All posts by Marc Richards

Model 284 Podcast: Episode 1

We are happy to introduce another podcast in the Model 284 family. This podcast is hosted by Marc Richards and Sam Walczak and will focus on sports analytics, providing a deeper dive into the work being done at Model 284, and serving as another platform to share our work. The Model 284 podcast is presented by Wallace Carlson Printing.

On the inaugural episode, we give a brief history of how Model 284 came to be, the work we have done so far, and what you can expect to get out of this podcast. Next, we discuss some of the recent content at Model 284 (including a quick preview of March Madness), touch on a few hot topics in the sports analytics world, give our advanced stats of the week, and finish with some NFL combine hypotheticals.

You can subscribe to the Model 284 Podcast on iTunes here.

NBA Lineup Optimizer Instructional

Imagine you’re the analytics director for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After the Cavs added a bunch of new players at the trade deadline, coach Tyronn Lue might come to you for advice on how best to fit them into lineups. Luckily, your team of analysts has already designed a Lineup Evaluator Tool to rate and score any five-player lineup. But that doesn’t quite get you where you want to go. You need to take in the players on the Cleveland roster and spit out a ranking of lineups. You need to get a feel for the best player and the best two-man, three-man, or four-man groupings to fit into your game plans.

You need Model 284’s Lineup Optimizer Tool.

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My Model Monday: DIII Men’s MIAC Hockey Rankings

In my first ever My Model Monday, I wanted to get back to my roots: ice hockey and St. Olaf College. For those who don’t know, I used to play ice hockey (sometimes) and did so at St. Olaf College; therefore, I figured it would be fun to bring some analysis to a sport and level that is rarely covered: Division III Men’s Ice Hockey.
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2017 NFL Win Totals and Elo Ratings

Below is a table of our 2017 NFL Playoff Simulation and Elo Ratings (heading into the Conference Championship games). Tune in for weekly updates to these figures throughout the 2017 NFL Playoffs Season. Our NFL Season Simulator Methodology and Elo Rating Methodology articles provide further explanation in how we calculate the probabilites of each team making it to each round of the playoffs as well as our Elo Ratings, respectively.

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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


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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Team Defense Projections – Week 17

Below are our projected Team Defensive Fantasy Points (based on ESPN Standard Scoring) for Week 17 of the 2017 NFL Season. These projections are from a model that takes into account a number of variables including team and player offensive and defensive metrics, situational factors in the game (such as, indoors or outdoors, divisional game, days of rest, and more), and lastly overall team rating measured by statistics such as our Elo Ratings. Continue reading Team Defense Projections – Week 17

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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