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Archive for May, 2010

Kobe Bryant’s 21-point, 13-assist game

20th May 2010

Last night, the Lakers were clinical again in their dissection of the Suns (except in the 3rd quarter, that is). Kobe Bryant wasn't even L.A.'s top scorer (Pau Gasol had 29 pts), but he completely controlled the flow of the game, and his facilitation made the Laker offense work (again, except in the 3rd quarter). Why do I keep bringing up the 3rd quarter? Maybe it was a coincidence, but the Suns' greatest success came in the period where Kobe had no assists -- Bryant had 9 in the first half, when L.A. staked itself to a 9-point lead; 0 in the 3rd quarter, when Phoenix roared back to tie the game; and 4 in the 4th, when the Lakers asserted themselves and re-took the lead for good.

Of course, that's not to say Kobe as a passer is always the best formula for Los Angeles -- after all, he had his typical 5 dimes in Game 1 of the series and was equally brilliant, scoring 40 points. But his facilitation was key for them last night, as their offense rose and fell based on Bryant's involvement as a playmaker and a scorer, sometimes simultaneously (Kevin Arnovitz has a good video about this very topic at True Hoop).

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Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Layups: Draft Pick Value Research

19th May 2010

Over at APBRmetrics, longtime BBR reader/commenter DSMok1 has been putting together a great thread about the expected value of a draft pick, expanding on a post Justin made last year. The graphs are really fascinating, especially with regard to the possible range of production you might get at each draft slot, as well as the odds of getting a good player by pick#, and the chart of the surplus values of each pick#. With the lottery being held last night and the draft quickly approaching, that thread is a must read.

Posted in Layups, NBA Draft, Win Shares | 9 Comments »

Championship Usage Patterns II

19th May 2010

After yesterday's post about optimal championship usage patterns, I got a lot of good feedback about possible alternative versions of the same study that would better capture the effect I was going for. When setting up for the initial study, I struggled between sorting by minutes played and by raw modified shot attempts (MSA), each of which had unique advantages. But a nice compromise (suggested by reader Brian) would be to isolate the top 5 players on each team by minutes -- thereby approximating their most frequent 5-man unit -- and then sort by MSA%, the percentage of team MSA that each player took while on the floor:

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs, Statgeekery | 10 Comments »

Championship Usage Patterns and “The Secret”

18th May 2010

In basketball perhaps more than any other sport, the concept of team-building -- creating a cohesive group that fits together and may be greater than the sum of its parts -- is phenomenally important. In baseball, a sport dominated by one-on-one matchups, not a whole lot of consideration has to be made for how teammates work together; to make a great team, you basically grab the 25 best players you can, throw them together, and watch them produce. But in basketball, teammates have to work together while simultaneously "competing" for touches & shots. Throw together a baseball lineup of 9 guys who each create 100 runs, you'll probably score 900 runs; throw together a basketball lineup of 5 20 PPG scorers, you probably won't score 100 PPG. There's no upper limit on the number of runs the baseball lineup can produce, but there is an upper limit to the points the basketball lineup scores, because teams are limited by a finite number of minutes in a game, and as a result, lineups are limited by a finite number of touches & shots to be allocated to the individual players.

That's why a stat like Possession% (the % of team possessions a player uses while on the floor) is important in looking at how the pieces of a team fit together. A lineup of All-Stars would be interesting, but perhaps a less-talented lineup with one 26% usage guy, two 20% guys, an 18% guy, and a 16% guy would be even better if the All-Stars are not happy with the way they fit together or are unable to operate at peak efficiency in lesser roles, while the less talented lineup features players who are all at their optimal usage levels. The whole of the latter would be greater than the sum of the former's parts.

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs, Rants & Ramblings, Statgeekery | 9 Comments »

Support Basketball-Reference.com, Sponsor a Page

17th May 2010

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And who knows, if you're clever enough, your message might end up on lists like these.

Posted in Announcements | 1 Comment »

Most Surprising Championships, 1955-2009

17th May 2010

On the subject of "Least Likely NBA Championships," there are a lot of different ways to frame the discussion. You could look at the teams with the toughest paths (i.e. strength of schedule) en route to the title; you could look at the teams whose regular-season record would have predicted them to win the least often; you could even look at the teams with the closest margins of victory in the playoffs. I've actually done a few of those studies, but today I want to look at the group of players with the least collective talent to win a championship -- or at least the smallest amount of collective accomplishments heading into the title season -- which is another way to look at the "most surprising champs" question.

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs, Statgeekery, Win Shares | 43 Comments »

2010 Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Orlando vs. Boston

14th May 2010

2010 Playoffs Home2010 Playoff Previews

2. Orlando Magic

Coach: Stan Van Gundy
SRS: 7.12 (1st of 30) ▪ Pace Factor: 92.0 (18th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 111.4 (4th of 30) ▪ Defensive Rating: 103.3 (3rd of 30)

How They Got Here:
Won NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals (4-0) versus Atlanta Hawks
Won NBA Eastern Conference First Round (4-0) versus Charlotte Bobcats

Four Factors:

Team eFG% Rank TOV% Rank ORB% Rank FT/FGA Rank
Orlando Magic 0.536 2 0.136 17 0.246 25 0.246 7
Orlando Magic - Opp 0.477 1 0.122 26 0.226 1 0.205 3

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs | 17 Comments »

Which Position Should You Build Around For Playoff Success?

13th May 2010

Here at Basketball-Reference, we recently gathered a new database of player positions that goes further than merely listing guards, forwards, and centers. It isn't live on the player pages yet (that's coming soon), but I've worked with it in several posts over the past few weeks, and today I'm going to use it to see which position has traditionally been the strongest for teams that are successful in the postseason.

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs, Statgeekery, Win Shares | 31 Comments »

Four Games Against the Boston Celtics

12th May 2010

Here are 4 miserable games by 2 great players vs. the Boston Celtics in the Big Three era:

MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
41:40 3 14 0 4 9 12 1 5 6 7 1 0 3 3 15
38:49 2 18 0 6 8 10 2 7 9 9 1 1 10 4 12
43:21 6 19 0 2 5 6 0 4 4 10 4 0 2 4 17
42:46 7 22 3 9 5 5 1 2 3 1 1 0 4 1 22

The first is LeBron James' game last night. Who are the other 3?

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Posted in Playoffs, Rants & Ramblings | 159 Comments »

2010 Western Conference Finals Preview: L.A. Lakers vs. Phoenix

12th May 2010

2010 Playoffs Home2010 Playoff Previews

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Coach: Phil Jackson
SRS: 4.78 (5th of 30) ▪ Pace Factor: 92.8 (14th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 108.8 (11th of 30) ▪ Defensive Rating: 103.7 (4th of 30)

How They Got Here:
Won NBA Western Conference Semifinals (4-0) versus Utah Jazz
Won NBA Western Conference First Round (4-2) versus OKC Thunder

Four Factors:

Team eFG% Rank TOV% Rank ORB% Rank FT/FGA Rank
Los Angeles Lakers 0.496 15 0.124 5 0.276 7 0.221 18
Los Angeles Lakers - Opp 0.484 6 0.132 18 0.256 9 0.195 2

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs | 5 Comments »