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…

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…

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…