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What’s Left In Vince’s Tank?

Posted by Neil Paine on July 27, 2009

As we all know, the Champs added Ron Artest this offseason, which (in the short term, at least) only makes them more of a threat to repeat next June. In addition, arguably the Lakers' three biggest challengers to the crown also made key moves for veteran stars this offseason in an attempt to keep pace with not only L.A., but one another as well. In Part 1 of a 3-part series, we'll look at the career path of Orlando's Vince Carter, and try to determine what the 33-year-old can offer to the defending Eastern Conference champions.

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Posted in Analysis, Offseason | 18 Comments »

All-Decade Teams: The 2000s

Posted by Justin Kubatko on July 24, 2009

Since we're nearing the end of another decade, I thought it would be interesting to come up with All-Decade teams for the 2000s. I know that technically the decade is not over yet, but the NBA has a split season, and since we've already crowned the 2009 NBA champions it seems to me that the 2008-09 season is a good breaking point.

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Posted in All-Decade Teams | 78 Comments »

BBR News: Transactions…Finally

Posted by Justin Kubatko on July 23, 2009

Since BBR first came on the scene a little over five years ago, by far the most requested addition has been player transactions. Well, thanks to the work of the great Pete Palmer — plus an assist from yours truly — we now have player transactions for the entire history of the NBA. These transactions are listed on the player pages, as well as new team and league pages.

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Posted in Announcements | 4 Comments »

Adam Morrison, Meet Barry Parkhill

Posted by Neil Paine on July 20, 2009

Last time around, we ran a study using a system of estimating Win Shares in seasons prior to 1978, and I wanted to touch a little on how that was done. Basically, I ran an OLS regression on all pre-1978 players, based on player stats (plus age & height) from 1978-2007, that estimated their "missing" totals -- turnovers prior to '78, TO/BLK/STL prior to 1974, etc. Whenever team stats were available, I scaled up/down the individual numbers to match team totals. When team numbers weren't available, I had to estimate them as well using the same method, and then makle sure the individuals matched the teams. In other words, the team numbers always superceded the individual totals.

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Posted in General, History | 19 Comments »

More Aging Stuff

Posted by Neil Paine on July 16, 2009

In response to Tuesday's post about Win Shares and aging, reader Jason J thought about whether or not today's improved equipment (including much better shoes), training methods, and dietary regiments made it easier for older players to stick around in the NBA for longer periods of time. It's a great question, because the success of recent players like John Stockton, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Dikembe Mutombo, etc. well into their forties makes you wonder if modern basketball technology is helping older players extend their careers longer than ever.

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery, Win Shares | 9 Comments »

Win Shares and Aging

Posted by Neil Paine on July 14, 2009

...AKA part one of what I'm sure will be a very long series before we've said all we want to on the subject.

Now I'm preparing you guys ahead of time, this is mostly a data/graph dump, and there's a lot of selection bias going on here (then again, I challenge you to find an aging study where there isn't selection bias). But using a sample of all player-seasons since 1978 with >2000 MP, here are the numbers on how a player's age affects his rate of Win Shares per 3000 minutes. The first focus will be every player in the sample, and the average change in their WS3K by age:

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery, Win Shares | 6 Comments »

Fun With Random Pages: 1974 Bulls

Posted by Neil Paine on July 13, 2009

When we think of the greatest teams in the history of the Chicago Bulls, we think of the core group of the 1990s -- Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Bill Cartwright, etc. -- a squad that in one incarnation or another managed to win six NBA crowns in 8 years. But the Jordan-era Bulls were not the first Chicago team to rise to hoops prominence. Under coach Dick Motta in the the 1970s, the Bulls forged a top-flight defensive team that made the playoffs in 7 of 8 seasons between 1970 & 1977, including 2 consecutive Western Conference Finals appearances in 1974 & '75. Though they neither won a title nor were as strong as the 1990s version of the franchise, this was a terrific team that was always a threat in the seventies.

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Posted in Fun With Random Pages, History | 11 Comments »

Layups: Multilevel Modeling, NBA Style

Posted by Neil Paine on July 10, 2009

I just realized I've been derelict in my linking duties recently, because I haven't thrown any love to the Basketball Geek, Mr. Ryan Parker, for some of his posts this week on multilevel modeling. Basically, MLM is a type of regression technique that you'd use in real-world situations where contextual effects occur on several levels (hence the name) and make it difficult to assume that the errors for each coefficient are uncorrelated. And basketball, as we know too well, is a game where performance is often heavily context-driven, so MLM is certainly a method that deserves more investigation as APBRmetrics becomes more and more sophisticated. This past week, Ryan used this type of random-effects model to predict 3-point shooting ability and offensive rebounding ability based on age and past performance. Essentially it's a really fancy way of regressing to the mean, but this method also has the potential to do a lot more than that because you can theoretically control for some of those pesky contextual effects that we analysts often run into when trying to unravel a game as complex as basketball.

Posted in Layups, Statgeekery | 2 Comments »

Layups: The Importance of Your PG’s Shooting Ability

Posted by Neil Paine on July 9, 2009

Over at, Jon Nichols has a very interesting study on the impact a point guard's 3-point shooting ability has on his offense's efficiency. The data shows a very clear pattern -- the better the long-range ability of the PG on the floor, the better the offense performs. Obviously the arrow of causality can run the opposite direction as well (the PG could be shooting better because better offensive teammates could be getting him clearer looks at the basket from downtown), but I think it's still cool to see the data affirm that having a PG you can't sag off of makes your offense more dangerous.

Posted in Layups | 1 Comment »

The Not-So-Instant Impact of 1st Overall Picks

Posted by Neil Paine on July 8, 2009

Let me ask you a question: Would you rather have Blake Griffin for the next 3 years, or 3 years of one of the 5 best players in basketball last year? How about one of the Top 10? One of the Top 20? In other words, how does the #1 pick typically fare during his 1st contract when compared to one of the league's best players from the year before he was drafted?

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Posted in Analysis, NBA Draft | 12 Comments »