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
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 promise I’ll give Kobe a break soon. After all, he took a break himself last night, in a game where Bynum played great (8-13 shooting, 15 boards), Kobe shot awful early and backed off from trying to score 40 (7-22, 14 points), but the Lakers won with their defense. Before I give it a rest, I wanted to link an interesting alternative approach to the numbers that I’ve been presenting.
Zach Lowe at SI breaks down Kobe’s decision making in a series of videos (granted, they are probably cherry picked). Lowe reminds us Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Common Sense
Tagged Andrew Bynum, Chris Paul, Dallas Mavericks, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant holds the ball too much, Kobe Bryant selfish, Kobe shoots too much, Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo
Before the Mavs – Lakers game tonight, here’s Barkley:
“If Kobe scores 30 tonight the Lakers lose.”
“The Lakers need to pound the ball down low to Bynum and Gasol, with no Tyson Chandler.” (Chandler is out).
The Jet then interjected that it’s not whether Kobe shoots a lot, but the type of shots he takes. Ernie Johnson said something about Kobe having a chip on his shoulder, and Barkley:
“It’s not about a chip on your shoulder, it’s about strategy.”
Thank you, Barkley.
Posted in Basketball, Common Sense
Tagged Andrew Bynum, basketball, basketball on TNT, Charles Barkley doesn't like Kobe Bryant, Dallas Mavericks, Ernie Johnson, Kenny the Jet, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Pau Gasol, Tyson Chandler
The transactions keep flowing in the NBA. Nene signed a big contract with the Nuggets (more than $67 million, 5 years) that only looks small because many thought he might receive a $100 million offer. However, this still reminds me of the contracts that brought us NBA Lockout 2011 (which is also the name of a really boring video game about collective bargaining and corporate finance). We’re talking about a big man with past knee problems and a rebound rate around 15 over the last four years. Guys like Dwight Howard and Kevin Love are in the 20s.
I think Nene is a decent defender as well, but this contract is most likely a questionable decision in response to a bad situation. Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Financial Analysis, Hockey, Probability Analysis, Trades/Free Agency
Tagged Aaron Afflalo, basketball in China, cap room, Chris Paul, Corey Brewer, Dallas Mavericks, DeAndre Jordan, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Red Wings, Dwight Howard, eight seed wins series, Evgeni Malkin, J.R. Smith, John Hollinger, Kenyon Martin, Kevin Love, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, max contracts, midlevel contracts, NBA, NBA lockout, NBA playoffs, Nene, New Jersey Nets, NHL, NHL playoffs, PER, Pittsburgh Penguins, rebound rate, Rudy Fernandez, salary cap, Sidney Crosby concussion, Tyson Chandler, Wilson Chandler