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Follow Us At the Sloan Convention via Twitter!

Posted by Neil Paine on March 4, 2011

You can follow my tweets from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the BBR Twitter feed:

Basketball Reference (bball_ref) on Twitter

Also, you can follow everyone's tweets by searching for the #ssac tag.

Posted in Announcements, Statgeekery | Comments Off on Follow Us At the Sloan Convention via Twitter!

BBR Rankings: Schedule-Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Ratings (March 4, 2011)

Posted by Neil Paine on March 4, 2011

2010-11 NBA power rankings through the games played on March 3, 2011:

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Posted in BBR Rankings, SRS, Statgeekery | 42 Comments »

Top-10 Overall Despite Being Below-Average in Three of the Four Factors

Posted by Neil Paine on March 3, 2011

While I'm en route to Boston for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, here's a neat question SI's Zach Lowe had regarding the Memphis Grizzlies' defense:

"Memphis has emerged as a top-10 defensive team despite being good at only one of the four factors--forcing turnovers, which they do extremely well. They rank below the league average in eFG (barely below the avg), DRB rate (horrible) and FT/FGA (somewhere in between). I have a feeling it's unusual for a team to rank in the top-10 overall while ranking below the league average in 3 of the 4 defensive factors, but perhaps it's not as unusual as I think it might be."

It is very unusual, in fact. Since 1974, the first year we can compute the Factors, just eleven defenses (including Memphis) have ranked in the top 10 despite being below-average in 3 of 4 Factors. And if we expand it to include either offense or defense, the list contains only 27 teams:

Year Team Type Rtg Rk efg% <avg tov% <avg rb% <avg ftr <avg
1974 Philadelphia 76ers Defense 99.0 10 46.8 17.6 66.7 21.0
1975 Portland Trail Blazers Defense 97.7 6 45.0 16.0 69.6 22.8
1976 Phoenix Suns Defense 97.9 7 46.8 17.3 69.1 22.9
1976 Chicago Bulls Defense 98.0 9 46.7 15.8 74.6 23.2
1978 Atlanta Hawks Defense 99.8 6 47.4 19.9 67.0 32.9
1984 Milwaukee Bucks Defense 103.6 2 45.9 14.7 65.6 26.6
1986 Denver Nuggets Defense 105.9 9 49.5 16.9 64.1 26.6
1989 New York Knickerbockers Defense 107.5 10 50.4 16.7 65.1 24.9
2004 Toronto Raptors Defense 100.4 7 44.9 14.1 70.1 24.1
2009 Utah Jazz Defense 107.3 10 50.5 15.0 72.7 26.2
2011 Memphis Grizzlies Defense 104.8 8 49.8 15.7 71.9 23.3
1976 Cleveland Cavaliers Offense 99.5 3 45.4 13.5 29.9 17.5
1977 Kansas City Kings Offense 100.5 8 46.0 15.4 30.9 22.1
1977 Detroit Pistons Offense 100.3 9 48.3 16.6 30.7 18.5
1977 New York Knickerbockers Offense 100.1 10 48.6 16.6 26.4 21.1
1978 New York Knickerbockers Offense 101.7 9 48.8 16.7 31.0 21.4
1980 Los Angeles Lakers Offense 109.5 1 53.0 16.5 32.6 22.0
1980 Cleveland Cavaliers Offense 106.7 6 47.6 13.2 33.1 21.2
1984 Phoenix Suns Offense 108.9 10 51.4 15.1 31.4 23.2
1987 Denver Nuggets Offense 109.3 8 47.8 11.8 32.2 24.8
1988 Denver Nuggets Offense 110.1 8 48.6 11.7 29.7 23.1
1992 Milwaukee Bucks Offense 108.8 10 48.6 14.2 35.9 22.1
1993 Houston Rockets Offense 109.6 6 51.5 14.5 30.0 23.5
1995 Houston Rockets Offense 109.7 7 52.9 15.0 26.9 23.2
1997 Houston Rockets Offense 108.8 7 52.0 15.6 28.4 23.2
1999 Houston Rockets Offense 105.4 5 50.6 15.8 27.8 22.8
2008 Phoenix Suns Offense 113.3 2 55.1 13.4 22.4 22.8

I'll let Zach provide the commentary, so go check out his post at SI's Point Forward blog.

Posted in Data Dump, Statgeekery | 4 Comments »

Jobs @ Sports Reference: Web Developer

Posted by Neil Paine on March 2, 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 Announcements | Comments Off on Jobs @ Sports Reference: Web Developer

Searching For the NBA’s Version of the Charlie Sheen Fiasco

Posted by Neil Paine on March 2, 2011

In the wake of the ongoing Charlie Sheen chaos, I was (of course) racking my brain to find a comparable NBA analogy. Ideally you'd want to find a situation with the following parallels:

  • It involves a winning team. Although I have personally never seen an episode, Sheen's show Two and a Half Men is apparently wildly successful, as Sheen is quick to point out to anyone who will listen. So any NBA equivalent would have to involve a good team, probably one that had been a contender for multiple years.
  • It involves that team's best player. Monetarily speaking, Sheen is the #1 scorer on Two and a Half Men, and in fact the league's top player -- he made $1.8 million/episode in 2010, making him the highest-paid actor on television. The basketball equivalent would have to deal with a similar star in his prime.
  • The team releases that player mid-season. Production on Two and a Half Men's 8th season was halted midway due to Sheen's behavioral problems, so an NBA version would have to involve a team waiving their best player in the middle of the season.

Unfortunately, there isn't a single situation in NBA history that meets all of those requirements. In fact, as far as I can tell, there are only a few remotely comparable situations:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, History, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, No Math Required, Rants & Ramblings | 21 Comments »

Layups: Conference Tournament Win Probabilities

Posted by Neil Paine on March 1, 2011

If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you know that Ken Pomeroy's is one of my favorite college basketball websites (just a notch below CBB @ Sports-Reference, of course). So it's great to see that Ken will once again be using his ratings to generate win probabilities for each conference tournament (and the NCAA tourney) over the next few weeks. You can find all of those posts at the Basketball Prospectus Unfiltered Blog, but to start you off, here are the odds for some of the early tournaments:

Let log5 season begin (Big South and Horizon)

Log5: A-Sun, OVC, and Patriot

Posted in Layups, NCAA, Statgeekery | Comments Off on Layups: Conference Tournament Win Probabilities

Jobs @ Sports Reference: Web Developer

Posted by Sean Forman on February 28, 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 on Jobs @ Sports Reference: Web Developer

Where Would They Be Without Him?

Posted by Neil Paine on February 28, 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, Sponsor a Page

Posted by Neil Paine on February 25, 2011

Sponsoring a page is fun, fast, and easy way to support what we're doing here at Basketball-Reference. With a sponsorship, you can:

  • Show your support for your favorite player or team.
  • Drum up traffic for your own site & draw in fans with a common interest.
  • Get some well-deserved recognition for your support of BBR.
  • Make your voice heard by the tens of thousands of people who visit Basketball-Reference every day.

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

  1. Create a membership account.
  2. Find the page(s) you'd like to support, and click "sponsor" (available pages).
  3. If the page you want is already sponsored, click "Alert Me!" to be informed when the current sponsorship expires.
  4. Follow the instructions to create your message and make your payment.
  5. Your message and links will be visible on the page after we approve them (usually in less than 24 hours).

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

Posted in Announcements, Site Features | Comments Off on Support, Sponsor a Page

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

Posted by Neil Paine on February 25, 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 »