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Archive for February, 2011

Jobs @ Sports Reference: Web Developer

28th February 2011

Jobs @ Sports Reference: Web Developer

Sports Reference is hiring a web developer this spring.  Please see the link above for the job description and information on how to apply.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Where Would They Be Without Him?

28th February 2011

Tom Haberstroh had a great piece at ESPN last week in which he broke down the ongoing Derrick Rose-vs-LeBron James MVP debate. To me, the key passage was this:

"Oddly enough, what's not helping Rose's MVP case is his plus-minus numbers. And implicitly, this is where most Rose supporters state their case. When his advocates ask, 'Where would the Bulls be without Rose?' the question is meant to be a rhetorical one. The obvious implication is that a Rose-less Bulls squad would instantly become a basement dweller. But rather than blindly accept it, we can actually see how the Bulls have managed without him on the court. And how have they fared with Rose benched? By beating opponents by 51 points on the season, or an average of 4.9 points every 100 possessions. Why? Whether Rose is in the game or not, [Tom] Thibodeau’s game-changing defense remains."

I don't want to get into Rose-vs-James specifically here, but I do think what Tom wrote is a very important concept to apply to all NBA MVP debates in this modern age of plus/minus.

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Posted in Analysis, Awards, Rants & Ramblings, Statgeekery | 90 Comments »

Support Basketball-Reference.com, Sponsor a Page

25th February 2011

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

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

Posted in Announcements, Site Features | Comments Off

Chris Bosh and the Most Offensively Detrimental Games in Our Database (*according to statistical +/-)

25th February 2011

During Chris Bosh's brickfest last night, all I could think of was, "Wow, this is a John Starks-ian performance." Turns out it was even worse, albeit in a much less critical situation than Game 7 of the Finals.

Using offensive statistical plus/minus (OSPM), I put together a list of the most detrimental offensive games in our box score database (this spans 1987-2011 for the regular season, and 1991-2010 for the playoffs). For every game, I calculated the player's OSPM, the team's offensive rating, and what the team's offensive rating would have been had the player turned in a league-average performance. The most detrimental performances were the ones that sucked the most points from a team's offensive rating. I also added one requirement to qualify for the list: the player's offense must have cost his team a win -- i.e., with an average offensive performance from a player in his minutes, they would have outscored the opponent, but instead lost the game.

Let's use Bosh as an example. Last night, Bosh had an OSPM of -15.18, which means for every 100 possessions he was on the floor, he drained more than 15 points away from Miami's offensive rating relative to a league-average performance. Miami's actual offensive rating was 95.3, but if Bosh had just been average, Miami's rating would have been 108.5 -- meaning he cost them 13.16 points of offensive rating over the course of the entire game. Worse yet, Chicago's offensive rating was 99.6, so if Bosh had been average (or even merely below-average), Miami would have won the game. That's why Bosh qualifies for the list, because his poor offense cost his team a win.

Anyway, here are the most detrimental offensive performances in our database (mouse over column headers for descriptions):

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Posted in Analysis, Data Dump, Statgeekery, Statistical +/-, Trivia | 26 Comments »

BBR Rankings: Schedule-Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Ratings (February 25, 2011)

25th February 2011

2010-11 NBA power rankings through the games played on February 24, 2011:

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Posted in BBR Rankings, SRS, Statgeekery | Comments Off

NY Times: Big Trades Don’t Come With Guarantees

25th February 2011

It is rare for a player who just played in the All-Star Game to be dealt to another team before the end of the season, but this week it happened twice. For this week's column I took a look at some of the more recent deals involving these players:

Keeping Score: Big Trades Don’t Come With Guarantees

This column appears in today's print edition as well.

Posted in NY Times | 8 Comments »

How Would You Fill the “NBA Hall of Relevance”?

24th February 2011

I've been thinking about this concept for a while, but I want to throw it out there for the readers and see what they think...

Everyone knows we already have a Basketball Hall of Fame. But from an NBA perspective, a lot of people think it's broken -- as the argument goes, too many non-NBA people get inducted while great NBA players are left out in the cold. So there's a growing push to create an NBA-only Hall of Fame. How do you stock such a Hall, though? It seems like the other major sports have a pretty clear focus in their induction processes: baseball's hall is largely about longevity and statistical milestones, while football's hall is heavily focused on guys who won championships and/or changed the game.

So what should the NBA's angle be? I want to propose that this hypothetical Hall be about "relevance". As in, who were the relevant players in a given season or span of seasons? Who were the essential names? When you tell the Story Of The NBA, which players would it be inexcusable not to mention? If the Hall of Fame is about celebrating the history of the league, then including the guys that fundamentally shaped the narrative is a pretty good mandate. And if we can tell the NBA's story without mentioning a certain player, it's hard to argue that he belongs in the Hall.

The good news is that you can generate the majority of this list by setting up a basic checklist of requirements. But I want to know what you think those requirements are.

Off the top of my head, here's a basic list of requirements that capture the "relevant" players each season:

  • Top 3 in each season's MVP voting
  • Every Sporting News MVP
  • Every season's 1st-team All-NBAers
  • Every Finals MVP
  • Top 3 players on each NBA champion
  • Best player on Finals runner-up
  • Best player on team with NBA's best record
  • PER leader for seasons 2000-present
  • Win Shares leader for seasons 2004-present

This is the list of players generated by those criteria:

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Posted in Hall of Fame, History, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Rants & Ramblings, Win Shares | 53 Comments »

Percentage of Team Shot Attempts “Created” While On the Floor

23rd February 2011

With noted shot-creator Carmelo Anthony on the move, I was wondering which players have a hand in "creating" the highest percentage of their team's shot attempts when on the floor.

If we're just looking at a player's own shooting attempts, this is pretty easy. You can look at the percentage of team FGA a player takes when on the court (all leaders minimum 1,366 minutes):

Player Pos Tm G Min FGA FTA %FGA
Kobe Bryant SG LAL 58 1959 1121 415 33.6%
Carmelo Anthony SF DEN 50 1774 967 417 32.7%
Derrick Rose PG CHI 53 2012 1068 328 31.8%
Kevin Durant SF OKC 51 2011 1037 457 31.3%
LeBron James SF MIA 55 2100 1034 479 30.7%
Dwyane Wade SG MIA 53 1964 957 467 30.4%
Amare Stoudemire C/PF NYK 53 1949 1028 422 30.3%
Andrea Bargnani PF/C TOR 51 1828 935 254 29.7%
Michael Beasley SF/PF MIN 48 1566 828 196 29.7%
Russell Westbrook PG OKC 55 1953 932 446 29.0%
Monta Ellis SG GSW 56 2298 1156 336 28.6%
Joe Johnson SG/SF ATL 47 1688 788 182 28.5%
Dirk Nowitzki PF DAL 47 1611 737 274 28.1%
Antawn Jamison PF/SF CLE 53 1737 822 214 28.0%
Kevin Martin SG HOU 56 1745 848 476 27.8%
Eric Gordon SG LAC 41 1550 712 296 27.6%
Brook Lopez C NJN 57 1959 870 351 27.4%
Stephen Jackson SG/SF CHA 55 2025 884 260 27.3%
Luis Scola PF HOU 58 1939 920 251 27.2%
Blake Griffin PF LAC 57 2156 971 492 27.1%

You could also take it a step further and factor in free throws as well, calculating the percentage of each team's True Shooting Attempts (FGA + .44 * FTA) each player takes while on the floor:

Player Pos Tm G Min FGA FTA TSA %TSA
Kobe Bryant SG LAL 58 1959 1121 415 1303.6 34.5%
Carmelo Anthony SF DEN 50 1774 967 417 1150.5 33.3%
Kevin Durant SF OKC 51 2011 1037 457 1238.1 32.1%
Derrick Rose PG CHI 53 2012 1068 328 1212.3 31.9%
LeBron James SF MIA 55 2100 1034 479 1244.8 31.9%
Dwyane Wade SG MIA 53 1964 957 467 1162.5 31.8%
Amare Stoudemire C/PF NYK 53 1949 1028 422 1213.7 31.7%
Kevin Martin SG HOU 56 1745 848 476 1057.4 30.6%
Russell Westbrook PG OKC 55 1953 932 446 1128.2 30.1%
Andrea Bargnani PF/C TOR 51 1828 935 254 1046.8 29.6%
Monta Ellis SG GSW 56 2298 1156 336 1303.8 29.1%
Michael Beasley PF MIN 48 1566 828 196 914.2 29.1%
Dirk Nowitzki PF DAL 47 1611 737 274 857.6 29.1%
Blake Griffin PF LAC 57 2156 971 492 1187.5 28.8%
Brook Lopez C NJN 57 1959 870 351 1024.4 28.5%
Eric Gordon SG LAC 41 1550 712 296 842.2 28.4%
Joe Johnson SG/SF ATL 47 1688 788 182 868.1 28.0%
Antawn Jamison PF/SF CLE 53 1737 822 214 916.2 27.5%
LaMarcus Aldridge PF/C POR 56 2206 989 332 1135.1 27.3%
DeMarcus Cousins C SAC 53 1443 662 248 771.1 27.2%

But I think you need to take assists into account as well.

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Posted in Analysis, Statgeekery | 30 Comments »

The Best Players Ever to be Traded Midseason

22nd February 2011

Well, it's (quasi) official now: Carmelo Anthony is a member of the New York Knicks.

Finally, we can put aside the trade speculation and ask the really important questions about the deal. No, I'm not talking about how this shifts the balance of power in the East, or if 'Melo and Amare Stoudemire can coexist in the Big Apple... I'm talking about where Carmelo ranks among all-time players who were traded in the middle of the season.

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Posted in Data Dump, History, Statgeekery, Trivia, Win Shares | 37 Comments »

Quantifying the NBA’s Reggie Cleveland All-Stars

21st February 2011

Everyone who has spent time studying historical player stats knows this phenomenon: You've seen a player's name for years, but you only know him as a series of numbers on a page. He retired before you were born, and you haven't even seen so much as a trading card with his picture on it... yet, instinctively wanting to humanize him, you imagine what he was like. You know his height, weight, all of the vital stats, everything except his ethnicity. So you make an educated guess based on his name. You now have an idealized picture in your mind's eye of the player in his prime, a man to go alongside the numbers.

The only problem comes when you do see him for the first time -- and he looks quite a bit different from the imaginary version you created years ago.

This is the concept behind Bill Simmons' Reggie Cleveland All-Stars, a "list of sports figures whose names would seem to indicate that they are of a different race or ethnicity than they actually are". Its namesake? Cleveland, a 1970s-era pitcher whom Simmons just assumed was black until learning otherwise when he joined the Red Sox.

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Posted in Insane ideas | 29 Comments »