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Tutorial Videos: Team Game Finder

Posted by Neil Paine on December 9, 2009

Here are some fun things you can do with our Team Game Finder tool:

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Layups: Effective Height, 2009-10 Edition

Posted by Neil Paine on December 8, 2009

Last Friday, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus looked at how much a team's "effective height" (height weighted by minutes played) matters in determining the quality of the team. You'll have to read the whole thing, but the basic gist is that there is a positive relationship between team height and win-loss record, but it's not really that big. Which completely makes sense -- all else being equal, you'd obviously rather be taller than shorter, though there are many other factors more important than height that go into determining how good a player/team is.

Posted in Layups | 10 Comments »

The 25 Biggest Playoff Series Upsets, 1991-2009

Posted by Neil Paine on December 7, 2009

454003470_Nick_Van_ExcelContinuing our series on huge playoff upsets, I've taken the methodology I laid out on Friday and applied it to every playoff series from 1991-2009 to determine the probability of each team winning, given the distribution of minutes for their players in the series. This is accomplished by finding weighted averages of the team's players' and opponents' seasonal SRS-SPM scores (see Part I for an explanation), and plugging them into the following equation to produce a single-game expected winning %:

xWP = 1 / (1 + exp(0.622 - 0.168(tm_srs) + 0.168(opp_srs) - 1.244(homecourt)))

Again, where homecourt = 1 if the team is at home and 0 if they're on the road. Armed with these single-game probabilities, all that's left is to use them to calculate the odds of winning a series of a given length with a given # of home games. This of course means you need to calculate not only the probability of each series outcome, but also the probability that the series ends in each specific # of games (for instance, winning a series in four games would require 4 consecutive wins -- WWWW -- while you could win in five games four different ways -- WWWLW, WWLWW, WLWWW, or LWWWW).

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Posted in Data Dump, History, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 18 Comments »

Layups: Name the All-Stars of the 2000s

Posted by Neil Paine on December 5, 2009

We haven't linked to a Sporcle quiz in a while, so here's one that's pretty fun: Can you name every NBA All-Star from 2000-2009?

Posted in Layups | 5 Comments »

BBR Rankings: 2009-12-04

Posted by Neil Paine on December 4, 2009

7603073_Cavaliers_v_Magic_Gm3Another week, and it's time again for the BBR Rankings, where we rate every NBA team from top to bottom. For the second straight week we have a new #1 squad, as the Orlando Magic's 3-0 record (with 2 wins coming on the road) propelled them to the top overall spot. The Lakers also went 3-0, moving up a spot to #2 in the rankings. The Hawks fell one slot to #3 but stayed pretty steady despite a loss at Detroit, while the Celtics make their first appearance of the season in the Top 5 thanks to a 4-0 record and 3 road wins. Rounding out the top 5 is Dallas, who holds that place for the 3rd consecutive week after going 3-1, with their lone loss coming on the road against #7 Cleveland. Last week's #1, the Phoenix Suns, started strong with 2 wins away from the US Airways Center, but closed out the 7-day period by losing twice on the road (including one defeat vs. the 28th-ranked Knicks). The other big faller of the week was Denver, who dropped from #6 to #11 despite going 3-1 because the one loss was at home vs. the lowly T-Wolves, #29 in this week's rankings. Another note on Denver: they're currently 14-5, but the gaudy record has come at the expense of the easiest schedule in the league, which also hurts them in these rankings. Finally, congrats to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who continue to hang tough at #9 in the rankings. They lost to #8 Houston last Sunday, but otherwise they continue to surprise and are on pace to make the playoffs for the first time in the Durant Era. You can see the rest of the rankings after the jump:

(Want to know how the rankings are calculated? Read this first.)

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Posted in BBR Rankings | 3 Comments »

The 50 Biggest Playoff Upsets, 1991-2009

Posted by Neil Paine on December 4, 2009

9107003_Lakers_v_76ersBack in the spring, I used Statistical Plus/Minus to predict individual playoff series outcomes (and to pretty decent effect, too -- I mean, yes, it did miss on Cleveland-Orlando, but then again so did just about everyone, including the bigwigs at Nike). Anyway, today I'm going to use a similar method to look back on every playoff game from 1991-2009 and see which games ended in the most unlikely outcomes.

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Posted in Analysis, Data Dump, History, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 9 Comments »

Championship Probability Added II

Posted by Neil Paine on December 3, 2009

357AUG01020_Basketball_JCW_FileYesterday I rolled out a very primitive idea for evaluating players by logically weighting their regular-season and postseason production. In case you missed it, I put everything in terms of the typical team's championship probability, and weighted regular-season and playoff Win Shares based on how much each type of win added to the probability of winning a title. I still think the core idea is terrific, but when the smoke cleared yesterday we came out with a list that saw old-school NBAers and ABA stars dominate over modern players -- I mean, Cliff Hagan ranked ahead of Michael Jordan, for goodness' sake! What in the name of Max Zaslofsky is going on here?

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery | 12 Comments »

Championship Probability Added I

Posted by Neil Paine on December 2, 2009

8001039111758_Classic_Basketball(Note: This method is in the very early stages, so I'm trying to generate some useful feedback more than anything else. Be warned that the results are very rough.)

If you're a regular visitor here at Basketball-Reference, I think it's pretty safe to say that you're interested in all-time player ranking arguments -- it's okay, I am too. We love to try to make order out of the chaos that is the history of pro basketball, and one of our chief means of doing that is putting together lists and rating players to see where they fit in the larger context of the game. In fact, that was the motivation behind this next series of posts, to try to put together some semblance of an objective player ranking, encompassing the entire Win Shares era (1951-52 to the present).

The main problem I've had with these types of all-time rankings in the past is this: how do you deal with the playoffs, in terms of weighting them against regular-season results? Many fans place a lot of value on the postseason, but without a lot of thought going into why, other than "Player X is clutch," or "I think titles matter the most because as a fan I want my team to win them, so I'll rank Player Y higher than Player Z because he has more rings". What I want to determine, though, is an objective way of valuing the playoffs vs. the regular season, so we can achieve what I'm going to call "Championship Probability Added", or the amount by which a player increased his team's chances of winning a title through his Win Shares.

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery | 15 Comments »

Tutorial Videos: Draft Finder

Posted by Neil Paine on December 1, 2009

Here's a handy tutorial video about what you can do with our Draft Finder:

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PI Finds: Monta Ellis – 45 Pts, 6 PF, 7 TO

Posted by Neil Paine on December 1, 2009

Last night, Monta Ellis torched the Pacers for 45 points in a 126-107 Warriors win. 45-point games are surprisingly common, but Ellis was one of just 10 players to score 45+ and also foul out of the game since 1986-87:

Player Pos Date Tm Opp MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Michael Jordan G 11/21/1987 CHI DET L 44 17 38 0 2 15 17 2 6 8 6 1 4 6 49
Danny Ainge G 3/4/1989 SAC GSW L 40 16 29 6 13 7 8 4 7 4 1 0 6 6 45
Patrick Ewing C 3/24/1990 NYK BOS L 41 20 29 0 0 11 13 5 18 1 1 0 5 6 51
Hakeem Olajuwon C 4/19/1990 HOU DEN L 42 21 34 0 0 10 13 6 18 4 3 3 11 6 52
Antoine Walker F 1/7/1998 BOS WAS L 42 21 36 5 5 2 7 2 12 0 1 0 5 6 49
Allen Iverson G 12/20/2004 PHI UTA L 46 18 31 4 6 11 17 0 1 6 7 0 7 6 51
Gilbert Arenas G 12/30/2005 WAS MIA L 42 15 29 4 9 13 14 3 7 8 0 0 3 6 47
Paul Pierce F 2/15/2006 BOS CLE L 54 17 36 0 4 16 20 0 7 8 0 0 4 6 50
Kobe Bryant G 12/29/2006 LAL CHA L 54 22 45 4 11 10 12 0 5 4 0 0 4 6 58
Monta Ellis G 11/30/2009 GSW IND W 42 15 27 1 2 14 16 1 5 1 5 0 7 6 45

(Note above that Ellis is the only guy to do this in a team win since 1986-87.)
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Posted in Play Index | 2 Comments »

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