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,…

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.…

Computing in the Stream: Schedule Compactification

When we learn about computational mathematics, software engineering, or data science in general, one of the most important questions we have to answer is how many operations are required. The answer isn’t to show the prowess of our algorithm, but rather identify how quickly the algorithm can perform. We need to know if the answer…

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,…

Gravity: Introduction to Bodies

Back in 2014, STATS Inc. introduced the notion of gravity, which was explained by Kevin Pelton as a series of two measures: gravity score and distraction score. In Pelton’s explanation, gravity score measures the relative distance a primary defender strays from their offensive counterpart and distraction score quantifies the amount of attention that same defender…

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…

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…

Basics in Negative Binomial Regression: Predicting Three Point Field Goal Percentages

With the highest return for a field goal attempt per possession being a three point field goal, teams have caught on that three point field goals are the optimal way to go on offense provided they have consistently accurate shooters from that range. This qualifier has been the difficult part of the three point equation.…

Rebounding Rates: Good for Teams; Bad for Players

Pop Quiz: Who are the top ten rebounders in the NBA for the 2016-17 NBA Season? If you said… Andre Drummond DeAndre Jordan Hassan Whiteside Rudy Gobert Karl-Anthony Towns Dwight Howard Anthony Davis Russell Westbrook Marcin Gortat DeMarcus Cousins … you might be right. These are the players that have the most rebounds for the…

How to Game the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) in Basketball.

On Selection Sunday, the NCAA Tournament committee will need to decide on which 36 teams should receive an “At-Large” bid. Many of these teams are simple to select; for instance Kansas will be at At-Large team thanks to their loss to TCU on Thursday in the Big 12 conference tournament. However, there are many “Bubble” teams…