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NBA statistician admits teams really do fudge stats

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Shocking....just SHOCKING...

Via Deadspin:

The advanced metrics for basketball really aren't very good. Basketball is just so much harder to apply meaningful numbers to than baseball, for some obvious reasons and some less obvious ones.

There's very little subjectivity w/ baseball stats. There is a MASSIVE amount of subjectivity and intentional inaccuracy with basketball stats. If you ever want to be amused (or horrified), go back and do stats for an NBA game and compare your results to NBA results. There will be a significant discrepancy.

So you have bad/inaccurate initial info (the garbage that the NBA puts out as box scores and everyone else bases their advanced numbers on) and the mere fact that there are a lot of things that aren't easily measured (like shot creation, as Seth mentioned).

Personal story: I was the head gameday stats accumulation guy for the Grizzlies for their first three seasons. When I was preparing for the role the summer before their inaugural year, the NBA implemented a new software program for stats entry. We had league-wide training in Detroit. When there, I spent most of my non-classroom/training time in my hotel room with a sweet A/V suite doing past games myself, then comparing them line-by-line with the actual stats. IIRC, there are around 400ish entered/recorded events per NBA game on average. I think at the time I calculated that the average NBA stat crew had about 20 unintentional errors per game - missing events, wrong players getting credit unintentionally. (For those who care, I had myself and the Griz folks down to 3-4 unintentional errors per game and I usually knew what they were and was able to go back and fix them before submitting the file to the NBA.)

Anyway...on top of that ~20 errors per game, you have over double that in intentional errors. By intentional errors, I mean events that never happened (eg. loose ball rebound is deflected out of bounds by visiting team, instead of correct call - team rebound home team - you award the rebound to a home player in the viscinity...or fake blocks - among the easiest things to make up, next to steals and assists)...or events that are awarded to the wrong player (rebounds, steals, turnovers are the most common). The intentional errors are organizationally sanctioned/encouraged - they increase national media coverage/interest and increase your franchise's and player's visibility. There is also league pressure to protect/enhance the stats of the elite players. For example, I would guess that Stockton got between 1 and 2 assists per game for free. Partly because I disagreed with the blatant stat manipulation (that I did) and partly because I'm a Laker fan, I gave Nick Van Exel like 23 assists one game. If he was vaguely close to a guy making a shot, I found a way to give him an assist. Afterwards, I fully expected someone to talk to me about it. Indeed they did. A senior management guy - "great job Alex, that'll get this game on Sportscenter tomorrow morning!" We (VAN) lost badly, of course.

I also got %$@@$%# out by an Atlanta management guy because he felt I hadn't hooked Mutombo up enough w/ blocks in a particular first half. (I hadn't - I didn't like him because he was partly responsible for beating the Sonics and because I thought he was a bit of a punk so I made sure he didn't get a singly block that I wasn't sure he'd gotten - which was one in that half.) I told the management guy that the box score reflected the game and if Mutombo wanted more blocks, he needed to earn them. About 5 minutes later, Deke walked out for pregame warmups, asked the official scorer (the person who enters fouls and points in the archaic official scorebook) who does stats, she kindly pointed him to me, and he proceeded to glare at me for about a minute (which is, imo, a really long time for a gigantic man to glare at you). I want to say he blocked three 2nd-half shots and after each one, he made a point of, um, ensuring that I'd gotten them.

post #2 of 22
Not really that shocking, everybody especially with assists, Magic Johnson and John Stockton when they played at home got the benefit of the doubt with many "assists".

That kind of stuff happens less now because, there are way more people and different services keeping track.
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post #3 of 22

There is also league pressure to protect/enhance the stats of the elite players. For example, I would guess that Stockton got between 1 and 2 assists per game for free. Partly because I disagreed with the blatant stat manipulation (that I did) and partly because I'm a Laker fan, I gave Nick Van Exel like 23 assists one game. If he was vaguely close to a guy making a shot, I found a way to give him an assist.
image

and he proceeded to glare at me for about a minute (which is, imo, a really long time for a gigantic man to glare at you)
image

Mutombo gave him the finger.

post #4 of 22
Its harder to do it now, with the amount of people keeping track.
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post #5 of 22
Few months back I tried to track MJ's 63 point game in Boston Garden.

Points are easy of course to keep track of, but at the end, my assists, steals, and blocks were all off compared to the boxscore. image
And that was IN Boston. I almost thought even they were tryna hype Mike up.

Either way, nowadays it's MUCH harder to get away with, maybe a board here, or a block there, but nothing earth shattering anymore.
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post #6 of 22
eek.gif shocking eyes.gif

we all saw how they tried to give lebong a triple double last season at the garden.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CP1708

Few months back I tried to track MJ's 63 point game in Boston Garden.

Points are easy of course to keep track of, but at the end, my assists, steals, and blocks were all off compared to the boxscore. image
And that was IN Boston. I almost thought even they were tryna hype Mike up.

Either way, nowadays it's MUCH harder to get away with, maybe a board here, or a block there, but nothing earth shattering anymore.


What'd you end up with compared to the reported stats?
post #8 of 22
Hmmm I'm gonna say it, Bron gets the benefit.
post #9 of 22
*%$+ Stats.

Rings Matter.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbone2308

Hmmm I'm gonna say it, Bron gets the benefit.



image
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightruans

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbone2308

Hmmm I'm gonna say it, Bron gets the benefit.



image

hes not hating...its the truth
post #12 of 22
I know the Mavs scorekeepers cheated the %##* out of Josh Smith that game when he "only" had 9 blocks. He had no less than 14. I don't know how they would even explain away ont counting some of them blocks, I guess they'd just say they were steals or even deflections for which there would be no statistical notation of at all.

Assists are obviously the most subjective because of continuity, it comes down to in the scorer's mind if the pass helped you score or not. If you catch and shoot in rhythm, well that's pretty much a no brainer. But what if you catch, pump fake and escape dribble left one step, then shoot? Some scorers would count that an assist still, some would say the offensive player made that play too much on his own. It's the same with outlet passes and avoiding one defender at some point
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Barkley Heisman Number 8


we all saw how they tried to give lebong a triple double last season at the garden.

image
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbone2308

Hmmm I'm gonna say it, Bron gets the benefit.



not this time...ben wallets and scorers tried to but Stern took away his triple double.
post #15 of 22
shocking. just shocking.
post #16 of 22
This isn't all too surprising to me. I kind of knew this was going on in the NBA. I mean look at the "10th" rebound LeBron got during that Knicks game?
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post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbone2308

Hmmm I'm gonna say it, Bron gets the benefit.



without a doubt
post #18 of 22
NFL is proably the worse at it tho

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post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5am6oody72

Quote:
Originally Posted by CP1708

Few months back I tried to track MJ's 63 point game in Boston Garden.

Points are easy of course to keep track of, but at the end, my assists, steals, and blocks were all off compared to the boxscore. image
And that was IN Boston. I almost thought even they were tryna hype Mike up.

Either way, nowadays it's MUCH harder to get away with, maybe a board here, or a block there, but nothing earth shattering anymore.


What'd you end up with compared to the reported stats?


If I remember right, I was like a steal short, and maybe 2 assists short and 1 rebound short of what they had. But in fairness, some of those plays are hard to figure out who gets credit for what, and I had no way of knowing what they gave credit for......
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post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbone2308

Hmmm I'm gonna say it, Bron gets the benefit.


So does Kobe, CP3, D12, etc. I'm not sure what your point is.
post #21 of 22
Not surprised at all. image
post #22 of 22
I thought they took lebrons 10th rebound away days later
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