# Ranks and Percentiles

As of the morning of November 20th, the Four Factors line for the 7-9 Dallas Mavericks read off as follows: Effective Field Goal Percentage: 0.527 (8th in the league) Turnover Percentage: 14.4 (28th in the league) Offensive Rebound Percentage: 22.6 (18th in the league) Free Throw Rate: 0.22 (7th in the league) Opponent eFG%: 0.527…

# Game of Waveforms

Over the day following a Derrick Rose 50-point performance, Jalen Rose commented that Derrick Rose took 653 dribbles over the course of the game; contrasting to a 52-point performance from Klay Thompson that only took 56 dribbles. The aim of the comment was to identify the difference between the players’ role within the offense. Thompson,…

# 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,…

# 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…

# Stochastic Tracking II: Next Gen Solutions and Player Performance

In our previous post on Stochastic Tracking, we took a look at motivating a Hierarchical Bayesian process in filtering tracking data and producing more robust estimators for the velocity. During the discussion, we limited the data sampled to be of two-dimensions only and had to assume that acceleration was constant between sampled points. Due to…

# Crediting Assists: A Fairly Risky Method

A problem that was posed in Dean Oliver’s Basketball on Paper (2003) revolved around the way one can credit assists. In his book, Oliver laments the lack of data available for crediting assists and he begrudgingly uses the one-half rule: credit both the scorer and the assist man with one-half of the assist. However, in…

# Gravity Example: 0.04s of Computation

Recently, we posted about a way to redefine gravity in terms of a joint model that can be used to quantify defensive interaction, offensive spacing, and spatio-temporal motion of a possession. The result yields a sparse N x 2P x Q x R x S x Z tensor that characterizes the interactions of players, locations on the court,…