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Comparable Careers By Quality and Shape, Part II

Posted by Neil Paine on February 19, 2010

Yesterday I outlined a method for determining how similar the quality and arc of two players' careers were -- in case you missed it, the basic gist was that I minimized the sum of squared differences between year-by-year Win Share totals for any two players to find the best matches. I was surprised/overwhelmed by the response we got, so today I decided to take it a step further and try to match players' offensive and defensive Win Shares by age (instead of just total WS by season # of the player's career), which should give better matches than yesterday's method. Also, I felt old-school players were being shortchanged by a shorter schedule, so I pro-rated everyone's totals to 82 games, including this year's in-progress WS totals.

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Posted in History, Just For Fun, Statgeekery | 15 Comments »

BBR Rankings: 2010-02-19

Posted by Neil Paine on February 19, 2010

Rising: Bulls (W-NYK, W-@NYK), Jazz (W-@HOU, W-@NOH), Celtics (W-@SAC, W-@LAL)
Falling: Hornets (L-UTA), Bobcats (L-NJN), Mavs (L-@OKC, W-PHO)

(Want to know how the BBR Rankings are calculated? Read this first... "MLE" = Maximum Likelihood Estimate.)

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Posted in BBR Rankings | Comments Off on BBR Rankings: 2010-02-19

Comparable Careers By Quality and Shape

Posted by Neil Paine on February 18, 2010

Two summers ago, Doug made a great post over at PFR that asked a simple question: Who is the current Dave Duerson? If you don't know who Duerson was, he was a good (4-time Pro Bowl) but not great (he won't make the Hall of Fame) safety for the Bears in the mid-1980s; seeing as I was born in December '85, I only know who he was because I've watched tapes of the 1985 Patriots and he was one of the Chicago defenders in that regrettable game that ended the Patties' season. Anyway, the point of the question was to find a bridge that related Doug's frame of reference (he was a huge sports fan by the time '85 rolled around) to that of someone my age who didn't compulsively watch old Patriots tapes and therefore wouldn't have any way of knowing who a semi-notable SS from 1985 was.

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Posted in History, Just For Fun, Statgeekery | 21 Comments »

Support, Sponsor a Page

Posted by Neil Paine on February 18, 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 | Comments Off on Support, Sponsor a Page

Server Switch – Friday & Saturday

Posted by Neil Paine on February 17, 2010

Just a note that on Friday (probably starting around 9am ET), we'll be switching to a new, more powerful server that should increase site performance and reliability. We don't anticipate any downtime, but if you do encounter any issues with the site, we apologize, and we wanted you to know the reason for any irregularities. As always, send us an e-mail if you have any questions or comments, and hopefully everything will go smoothly this weekend.

Posted in Announcements | Comments Off on Server Switch – Friday & Saturday

BBR Mailbag: FT% Spikes

Posted by Neil Paine on February 17, 2010

Yesterday, reader Eric S. asked:

"I'm curious if you could tell me which players have had the biggest spike in free throw percentage. Specifically, I'm looking at players with at least 10 years in the league who suddenly have a dramatic bump in FT%.

The reason I ask is Baron Davis -- a notoriously poor free throw shooter -- came into this season averaging right around 70% for his career. This year, though, he's right around 84%. I've tried to do my own searching and I'm not finding anyone who has managed to achieve this significant of an uptick. A 5% improvement over a career mark is pretty rare, but nearly 14% is downright crazy."

It's a great question, since we tend to think of FT% as one of those stats that won't change much for a player over the years, barring some kind of radical change in shooting form/motion (and it feels like the majority of those radical changes fail to make a difference in the end). You're either a good FT shooter or you're not... unless you're one of these guys -- players who, going into at least their tenth NBA season, had established a certain FT%, and then inexplicably shot far better than that established rate (minimum 100 FTA, so it wasn't caused by a really small sample, either):

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Posted in BBR Mailbag | 3 Comments »

Layups: Simmons’ Trade Value List

Posted by Neil Paine on February 16, 2010

It's an annual rite of passage for the Sports Guy, ranking the top "trade values" in the NBA from 1-40. This year, he breaks it into multiple parts: Part 1 and Part 2. Do I agree with all of it? Of course not. But I definitely appreciate the effort, and it's a fun read no matter what.

Posted in Layups | 5 Comments »

Best At the Break

Posted by Neil Paine on February 16, 2010

Regular-season play resumes tonight after 5 days off for the All-Star break, so I thought it would be interesting to look at every NBA season and see how the team with the best record at the break fared the rest of the year:

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Posted in All-Star Game, Data Dump, History | 1 Comment »

Check Out Olympics at!

Posted by Neil Paine on February 16, 2010

With the Winter Olympics in full swing, have you taken a look at Olympics at If not, here are some features you'll find there:

...And more!

Posted in Announcements | Comments Off on Check Out Olympics at!

More On 3-Point Contest Shooting Rates

Posted by Neil Paine on February 16, 2010

Last week, I made a post comparing 3-point shooting rates in the All-Star Weekend 3-Point Shootout to the participants' rates during the season. I found that contest shooters have made 3,669 of 7,173 shots (51.2%) in the contest over the years, and if you weighted their in-season 3FG% by their contest attempts, their usual season % is 40.5%.

However, longtime commenter Jason J noted that in a way, the 51.2% figure is artificially inflated by the fact that the best contest shooters will have the most attempts -- guys that get 10 points in the first round aren't equally weighted as guys that get 20, simply because the 20-point guy will move on to Round 2.

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Posted in All-Star Game, Statgeekery | 8 Comments »