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Archive for June, 2010

The James-Wade-Bosh Big Three, Part I

30th June 2010

It probably won't happen for salary-cap reasons (somebody who's considered a "max player" will have to take less than max money), but rumors swirled this week that prized free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh would join Dwyane Wade in Miami after an alleged weekend "summit" in which the 3 stars met to discuss their (collective?) futures.

Whether it happens or not, I was wondering how unprecedented this would be in NBA history. We would see a guy who used 35.1% of team possessions when on the court last year (Wade) combine with a guy who used 34.0% (James) and a guy who used 28.1% (Bosh). Has anything like this ever happened outside of an Olympic setting? How would the chemistry work -- who would take the big shot? Would they trade it around? Who would be the Alpha Dog? Can you succeed with three Alpha Dogs?

Let's look to history, starting today with "Big Twos" that were formed (I'll look at "Big Threes" tomorrow). If Wade and James join forces, it would represent 2 teammates who had combined to use 69.2% of possessions the previous year... Has this ever happened before?

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Posted in Analysis, Offseason | 20 Comments »

Site Features: 2010 Free Agent Tracker

29th June 2010

Excited about this summer's epic free agent class? Now you can track free agent signings here at

2010 Free Agent Tracker

That page includes every restricted and unrestricted free agent available this summer, complete with their 09-10 stats. We'll also be updating the table every morning, so it will always be up-to-date on the latest signings.

Let the Bron-sanity begin!

Posted in Announcements, Offseason, Site Features | 1 Comment »

How Unusual Was the Finals Foul Disparity?

29th June 2010

There's a good discussion brewing in the comments of yesterday's thread, centering on whether the big disparity in FTA between L.A. and Boston during the NBA Finals was something we could have expected based on the two teams' season-long tendencies. Here are the facts we know right now:

  1. Los Angeles received far more free throw attempts per shot in the immediate basket area than Boston did.
  2. Per possession, Boston was the 3rd-most foul-prone team in the NBA during the season; L.A. was the 2nd-least foul-prone team.

Basically, Boston fouled a lot more than L.A. during the Finals, but they also fouled a lot against everybody, and L.A. was a team that didn't foul much at all. The question is whether the disparity during the Finals was bigger than we would expect based on the teams' known fouling tendencies. Fortunately, I can estimate a team's expected fouls per possession and free throw attempts per possession by comparing their regular-season rates to the league-average and multiplying by their opponent's regular-season rates:

BOS Expected PF/Poss = ((BOS PF/Poss) / (Lg Avg PF/Poss)) * (LAL Opponent PF/Poss)

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs, Statgeekery | 69 Comments »

BBR Mailbag: Post-Finals Mega-Mailbag

28th June 2010

Lots of great questions coming in the wake of Game Seven... As always, keep hitting me with your suggestions, either in the comments of the blog or at

LakerTracker 2010: Final Kobe-vs-LeBron Numbers

This isn't technically a mailbag question, but it is the final piece in a series created by popular demand. In case you missed Part I & Part II, I've been tracking Kobe Bryant's performance in the Finals this year vs. LeBron James' performance against the same Celtics team in May, as well as Bryant's own performance against Boston in the 2008 Finals. Here are the final numbers:

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Posted in Analysis, BBR Mailbag, Playoffs | 29 Comments »

Poll: Rookies Most Likely To…

25th June 2010

One of my fave features in SLAM Magazine (at least, when I was a teenager -- not sure if they still do it) was the annual "Rookies Most Likely To..." column, where members of the incoming draft class were judged based on what they were the most likely to do. For instance, we would have said last year that Blake Griffin was the RMLT Average 20 Points (sorry, Clips fans!), or that Stephen Curry was the RMLT knock down 40% of his treys (done, with room to spare), or... well, you get the idea. So this year I want to put it to you, the reader: which rookies are the most likely to live up (or down) to each of these expectations?

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Posted in Just For Fun, NBA Draft, Polls | 6 Comments »

Support, Sponsor a Page

25th June 2010

Sponsoring a page is fun, fast, and easy way to support what we're doing here at Basketball-Reference. With a sponsorship, you can:

  • Show your support for your favorite player or team.
  • Drum up traffic for your own site & draw in fans with a common interest.
  • Get some well-deserved recognition for your support of BBR.
  • Make your voice heard by the tens of thousands of people who visit Basketball-Reference every day.

Here's all you have to do to get involved:

  1. Create a membership account.
  2. Find the page(s) you'd like to support, and click "sponsor" (available pages).
  3. If the page you want is already sponsored, click "Alert Me!" to be informed when the current sponsorship expires.
  4. Follow the instructions to create your message and make your payment.
  5. Your message and links will be visible on the page after we approve them (usually in less than 24 hours).

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

Posted in Announcements | 1 Comment »

2010 NBA Draft: Player Comparisons (Lottery Picks)

25th June 2010

I love the way the web's best draft sites provide comparable NBA players for draftees, because -- while totally unscientific -- it provides a decent framework upon which to build your view of (and expectations for) each rookie. Today, I'm going to look at the comparisons from Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton, HoopsHype, DraftExpress, and for each lottery pick, and show the best seasons (by Win Shares) for each comp to get a feel for what they may turn into, including potential strengths and weaknesses.

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Posted in Analysis, NBA Draft, Offseason | 3 Comments »

Chris Paul — Still the NBA’s Best PG — On the Trading Block?

24th June 2010

According to ESPN, the Hornets could be open to trade offers for Chris Paul.


Contrary to what you may have heard from various talking heads during the playoffs, Chris Paul is still the best PG in the NBA. He was the best PG in the NBA in 2008, when he led the league in Win Shares, was 2nd in PER (behind LeBron James), and finished 2nd in MVP shares. He was the best PG in the NBA in 2009, when he was 2nd in the league in WS, 3rd in PER (behind James & Dwyane Wade), and 5th in MVP shares. And yes, even in an injury-plagued 2010 season, Paul was still the NBA's top PG when healthy -- he still led all PGs with a minimum of 1700 MP in WS/48 and PER.

What's the matter? You're one of those luddites who still doesn't believe the metrics? Fine, Chris Paul is still the NBA's best PG even if you use MVP voting, the most conventional of wisdoms:

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Posted in Analysis, Offseason, Rants & Ramblings | 34 Comments »

2010 NBA Draft: Peak Performances by Pick

23rd June 2010

Last year, Justin had a great series about the expected career and rookie-contract value (in Win Shares) of a draft choice by overall pick #, and it's a must-read this week as you prepare for Thursday's event. I don't want -- or need -- to tread the same ground here today; instead, I'm interested in what kind of peak performance you can expect out of a player drafted in each slot. Because as good as longevity is, I feel like a player's peak years say a lot about his overall talent level, and the type of production he's capable of putting up, even if he only did it for a brief time. There's an old saying in baseball: "Once a player displays a skill, he owns it." Peak performance is like that -- a guy like Penny Hardaway may have only been super-elite for 1 season before getting hurt and declining, but 1 season is all it took to show he had that type of innate talent.

Now, the question becomes, how do we measure peak performance? Justin already used WS, so I'm going to look at peak Statistical +/-, defined as the highest 3-year moving weighted average* of the player's career.

(* The average for Year Y was determined by regressing each season to 222 minutes of -2.57 +/-, and weighting the previous seasons like this: Y, 66%; Y-1, 22%; and Y-2, 12%. Players who never made the NBA were said to have peaked at -2.57.)

Here are the average peak performances for each draft slot from 1976-2000:

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Posted in Analysis, NBA Draft, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 13 Comments »

Site Features: Draft Tools

22nd June 2010

With the 2010 NBA Draft coming up in just 2 days, here are some features to help you get prepared for the big event:

Posted in Announcements, NBA Draft, Site Features | Comments Off on Site Features: Draft Tools