Comments on: “Guts and Stomps”, NBA Style NBA & ABA Basketball Statistics & History Mon, 21 Nov 2011 20:56:04 +0000 hourly 1 By: Dan Tue, 08 Mar 2011 18:01:05 +0000 I have a question about this statistical study. Doesn't the population of "stomps" include many (if not all) of the teams with high numbers of "dominations?" Since dominations are the most accurate predictor of future success in the NBA, doesn't the inclusion of teams with a high number of dominations skew the data for teams in the stomp category who have very few dominations? In other words, the Heat, with very few dominations but plenty of stomps, are benefited by the dominations of other teams included in the stomp data.

Shouldn't there be a separate category used to predict the success of the Heat, named something like "Stomps without dominations." And shouldn't that data set be the one weighed against close wins over good teams?

By: Matt Johnson Mon, 14 Feb 2011 00:11:21 +0000 Thought it was time to think more on the Heat this season with regards to this analysis, so I've compared how the elite (top 8) teams have done against other elites this year both in decisive games, and games overall.

Quick takeaways:

-Whether you look at not-so-close games or all games, there's not a huge difference. I'm fine with the conclusions from your article, but I doubt you'll find many teams who look bad only because of the luck of close games.

-Heat still not looking that great.

-Spurs, Mavs, and Celtics on the other hand, look quite good.

By: Jamal Mon, 10 Jan 2011 05:02:43 +0000 My take on why LeBron James teams tend to under-perform their point differential in the playoffs and why the Dallas Mavericks have an astounding 103-49 record since 2004/2005 in regular season games decided by 5 points or less.

Basically even the best statistical models will only work 99% of the time; there's no way for them to account for "black swans" -- things we have never seen before. And there have never been two basketball players quite like LeBron and Dirk before.

By: Tommy Fri, 03 Dec 2010 08:55:23 +0000 This and Aaron Schatz's breakdown is a nice, almost "user-friendly" way of articulating a point that could be much more succinctly and accurately stated by analyzing how badly a team beat or got beaten by their opponent based on that opponent's average margin of victory or loss (and then plotting the overall scores of each team against, say, postseason success). This is largely the gist of my rating system (and I'm sure plenty of others) and it communicates the point because teams that lose to good opponents by a small margin get penalized less than they would losing to average teams by a small margin, while teams that beat bad opponents by a large margin get awarded perhaps slightly better -- depending on how badly they beat those opponents -- than teams that beat average or opponents by a small a small margin.

In fact, it's all relative to the exact points margin, so you don't have to declare any arbitrary thresholds from the beginning (i.e. you don't have to define new categories like "stomp" and "crunch" and whatever).

By: gebwel Tue, 23 Nov 2010 17:47:12 +0000 just a random opinion:
teams that regularly blow out their opponents are more likely to rest their key players for a significant amount of time, thus minimizing the risk of injury or over-exhaustion in the long run.
also, teams that pull out a lot of wins in close games tend to have the sense of entitlement, i.e. that they can turn it on whenever they want to. this could really hurt them in the long run.

By: huevonkiller Fri, 19 Nov 2010 18:00:06 +0000 Actually they look like the best team so far according to this site. Everything Neil has posted so far supports that notion, and they're unlucky if anything to not be 9-2. In a 7 game series they would be favored by this website over other teams (with homecourt advantage).

They need to make minor tweaks, because they've lost by the slimmest of margins to good teams, when Wade choked at an all-time level. This can be easily corrected, Wade can easily improve, whereas Boston will probably get worse as the season gets along if anything.

And even if they don't win 70 games, they might do it some other season they're that good and young.

Who are these three superior teams in the East? New Orleans and Utah play in the West dude, get it straight.

By: dsong Fri, 19 Nov 2010 16:49:26 +0000 Here are my conclusions from watching years of basketball:

(1) Ability to win close games is somewhat overrated. It's ALWAYS better to blow teams out than to win the tight games.
(2) The very best teams can blow out good teams. The Lakers were able to do that several times in the playoffs last seasons and it paved the way for a second straight title.
(3) "Clutch" factors are somewhat overrated. The best predictor of winning the close games is to be the team with the (small) lead. I would take the LA Clippers over the LA Lakers every day of the week and twice on Sunday if you gave them a 5-point lead with 5 minutes to go.

With that said, there's really no need to justify Miami Heat's performance up to this point. They've been a pretty good team so far, but they have many visible flaws and will most likely fall well short of their ridiculous preseason expectations. They look like the third best team in the East and will need to improve their play considerably if they are to win it all.

By: quetzpalin Fri, 19 Nov 2010 16:25:26 +0000 I am with some of the other commenters. This is fascinating, and I am certainly willing to believe that conventional wisdom is wrong, but I'd need to see a larger data set to be completely convinced. Something along the lines of the Win and Loss profile in terms of these categories of all playoff teams. If there were no strong correlation in that set between guts wins and playoff wins, then I would be more convinced.

Also, it seems likely that if this were being done without the context of the Heat, the cutoffs might be particular, if one cutoff is set at 5 pts, then the other would more likely be 10 pts than 9, which would alter the Heat profile. Which makes me wonder if there is maybe some better way to deal with this statistically than having what are necessarily arbitrary cutoffs.

A lot of analysis, such as Hollingers Daily Ranking, rely heavily on Point Differential, but I wonder if some sort of weighted victory margin might tell us something - maybe even something as simple as Victory Margin x Opp Winning Pct...

By: Lior Fri, 19 Nov 2010 05:05:33 +0000 I think what you are seeing here is the well-known result (see e.g. Wages of Wins) that efficiency differential is the best predictor of team strength. Having many blowouts indicates a large efficiency differential, while playing close games indicates a smaller efficiency differential.

One possible explanation for the effect you're seeing is that winning close games is probably largely determined by luck (when the difference is only 2 or 3 shots then every miss matters), so a team winning unusually many close games is likely to be a statistical fluctuation.

By: Mo Wed, 17 Nov 2010 16:08:53 +0000 Shouldn't you run a regression to see how the factors work independently from each other? Teams that dominate will tend to stomp, but will also tend to gut less. Also, skating is considered bad, but is also negatively correlated to stomps. We need a way to separate these correlated factors apart and see which factors are more important, rather than a simplistic win loss analysis.