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Archive for the 'Totally Useless' Category

The Bird-Dirk Advanced Stat-off

19th May 2011

Bill Simmons and BS Report HoF guest Chuck Klosterman are discussing Larry Bird vs. Dirk Nowitzki in a podcast. Simmons says that the advanced stats place Dirk in the same category as Bird, perhaps even giving Dirk the edge, and he's not sure how he feels about this.

I wasn't sure how I felt, either, so I looked up the numbers. Here is a monster table with their advanced stats -- each has played exactly 13 years:

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statgeekery, Statistical +/-, Totally Useless, Win Shares | 224 Comments »

Mailbag: The Redd-Randolph All-Stars

11th April 2011

Here's an idea sent my way courtesy of BBR reader Rob P.:

"Can you think of players who had excellent 'per-36-minute' stat lines on limited
minutes, and who either outperformed or seriously underperformed those 'per-36'
numbers once given an increase in minutes?

I'm a Celtics fan, so Glen Davis comes to mind as being a good example of
someone who produced close to their per-36 averages upon being given a larger

I'm curious about some of the extremes; players whose averages were seriously
impacted by an increase in minutes. Basically examples that make you think, 'it
was a bad idea to give this guy more minutes' OR 'I can't believe he's been
coming off the bench all this time instead of starting!'"

One of the big early battlegrounds of APBRmetrics was the philosophical debate between per-minute and per-game statistics. Per-game was the traditional standard, but analysts like John Hollinger began to tear that way of thinking down after realizing per-minute performance held over for most players who received more playing time. From Hollinger's seminal 2004-05 Pro Basketball Forecast:

"It's a pretty simple concept, but one that has largely escaped most NBA front offices: The idea that what a player does on a per-minute basis is far more important than his per-game stats. The latter tend to be influenced more by playing time than by the quality of play, yet remain the most common metric of player performance.


Unfortunately, many NBA execs and fans still believe that somebody can be a '20 minute player' -- that he's only useful in short stretches but can't play a full game. With the exception of the rare few who are scandalously out of shape (Oliver Miller, for example), this is profoundly untrue. [Michael] Redd was the perfect example -- he was thought of as a bench player simple because that's what he'd always been, but there was no reason he couldn't play 40 minutes a night. There's a supposition that some players' production will decrease with increased minutes, but within reason that's completely untrue. The first Prospectus emphatically proved this with research showing that most player's [sic] performance improves with greater playing time."

Hollinger's examples of predictable "breakouts" from per-minute stats included Redd, Zach Randolph, Carlos Boozer, and Andrei Kirilenko, all of whom held onto their low-MPG production when thrust into bigger roles. In fact, Hollinger featured Redd on the cover of his 2nd book as an example of a player with great per-minute stats who was underrated because of a lack of playing time.

So, to answer Rob's original question, and in honor of Hollinger's early per-minute darlings, here are the "Redd-Randolph All-Stars". To qualify, a player had to:

  • play in the "Hollinger Era" (the 1990s, 2000s, or 2010s)
  • play at least 41 games in back-to-back seasons
  • play less than 24 MPG in the first of the back-to-back seasons, and more than 24 MPG in the second
  • see an increase of at least 7 MPG between the two seasons

Of that group (which included 320 players since 1990), I'll list 3 top-5 lists: players who improved their PERs the most when given increased playing time, players whose PERs were the closest to what they had been before when given increased playing time, and players whose PERs declined the most with an increase in PT. This will capture all of the possible extremes Rob mentioned, plus the Hollinger prototype of players whose PERs didn't change at all.

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Posted in Analysis, BBR Mailbag, History, Statgeekery, Totally Useless, Trivia | 33 Comments »

The Don Nelson All-Star Team

5th March 2011

Hanging out with Hoopism's Bailey brothers (Jason & Matt) and Harold Shanafield of Haystack Scouting on Friday night, we had a great conversation about the "ultimate teams" of a given coach. The idea is this: if you had a certain coach, and you had to play a pickup game in his signature style with players from NBA history, who do you pick to play?

Specifically, we were joking around and picking Don Nelson all-stars, thinking of freakish lineups with a SF at the 1, a PG at the 2, a SG at the 3, a SF at the 4, and a PF at the 5. Jason had a few too many beers and picked Travis Outlaw as his PG, I called on Antoine Walker's services at point forward, Matt built a team around Anthony Mason, and I also think Wang Zhizhi was somehow involved. This was all for fun, but what if we actually picked the players who put up the most Win Shares while playing for Nelson?

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Rants & Ramblings, Totally Useless, Win Shares | 26 Comments »

Who Are the Most Similar Players to This Year’s All-Stars?

19th February 2011

Reading yesterday about Dave Duerson's tragic passing made me think about the player similarity system he inspired at PFR, and that in turn caused me to remember a similar system I concocted for basketball players.

Using the methodology I outlined, who are the most comparable players to this year's All-Stars in terms of career quality and shape (through their current age)?

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Posted in All-Star Game, History, Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Statgeekery, Totally Useless, Win Shares | 10 Comments »

Team W-L Record in Games as a Leading Scorer

3rd February 2011

This post is a major data dump, and really more for trivia purposes than anything else. But I put together a list of every player who led an NBA team in scoring in a regular-season game from 1987-2011, along with their PPG in those team-leading games, and the team's W-L record in those games (for the full list of players, click here). Here were the 50 players with the most games as a leading scorer:

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Posted in Data Dump, History, Statgeekery, Totally Useless, Trivia | 8 Comments »

Layups: Derrick Rose, Plus/Minus MVP?

25th January 2011

In the absence of a runaway choice, there's an ever-growing push among traditional media members in favor of Derrick Rose's MVP candidacy -- and to be totally honest, the advanced boxscore-based stats don't see it. Rose is having a tremendous season, without a doubt, but he's currently 9th in Win Shares, 17th in WS per 48 minutes, 14th in Player Efficiency Rating, and 14th in Statistical +/-... Not exactly the most impressive MVP resume from the stathead's perspective.

However, there is one advanced metric that does validate the love for Rose: Adjusted Plus/Minus (via Sure, the standard errors are huge, and Mike Dunleavy Jr. shows up as the 2nd-best player behind Rose (yikes!). But at least there is some numerical evidence that Rose is making Chicago better in ways that aren't being detected in his box score numbers.

Posted in Awards, Layups, Statgeekery, Totally Useless | 56 Comments »

Layups: See the Space Jam Website, In All Of Its 1996 Glory

29th December 2010

Just saw this tweet from Darren Hoyt:

"the website for the movie Space Jam hasn't been updated since 1996 -"

I'm so loving the 90s-era design of that page. Especially the pressbox page:

"No Spacejam news at the moment!"

As Michael Kerney tweeted, "If there's no Space Jam news now in the pressbox link, I'm pretty sure there's not gonna be."

Posted in Just For Fun, Layups, No Math Required, Totally Useless | 2 Comments »

Checking In on James Posey & James Jones

22nd December 2010

In early November, we had a reader point out that James Posey & James Jones were having historic seasons -- namely, the two Jameses were 1-2 all-time in terms of the highest single-season percentage of shot attempts coming from beyond the 3-point arc. A month and a half later, I thought we'd check in once again on that pair, to see if they're still on a collision course with history.

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Posted in Analysis, Just For Fun, Totally Useless, Trivia | 9 Comments »

Best Records vs. Top-4 Seeds, 1984-2010

17th December 2010

This is sort of a random data dump/trivia post, but this old Doug Drinen post about NFL teams' records vs. fellow playoff participants inspired me to run a similar query for NBA top-4 seeds' records against other top-4 seeds (in either conference). Since the NBA expanded to 16 playoff teams in 1984, here are the top-4 seeds with the best records vs. their fellow top-4 seeds:

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Posted in Analysis, History, Playoffs, Totally Useless, Trivia | 13 Comments »