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Archive for July, 2009

Fun With Random Pages: 1974 Bulls

13th July 2009

When we think of the greatest teams in the history of the Chicago Bulls, we think of the core group of the 1990s -- Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Bill Cartwright, etc. -- a squad that in one incarnation or another managed to win six NBA crowns in 8 years. But the Jordan-era Bulls were not the first Chicago team to rise to hoops prominence. Under coach Dick Motta in the the 1970s, the Bulls forged a top-flight defensive team that made the playoffs in 7 of 8 seasons between 1970 & 1977, including 2 consecutive Western Conference Finals appearances in 1974 & '75. Though they neither won a title nor were as strong as the 1990s version of the franchise, this was a terrific team that was always a threat in the seventies.

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Posted in Fun With Random Pages, History | 11 Comments »

Layups: Multilevel Modeling, NBA Style

10th July 2009

I just realized I've been derelict in my linking duties recently, because I haven't thrown any love to the Basketball Geek, Mr. Ryan Parker, for some of his posts this week on multilevel modeling. Basically, MLM is a type of regression technique that you'd use in real-world situations where contextual effects occur on several levels (hence the name) and make it difficult to assume that the errors for each coefficient are uncorrelated. And basketball, as we know too well, is a game where performance is often heavily context-driven, so MLM is certainly a method that deserves more investigation as APBRmetrics becomes more and more sophisticated. This past week, Ryan used this type of random-effects model to predict 3-point shooting ability and offensive rebounding ability based on age and past performance. Essentially it's a really fancy way of regressing to the mean, but this method also has the potential to do a lot more than that because you can theoretically control for some of those pesky contextual effects that we analysts often run into when trying to unravel a game as complex as basketball.

Posted in Layups, Statgeekery | 2 Comments »

Layups: The Importance of Your PG’s Shooting Ability

9th July 2009

Over at, Jon Nichols has a very interesting study on the impact a point guard's 3-point shooting ability has on his offense's efficiency. The data shows a very clear pattern -- the better the long-range ability of the PG on the floor, the better the offense performs. Obviously the arrow of causality can run the opposite direction as well (the PG could be shooting better because better offensive teammates could be getting him clearer looks at the basket from downtown), but I think it's still cool to see the data affirm that having a PG you can't sag off of makes your offense more dangerous.

Posted in Layups | 1 Comment »

The Not-So-Instant Impact of 1st Overall Picks

8th July 2009

Let me ask you a question: Would you rather have Blake Griffin for the next 3 years, or 3 years of one of the 5 best players in basketball last year? How about one of the Top 10? One of the Top 20? In other words, how does the #1 pick typically fare during his 1st contract when compared to one of the league's best players from the year before he was drafted?

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Posted in Analysis, NBA Draft | 12 Comments »

Will Artest Love L.A.? And Will They Love Him Back?

6th July 2009

Over in the comments of our offseason transactions thread, there's an interesting discussion about the recent de facto "trade" between the Lakers and Rockets, which essentially ended up swapping Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest straight-up.

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Posted in Analysis, BBR Mailbag, Offseason | 19 Comments »

Layups: Can You Name the Leaders In All-Star Appearances?

4th July 2009

Sporcle wants to test your knowledge about the NBA's all-time ASG appearance leaders. Are you up to the task?

Posted in Layups | Comments Off on Layups: Can You Name the Leaders In All-Star Appearances?

Layups: Early Offseason Moving & Shaking

2nd July 2009

From ESPN and John Hollinger, some key free agent moves over the past few weeks:

Posted in Layups, Offseason | 5 Comments »

Fun With Random Pages: Scot Pollard

2nd July 2009

Here's a new concept for posts that I'm rolling out this week, in honor of the long NBA offseason really starting in earnest. Basically, the idea is that I go to our lovely "Frivolities" page and click on the "Random Page" function, sending me to the page for "a randomly selected player, coach, team, or league". Whatever turns up, I write a little essay about it, no matter what it is. It's kind of a takeoff on what JKL is doing over at our sister blog, the blog -- he's basically writing what comes to mind when he thinks of a certain player, like our colleague Doug Drinen did back in 2002 for PFR:

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Posted in Analysis, Fun With Random Pages, History | 5 Comments »