All posts by Jack Werner

NBA Lineup Evaluator: Spacing (2016-2017)

Below is a table of our NBA Lineup spacing metric applied to all NBA Lineups that played more than 50 minutes together in the 2016-2017 season. Our NBA Lineup Spacing metric seeks to quantify a lineup’s ability to generate and score from efficient shots (i.e. at the rim and from the three point line). For complete methodology behind the calculation, see here.

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NBA Lineup Evaluator: Spacing

Preface

First and foremost, I regret to inform you that this analysis is NOT done with player tracking data.

Secondly, I want to say this lineup metric is called spacing, but it is not really a measure of spacing; it is more a measure of how capable a lineup is of producing efficient shots. So, why call it spacing? Firstly, because spacing is catchy and trendy, but also because we believe that when the average fan thinks or hears the word spacing, they are generally thinking about maximizing the optimal shots in basketball: three-pointers and shots at the rim.

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NBA Lineup Evaluator: Diversity

In most sports and at most skill levels, if you are unpredictable in your movements and actions you will have a better chance at being successful; you’ll have a better chance of beating your defender if he doesn’t know what you’re going to do. Granted, at the end of the day, high-performance level always wins out, but one can give themselves a better chance of winning a battle by being unpredictable or diverse.

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Components Methodology: NBA Lineup Evaluator

This article details the methodology and calculations of the components found on our NBA Lineup Evaluator. Each component represents a different skill or ability an NBA lineup could have. We can use these to asses strengths and weaknesses of NBA lineups that have yet to play together, or that haven’t played enough minutes to accurately evaluate their performance. Data is trained from NBA Lineups from 2015-2017 that played at least 50 minutes together. All data comes from either NBA.com or Basketball-Reference.com.

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Wait, why does PML favor the Astros?

After four games, this World Series is tied at two games apiece and shaping up for an exciting finish! According to our PML model, Houston has a 53% chance of winning it all. This might come as a surprise; the majority of other prediction models, like FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings, give Los Angeles a slight 56% edge—not surprising, given the Dodgers play two of the three games at home. In contrast, PML favors the away team in every game from here on out. Ultimately, the difference between the 44% chance FiveThirtyEight gives the Astros and our 53% is not huge. Whichever you prefer, the Series is a toss-up. But it’s useful to dig into why we’re a bit higher on the Astros, and in the process, get to know our PML model a little better.

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