketball blog has a neat study today on the correlations between college stats and NBA stats... For instance, NCAA & NBA blocks per minute have an R-squared of 0.93, meaning good shot-blockers in college tend to be good shot-blockers in the pros; meanwhile, there's only a 0.29 R² between a player's NCAA and NBA FTA/min, so players who draw a lot of fouls in college don't necessarily do the same in the pros. Obviously there's some selection bias in the study, but it's still a cool snapshot of what abilities players tend to retain as they make the leap to the pro level.

Posted in Layups, NCAA | 8 Comments »

Layups: Referee Efficiency?

18th March 2009

Ryan Parker has a lot of great ideas over at his blog Basketball Geek, and here's another terrific example: Referee Efficiency. No, he doesn't evaluate each and every call made by the zebras... He uses the adjusted +/- framework to evaluate the on-/off-court impact of each ref -- for instance, Derrick Stafford is associated with a league-leading increase in 7.8 points per 100 possessions he’s on the court. Unfortunately, there's no word yet on what Tim Donaghy's impact was...

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Jason Kidd: 3-Point Specialist?

18th March 2009

Back in the old days, the book on Jason Kidd stayed basically the same year in and year out: you denied him penetration at all costs, always went under on the screen/roll, and if he happened to knock down a few perimeter shots on you, you lived with it. I mean, there was a reason people called him "Ason Kidd" -- he had no "J".

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Posted in Analysis | 3 Comments »

Layups: HoopsAnalyst Draft Update

18th March 2009

If you don't know who Ed Weiland is, you should -- the guy puts together the best draft previews on the web (for people who like stats, at least). And in the most recent HoopsAnalyst post, Ed lets us know whose stock is rising and falling over the past few months.

Posted in Layups, NCAA | 1 Comment »

Layups: D-Wade, the Game’s Best Player?

17th March 2009

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus makes the case that since the All-Star Game at least, nobody has been more dominant -- or more important to his team's fortunes -- than The Flash.

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Layups: The Big 3 in the Clutch

17th March 2009

Last week, Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub broke down the offensive performance of the C's Big 3 in the 4th quarter of close games. The findings? First, Paul Pierce is even more adept at attacking and drawing fouls than usual at the end of tight contests (no surprise to anyone who's watched the Celtics over the years). Second, Ray Allen relies far more heavily on the 3-pointer late in close games than in any other situation. Finally, for better or for worse, KG's game stays exactly the same in clutch situations -- he's disciplined and doesn't force things, even if the situation perhaps demands it.

(Hat tip to TrueHoop.)

Posted in Layups | 2 Comments »