You Are Here > Basketball-Reference.com > BBR Blog > NBA and College Basketball Analysis

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all Basketball-Reference content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing Basketball-Reference blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Basketball-Reference.com // Sports Reference

For more from Neil, check out his new work at BasketballProspectus.com.

Layups: Custom Pythagorean Exponents

Posted by Neil Paine on May 19, 2009

Here's an interesting article... You've heard of the pythagenport floating exponent in baseball, right? Zach Fein of FeinSports.com has come up with something similar for the NBA. The standard 14 that we use is very good, but you can get slightly better results from this formula:

Exp = sqrt(Poss.) / log(Poss.) x 0.75 - 2.8

Where "Poss." is possessions, as defined by our glossary. The overall increase in accuracy is small, but I think it's still a very worthwhile pursuit to find better exponents for the pythagorean method.

Oh, and can we call this the "Pythagenfein" formula from now on?

ShareThis

2 Responses to “Layups: Custom Pythagorean Exponents”

  1. Justin Kubatko Says:

    All of that extra work for a less than 1% decrease in the RMSE? That doesn't seem worth it to me.

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    Probably not, and I'm still using 14 in the future. But I've always wondered about a floating exponent for basketball, and now we have one.