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Who’s Over/Underachiving So Far?

Posted by Neil Paine on November 10, 2010

Which players are playing better or worse than we would have expected so far this season? Well, let's look at each player's actual Statistical Plus/Minus (SPM) in 2011 vs. what the simple projection system would have predicted their SPM to be. The overachievers:

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Posted in Analysis, Data Dump, Projections, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 19 Comments »

Layups: Phil Jackson on 72 Wins

Posted by Neil Paine on November 9, 2010

Some interesting comments from the Zen Master about the 1996 Bulls, as well as the possible imprudence of going after the regular-season wins record:

"In '92, after the first championship (with the Bulls), I think we're 46-3 or 43-6, something like that around the All-Star break," Jackson recalled. "The owner called me up and said, 'I hope you're not trying to win the most games ever won in one season.'

"And I said, 'Well, we have a lot of depth. We have a young team. I'm not trying to wear them out. We're just trying to use momentum and win games.'

"That team ended up winning 67 games. They had a little letdown at the end of the season. You get a feel like teams know how to win games and know how to turn it on at the end. They know how to expend the right amount of energy to win a ballgame.

"That really happened with the team in '95-96. They knew how to blow teams out and put them away in the early part of the second period. Everything kind of fell into place for us, also.

"We went on a long road trip and three of the five teams or eight teams we played on that road trip had injuries to players who were important players. We won seven out of eight games on that road trip. Things like that happened."

Few teams in NBA history have had that ability. Right now, the Lakers and Heat are in that group, with SRS scores north of the 1971 Bucks' all-time record (remember, that team was arguably the most dominant ever). However, I doubt either will keep up that blistering pace over 82 games -- and like Jackson said, this may be a good thing. You'd much rather your team be at the top of this list than dominate the regular-season and not have any hardware to show for it.

(H/T: TrueHoop.)

Posted in History, Layups, SRS | 12 Comments »

Contest – Name the NBA General Managers, Win a Copy of Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2

Posted by Neil Paine on November 8, 2010

As a follow-up to my review of Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2, Wolverine Studios president Gary Gorski has generously offered to give one lucky BBR reader a free copy of his game. And since he asked that I come up with a contest for the giveaway, I thought this would be a great chance to revisit our old friends at Sporcle...

A significant part of DDS:PB2 is devoted to testing your skills as an executive, so I want you to name every NBA team's current General Manager in under 4 minutes. You can re-take the quiz as many times as you want, but starting the moment this post goes live at 11:00 AM EST , the first person to email me a screenshot of their form with all of the answers correct, within the allotted time, wins the game.

On your marks... get set... Go!!

UPDATE: We have a winner! This contest is closed.

Posted in Announcements, Just For Fun, Layups, Trivia, Video Games | Comments Off on Contest – Name the NBA General Managers, Win a Copy of Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2

BBR Mailbag: Highest Percentage of Shots Being 3-Pointers

Posted by Neil Paine on November 8, 2010

On Saturday, Nathan wrote this to us:

"Through five games, James Posey has 20 FGA, 18 of which are 3PA, making for a staggering 90% rate of 3PA to FGA. Even though Posey went for a 70% clip last season, I see very little in his play (or being involved in a Jim O'Brien system) to suggest he shouldn't shatter that number this year. I was wondering either what the top 3PA to FGA ratios were..."

Among players who, like Posey, took at least 4 field-goal attempts per team game, here are the guys who saw the biggest proportion of their shots come from behind the 3-point arc:

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Trivia | 2 Comments »

CBB: The Top 31 College Basketball Programs of the Last 31 Years (Part IV)

Posted by Neil Paine on November 8, 2010

See also: #16-20, #21-25, #26-31

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

With the 2010-11 NCAA basketball season technically commencing this week, let's return to these rankings...

15. Connecticut Huskies (+14.16 SRS)

Record: 682-312 (.686)
Prominent Coaches: Jim Calhoun
Best NCAA Finish: Won NCAA Championship (1999, 2004)

Two national titles in the last 12 years makes up for a mediocre first half of the 1980s under Dom Perno, as the leadership of Calhoun has transformed Storrs into an unlikely national hoops hotbed. And to think that it all started with Scott Burrell & Tate George...

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Posted in History, NCAA, Statgeekery | Comments Off on CBB: The Top 31 College Basketball Programs of the Last 31 Years (Part IV)

BBR Mailbag: Highest Percentage of Career Points From Free Throws

Posted by Neil Paine on November 5, 2010

Today's mailbag question comes in from my friend Jake, a Duke fan:

"Do you happen to know which players have the highest % of their career points coming from free throws? My friend and I were discussing where Corey Maggette would fall on that list."

Minimum 7,500 career points, here are all-time NBA players who had the highest percentage of their points come from the charity stripe:

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Posted in BBR Mailbag, History, Trivia | 12 Comments »

BBR Rankings: 2011 Offense and Defense Ratings, Adjusted for Schedule (Week 2 Edition)

Posted by Neil Paine on November 5, 2010

Not sure if I want to make this the new BBR Rankings method or return to maximum likelihood, but these are your team schedule-adjusted offensive & defensive ratings so far in 2011 (negative = good for defenses):

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Posted in Analysis, BBR Rankings, SRS, Statgeekery | 13 Comments »

Game Review: Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2 (PC)

Posted by Neil Paine on November 4, 2010

That's right, it's officially video game week here at the BBR blog. On Monday, I looked at 2K Sports' NBA 2K11 for the PlayStation 3 -- the best hoops game the consoles have to offer -- and today I'm going to look at Wolverine Studios' Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2 for the PC, which should appeal to gamers seeking a management-oriented alternative to 2K11.

NBA 2K11 is a lot of things, but at its core it remains about a graphical representation of basketball, requiring you to mash buttons and manipulate thumbsticks to control the action. Most of us grew up on games like that, but there's also something to be said for text-based management sims like Out of the Park, Baseball Mogul, and NHL Eastside Hockey Manager, which offer a different, more cerebral challenge than their more arcade-styled console counterparts.

And while basketball has traditionally lacked a standout text sim, DDS: PB2 is definitely following in the footsteps of those great sports sim games of the past. Although it's at a slightly earlier stage on the development curve than some of the games I mentioned above, I would definitely recommend DDS: PB2 for any player looking for an in-depth, immersive game that focuses on the management side of the NBA.

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Posted in Consumer Testimonials, Video Games | 5 Comments »

Layups: Adjusted Plus/Minus Comes to Hockey

Posted by Neil Paine on November 3, 2010

A somewhat non-basketball-related dispatch from Tango and The Book Blog: Brian MacDonald has written a paper applying Dan Rosenbaum et al's adjusted plus/minus theory to hockey players.

To which I say... Finally! I've been waiting for someone to use that methodology on the sport that popularized the plus/minus stat in the first place. Even though the standard errors are huge (especially for goalies, whose impacts are difficult to disentangle from teammates because they rarely leave the ice), it's still encouraging to see the effort be made.

For now, I'm still partial to the great Tom Awad's Goals Versus Threhold (GVT) as my go-to NHL metric (download the all-time spreadsheet here), but MacDonald's work could have implications for hockey statheads for years down the road. Nice work!

Posted in Layups, Non-Basketball, Statgeekery | Comments Off on Layups: Adjusted Plus/Minus Comes to Hockey

The Best Uniform Numbers in NBA History

Posted by Neil Paine on November 2, 2010

Here's a fun question: Which uniform number is the best in NBA history? As in, which number has seen the most production from the men wearing it?

For the answer, let's turn to our uniform number database and use Win Shares, which includes defense and does a good general job of separating out the good players from the bad ones. You may quibble with WS when it comes to individual players, but over huge samples of many different players, it's the perfect tool for a question like this.

Here are the most productive numbers in NBA history (not including 1950 or '51, since they didn't track minutes those years):

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Posted in History, Just For Fun, Trivia, Uniforms, Win Shares | 41 Comments »