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A Starting Point for Analyzing Basketball Statistics

Author

Listed:
  • Kubatko Justin

    (The Ohio State University and basketball-reference.com)

  • Oliver Dean

    (Basketball on Paper and Denver Nuggets)

  • Pelton Kevin

    (Seattle Sonics & Storm)

  • Rosenbaum Dan T

    (University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Cleveland Cavaliers)

Abstract

The quantitative analysis of sports is a growing branch of science and, in many ways one that has developed through non-academic and non-traditionally peer-reviewed work. The aim of this paper is to bring to a peer-reviewed journal the generally accepted basics of the analysis of basketball, thereby providing a common starting point for future research in basketball. The possession concept, in particular the concept of equal possessions for opponents in a game, is central to basketball analysis. Estimates of possessions have existed for approximately two decades, but the various formulas have sometimes created confusion. We hope that by showing how most previous formulas are special cases of our more general formulation, we shed light on the relationship between possessions and various statistics. Also, we hope that our new estimates can provide a common basis for future possession estimation. In addition to listing data sources for statistical research on basketball, we also discuss other concepts and methods, including offensive and defensive ratings, plays, per-minute statistics, pace adjustments, true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, rebound rates, Four Factors, plus/minus statistics, counterpart statistics, linear weights metrics, individual possession usage, individual efficiency, Pythagorean method, and Bell Curve method. This list is not an exhaustive list of methodologies used in the field, but we believe that they provide a set of tools that fit within the possession framework and form the basis of common conversations on statistical research in basketball.

Suggested Citation

  • Kubatko Justin & Oliver Dean & Pelton Kevin & Rosenbaum Dan T, 2007. "A Starting Point for Analyzing Basketball Statistics," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 1-24, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:3:y:2007:i:3:n:1
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887.
    2. Štrumbelj, Erik & Vračar, Petar, 2012. "Simulating a basketball match with a homogeneous Markov model and forecasting the outcome," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 532-542.
    3. Shortridge Ashton & Goldsberry Kirk & Adams Matthew, 2014. "Creating space to shoot: quantifying spatial relative field goal efficiency in basketball," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 10(3), pages 1-11, September.
    4. Manner Hans, 2016. "Modeling and forecasting the outcomes of NBA basketball games," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 31-41, March.
    5. Fearnhead Paul & Taylor Benjamin Matthew, 2011. "On Estimating the Ability of NBA Players," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 7(3), pages 1-18, July.
    6. Fabio Fonti & Massimo Maoret, 2016. "The direct and indirect effects of core and peripheral social capital on organizational performance," Post-Print hal-01478950, HAL.
    7. repec:eso:journl:v:48:y:2017:i:1:p:85-107 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Skinner Brian, 2010. "The Price of Anarchy in Basketball," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-18, January.
    9. Teramoto Masaru & Cross Chad L., 2010. "Relative Importance of Performance Factors in Winning NBA Games in Regular Season versus Playoffs," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 1-19, July.
    10. Fabio Fonti & Massimo Maoret, 2016. "The direct and indirect effects of core and peripheral social capital on organizational performance," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(8), pages 1765-1786, August.
    11. Turner, Chad & Hakes, Jahn Karl, 2007. "The Collective Bargaining Effects of NBA Player Productivity Dynamics," MPRA Paper 5058, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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