# An Example in Kullback-Leibler Divergence

Consider the following table: This is Kevin Durant‘s percentage of field goal attempts, aggregated by specific distance for the first two seasons of his career. This table gives some information, indeed, however does it really paint the picture of where Durant takes his shots? More importantly, are we able to make proper decisions about the…

# For the Love of 3: Columbia to Houston via China, Angola and Iowa

On February 7th, 1945, basketball was introduced to a new novelty that wouldn’t take hold for at least another 35 years: the three point line. In a game between Columbia University and Fordham University, Columbia head coach Howard Hobson, while on sabbatical from Oregon University (a couple years after winning the inaugural NCAA tournament), proposed using…

# Stop Rate

In a recent game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons, the Bucks employed their typical switch, slip, and show match-up zone defense to clog the paint and swat shooters off the perimeter en route to a 115-105 victory. The methodology is fairly straight forward: On the perimeter, try to slips guards and drop…

# The “No Turnover” Turnover

When we break down different types of actions on the court, we tend to look at play-by-play as a guide to understanding the play types. The most common break down we see is the shot type for a field goal attempt. From there, we have recently tended to discuss the differences between Klay Thompson and…

# A Methodology for Qualitatively Comparing Games

Suppose a game completes and three players post the following stat lines: Player A: 31 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists Player B: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists Player C: 20 points, 21 rebounds, 0 assists Frequently, we ask who was the better player or which player contributed the most to the game. Unfortunately, most…

Over the previous couple seasons, I have written extensively about how Regularized Adjusted Plus-Minus (RAPM) is constructed, what the assumptions really mean, and how we interpret the results. If you’re curious for a refresher, feel free to remind yourself here. There’s an example in there that clearly breaks down how various forms of adjusted plus-minus…

# Five-Man Lineups: Data Access

How many five-man rotations have been employed in the league this season? How often do players play together on the court? What are the offensive and defensive ratings associated with every five-man unit this season? Does one particular line-up outscore opponents? Some of these questions can be answered with the following data below. Each link…

# 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…

# 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 >…