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Feature Watch: Daily Leaders

Posted by Neil Paine on September 29, 2009

Have you ever wanted to know who the league's leading scorer was on December 13, 1986? Or the leading rebounder on March 11, 2003? Or the leading assist man on November 28, 2004? Et cetera?

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Posted in Site Features | 4 Comments »

Layups: Hollinger’s Previews Are Here!

Posted by Neil Paine on September 28, 2009

The equivalent of Christmas morning amongst hoops stat-wonks, it's the annual unveiling of John Hollinger's NBA previews over at ESPN. And I'm sure the player comments are not far behind, either... Unfortunately, people who aren't ESPN "Insiders" don't seem to be able to access JH's stuff, which is sad -- but I guess the man has to make a living, just like the rest of us. And for those lucky enough to have Insider, enjoy.

Posted in Layups, Statgeekery | 3 Comments »

Year-to-Year Four Factor Correlations

Posted by Neil Paine on September 28, 2009

I know we haven't talked about Dean Oliver's Four (Eight?) Factors here in a while, but that hasn't been deliberate. I actually like the 4 factor methodology for evaluating teams' strengths and weaknesses, although there's a quite a gordian knot to deal with when you start trying to link team factors to their respective metrics for individual players. Hmm... maybe that's the reason why I haven't invested so heavily in them recently, because we've been all about trying to establish expectations for teams in 2010 based on their current rosters, and last year's 4 factor data wouldn't help you get very far in that direction. But it occurs to me that another way to look at team trends is to see which stats are historically sustainable from year to year, and which aren't. So, with that in mind, here are year-to-year correlations for each of the 4 factors, on offense and defense, since 1973-74 (the first year the NBA kept turnovers, offensive rebounds, etc. at the team level):

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Posted in Statgeekery | 5 Comments »

Layups: The Good Old “Fouling When Up By 3″ Debate

Posted by Neil Paine on September 25, 2009

At TrueHoop today, Henry gave a nice rundown of the evidence on both sides of the age-old coaching debate abut whether or not to intentionally foul when leading by 3 points in the final seconds of a game, and presented some new research as well, conducted by Mavs advisor Wayne Winston:

In his new book "Mathletics," Wayne Winston -- Indiana University professor and consultant to the Dallas Mavericks -- tackles this issue, and offers some new data. First, he faults two of the main studies on the topic, by Lawhorn and Annis, for failing to account for the many different ways games can unfold. Neither, he says, embraces the idea that a game has an unknowable number of possessions left.Then Winston does something delightfully simple. He asks: Has it worked? He presents, for the first time I'm aware, the evidence:

"A student in my sports and math class, Kevin Klocke, looked at all NBA games from 2005 through 2008 in which a team had the ball with 1-10 seconds left and trailed by three points. The leading team did not foul 260 times and won 91.9% of the games. The leading team did foul 27 times and won 88.9% of the games. This seems to indicate that fouling does not significantly increase a team's chances of winning when they are three points ahead."

But perhaps David Thorpe had the best approach: "I would not have a hard and fast rule," he explained. "I'd have a fluid game to game strategy."

Posted in Layups | 7 Comments »

Lee, Robinson Make Knicks a Playoff Contender in 09-10

Posted by Neil Paine on September 25, 2009

This week, the news Knicks fans have been hoping to hear finally came: David Lee and Nate Robinson re-signed with the club, each inking 1-year deals in the $5-7 million range that (most importantly) will not interfere with the Knicks' long-awaited free agent pursuit of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or any of the other headliners in the star-studded FA class of 2010.

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Posted in Analysis, Offseason, Projections, Season Preview | 28 Comments »

Layups: Rockets Add New Alternate Uni

Posted by Neil Paine on September 24, 2009

From the Houston Rockets' site, the unveiling of a new alternate uniform reminiscent of their old 80s/90s uni.

Posted in Layups, Uniforms | Comments Off

Layups: We’re Going to Literally Find Out What the Refs’ Value Over Replacement Was

Posted by Neil Paine on September 24, 2009

Maybe the biggest immediate news in the NBA right now is the fact that the referees' union is currently locked out of officiating NBA games because of a collective bargaining dispute, and the league has a group of replacements ready if the two sides are unable to reach an agreement before games tip-off. For many who have been critical of the officials in the wake of some rather unpopular performances this decade (criticisms fueled by convicted felon Tim Donaghy's allegations of systematic referee game-fixing), the reaction has almost been welcoming -- the idea is that the replacements can't get any worse than the crop that was in place the past few years, right?

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Posted in Layups | 1 Comment »

Tim Thomas

Posted by Neil Paine on September 23, 2009

Dallas Mavericks newcomer Tim Thomas had arthroscopic surgery on his knee this week, and apparently it went well, which means he will be back on the court in no time. That's good news for Thomas and the Mavs, who spent about $1.3 million to acquire the forward this offseason, but I don't really want to talk about Thomas' present condition as much as I want to focus on his past, and a future that once seemed certain but never quite materialized...

You see, Thomas was a superstar prep player for New Jersey's Paterson Catholic back in the day, a two-time Parade All-American who averaged 29 PPG & 12 RPG (and dueled Kobe Bryant in dunk contests) as a senior in 1995-96. While he didn't exactly challenge Kobe in that contest (or Corey Benjamin, for that matter), more than a few observers felt that Thomas was a better prospect than either Bryant or Jermaine O'Neal when it came time for their graduating class to choose between college and the pros. Longtime NBA Director of Scouting Marty Blake had this to say about Thomas back in 1996: "Let me say this, there are some people who felt [Thomas] was the best high school player in the country. The kid Bryant came out because he had a big-time deal with adidas. O'Neal came out because he didn't get the SAT. We had three high school kids come out [in the 1996 Draft]. Thomas was probably better than all of them."

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Posted in Player Audit | 4 Comments »

Layups: Name Each team’s All-Time 3-Point Leader

Posted by Neil Paine on September 23, 2009

From Sporcle: Can you name each NBA Team's 3-point shooting leader?

Posted in Layups | 1 Comment »

Layups: The Top 10 Individual Statistical Seasons of the 2000s

Posted by Neil Paine on September 22, 2009

More Kelly Dwyer love, courtesy of Yahoo! and Ball Don't Lie, as KD lists the ten most impressive statistical seasons since 99-2000. News flash: 2008-09 was a banner individual year, as four players had just flat-out ridiculous seasons. So you have to be excited about what's on tap next year, because three of them aren't even in their primes yet, and the other is only on the front end of his... Wow.

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