# 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…

# 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…

# Measuring Attack Vectors of Ball-Handlers

As a point guard growing up, I found that driving with my dominant shooting hand would typically put my shooting hand away from the basket. And being undersized at the position (5’4″, 95 pound Sophomore) made life more difficult to shoot off the dribble. Instead, I developed my non-dominant hand, which gave me two options…

# Using Random Forests to Forecast NBA Careers

Consider, for a moment, being a General Manager for an NBA team that is faced with determining the number of years for a player contract. The problem seems simple: a team requires a certain skill set that a player possesses and they would like to know for how long a player would be able to…

# Building a Simple Spatial Analytic: Passing Lane Coverage

In a recent blog post on defending the Hammer Offense, I showed that the quantification of distance to passing lane helps identify the coverage a defender has on an opposing player.In that very post, I showed only a graphic and did not give insight into how to compute this quantity. Today, we will walk through…

# BLUE Defense: Introduction and Analysis

One of the simplest offensive plays in basketball is the pick and roll. The philosophy is relatively straightforward, a ball handler waits to receive a screen from a teammate and reacts accordingly. If the teammate establishes position, gets low and wide, and makes proper contact with the ball handler’s defender, then the defense is forced…

# Introduction to Oliver’s Four Factors

In 2004, Dean Oliver expanded upon his “Four Factors” philosophy from his 2002 book, Basketball on Paper, in an attempt to identify how four important strategies relate to success in basketball. These strategies are nothing new, as these were drilled into my head from coaches dating back to the early 90’s. The novelty of understanding…