# Kinematics of Player Motion

After a couple special topics posts in Sketching and Voronoi Tessellation, we take a step back and look at the basic mechanics of player motion: position, velocity, and acceleration. Understanding computation and estimation of such quantities allow us to perform more important calculations such as trajectories, coverage, and crashing. The easiest way to capture these…

# Voronoi Tesselation and Rebounding Position: Defining Distance by Seconds

How likely is a player able to rebound a basketball? If you ask Second Spectrum, you will get a function that considers positioning, hustle, and conversion. The argument makes sense: First, a player needs to be in a position to have a chance at obtaining a rebound. Second, the player needs to be able to…

# The Art of Sketching: Trajectory Analysis

In a recent 2017 paper posted by Andrew Miller (Harvard University / Philadelphia 76ers) and Luke Bornn (Simon Fraser University / Sacramento Kings) titled “Possession Sketches: Mapping NBA Strategies,” the duo takes a well-known manifold learning technique called trajectory analysis and develops a methodology of classifying NBA actions through the use of functional mapping of…

# Understanding the Spatial Tendencies of Assists, the K(t) Test, and the Orlando Magic

In a recent post, we took a look at identifying how a team distributes the ball on offense with a deep dive look at the Brooklyn Nets. In that article we identified how to construct a community; the sets of likely passes for scores between players. This also included two-pass assists (hockey assists) where it…

# Testing the Quality of a Binary Classifier: ROC Curves

Let’s suppose that we have a methodology for classifying players into Hall-of-Fame status. This methodology can be of any type: it can be a random forest that uses proximity matrices or it can be a simple measure that uses a threshold, such as Kidd Score. Either way, the result is the same: a certain number…

# Developing a Cross-Product Analytic: Kidd Score

In a recent podcast by Sixers Science, an analytic called the Kidd Score was unveiled. The goal of the analytic is to identify players who are great at two ancillary tasks: assists and rebounds. These two components are part of the big three statistical categories that make up the traditional triple double: points, rebounds, assists.…

# Distributional Analysis of Free Throws and the Denver Nuggets

In possession models and analytics such as RAPM, the ability to count free throws is crucial. Any miscalculation in computing free throws can result in an unintended dire consequence. In the case of a possession, a team’s possession may be calculated with bias and therefore comparing two teams using per possession stats becomes a flawed…

# Relationship Between TS% and eFG%

In an effort to understand shooting efficiency, terms such as points-per-possession, effective field goal percentage, and true shooting percentage have come about as methods to quantify scoring efficiency. In fact, during my coaching days in Baltimore City (2013 – 2016), I developed a metric called points responsible for (PRF) that focused on distributing points to…

# Evaluating Assists with Python: Community Detection and the Brooklyn Nets

A common question about identifying player tendencies on offense is to ask “how likely is this player to receive the ball during a possession?” This methodology can be aided by the quantity touches. However, a player can touch the ball with what I like to term as an empty touch. These are touches that have…

# Deep Dive with Python: Offensive Ratings

The calculation for Offensive Rating, another fruitful Dean Oliver metric, is simple: compute the number of points produced when a player is in the game per 100 possessions that the player is in the game. The computation is performed at a “per possession” rate and scaled out to 100. The challenge lies at being restricted…