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Best Playoff Players, 2003-2011 (*according to statistical +/-)

Posted by Neil Paine on June 12, 2011

As a follow-up to Thursday's post about the best Finals performances according to Statistical Plus/Minus, here's a playoff ranking since 2003 with a few tweaks:

  • I finally re-ran the Offensive SPM formula without steals and blocks. Steals in particular were causing certain players to be extremely overvalued offensively, and there's little reason to include those defensive stats in an offensive regression. (DSPM is the same as before -- and yes, it still includes several offensive stats, but DSPM wouldn't explain more than 25% of defense without them, while OSPM's explanatory power was barely affected by dropping steals & blocks out.)
  • At the request of readers, instead of per-minute SPM players are ranked by per-game "Impact", which is SPM times the % of team minutes played.
  • All of a player's games are weighted by Championship Leverage, which takes into account how much the game will potentially swing the odds of a team winning the NBA title. Leverage is relative to the average playoff game in a given season (which always has a leverage index of 1.00). For instance, Game 1 of the Magic-Hawks 1st-round series had a leverage of 0.44, while Game 5 of the Finals had a leverage of 5.28. This means that, in terms of influence on championship probability, Thursday's game was 12 times as important as Game 1 of a 1st-round series, and the rankings will reflect this.

Finally, why 2003? Because that was the year the NBA adopted best-of-7 first-round series, allowing me to use the series win probabilities found here.

Anyway, here were the top playoff performers since 2003 according to per-game SPM impact, weighted by the importance of the game (minimum 10 games):

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, Playoffs, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 11 Comments »

Layups: LeBron James’ Michael Jordan problem

Posted by Neil Paine on June 10, 2011

At Slate, Josh Levin writes about the peculiar problem LeBron James has had forming a career narrative in a post-Michael Jordan world:

Airless: LeBron James' Michael Jordan problem

Posted in Layups | 46 Comments »

Two Minor Site Additions

Posted by Justin Kubatko on June 10, 2011

This is just a short post to announce a couple of minor additions to the site:

  1. I added an option to the Player Season Finder to search for total seasons matching criteria. This option will allow you to find out who had the most seasons with 2000 or more points in NBA history, who had the most seasons with 10 or more Win Shares in NBA history, and so on.
  2. Speaking of Win Shares, I have finally extended them back to the 1946-47 BAA season (i.e., the first season of what is now known as the NBA). Previously they had only gone back to the 1951-52 season because that was the first season that minutes played were an official statistic. As one might expect, George Mikan dominates this five-year period.

Posted in Announcements, Play Index, Win Shares | 14 Comments »

2011 NBA Finals Series Win Probability After Game 5

Posted by Neil Paine on June 9, 2011

Dallas' Series Win Probability Graph after Game 5 (Dallas leads 3-2):

Dallas' Quarter-by-Quarter Series Win Probability Data:

Minutes Elapsed p(win)
0 46.7%
Game 1
12 48.0%
24 48.8%
36 42.3%
48 33.8%
Game 2
60 34.3%
72 34.9%
84 29.3%
96 54.0%
Game 3
108 46.0%
120 46.0%
132 45.9%
144 30.9%
Game 4
156 30.3%
168 27.2%
180 21.7%
192 45.0%
Game 5
204 43.0%
216 48.3%
228 53.4%
240 64.0%

(For more info on the Series Win Probability methodology, click here)

Posted in Playoffs, Statgeekery | 64 Comments »

The Best NBA Finals Performances Since 1991 (*according to statistical +/-)

Posted by Neil Paine on June 9, 2011

With the NBA Finals locked up 2-2, it seems like a good time to look at the best Finals performances in our database (which extends back to 1991 for playoff games). The metric of choice is Statistical Plus-Minus, an estimate of the player's contribution to the team's point differential per 100 possessions, using his boxscore stats as inputs. And, as an added twist, I weighted each game of the Finals according to its series leverage (the expected change in series win probability of the game in question relative to the series' overall average per-game change), meaning that performance counts more in the games that contain the most pressure. Here is every player in the dataset who played a minimum of 24 minutes per team game:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, Data Dump, History, Playoffs, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 26 Comments »

LeBron James’ Lowest-Usage Playoff Games

Posted by Neil Paine on June 8, 2011

Last night was the lowest-usage game of LeBron James' playoff career, according to the BBR Glossary definition of Usage%:

Date Tm Opp Mp Fg 3p Ft Or-Tr As St Bk To Pf Pts Usg%
6/7/2011 MIA DAL 45.7 3-11 0-3 2-4 3-9 7 2 0 4 4 8 17.9
5/21/2007 CLE DET 45.4 5-15 0-0 0-0 1-10 9 4 1 2 1 10 17.9
5/31/2011 MIA DAL 45.3 9-16 4-5 2-2 0-9 5 1 0 1 4 24 18.7
5/22/2011 MIA CHI 43.9 6-13 1-2 9-9 1-6 10 2 2 0 4 22 20.7
4/27/2011 MIA PHI 41.7 5-13 2-5 4-5 3-10 8 1 0 3 2 16 20.8
4/21/2011 MIA PHI 44.3 8-15 1-4 7-10 1-15 6 1 0 1 1 24 21.2
6/2/2007 CLE DET 46.2 3-11 0-2 14-19 2-14 8 2 2 3 1 20 21.3
4/22/2007 CLE WAS 44.3 7-14 0-2 9-11 2-9 7 2 0 1 1 23 21.5
6/5/2011 MIA DAL 45.3 6-14 1-4 4-4 0-3 9 2 0 4 3 17 22.2
4/27/2010 CLE CHI 43.2 5-12 1-2 8-14 3-10 9 0 2 3 1 19 23.9

It also tied for the fewest shots he ever took in a playoff game, and represented the fewest points he ever scored in a playoff game.

Posted in Playoffs, Statgeekery, Trivia | 50 Comments »

2011 NBA Finals Series Win Probability After Game 4

Posted by Neil Paine on June 8, 2011

Miami's Series Win Probability Graph after Game 4 (Series tied 2-2):

Miami's Quarter-by-Quarter Series Win Probability Data:

Minutes Elapsed p(win)
0 53.3%
Game 1
12 52.0%
24 51.2%
36 57.7%
48 66.2%
Game 2
60 65.7%
72 65.1%
84 70.7%
96 46.0%
Game 3
108 54.0%
120 54.0%
132 54.1%
144 69.1%
Game 4
156 69.7%
168 72.8%
180 78.3%
192 55.2%

(For more info on the Series Win Probability methodology, click here)

Posted in Playoffs, Statgeekery | 37 Comments »

Layups: Ranking the Greatest Playoff Series Ever

Posted by Neil Paine on June 7, 2011

Ranking the greatest series ever: At ESPN, John Hollinger concocted a formula to rank the 50 best playoff series since the NBA-ABA merger.

Posted in History, Layups, Playoffs | 6 Comments »

Layups: Top Dunkers of the 2010-11 NBA Season

Posted by Neil Paine on June 7, 2011

Top Dunkers of the 2010-11 NBA Season: At BBR reader Imadogg's blog, he posted dunk leaderboards for the 2011 season, including most total dunks, most dunks per game, and most dunks per minute.

Posted in Layups, Trivia | Comments Off

Layups: NBA Championship Rings by Teams 1947 – 2010

Posted by Neil Paine on June 6, 2011

NBA Championship Rings by Teams 1947 – 2010: Check out Hoopism's visual history of every NBA championship ring.

Posted in History, Layups, Playoffs | 4 Comments »

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