Yesterday, I posted a new idea for visualizing box scores: Game Stacks. While the first version did a good job of showing shooting percentages and turnover rates, it didn’t do a good job on rebounds. As my pops pointed out, Indiana had a big rebounding advantage over Michigan by the basic numbers (36-22), so it seemed wrong to rely only on the height of the stacks to determine who rebounded better. The reality: Michigan got more chances not because they rebounded better, but because they had more misses — and you have to miss to get a second chance. The height of the stacks just showed that Michigan got more offensive rebounds, even though their rebounding rate was terrible.
So, round two. Here’s the Michigan-Indiana Game Stack redesigned to capture rebounding:
Without play by play data, I had to keep the rebounding simple — I figured out the offensive rebound rate for each team:
Off reb rate = your off rebs/(their def rebs + your off rebs).
Then, I multiplied this rate by the relevant number of shots to generate the “Missed (O Reb)” category for each type of shot (the dashed regions). Each dashed/empty combo now visualizes the offensive rebound rate for the relevant team.
Now the picture is clearer:
Posted in Basketball, College Sports, Sports Stats
Tagged basketball, basketball graphic, Boston, Boston Celtics, box score, Celtics, Celtics offensive rebounding, Clippers, college hoops, defensive breakdowns, Dick Vitale, Free throw, Game Stack, game stacks, Golden State Warriors, graphical statistics, graphics sports, Hoosier, Houston Rockets, Indiana, Indiana basketball, indiana game, Lakers, lakers pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Michigan, Michigan basketball, NBA, nba game, offensive rebound, Pistons, point attempts, Rebound (basketball), rebounding advantage, Rockets, Rockets 23 three pointers, Rockets three pointers, shooting percentages, shot attempts, Sports, sports statistics, Three-point field goal, turnover rates, visual shooting percentages, visual statistics, visualization, visualizing basketball games, Warriors, Wolverines
I’ve been watching my fair share of basketball during the playoffs — very exciting, compelling series so far, despite the injuries. However, I have a few questions:
- Why do you have to hand the ball to the ref before you throw it in? Wouldn’t it be much more exciting to let players throw it in as soon as they can get a ball, like a soccer throw in? Teams are allowed to do this after a made basket already. Add another commercial break to balance out the faster pace if that’s what it takes.
- Why can you only draw a charge if you stay on the ground and fall over? The offensive player can draw a foul while jumping and keeping his feet, why not the defense? If the defender jumps, the best case is a no call. Referees have a big say at the end of basketball games, but it’s not a bigger say than baseball umpires, for example, who must make every ball and strike call. I think one of the reasons people persecute basketball refs (besides the Tim Donaghy scandal) is that the foul rules aren’t especially consistent.
- Why do teams get so many timeouts, especially in the first half? They have lots of practiced plays that they can signal in from the sideline. I suppose that the endgame timeout flurries increase the tension on those individual plays, but the downtime in between is no fun, and I bet the rest of the game seems less important by comparison. Again, if we need a couple more evenly spaced TV timeouts or sponsors on the jerseys to compensate, I’m fine with that.
These are my questions. Do you have any answers?
Posted in Basketball, Common Sense, Innovative Ideas, Rules Analysis
Tagged baseball umpires, basketball, basketball games, basketball inbounds, basketball refs suck, basketball rules, basketball rules inconsistent, basketball throw in, basketball too many stoppages, basketball too many timeouts, Boston Celtics, commercial break, end of basketball games take too long, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA games are fixed, NBA refs are terrible, NBA too many timeouts, offensive player, Officiating, playoffs, problems with NBA referees, Shopping, soccer throw in, Sports, Tim Donaghy, tim donaghy scandal, timeouts, timeouts NBA, Training
Tanking: intentionally losing in order to improve draft position.
After my PhD buddy Chris and I circulated our findings that NBA teams tank a lot, we’ve been asked a few times, “Which teams are tanking?” Today I offer a quick look at teams that have likely tanked.
First, a refresher: we measure tanking by comparing performance before and after playoff-eliminated teams “clinch” their lottery spot. In the last couple games of the season, many teams lock in their spot, so they no longer have an incentive to lose. Those games act as our control. The problem with doing it this way is that some tankers may keep trying to lose even after they clinch their spot. This could happen because teams shut down star players because of “injury” or just because teams develop a habit of losing.
So, the big caveat with the results below (and the results in our paper) is that we are almost certainly missing some tankers. Some teams Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Causal Analysis, Research Papers
Tagged Atlanta Hawks, basketball, Boston Celtics, causal analysis, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, do teams tank NBA, draft position, Golden State Warriors, how much tanking is there in the NBA, Jason Kidd, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA draft lottery, NBA draft lottery incentive to tank, NBA first overall picks, NBA lottery rules, nba teams, playoff elimination, Sports, tanking, Toronto Raptors, Vancouver Grizzlies
The Celtics are hanging onto the 8 seed for dear life. Last night, they got a big win over the Cavaliers (who are ninth) and managed to tie up the Knicks for the 7 seed. In Boston, most people realize that this group is done. I’m reminded of the Pistons in ’08-09; here’s the IMDB:
PG-13 (66 games and 1 playoff round) – Sports Action
In 2008-2009, the Detroit Pistons are coming off six straight Eastern Conference finals appearances. However, their core players — Chauncey Billups, Richard “Rip” Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace — are aging, Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Pop Culture, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged 08 09 Pistons, Allen Iverson, Antonio McDyess, Arron Afflalo, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Celtics big three too old, Celtics championship window closed, Celtics need to blow up the big three, Celtics should trade Allen, Celtics should trade Garnett, Celtics should trade Rondo, Celtics too old, Celtics trade possibilities, Chauncey Billups, Chris Wilcox, Cleveland Cavaliers, Danny Ainge, Detroit Pistons, Doc Rivers, E'Twaun Moore, Iverson trade Pistons, Jason Maxiell, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kwame Brown, LeBron James, Michael Curry, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Pistons 6 straight Eastern Conference finals, Rajon Rondo, Rajon Rondo on the trading block, Rajon Rondo trade, Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Rip Hamilton Ray Allen, Rodney Stuckey, Steve Kerr Rajon Rondo quote Sports Illustrated, Tayshaun Prince
Lately, I’ve been arguing that older teams should rest their “more experienced” players as much as possible during the condensed season, especially in the fourth quarter of games that are out of hand. Regular readers might be shaking their heads at me after the Celtics’ games against the Cavaliers this week. In the first one, they gave up an 11 point lead in the last 4:24 of the game (they scored zero points). In the second, they nearly blew an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter.
However, I think these games are just more evidence that the Celtics should rest the Old Three in the fourth quarter with large leads (or deficits). Not only will it help in future games, but it might actually help in the current game. The Celtics have a strong bench, and the Old Three are, well, old and tired. They are prone to blowing fourth quarter leads with long scoring droughts. Whether early or late, Doc Rivers needs to find time to rest his horses, or they will be burned out by March.
Edit: I actually wrote this yesterday before the Celtics thumped the Craptors. In that game, they led by 28 points entering the fourth quarter, the starters all rested, and they ended up winning by 34. Progress, I say!
Posted in Basketball, Common Sense
Tagged Anderson Varejão, basketball, Big Three are too old, Boston, Boston Celtics, Boston Celtics old, Cavalier, Celtics, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Craptors, Doc Rivers, Kyrie Irving, NBA, NBA condensed schedule, Toronto Craptors, Toronto Raptors
It was a renaissance in Boston last night. Garnett was draining 20 footers, Paul Pierce was driving and kicking and hitting shots, and Jermaine O’Neal was putting the clamps on Dwight Howard. Everybody hustled. The defensive intensity never lapsed all game. To steal a line from NBA TV studio man Brent Barry, the Celtics’ “Jurassic Five” went prehistoric on the Magic and held them to a franchise-low 56 points. It was their first win over a team with a winning record, by 31 points no less.
Recently, I’ve discussed the efficacy of the hack-a-Howard strategy (or as Celtics TV mainstay Tommy Heinsohn puts it, the old “hack the Shaq”). The short answer is that Howard shoots too well from the line (59% almost every year, though lower so far this year) for a pure hack-a-Howard to be effective for most teams. However, hacking Howard only when he has the ball in good position Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Probability Analysis
Tagged 56 points franchise low, Avery Bradley, Avery Bradley defensive weapon, Avery Bradley great defender, Avery Bradley owned Jameer Nelson, basketball, Bass outplayed Davis, Big Baby Davis, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Brent Barry Jurassic five, Celtic, Celtics defended Howard well, Celtics Magic trade Davis Bass, Celtics old, Celtics won the Brandon Bass Glen Davis trade, Doc Rivers, Dwight Howard, E'Twaun Moore, Glen Davis, gold buffalo proof coin commercial, Greg "The Dutch Steamer" Stiemsma, hack-a-Howard, Hedo "the Turk" Turkoglu, Howard, Howard double team, Howard free throw shooting percentage, Howard not Superman, Howard shooting percentage, Howard should pass more, Howard takes bad shots, Howard took too many shots, intentional fouls Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson turnovers, Jason Richardson, Jermaine O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal defense, Jurassic Five, Kevin Garnett resurgence, KG, Magic offense uncreative, Marquis Daniels, Max Tall commercial, Max Tall shoe lifts, NBA, NBA TV, NBA TV horrible commercials, O'Neal, O'Neal stopped Howard, Orlando Magic, Paul Pierce, Paul Pierce heel injury, Rajan Rondo, Ray Allen, Sasha "the Dog" Pavlovic, Sasha Pavlovic, should teams double team Dwight Howard, teams should not double team Dwight Howard, the Dutch Steamer, the Steamer, the Turk, Tommy Heinsohn funny quotes, Tony
In last night’s Heat – Lakers game, the Heat had The Bron in the lineup (despite being sick), but The Wade sat out with his ankle injury. Even without The Wade, the Heat dominated the game. Kobe shot a horrible percentage but took more shots than Pau “the Gas Man” Gasol or Andrew “Great Potential” Bynum (as usual).
The Heat led by 21 entering the fourth quarter. Still, Mike Brown left his starters on the floor until the bitter end. When Kobe entered the game around the 10 minute mark, announcer Steve Kerr admonished Brown to take all the starters out. Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Common Sense
Tagged Andrew "Great Potential" Bynum, Andrew Bynum, back to backs, basketball, Boston Celtics, condensed schedule, Kobe low shooting percentage, Lebron James sick, Miami Heat, Mike Brown, Mike Brown should have rested his starters, NBA, Orlando Magic, Pau "the Gas Man" Gasol, Pau Gasol, Steve Kerr, The Bron, The Wade, TNT
In the Celtics – Raptors game early tonight, the Celtics were up 73-55 at the start of the fourth quarter. Of the Old Three, only Garnett was on the floor. Both teams started the quarter cold, but Garnett got a couple free throws to push the lead to 20 with 9:15 left. In came Greg “the Dutch Steamer” Stiemsma, and that was the last of the Old Three for the evening. Needless to say, the Celtics won by 23. (The only bad news for the Celtics was a hard fall for Rondo, though he seems to be ok.)
I definitely approve of this strategy. There are multiple pros: Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Innovative Ideas
Tagged Boston Celtics, Celtics 5 game losing streak, Celtics Big Three are too old, Chicago Bulls, Craptors, Dallas Mavericks, Greg "The Dutch Steamer" Stiemsma, Greg Stiemsma, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Garnett old, NBA, NBA condensed schedule, Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, rest Kevin Garnett, rest strategies, rest the Big Three, San Antonio Spurs, the Old Three, Toronto Raptors
I just got back from the Celtics open practice – this year they played a full two quarters of basketball, “green” vs. “white.” Everyone played except for Garnett and Pierce, and guys got into it (running actual plays, playing defense, working for offensive rebounds, refs called it tight, etc.). The white team featured Rondo and Allen, as well as new face Brandon Bass and ex-star Jermaine O’Neal. The
Washington Generals green team was led by Marquis Daniels (the best defender in the league) and journeyman Chris Wilcox. It’s hard to learn too much from a setting like this, but I have a few observations from the evening: Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Detroit Pistons, Dwight Howard, E'Twaun Moore, Greg Stiemsma, JaJuan Johnson, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Marquis Daniels, NBA, open practice, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen
Major League Baseball’s winter meetings are generating as much talk as ever. Today, the Angels engaged in some economic stimulus with over $300 million in contracts for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Pujols’s deal is $252 million over 10 years. In ten years, Pujols will be 41.
This is basically the same deal that Alex Rodriguez got from the Yankees before the 2008 season (10 years, $275 million, age 32). Predictably, people are writing that Pujols’s contract is too long. I think this is the wrong view. I bet both sides Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Commentary, Common Sense, Financial Analysis, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Boston Celtics, C.J. Wilson, Chris Paul, Danny Ainge, free agency, Kevin Garnett, long-term contract, Los Angeles Angles, Marquis Daniels, MLB, Moneyball, NBA, New York Yankees, Rajan Rondo