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Layups: Check Out Slate’s Sports Podcast, “Hang Up And Listen”

Posted by Neil Paine on September 1, 2010

Today I wanted to throw a quick shoutout to Josh Levin, Stefan Fatsis, Mike Pesca, and the rest of the crew over at Slate magazine for their weekly sports podcast "Hang Up And Listen." In a nutshell, it's actually intelligent sports talk (I know, what a concept) about the week's most prominent subjects, along with a trivia segment from Pesca that usually stumps this Sports-Reference employee, and a few words on topics that may have slipped under the radar.

Why am I linking to it now? Well, I found it a week ago and became a devotee because it entertained me during a very tedious data entry project (I've listened to a year's worth of archives in about 12 days). I realize it's currently out of season for basketball, but if you're a sports fan and you like podcasts, put this on your playlist right below the legendary PFR podcast (which, incidentally, I made a cameo on last week and will have another trivia-based appearance coming soon).

Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, Non-Basketball | 5 Comments »

2010 Team USA Advanced Stats (Thru 8/30)

Posted by Neil Paine on August 31, 2010

In case you've been as interested as I have in the international basketball action over the past few weeks, I thought I'd post some advanced stats for Team USA (including exhibitions + group games so far). Also, my apologies to our non-American readers for this all-Red-White-and-Blue edition; I would include other teams, but I can't find a statsheet-style printout of their data online, particularly for the pre-tournament warmup games. Perhaps the USA Basketball site will eventually post every team's numbers, though, like they did for the Olympics.

At any rate, here are the results & numbers for the team so far (feel free to compare to the Redeem Team's stats):

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, International Basketball, Statgeekery | 8 Comments »

Does Defense Really Win Championships?

Posted by Neil Paine on August 27, 2010

Here are some quick logistic regressions I ran between offensive/defensive efficiency (as measured by my 1951-2010 estimation equation) and whether or not a team won a championship...

The first regression is between regular-season offensive/defensive rating (relative to the league average) and championships won since 1951, the first year for which I can estimate possessions. The logistic equation to predict championship probability from RS efficiencies was:

p(C) ~ 1 / (1 + EXP(4.7267572 - (0.3988116 * Offense) + (0.612137 * Defense)))

From this equation, we would expect an average team during the Regular Season (0.0 on offense & defense) to have a 0.9% chance of winning an NBA title. If you increase offense to the following levels while keeping defense average, you see this pattern:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, History, Playoffs, Statgeekery | 26 Comments »

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

Posted by Neil Paine on August 26, 2010

See also: #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!

20. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+12.87 SRS)

Record: 586-365 (.616)
Prominent Coaches: Carl Tacy, Dave Odom, Skip Prosser
Best NCAA Finish: Lost Regional Final (1984, 1996)

Perhaps better known for what their alums do after leaving the program (Billy Packer, Muggsy Bogues, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, etc.), Wake nonetheless has maintained a near-perennial NCAA Tournament presence (and a frequent top-4 ACC team) over the past 3+ decades. Carl Tacy's teams were very good (AP top-20 three times) in the first half of the eighties, and following a short, mediocre stint under Bob Staak from 86-89, Dave Odom took the reins and oversaw one of the most successful periods in school history (including the recruitment of the greatest Deacon of all, Tim Duncan). Under Odom, WF had 7 consecutive NCAA berths, but the last in that run was the most disappointing -- after climbing as high as #2 in the AP poll, Wake was unceremoniously bounced by Stanford in the 2nd round, ending Duncan's collegiate career. After Odom left for South Carolina in 2001, the late Skip Prosser continued a winning tradition with 4 straight Tourney appearances and the development of Paul, before tragically passing away in 2007. Today, the Deacs hope to rebound from Dino Gaudio's up-and-down tenure with the hiring of Jeff Bzdelik in 2010.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, History, NCAA, SRS | 9 Comments »

Layups: Sports-Reference Named to TIME’s 50 Best Websites

Posted by Neil Paine on August 25, 2010

OK, I've gotta toot our own vuvuzela for a second here: I just found out that the Sports-Reference family of sites has been named to TIME Magazine's list of the 50 Best Websites for 2010! It's a great honor for us, and a thrill to know that our users get so much enjoyment & utility out of the sites. Here's to being your favorite sports stats destination for many years to come...

Posted in Announcements | 7 Comments »

Layups: What LBJ’s Game Might Look Like in Miami

Posted by Neil Paine on August 25, 2010

Here's a really interesting read from John Krolik at NBC's ProBasketballTalk, regarding what changes we might expect in LeBron James' playing style when he suits up alongside Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh this fall. John brings up the possibilities of James scoring 25 PPG on a 66.0 True Shooting % if he is freed up to play off the ball and make cuts from the weak side, averaging 10 APG if made the Heat's primary distributor, becoming a better post-up threat if the D respects his ability to pass out of double-teams, and increasing his scoring chances in transition if Miami plays a small, athletic lineup. For all of the obsessing over "The Decision" by casual fans, this kind of discussion -- envisioning how the Heat's new pieces fit together -- is what hardcore hoops junkies should have been having all along.

(H/T: TrueHoop)

Posted in Layups | 50 Comments »

Support, Sponsor a Page

Posted by Neil Paine on August 23, 2010

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

Which Players Have Played For the Best Defenses?

Posted by Neil Paine on August 23, 2010

By popular demand, here's a sequel to the post I wrote on Friday, which focused on the NBA players who played for the best offenses over the course of their careers. This time I'll be looking at the players who were a part of the best defenses in their careers, but the methodology remains the same:

  1. Estimate defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) for every team since 1951 in the regular-season and playoffs.
  2. Adjust playoff defensive ratings up/down based on regular-season offensive strength of postseason foes.
  3. Compare defensive efficiencies to the league average (to account for the fact that the avg. was, for instance, 85 pts/100 poss in 1951 and 108 in 2010)
  4. Find career averages (weighted by MP with each team) for every player since the NBA started tracking minutes in 1952.

Make sense? Good. Here are the all-time players who had a presence on the best defensive teams (minimum 15,000 career MP):

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery | 37 Comments »

Which Players Have Played For the Best Offenses?

Posted by Neil Paine on August 20, 2010

Back in June, right before the Finals tipped off, I developed a method to estimate possessions for teams going back to 1951 using the following regression equation:

Possessions ~ -4.05*Wins - 3.96*Losses + 0.97*FG + 0.75*FGA + 0.70*FTA - 1.37*OReb + 0.53*TotReb + 0.31*Fouls - 0.50*Points +0.19*Opp. Pts

For most teams, this method can estimate a team's actual possessions total within roughly one possession per game, so it's surprisingly accurate given the basic nature of the inputs.

At any rate, I went on to use this method in finding the most similar NBA Finals matchups to the Lakers/Celtics clash, as well as in determining the Finalists that improved the most during the playoffs, and ranking playoff defensive performances. Today, though, I want to use estimated offensive ratings as a way to rank the players who have played for the best offenses during their careers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery | 60 Comments »

Which Offensive Rate Stats Stay the Most Consistent When a Player Changes Roles?

Posted by Neil Paine on August 18, 2010

Last October, Jason Lisk published two great studies at PFR about which passing stats are the most situation-independent, looking at the year-to-year correlations in rate stats for both QBs that changed teams & teams that changed QBs. (Chase Stuart followed this up with additional interception rate research in March.) His conclusions? Sacks per dropback and completion % were the most consistent, which implies that those are more under the control of the individual QB rather than the situation he's in. At the other end of the spectrum, interception % is actually the least consistent rate stat, indicating that interceptions (or lack thereof) are more due to luck and situation than actual player skill (a finding Chase reinforces in this Footballguys article). This also means that when evaluating QBs, we should regress their interception rates more to the mean than their sack or completion rates.

What does all of this have to do with basketball? Well, I decided to do the exact same study for NBA players, except instead of looking at players who changed teams, I looked for players whose offensive roles changed (as measured by possession usage %). I can certainly look at players who changed teams as well, but for basketball my hypothesis is that the player's role is as important as anything in determining certain rate stats. This goes back to the concept of "skill curves", or the idea that a player's efficiency is fundamentally a function of not only his own skill, but also his usage rate.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, Statgeekery | 7 Comments »