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D-Rose and Iverson

Posted by Neil Paine on March 23, 2011

With Derrick Rose's 2011 MVP looking like a foregone conclusion, it seems only natural to compare his campaign to that of Allen Iverson in 2001, the year another popular guard won the MVP despite not being the game's most talented player.

Here's the numerical tale of the tape for A.I. and D-Rose, with Rose extrapolated to 82 team games: (Glossary)

Player G MP ORtg %Pos DRtg OSPM DSPM SPM
Iverson 71 2979 106.3 33.8 99.2 6.79 0.07 6.86
Rose 81 3025 111.5 32.6 102.2 6.16 -0.96 5.20

Statistically, the two players are incredibly comparable. If you translate Iverson from the 103.0 league-ORtg environment of 2001 to the league ORtg of 107.1 in 2011, his ORtg/%Poss/DRtg becomes 110.5/33.8/103.0, production that is basically equivalent to Rose's after adjusting for usage.

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Posted in Analysis, Awards, History, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 183 Comments »

Layups: NBA Portraits – One Player from Every NBA Team

Posted by Neil Paine on March 22, 2011

As part of the impressive 12 by 30 online art project, artist Dustin Watson is creating portraits of 30 NBA players (1 for each team). They're really great, so check them out at Dustin's blog -- or go to the 12 by 30 main site, go through each day #, and try to identify the players from their eyes alone before clicking to see the full pic. (Can you guess which option I chose?)

Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, No Math Required | 2 Comments »

CBB: Which Coaches’ Teams Underperform Their Seeds?

Posted by Neil Paine on March 21, 2011

Note: This post was originally published at College Basketball at Sports-Reference, S-R's College Hoops site, so when you're done reading, go over and check it out!

Watching Texas and Pitt destroy my bracket for what seems like the fifth or sixth time in the last 10 years, I was compelled to ask: is it just perception, or do Rick Barnes' and Jamie Dixon's teams always significantly underachieve in the NCAA Tournament?

Luckily, I can answer that question two ways. The first is to look at every NCAA Tourney game since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, and measure the probability of a team winning any game based on the seeds of the two teams involved. The logistic regression formula, based on 1,686 games (including Sunday's results), is this:

Expected W% ~ =1 / (1 + EXP(0.1738176 * Seed Diff))

Where Seed Diff is simply the team's seed # minus the opponent's seed #. For instance, when a 4-seed plays a 5-seed, as Texas did Sunday, their seed difference is (4 - 5) = -1, which yields an expected win % of 54.3%. And when a 1-seed (like Pitt) plays an 8-seed (like Butler), the seed difference is -7, giving an expected W% of 77.1%.

Anyway, add all up of these expected wins for every coach's NCAA career, compare to his actual wins, and you can see which coaches have disappointed the most over their post-1985 careers:

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Posted in Analysis, NCAA, Statgeekery | 17 Comments »

BBR Rankings: Schedule-Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Ratings (March 18, 2011)

Posted by Neil Paine on March 18, 2011

2010-11 NBA power rankings through the games played on March 17, 2011:

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Posted in BBR Rankings, SRS, Statgeekery | 51 Comments »

NY Times: Why the Nuggets Are Winning

Posted by Justin Kubatko on March 18, 2011

The Denver Nuggets are doing just fine without Carmelo Anthony:

Keeping Score: Why the Nuggets Are Winning

Small sample caveats apply, of course.

Posted in NY Times | 11 Comments »

Layups: Jalen Rose vs. Grant Hill

Posted by Neil Paine on March 17, 2011

Surely you've seen this already, but if not, a brief recap:

My take on this:

Hill was understandably upset and hurt by the statements Rose & his teammates made -- it's never easy to hear that people harbored negative feelings toward you because of factors that were beyond your control. But I think Hill missed Rose's point. In essence, Rose was giving voice to his mindset as a 19-year-old and how it motivated his play back then. And the level of honesty & self-examination with which Rose looked at those emotions was a meditation on Rose's own life more than a knock on Grant Hill. Though he doesn't come out and say it, it seems somewhat obvious that Rose no longer holds the same feelings, if not just from the fact that he now recognizes the true source of his resentment (Rose admits it came from a place of jealousy, not a hatred of Hill himself). That Hill seems unwilling or unable to make a distinction between feelings at 19 and feelings at 38 makes me wonder whether he or Rose has grown more as a person in the last 20 years.

Of course, that's just my opinion -- what's yours on this Jalen Rose-Grant Hill spat?

Posted in Layups, No Math Required, Rants & Ramblings | 106 Comments »

Layups: Tons of March Madness Goodness from Slate

Posted by Neil Paine on March 16, 2011

Lots of good NCAA Tournament links to throw Slate Magazine's way this week...

First, here's Ken Pomeroy (him again!) on why the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is a terrible metric for the committee to use when picking the field of 64 68. Like the hated BCS formula, it doesn't use margin of victory, thus discarding a great deal of key information about relative team strengths. Worse yet, it weighs a team's strength of schedule three times as heavily as its W-L%, making the teams you play more important to your ranking than whether you actually beat them.

Next, we have a great piece by Chris Wilson that (unfortunately) gives away the big secret of winning an NCAA pool: go by the numbers on the majority of your bracket, but be sure to choose a contrarian champion. This is why I'm picking Texas to win -- of all the non-#1 seeds, the Longhorns captured the most titles in my 10,000-bracket simulation. Then again, that strategy is nullified if you play with other people who know it, so be wary of how savvy your pool-mates are.

Finally, Justin Peters researched the most popular majors among players on this year's Tourney teams. Turns out that basketball players "tend to choose majors that emphasize leadership, teamwork, and communication—basically, everything you'd need to successfully execute the flex offense." This is probably why, as Peters writes, business was the runaway #1 when it came to player majors.

Posted in Layups, NCAA | 1 Comment »

2011 NCAA Tournament Game Previews

Posted by Neil Paine on March 15, 2011

To get you prepared for the matchups in this year's NCAA Tournament, we now have printable game previews at SR/College Basketball:

Game Previews | College Basketball at

Each preview contains key information about both teams, including SRS ratings; offensive and defensive ratings; and player statistics from the 2010-11 season. Check them out, and increase your knowledge when watching the games this month!

Posted in Announcements, Layups, NCAA | Comments Off on 2011 NCAA Tournament Game Previews

BBR Mailbag: Individuals w/ the Highest % of Team Win Shares

Posted by Neil Paine on March 15, 2011

Frequent BBR commenter "Panic" has a good topic for a data dump today:

"I have a modest proposal for a data dump, if you haven't already looked at this: Kevin Love has 10.9 win shares and his team has an expected 20 wins, for a Love-contributed 54.5% of wins, by far the league's highest percentage of his team's wins by one player. Where does this measure up historically? I'm guessing below maybe Bellamy's rookie year and the Warriors when Arizin was in Korea, maybe a Wilt season or two. Any in the modern era?"

Let's take a look -- here are the players with the highest ratio of individual Win Shares to team wins in a single season (numbers thru Sunday's games):

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, Trivia, Win Shares | 15 Comments »

Layups: Gelf Magazine’s ‘Bracketless Bracket’

Posted by Neil Paine on March 14, 2011

Here's an interesting take on a March Madness pool from Gelf Magazine:

The Bracketless Bracket | Gelf Magazine

The premise is simple: everyone picks exactly one team at each seed #. You get 100 points when your 1-seed wins, 110 when your 2-seed wins, and so on and so forth up to 250 for a 16-seed win (hey, it has to happen eventually). It's pretty clever because in addition to testing on your ability to pick games, it also calls on your sense of who the committee over- or under-rated relative to the other teams at the same seed (hello, Utah State!).

Posted in Layups, NCAA | 3 Comments »