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Feature Watch: Player Game Finder

Posted by Neil Paine on September 22, 2009

When we updated the site a while back, some things slipped through the cracks in the transition. I mean, when you have a site as sprawling as this one (and I'm not tooting our horn here, either -- for better and for worse, it's "sprawling"), it can be easy to lose sight of some little features here and there, so you don't end up missing them until you need a particular tool, you look for where it used to be, and it's not there anymore. Which is a sad moment.

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Posted in Site Features | 3 Comments »

Layups: Yahoo! Sports Has an NBA Preview Magazine

Posted by Neil Paine on September 21, 2009

If you're anything like me (and if so, god help you), you love this time of year because it's NBA Preview season -- magazines, books, online articles, Hollinger training-camp pieces at ESPN, etc. I'm such an NBA preview addict that one magazine per season is never enough; I usually grab all of them and read every last one cover to cover in the month-plus between publication and preseason tip-off. Now, I usually don't throw all of my support behind any single magazine, because each has their strengths and weaknesses, but I'm wholeheartedly advocating the Yahoo! Sports preview this season. Why? Because many of the same cast of characters that run Yahoo's excellent Ball Don't Lie blog are responsible for the content in the preview, including one of my absolute favorite NBA writers, Kelly Dwyer. KD has written the majority of the team previews, and I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have an NBA preseason  magazine penned by someone as knowledgeable (and, may I add, stat-friendly) as he is. So if you're buying only one NBA magazine this season, seek out and find this one, because it's head and shoulders above the rest. (No, offense, Lindy's! And Athlon! And TSN! I mean, you're good too!)

Posted in Consumer Testimonials, Layups | 11 Comments »

Early Win Shares-Projected 2009-10 Standings

Posted by Neil Paine on September 21, 2009

So, after a long week of programming, here's the first pass at a Win Shares-based projection system... The calculation is structured the same as the Simple Projection System, except that this method is used. Playing time was estimated based on Ed Kupfer's formula for game missed due to injury, a minutes per game formula (MPG = 10.16 + (0.557*MPG_Y-1)+(0.029*MPG_Y-2)), and total team minutes were forced to reconcile to 60% for starters, 30% for 2nd-stringers, and 10% for benchwarmers (HoopsHype's depth charts were used for the designations). And a final note, remember that these projections will be unrealistically close to the mean for players, teams, and playing time numbers, because of the heavy degree of regression being used. Anyway, here are the results:

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Posted in Projections, Season Preview, Win Shares | 13 Comments »

Layups: Updates on T-Mac’s Health

Posted by Neil Paine on September 19, 2009

From ESPN, Nick Friedell sat down with Tracy McGrady last week and discussed the Houston star's rehab progress after last year's season-ending (and possibly career-devastating, we suspected) knee injury. McGrady's been working with Tim Grover, Michael Jordan's longtime trainer, and he says he's feeling as good as he ever has. While you can certainly count us among those who doubted that T-Mac would ever return to being the player he once was (a player we appreciated a great deal), we hope we're wrong, and we're glad to hear his recovery is going well.

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2010 Projected Win Share Rates

Posted by Neil Paine on September 18, 2009

Recently, we've been focused on projecting various "meta-stats" for the upcoming 2009-2010 NBA season, starting with Statistical +/- and now moving to Win Shares, with the goal of predicting how each team will finish based on their current rosters. Rate stats are, of course, relatively easy to project for basketball players because they don't fluctuate a ridiculous amount from season to season -- they are generally a function of the player's ability level, with teammates, coaches, and other external factors playing a role as well. Playing time, however, is always difficult to project because much of it stems from factors outside the player's control, like injuries, coaching decisions, trades, etc.

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Posted in Projections, Season Preview, Win Shares | 3 Comments »

Layups: Tamir Goodman Retires

Posted by Neil Paine on September 17, 2009

Remember Tamir Goodman, the so-called "Jewish Jordan"? As a high-school junior, Goodman dropped an impressive 35.4 points per game for the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore, getting him publicity with Sports Illustrated, ESPN, 60 Minutes and Fox Sports for both his skills (he was the 25th-ranked HS prospect in the country) and his faith (he wore a kippah when playing). But after earning a scholarship to Gary Williams' Maryland team, he had to be released from his commitment to the school because his religious beliefs prevented him from playing games on the Sabbath. He would eventually transfer to Towson, play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, serve in the Israeli Defense Force, and suffer a series of knee injuries that ultimately led to his retirement this week. Via J.E. Skeets and Ball Don't Lie, you can read more about Goodman here.

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Feature Watch: Simple Projection System

Posted by Neil Paine on September 17, 2009

This tool has been live on the site since the preseason of 2008, but I'm not sure many people are aware of it yet... It's called the Simple Projection System, and it's a pretty unique feature as far as basketball projections on the internet are concerned. Plenty of other sites have projections, of course, but most of them are either completely non-scientific (read: "guesswork") or based on heavily-guarded methods so secretive and requiring so much proprietary data that no layman could possibly hope to recreate them for themselves. The SPS, though, was borne out of the same spirit that had led sabermetrician Tom Tango to create the Marcel projection system for baseball, so named because it was simple enough that a monkey (in this case, Ross Geller's pet monkey on Friends) could replicate its results. Similarly, our SPS at Basketball-Reference doesn't need to use fancy similarity scores or umpteen-thousand obscure variables in order to spit out a series of projected per-minute rates for every player who played a game the year before. Instead, it simply uses past results, a heavy regression to the mean, and a simple aging adjustment, creating surprisingly credible results with this no-frills approach.

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Posted in Projections, Site Features | 2 Comments »

Layups: ESPN’s Summer Championship Forecast

Posted by Neil Paine on September 17, 2009

With the kids back in school, football in full swing, and basketball season rapidly approaching, is it really even summer anymore, equinoxes be damned? Either way, ESPN closed out their offseason series recently by revealing who their panel of experts expected to cop the 2010 NBA title, along with some selective rationales for each choice. I'll give a hint about who they picked at #1: they play in the Staples Center (and good luck guessing which of that building's two tenants I'm referring to!). Meanwhile, in the early going of our projections here at BBR, it's pretty obvious that our pick would be the Cleveland Cavaliers. But we have not yet begun to roll out our NBA preview, so that's far from an official pick...

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4-Year WS trends For 2009-10 Players

Posted by Neil Paine on September 16, 2009

As part of the process required to create a projection system for Win Shares similar to that which we employed for Statistical +/-, I have to create tables with four-year WS trends for each player in NBA history. So, since I'm clearly not going to get the projections done today, I figured I'd hold you guys over with a table of these trends for all players who played in 2009 and/or will play in 2010 (rookies excluded, for obvious reasons). It's a huge data dump, I know, but at least it gives you a look at how each team's current roster looks, Win Shares-wise. (Team designations are according to ESPN's NBA Players page and HoopsHype's free agency page. "DP#" = Draft Pick #, or their overall position in the NBA draft the year they came out. Players with DP#=61 were undrafted.)

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Posted in Data Dump, Season Preview, Win Shares | Comments Off

Feature Watch: Progressive Leaderboards

Posted by Neil Paine on September 15, 2009

Recently, you may have noticed that we updated the "Leaders" page here at Basketball-Reference, adding a "Progressive" column to both the regular-season and playoff leaderboard menus. It was a feature we had intended to add for a long time, and one we now share with our sister site Baseball-Reference. In fact, it's proven to be a popular page over at B-R, so today I'm going to let you know what the progressive leaderboards can do for you here as well.

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