NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › The NBA Advanced Statistics Thread: Thank You TD
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The NBA Advanced Statistics Thread: Thank You TD - Page 2

post #31 of 991
^ Trust, TrueHoop will be FLOODED with stuff this week
post #32 of 991
Advanced stats is having a bigger impact on college bball more than nba ...interesting tho especially from a gambling aspect
post #33 of 991
post #34 of 991
Some quotes from the weekend @ Sloan

The Stan Van Gundy Show

"First, I'd like to thank David Stern for allowing Stan [Van Gundy] to be here today."
-- John Buccigross, ESPN sportscaster

"In coaching, you're trying to create a style of play and a culture. Every time you make an exception, you're breaking that down."
-- Stan Van Gundy, former head coach of the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat

“In Miami, all the TV analysts -- I won’t say any names -- killed us because we didn’t have a midrange game. I felt like saying, ‘Thank God.’”
-- Van Gundy

“The goal is to win, and we’re not playing video games here.”
-- Van Gundy

“There’s no number out there that’ll solve all the problems.”
-- Van Gundy

"Just like there's a need for physical rest, there's a need for mental rest."
-- Van Gundy

In response to Van Gundy apologizing for talking too much:

“Is this the first time you’ve talked a lot?”
-- R.C. Buford, San Antonio Spurs president

Snarky remarks

On drafting Royce White:

"You were going to draft the same guy we did."
-- Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets general manager

"Yeah, but we would have dealt with it differently."
-- Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner

In response to Michael Lewis' naming him as one of the inspirations of "The Blind Side"

“Never got an invite to the Oscars.”
-- Paraag Marathe, San Francisco 49ers COO

On setting a path to success:

“Be a nuisance until they hire you.”
-- Morey, on his path to success

“Please don’t take that as a suggestion.”
-- Cuban

On dealing with the front-office friction with the analytics movement:

“You own a team; it’s a lot easier.”
-- Morey to Cuban

On the "count the ringzzz" theory:

“The more z’s, the lower the IQ”
-- Tom Haberstroh, ESPN NBA writer

"In reality, bookmaking is easy. Some of the dumbest people I know are bookmakers."
-- Haralabos Voulgaris, professional gambler

"In sports, there's a lot of correlation between stats and performance. In politics, a lot of it is bulls---."
-- Nate Silver, statistician, sabermetrician, psephologist, and author

Walked into the wrong place?

"If you're looking at statistics alone and saying 'we're drafting this guy,' good luck. I hope you're in my division."
-- Brian Burke, former Toronto Maple Leafs senior adviser

"When you're losing, the sports page only has value if you own a puppy or a parakeet."
-- Burke

"If I overpay a player, it's not because there's a revolver to my head, it's because I'm an idiot."
-- Burke.

"The worst thing that ever happened in sports was sports radio, and the internet is sports radio on steroids with lower IQs.”
-- Burke.

"Statistics are like a lamppost to a drunk: useful for support but not for illumination.”
-- Burke

Analytical analysis

"It [analytics] has become mainstream because it works."
-- Morey

“The way we had been talking about the game was inaccurate.”
-- Haberstroh

"Are the league's best rebounders conceding shots to get in better rebounding positions? For some, yes."
-- Kirk Goldsberry, Harvard University visiting scholar

"Ten years from now, we're going to look back and laugh at this study, but we have to start somewhere.”
-- Goldsberry

"It's hard to be a decision-maker and be removed.”
-- Cuban

“The models weren't built on a dataset like him [Jeremy Lin]."
-- Morey

On choosing between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant as the 2007 first overall draft pick in retrospect:

"Almost everyone would have taken Oden."
-- Morey

"The No. 1 job for an NBA GM is not to win championships, but to keep their job.”
-- Cuban

On if he were a sports owner:

“If I bought an NBA team, the first day I’d trade for LeBron [James]. Then, the second day I’d trade for Kobe [Bryant]. And the third day, I’d do one of those Harlem Shuffle [Shake] videos.”
-- John Skipper, ESPN president

Kicking a man when he’s down

On the Los Angeles Lakers being the only team without a representative at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference:

“From the Celtics' perspective, it’s not a bad thing the Lakers aren’t here.”
– Mike Zarren, Boston Celtics assistant general manager

“If we can keep the Lakers out, that’s fine with us.”
-- Buford

On Brian Burke recanting the difficulty of being a general manager and firing a coach:

"Believe me, it's always a lot harder on the guy getting fired."
-- Stan Van Gundy

Business of sports

"When a company has a good year, you don't throw a parade. When a sports team wins, the whole city celebrates.”
-- Cuban

"Sports front-office jobs are still more who you know than what you know."
-- Marathe

"If sports leagues don't want government involved, they should stop putting their hand out."
-- Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College professor

"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."
-- Deepak Malhotra, Harvard Business School professor

"There are teams that 'go for it' under this new CBA that make you wonder if they've read it."
-- Cuban

A safer future

"When you receive a concussion, if you get a concussion again, even if it's a tiny one -- it can have a severe impact."
-- John Brenkus, BASE Productions co-Founder

"Surgery is a very good tool, but you don't treat the underlying disease process."
-- Dr. Peter Wehling, M.D., Ph.D., orthopedic and spine surgeon

"We are doing whatever we can to capture data. We lock in medical staff to longer-term deals than players.”
-- Cuban

Sloan Conference 2023

On how far people have delved into the potential of analytics:

"We are nowhere yet."
-- Morey

"There is a human element in sports that is not quantifiable. These players bleed for you, give you everything they have, and there's a bond there."
-- Bill Polian, ESPN NFL analyst

"When visualizing data, it's not about how much can I put in but how much can I take out."
-- Joe Ward, The New York Times sports graphics editor

“If you are not becoming a digital CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), you are becoming extinct.”
-- Tim McDermott, Philadelphia Eagles CMO

“Even if God came down and said this model is correct … there is still randomness, and you can be wrong.”
-- Phil Birnbaum, By The Numbers editor
post #35 of 991

"Statistics are like a lamppost to a drunk: useful for support but not for illumination.”
-- Burke

Pretty much sums it up for me. This whole movement with statistics in sports is akin to when statistical analysis took over manufacturing in the 80's, finance in the 90's to present, etc. 


Relying too heavily on data without qualitative analysis is just data-mining and that is prone to a multitude of errors. The reason why I am hesitant that it works is because sports are too fluid and dynamic. Meaning the rosters change every night, players get traded, injuries happen, etc. 

post #36 of 991
Thread Starter 
Sloan Conference: Daryl Morey, Brian Kopp, and Benjamin Alamar
Part 1: Zach Lowe speaks with Rockets GM Daryl Morey, Brian Kopp of the SportVU system, and Benjamin Alamar, who tells why the Thunder drafted James Harden over Brook Lopez
post #37 of 991
Thread Starter 

The seventh annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is being held Friday and Saturday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The conference brings together folks from several different sports and continues to grow every year. This year’s panelists and speakers include R.C. Buford, Mark Cuban, Michael Lewis, Adam Silver, Nate Silver and Stan Van Gundy.

Co-chaired by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, the Sloan Conference has a huge NBA presence. This year, 29 of the 30 teams (the Los Angeles Lakers being the only exception) were in attendance.

Like the conference, the role of analytics in the NBA continues to grow. And when owner Robert Pera and CEO Jason Levien took over the Grizzlies in the fall, they knew they needed an analytical mind to help them make their basketball decisions.

They turned to ESPN writer John Hollinger, naming him vice president of basketball operations in early December.

Hollinger was thrown right into the fire, as the team looked to restructure it’s payroll and regain some flexibility under the parameters of the new collective bargaining agreement. In late January, the Grizzlies made two trades involving three other teams and nine total players. At the trade deadline, they made one more minor deal.

Most notably, the Grizzlies traded leading scorer Rudy Gay to Toronto, breaking up a starting lineup that had enjoyed a decent amount of success over the last few seasons. They replaced Gay with Tayshaun Prince and also added Ed Davis to a bench that had taken a hit when they traded three players (and a first round pick) to Cleveland for Jon Leuer.

The Grizzlies are 9-4 since the Gay trade and had won eight straight games before falling in Miami on Friday. They continue to be an excellent defensive team, but are still looking for some answers offensively. exchanged e-mails with Hollinger this week to discuss his new job and how the Grizzlies are moving forward… How does your approach to analytics as a team executive differ from your approach as a writer?

John Hollinger: The biggest change is that I’m looking at everything through this more narrow lens of “how does this impact the Memphis Grizzlies?” That means I’m probably looking at certain players much more closely and all but ignoring some national stories that I’d be discussing nearly every day in my former gig (like one that rhymes with “Spakers,” for instance), and it means I’m paying a lot more attention to non-NBA stuff (college, Europe, etc.) because that’s the pipeline for incoming players. As a writer I had the luxury of waiting until those guys got to the league if I so chose. How has your team changed with the trades you made?

Hollinger: Well, hopefully we’re better. More seriously, I think we’ve diversified our offense a little, not just in terms of Tayshaun’s versatility, but also with adding guys like Austin and Ed that come off the bench and give you a major boost.

Rudy was a very good player but Tayshaun’s ability to pass and hit catch-and-shoot jumpers hopefully replaces some of the athleticism and shot-creating ability we gave up in this deal. Defensively we probably get even better, because we still have that 6-9 small forward who can guard, but now we also have an athletic big who plays above the rim in Ed, which is something we really didn’t have before.

And finally, we’re pretty deep in the front line now, because we also have bigs like Jon Leuer and Dexter Pittman waiting in the wings from our other deals. I think we all understand the basic reasoning for the Rudy Gay trade and that you have more flexibility going forward. But can you explain the reasoning behind the Cleveland trade in the context of the trade that followed?

Hollinger: One thing I think a lot of people don’t understand is that we still were facing a potential luxury tax hit even with the Rudy trade we made, because of certain incentive deals in our player contracts. So even though all those little charts on the Web had us $4 million and change into the tax, in reality our potential liability was about $6 million. Because of that, it was inevitable that another deal also had to be made in addition to a Rudy deal.

Also, there was a fairly important chess element to this — we were able to improve our leverage in the second deal by being under the tax, because beforehand people were demanding a premium for all the money they’d be saving us. The basketball offers for Rudy got better once we’d done this.

As for the particular deal we chose, it was clear given the frontcourt depth we had that moving off that [Marreese] Speights deal for both this year and next was the way to achieve the greatest savings at the least basketball cost. I suppose it’s possible he opts out of his deal now that he’s in Cleveland and getting minutes and playing well, but if he had stayed here and been our fifth big I’d say those odds were pretty minimal.

And going forward, if we’d had him on our books it would have been almost impossible to keep Tony Allen and stay under the tax. Obviously this isn’t the kind of move you’d prefer to make, but we came into a situation where our hands were really tied financially, and now we have options again.

While I have the floor, I’ll also point out two other things: First, that the Speights trade exception was parlayed into an even larger exception in the Rudy deal, because we took Daye into it, so we now have a $7.5 million chip that could prove valuable in the offseason. And second, that our breathing room allowed us to take in Dexter Pittman and a second-round pick at the trade deadline. How much interaction have you had with players and coaches about numbers that can make you a better team? Does Tayshaun Prince understand the value of a mid-range shot vs. a three?

Hollinger: This is where coming in partway through a season probably limited what we could accomplish somewhat. We’ve had some discussions about it, but we’ll probably be able to have a lot more impact once we’ve had a full offseason together. And obviously time is a factor here two, just in terms of getting to know each other and develop a trust and rapport.

As for Tayshaun, you’re right that it’s probably not ideal to have just 11 percent of his shots come from beyond the arc, given that he shoots it fairly well from out there. We’ve talked about it some internally and with the coaches, but this is another example of an area where we’d be more likely to have an impact in the offseason. Where are NBA analytics most valuable? (Coaching strategies, lineup combinations, evaluating your own personnel, opponent personnel, draft, etc.)

Hollinger: I think the greatest value is still in personnel, and especially in the personnel that you don’t see everyday. The whole thing about numbers and analytics is that they summarize all the games you can’t see, which is great because you can’t possibly watch every team play every game.

With the Grizzlies obviously analytics helps too, but because we’re seeing all the games there’s a lot of times where we already know the answers and the data just confirms it — not all the time, but a lot. As you might expect, the analytics are probably most valuable at the NBA level, because there is a lot less to translate than there is when players are jumping from college, Europe or the D-League.

That said, the answer to this question may be in flux, especially as the use of video explodes. I wouldn’t be shocked if in five years the answer to this question is “coaching.” And I’ll also contradict myself by saying that the translation of going from lower levels to the pros, while harder, also potentially offers more advantages for those who can break the code.
post #38 of 991
Thread Starter 
Stats, storytelling and Sloan: How to make advanced stats in basketball a more engaging conversation

During All-Star weekend the NBA unveiled a public data page crammed with numbers and statistics, some more familiar than others to the casual user. To the hardcore basketball fans that live on Twitter and League Pass, this was extremely useful. No more multiple browser tabs! All the shot charts, plus/minus data and line-up information in one place, and it's spectacularly easy to navigate.

The NBA didn't do this to help the true believers craft blog posts. What the league is doing, besides capturing page views, is making True Shooting percentage and the like part of the conversation for casual fans. This is roughly analogous to when baseball telecasts began listing OBP alongside batting average, home runs and RBIs when players come up to bat. Welcome to the normalization of advanced metrics.

I was reminded of this over the weekend when the city was overrun with geeks, quants and hustlers for the annual networking orgy known as the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. When gathered in multitudes they may seem like they run the world -- or at least The Fours where the nerds overran mystified Bruins fans at their favorite post-game watering hole.

The reality, of course, is much different. For every analytically inclined member of a team's front office there are several more who aren't interested. For every Hoopdata loving basketball writer (please come back, Hoopdata) there are crusty beat writers who don't care nothing about fancy-boy stats. And for every enlightened fan there are hundreds more who count the ringzzzz first, last and forever.

And that's where this whole thing breaks down in a self-congratulatory echo chamber of smugness and mistrust. The cultural divide is still strong, but it doesn't have to be. As Kirk Goldsberry mentioned in his presentation, we need to get better at communicating what the metrics mean and that's where the media comes into play. With a little more patience and whole lot less hubris, we can start talking with people instead of at them.

Step 1: Educate the broadcasters

There is no more direct link between teams and fans than their local telecasts and it's not as if hometown announcers need much prodding to rally the fanbase to the cause. If they can convince the fans that the refs have it in for them, they can just as easily explain why the mid-range game is deader than the '90s and the corner three is king.

Let's start small. Per-game numbers are more informed when adjusted for pace. Rebounding percentage is more telling than raw totals. If the broadcasters narrated the game with a few of these basic concepts in mind, fans would get a more complete picture of what's actually happening on the court and it wouldn't seem so mysterious.

There's a reason League Pass addicts hold the Orlando crew of David Steele and Matt Guokas with such regard. They are tremendous at filtering out the statistical noise and helping fans understand what they're watching.

This isn't rocket science, after all. Its just basketball and the wonderful thing about advanced metrics is once you get past the awkward acronyms and wonky-sounding labels, they include many of the same concepts that the great coaches of the past and present incorporated with their teams.

Step 2: Eliminate the myth of the magic number

All basketball statistics are context-dependent. Who's on the court, what's the score, how good is the opponent, are they on a back-to-back? ... these are all important variables that need to be taken into account when making judgments about performance. In the rush to quantify everything, every single day, there's often a lack of critical perspective. (See: Rondo, Rajon and the Celtics are better/worse without him).

Hoop nerds understand that John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating is a box score mashup that doesn't reward defense as much as offense. They get that plus/minus is dependent on other factors. Context is always far more interesting than naked numbers and it's okay to acknowledge that we don't always know everything definitively.

To many, the lack of an all-encompassing number along the lines of WAR is proof that advanced basketball statistics have failed and the game is too complex to be broken down categorically. Frankly that's part of what makes them so appealing. It's a puzzle that can be broken down, studied and analyized. Every insight sends you scrambling in a half-dozen different directions.

The onus, fellow geeks, is on us to fill in the gaps and provide that context with all the tools at our disposal, which brings me to my final point.

Step 3: Don't forget the human element

Statistics help tell a story. When used correctly they offer a more complete portrait of performance, but too often a fundamental question is left out of the equation: Why? All the fancy shot charts, Synergy clips and intricate numbers only tell part of the story.

Many times I've heard numbers skeptics say something along the lines that this a human game played by people. Despite their dismissive tone, they're absolutely correct. What was the coach's motivation for running out various line-ups? Why did a player react the way he did in a certain situation?

Whether intentional or not, the numbers have a way of dehumanizing the participants. Spend time with any self-aware NBA player and it becomes clear that they understand how the game should be played and their role in the process. Kevin Garnett may not know his PER from his rebounding percentage, but he thinks the game in a way that would make any stat geek swoon and he has valuable insights to share.

Players are not data points and getting five people to work together in concert is an elaborate dance that depends on a whole host of factors not collected in the box score. The Celtics, for example, talk a lot about communication as the key element to their stifling defense. That speaks to trust, intelligence, awareness and so many other things that get glossed over as intangibles because we can't quantify them in the box score but are extremely tangible. All you have to do is ask.

Take this piece by Matt Moore on Andre Iguodala. Combining analysis, access and reporting tools both new and old, Moore took us into Iguodala's world in a revealing, insightful piece that was one of the best of the year.

We need more of that. We need to tell better stories. More than any breakthrough study or insightful quantitative analysis, that will help bring fans into the conversation and continue the revolution.
post #39 of 991
Thread Starter 
Numbers Game: How the Grizzlies lost their leading scorer but got better offensively

The Grizzlies have the second-best winning percentage in the NBA since they made the trade to acquire Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis and Austin Daye for Rudy Gay. Granted, their schedule hasn't been terribly difficult, filled with the likes of Detroit, Sacramento, Toronto, and Orlando (twice), but nonetheless, going 10-3 over the last 13 games is a strong way to begin life without Gay.

"Numbers Game" is going to explore the differences between the Grizzlies before the trade and after, and try to find out whether the excellent record they've shown so far is a product of the schedule or perhaps a different and sustainable way of playing.

Let's start with one thing right off: the Grizzlies are built on defense. The elite defense they've shown with or without Gay provides the cornerstone for any success. With that in mind, the goal for the Grizzlies on offense is pretty simple -- just be average. If they can get to a middling offensive number, let's say somewhere around 15th or so in the league, that would be more than enough combined with their incredible defense to create a very strong contender. The Grizzlies' dominant start to the season and a fabulous November came because they were a top 10 offense in the NBA. Hard to believe, but it's true. These Grizzlies were at one time one of the better offensive teams in the NBA. But that couldn't last.

And it most certainly didn't. The Grizzlies plummeted from fifth in Offensive Rating (a measure of points per 100 possessions) in November to 28th in December. They went from 10th in points scored per game in November to 27th in December (and rock-bottom last in January).

At the time of the trade, Gay led the Grizzlies in scoring with just over 17 points per game. He also led the team in shot attempts -- and he was shooting a career-worst 40.8 percent from the field (31 percent from three). As a result, the Grizzlies were 24th in the NBA in field-goal percentage -- and were 24th in three-point percentage as well. They were last in made three-pointers, 27th in points scored, you get the idea. Not good.

Yet they were still 11 games over .500 at the time of the trade.

Now, they're 20 games over .500.

And though they lost their leading scorer, the Grizzlies' offense has been better. Different and better. To start, the most obvious point of comparison is, well, points. The Grizzlies scored 93.4 per game before the trade and score 94.2 per game since. That's not a lot more, but it is more. The devil's in the details, though. The Grizzlies were shooting 43.7 percent from the field pre-trade but they're at 46.4 since. What that means is striking -- though the Grizzlies take four less shots per game since the trade, they actually make fractionally more. That's increased efficiency.

Much has been made of the increased ball movement. That's a big factor in the improved offense, especially as demonstrated by the Grizzlies' assist rate. Assist rate is simply the percentage of made baskets that are assisted. The higher that percentage, the more good passing is opening up scoring opportunities. And as Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins likes to point out quite often, it only counts as an assist if there's a made basket. Assists are good, and the Grizzlies are getting quite good at them.

Prior to the trade, the Grizzlies only assisted on 56.8 percent of their shots. That was sixth-worst in the NBA. In the 13 games since, they've assisted on 64.7 percent and that's sixth-best in the league. From sixth-worst to sixth-best is a dramatic jump. Only twice since the trade have the Grizzlies recorded less than 20 assists in a game; that happened eight times in the month of January alone.

One particular area of improvement has been in the mid-range game. The Grizzlies are getting a larger percentage of their points from mid-range areas now, perhaps a bit surprising as Gay liked to take quite a few mid-range jumpers. Of course, many of those jumpers were taken toward the end of the shot clock; many more were taken as Gay tried to create off the dribble.

Since the trade, the offense has been more cohesive and the mid-range jumpers have been of a higher quality. That's why the Grizzlies are shooting mid-range shots at 42 percent now as opposed to 39 percent pre-trade. But here's the big difference -- before the trade, just 58 percent of those shots were assisted. Since then, 75 percent of mid-range shots have been assisted. As opposed to the freelancing and desperation shots Gay would often take, the Grizzlies' mid-range shots are more controlled and disciplined.

Can a team lose its leading scorer yet get better offensively? So far, at least in the Grizzlies case, the answer is a resounding yes.
post #40 of 991
Thread Starter 
post #41 of 991
TOO much to read. And I am behind in podcasts. P, I might not be done until early April man.
post #42 of 991
Thread Starter 
What podcasts are there besides the Grantland ones? laugh.gif

Speaking of which:
@BillSimmons New B.S. Report: along with @ZachLowe_NBA ... a postmortem on #SSAC + an Eastern Conference playoffs chat.
post #43 of 991
Nah, I was just speaking in general of the podcasts that I listen to.
post #44 of 991
Thread Starter 
post #45 of 991
This isn't even an advanced stat but, one thing that would seem rather simple is I would like Off/Def eff ratings (particularly in college where coaches are control freaks) showing the differences when teams defend or play on offense on the side of the floor where their bench is and they're constantly being hollered instructions - again, mostly college level. I am almost positive that there is a defensive uptick when you're defending alongside your coaching staff in college. I know Home/Away and 1st/2nd half splits are out there and it could be figured out once you figure out what direction teams head on the opening tip, but I want someone to do that work for me.
post #46 of 991
Let's start small. Per-game numbers are more informed when adjusted for pace. Rebounding percentage is more telling than raw totals. If the broadcasters narrated the game with a few of these basic concepts in mind, fans would get a more complete picture of what's actually happening on the court and it wouldn't seem so mysterious.

There's a reason League Pass addicts hold the Orlando crew of David Steele and Matt Guokas with such regard. They are tremendous at filtering out the statistical noise and helping fans understand what they're watching.

This isn't rocket science, after all. Its just basketball and the wonderful thing about advanced metrics is once you get past the awkward acronyms and wonky-sounding labels, they include many of the same concepts that the great coaches of the past and present incorporated with their teams.

Yep, this is one reason I like the Orlando crew (as I mentioned in the NBA thread). 


And this is basically how I feel towards advanced stats simply stated. Many who are against advanced stats use regular stats in their arguments or discussions. So you're not anti-stat... you're just against something you don't understand yet or don't want to. When you adjust for pace, use rebound percentage, etc., you're still accomplishing the same goal (giving the audience some measure of production, backing up your claims, etc.), but you're doing it with more accurate and fair measurements.

post #47 of 991
Thread Starter 

The Los Angeles Lakers are making a charge. They’ve won 13 of their last 18 games and are now just two games behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

But are the Lakers a much better team right now than they were six weeks ago? Not really.

A look at the numbers shows only minimal improvement from the Lakers’ first 42 games.

Lakers efficiency

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

So, the Lakers have been been a hair worse offensively over the last 18 games, and less than a point per 100 possessions better defensively. That’s not much of a difference. The real difference has been how they’ve performed in close games.

When you’re below .500 with a positive point differential, as the Lakers were after 42 games, you’re typically winning big and losing small. And through Jan. 23, the Lakers were 3-7 in games decided by five points or less. Since then, they’re 5-0.

The final margin of a game is kind of arbitrary, though. And if you look at games that were within five points in the last five minutes, the difference between the Lakers’ first 42 games and their last 18 is even bigger.

Lakers games within five points in the last five minutes

*Clutch OffRtg & DefRtg = for possessions in the last five minutes with a point differential of five or less

Though the Lakers’ defense hasn’t been that much better overall, it has been down the stretch of close games. And offensively, the shots are going in. In fact, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison, Metta World Peace and Earl Clark have combined to shoot 31-for-49 (63 percent) from the field in clutch time since Jan. 25.

Lakers clutch shooting, last 18 games

You can look at this in two ways. If the glass is half full, you can say that the Lakers were much better than their record when they were 17-25. If it’s half empty, you can say that this 13-5 stretch isn’t as impressive as it may seem. Furthermore, real quality wins have been few and far between. They’re just 3-16 against the eight teams with a winning percentage better than .600.

The last win over one of those teams was a 105-96 victory over the Thunder, who the Lakers visit on TNT at 9:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday. They’re 0-9 on the road against teams above .600 thus far.

Still, overall, the Lakers have been a better team on both ends of the floor than the Jazz, the team they’re trying to catch.

When it comes to future schedule, the Lakers play slightly easier opponents, but the Jazz have one fewer road game (11 vs. 12) and one fewer back-to-back (3 vs. 4).

Stay tuned…
post #48 of 991
Thread Starter 
A very small sample size, but in 52 minutes the Asik-Montiejunas-Parsons-Harden-Lin lineup is scoring 141.9 points per 100 possessions, on 63.7% shooting from the field and 57.1% from three according to

post #49 of 991
Thread Starter 
In light of the Lakers play of late in the clutch mentioned in the article above, at the five minute mark of the Lakers-Thunder game tonight the score of the game was 111-105.

The Lakers get outscored 11-0 the rest of the way and lose the game. laugh.gif
post #50 of 991
That shot Kobe missed in the paint coulda got it to 4, who knows from there? But really, it was a miracle we were that close. 2 created turnovers all night. mean.gif
post #51 of 991
Thread Starter 
Al Horford's last ten games:

24 PPG (65.9 TS%), 11.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.9 BPG and 1.7 SPG in 37.4 MPG. Offensive Rating of 109 and Defensive Rating of 97.6 to take it a step further.

Methodical beast. smokin.gif
post #52 of 991
Portland is at 10. If they miss playoffs and get down into top 12 of the draft, they keep their pick. If they get the 13th, they have to give it to the Bobcats. Imagine missing the playoffs and giving up their pick as well. They need that pick for at worst added bench help. Starting lineup is decent enough.
post #53 of 991
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by CP1708 View Post

Portland is at 10. If they miss playoffs and get down into top 12 of the draft, they keep their pick. If they get the 13th, they have to give it to the Bobcats. Imagine missing the playoffs and giving up their pick as well. They need that pick for at worst added bench help. Starting lineup is decent enough.
I like the Aldridge-Lillard-Batum-Matthews core. I think they'll let Hickson leave in free agency unless he re-signs for cheap. Otherwise, maybe they start Leonard next season, which I wouldn't feel 100% comfortable with. Maynor should be back on a two year, player option contract. So there's at least five players in the rotation for next season.

They do have cap room this summer too, but I don't think they'll add anyone that will move the needle much (see 2009 and 2012).
post #54 of 991

This is great. Analytics and statistics stuff is about all I read now.


Ask Doug Collins how ignoring them is working out. laugh.gif


And I have access to Synergy and it's amazing what you can do with it. I have college version, and it is just too much fun. I've got some articles and twitter people should follow in a little.

post #55 of 991
post #56 of 991
Cuse, check your PM - had a question.
post #57 of 991
Thread Starter 
The Nascent Power of Optical Tracking Data

Tucked into the Friday morning schedule at the MIT Sloan Sports Conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, we’re watching Frank Lampard, of Chelsea FC, look around a soccer pitch. He’s not dribbling. He’s not passing. He’s not shooting. Lampard is simple running and looking, his head swiveling back and forth, stretching the human body’s limits for how far the head should turn. Over and over Lampard turns his head, a special camera from Sky Sport focused entirely on him. Eventually the ball finds Lampard and without looking he fires a pass to an open man. He’s already looked, so why look again?

The research, done by a team led by Geir Jordet from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences in Oslo, tells us something very simple: players that look around and explore their surroundings more without the ball are far more likely to complete a pass than players that don’t look around. This is meant to encourage further like-minded research in other sports, but everyone in that room came out of it with the knowledge, or the confirmation of previous knowledge, that awareness in soccer leads to better passing.

As much excellent, important basketball work as there was at the conference this year, this soccer project represented the sort of hyper-focused, results-oriented research that you may have been more likely to come across before the onset of new, big data in the hoops universe. Results were everywhere, but this was the year for process.

The data in question is being provided to 15 NBA teams by SportVU and STATS LLC via a six-camera system that hangs in the arena rafters, tracking every single movement of the basketball and the players on the court. It can tell you everything from how far a defender is from the ball at any given time to how fast Kenneth Faried is running at the rim as a jump shot hits the highest point of its parabola. It is fascinating technology and featured in three of the four research papers focused on basketball this year for good reason, but it is not without its short-term limitations.


If there was a consistent theme among the three SportVU-centric papers, it was ‘Good Work, Keep Working.’ This is less of a comment on the work itself and more on the relative infancy of the data-sets. Only half the league has the cameras installed, and even fewer have had them installed for a full season start-to-finish – leading to a relatively incomplete sample size (primarily based in a lockout season) that, while large enough to get some interesting results is still far too small to use as the foundation for any hard conclusions.

But we don’t always need hard conclusions if we can use the data to support an existing argument. For example, a paper titled ‘To Crash or Not to Crash’ written by a group of MIT graduate students came to the conclusion that sending multiple players to the offensive boards is worth a few extra points per game, while keeping a few back for transition defense was also beneficial – the best combination being to send two rebounders and keep three players back. Considering that this is something you see regularly in every single NBA game, the data here assumes the valuable role of supporting and confirming common logic.

A paper from Kirk Goldsberry and Eric Weiss – the star of the weekend – provided a similar function, using SportVU to track shots taken (and not taken) when particular interior defenders were within a few feet of the attempted shot. The results, from last season, were plentiful, but among the most noteworthy were Larry Sanders allowing a field-goal percentage of just .349 when he was within five feet of an interior shot, David Lee allowing more than half of the shots in that same range to fall and Dwight Howard preventing opponents from taking many interior shots whatsoever.

In other words, Sanders and Howard play highly-valuable, if different, interior defense while Lee struggles have a direct effect on shots around the rim. Again, confirming what may seem like common sense, but in the case of NBA defense common sense has had very little actual data to support it. Ray Allen is a good three-point shooter and that fact is supported by his three-point percentage just as the defense of Sanders and Howard is now supported by tracked field-goal percentage. Moving forward, that sort of information will be revolutionary.

We just can’t take the results of either of these papers as gospel. What if some of the major outliers in offensive rebounding didn’t have SportVU cameras, thus affecting the entire data set? There may be over a thousand shots tracked behind the Larry Sanders numbers, but what if some of his worst defensive games against the best-finishing opponents weren’t available? Synergy Sports has tracked defense using game tape for many years now, and while the resulting numbers have often been misleading, the results of possessions in isolation or post-up defense have shown throughout the years that even the best defenders can have numbers that fluctuate wildly.

Neither paper pretended to be the end-all be-all. The Goldsberry and Weiss paper is very wise in making it very clear that this is all preliminary work, meant primarily to establish the potential for the optical-tracking data as a useful tool for defensive analysis. When SportVU burst onto the scene two years ago it bought the property and cleared the debris off the land in order to make room for an exciting new House of Data. Everything is going as planned, but in terms of what we are going to learn from it, we’re barely putting down concrete in the basement.

Nowhere was that more evident than in Philip Maymin’s study on Acceleration in the NBA, which showed in part that power forwards and centers – among which Joel Anthony was one of the best – are the most frequent accelerators in the half-court offense and that the primary acceleration zones are the areas around the paint and the top of the key (heavy pick-and-roll and rebounding areas). But again, doors are opened for a great deal of questions that we’re probably years away from answering.

We’re also closer than previously thought.


If the main limitation of SportVU has been the sheer lack of data – solved by all 30 teams buying in and time simply passing to allow for the sample size to mature – then the second obstacle has been figuring out what exactly to do with all the data. SportVU records every action at 25 frames per second, which means that in a single game the cameras spit out enough information to fill a stack of phonebooks. The previously mentioned research papers funneled all those raw numbers into some relatively elegant results, but they weren’t exactly written overnight. While STATS LLC helps each buy-in team with some information, teams that want to get the best return on their investment have had to find programmers capable of writing extensive database language.

Those people don’t exactly grow on trees, nor is one person likely going to be able to, say, come out of a coaches meeting and produce results on a few things an advance scout mentioned in a report?

What if a coach, five minutes before a practice, wants to know exactly how many times Dwyane Wade went away from a screen in his games against teams that start two traditionally large big men? That’s where Eagle comes in.

Built by Rajiv Maheswaran and his team at Second Spectrum (and the University of Southern California), Eagle is a platform, much like Synergy Sports or even offers, that can take complex questions – how many times LeBron James has been within five feet of a jumper taken on the left wings, and the percentages on those shots – and return answers in less than a minute. It not only offers player and team rankings based on the highly-variable filters put into the system, but crafts visuals, like heat maps and animated play-by-play of pick-and-rolls, to go along with everything.

Basically, just as you go to to find Shane Battier’s shooting percentage on corner threes, you can use Eagle to find, well, just about anything you can dream up (when the platform is completed).

Whether it is with Eagle or another product, this is the future of SportVU – a combination of speed, power and visuals that makes queries that were unthinkable five years ago almost as simple as looking up offensive efficiency.


Eagle’s ability to create images and animations highlighted the overarching theme of the weekend in Boston: that at some point, analytics must be applicable. Spreadsheets don’t cut it for coaches and they’ll barely be given a glace from most NBA players. The numbers eventually have to translate on to the court, and in order for translation to occur there must be communication.

Communication. This is what it all comes down to. Numbers are a vessel for communication, but there are more accessible avenues – a panel on infographics at Sloan was dedicated entirely to this topic – for evolving the data into something usable. We won’t stop learning new things from big data, but we can’t stop learning how to communicate those things.
post #58 of 991

If you didn't already follow 'em. These guys are a must.



Kevin Pelton.  @Kpelton


Tom Haberstroh @TomHaberstroh


Haralabos Voulgaris.  @haralabob


John Candido. @JohnCandido

post #59 of 991
Those 6 cameras hanging in the rafters, can they be tapped into? Could ABC, ESPN etc use them for officials? Are they wide view only? Zoom in, etc? Anyone ever seen the view of or from them?
post #60 of 991
Thread Starter 
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sports & Training
NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › The NBA Advanced Statistics Thread: Thank You TD