Roboscout and the Four Factors of Basketball Success
Roboscout suggests the strengths and weaknesses that are exploitable in a team. Some teams are good at one area of the game and consistently good -- there is nothing you can do about them. But other teams may be good at one area of the game, but they show weaknesses every so often. That's what this tool picks up. By looking at the Four Factors of basketball success that are highlighted in
Basketball on Paper
, it really presents a great tool for beating an opponent and building your own team into a more successful one.
Toying With 'Em
The Bulls will either blow you out and play their scrubs in the fourth quarter or they will play a good team tight until the fourth quarter, then turn it up. By doing this, their numbers do not reflect how good they really are... until now. This article explains how to look past the Bulls' tendency to play down to opponents.
Conference Finals Predictions 1997
What the numbers say and what I say to predict the 1997 conference finals.
How to Beat Houston: No Threes!!!
Hakeem Olajuwon is a great defender, but his offense cannot carry the Rockets. Teams should use that to their advantage in the playoffs because, as I show, when the Rockets take advantage of double-teams to hit three-pointers, they are a much better team... Also, a brief comment on the disgraceful non-basketball in the Miami-New York series.
The Heat is on Miami and Mashburn
Miami supposedly acquired Jamal Mashburn to make its title shot better. But Mashburn's shot isn't all that great. That is one reason why Miami struggled against New York in their 1997 playoff matchup.
Updated Playoff Odds 5/10/97
Chicago shows us their superhuman side. Utah is beginning to look like a demi-god, too. What happens when the gods collide? Very premature look at a Utah-Chicago Finals.
Updated Playoff Odds 5/9/97
The Miami-New York series restarts with Miami's win in Game Two. The Seattle-Houston series takes a turn with a couple of missed free throws and a legitimately big shot by Clyde Drexler.
Updated Odds, Bulls Lose
With the Bulls' loss, do the Hawks really have a chance? Have they swung momentum so much that they can knock off the greatest team in history? We can get a handle on it and look at the other series, too.
Second Round Predictions
The numbers behind the second round series. Also includes a look at Portland's Rasheed Wallace and his adjustment to the NBA.
Teasing the Enemy: Playing Up or Down to an Opponent
The best teams can play down to their opponent and know they will win. Seattle is one of those good teams that feels it has to blow a team out to win. That is one reason why they are struggling in the playoffs.
Mission Impossibull: Beating the Bulls
A playoff preview for 1997.
The Raw Rookie Class
The promise of youth sparks our interest in the rookies and inspires us to choose our Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, so many of the rookies are not improving and some of these guys will grow up to be just like Harold Miner.
How Defense Influences Three Point Shooting
The NBA All-Star Shootout provided a unique opportunity to evaluate the effect of defense on three-point shooting efficiency. Read how big a difference it can make... Also a quick re-evaluation of the NBA's offensive woes.
Allen Iverson: Special and Soon-To-Be Super
This Philadelphia rookie is not Michael Jordan, as we like to label every new hotshot guard, but he has talents that will make this most exciting of NBA players one of the league's best.
Hoop Shorts 3/20/97
The secret of Minnesota's success and what the Sacramento Kings owner is doing to his fans.
Life Is Unfair...Then It Changes
Try as we might to make sports more fair than the world that we live in, they are still inherently unfair. The best team doesn't always win and the bad teams often just get worse. But that is what makes it all so much fun.
How Slow Can You Go?
The Cleveland Cavaliers recently beat the Chicago Bulls by getting an early lead and keeping the game slow. Playoff teams should take note -- the strategy helps.
Learning the Game
With so little publicity of the ABL, you probably don't know that the league is headed to the Finals. You probably don't know what teams made it. With so little media coverage, let's try to piece together a little about the Columbus Quest, the Chicago Bulls of the women's league.
Tyra Banks! Tyra Banks!
swimsuit edition is out. Somehow I have to compete with that. Here is my best attempt.... A look at the best point guards in the league, the New Jersey-Dallas trade.
The Rodman File
Rodman's recent suspension presented a good opportunity to evaluate him compared to his replacement, Toni Kukoc.
"How to Win Fans and Build Chemistry" by Coaches Who Teach Defense
A lot of the successful coaches in the NBA have little in common except for their emphasis of defense.
The average fan determines the starters. The coaches determine the reserves. You'd think that the uneducated fans would make worse choices than the coaches. Maybe not.
Basketball's Glass Ceiling
I've watched women's basketball for six years. Now I'm watching it go pro. It's a great opportunity for women to succeed and an even better opportunity for me to stick my foot in my mouth.
Of Point Spreads and Predictions, Using a Kalman Filter
Predicting games and point spreads is not one of the goals of this journal. However, this simple tool that does just that can also be used to analyze players' overall games and may prove to be one of the best tools available for evaluating individual defense. If that doesn't convince you to read this, I should also mention that this "Kalman Filter" is also used in many engineering disciplines, in finance, in law, and, though they don't talk about it on
, even in medicine.
Insight on a Boxscore
What are the things to look for in a boxscore to tell you what really happened?
The Kidd Trade: The Balance of Impotence Shifts
Follow along as I beat myself up arguing over who won in the Dallas-Phoenix trade.
Response to Critiques
Almost two years ago, I posted an article to a newsgroup where I chose the Rookie of the Year using methods from
. A follow-up post protested the use of any sort of statistics for evaluating players. This is my response to that criticism.
Christmas Morning at 5 am
As someone who always wakes up early on Christmas, I had to find something to do until the rest of my family decided to get up and open presents. So I found some of my notes on Dennis Rodman, Kerry Kittles, Rasheed Wallace, Charles Barkley, basketball advertising, and biased referees.
The Death of the Hot Hand
There was a famous study of whether basketball players really get "hot" and "cold". This article looks at that study and lets you try to pick out streaks.
You Don't Know Shaq
Shaquille O'Neal takes heat for being just a dunker, for not hitting his free throws, and for not being focused. But he still has the richest long term contract in basketball. Take this little test to find out why.
Some of the best or most unique sites relating to the world's most famous athlete.
The NBA Offensive Troubles -- Reality or Illusion?
The NBA has seen a dramatic decline in scoring this year. Is it a blip or a problem?
Can the Chicago Bulls Be Perfect?
Michael Jordan stated that he wanted to have "the perfect season". These were there odds... This has been updated to include their odds of winning 75 along with looks at Houston and Seattle, two teams with good records.
The Bridge to the 21st Century
The NBA is skimming the best players out of college basketball anticipating that they will make them strong into the next century. Take a look at what is really happening.
The Effect of Bad Referees
Finally I've figured out how to do it. Now I know how to strike back at the refs, to let them know how they can change the odds of winning or losing if they are doing a bad job. I finally figured out what it means for a ref to do a bad job.
Making Your Teammates Better: Measuring It For the First Time
We can now measure how an individual's performance is correlated with his teammates. It implies numerous things, including whether that player makes his teammates better, as they say about all of the greats.
A Review of the Top Free Agents
This is a rather large compilation of the top free agents on the market this summer. It includes their official NBA stats and their
stats, etc. I have a little to add over the course of the week, but there is plenty here to read through.
Dreamin' of the Dream Team
America's finest take the floor against the rest of the world. What can we expect from them?
Statistics for Rookies of 1996
How did this past year's rookie crop do? Most of them didn't really help their team, as these numbers show and as history shows. These numbers pretty strongly indicate that, of the true rookies, Michael Finley was the best.
College Numbers for NBA Draftees
How efficiently did the NBA draftees score in college? With college numbers for draftees from the prior two drafts, as well.
Strike Up the Accordion! It's Party Time in Chicago!
The Bulls were the oldest team in the league, the biggest, the most experienced, the second tallest, and easily the best.
Hooked on Sonics? How Can They Spell Victory?
The 1996 Finals has Seattle facing a juggernaut in the Chicago Bulls. What are some of the things they should do to improve their odds?
So You Think You're A Star? Errors and Misconceptions in Evaluating Exceptional Talent
It is very difficult to tell whether a player is going to be one-in-a-million like Michael Jordan or just another NBA player. This article gives some of the statistical reason for this difficulty and some basic guidelines for helping to determine how good a prospect is.
Individual and Team Stats '96
This is a compilation of some of my
, as applied to teams and individuals for the 1996 season. It has more than stats, though. I actually do say something witty about what the numbers mean. You may disagree with the witty part....
End-of-Season Team Notebook
A brief look at the best offenses and defenses of the season, what the most consistent and inconsistent teams were, and a preliminary look at who got lucky or unlucky this season and what that means for them next year.
Playoff Home Court Advantage
The playoffs give teams a day of rest between games and extra preparation time to stand up to that brutal home court advantage. That's the traditional logic, at least. This article examines whether there really is an effect of the playoff format upon the home court advantage.
The Playoff Odds
Using some standard statistical methods, some basic odds of winning the first round playoff series can be found. I will be updating these throughout the playoffs.
Shooters vs. Dunkers: Their Effects on Winning
The streaky three point shooter can get you back into a game or take you out of a game. The inside player who always gets to the line or hits layups may not be as dramatic, but is the workhorse to carry you through games. Are there cases when one player is more preferable than the other?
The Charlotte Hornets' Decision of Whether to Trade Rex Chapman
In 1990, I was asked to analyze a proposed trade sending Cleveland's Larry Nance and Steve Kerr to Charlotte for Rex Chapman. The trade never happened, but six years later, the projected futures of the players involved look pretty good.
April's Fool: The Devil in Dennis Rodman
It is said that sportswriting is made up of two things: Knowledge and BS. Most of the articles written about Dennis Rodman have fallen into the latter category. This one doesn't.
What Strategies Are Risky?
What exactly are risky strategies in basketball and how do they help an underdog or hurt a favorite?
What Are Kentucky's Chances?
Prior to Kentucky winning the NCAA Title, I evaluated whether the 7-5 odds they were getting were reasonable.
Should Patrick Ewing Be A Number One Option?
When Don Nelson was fired from the Knicks, he suggested that Patrick Ewing was no longer fit to be the first option in the offense if the Knicks wanted to win a title. Was Nelson bitter or was there some truth to his parting words?
The Fundamentals for Analyzing Basketball
is an overview of the basic methods used in
. Read this if you are a new reader.
Measuring the Effects of Consistency on Winning for Individuals
wins a game. The mathematics are not very difficult, but the results are occasionally counterintuitive, which is why experimenting with the calculator is a good idea. For example, you can show that a player with a worse floor percentage and offensive rating can actually have a winning percentage higher than another player with better numbers. This occurs when the worse-looking player uses more possessions in a game... But it is hard to generalize, which is one reason why evaluating talent is difficult even with good numbers.
I modified an article from the
whether centers are really necessary for winning
Evaluating College Players
This is not so much an article as a listing of stats for college players from the '94-95 season, some of whom are in the pros, some of whom have prospects for the pros, and some of whom have to pay to watch the pros. In what text there is, I explain a little bit about the numbers I calculate for the college kids and where there might be some inaccuracies.... Oh yeah,
college numbers are here, too.
The Effect of Controlling Tempo
Theoretical statistics to show how slowing the game helps an underdog's chances. Also, a brief discussion of how the pace of the NBA has changed in the past 20 years.
A Simple Analysis Of The All-Stars
A comparison of the two all-star teams through their floor percentages and win-loss records.
Jordan vs Olajuwon: Who's Better? Using a Scientific Method
A scientific comparison of two of the best players in the game.
Scientific reasons why the game is exciting, as though we needed them.
How Often Do Teams Get Lucky?
Some of those quality wins may be luck, probably more than you think.
NBA Statistics for 1994-95
. A compilation of 1995 stats, including individual floor percentage, ratings, and individual win/loss records.
Basketball's Bell Curve
This is a new and important issue about how points aren't the only important factor in evaluating players and teams. Consistency is also important. Contains new applets to show point distributions and how those distributions affect winning percentage.
A Comparison of Rating Methods
This was a comparison of the team and individual rating methods seen used in various basketball news groups.
New Measurement Techniques and A Binomial Model of the Game of Basketball
. A highly technical article showing how that class in statistics actually relates strongly to the analysis of basketball. This also introduces the
Possession Scoring System
, which is the backbone of all methods here. That part is not very technical.
Individual Win/Loss Records
. A basic article that talks about how individuals create wins and losses for their team and how we can measure them.
Individual Floor Percentage
, An elementary introduction to the concept of efficient offensive players, not just those that score a lot. Uses numerous players to illustrate its value. Shows Karl Malone's breakthrough year numbers.
Analyzing Players and Offenses With Floor Percentage
. A second column illustrating how floor percentage can be used to evaluate players and design offenses.
The Floor Percentage Paradox
. How can one player outdo another in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and assist-to-turnover ratio, but still be less efficient offensively? This article answers this question.