HoopsHype Statistics rumors

November 25, 2013 Updates

On his way to the National Basketball Association scoring title last year, Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks made 669 shots, not counting free throws. Starting Monday, you can watch every single one of them on the league’s stats page. You can also watch any of Anthony’s 820 missed shots, 460 rebounds, 175 turnovers, or just about any play by any of the 400-odd players in the league. Virtually every statistic in the NBA’s online database, beginning with last season, will be linked to video showing the play it describes. Go to the box score for the decisive game of the Finals from June, for instance, click on the 3 that denotes LeBron James’s offensive rebounds for the night, and up pops a box with all three clips. “We believe this is the first time video of every play of every game has been married to the statistics,” Ken DeGennaro, the NBA’s vice president of operations and technology, said as he showed off the new feature in a suite at Madison Square Garden before the Knicks played the Indiana Pacers last week. DeGennaro looked less mid-career technocrat and more grinning schoolboy as he searched out Joe Johnson clutch shots, Chris Paul alley-oops, and a rather improbable Jeff Green buzzer beater for a handful of reporters. BusinessWeek.com

Evan Welsh, senior director of global corporate affairs for SAP, says the tech company spent six to nine months helping the NBA get the initial site running and training the league to use its software. The NBA, says DeGennaro, began working to add video this summer. Replays for each game will become available about 45 minutes after the final buzzer, roughly the time it takes an employee in the league’s Secaucus (N.J.) offices to log the video. Once a game is in the system, SAP’s HANA software can call up the requested slice of video in a matter of seconds. (For now, replays are only available via desktop, but the NBA intends to add mobile, according to DeGennaro.) BusinessWeek.com

November 24, 2013 Updates
November 20, 2013 Updates

The Boston Celtics were in Houston on Tuesday night to get crushed by the Rockets, 109-85. At one point during the game, Rajon Rondo took a look at the Celtics’ stat sheet. Who knows what he saw, but after he saw it, Rondo made a face and looked disgustedly and confusedly down the bench for answers. The Big Lead

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, one of the more intellectually curious players in the league, says he is interested in the data SportVU generates but remains dubious of the effect it might have on the floor. “There's nothing I'm going to learn from SportVU that is going to change the way I play,” Ginobili said. San Antonio Express-News

November 16, 2013 Updates
November 13, 2013 Updates
November 3, 2013 Updates

I recently calculated the probability of reaching the N.B.A., by race, in every county in the United States. I got data on births from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; data on basketball players from basketball-reference.com; and per capita income from the census. The results? Growing up in a wealthier neighborhood is a major, positive predictor of reaching the N.B.A. for both black and white men. Is this driven by sons of N.B.A. players like the Warriors’ brilliant Stephen Curry? Nope. Take them out and the result is similar. New York Times

But this tells us only where N.B.A. players began life. Can we learn more about their individual backgrounds? In the 1980s, when the majority of current N.B.A. players were born, about 25 percent of African-Americans were born to mothers under age 20; 60 percent were born to unwed mothers. I did an exhaustive search for information on the parents of the 100 top-scoring black players born in the 1980s, relying on news stories, social networks and public records. Putting all the information together, my best guess is that black N.B.A. players are about 30 percent less likely than the average black male to be born to an unmarried mother and a teenage mother. New York Times

These results push back against the stereotype of a basketball player driven by an intense desire to escape poverty. In “The Last Shot,” Darcy Frey quotes a college coach questioning whether a suburban player was “hungry enough” to compete against black kids from the ghetto. But the data suggest that on average any motivational edge in hungriness is far outweighed by the advantages of kids from higher socioeconomic classes. What are these advantages? The first is in developing what economists call noncognitive skills like persistence, self-regulation and trust. We have grown accustomed to hearing about the importance of these qualities for success in school, but players in team sports rely on many of the same skills. New York Times

The second relevant advantage of a relatively prosperous upbringing is height. The economist Robert W. Fogel has demonstrated the impact of improved early life nutrition on adult height over successive generations. Poor children in contemporary America still have substandard nutrition, holding back their development. They have higher infant mortality rates and lower average birth weights, and recent research has found that poverty in modern America inhibits height. In basketball, the importance of every inch is enormous. I estimate that each additional inch almost doubles your chances of making the N.B.A. New York Times

Meanwhile, other countries have caught up to the United States in health and height. A widely available proxy for early life conditions is infant mortality. In the United States, roughly 20 fewer infants per 1,000 births died in 2012 than in 1960. In other countries, declines have been much larger. In Turkey, over the same period, the rate dropped by a staggering 159 per 1,000 births. Even some Western European countries, like Spain, Greece and Portugal, had declines more than twice as large as those in America. All of these countries, recent research finds, have grown taller. New York Times

November 2, 2013 Updates

You said that there was a core group of teams that were already ahead of the game on this initiative. Do you know what the lag was for the rest of the league being readily able to adopt it? Adam Silver: I think it was, maybe, a little bit on the expense side for some teams. Where, because they were busy also trying to make a business out of their team and weren’t able to spend as freely. But I think there were some philosophical differences among some teams. I think it was no different than the way ‘Billy Ball’ evolved in Major League Baseball that certain GMs and certain coaches were early adopters. Obviously [Celtics Assistant GM] Mike Zarren here in Boston, Darryl Morey who comes from Boston and is taking his technique to Houston. But I think also, it spread, seemingly to me, more quickly through this league maybe than other leagues. CLNS Radio

October 28, 2013 Updates

The NBA opens its season this week, and the information surrounding the game has never been as rich, detailed or impactful. It’s not like the Moneyball divide that split much of the baseball world; most in basketball have embraced detailed statistical analysis. “We use it. The Wizards use it. Everybody uses it to different extents,” Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said. Washington Post

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