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Active Hall of Famers

Posted by Neil Paine on January 10, 2011

I was curious about which seasons saw the most Hall of Famers in action, so I set up a query to count how many HOFers (inducted as players) were active in a given season, both in the NBA and the NBA/ABA/BAA combined:

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Posted in Hall of Fame, History, Trivia | 65 Comments »

BBR Rankings: Schedule-Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Ratings (January 7, 2011)

Posted by Neil Paine on January 7, 2011

2010-11 NBA power rankings through the games played on January 6, 2011:

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Posted in BBR Rankings, SRS, Statgeekery | 11 Comments »

NY Times: Blake Griffin’s Big Impact

Posted by Justin Kubatko on January 6, 2011

This week in the New York Times: Blake Griffin, Super Rookie.

Keeping Score: Blake Griffin’s Big Impact

Look for it in tomorrow's print edition as well.

Posted in NY Times | 2 Comments »

Is Floor% a Better Predictor of Future Efficiency Than Efficiency Itself?

Posted by Neil Paine on January 6, 2011

I was reading Brian Burke's excellent Advanced NFL Stats site when I came across this post about predicting future team rushing efficiency (expected points per rushing play). Because a handful of big, somewhat unpredictable rushing plays can have such an outsized impact on overall efficiency, Burke found that past success rate -- simply the percent of plays that had positive expected point values, regardless of their magnitude -- was actually a better predictor of out-of-sample rushing efficiency than past efficiency was.

In basketball, we have two similar (though not totally analogous) metrics: Offensive Rating (average points scored per possession) and Floor% (the probability of scoring at least one point on a given possession). Offensive Rating gets all the publicity, and as well it should -- the entire goal of an offense is to maximize points per possession. However, ORtg can also be heavily impacted by 3-point shooting, so boom-and-bust offenses that over-rely on threes might be like those teams whose running backs bust off a handful of long runs but otherwise get stuffed at the line too often. Their overall efficiency might be good, but their success rate isn't, and in the end success rate is what you can count on going forward.

With that thought in mind, I'm going to replicate Burke's study, hoops-style. The NBA's rapidly-increasing obsession with 3-point shooting finally leveled off from 2008-10, so my sample will include every game from those seasons. For those games, I calculated each team's offensive/defensive rating and floor%; I then broke their seasons up into even- and odd-numbered halves based on the order of games in the year, as well as 1st & 2nd halves of the schedule. Finally, I ran the correlation between ORtg/DRtg or offensive/defensive Floor% in a given half and ORtg/DRtg in the opposite half. Here were the results:

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Posted in Analysis, Statgeekery | 5 Comments »

PI Finds: Decade-by-Decade NBA Win Shares Leaders

Posted by Neil Paine on January 5, 2011

Inspired by yesterday's quiz about the 1990s All-NBA Teams, here are the Win Shares leaders for each decade (made possible by the handy BBR Player Season Finder):

The Fifties (1952-59):

Rk Player From To Tm G MP PER TS% eFG% OWS DWS WS WS/48
1 Dolph Schayes 1952 1959 SYR 566 20784 23.7 0.494 0.382 57.8 37.4 95.2 0.220
2 Neil Johnston 1952 1959 PHW 516 18298 24.7 0.534 0.444 73.9 18.1 92.0 0.241
3 Ed Macauley 1952 1959 TOT 506 18071 20.4 0.523 0.436 60.6 13.4 73.9 0.196
4 Paul Arizin 1952 1959 PHW 419 16559 21.3 0.511 0.424 56.8 13.0 69.8 0.202
5 Bill Sharman 1952 1959 BOS 548 18339 18.3 0.499 0.424 52.0 15.6 67.6 0.177
6 Vern Mikkelsen 1952 1959 MNL 567 18443 18.6 0.483 0.403 39.0 26.3 65.3 0.170
7 Larry Foust 1952 1959 TOT 552 17565 21.0 0.493 0.409 43.5 20.0 63.6 0.174
8 Bob Pettit 1955 1959 TOT 357 13345 26.9 0.499 0.421 42.4 19.5 61.9 0.223
9 Bob Cousy 1952 1959 BOS 546 20986 20.6 0.452 0.372 34.8 25.7 60.5 0.138
10 Harry Gallatin 1952 1958 TOT 496 15813 21.5 0.508 0.403 42.4 17.7 60.1 0.182
11 George Yardley 1954 1959 TOT 399 13365 20.9 0.495 0.416 36.1 13.4 49.5 0.178
12 Clyde Lovellette 1954 1959 TOT 423 12814 22.1 0.482 0.436 29.4 17.2 46.6 0.174
13 George Mikan 1952 1956 MNL 243 8350 26.9 0.467 0.389 21.0 22.2 43.2 0.249
14 Carl Braun 1953 1959 NYK 500 16263 16.0 0.473 0.396 30.3 11.4 41.7 0.123
15 Bobby Wanzer 1952 1957 ROC 373 12128 17.1 0.487 0.391 27.1 12.4 39.5 0.156
16 Slater Martin 1952 1959 TOT 546 20133 11.7 0.440 0.365 16.2 21.4 37.6 0.090
17 Kenny Sears 1956 1959 NYK 285 9768 19.0 0.542 0.448 31.5 6.1 37.6 0.185
18 Dick McGuire 1952 1959 TOT 538 15704 15.4 0.458 0.393 20.6 16.4 37.1 0.113
19 Jack Coleman 1952 1958 TOT 498 16479 15.7 0.454 0.420 16.2 20.7 36.8 0.107
20 Chuck Share 1952 1959 TOT 487 10796 17.7 0.493 0.403 21.1 15.1 36.2 0.161
21 Ray Felix 1954 1959 TOT 432 11317 19.4 0.491 0.417 26.4 8.3 34.7 0.147
22 Paul Seymour 1952 1959 SYR 483 14660 13.8 0.437 0.356 12.9 18.7 31.6 0.104
23 Arnie Risen 1952 1958 TOT 449 12690 16.6 0.451 0.374 14.0 17.5 31.5 0.119
24 George King 1952 1958 TOT 411 13408 14.1 0.441 0.382 12.9 18.5 31.4 0.113
25 Jack Twyman 1956 1959 TOT 288 9415 18.4 0.488 0.432 22.3 8.9 31.2 0.159

All-Decade WS team: G Bill Sharman (67.6) - G Bob Cousy (60.5) - F Dolph Schayes (95.2) - F Paul Arizin (69.8) - C Neil Johnston (92.0)

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Posted in All-Decade Teams, History, Play Index, Site Features, Win Shares | 25 Comments »

Layups: Name the 1990s All-NBA Teams

Posted by Neil Paine on January 4, 2011

From Sporcle, here's a quiz for everyone who fondly remembers the NBA of the nineties:

Can you name the players who made the All-NBA team in the 1990's?

Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, Trivia | 16 Comments »

Which Teams Are Allocating Their Possessions Efficiently?

Posted by Neil Paine on January 3, 2011

Among the players in their most common lineup, which teams divvy up possession usage most efficiently?

To answer that question, let's use a method I introduced here. Just like that old post, this one is going to lean heavily on the concept of "skill curves", which says that a player's offensive efficiency drops as he shoulders more and more of a team's possessions. I realize this isn't always the case for all players -- but as a very general rule it holds, so let's pretend for a moment that this simple model does in fact explain the fundamental usage-efficiency tradeoff in basketball. Under those rules, a player using 18% (or fewer) of team possessions while on the court would see his efficiency change by 1.65 points of offensive rating for every 1% change in usage, a player using 18-23% would see a change of 1.24 pts of ORtg for every 1% of usage change, and a player using 23% or more would see a change of 0.82 pts per 1% change in usage.

To find every team's most common lineup, I gathered data from 82games.com, and scaled the sum of those players' season-long possession usages to equal 100%. I found their predicted lineup efficiency based on actual ORtgs and usage patterns, and also found the optimal distribution of possessions that would maximize offensive efficiency according to the rules above. The teams with the smallest difference between their actual usage pattern and the optimal pattern can be considered to be efficiently allocating their possessions.

Here are the teams, sorted by the squared difference between their actual and optimal usage patterns:

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Posted in Analysis, Statgeekery | 9 Comments »

BBR Rankings: Special Edition – Best Teams of the 2010 Calendar Year

Posted by Neil Paine on January 1, 2011

Here's what you get when you run the BBR Rankings (and our old friend Maximum Likelihood) on every game, regular-season & playoff, that took place in the calendar year of 2010:

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Posted in BBR Rankings, Holidays, Just For Fun, SRS, Statgeekery | Comments Off

BBR Rankings: Schedule-Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Ratings (December 31, 2010)

Posted by Neil Paine on December 31, 2010

2010-11 NBA power rankings through the games played on December 30, 2010:

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Posted in BBR Rankings, SRS, Statgeekery | 4 Comments »

Layups: See the Space Jam Website, In All Of Its 1996 Glory

Posted by Neil Paine on December 29, 2010

Just saw this tweet from Darren Hoyt:

"the website for the movie Space Jam hasn't been updated since 1996 - http://j.mp/hMPQqG"

I'm so loving the 90s-era design of that page. Especially the pressbox page:

"No Spacejam news at the moment!"

As Michael Kerney tweeted, "If there's no Space Jam news now in the pressbox link, I'm pretty sure there's not gonna be."

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

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