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Has LeBron Been Better than Jordan in the Finals?

2nd June 2016

Game 2 of the 2016 NBA Finals will be a big occasion. Of course, they'll all be big occasions, since they will determine who the NBA Champion is. But Game 2 will be especially momentous, because -- barring injury, suspension, or an abrupt announcement from Adam Silver that this year's Finals will last one game -- it will be the 35th of LeBron James' Finals' career, matching Michael Jordan's total.

As a human being on the Internet, you are no doubt aware of the fact that LeBron and MJ experienced different degrees of success in their time in the NBA Finals. MJ went 24-11 in his 35 games, winning all 6 titles that he played for. LeBron, on the other hand, is 13-20 in Finals games and 2-4 in series.

Their records speak for themselves, but that's also a pretty surface-level way of looking at it. LeBron was swept in 2007, but that team's second best player, by Win Shares, was Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a far cry from the Jordan's Hall-of-Fame sidekick Scottie Pippen. Should he get extra credit for that? Or what about last season, when the LeBron's Cleveland Cavaliers won two games against the Golden State Warriors with Timofey Mozgov as their second best player due to injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving?

In other words, despite the record, can one build a case that LeBron actually has been more accomplished, on an individual level, than MJ in the Finals? Let's dig a little deeper into the numbers. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Playoffs | 30 Comments »

Channing Frye Shooting for Record Books

1st June 2016

As you may have noticed, Cleveland's Channing Frye has been on fire in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Go ahead and check out his postseason shot-chart and date here.

He's a ridiculous 26-45 on 3-pointers, thus far. His Effective FG% is a sizzling 81.8%. That puts him on pace to break Birdman's record for eFG% in a single postseason. (Apparently, it's nice to be a back-up big playing with LeBron James).

Obviously, Frye is taking far different types of shots than Chris Andersen was, though. With our play-by-play statistics, which are available back to 2000-01, we are able to see shooting performance on specific shot types, as well. And thus far, Frye is shooting jump shots more effectively than we've seen in any of the last 16 postseasons. Here's the best eFG%s on jumpers in single playoffs since 2001 (minimum 50 jump shots attempted).

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.12.26 PM

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Play Index, Playoffs | Comments Off on Channing Frye Shooting for Record Books

LeBron Passes MJ in Becoming All-Time Postseason Win Shares Leader

31st May 2016

We hope everyone had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend. We just wanted to quickly mention something before it gets lost in the shuffle with the NBA Finals starting in two days. In the Cavaliers' Game 6 win over Toronto, LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to become the all-time leader in career postseason Win Shares. LeBron has, however, played more career postseason games and minutes than Jordan, so His Airness remains the all-time postseason leader in Win Shares Per 48 minutes.

Earlier this season, James passed Jordan to become the NBA's All-Time VORP leader (calculated since 1973-74).

Here's how the advanced statistics stack up for James and Jordan in their postseason careers (through the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals):

 

Player PER TS% TRB% AST% TOV% USG% OWS DWS WS WS/48 OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
LeBron James 27.5 .567 12.5 33.4 12.4 31.9 26.7 13.4 40.1 .238 7.3 3.2 10.5 25.6
Michael Jordan* 28.6 .568 9.3 28.2 9.4 35.6 27.3 12.4 39.8 .255 8.3 1.8 10.1 22.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2016.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, History, Playoffs | 3 Comments »

Every Time an NBA Team Came Back From a 3-1 Deficit (and What It Means for the Warriors)

25th May 2016

It was just a couple of weeks ago that we were all admiring the Golden State Warriors' latest feat in a season full of them: keeping up their winning ways without the help of the NBA MVP. While Stephen Curry has returned, the winning has come to a sudden halt.

After spending Sunday and Tuesday night getting obliterated by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Bay Area's most popular export since 99% Invisible is just one loss away from an early start to their summer. In their last six games, the Warriors went 3-3 with a point differential of -20. During their disastrous excursion to Oklahoma City, they were outscored by 52 points and out-rebounded by 30 boards.

The Warriors are on the brink of a very dark abyss, but they have some historical precedent to look to. There have been nine times in the history of the NBA Playoffs where a team was down 3-1 in a series and came back to win. Looking back at those examples, we can see if any patterns emerge that give the Warriors a roadmap for digging themselves out or show the Thunder what mistakes they need to avoid. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Playoffs | 5 Comments »

2016 NBA Free Agent Tracker

24th May 2016

Unless you're a fan of a conference finalist, chances are you're beginning to look ahead to the offseason and what players your team can add via free agency in July and beyond. So go ahead and click this link for our 2016 NBA Free Agent Tracker and check out who might be available this offseason. The players are automatically sorted by their 2015-16 Win Shares totals, from Kevin Durant's 14.5 to Tony Wroten's -0.8.

 

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2016 NBA Free Agent Tracker

The 15 Biggest Playoff Upsets in NBA History

19th May 2016

The Oklahoma City Thunder shouldn't be here. It's weird to think of a team that won 55 games and boasts 2 of the 5 best players in the league (at least, according to the NBA MVP voting) as an underdog, but the Thunder spent the year in the same conference as two historically dominant teams. There was the San Antonio Spurs, who posted the 7th best point differential of all-time. At the same time, there was the Golden State Warriors who, in case you didn't hear, won a lot of games this season.

Yet the Thunder tore through the Spurs, winning the series in 6, clinching it in a blowout, and perhaps ending then nearly 20-year career of Tim Duncan. Then they followed it up by going to one of the toughest arenas for road teams in the NBA and stealing Game 1 from the 73-win defending champs. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Basketball-Reference.com, Playoffs | Comments Off on The 15 Biggest Playoff Upsets in NBA History

How Are the Warriors Staying Afloat Without Stephen Curry?

5th May 2016

The Golden State Warriors' driverless UberX hit its first real speed bump of the season when Stephen Curry sprained his MCL halfway through Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Without the presumptive NBA MVP, the hyperdrive engine that powers one of the best offenses in NBA history, it was only natural to assume the Warriors would take a step back.

Of course, that's also assuming this Warriors team is mortal. Since the start of the 2nd half of Game 4, when they lost Curry to the knee injury, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by a total of 81 points. The team's eFG% of .542 is below its regular season mark of .563, but a number that still would have been the best in the NBA this year. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Playoffs | Comments Off on How Are the Warriors Staying Afloat Without Stephen Curry?

Player Stats for 1993-94 College Basketball Season Added

29th April 2016

As we continue to work towards our goal of covering college basketball's shot-clock era (since 1985-86), we have recently added player stats for the 1993-94 college basketball season.

That was the season in which Arkansas rode its 40 Minutes of Hell style to a national championship and National Player of the Year Glenn Robinson averaged an incredible 30.3 PPG (an average that no one has bested since).

You can check out the player leaders for this season here. Additionally, similar player leaderboards can be found for each conference page for the season. Or you can check out tables that have the player stats for every player in a given conference that season.

This addition has also allowed us to extend our leaderboards back to 1993-94 for many categories, such as the yearly national PPG leader since 1993-94 or the most career assists since 1993-94.

If you preferring making your own, customized, leaderboards, you can do so back to 1993-94 in the Player Season Finder.

Here's a few sample searches:

One more thing to note: Since we only have full team stats back to 1995-96, at this time we are not yet able to calculate player win shares for seasons before 1995-96.

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, Data, History | Comments Off on Player Stats for 1993-94 College Basketball Season Added

Who Was the Best Team of the 2000s?

14th April 2016

Everyone knows who the best team of the 1990s was. The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls had Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all-time, leading a cast that included two of the greatest defenders of all-time, a legendary sharpshooter, and a Hall of Fame coach. That team's 72-win regular season seemed like the modern equivalent of Joe DiMaggio's hit streak, a record so unfathomable that we all knew it would never be broken.

Except that this year, it was. The Golden State Warriors still have a title to win, but it's not too early to say that, if they are crowned NBA Finals' champs, they'll likely be remembered as the best team of the 2010s (at least, until the 2019 76ers, under Bryan Colangelo's leadership, win 74 games). Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com | 17 Comments »

2015-16 Warriors Enter NBA Record Book

14th April 2016

The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors have earned a seat at the table in the discussion of the greatest teams in NBA history. They've set a new standard with 73 regular-season wins. Let's examine some of their other accomplishments this season:

  • 6th-best SRS in NBA history: SRS stands for Simple Rating System and is a rating method that takes into account margin of victory and strength of schedule.
  • 6th-best average margin of victory in NBA history: The Warriors outscored their opponents by 10.76 PPG, which was the best by any NBA team since the 1996-97 Bulls outscored their opposition by 10.80 PPG. However, the Warriors outscored their opponents by 10.0 PPG in the 1st three quarters of games alone, which is something none of the teams ahead of them on the list managed.
  • Most road wins in NBA history: The Dubs went 34-7 on the road, surpassing the 33 road wins by the 1995-96 Bulls.
  • 2nd-longest winning streak in NBA history: After winning their final four regular-season games in 2014-15, the Warriors ran off 24 straight wins to start 2015-16, coming up five games short of matching the 1971-72 Lakers' 33-game winning streak.
  • Longest home winning streak in NBA history: The Warriors' 54-game home winning streak was enough to surpass the old record (44) by the mid-90s Bulls.
  • 3rd-longest road winning streak in NBA history: Their 14-game road winning streak was good enough for a tie for the 3rd-longest in NBA history (just two games shy of the record).
  • Best Effective FG% in NBA history: When accounting for the added value of the three-point shot, the Warriors surpassed the 2013-14 Heat as the best field goal shooting team in NBA history.
  • Best True Shooting Percentage since at least 1983-84: The Warriors also bested the 2013-14 Heat for best True Shooting Percentage since 1983-84.
  • Most 3-pointers made per game in NBA history: Last season the Rockets set this record by making 11.4 3-pointers per game. The Warriors made over 13 per game.
  • 2nd-best 3-point FG% in NBA history: Incredibly, the same team that set the record for makes also managed to have the 2nd-best 3-point percentage in NBA history. It should be noted that the only team with a better 3-point field goal percentage, the 1996-97 Hornets, did so during a season in which the 3-point line was closer to the basket (22 feet all around).

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, History, Play Index | Comments Off on 2015-16 Warriors Enter NBA Record Book