Tag Archives: Bill Simmons

Sloan Sports Conference publicity

I spent most of Friday and Saturday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, checking out other research and discussing my work (with my buddy Chris) on the NBA draft and tanking. Peter Dizikes wrote a nice article for MIT News discussing our project and some of the other work by MIT affiliates. I was also interviewed by a fellow named David Staples from the Edmonton Journal about our project.

David mentions another project on tanking presented at the conference. Adam Gold, who’s a PhD student at the University of Missouri, presented his “solution” for tanking. The proposal: total team wins after playoff elimination should determine draft order. My problem with this: teams that are eliminated sooner have more time to accumulate wins post-elimination, so, rather than race for the overall worst record, teams would race to be eliminated first. I think this would make the problem worse, since teams with low expectations  might give up early in the season, even if these expectations were wrong.

Adam’s response was that no teams will tank early, since they all try to make the playoffs first and foremost. I wish that were true, Continue reading

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Why try your luck on Luck?

The Colts are going to take Andrew Luck first overall in the draft. No one will blame them if he doesn’t work out because every team without a star quarterback would draft him, given the chance. However, is this the right choice? Here are the career numbers for all first pick QBs since 1990 (from Pro Football Reference):

I listed each quarterback’s draft year, games played, winning percentage, completion percentage, TDs and INTs as a percentage Continue reading

Predicting the Super Bowl winner

With the Super Bowl ten days away, I thought it would be fun to look at some statistics for the winners in the last 25 Super Bowls (excluding the strike year in 1987). For each winner and loser, I list their regular season True Wins, regular season actual wins, regular season wins the previous season, and the Super Bowl line for the winner (lines from Vegas Insider). In the previous season column — “Last Wins” — I also list each team’s playoff performance from the year before in parentheses: a number indicates the round that they exited, “n” indicates that they didn’t make the playoffs, and “!” indicates that they won the Super Bowl. Here are the data:

Continue reading

Don’t hire your former star player as your GM

Pistons GM Joe Dumars just resigned point guard/shooting guard Rodney Stuckey for $25 million over 3 years. Stuckey has been up and down for the Pistons since they drafted him in 2007, but basically he’s an Iverson-style ball-hog point guard that the Pistons would rather have at shooting guard, since they don’t really trust him. I’m pretty neutral on this signing, probably keeps the Pistons just outside the playoffs, just like last year.

I am NOT neutral about the following Dumars moves: Continue reading