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Archive for February, 2010

BBR Rankings: 2010-02-26

26th February 2010

Rising: Mavs (W-@ORL, W-MIA, W-IND, W-LAL), Suns (W-ATL, W-SAC, W-@OKC, W-PHI)
Falling: Kings (L-@LAC, L-@PHO, L-DET), Rockets (L-IND, L-@NOH, L-ORL)

(Want to know how the BBR Rankings are calculated? Read this first... "MLE" = Maximum Likelihood Estimate.)

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Random Thoughts On the Talent Pool

26th February 2010

This essay is a rather extreme case of late-night rambling -- just warning you ahead of time.

In case you stumbled upon this website and have no understanding of basketball, sports, or American culture in general, let me just say that the players in the NBA are really good at hoops. I mean, ridiculously good: so good that they have been dominant players their entire lives, at virtually every level. I always laugh when some fans are watching a game and say "I could do that!"... Well, no, you couldn't. The average fan seems to have a shaky grasp at times on the vast, gaping, astronomical chasm that exists between their own abilities (or even the abilities of the best basketball player they've ever known/played with) and those of the worst NBA player who ever played. There's simply no comparison there, as I learned the hard way when future D-Leaguer Patrick Ewing Jr. dunked over me, Freddy Weis style, in a high school AAU game in 2003. I was on a mediocre lower-tier HS team, we were playing the best crop of prospects in the state of Georgia (which at the time included Ewing, Stanford/Washington G Tim Morris, Evansville C Bradley Strickland, & Georgia Tech PG Matt Causey), and they beat us by nearly 100 points. And Ewing is the only player on that team with even a remote shot at the NBA! Talk about a harsh dose of reality.

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Posted in Insane ideas, No Math Required, Rants & Ramblings | 13 Comments »

The Winners (And Losers)

25th February 2010

Many NBA fans like to measure players by team accomplishments like wins and championships, perhaps because that is every team's ultimate goal before each season, and to a certain extent all players on teams that didn't win the championship have failed. With this in mind, I decided to compile a list of the greatest winners in NBA history (since 1952, at least) by taking the minute-weighted average of winning % and SRS for the teams they were on. Since we don't have game logs for players prior to 1986-87, this will serve as a reasonable proxy for what Dean Oliver calls "game by game winning percentages", or the team's W-L% when a player played for them. We'll break things up into 2 divisions -- small samples (those with at least 2,000 career MP but fewer than 10,000) and large samples (those with at least 10,000 career MP) -- and look at the best and worst players by career WPct and SRS. First, the top winning percentages:

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Posted in Data Dump, History, SRS, Statgeekery | 7 Comments »

Introducing College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com

25th February 2010

I am pleased to announce the launch of College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com, the latest addition to the Sports Reference family of web sites. We have had plans to launch a college basketball site for quite some time, but for one reason or another we always ran into roadblocks, most of them data-related. However, thanks to the efforts of researcher extraordinaire Kevin Johnson, we now have a college basketball database that we believe to be second-to-none. Let me tell you a little bit about what the site does (and doesn't) have:

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Posted in Announcements, NCAA | 5 Comments »

Player Audit: How Good Was Penny?

22nd February 2010

Penny HardawayWhen I made a post about young stars last week, reader Johnny commented that he didn't know Anfernee Hardaway was as good as his Win Shares make him look. Like Johnny, I also had largely written off Penny as a relic of a bygone era, one of those early "Next Jordan" wannabes (see the image to the left) who were obliterated when the real "Next Jordan" came along a decade later... But you might be surprised to see that for a brief time, Hardaway was truly one of the game's top players, and not just an over-hyped, oft-injured product of the Nike advertising machine.

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Posted in Analysis, History, Player Audit | 43 Comments »

Layups: Jamison Joins Ignominious Club

20th February 2010

In his first game as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, things could not have gone much worse for Antawn Jamison -- the former Wizards F went 0-for-12 from the field in his Cavs debut, scoring just 2 points in 26 minutes off the bench. With the donut he produced from the floor, he also added his name to this group of embarrassing performances since 1987:

Player Pos Date Tm Opp MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB TRB AST TOV PTS
Tim Hardaway G 12/27/1991 GSW MIN W 44 0 17 0 2 2 2 0 3 13 4 2
Rodney McCray F 11/9/1988 SAC UTA L 34 0 15 0 0 4 4 2 8 8 2 4
Dino Radja F 12/26/1993 BOS SAS L 18 0 14 0 0 0 2 4 10 0 1 0
Vince Carter G 12/12/2008 NJN TOR L 29 0 13 0 2 3 4 3 4 3 3 3
David Wesley G 4/12/2001 CHH NJN W 28 0 13 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 4 0
Ron Artest F 12/18/1999 CHI ORL L 41 0 13 0 4 7 8 3 9 4 1 7
Tom Gugliotta F 3/13/1996 MIN NYK L 33 0 13 0 2 0 0 3 8 2 4 0
Vernon Maxwell G 12/14/1990 HOU WSB L 24 0 13 0 6 2 2 0 1 3 3 2
Gerald Wilkins G 1/7/1990 NYK LAC W 22 0 13 0 2 3 4 1 1 1 1 3
Derek Anderson G 12/26/2001 POR SAC L 27 0 12 0 5 0 0 0 2 1 1 0
Rafer Alston G 1/7/2005 TOR MIL L 33 0 12 0 6 5 6 1 2 8 0 5
Gilbert Arenas G 1/17/2005 WAS SAS L 34 0 12 0 4 3 4 1 2 2 2 3
Zach Randolph F 2/1/2005 POR LAL L 29 0 12 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0
Austin Croshere F 4/15/2005 IND PHI L 25 0 12 0 4 5 5 6 15 1 0 5
Antawn Jamison F 2/19/2010 CLE CHA L 26 0 12 0 4 2 2 0 7 1 0 2

Posted in History, Layups, Play Index | 10 Comments »

Youth Movements

19th February 2010

Talking about arguably the 4 biggest stars of the NBA's 25-and-under set today, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard, had me thinking about this crop of young stars and how they relate to their counterparts in the past... Is this current group the best ever? And if not, who is? Well, here's a simple way to measure how much contribution the NBA is getting from it's age <= 25 players -- divide the youngsters' Win Shares by the NBA's total WS and see what proportion of the league's wins are being added by the kids:

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Posted in Analysis, History, Win Shares | 9 Comments »

Comparable Careers By Quality and Shape, Part II

19th February 2010

Yesterday I outlined a method for determining how similar the quality and arc of two players' careers were -- in case you missed it, the basic gist was that I minimized the sum of squared differences between year-by-year Win Share totals for any two players to find the best matches. I was surprised/overwhelmed by the response we got, so today I decided to take it a step further and try to match players' offensive and defensive Win Shares by age (instead of just total WS by season # of the player's career), which should give better matches than yesterday's method. Also, I felt old-school players were being shortchanged by a shorter schedule, so I pro-rated everyone's totals to 82 games, including this year's in-progress WS totals.

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Posted in History, Just For Fun, Statgeekery | 15 Comments »

BBR Rankings: 2010-02-19

19th February 2010

Rising: Bulls (W-NYK, W-@NYK), Jazz (W-@HOU, W-@NOH), Celtics (W-@SAC, W-@LAL)
Falling: Hornets (L-UTA), Bobcats (L-NJN), Mavs (L-@OKC, W-PHO)

(Want to know how the BBR Rankings are calculated? Read this first... "MLE" = Maximum Likelihood Estimate.)

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Comparable Careers By Quality and Shape

18th February 2010

Two summers ago, Doug made a great post over at PFR that asked a simple question: Who is the current Dave Duerson? If you don't know who Duerson was, he was a good (4-time Pro Bowl) but not great (he won't make the Hall of Fame) safety for the Bears in the mid-1980s; seeing as I was born in December '85, I only know who he was because I've watched tapes of the 1985 Patriots and he was one of the Chicago defenders in that regrettable game that ended the Patties' season. Anyway, the point of the question was to find a bridge that related Doug's frame of reference (he was a huge sports fan by the time '85 rolled around) to that of someone my age who didn't compulsively watch old Patriots tapes and therefore wouldn't have any way of knowing who a semi-notable SS from 1985 was.

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Posted in History, Just For Fun, Statgeekery | 21 Comments »