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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,, 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,, 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, | 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,, Data, History, Play Index | Comments Off on 2015-16 Warriors Enter NBA Record Book

Kobe Bryant Has Always Had Fascinating Goodbyes

13th April 2016

As Kobe Bean Bryant bids farewell to the NBA, you'll likely hear a lot about all of the great accomplishments during his Hall of Fame career. The buzzer beaters, the 81-point game, the rings, the All-NBA teams, the All-Defense teams, the MVP votes. His great achievements literally go on and on. It's why most consider him one of the greatest guards in the history of the game. These accomplishments should be acknowledged, and chances are you've been hearing about them a lot this week.

However, as Kobe says goodbye tonight, I wanted to look at a part of his legacy that has always fascinated me: the way that he has said goodbye in past seasons. Bryant is considered by many to be one of the all-time great postseason performers. The reasons are obvious: He has five rings and two NBA Finals MVPs. He's the third-leading scorer in NBA Postseason history. However, the ultimate test of a superstar player is how they perform with their back against the wall. So I decided to examine Bryant's performance when facing playoff elimination. I did the same for some players with whom he's often compared: Michael Jordan & LeBron James.

First, let me be explicit: By "facing elimination" I mean any playoff game in which a loss would mean the end of his team's season. So these are games in which his team entered with two losses in a best-of-5 series or three losses in a best-of-7 series.

It turns out Bryant faced elimination 19 times in his career. The table below shows his statistics in these 19 games, with links to the box scores for each (by clicking the date). You'll notice that, coincidentally, the first two elimination games of the Black Mamba's career were against the Jazz (the same team he will finish his career against tonight).

1997-05-12 LAL UTA L 29 4 14 0 6 3 3 2 2 1 0 1 11 3.6
1998-05-24 LAL UTA L 19 2 2 0 0 2 3 1 0 1 1 3 6 2.8
1999-05-23 LAL SAS L 40 7 16 1 3 1 2 8 3 0 0 3 16 7.5
2000-05-05 LAL SAC W 34 7 16 1 5 2 2 2 6 0 3 1 17 13.7
2000-06-04 LAL POR W 47 9 19 1 4 6 12 11 7 0 4 2 25 20.3
2002-05-31 LAL SAC W 44 10 20 0 0 11 11 11 5 0 0 1 31 26.4
2002-06-02 LAL SAC W 52 10 26 2 3 8 10 10 7 2 0 0 30 24.1
2003-05-15 LAL SAS L 43 9 19 2 5 0 2 2 6 1 0 7 20 6.7
2004-06-15 LAL DET L 45 7 21 0 2 10 11 3 4 1 0 3 24 13.0
2006-05-06 LAL PHO L 43 8 16 4 8 4 5 4 1 0 1 3 24 13.6
2007-05-02 LAL PHO L 46 13 33 2 8 6 7 4 1 1 0 6 34 11.8
2008-06-15 LAL BOS W 44 8 21 4 9 5 7 7 4 5 0 6 25 16.2
2008-06-17 LAL BOS L 43 7 22 3 9 5 5 3 1 1 0 4 22 8.0
2009-05-17 LAL HOU W 33 4 12 1 4 5 6 7 5 3 2 1 14 14.6
2010-06-15 LAL BOS W 40 9 19 1 4 7 7 11 3 4 0 2 26 24.1
2010-06-17 LAL BOS W 45 6 24 0 6 11 15 15 2 1 0 4 23 9.9
2011-05-08 LAL DAL L 37 7 18 0 5 3 4 3 1 0 0 5 17 3.4
2012-05-12 LAL DEN W 45 7 16 2 2 1 4 1 8 0 1 3 17 10.6
2012-05-21 LAL OKC L 41 18 33 1 6 5 7 5 0 2 0 2 42 25.6
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/12/2016.

It should be noted that in 1997 and 1998, Bryant was a teenager coming off the bench for the Lakers and did not always see consistent minutes. LeBron and MJ were never in the playoffs as teens, so it's probably unfair to include those years in any comparison. That said, here's Vino's averages in the 17 elimination games he played after becoming a starter. We've also listed the averages for Jordan and James in such games (and have even thrown in Allen Iverson, as a control of sorts, for those who think MJ & LeBron set an impossible standard):

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.07.22 AM

The first thing you'll note is that Bryant is the only of the four to have a winning record in these games (though that record falls to 9-10 if you include losses to the Jazz in his first two seasons). However, you'll notice his personal statistics are a cut below the other players on the list, especially Jordan and James. Of the four, Bryant ranks last a scorer, 2nd-worst in shooting efficiency, 2nd-worst in rebounding, and last in assists. Add it all up and Bryant's average Game Score when facing elimination is 14.7. Game Score was created by John Hollinger to give a rough estimate of a player's productivity for a single game. The scale is similar to that of points scored, so 40 is an outstanding performance and 10 is average. Needless to say, a 14.7 average Game Score in contests of this level of import is very pedestrian for a player of Kobe's standing. For further perspective, Bryant's average Game Score for his entire career is 17.4.

Michael Jordan, meanwhile, was predictably outstanding in these games as he averaged about 31 PPG, 8 RPG and 7 APG, with efficient shooting numbers. His Game Score average of 23.3 crushes Bryant's 14.7. LeBron James, contrary to his reputation, has even better numbers than Jordan in these games, ranking as the best scorer, rebounder and shooter of the group. His average Game Score of 23.7 is also the best. Allen Iverson, meanwhile, put up big scoring and assists numbers, but was the least efficient shooter of the group (though his TS% is close to Kobe's). Still, Iverson's 18.3 Game Score average puts him well ahead of Bryant.

In addition to the relative lack of individual success, the other striking thing about Bryant in these games is the magnitude of several of the losses. It's absolutely incredible that a player on so many great teams was also a part of so many season-ending meltdowns. Let's review:

If you're counting at home, that's four losses by 28+ points when facing playoff elimination. Does Kobe have one more dramatic ending in store for us?

Attached below are tables showing the elimination games of the other players mentioned in this post.

1985-04-24 CHI MIL W 42 12 26 0 1 11 16 8 7 4 1 3 35 28.2
1985-04-26 CHI MIL L 42 6 16 0 2 17 20 7 5 2 3 4 29 24.3
1986-04-22 CHI BOS L 39 8 18 1 1 2 3 10 9 2 1 5 19 15.4
1987-04-28 CHI BOS L 39 9 30 0 1 12 14 11 7 2 1 2 30 21.5
1988-05-08 CHI CLE W 43 12 22 0 0 15 18 4 6 2 2 7 39 27.8
1988-05-18 CHI DET L 43 10 22 1 2 4 7 8 8 2 0 3 25 18.6
1989-05-07 CHI CLE W 44 17 32 1 1 9 13 9 6 1 0 2 44 32.7
1989-06-02 CHI DET L 42 13 26 1 2 5 12 4 13 3 2 8 32 20.9
1990-06-01 CHI DET W 39 11 20 1 4 6 6 10 2 1 0 3 29 20.6
1990-06-03 CHI DET L 45 13 27 0 2 5 5 8 9 1 0 4 31 23.0
1992-05-17 CHI NYK W 42 15 29 0 0 12 13 6 4 2 3 5 42 31.0
1995-05-18 CHI ORL L 39 8 19 1 2 7 10 9 7 4 4 6 24 19.9
1998-05-31 CHI IND W 42 9 25 0 0 10 15 9 8 0 0 2 28 19.2
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/12/2016.
2006-05-21 CLE DET L 47 11 24 0 4 5 8 8 2 1 0 3 27 15.6
2007-06-14 CLE SAS L 46 10 30 2 7 2 6 6 10 0 0 6 24 7.8
2008-05-16 CLE BOS W 47 9 23 1 3 13 15 12 6 2 1 8 32 21.6
2008-05-18 CLE BOS L 47 14 29 3 11 14 19 5 6 2 0 2 45 32.8
2009-05-28 CLE ORL W 46 11 24 0 2 15 19 14 12 1 1 4 37 33.3
2009-05-30 CLE ORL L 45 8 20 2 8 7 11 7 7 0 1 3 25 16.1
2010-05-13 CLE BOS L 46 8 21 2 4 9 12 19 10 3 1 9 27 22.1
2011-06-12 MIA DAL L 40 9 15 2 5 1 4 4 6 1 1 6 21 13.6
2012-06-07 MIA BOS W 45 19 26 2 4 5 9 15 5 0 0 4 45 36.4
2012-06-09 MIA BOS W 48 9 21 1 5 12 17 12 2 1 1 3 31 22.4
2013-06-03 MIA IND W 41 8 17 1 2 15 16 8 4 2 1 2 32 29.2
2013-06-18 MIA SAS W 50 11 26 1 5 9 12 10 11 3 1 6 32 25.8
2013-06-20 MIA SAS W 45 12 23 5 10 8 8 12 4 2 0 2 37 32.5
2014-06-15 MIA SAS L 41 10 21 3 9 8 9 10 5 0 2 1 31 26.8
2015-06-16 CLE GSW L 47 13 33 2 10 4 8 18 9 2 0 6 32 20.2
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/12/2016.
1999-05-23 PHI IND L 45 11 28 2 6 1 1 3 6 0 0 2 25 12.5
2000-05-13 PHI IND W 45 7 26 1 4 4 6 3 5 2 0 3 19 6.2
2000-05-15 PHI IND W 46 12 29 2 4 11 12 5 1 1 0 1 37 22.5
2000-05-19 PHI IND L 44 7 20 1 4 3 5 5 3 2 0 2 18 10.0
2001-05-20 PHI TOR W 48 8 27 1 3 4 4 4 16 2 1 4 21 16.0
2001-06-03 PHI MIL W 44 17 33 4 6 6 7 6 7 2 0 2 44 32.8
2001-06-15 PHI LAL L 45 14 32 3 11 6 8 3 2 2 0 3 37 18.7
2002-04-28 PHI BOS W 44 10 23 3 5 19 20 5 4 5 0 3 42 34.6
2002-05-01 PHI BOS W 42 9 26 1 5 9 10 5 4 4 0 4 28 16.9
2002-05-03 PHI BOS L 44 11 24 4 7 5 8 2 4 1 0 1 31 20.4
2003-05-16 PHI DET L 53 14 33 1 1 9 10 3 9 2 1 5 38 24.2
2005-05-03 PHI DET L 48 14 30 1 5 5 6 1 7 0 0 4 34 18.2
2007-05-02 DEN SAS L 44 6 22 2 5 7 9 0 8 2 0 3 21 11.8
2008-04-28 DEN LAL L 43 10 22 0 3 2 3 2 2 0 0 1 22 11.6
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2016.

Posted in Announcement,, Data, History, Playoffs, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Kobe Bryant Has Always Had Fascinating Goodbyes

24 Things You Didn’t Know About Kobe Bryant

7th April 2016

In a little under a week, Kobe Bryant will walk onto the floor of the Staples Center for the final time as a player. For good and ill, no player has come to define the post-Jordan, pre-LeBron generation more than Kobe. However, Kobe's off-floor notoriety hasn't always matched his on-the-court achievements. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki all have more Win Shares than Kobe. Steve Nash has more MVP awards and Allen Iverson has spent more years leading the NBA in Points Per Game.

Yet it's Kobe who has come to be the face of the late 1990s and early 2000s in the NBA. He's proof of the adage that the opposite of love isn't hate, but indifference. Unlike Duncan, who never generated strong feelings, or Dirk, beloved but never feared or loathed, Kobe is a player who was fiercely debated and scrutinized. His game, and your feelings about it, say a lot about what you're looking for in a basketball player and where you see the NBA going.

So, as his career winds down, let's take a look back. I scoured the Basketball-Reference database and found 24 facts, in bold, that shed light on both sides and explain dig into Kobe's complicated, nuanced legacy as an NBA player.

Kobe's Scoring

We'll start with something you probably do know. Kobe scored. A lot. He'll finish 3rd all-time in points, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

Of course, Kobe's scoring comes with the caveat that he played a lot. Bryant is one of 5 players with 20 years in the NBA, one more than Malone and five more than Michael Jordan, who is in 4th in points. If you look at PPG, Kobe is 12th all-time, impressive but more in line with how he ranked as a scorer.

It's also notable because Kobe had fewer career PPG than his contemporary, newly-minted HoF Inductee Allen Iverson. AI also had 4 30-PPG seasons, as opposed to Kobe's 3. Iverson's scoring edge over Kobe, however, is also related to the fact that AI played so many more minutes than Kobe (he had a nearly Wilt-esque 11 seasons with 40 or more Minutes Per Game).

So, Iverson played more but Kobe played longer. Using the Player Comparison Finder, we can adjust for both. Here's what their per 36 minutes stats look like (along with Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, who are also part of this cohort) through 2009-10, AI's last season:

1 Kobe Bryant 1997 .455 5.2 4.6 1.5 0.5 24.8
2 Vince Carter 1999 .445 5.2 4.0 1.2 0.7 22.2
3 Allen Iverson* 1997 .425 3.3 5.4 1.9 0.2 23.3
4 Tracy McGrady 1998 .435 6.2 4.9 1.3 1.0 22.4
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/6/2016.

So, of the four, Kobe was the most proficient scorer on a per-minute basis, as well as the most efficient. But, AI was actually the best playmaker of the bunch (hold that thought on Kobe's playmaking). And, of course, T-Mac got boards.

So who was the best scoring 2-guard of his era, the true heir to Jordan? As much as I love Iverson, Kobe's case is quite strong.

Kobe's Rings

Everyone knows, by heart, the most popular argument by Kobe's legion of fans: "Count the rings." And yet, if you dig a little deeper, Kobe's 23 wins in NBA Finals games are actually only good for a tie for 8th most since 1963. He doesn't even have the most Finals wins of players on those Lakers teams; Derek Fisher has 24, thanks to his stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

What's more, Kobe never led any Championship team in Win Shares. It won't come as any surprise that the 1999-2000 Lakers, 2000-2001 Lakers, and 2001-2002 Lakers were all led by Shaq, however, Pau Gasol had the most Win Shares on both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 Lakers. Perhaps just as much of a problem is Kobe did lead the 2003-04 Lakers and 2007-08 Lakers in Win Shares, both teams that ultimately lost in the Finals (although, technically Pau had more Win Shares per 48 Minutes than Kobe, suggesting he was actually their best player, and just didn't come over till around the trade deadline).

Kobe did lead the Lakers in playoff Win Shares in 2001 (barely) and 2009, but this still shades Kobe's case when it comes to the rings. For comparison's sake, Dwyane Wade made 5 Finals, 2 fewer than Kobe, but he had the most WS on the 2006 Heat, meaning he was the best player on a championship team more than Kobe was. Dirk made 2 NBA Finals as his team's WS leader, like Kobe, but he won one of those times. It's almost like basketball is a team sport and requires several very good players to win!

Kobe's Playmaking

Of course, you're probably also familiar with the biggest knock on Kobe: He's selfish. It's an image that Kobe hasn't seemed particularly worried about, and has even played up by spending the last couple of years as an unrepentant gunner. But the stats don't back it up. By a lot of measures, Kobe is one of the best assisting 2-guards ever.

Among players listed at 6'6" or taller, Kobe has the 12th highest career Assist Percentage, better than famously generous distributors like Chris Webber and Grant Hill. His 86 10-assist games are 10 more than Michael Jordan had in his career.

It's not that Kobe didn't chuck, it's that the Lakers got them a man who can do both. Kobe had 13 seasons with a Usage Rate over 30% and an Assist Rate over 20%, the most by any player since 1973, the first year we have those stats. LeBron seems likely to surpass that, but it's not a sure thing. And D-Wade, the only other player in double-digits, almost certainly won't.

That even includes 2005-06, the year when Kobe had the highest USG% of all-time. Even then, he still managed to have a 24.1% Assist Rate, diming to Smush Parker and Kwame Brown

Kobe's Rebounding

It's no surprise that a 6'6" man who spent 20 years in the NBA has the 3rd most career rebounds by a G, G-F, or F-G, however Kobe's rebounding ability goes beyond just raw counting stats. His rebounding percentage from 1997-2012 is 15th among G and G-F with at least 10,000 MP in that time period. To put it in perspective, his TRB% of 8.2 was just one point of off Rajon Rondo in that time span, and ahead of both Wade and Russell Westbrook (though Westbrook didn't really become a the menace on the boards he is now until 2013).


Efficiency isn't a word that we'd associate with Kobe, the NBA's leader in career missed Field Goals, but, in his own way, Kobe was about as efficient as you could want from someone with his level of scoring responsibility (at least, if you exclude whatever alien race Stephen Curry belongs to).

Of the 24 players who took at least 15,000 FGAs in their career, Kobe's True Shooting Percentage ranks a respectable 10th, one spot ahead of Jerry West, and his Effective Field Goal Percentage is 8th among players who averaged 19 or more Field Goal Attempts per game

Efficiency is a bit of a moving target depending on volume. The bar for a creator like Kobe to be a good scorer is different from what we'd expect from someone like Shane Battier.

It was also a different time. Even with all the shooting, Kobe's eFG% was better than the NBA average 5 times in his career, and it was within .01 7 more:

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.59.24 PM

Lastly, Kobe was great at drawing the most efficient shot there is: Free Throws. No wing took more Free Throw Attempts in their career than Kobe.

Kobe's Peak

The focus on his championships means that Kobe's peak, oddly, is underrated. His peak mostly fell during the barren post-Shaq, pre-Pau era, but we shouldn't ignore how dominant Kobe was in that era because he didn't win it all.

Kobe's age 27-29 seasons combined rank 14th in WS and 12th in Player Efficiency Rating among players that age, much higher than his career rankings of 18th in WS and 25th in PER.

Expanding it out to ages 21-34, Kobe ranks just as strong. He's 12th in WS, 14th in PER, and 12th in Value Over Replacement Player.

Again, this contradicts the narrative. We think of Kobe as sticking around the NBA to pad his career stats (and make an absurd amount of money). But, while his counting stats have gone up, it's also watered down some of his numbers with below-average seasons.

Kobe in the Playoffs

While the Rings argument is somewhat specious, there's no denying Kobe's greatness in the playoffs. Kobe is 8th all-time in Playoff WS and, from 2000, our first year of plus/minus, to 2012, his last playoff appearance, Kobe has 105 playoff games with a positive plus/minus, trailing only Derek Fisher in that period of time (and, notably, leading Duncan).

You also might have heard that Kobe's not afraid to take the big shot. Since 2000, he's taken 122 Field Goal Attempts in the last 2:00 of the 4th quarter or OT when the game was within 5 points. In other words, that's 122 crunch time shots. Since 2000, only LeBron has taken more.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 4.48.25 PM

Not only that, but you might have noticed Kobe's Field Goal Percentage of .418 on those shots. You have to scroll all the way down to KD or Ray Allen, who've taken half as many clutch shots as Kobe, to find a better FG%. LeBron has a claim, especially considering that he likely has several more playoff runs ahead of him, but for now, Kobe has an excellent argument for the best clutch shooter of the 2000s.

Kobe's Advanced Stats

Maybe you aren't impressed by traditional stats and want to see what Basketball-Reference's play-by-play data says. Well, since 2000, Kobe's teams have been 6.8 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor. The Lakers' eFG% is 20 points higher, and, despite Kobe's poor defensive reputation in recent years, their Defensive Rating is basically unchanged. Oh, and in the playoffs, that plus/minus figure goes up to 8.1 points per 100 when Kobe's on the floor.

The debate over Kobe's legacy seems to have cooled off in recent months. This can't be how Kobe wanted to go out, adulated but not feared, celebrated because he poses no real threat anymore. As a competitor and a person, Kobe seemed to thrive off the hate. We may disagree about the breadth and reach of Kobe's legacy, but as these stats show, the fact of that legacy can't be debated.


Posted in Announcement, | 27 Comments »

Sports Reference’s Tonsorial Consulting Service Expands to Basketball

1st April 2016

Last year, to great fanfare and critical acclaim, we announced the Baseball Reference Tonsorial Consulting Service, a feature that allowed the segment of our users who also happen to be baseball players to experiment with new directions for their hairstyle and/or facial hair. The results were astonishing. While we're not at liberty to divulge the names of our clients, we think you will agree that 2015 was an excellent year for hair in baseball.


We want to thank everyone who participated in our pilot program. We're pleased to announce that for 2016, the B-R Tonsorial Consulting Service will be expanding to the professional basketball!



Go to any active player (and some retired one) and give yourself a new look free of charge.

Read the rest of this entry

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Looking at the 2016 NBA MVP Projections

2nd March 2016

Once a day, the Basketball Reference Twitter account sends out a message like this one:

If you click on the link, it takes you to the Basketball Reference MVP projections. Using a model based on previous voting results, the MVP Tracker projects the odds that every player has of winning the 2016 NBA MVP race, if voting were held today. Here's how it shapes up today:

Rk Player Tm Prob%
1 Stephen Curry GSW 76.3%
2 Russell Westbrook OKC 7.8%
3 Kevin Durant OKC 5.0%
4 Kawhi Leonard SAS 2.9%
5 Draymond Green GSW 2.8%
6 LeBron James CLE 2.2%
7 Chris Paul LAC 1.3%
8 Kyle Lowry TOR 0.8%
9 LaMarcus Aldridge SAS 0.4%
10 James Harden HOU 0.4%
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2016.


Invariably, that Tweet gets replies like this:

Or, when it pulls from the bottom half of the Top 10, ones like this:

At the risk of making things awkward during Sports Reference lunch breaks, I largely agree with the replies. Stephen Curry could probably sit out the rest of the season, declare that he believes Seth Curry would beat Oscar Robertson one-on-one, and announce that his favorite Star Wars movie is The Phantom Menace and still win the NBA MVP Award.

At the same time, I think these projections do tell us a lot about which players voters have targeted in the past and why certain candidates might or might not be catching on.

So, with that said, let's go through some of the major candidates, what their case for MVP is, and what our projection system thinks of them. I'll try to apply my own, imperfect human brain to the matter and see if I can bridge the gap between man and machine.

Chef Curry

So let's start with Stephen Curry. The model gives Steph a 76.2% chance of winning MVP. His case is simple: he's the best player, on the best team, having one of the best seasons of all-time.

Curry's eFG% of .643 is not only the best ever by a 30 PPG scorer, it's also the first time a 30 PPG scorer has even broken .600. His Player Efficiency Rating is the best ever, while his WS/48 are merely the 2nd best ever. Oh, and his team has already clinched a playoff spot, 2 months out. So, what the heck, computer?

For starters, the best player doesn't always win. MVP voters are very smart, but they aren't necessarily looking at stats like PER. Steph would hardly be the first 30 PPG scorer to lose MVP and, even if you factor in his bonkers efficiency, the 1990 MVP race featured 2 players (MJ and Malone) scoring 30+ PPG and shooting over 51% from the field and neither won.

Of course, neither of those players were on the best team in their conference that year, let alone one that would challenge for the best record in history. The MVP projection accounts for the Warriors' record, but not the historic implications of it or the fact that they have a shot at the best record of all-time.

This gets at, perhaps, the biggest difference between the projections and the perceptions: there's no way a model can adequately account for narrative. On paper, the Warriors are just 4 games up in their conference, yet that dramatically undersells their once-in-a-generation dominance.

They have the best record in NBA history through 59 games, they haven't lost to a title contender all season, and they blew out the Spurs the one time they played. Because none of that is going into the model, the Warriors' lead seems larger to us than the projection can recognize.

It also can't account for the tactical advantage that Steph's off-the-dribble shooting gives the Warriors. When someone can do this, it bends defenses past their breaking point, creating easy looks for teammates. Steph's jump shooting is the flux capacitor that powers the entire Warriors Machine.

At the same time, I don't want to undersell the model. Weird things happen, voters do get MVP wrong sometimes (just ask any Kobe or LeBron fan about the 2006 MVP race), and the model wants to account for that. 76.2% seems low to me, but it's still very, very high for a (rather conservative) projection system.

A Sound of Thunder

2nd and 3rd in the projections are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, which is in itself another reason why Steph's chances are higher than they may appear. If there were a convincing 2nd option (say, KD putting up his numbers on a team with the Spurs record), we might be more willing to accept the idea of Curry's odds sitting at 75%.

However, KD and Russ are running so close that neither one has a huge advantage to us as observers. The projections don't account for the fact that they're teammates, but that will likely lead to vote-splitting, further solidifying Curry's lead. Seeing which one you prefer, however, presents a fascinating Rorschach Test.

Westbrook's famously reckless game is among the NBA's great aesthetic joys. However, after Durant's injury, Westbrook found a way to amp up the production without sanding down his edges. The result is that Westbrook has risen from supporting actor to lead.

He has 9 triple-doubles this year, trailing only Draymond (and he's the first player since Jason Kidd in 06-07 and 07-08 to have 2 seasons in row with at least 9). He's 2nd behind Rajon Rondo in Assists Per Game, while also scoring twice as many points as The Yoga Instructor and out-rebounding him. Barring a slowdown, Russell Westbrook will be the 1st player not named Oscar Robertson to average 24 PPG, 10 APG, and 7 RPG in a season.

Durant's game is less like a Swiss Army Machete and more like a lightsaber. He's scoring 27.9 PPG with an eFG% of .575 and a True Shooting Percentage of .635, both of which are historic achievements we'd be able to more fully appreciate if Steph weren't regularly lighting basketball courts on fire.

KD's precision and efficiency mean that some advanced stats, like Offensive Rating and WS/48, prefer him to Westbrook. Of course, Westbrook leads in PER and the Thunder's Net Rating is 13.7 points per 100 possessions better when Russ is on the floor, versus 11.2 for KD

Durant's getting blocks while Russ is getting steals; Westbrook crashes the boards on offense while KD cleans the defensive glass. The question, as it is, seems to come down to quantity vs quality. You could say that Westbrook does (ever so slightly) more, while KD does less, but does it all (ever so slightly) better.

In that case, the projection backs Westbrook because, traditionally, the voters are looking for that quantity. Only 4 players have won MVP while putting up numbers at or below KD's mark of 8.1 rebounds per game and 4.6 assists. 3 of them outscored Durant in points per game, 3 played all 82 games, and 3 played more minutes per game than KD is averaging.

Westbrook and Durant are as close to a true elite partnership, without a clear alpha dog, as we've seen. Unfortunately, that fact will probably cost both of them any kind of shot at MVP.

How Much Should Defense Matter?

Despite being ranked 4th, Kawhi Leonard may have a clearer path to 2nd in the MVP voting than either Westbrook or Durant, thanks to context. In his favor are two things that our model can't really account for.

First, Leonard is probably the NBA's best defender. However, he does it in ways that are largely absent from box scores. His 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks are impressive, but Paul Millsap actually has better box score numbers.

What Millsap doesn't do is hold opposing teams to 96.1 points per 100 possessions when he's on the floor. That's Kawhi's mark and the only one that's better this year is Tim Duncan, who's spent roughly 2/3 of the time on the floor this year that Leonard has. And that's what's quantifiable by advanced stats. Watching the games, it's clear that Leonard's hard work and shutdown-D is the linchpin of the best defense of the last 10 years.

What's important to note, however, is that ignoring defense is probably the correct approach for a projection system to take. For instance, here are three candidates from a recent MVP race:

Totals Per Game Shooting
1 79 38.8 9.6 18.8 1.2 3.5 6.4 8.4 7.5 7.0 1.6 0.6 26.7 .541
2 78 37.6 7.9 13.4 0.0 0.1 7.0 11.7 14.1 1.4 1.4 2.4 22.9 .593
3 81 37.4 8.8 19.7 1.6 4.8 5.9 6.9 4.1 7.7 1.0 0.6 25.0 .485
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2016.


Player 1 is LeBron James, just months removed from The Decision and the "Not 4, Not 5, Not 6" pep rally. Player 3 is 2010-11 MVP Derrick Rose. And Player 2 is Dwight Howard. Given how close the race is on the numbers, Dwight's earth-shattering defense (he had a 94 Defensive Rating that year) should have put him over the top, but voters largely ignored it, in favor of Rose's superior offensive burden.

In general, voters emphasize offensive production over defense. You can argue this is changing, or that Kawhi's once in a lifetime talent could transcend this pattern, but the projection system can't hear you.

The second factor is a more tactical one. The race between KD and Westbrook is so close that, even if a voter were likely to pick one, it's not clear which one they'd pick. It's not hard to see them splitting the vote, or even that lack of a clear choice pushing voters to Kawhi.

It's also unlikely that a voter would pick one member of the Thunder and then turn around and vote for the other in 3rd place. Since the MVP award was created in 1956, only one pair of teammates -- Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain in the 1972 MVP race -- have both finished in the top 3.

Our model is trying to predict who will win, not necessarily predicting the Top 5 in order, which means it isn't interested in accounting for the fact that MVP voters tend to spread the love among multiple teams as they work their way down the ballot.

Kawhi's MVP case is even more interesting when set against someone who isn't getting very much buzz at all: LeBron James.

LeBron is currently in 6th in the MVP projections, with just a 2.2% chance of winning. Yet he looks a lot more like a traditional MVP than Kawhi. Here they are, side by side:

4 Kawhi Leonard SAS 54 32.5 14.4 .511 3.8 .488 .575 6.7 2.4 1.8 0.9 20.5
6 LeBron James CLE 57 35.9 18.8 .505 3.8 .284 .534 7.2 6.6 1.4 0.6 24.9
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2016.

You can see Kawhi's only real advantage on box score numbers is his efficiency. LeBron is scoring more, rebounding more, and assisting more. He's running fairly close on steals and blocks. What about the narrative that LeBron is somewhat coasting through the regular season to save his production for the playoffs? That could be true, but he's playing more minutes per game, and more games, than Kawhi.

What we have is basically the KD-Westbrook debate with 2 new variables, one that the model picks up and one it doesn't. On the one hand, Kawhi has a massive advantage in defense, which historically hasn't factored in voting that much. On the other, there's the fact that Kawhi's team is 8 games ahead of LeBron's, something which has historically mattered a great deal to voters. As a result, the model has Kawhi ahead, matching the conventional wisdom.

But wait, there's one more multi-positional defensive wizard who needs to have a say in this discussion. The model gives Draymond Green a 2.8% shot at the trophy, which paradoxically feels both high and low to me.

It's high for the simple reason that Steph is going to beat him in MVP voting. With that out of the way, however, I'd like to argue that Draymond is more deserving of consideration than he's getting. It's Green's freakish positional versatility that fuels Golden State's Death Star lineup. Green leads the league in triple-doubles, is the first player in nearly 20 years to average 13/9/7, and has played more minutes this year than Curry.

The model doesn't consider the fact that Green and Curry are teammates (other than the fact that it won't include more than 2 players from any team), but it's helpful to look at the Bulls. In years where both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were eligible, and both received votes, Scottie finished 9th, 5th, 11th, and 10th in the MVP race. The only year he cracked the Top 8 was 1995-96, a year when the Bulls finished with a record you might be familiar with.

Like Pippen, Green's contributions are largely off the box score and secondary to the transcendent scorer he plays with. Kawhi gives us a look at what it would look like if a Pippen/Draymond type player was the best player on a transcendent team. While the model is probably underrating his ranking relative to the competition, it is also correctly assessing that his defensive contributions aren't typically valued highly enough by voters to make him a real threat to Steph's coronation.

Some years you get a close MVP race, and some years Stephen Curry does things no one has ever seen on a basketball court before. But there's value in projecting out an MVP field that's 10 candidates deep, just like there's value in voting for a Top 5 for MVP, instead of just a winner.

Durant, Westbrook, and Leonard are all having historic seasons in their way. LeBron is adding another amazing year to an astonishing career. Draymond is the glue that holds the Warriors beautiful art project in place. And that's not to mention what guys like Kyle Lowry, Damian Lillard, and Chris Paul are doing.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, | 2 Comments »

Lessons From the 14 Biggest NBA Deadline Trades

18th February 2016

The 2016 NBA Trade Deadline has, is, or will be passing as you read this. The long term consequences will shake out over the next few months and even years, but we can look back at past deadlines to determine just how important deadline deals tend to be.

Last year's Trade Deadline shows that it takes a few years to be able to truly evaluate the impact of a trade. At the time, the best deal of the day seemed to be the Goran Dragic Trade. Miami picked up Dragic, the reigning MIP who had been worth nearly 23 NBA Win Shares in his career with Phoenix up to that point, for two 1st rounders and mostly filler players.

Since the trade, Goran Dragic has contributed 5 WS to Miami, but he's also signed a big new contract. His scoring and his efficiency have plummeted this season and, as Miami's roster ages, those two draft picks are starting to look more valuable.

Compare that to another trade involving a Phoenix Suns PG. In a 3-teamer, the Celtics acquired Isaiah Thomas and Jonas Jerebko for a Cavaliers' 1st rounder and not much else. Most agreed at the time that Dragic was the more valuable player, but Thomas has outperformed him. Since the trade, Thomas has been worth 9 WS and his scoring has leapt up 6 PPG. Even Jerebko has been worth 3 WS, not much less than what Miami has received from Dragic.

So let's take a look back at some of the biggest NBA trade deadline deals, using the benefit of hindsight to see who really gained the most from making them. It's not necessarily fair to say one team or the other "won", since, as you'll see, a lot of these trades rely on things that the front offices making them couldn't have possibly known at the time. But, perhaps, there are lessons here that GMs can take into future dealings.

A couple of notes before we start. I'm using a generous definition of the Trade Deadline to include any trade that happened in mid-January, February, or March, because it's my column and I can do what I want. To quantify value, I'm using Win Shares, a metric that Basketball Reference adapted from the baseball stat devised by Bill James. WS is a stat that awards portions of every team win to every player on the team, based on how much they contributed (positively or negatively) to said win.

The biggest trades, as defined on this list, are the ones with 100 or more Win Shares in past or future value. In other words, every trade on this list is one where all the players involved had contributed 100 WS to the teams trading them or where they would go on to contribute 100 WS to the teams that acquired them. These are trades where franchise players moved on, where teams acquired a new franchise player, or where both happened.

For each trade, we'll show the past WS of all the players in the trade for the team that traded them (so, for example, the number for Rasheed Wallace doesn't include his WS in Portland) and the future WS the player would accumulate for the team that traded for them (so, for example, Seattle's WS in the Ray Allen trade won't reflect his time in Boston). I've also included, in parentheses, the percentage of past WS each team sent and the percentage of future WS each team acquired. You can think of that as a rough measure of who "won" the trade.

Got it? Then let's get started.

Lesson 1: Selling a legend is tricky

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Dominique Wilkins, 1994 1st Round Pick (Greg Minor). 31 Past WS sent (22.4%), 2.6 Future WS received (66.7%)

Atlanta Hawks Receive: Danny Manning.  107.4 Past WS sent (77.6%), 1.3 Future WS received (33.3%)

Houston Rockets Receive: Clyde Drexler and Tracy Murray54.5 Past WS sent (32.8%), 26.9 Future WS received (89.4%)

Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Otis Thorpe, Marcelo Nicola, 1995 1st Round Pick (Randolph Childress). 111.9 Past WS sent (67.2%), 3.2 Future WS received (10.6%)

Dominique Wilkins was in his 12th year with the Atlanta Hawks when the franchise decided they'd rather trade him than give him a massive new contract. Unfortunately, because of that impending new contract, and Wilkins' age, the Hawks couldn't get back more than a Win Share. This trade makes the list because of Wilkins' lengthy tenure, but in terms of return, it left much to be desired.

Still, given that Wilkins's career was nearly over, the Hawks got a better share of the overall WS pie than the Trail Blazers did, when they traded Clyde Drexler. Drexler is still the Blazers' all-time Win Shares leader and in return they got Thorpe, who would be gone months later, Nicola, who never came to the US, and a pick that would go to a player who logged 375 total minutes for Portland. At least Clyde got a ring, though!

Lesson 2: But if you get it right, it's worth it

Milwaukee Bucks Receive: Desmond Mason, Gary Payton56.1 Past WS sent (29.6%), 16.3 Future WS received (22.9%)

Seattle Supersonics Receive: Ray Allen, Ronald Murray, Kevin Ollie, 2003 1st Round Pick (Luke Ridnour). 133.4 Past WS sent (70.4%), 54.9 Future WS received (77.1%)

Gary Payton was having an All-Star year when Seattle, apparently concerned about re-signing him, shipped him to Milwaukee. In exchange, they got the best shooter of his generation. Ray Allen would go on to chip in 38.2 WS as a Sonic before being sent to Boston, while GP would leave for LA in free agency, contributing just 2.9 WS to the Bucks.

Lesson 3: Good drafting can make a trade

Atlanta Hawks Receive: Tom Henderson, 1977 1st Round Pick (Greg Ballard). 6.6 Past WS sent (39.5%), 62.9 Future WS received (51.7%)

Washington Bullets Receive: Truck Robinson, 1977 1st Round Pick (Tree Rollins). 10.1 Past WS sent (60.5%), 58.8 Future WS received (48.3%)

Milwaukee Bucks Receive: Sam Cassell, Chris Gatling, Paul Grant10.7 Past WS sent (27.8%), 36.7 Future WS received (30.4%)

New Jersey Nets Receive: Elliot Perry, Chris Carr, Stephon Marbury, Bill Curley13.9 Past WS sent (36.0%), 20.0 Future WS received (16.6%)

Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Terrell Brandon, Brian Evans, 1999 1st Round Pick (Wally Szczerbiak). 14.0 Past WS sent (36.2%), 64.0 Future WS received (53.0%)

Detroit Pistons Receive: Rasheed Wallace, Mike James41.7 Past WS sent (91.9%), 38.7 Future WS received (37.7%)

Atlanta Hawks Receive: Chris Mills, Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura, 2004 1st Round Pick (Josh Smith). -0.1 Past WS sent (-0.3%), 50.2 Future WS received (48.9%)

Boston Celtics Receive: Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter, 2004 1st Round Pick (Tony Allen). 3.8 Past WS sent (8.4%), 13.8 Future WS received (13.4%)

If you ask any fan who remembers the 2004 Trade Deadline who the biggest acquisition that year was, they'd say Sheed and Sheed a 2nd time. And, from a historic perspective, they'd be right, since Wallace helped the Detroit Pistons win a title. However, the player who had the biggest on-court impact for the team that traded for him in 2004 wasn't even in the NBA at the time.

Although the players who travelled to Atlanta in the Sheed trade didn't amount to much, they did make the most of the draft pick they got. While Josh Smith has fallen on tough times, he contributed 47.6 WS to the Hawks, more than the 37.3 Sheed racked up as a Piston. Thanks to the pick, and their smart use of it, the Hawks actually won the largest percentage of future WS in the Rasheed Wallace trade (of course, it doesn't look quite as good if you factor in the 14 WS they gave up to acquire Wallace for one game).

None of the trades in this section would have made the list based on the players who were actually in the trade. Instead, smart drafting helped some of these teams turn average-seeming trades into big wins.

4. You can't really predict how a trade will impact you

Washington Wizards Receive: Drew Gooden, Josh Howard, Quinton Ross and James Singleton67.4 Past WS sent (60.7%), 4.6 Future WS received (27.4%)

Dallas Mavericks Receive: Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson43.6 Past WS sent (39.3%), 12.2 Future WS received (72.6%)

On paper, this move seemed to bring Dallas the missing piece they needed to win a championship: Caron Butler. Yet, one year after this trade, when the Mavericks made their Finals run, Butler was in a suit, injured and unable to play. On paper, DeShawn Stevenson was a throw-in. Yet, in the 2011 NBA Finals, it was Stevenson whose 3s and D helped lead to the Mavs' upset victory over the Miami Heat. The Mavericks wouldn't have won the Finals without this trade, just not for the reason they were expecting when they made it.

5. The Rudy Gay Trade was weird

Toronto Raptors Receive: Rudy Gay, Hamed Haddadi. 56.1 Past WS sent (39.0%), 1.9 Future WS received (12.9%)

Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Austin Daye, Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, 2013 2nd Round Pick (Jamaal Franklin). 30.8 Past WS sent (21.4%), 9.8 Future WS received (66.7%) 

Detroit Pistons Receive: Jose Calderon60.3 Past WS sent (42.0%), 3 Future WS received (20.4%)

This trade makes our list because it involved 3 players who amassed over 25 WS for their respective franchises changing teams. However, it serves as a warning that, in the NBA, your past accomplishments can fade very quickly. Prince and Calderon, who accounted for over 98 of the past Win Shares in this trade, were basically just salary figures used to match the money on Rudy Gay's monster contract.

The Grizzlies "win" this trade, by virtue of the fact that Prince stayed in town till 2014 and averaged 27 MPG for a playoff team and by virtue of the fact that Rudy Gay would spend less than a year in The True North. However, it's tough to argue anyone here really won.

6. It's very, very tough to get good value back for a superstar

Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Wilt Chamberlain26.3 Past WS sent (19.0%), 71.2 Future WS received (84.6%)

San Francisco Warriors Receive: Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer, cash. 112.4 Past WS sent (81.0%), 13 Future WS received (15.4%)

Honestly, the most amazing part of this trade may be that Wilt accumulated 71.2 WS in just 3 and a half years as a 76er. Things had gotten bad for Wilt in San Francisco, but that's a tough return for one of the greatest to ever play the game

7. But it's not impossible

Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Pau Gasol, 2010 2nd Round Pick (Devin Ebanks). 6.2 Past WS sent (10.3%), 59.7 Future WS received (48.7%)

Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, Aaron McKie, 2008 1st Round Pick (Donte Greene), 2010 1st Round Pick (Greivis Vasquez). 53.8 Past WS sent (89.7%), 62.8 Future WS received (51.3%)

New York Knicks Receive: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams, Corey Brewer34.8 Past WS sent (27.1%), 40.2 Future WS received (42.9%)

Denver Nuggets Receive: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos cash, 2012 2nd Round Pick (Quincy Miller), 2013 2nd Round Pick (Romero Osby) and a 2014 1st Round Pick (traded). 91.5 Past WS sent (71.4%), 51.8 Future WS received (55.3%)

Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry1.9 Past WS sent (1.5%), 1.7 Future WS received (1.8%)

The Pau Gasol trade, at the time, seemed like one of the biggest steals in NBA history. Now, almost a decade later, by percentage of future Win Shares, Memphis actually won the trade. Lakers fans probably won't complain too much about a trade that convinced Kobe to stay and got them 2 rings, but Pau's 59.2 WS as a Laker are a little behind Marc's 62.2 in Memphis. In fact, the younger Gasol has been worth more WS as Grizzly than the older one was, making this the rare trade where a team dealt a superstar and improved their long-term situation.

The jury is actually still out on the Melo Trade, since Anthony, Gallinari, and Chandler remain on the teams that acquired them, but, at this point, Denver has an over-10 WS lead. At the time, the conventional wisdom was that the Knicks may have given up too much for a player they'd be able to sign as a free agent over the summer. Unlike the Gasol trade, the Win Shares seem to bear that out in this case.

8. Being a Cavs fan sucks 

Phoenix Suns Receive: Tyrone Corbin, Kevin Johnson, Mark West, 1988 1st Round Pick (Dan Majerle), 1988 2nd Round Pick (Dean Garrett), and a 1989 2nd Round Pick (Greg Grant). 62.1 Past WS sent (85.2%), 179.8 Future WS received (73.7%)

Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Larry Nance, Mike Sanders, 1988 1st Round Pick (Randolph Keys). 10.8 Past WS sent (14.8%), 64.3 Future WS received (26.3%)

Detroit Pistons Receive: Kenny Carr and Bill Laimbeer. 10 Past WS sent (34.4%), 99 Future WS received (74.9%)

Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Phil Hubbard, Paul Mokeski, 1982 1st Round Pick (John Bagley), 1982 2nd Round Pick (Dave Magley). 19.1 Past WS Sent (65.6%), 33.2 Future WS Received (25.1%)

Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Antawn Jamison, Sebastian Telfair63.4 Past WS sent (58.3%), 7.8 Future WS received (67.8%)

Washington Wizards Receive: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Emir Preldzic, Al Thornton, 2010 1st Round Pick (Lazar Hayward). 41.4 Past WS sent (38.1%), 2 Future WS received (17.4%)

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Drew Gooden. 4 Past WS sent (3.7%), 1.7 Future WS received (14.8%)

There are three trades on this list that involve the Cavs. Two of them are trades that the Cavs soundly lost, including the Kevin Johnson trade, where Cleveland gave up the largest total future value of any trade on this list. You know a trade is bad, when it cost you more Win Shares than trading away Wilt Chamberlain.

Then there's the Jamison trade, a win for the Cavs, but one that only calls to mind 2010-2012, a period where Cleveland lost in a 2nd-round shocker, watched LeBron James announce he was leaving on live TV, and spent the next 2 years as one of the worst teams in the league.

Is there a trade you think is missing from the list? Or are you just interested in reading more about past trade deadlines? Either way, make sure to check out the Trade Tool at, where you can explore every trade in NBA history.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement,, Data, Tips and Tricks | 2 Comments »

Find Every Box Score in ABA History

16th February 2016

Last year we added nearly every box score in ABA history to the site, but we were missing the inaugural 1967-68 season. We're now happy to announce that we have added the 1967-68 season, as well, meaning we now have box scores and game logs for the entire run of the league. This is once again thanks to the research of Michael Hamel, who has allowed us to show this data.

Among the cool new features are game logs for 1967-68 ABA MVP Connie Hawkins. You can also find his splits here. Additionally, you can find team splits and game logs.

This data has not yet been incorporated into player game finder searches or other play index tools, but that's something we'll be looking into in the future.

We hope everyone enjoys this new addition and thanks again to Michael Hamel for his permission to use this data and for his excellent research.

Posted in Announcement,, Data, History | 1 Comment »