3 Random NBA Questions (10/15/18): What is the Probability that the Lakers Miss the Playoffs?

Q1: What is the probability that the Lakers miss the playoffs?

Inspired by Ben Falk’s Predict challenge on his website, Cleaning the Glass, (a really cool website if you’re an NBA fan) and filled with intrigue about year 1 of the LeBron led Lakers experiment, I decided to tackle this question.

So, how should we go about answering it?

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Did the 76ers Really Gain 2.3 Points of Net Rating from Poor Opponent Outside Shooting in 2017-18?

Defending the jump shot, particularly the 3-point shot, is one of those seemingly small topics that for some reason I keep coming back to.  I think what first peeked my interest was a podcast in which a guest speculated that one of the biggest unanswered questions in basketball analytics was the degree of control the defense has on the offense’s 3-point field goal percentage.  He said that some analysts guessed that much of the year-to-year variability in 3-point percentage defense was due to chance.  The main source of control a defense has with to respect to 3-pointers could be limiting the number of attempts (particularly open and corner threes), rather than forcing a low percentage.

I dived right into some small projects inspired by this discussion.  My first post examined whether the shooting ability of the players actually taking the 3-pointers against a particular defense had some ability to explain variability in 3-point percentage defense.  I looked into whether the Celtics’ sustained run of top-5 3-point percentage defenses under Coach Brad Stevens could be a fluke of randomness (it’s highly likely it’s not).  I also analyzed which team statistics were most likely to carry over from the first half of the regular season to the second, and found defensive 3-point percentage was low on that list.

Now, I have tried quantify exactly how many points of defensive rating (points per 100 possessions allowed) are subject to opponent shooting variability.  Besides simply considering 3-pointers, I also looked at free throws and ‘deep’ 2-point attempts, where I defined deep as greater than 16 feet.

Continue reading “Did the 76ers Really Gain 2.3 Points of Net Rating from Poor Opponent Outside Shooting in 2017-18?”