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
I didn’t have a whole lot to say in the post-NFL apocalyptic sports world today, so I’m leaving it to Brother Conor to bring you up to speed:
Hey there. Taking the reins for a moment so that Tyler stays ahead of the curve on the NBA’s answer to Tim Tebow. It’s Jeremy Lin-mania! Linsanity! Though I’m a political theorist by training, I’ll bow to the blog’s raison d’être and lead with the stats. Last night, Jeremy Lin dropped 28 points on the Jazz, and in just 45 minutes on the floor! Here’s a rough equation to put this in context:
(28 points x “end of NFL season media desperation” x “hype machine”) / “small sample size” = “Lin will score twenty-twelve billion points this year” + “Lin will play until he’s 65”
The math is pretty clear. Last night, Jeremy Lin limned the court with the unmistakable brilliance of a legend made good on his potential.
It’s early days to extrapolate the rest of his career, but here are some minimum baselines Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Football, Humor, Pop Culture
Tagged basketball, Brother Conor, Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Conor Williams, Derrick Rose, football, Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lin Chinese, Jeremy Lin Chinese-American, Jeremy Lin hype, Jeremy Lin overrated, Jeremy Lin stats, Jeremy Lin too much hype, Kardashian sisters, Kris Humphries, Lin, Linsanity, NBA, New York Knicks, NFL season over, post-NFL sports world, Sino-U.S. relations, Super Bowl, Tim Tebow
Jerry West had some interesting comments yesterday on superstars demanding trades in the NBA. Basically, he says wait them out. His two arguments:
- Players and agents will “resign” themselves to the situation and “re-sign” since their current team can offer them as much as $30 million more than another team (by NBA rules)
- Even if they don’t, the value you get in a trade is crappy
I disagree with point 1 (Exhibit A: LeBron James), but he’s right about point 2. In my South Beach Talents model, Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Common Sense, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged Bulls trade Howard, Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard trade, Jerry West, Jerry West Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, LeBron James, Luol Deng, NBA, should the Bulls trade for Dwight Howard
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
The Broncos – Steelers opening kickoff sailed through the thin air, doinked off the cross bar, and settled precisely on the 20 yard line: the perfect touchback. Perhaps the man upstairs was sending us a sign.
Last week, I picked the Giants, Saints, Steelers, and Bengals to advance. I got the NFC picks right, but the Texans defense/running game combination worked perfectly against the Bengals, and the Steelers were done in by numerous injuries and some beautiful deep balls from Tim Tebow. Perhaps this week I’ll try flipping a coin instead of choosing games, or maybe just pick home teams (all four home teams won; only the Broncos were challenged).
There are 11 playoff games total each year. Regular season True Wins and actual wins each predicted Continue reading
Posted in Commentary, Football, Gambling, Rules Analysis
Tagged 2008 Super Bowl, 24-2, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Ross, Adrian the Canadian, AFC, Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Brees fourth and 1, bye week, Calvin Johnson, Charlie Batch should have played, Chicago Bulls, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, divisional round, dropped interceptions Lions, Eli Manning, field goal, first round, football, forward progress, going for it on fourth and short, Green Bay Packers, Hail Mary, Hochuli rule, Houston Texans, injured, injuries, Jim Nantz, Justin Tuck, Louis Delmas, Matt Flynn, Matt Ryan, Megatron, Mike Smith, Mike Smith right call, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, over time, overtime, Phil Simms, Pittsburgh Steelers, playoffs, Prince Amukamara, Rashard Mendenhall, Rodgers 3 weeks off, Ryan Clark, Ryan Clark mvp, Ryan Clark sickle cell altitude, safety, Saints zero punts, San Francisco 49ers, second round, T.J. Yates, three weeks off, Tim Tebow, Troy Aikman, Troy Aikman wrong, Troy Polamalu, True Wins, week 17, wild card round
In my post on Friday about the DiMaggio hit streak, I mentioned the old hack-a-Shaq strategy. With Dwight Howard playing for Shaq’s old team, I’m surprised that teams don’t try the hack-a-Howard (Howard is a 60% career free throw shooter). Friday night’s Bulls-Magic game was a potential opportunity; the Bulls led for the entire fourth quarter. Here are the Bulls possessions inside of 4:30 remaining: Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Innovative Ideas, Probability Analysis
Tagged 56 games, baseball, basketball, Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, hack-a-Howard, hack-a-Shaq, Hedo Turkoglu, hit streak, intentional foul off the ball, intentional fouling, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Joe DiMaggio, Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, Orlando Magic, poor free throw shooter, Shaquille O'Neal, Taj Gibson
And I don’t mean on SNL. Charles Barkley joined Reggie Miller and Kevin Harlan on TNT’s Hawks – Heat broadcast on Thursday. If you get a chance to watch Barkley court side, don’t miss it. His honesty and intelligence are refreshing.
In fact, he was a little too honest this time around. During a commercial break, some online viewers were treated to Barkley pontificating while he thought he was off camera. Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Pop Culture
Tagged Atlanta Hawks, basketball, Big Baby, Charles Barkley, Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Jeff Van Gundy, Kevin Harlan, Miami Heat, nice guys, Orlando Magic, Reggie Miller, Saturday Night Live, SNL, TNT, Toronto Rapters, Weight Watchers