Tag Archives: Derrick Rose

Player tracking in basketball: not a silver bullet

For anyone who follows quantitative sports analysis, player tracking cameras are not news. Along with the NBA, soccer teams use them (even in the MLS) and rugby teams use them. They give x-y-z coordinates for each player at a high frame rate, which can be processed into a variety of statistics. Many think that this approach will revolutionize sports analysis. I stumbled across an article at ESPN today spreading this view to the masses.

Tracking data can help with many things, but it won’t save analysts from themselves. Here’s a point-counterpoint from the article linked above.

Point: “Paul Pierce averaged 4.5 assists this season, which is pretty good for a scoring wing. But that number doesn’t tell the whole story. According to SportVU, Pierce’s teammates shot a higher percentage after his passes than any other player in the NBA. This shows Pierce is passing at the right time — he’s giving his teammates mostly layups and open shots.”

Counterpoint: Pierce might be making great passes, but it’s just as likely that Pierce plays with better than average shooters or better than average cutters/floor spacers, or that Pierce commands a strong defender Continue reading

Brother Conor explains Linsanity

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

The hack-a-Howard

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