# Transitioning Turnovers: Case Study of Golden State and Toronto

In Dean Oliver’s Four Factors, we are interested in effective field goal percentage, offensive rebounding percentage, free-throw rate, and turnover percentage. If a team cannot dominate a couple of these categories, then it will be unlikely for that team to win. For instance, let’s consider effective field goal percentage. The Golden State Warriors have posted a .558 eFG% while limiting their…

# The Potential Assist

In a fairly comical article back in February 2018, Bleacher Report identified the League’s Least Valuable Shooters. In this article, Adam Fromal examined players around the league by extracting their field goal percentage from four particular zones on the court: 3-10 feet, 11-16 feet, 17′-3pt, and 3PA. Fromal would then calculate each player’s points per…

# Making Blocks Count

When we measure the defensive impact of a player, typically the first arguments we make are the number of blocks and steals that player has obtained. We celebrate players like Dikembe Mutombo and Maurice Cheeks for their prowess in obtaining blocks (2nd all time) and steals (5th all time), respectively. In the latter case, a…

# Offensive and Defensive Ratings

The terms offensive rating and defensive rating refers to the amount of points scored by a team and by the team’s opponents, respectively, over 100 possessions. The normalization to 100 possessions allows for the ability to compare teams as pace of games can skew points per game comparisons. Both ratings are still considered box score…

# 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…

# 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…

# Understanding FG% and Rebounding in Player Efficiency Ratings

In our previous post we tackled, at length, how John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is calculated and identified how different aspects of a player’s game is weighted. This leads us to question certain components of PER. Should I prefer a scorer or a rebounder? How do these terms interact? What about team affiliation? In…

# Analyzing Steals in the 2016-17 NBA Season

Over the 2016-17 NBA regular season there were a total of 18950 steals. This amounted to roughly 15.4 steals per game; effectively 7.7 steals per team per game. Over the 236,547 possessions in the NBA last season, this amounted to 8.0111% of all possessions ending in a steal. Think about that for a second. Roughly…

# Comparing West vs. East: If the NBA Playoffs Were Seeded Like the NCAA

Over the past couple decades, we have heard effectively the same complaint that the NBA’s Western Conference is simply too tough and that the Eastern Conference teams have it relatively easy. During the last decade, it’s the primary reason that people dismiss LeBron James’ run through seven consecutive NBA finals as a result of the…

# Identifying Clutch Players in the NBA: 2016/17 Analysis

Recalling my playing days in the NCAA, our coach would have us run two- and three-minute drills to replicate clutch scenarios. “Down five with two-minutes to go” would be the most common of these drills. Our top player, one practice, proclaimed that he should always get the ball because he’s the top scorer and “always…