Still alive, still kicking. It's the offseason, so not much is happening. But I'm still writing many many many places, so if WOH is your thing, please follow me on twitter @WhrOffnsHppns. I've also started a tumblr for posting links to everything I publish on the web, sethpartnow.tumblr.com. Finally, if you're interested in analytics in general, we've got great stuff going on at The Nylon Calculus, can't encourage you to visit strongly enough as we have some pretty smart guys writing there. (And me.)
Just a quick update for the people hanging on my every word, the blog is not dead, I'm not taking a break or anything like that. New stuff will be coming soon. Rob and I hope to do at least one pod to coincide with the Sloan Conference this weekend. In the meantime, I wrote (with help from Darryl of Backboard Blues) a lengthy piece on the new NBA.com"player tracking boxscores" for Hickory High, where they've been kind enough to put me on staff. I should have part 2 of that piece, concerning season long SportVU data and trends sometime this week or early next. Don't want to give too much away but I also have a big old piece coming later this week on BBall Breakdown talking about how some of the top scorers in the league fair versus the top defenses in the league. Finally, I've been participating in ClipperBlog's "Last Call" post games and hope to continue to do so in the future. I also have about 10 half-finished posts which need to get, well, finished as time permits and inspiration allows.
Thanks to Ian and the crew at Hickory High, today seems to be a day where a lot of people visit WOH for the first time, so I thought I throw up a quick set of links to a few of my favorite posts I've done over the 2+ months of this blogs' existence. Please peruse and enjoy!
Some of my favorite hard analytics have been trying to make something useful from NBA.com's SportVU "Player Tracking Data". I think the useful information that comes from that data is almost accidental as I doubt teams were willing to share the reports they actually run on the data, but I think I have been able to parse some of the data in two interesting ways - Rim Protection, first post here and "True Usage" a measure of offensive involvement combining both shooting and playmaking, first post here.
I took a look at tanking and the overvaluation of future draft picks here
Several posts breaking down Portland's efficient yet highly aesthetically pleasing offense starting here
So as I get a better handle on how this is going to work, I think I've hit upon a general structure. I want to keep each post somewhat concise, but a lot of the things I want to look at are going to take 15-20 plays to illustrate the point. First of all, getting and captioning that many screengrabs is going to make my eyes bleed. Also, it's probably hard to digest more than a few at a time for a reader who hasn't watched each play over and over.
So, a quick intro. I'm a mid 3os lifelong NBA fan, who's been obsessed with sports statistics in general and basketball statistics specifically for as long as I remember. I'm also a fan of the game as a game, with how the players interact with each other across time and space. And not that it matters terribly much, but I also played a little small college ball, which I hope gives me some small insight as to how the game works.
I very much enjoy the discussion that the advances in SABR-style research on the NBA allow us to have, which allow us to say no, Kobe vs. Lebron is not a reasonable discussion (for the last several years it has just been unequivocally true that Lebron is substantially, measurably better), Chris Paul is historically elite and Golden State Monta Ellis was overrated by "CasualFan" because he scored a lot.
However, looking at basketball on paper (though you should read Basketball on Paper) and stopping there is a trap too many (at least in the online discussion community) fall into. Which brings us to the mascot of this blog: Kyle Korver. Korver is not my favorite basketball player, (nor is Ashton Kutcher for that matter.) But he is the poster child for the extreme strawman version of Analytics Only Guy.
AOG looks at his alltime record pace (through 10 games at the time of this writing) .710 True Shooting Percentage (defined here, though I'm assuming if you are reading this blog, you have a passing familiarity with at least basic box score statistics as well as the first generation of advanced metrics such as TS% or PER) and wonders why Atlanta doesn't let him shoot more three pointers, especially from the corner as a Kyle Korver Korner 3 is close to the platonic ideal of a perfect basketball possession.
And the reason Korver doesn't shoot more 3s is because he can't. By NBA standards he's not particularly tall, strong, quick, fast or athletic. And the players on the other team are fairly well compensated to stop Mr. Korver from launching said three. (Well some of the opposition are well compensated to do some stopping, and some are Jamal Crawford or play for the New York Knickerbockers, below the fold we ask where are you going, Mr. Shumpert?)