Monthly Archives: December 2011

More years of data for Accuracy of Win Predictions

My first reaction after I’ve finished post about Accuracy of Predictions for Wins in 2010/11 was this: “that’s nice but what about consistency of authors?”. Are writers and bloggers consistent over time or is it basically a semi-random outcome every year? Is it an educated guess or just a guess by educated people?

To answer this question I simply needed more data and because I didn’t want to wait a couple more years I went the other way – into the past. I collected some predictions for NBA standings before 2009-10 season and before 2008-09 season [btw, it’s not a closed list so if you want to add any predictions let me know in the comments]. Then I again compared them to actual results by Root Mean Square Deviation [read post about 2010/11 for explanation]. If you want to play with numbers or check any single entry just download NBA Predictions Accuracy 2008-2009-2010.pdf but if you are interested only in the results here they are…
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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Popularity of NBA Players according to Google

Latest surveys revealed that Kris Humphries shouldn’t be the advocate for long marriages or that you shouldn’t leave long-term relationship if you want to be liked by the public… OK, frankly I don’t know what was the point of this research [advertisement?] but it did raise a couple interesting questions for me:
who is the most known NBA player? Who is the most obscure one? How can we measure it?
Jersey sales could only work if it weren’t for huge differences in market sizes and for obvious reasons I’m not gonna ask a lot of random people so I focused on a well-known but rarely used number: Google search results.

Please don’t confuse it with a serious research, as far as I know even Google admit those are only estimates and they are not reliable but I was curious anyway. Also it may be a sign I use google too often but what the hell, I can’t be afraid to take chances like that, otherwise this blog will be more useless than it is now.

So today based on rosters from ESPN I entered phrase “NBA [Player’s Name] [Player’s Surname]” 377 times.
I included all rotation players but I ignored most guys on non-guaranteed contracts or camp invitees or guys whom even I didn’t know and I threw-in a couple of legends for a comparison sake.
Here is the list for Top40 and Bottom40 Google Search Results
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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What was Unique on Opening Day of NBA Season?

You could be surprised how often unique stat-lines occur in the NBA and it’s a series designed to celebrate that fact. The rules are simple: it has to be something that happened less than 26 times during last 26 regular seasons [for a total of 58.686 team’s boxscores]. Incidentally it’s a tribute to for great tools and an emphasis how badly underused is enormous database owned by Elias Sports Bureau.

NBA games are back!
Which means Casually Unique series can not only live again thanks to new batch of numbers every day but it can also thrive from constant stream of sneaky uniqueness.

There will be some changes to the format though, I’ll post it only once per week [Sunday or Monday] with some kind of “best of the week” theme and the rest unique stat-lines I’ll just tweet @Exploring_NBA.
Also I’ll try to include more rare individual accomplishments and personal gems.

But back to the point…
What was Unique on the Opening Day of 2011/12 NBA Season?

Rajon Rondo reminded everyone why he shouldn’t be traded cheaply

He finished with 31 Points, 13 Assists and 5 Steals which happened only 16 times in the last 25 years.
Unsurprisingly Doc Rivers really liked that performance

“This is the Rondo we want,” Rivers said after the game. “This is what we talked about last year. Getting to the free-throw line. Taking the shots when they’re open. I thought he was the aggressor in the game. I don’t know if [he] can do that every night, but overall, that’s the Rondo that we want. It was terrific.”

Shouldn’t they like Rondo also in the offseason? ;-)

Tyson Chandler had a really weird debut for NY Knicks

His stat line of 3 Rebounds and 6 Blocks in 36 Minutes Played has only been matched 8 times.
It was also his career low for rebounds in games in which he played so many minutes!
But hey, they won a game so clearly it means he is a winner ;-)

Mario Chalmers contributed to Heat’s convincing win in a sneaky way

He had 4 Steals, 4 Assists and only 1 Field Goal Attempt which happened only 14 times since 1985-86.
Interestingly only 3 of those games were losses so such small contribution shouldn’t be overlooked?

Ryan Anderson shined in extended minutes

Finally unleashed! He collected 25 Points, 10 Rebounds, 2 Steals, 6 3-Pt Field Goals and made all of his Free Throws which happened only 11 times in available database. He was also the youngest of the aforementioned group which is just another remainder that Glen Davis’ contract can’t be a good move…

Even though Thunder started very well their quest for championship…

Kevin Durant had a career-low in one category

He shot 6/11 from the free throw line which became his worst percentage with so many attempts.
For a career 88% shooter that was an unique way to start a season, no?

Fans watching this game witnessed another shooting extreme… but surprisingly Redick’s stat-line of zero field goals made and a perfect accuracy from the free throw line on 8 attempts wasn’t as unique as you might have expected: it happened 38 times in the last 26 RS with maximum of 15 points scored that way.


The most unique stat-line of the opening day… DeAndre Jordan delivered greatness on one end of the court and the opposite on the other end

He blocked 8 shots… and hit below 35% of his 12 free throws… which never happened in used timeframe!
Judging by his career statistics – FT=41,2% and 2,4 blocks per 36 minutes we could see it again soon ;-)


Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Casually Unique


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Accuracy of Predictions for Wins in NBA in 2010/11

Just before every NBA season most basketball writers, bloggers and authors try to predict what will happen in the next year which is usually fun stuff to read and discuss. But as with mock drafts I’ve always felt there’s a half of the picture missing – accuracy of those predictions.

I’m sure there were many efforts like on APBR forum which dealt with this issue locally but as usual I’m curious about the big picture which in this case means… whole basketball-oriented part of the internet.
I have many questions related to this topic but let’s start with a simple one:
which writer, blogger or author had the most accurate wins predictions last year?

To answer this question I gathered last season’s predictions from most popular sites and other googled sources [btw, it’s not a closed list so if you want to add your’s predictions let me know in the comments] and compared them to actual results by Root Mean Square Deviation which is essentially average difference between each prediction and result in terms of absolute value. If you want to play with numbers or check any single entry just download NBA Predictions Accuracy 2010-11.pdf but if you are interested only in the results here they are…

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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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Why Franchise Players Stayed with Original Team

I reviewed a couple of recent situations when top NBA stars left team which had drafted them so it was a natural follow-up to take a look at the other side of this coin: what GMs had to do to keep their franchise players?
Rules are the same as in previous post so I won’t repeat them.

Let’s start with probably the most popular and the most often cited case…
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Unanswered Questions


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Review Why Top NBA Stars Left Their Teams

Have you heard recently about Top NBA Stars which left their hard-working and poor teams?
OK, that was a joke, if you follow NBA in any capacity you couldn’t have missed that memo ;-)
But there was always one thing which bothered me about this topic: reason for their actions.
Was it big market glamour? Was it a chase for fame or rings? Was it money/greed? Is it some kind of a trend? A lot of articles were written about this so I finally sat down and spent far too many hours to figure out why… but I think I found an satisfying answer [at least for me].

There were some rules for this exercise, thanks to I reviewed every team’s move from the time franchise player was drafted or signed huge extension to the dreaded day given star was out with following assumptions:

  • All decisions are in a chronological order,
  • I included every contract worth more than 5 million dollars [total],
  • I ignored every minimum contracts and all other small ones unless they were important in some way,
  • I included every significant trade – meaning either good or expensive players were involved,
  • I ignored every trade with marginal assets involved like 2nd round draft pick for future 2nd rounder or bench guy for bench guy with low salaries etc unless they were important in some way,
  • I tried very hard NOT to use hindsight in my judgements but obviously in some cases [especially with rookies and injuries] it was inevitable,
  • Obviously some if not all grades are subjective and probably arguable but I doubt you can move them up or down significantly,
  • I measured predictability of each outcome in a very simple way: “what if said GM had used advanced boxscore statistics like Win Shares, PER, Wins Produced to support his decisions?”,
  • It was a quite long list so if I missed anything important please let me know in the comments,
  • If you are not interested in gory details, just scroll down to the end of this post for conclusions.

Let’s start with a case which not only couldn’t be more clearer but also had some impact on others…
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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Unanswered Questions


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Hate of Mondays, Patterns in All-Time NBA Schedule

When I collect a lot of data for one topic spin-off ideas are almost inevitable because by that time the hardest part is already finished and the only thing left is [additional and unrelated] cherry at the top ;-)
Last post about Journey through Miles of NBA Travel History wasn’t the exception. To measure distance I needed a schedule… and with that information in place why not analyze NBA’s schedule itself?

Here are some basic total numbers and facts about it from 1951-52 to 2010-11:
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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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