# Story Underneath Usage: Incompleteness

In the era of possession-based statistics, we often look at items such as per-possession or per-100 possessions. This type of parsing makes sense as a possession is deemed to be the period of time a team “controls” the basketball. The technical definition of a possession defines the end of the “control” period as the point of…

# Manifold Nonparametrics: Which Way Do Passers Pass?

As a player traverses across the court, they break down and process every event that they see: the assertion of defensive players, the alignment of their teammates, and current state of the game. The ability to perceive all three components simultaneously is what I call court vision. It is one of the primary instigators that…

# Exercising Error: Quantifying Statistical Tests Under RAPM (Part IV)

In the Regularized Adjusted Plus-Minus (RAPM) model, one of the perceived challenges is understanding the error associated with the resulting posterior RAPM value a player receives. In a previous post, we noted that RAPM is a Bayesian model in which we assume that “player contribution” can be estimated through weighted offensive ratings conditioned on the…

# Warping Play Registration

Synergy: Breaking Down Field Goal Types With the creation of Synergy, the basketball world gained valuable access to previously hard-to-obtain data on all field goal events in the league. One of the biggest introductions was the “primary defender” tag on field goal events. With play-by-play data, when a player drives to the basket or attempts…

# The Randomness of Ratings

Fresh off a Boston Celtics sweep of the Indiana Pacers, across Twitter phrases of “Remember that the Boston starters were -3.5 Net Rating for the series” piped up. The implication was that the Boston starters should have lost the series, and the most common rumblings came about the depth of Indiana’s bench costing them the…

# The “80 Point Club”

Whenever we talk about scoring in the NBA, typically the the conversation points towards heroic scoring feats such as Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game or Kobe Bryant’s 81 point game. Or Wilt Chamberlain’s 78 point game… Or Wilt Chamberlain’s pair of 73 point games… or Wilt Chamberlain’s 72 point game. Of those other spurious 70+…

# 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…

# 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…

# 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…

# True Shooting Percentage Part I: Introduction and Framework for Advancement

On December 31st, James Harden dropped yet another 40+ points triple double on the Memphis Grizzlies in a 113 – 101 victory in Houston. It wasn’t the 43 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists that was the most impressive stat of the night, but rather the fact that Harden scored 43 points to spite making…