# Is Scoring Up (Again) in the NBA?

A couple years ago, I presented an introduction to the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney nonparametric test with respect to identifying whether scoring was indeed increasing in the NBA. This was in 2015; and now that we are a few seasons along, we can start tracking the year-to-year trends. The reason for this popping up once again is primarily…

# Curious Tale of 3’s Versus 2’s in the NBA

Over the last decade, the subtle changes from offenses revolving around mid-range jump shots to long-range three point attempts have become much more explicit as teams such as the Houston Rockets had come off a 2017-18 campaign launching over 50% of their field goal attempts from beyond the arc. The mathematics is simple: “3 >…

# The Components of Offense: Turning the Lurk into a Feature

One of the challenges in data science within the NBA is diagnosis. Diagnosis is the process of collecting and dissecting data in an effort to reveal and understand the components of such data such that we can extrapolate intelligence. Within many NBA analytics circles, this is done heuristically: discussion of a question, hypothesizing new variables,…

# Introduction to Pandas Using Play-By-Play

By popular demand, attached you will find basic course materials that I developed for a sports analytics course taught at UW-Madison. The goal is simple: introduce Pandas and show how column manipulations, groupings, and report building could be accomplished. This was a working document at the time; and has not been updated since the course.…

# Pistol: Disrupting the Defense

To take a break from the heavy mathematics of recent articles, today we take a look at the early offense set called Pistol. Like many offensive wrinkles such as elevator doors, floppy, horns (etc.), a key goal of the offense is to force the opposing defense to be out of position. More importantly, not only…

# Understanding Trends in the NBA: How NNMF Works

Over the past decade a true emphasis on three point shooting has emerged. This can be credited to the understanding of effective field goal percentage being a better underlying parameter for points per field goal attempt than raw field goal percentage. And it’s become an emphasis for some top-tier teams such as the Houston Rockets.…

# Second Chances and the Rebounding Specialist

A tried-but-true strategy in pick-up (and grade school) basketball is the “dump-and-chase” offense. This offense takes as many jumpers as possible, regardless of capability, fully knowing that the team can either out-hustle their opponent for rebounds; or they have a behemoth of a rebounder on their team. As players become older, or more technically sound…