Posted by Neil Paine on September 10, 2009
After guiding Baseball-Reference's users through the player splits yesterday, we thought it would be a good idea to apply the same treatment to the player splits here at BBR today. Granted, our basketball splits are not as intensive as their baseball counterparts (yet), but they still can really help you dig deeper into a player's stats for a particular season or his entire career.
For example, let's take Dwight Howard's splits for 2008-09. On that page you can see not only his overall performance, but also his production at home vs. on the road, his value in wins vs. losses (surprisingly, not all that different), and two splits which I find very useful — his pre- and post-All-Star stats, and as a subset his performance breakdown by month. I like to use these numbers to get a real sense for how a player progressed (or fell off) as the season went on. Full-season stats are obviously the best predictor of future performance in a general sense, but in-season trends for young players who suddenly "got it" during the year can be informative, as well as the inverse: late-season collapses for older players. And on the career splits pages, you can identify players that are habitual hot or cold starters to begin the season, which should come in handy for all you fantasy basketballers out there.
But perhaps the best feature of the splits page are the breakdowns vs. each opponent. These are divided up by conference, division, and of course, the individual teams themselves. Since matchups are of so much importance in the NBA, this feature can be really great in helping you identify players who excel against a particular team, coach, or opposing playing style (although the usual caveats about sample size certainly apply). We've even discussed the possibility of adding new opponent categories in the future based on SRS, W-L%, and Offensive/Defensive Rating. This would effectively allow you to do your own "who rules the top defenses?"-style studies with any players you want.
And, lest I forget, the research potential of these splits has come into play with the recent allegations of scorekeeper fraud in the awarding of blocks and assists. It was said that someone like Dikembe Mutombo (and many other Denver bigs, for that matter, so not just Deke) were getting huge benefits of the doubt when it came to blocked shots, and if you look at some of the more glaring examples of the phenomenon, our splits clearly show a ridiculous disparity between home and road blocked shots. The same goes for assists, where home-team scorekeepers are known to dole out assists to "their" point guards far more liberally than they do for opposing PGs. Using our player splits pages, these trends are easy to find and ready to be dropped on somebody's argument like an atom bomb.
So check out our splits, and don't hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about how we can make them better.