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LeBron Passes Jordan to Become All-Time VORP King

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 15, 2016

LeBron James has moved his career VORP total to 104.46 and now narrowly leads Michael Jordan's 104.44 for most in NBA history. It should be noted that VORP can only be calculated since 1973-74, so Wilt Chamberlain's career is not included (nor are the first four seasons of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career). VORP was created by Daniel Myers, in conjunction with Box Plus/Minus. Descriptions of the statistics and how they are calculated can be found here.

A comparison of some of their career regular-season advanced statistics can be seen below:

Player G MP TS% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
LeBron James 947 37062 .581 10.8 34.4 2.3 1.6 12.5 31.7 7.3 1.9 9.2 104.5
Michael Jordan* 1072 41011 .569 9.4 24.9 3.1 1.4 9.3 33.3 7.0 1.1 8.1 104.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.

As you can see, LeBron has been a slightly more efficient shooter, a slightly better rebounder and a significantly more prolific passer. Jordan, on the other hand, took better care of the ball, had greater usage, and had an edge in steals. Still, while LeBron has a slight 7.3 to 7.0 edge in Offensive Box Plus/Minus, it's his decisive 1.9 to 1.1 edge in Defensive BPM which gives him the edge in VORP despite playing about 4,000 fewer minutes than MJ. This is largely the result of LeBron playing for superior defensive teams throughout his career. When Jordan was winning titles in Chicago, they were elite defensively, but that was not always the case earlier (or later) in his career. Another factor, according to Myers, is that "Jordan's offensive stats look to the regression more like a pure offensive player than LeBron, possibly because they are more guard like. And guards usually have a bit less value on the defensive end."

While VORP is a cumulative stat, BPM is a rate stat which serves as the foundation for VORP. LeBron's 9.2 BPM seems to dwarf Jordan's 8.1 BPM. However, Jordan's BPM is weighed down by his geriatric years in Washington. A more fair comparison might be Jordan's 13 seasons in Chicago compared to LeBron's career (he's currently in his 13th season). As you can see, the numbers are more comparable, with LeBron owning a 9.2 to 9.0 edge in BPM and a 104.5 to 99.8 edge in VORP thanks to his 1,175-minute advantage in playing time (remember, Jordan missed the majority of the 1985-86 and 1994-95 seasons):
Player G MP TS% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
LeBron James 947 37062 .581 10.8 34.4 2.3 1.6 12.5 31.7 7.3 1.9 9.2 104.5
Michael Jordan* 930 35887 .580 9.4 24.9 3.3 1.5 9.3 33.5 7.7 1.3 9.0 99.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.
VORP and BPM are not the only advanced metrics we have on the site, however. In the eyes of Win Shares, LeBron still has a lot of work to do in order to catch His Airness. And Jordan himself is only fourth all-time. MJ is, however, the all-time leader in Win Shares per 48 minutes (while LeBron is 6th). Here are their career Win Share statistics compared, followed by a comparison of LeBron to Jordan's 13 seasons in Chicago:
Player G MP PER OWS DWS WS WS/48
LeBron James 947 37062 27.6 128.6 56.6 185.2 .240
Michael Jordan* 1072 41011 27.9 149.9 64.1 214.0 .250
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.
Player G MP PER OWS DWS WS WS/48
LeBron James 947 37062 27.6 128.6 56.6 185.2 .240
Michael Jordan* 930 35887 29.1 145.8 58.7 204.5 .274
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.
We're agnostics in the greatest of all time arguments, but we wanted to share this information with our users  as we noticed that VORP now has a new King.

12 Comments | Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, History, Leaders, Statgeekery

Game-Winning Goals Added to Hockey Reference Play Index

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 15, 2016

We have added Game-Winning Goals to the Player Season Finder search in the Hockey Reference Play Index. GWG data is available back the 1963-64 regular season and the 1968 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With this new search capability, you can now quickly and easily see that Phil Esposito (twice) and Michel Goulet share the single-season record over this span with 16 game-winning goals. You can also discover that the career leader over this span is Jaromir Jagr, with 132. The playoff leaders, with 24 each, are Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull. The record for a single Stanley Cup Playoffs is 7 by Brad Richards in 2003-04.

Comments Off on Game-Winning Goals Added to Hockey Reference Play Index | Posted in Announcement, Data, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index

Introducing the Field Goal Finder

Posted by Jonah Gardner on January 14, 2016

We're proud to announce the newest addition to the Pro-Football-Reference Play Index: The Field Goal Finder. While previously, you've been able to use the Play Finder or the Game Finder to look up some FG data, the Field Goal Finder allows you easily search every field goal kicked by an NFL or AFL kicker since 1960. With this addition to the Play Index, you can answer questions like:

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Find NFL Yards Per Target Leaders Since 1992

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 14, 2016

We'd like to announce a recent addition to the Pro Football Reference Player Season Finder tool in the Play Index. We've added the ability to sort player seasons by receiving yards per target.

Former Saints field stretcher Devery Henderson owns the two best seasons since 1992 in terms or yards per target among receivers with 50+ targets.

If you adjust the minimum to 100 targets, Greatest Show on Turf-era Torry Holt is the leader.

With a minimum of 150 targets, Calvin Johnson's 10.64 yards/target in 2011 takes the cake.

And only one player with 500+ targets since 1992 has averaged over 10 yards per target. That would be Jordy Nelson, who leads receivers with that minimum number of targets with a career mark of 10.25 yards per target.

Check out the career Yards/Target leaders (min. 500 targets) since 1992 below:

Games Receiving
Rk G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
1 Jordy Nelson 105 57 596 400 6109 15.27 49 58.2 67.1% 10.25
2 DeSean Jackson 112 108 793 442 7814 17.68 42 69.8 55.7% 9.85
3 Malcom Floyd 121 77 570 321 5550 17.29 34 45.9 56.3% 9.74
4 Rob Gronkowski 80 69 579 380 5555 14.62 65 69.4 65.6% 9.59
5 Julio Jones 65 64 648 414 6201 14.98 34 95.4 63.9% 9.57
6 Antonio Brown 86 59 790 526 7093 13.48 38 82.5 66.6% 8.98
7 Marques Colston 146 106 1099 711 9759 13.73 72 66.8 64.7% 8.88
8 Vincent Jackson 150 132 1003 525 8907 16.97 57 59.4 52.3% 8.88
9 Calvin Johnson 135 130 1312 731 11619 15.89 83 86.1 55.7% 8.86
10 Henry Ellard 102 89 645 329 5688 17.29 22 55.8 51.0% 8.82
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/13/2016.

Comments Off on Find NFL Yards Per Target Leaders Since 1992 | Posted in Announcement, Data, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Tricks You Didn’t Know about Sports Reference: Domain Names

Posted by sean on January 13, 2016

Today, we finalized the purchase of basketballreference.com from the folks at Rotowire (thanks guys!). This really doesn't do much for you as an end user, but I thought I'd also mention that there are some domain name tricks that can help you.

The main one is that each site has a shortened url of 5-6 characters that can save some typing on your end. This is especially useful on your phones.

bbref.com => baseball-reference.com
bkref.com => basketball-reference.com
hkref.com => hockey-reference.com
pfref.com => pro-football-reference.com
cfbref.com => sports-reference.com/cfb
cbbref.com => sports-reference.com/cbb
olyref.com => sports-reference.com/olympics

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Olympics at S-R, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Find Any College Basketball Matchup Since 1950

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 13, 2016

We're excited to announce a new Play Index feature at College Basketball Reference, which allows users to search for results of all matchups between Division I schools since 1949-50: the Matchup Finder.

There's a lot of cool new searches you can make with this tool, so let's show some examples:

In conjunction with the addition of the Matchup Finder, we have also enhanced the Team Game Finder. The Team Game Finder allows for more specific statistical searches than the Matchup Finder, but it only goes back to 2010-11 (the first season for which have all box scores) rather than 1949-50. The enhancement we've now made to this feature is that the AP Rankings are also synced into the search table. So you can now find things like best FG% against the AP #1 team since 2010-11. Or most wins vs ranked opponents since 2010-11.

The other addition we've made with syncing of the AP Rankings are matrices for each season showing all of the ranked vs ranked games. For instance, here's the Top 25 Matchups matrix for the 2014-15 season. Click on any of the hyperlinks to be taken to a matchup finder link showing the list of games in that season fitting the criteria. These matrices go all the way back to 1950.

We'd also like to mention a few inaccuracies we uncovered in the NCAA Record Book in preparing this tool. The record book lists all of the wins over AP #1 teams. However, it includes 2 wins which were actually over schools ranked #2 by the AP at the time of the game (DePaul's win over St. John's on January 17, 1950 and Virginia Tech's win over Memphis State on January 10, 1983). Consequently, we've removed those two games from our list of wins over AP #1. The record book also lists every meeting of #1 vs #2 in the AP Poll. However, it is missing the 1999 Final Four matchup between Michigan State and Duke, which can be found with our tool.

We should mention, however, that in dealing with such a large dataset, there are probably some minor inaccuracies in this data. This is likely mostly with dates, since schools often publish dates that are odds with one another in media guides. If you notice any issues, please let us know and we will work to confirm and fix. Another wrinkle is that prior to 1995-96, the games are almost exclusively limited to Division I vs Division I. We added Virginia's December 1982 loss to Chaminade manually, but you won't be able to find things like Georgetown's "rivalry" vs St. Leo. If you're looking for the Hoyas against Syracuse, though, we've got you covered.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, Data, Features, History, Play Index, Polls, Uncategorized

Provisional 2015 Approximate Value Release

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 8, 2016

With the AP releasing it's All-Pro teams today, we have an important piece of information for constructing our 2015 Approximate Values for NFL players. These numbers will change as Pro Bowl rosters change, but these values give a strong estimate of what the final 2015 AV numbers will look like (since All Pro nods have a far greater impact on AV than Pro Bowl nods do). At this time, the provisional leader in 2015 AV is J.J. Watt, with 21. For the time being, Watt's 88 AV through 5 seasons are the most in NFL history (we calculate AV back to 1960). The previous record had been 84 by Thurman Thomas. Something to ponder is that Watt was drafted between Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder in 2011.

As a reminder, Approximate Value is our method (developed by Doug Drinen) for putting a single numerical value on any player's season. You can read all about it here. You can see the all-time leaders in career AV here and the single-season leaders here.

The rest of the top 5 in 2015 Approximate Value can be seen below:

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.46.11 PM

 

2 Comments | Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Wild Card Weekend

Posted by Jonah Gardner on January 8, 2016

At Pro Football Reference, we tend to deal in the factual, objective historical record.  Our website contains tables of things that really, actually happened already. This blog post will not involve that. Instead, today we're going to take a look at the hypothetical. Here's what could happen this weekend, in the four Wild Card games, and why:

Comments Off on Wild Card Weekend | Posted in Announcement, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Catch Percentage Added to Receiving Stats Table

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 7, 2016

We made a small enhancement to our NFL Receiving stats table by adding "catch percentage" as its own column. You can sort the data by that column to see which players caught the highest percentage of their targets. If you leave the "hide non-qualifiers for rate stats" box checked, it will only sort players with 30+ targets. Please bear in mind that targets are an unofficial category. Our numbers for targets are based on play-by-play descriptions from official accounts, but may slightly differ from numbers seen elsewhere. Our unofficial target data goes back to 1992, so you can run searches across multiple years for catch percentage via the Player Season Finder in the Play Index. For instance, Larry Fitzgerald's 2015 was the highest catch percentage on record by a 100-catch WR not named Wes Welker.

The best catch percentage by any qualified player since 1992 (regardless of position) was Cleveland Gary's 52 receptions on 55 targets in 1992.

Comments Off on Catch Percentage Added to Receiving Stats Table | Posted in Announcement, Data, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Safeties Added to Team Game Finder

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 6, 2016

We just wanted to quickly note that we have added the ability to search for safeties to the Team Game Finder tool in the Play Index.

So now you can search for things like:

If you checked out the above links, perhaps you noticed this oddity: no team in our data has had more than 4 safeties in a single season, yet the 1984 Rams had 3 safeties in a single quarter!

Comments Off on Safeties Added to Team Game Finder | Posted in Announcement, Data, History, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

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