Tag Archives: Deadspin

More NBA spatial data

Adrian the Canadian — my designated Deadspin trawler — sent me an interesting graphic by Kirk Goldsberry and Matt Adams showing the highest percentage shooters from various regions of the court. You might recall that Goldsberry presented similar work at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March (runner up for the research award). My take on this work is that, while interesting and impressive in terms of data, much of the spatial variation in shooting could be explained by factors other than location-specific shooting ability (this will sound familiar if you read my post yesterday on player tracking data).

First, random chance is an issue, especially when trying to identify the best shooters at each location. I think Goldsberry requires a certain number of shots for inclusion at each spot, but he doesn’t do the statistical analysis to determine whether the differences he presents are statistically significant (i.e., large enough such that they are probably not due to chance variation). His big surprise — Rondo leading the league in one mid-range zone — is likely based on a fairly small sample of shots.

Second, defensive position is missing from the analysis. A big red flag for this one is that Durant, at only 40% shooting, leads in the three point zone just to the shooter’s right at the top of the key. Every other three point zone has a guy over 50%. Unless there’s something challenging for right handers Continue reading

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NFL instant replay: a broken system

The Super Bowl is only 26 hours away, but Adrian the Canadian is working overtime to improve the NFL review system. Here are some potential disasters that he came up with for Sunday, along with his advice for the NFL:

While many fans across North America are spending Super Bowl week analyzing match-ups, placing bets (shhhh…), worrying about Gronk’s ankle, or pinching themselves in disbelief that a team with a negative regular season point differential could be the pundits’ choice to win the game, I’m hoping for something else: that the game turns on a controversial play that finally blows up the NFL’s nonsensical and unfair instant replay system. Because, let’s be honest, the NFL’s challenge system is absurd and has become more absurd with the imposition of mandatory review in the final two minutes of each half and of scoring plays. What sort of plays could lead to an overhaul? I’m glad you asked:  Continue reading

Everyone can hate Kobe now

Apart from a select few sleazeballs who admire Kobe Bryant’s philandering ways, I think everyone will hate him after the National Enquirer story this week (summarized online by Deadspin – thanks to Adrian the Canadian for the link). Apparently, Kobe has slept with 105 women — that his wife Vanessa knows about — during their 10 year marriage, which makes for 10.5 women a year. Wowsers.

I chuckled when I read Jack Dickey and Timothy Burke’s analysis in the article above. Based on his on-court scoring average Continue reading

That darn BCS

The BCS just won’t go away. Since the majority of this post will be about conflict of interest, let me give full disclosure. I hate the BCS. I think it’s a big marketing device designed to generate a bunch of empty discussion without giving fans an exciting post season.

This year we get a rematch of LSU and Alabama for the national championship. This makes me pretty angry, since my Michigan Wolverines could have been given another chance against Ohio State in 2006 after losing 42-39 in a one versus two match up. I think Michigan was penalized more because it was the last game of the season and it was a shootout. No one wanted to see them play twice in a row (except me of course).

And big surprise, there’s controversy surrounding the rematch. This year is worse than usual BCS arguments about who is better than who; part of the controversy is about Nick Saban rigging the standings Continue reading