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Archive for September, 2010

Layups: Good 3-Point Shooters, Bad Free Throw Shooters

8th September 2010

With a hat tip to TrueHoop, here's a post from NBA Playbook on an interesting phenomenon to those of us obsessed with stats -- players who are good in one "pure" shooting metric and bad in another.

"Doing a little college basketball stuff, I came across Obi Muonelo, who plays for Oklahoma State.  Looking at his stats, I was amazed to see that Muonelo was only a 58.9% free throw shooter, despite being a 42.6% three point shooter.  I took my amazement to Twitter, and the great Tom Haberstroh let me know that this happens in the NBA too:

Happens in NBA too… http://3.ly/5GCg RT @SebastianPruiti How can someone who shots 42.6% from the 3 only shoot 58.9 FT%? http://3.ly/Q5mS

Tom’s list is an all-time single season list (and Bruce Bowen is featured a ton there), and it got me thinking.  I decided to use this past season and take a look at above average three point shooters with at least 100 attempts (35.6%) and try to figure out why they are below average free throw shooters (76.2%)."

I always felt that FT% is the best indicator of pure shooting form, since unless the player resorts to a gimmicky, Rick Barry-style approach, it's just him, his mechanics, and a basket 15 feet away. Meanwhile, 3P% can be influenced by so many more factors, depending on the player's style of play and/or role in the offense; for instance, look at Jason Kidd's magical transformation from a guy nicknamed "Ason" to a 43% 3-point shooter (!!!) in Dallas. FT% is far less dependent on contextual effects, which seems to make it a better indicator of a player's underlying skill.

Posted in Layups | 17 Comments »

League Continuity

7th September 2010

Several times in the past, I've looked at what I called "Team Continuity" -- that is, the amount of minutes/possessions/etc. that a team gave to players who had been on their roster the year before. Today, I want to extend the concept to the NBA as a whole and examine league continuity, specifically the 5-year periods since the merger in which the league had the biggest influx of new talent.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery | 6 Comments »

2010 Team USA Advanced Stats (Thru 9/1)

2nd September 2010

Here's an update to the Team USA stats I posted on Tuesday, which includes yesterday's game (in addition to the entire group stage of the FIBA World Championships so far, and the USA's international tour leading up to the World Championships):

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Posted in Data Dump, International Basketball, Statgeekery | 6 Comments »

Layups: Basketball Prospectus on Possible Summer Bargains

2nd September 2010

Here's a post for fans of players who provide a lot of bang for the buck: over at Basketball Prospectus, Marc Normandin used their SCHOENE projection system to put together a list of this summer's best under-the-radar acquisitions (including underrated new Chicago Bull Ronnie Brewer).

Posted in Layups, Offseason | Comments Off

Winning Wasn’t Good Enough For These Coaches

2nd September 2010

In sports, expectations can be a funny thing. While in the end no amount of losing is truly tolerated, some coaches can get away with sub-.500 seasons while others can be fired despite a reasonable amount of success, all because of front office expectations for the team. Take a football example -- Marty Schottenheimer, for instance. Schottenheimer was fired by the Browns in 1989 despite a 40-23 record (with 4 playoff appearances) in the previous 4 seasons, simply because Cleveland could never quite get over the hump in the postseason. Fast-forward 18 years, and Schottenheimer was canned by the Chargers for the very same reason, despite 3 straight winning seasons and a 14-2 record in 2006. In each case, the team was no more successful under Schottenheimer's replacement (perhaps revealing that management's expectations were too high in the first place), but that's of little consolation to the unemployed coach who, for the most part, did his job well.

So with this phenomenon in mind, here are ten NBA coaches for whom winning simply wasn't enough -- namely, the top 10 W-L seasons by coaches who were fired the following offseason:

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Posted in Analysis, History | 3 Comments »

Layups: Check Out Slate’s Sports Podcast, “Hang Up And Listen”

1st September 2010

Today I wanted to throw a quick shoutout to Josh Levin, Stefan Fatsis, Mike Pesca, and the rest of the crew over at Slate magazine for their weekly sports podcast "Hang Up And Listen." In a nutshell, it's actually intelligent sports talk (I know, what a concept) about the week's most prominent subjects, along with a trivia segment from Pesca that usually stumps this Sports-Reference employee, and a few words on topics that may have slipped under the radar.

Why am I linking to it now? Well, I found it a week ago and became a devotee because it entertained me during a very tedious data entry project (I've listened to a year's worth of archives in about 12 days). I realize it's currently out of season for basketball, but if you're a sports fan and you like podcasts, put this on your playlist right below the legendary PFR podcast (which, incidentally, I made a cameo on last week and will have another trivia-based appearance coming soon).

Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, Non-Basketball | 5 Comments »