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20-Year History of Missed Games in the NBA

Because of a lockout this year there will be an unusually packed schedule in the NBA which undoubtedly contributed to a theory that we are going to see more injuries this season. Don’t get me wrong, I think this idea sounds plausible because… well, I know how I feel after playing basketball too often in short period (muscle injury or ligament tear waiting to happen). But could it be also a reason why we overrate this issue? I’m not an athlete and I don’t usually play any back-to-backs so maybe that’s why I feel this way when I do…

Beside this point, have you ever wondered do players miss more games now than they used to?
Which teams’ players missed the most and least games in the last decade?

Well, I have so here’s how I tackled those topics:
I considered counting injuries at prosportstransactions.com but there’s one huge problem with this approach:
5 or even 10 day-to-day injuries are usually less significant than one semi-serious knee injury because of time needed for healing and rehabilitation. So why not try to measure the main effect of injuries which is missed games? That’s exactly what I’ve tried to accomplish. I downloaded data from last 20 seasons from dougstats.com, then in each season I sorted it by team’s name and then by players’ minutes per game.
I deleted all players who were 7th or lower on their own team and counted how many games such group played versus how many games they would have played given full 82 games schedule [or 50 in 1998-99].
My rationale here is “let’s count starters and 6th man, the rest doesn’t matter”.

In other words, for players considered the most important by their own teams what percentage of available regular season games did they miss?

Unfortunately it’s not a perfect tool, for example it totally ignores tanking or players who missed entire season because they were injured in the offseason, so if you have a better idea let me know in the comments.

With all that in mind here are the results:
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Scrutiny

 

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How many Games will be Played in 2011/12 Season?

NBA has already canceled games through November… but what exactly does it mean? Schedule has to change anyway so the most important question is this: how many games can we still have?
Obviously even both sides might not know this now because they are still negotiating about more fundamental things but I think we can easily estimate how it can play out. Let’s start with some facts.

Here’s what happened in a previous shortened season and, for a comparison sake, in the last two years.

Season Days in the Regular Part Games Played Average Games
per Week
Days in the Playoffs Max Games Average Games
per Week
1998-99 89 50 3,93 48 20 2,92
2009-10 169 83 3,43 61 24 2,75
2010-11 169 83 3,43 57 21 2,58

FYI, 83rd game is an All-Star Game. I think it’s a good place to set a minimum [3,43] and a maximum [3,93] for a possible contests per week because obviously games won’t be played less often than in a normal season and for the love of… players they shouldn’t be more packed than in 1999.

So how many games we can expect in a wildly optimistic scenario?
It means they would have to agree today or tomorrow so regular season would have to start on Dec 7th and end on May 3rd while playoffs would start on May 5th and end on June 23rd:

Season Days in the Regular Part Games Played Average Games
per Week
Days in the Playoffs Max Games Average Games
per Week
Version1 148 83,09 3,93 49 28 4,00
Version1 148 82,03 3,88 49 27 3,86
Version1 148 80,98 3,83 49 26 3,71
Version1 148 79,92 3,78 49 25 3,57
Version1 148 78,86 3,73 49 24 3,43
Version1 148 77,81 3,68 49 23 3,29
Version1 148 76,75 3,63 49 22 3,14
Version1 148 75,69 3,58 49 21 3,00
Version1 148 74,63 3,53 49 20 2,86
Version1 148 73,58 3,48 49 19 2,71
Version1 148 72,52 3,43 49 18 2,57

I have to admit that I’m surprised that 82 games are still theoretically possible. Obviously it would be an assassination attempt at player’s knees, ankles etc but if they really want all their paychecks…
they would have to create some more available dates in the arenas.
With that information it makes sense that NBA announced season with 82 games isn’t possible.

So let’s focus on slightly optimistic scenario where we assume that regular season would start on Dec 15th and end on April 30th while playoffs would start on May 3rd and end on June 21st:
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Unanswered Questions

 

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How to Solve Bill Simmons’ NBA Lockout Solution?

I had something different planned for today but Bill Simmons published his idea to solve NBA lockout and I feel like I should react. Because even though I have always admired him for his writing style and creativity [e.g. Entertaining As Hell Tournament could be awesome and it probably would help with tanking] IMHO there’s too much inconsistency in too important article to leave it without any comment…

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s spot on in some aspects, for example here:

Stubbornness in its rawest form. That’s the National Basketball Association’s lockout. The owners want to “fix” the system without actually fixing it. The players want everything to remain the same even if that “same” makes no sense. Both sides spent the past few weeks poking holes in each other’s arguments, leaking unflattering tidbits to trusted writers1 and excreting code-word spin control BS like “we’re unified” and “we’re in this for the long haul.” I never heard anyone say the words, “Hold on a second … what’s really wrong here?”

or here:

NBA superstars should make more money than they do; it should be easier for NBA teams to keep those superstars; and too many nonsuperstars make too much money.

but as usual the problem can be found in the details:

We settle on a $52 million hard cap but promise players we’ll spend 52 percent of the BRI on salaries, which should average out to $56 million to $58 million per season
[…]
For instance, if Dwight Howard wants to sign with the Lakers next summer, they could offer only his franchise cap number ($68 million over four years). Orlando gets the benefit of that $500k bump — eight Howard/Orlando seasons multiplied by $500,000 — so they can offer him a four-year deal worth $87 million. The longer he stays in Orlando and keeps playing at a ‘Franchise’ level, the more money Howard can earn.

How Magic would be able to resign Dwight Howard when they have committed 55M$ in 2012-13?
Wouldn’t it create a whole new market of dumping players’ contracts?
Would all contracts be restructured to fit into his ‘All-Star’ or ‘Franchise’ status? If the answer is yes the problem has another layer: two players could earn 39M$ per year… which would mean 13M$ for the rest of the roster… shouldn’t we mention here voting process among players?
There’s no way that majority of them would agree to such salary structure!

Speaking of which…

Going forward, we define an ‘All-Star’ as someone who’s played four consecutive years with one team and made two All-Star teams OR an All-NBA team during that time. Any ‘All-Star’ automatically gets a $12 million cap figure

How many players among roughly 450 of them can be named All-Stars? How it wouldn’t be a problem?
Not only it would screw deep positions and/or conferences but also with players’ salaries based ONLY on individual accomplishments [which on the other hand are based on stats like PPG] wouldn’t it create ENORMOUS incentive to be as selfish as possible?

—————————————– break for nitpicking —————————————–

Issue No. 5: Nobody is putting a gun to the owners’ heads and telling them to overpay players.

Earlier quote in the same article:

By including a luxury tax in the previous two labor deals, they assumed it would frighten teams from overpaying players. Nope. If anything, it’s turned into something of a Jedi mind trick. You can’t win unless you’re overpaying players. Open your wallets. Open them. Our past four champions were luxury tax teams. Not a coincidence. As deputy commissioner Adam Silver told the New York Times, “We had predicted the tax would be more of a drag on salaries than it’s turned out to be. It became business as usual to pay the tax, and therefore it created a league of haves and have-nots, where you have the Lakers at $110 million and Sacramento at $45 million.”

Am I splitting hair here or it is a contradiction, isn’t it?
So owners are to blame for losses while rules force them to overpay?

Another one is here:

Any ‘Franchise Player’ automatically gets a $17 million cap figure, but can be paid $500,000 per years of service beyond that number without it counting on the cap.

What’s the point of hard cap system if teams can spend more than that on salaries?

Final one is here:

If you’re wondering why the Bulls would agree to this, here’s my response: Has having a second NBA team in town hurt the Lakers these past 30 years?

No… but how can you deride and criticize Clippers about incompetence/cheapness for so long and make a realistic example out of them?

—————————————– end of nitpicking —————————————–

I left IMHO the biggest problem for the end:

Issue No. 2: The players are currently getting too big of a revenue share.

Are they? Why *correct* numbers should be taken out of the hat?
He mentioned in the article link to Nate Silver’s piece where was clearly stated that NON-player costs have skyrocketed… Why did it happen? Will it happen again in the next 5 years? Does it even have to happen?
I don’t know answers to those questions and without official books we probably won’t know it…
but IMHO that’s the point where the whole discussion should start

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Expanding Horizons

 

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How Much Fun NBA Missed, Busiest Parts of Season

Lockout in the NBA hasn’t impacted any real games yet… but some fun has already been lost.
Can we measure how much?

Here’s what happened in the NBA on 8th July 2010:

  • 4 assistant coaches joined Hawks
  • 7 draft picks signed their first contract,
  • 10 players resigned with their original team [for over 570M$],
  • 6 players signed with a new team [for over 100M$],
  • 7 trades [including 2 trade exceptions].

Here’s what happened in the NBA on 9th July 2010:

  • 7 players signed new contract [for over 350M$]… including LeBron, Wade and David Lee!
  • 2 trades [including 2 trade exceptions],
  • 1 draft pick signed his first contract.

Here’s what happened in the NBA on 8th and 9th July 2011: Nothing!

That hurts, right? Not only fans can’t wonder or discuss who will be a bust and which teams will improve but it’s notable that in those 2 days alone owners have agreed to spend over 1 billion dollars…
How much money divide sides apart right now?

Anyway, without all this player’s movement I wondered Is Free Agency The Busiest Part of the Season?

Here’s a look at league’s activity in 2010 [based on Professional Basketball Transactions Archive]:
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Posted by on July 9, 2011 in Scrutiny

 

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