Since it all began for Jeremy Lin on Saturday, February 4th against the Nets, Jeremy Lin has shot 42-73 from the field (58%!) over four games. Lin’s shooting percentage his senior year at Harvard? 52%. His first four games as the starter for the Knicks are even more anomalous considering that he is only 3-14 from three point range. He shot 60% on two pointers his senior year, compared with 66% over the last four games.
You probably know what’s coming. That’s right, Lin has had a great start to his career, but also a lucky start. Although his performance has transformed the Knicks’ demeanor, don’t expect the insane shooting to continue. Teams will also start backing off on pick and rolls to see if he can reliably make NBA threes. If you still want to jump on the bandwagon, Brother Conor can tell you what to expect.
I also have great news today! One of my submissions to the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was accepted for the poster session. The paper (available at my academic website, written with Christopher Walters) estimates the causal impact of NBA draft incentives on tanking as well as the causal impact of winning the NBA draft lottery. In short, we find that teams tank a lot — teams that can improve their draft position by losing have lower winning percentages than teams that can’t by about 15 percentage points. There’s good reason for all this tanking. After adjusting for team quality, winning the draft lottery provides a four year attendance boost (though only a small increase in winning percentage). I’ll explain the details in a future post.
Posted in Basketball, Causal Analysis, Common Sense, Research Papers
Tagged basketball, Brother Conor, Conor Williams, does it help to win the NBA draft lottery, Harvard University, how much tanking is there in the NBA, impact of winning the NBA draft lottery, is tanking worth it, Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lin bad three point shooter, Jeremy Lin Chinese, Jeremy Lin Harvard shooting percentage, Jeremy Lin has gotten lucky, Jeremy Lin hype, Jeremy Lin lucky, Jeremy Lin overhyped, Jeremy Lin overrated, Jeremy Lin shooting percentage, Jeremy Lin too much hype, Knicks, Lin, Linsanity, National Basketball Association, NBA, NBA draft, NBA draft lottery, NBA tanking, New York Knicks, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, too much tanking NBA, why do NBA teams tank
A few months ago, my buddy Jeff and I did some research for ESPN the Magazine on paying college athletes. We ignored all the institutional issues and got right to the accounting: considering costs and revenues, how much profit is each player worth to his team?
We focused on the University of Florida and found that top college football players are worth millions of dollars, while basketball players are worth a couple hundred thousand. Check out the details on the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference blog or in my previous post.
Posted in College Sports, Financial Analysis
Tagged American, blog, College and University, college football, ESPN, ESPN The Magazine, Fair market value college athletes, football, how much should college athletes be paid, should college athletes be paid, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Sports, University of Florida
During Kobe’s “hot streak,” I’ve been writing that he’s actually inefficient compared to Andrau Gasnum, the Lakers’ superb tw0-man post presence. I’ve said that he should give up some shots until his efficiency equalizes with Gasnum’s. Adrian the Canadian was quick to send me a Sloan Sports Analytics Conference paper arguing that teams might equalize offensive efficiency too much already. The author (Brian Skinner) uses some network theory for unknown reasons (it’s not related to his point), but the paper boils down to Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Probability Analysis, Research Papers
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, Andrau Gasnum, Andrew Bynum efficient, basketball, Brian Skinner, equalizing offensive efficiency, Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant dumb, Kobe Bryant efficiency, Kobe Bryant macho, Los Angeles Lakers, marginal benefit, marginal cost, NBA, Paul Gasol efficient, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference
My apologies for missing the last couple days on the blog, but don’t worry, I was hard at work on two projects that I’ve just submitted with a couple other guys to the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. I’ll have more to say about them soon — one project looks at the effects of temperature, rest time, and turf type on MLS games, and the other examines the true value of winning the NBA draft lottery and measures how much tanking really goes on in the NBA.
In the meantime, Kobe Bryant is lighting up scoreboards and shot charts. He must be reading this blog, but I think all I did was make him angry. He’s taken 31 shots in each of the last three games and managed 40 points in all of them. Reading the ESPN write up from the last one, it looks like we have our new MVP.
However, over those games he’s made 47 shots for a Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Commentary, Probability Analysis
Tagged Andrau Gasnum, Andrew Bynum, Andrew Bynum efficient, Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN, great potential, Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant expected points, Kobe Bryant inefficient, Kobe Bryant shooting percentage, Kobe Bryant shoots too much, Kobe Bryant true shooting percentage, Kobe Bryant volume shooter, Los Angeles Lakers, Pau "the Gas Man" Gasol, Pau Gasol, Pau Gasol efficient, Phoenix Suns, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the Gas Man, two-headed beast Andrau Gasnum, Utah Jazz
Last year, I ran across an article analyzing whether high altitudes matter in South American international soccer. The authors run regressions with the away team’s altitude change as an explanatory variable and find that climbing but especially descending hurts the away team. Descending 2,000 meters seems to lower away team winning percentage by over 10 points. Pretty surprising finding.
However, these regressions only control for home team quality. It just so happens that Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia (i.e., the descending teams) are historically weak teams. What we have here is omitted variables bias — the naive analysis implies that descending harms performance, when in reality descending teams just aren’t very good.
On my quest for causation, Continue reading
Posted in Causal Analysis, Research Papers, Soccer
Tagged altitude, bolivia, brazil, causal analysis, colombia, ecuador, fixed effects, la paz, regression, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, soccer, south america, world cup