How Much Value Do G-League Replacement Players Have?

One of the most useful catch-all stats in the advanced statistician’s playbook is VORP, Value Over Replacement Player. Like WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in baseball, VORP distills the value of a player’s entire offensive and defensive contribution on the floor to one number, defined by Basketball Reference as “A box score estimate of the points per 100 TEAM possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level (-2.0) player, translated to an average team and prorated to an 82-game season.” Very long story very short, this means that a team full of replacement players would post a -5.4 net rating, and …

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The NBA has a Baseball Problem

With the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks shooting three-pointers in the playoffs like there’s an invisible electric fence installed in the arc that will shock anyone who shoots the ball between it and the restricted area, Gregg Popovich’s comments about how the NBA has devolved into a three-point shooting contest have once again been all over Twitter. To wit (and hat tip because it inspired this article)… More efficient basketball does not equal higher appealing basketball. Whoever makes the most 3’s wins. Fun sport — Billy Cliff 🏆 (@BillyCliff4) May 6, 2019 You’ll notice that the objection isn’t about analytics. …

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How Much Do High-Volume, Low-Efficiency Shooters Hurt NBA Teams?

In the NBA, there’s a certain class of scorer who puts up monumental counting stats but isn’t actually any good. You know the type. The guy who scores 30 points on 30 shots while his team loses by 20. The guy who’s as likely to shoot you out of a game as into it—as Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard once said of Lance Stephenson, “some nights he was the best player on our team and other nights he was the best player on the other team.” Guys like Josh Smith, Allen Iverson, and Jerry Stackhouse in the old days and guys …

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Do Triple-Doubles Lead to NBA Wins?

Earlier in the season, we looked at the strange tendency for 50-point games to come in losses and put forth some thoughts related to whether individual stat-chasing might ultimately hurt team basketball. But nobody’s arguing that players should put the ball in the basket less. If scoring 50 points is what it takes to get the win, just ask the Golden State Warriors how Game 6 went against the Clippers when Kevin Durant did it. But the triple-double, that’s thornier territory. After all, if triple-doubles were the biggest contributing factor to wins, Russell Westbrook would have so many NBA Finals …

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What if 2-Pointers Were Worth 3 and 3-Pointers Worth 4 in Basketball?

Longtime readers of this site back when we were on the old server (I will forever grit my teeth in anger at our previous host losing all our content from 2015-16 and making the stuff from 2016-17 all but impossible to search; that’s why this site migrated to a WordPress server in 2017, but that’s a story for another day…) Anyway, I wrote a piece suggesting that we turn 2-pointers into threes and 3-pointers into fours in an effort to mitigate the spread in eFG% that comes with one shot from farther away from the basket being worth fully 50 …

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Which Advanced Stats, by Themselves, Create the Best NBA GOAT Lists?

Welcome to part 2 of Project Goliath. In our last edition, we took a look at classic NBA counting stats and determined that any set of stats that criminally underrates Michael Jordan and doesn’t do much better with LeBron James cannot be a true metric of “one stat to rule them all.” So it’s time to go back to our old friend the Basketball Reference Play Index, and this time, we’re going to take every NBA player who ever played 820 games (10 full seasons’ worth; to give you an idea, Larry Bird played 897, Magic Johnson played 906, and …

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Pace And Space 2018-19 Predictions Revisited: How’d I Do?

There are two types of people, broadly speaking, who read my work. There are the people who arrive here via Google search or Basketball Reference or some random social media link and who tend to read what they came for and move on. Then there are the fans, those of you who come here every day, say nice things about the Breakfast Special on Twitter, livetweet with me during Pacers games. This column is for you. Because it’s the people who read me regularly and put some stock in what I say that are going to have the most fun …

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Official Pace and Space 2019 Playoff Predictions

I’m not a big fan of writing big playoff preview columns, because one, it’s a good way to look like an idiot when the inevitable happens and you get an improbable first-round playoff upset, and two, it ultimately doesn’t matter because the NBA has a disturbing habit of, by the time the second-round series hit the road, regressing to the obvious Finals narratives we all saw coming in October. There are five teams with a legitimate shot at the Finals. They are Golden State, Houston, Milwaukee, Toronto, and Boston. Every other team has big holes or matchup problems. One thing …

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Breakfast Special: Get Your Hot Buttered Playoff Scenarios

Well, that’s 1,219 games down in the NBA this season, just 11 to go as we prepare for a wild finish to the season. Eight teams played their last game Tuesday night. The other 22 play their last game tonight. And 15 of the 16 playoff participants are decided. Only Detroit and, shockingly, Charlotte are down to the last game to determine who gets the right to get smacked in the face in five by Milwaukee in the first round. So let’s start there. The Inexplicable Charlotte Hornets The Not Cats were left for dead after losing three in a …

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Breakfast Special: Official Pace and Space 2019 Awards

There were no NBA games last night because the Virginia Squires won the ABA championship…no, wait, because the Virginia Cavaliers won the NCAA championship and would still lose by 50 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But uninformed draft takes from me are coming…never. I go on vacation after the Finals. Today’s Breakfast Special is all about highlight reels for players who win awards, and I get to choose who wins the awards because even though I have been tragically overlooked as a media member for getting an award ballot, I still have a bully pulpit. So join me, will you? We’ve …

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