Statistical Trends Through The Conference Semifinals

By Filippos Polyzos and Thomas Bassine

With two rounds of the playoffs behind us, we decided to take a step back and look at how the four conference finalists have stacked up statistically. We looked at the Four Factors to get a big picture view of what has gone right and wrong for each squad. We also examined the Synergy play type data to see how each offense compares stylistically with the regular season. Our research illustrates some of the primary reasons the Hawks, Bucks, Clippers and Suns have been successful so far in this postseason.

A word of caution: Don’t get over-excited by the numbers below. Due to a small sample size and the diversity & difficulty of each qualified team’s different opponents in the first two rounds, we must take all the values with a grain of salt (always look for context and possible inflation of such values). All stats were collected before the start of the conference finals unless noted otherwise.

Continue reading “Statistical Trends Through The Conference Semifinals”

Three Interesting Stats: North Of The Border Edition

Checking in on Pascal Siakam, an aggressive defense, and an emerging block machine.

In the Three Interesting Stats series, we hope to bring to light three fun numerical tidbits of information from the NBA and relate them back to what is happening on the court. Last week, in the first edition, we talked about isolation play in Brooklyn, hot shooting in Milwaukee, and a free throw machine in Philly. This time, we turn our attention north of the border- or, I suppose, to sunny Tampa Bay for the time being- to look at the play of the Toronto Raptors.

The 2019 NBA Champs (doesn’t that feel like 10 year ago?) are only 17-19 at the All-Star break after starting the year a sluggish 2-8, but have actually climbed up to a positive +1.4 net rating, per basketball-reference. There are lots of intriguing developments with this team, so let’s dive in!

Stat 1: 54.2%. Pascal Siakam’s true shooting percentage so far this season.

Continue reading “Three Interesting Stats: North Of The Border Edition”

Three Interesting Stats: Eastern Conference Contenders Edition

Welcome to my new series Three Interesting Stats! Here I will highlight three thought-provoking pieces of numerical information about the current NBA season and what they mean. I want the stats to elucidate in some small way what is happening on the court; after all, the data we collect traces back to the squeaking sneakers and swishing jump shots that we love to watch.

For our first week, we will focus on the three teams atop the Eastern Conference.

Stat 1: 1.16. The points per possession for the Brooklyn Nets on isolation possessions. (source: Synergy)

Continue reading “Three Interesting Stats: Eastern Conference Contenders Edition”

The Harden Trade Offers A Window Into Thinking About The Future

How quantifying championship equity can offer a framework for evaluating a blockbuster trade.

Note: This post was primarily written a few days after the Harden trade was consummated.

It finally happened. On Wednesday, the Nets pulled the trigger on a blockbluster four team trade that brought James Harden to Brooklyn at the cost of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, three unprotected first round draft picks and four unprotected first round pick swaps.

In this post, I want to analyze the implications of this trade from the Nets’ perspective only. A fair warning before I dive in: I will get a bit philosophical here and use this fascinating deal as a stepping stone to introduce a framework I like to use to think about team title potential. And I will fully admit up front that I find this trade exceedingly difficult to evaluate and assign a tidy grade to the Brooklyn front office.

Continue reading “The Harden Trade Offers A Window Into Thinking About The Future”

A Simple Model For Determining How Real the Nets Are

The Brooklyn Nets obliterated the Golden State Warriors in the season opener and then, even more impressively, made minced meat of the Boston Celtics in TD Garden on Christmas Day. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant look happy to be back on the court. As a fan of the team, I’m not unpleased by these developments.

But I have the annoying “How real is this?” rattling around in the back of my head tempering my reaction to any small sample size. I know that weird things can happen over a short time period in the NBA. Outside shooting can ebb and flow as a prime example. The Basketball Gods fan be fickle.

Continue reading “A Simple Model For Determining How Real the Nets Are”