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Stat Questions: Why Do Pre-1970s Team Rebound Totals Not Match the Sums of Individual Players?

Posted by Neil on October 15, 2013

Recently, a BBR user posed a question we get on occasion:

"[I] noticed that the team rebound totals for every team appear to be incorrect from 1956-57 to 1967-68. They are correct in 1968-69. For example in 1956-57 it shows the Celtics led the league in rebounds with 4963. When you add up the rebounds for every player on their roster the total comes to 4578. The points and assists totals match exactly. [...] It is only the rebound total that is off, and it is off for every team by a significant margin."

He's right -- you can see this by adding up the team rebound totals for each league-season and comparing it to the sum of individual player rebounds... It changes around 1968:

+---------+-------+----------+------------+
| year_id | lg_id | team_trb | player_trb |
+---------+-------+----------+------------+
|    2013 | NBA   |   103575 |     103575 |
|    2012 | NBA   |    83513 |      83513 |
|    2011 | NBA   |   101816 |     101816 |
|    2010 | NBA   |   102640 |     102640 |
|    2009 | NBA   |   101586 |     101586 |
|    2008 | NBA   |   103271 |     103271 |
|    2007 | NBA   |   100994 |     100994 |
|    2006 | NBA   |   100754 |     100754 |
|    2005 | NBA   |   102970 |     102970 |
|    2004 | NBA   |   100361 |     100361 |
|    2003 | NBA   |   100604 |     100604 |
|    2002 | NBA   |   100829 |     100829 |
|    2001 | NBA   |   100988 |     100988 |
|    2000 | NBA   |   102062 |     102062 |
|    1999 | NBA   |    60395 |      60395 |
|    1998 | NBA   |    98798 |      98798 |
|    1997 | NBA   |    97703 |      97703 |
|    1996 | NBA   |    98099 |      98099 |
|    1995 | NBA   |    92006 |      92006 |
|    1994 | NBA   |    95192 |      95192 |
|    1993 | NBA   |    95504 |      95504 |
|    1992 | NBA   |    96680 |      96680 |
|    1991 | NBA   |    95776 |      95776 |
|    1990 | NBA   |    95518 |      95518 |
|    1989 | NBA   |    90031 |      90031 |
|    1988 | NBA   |    81828 |      81828 |
|    1987 | NBA   |    83020 |      83020 |
|    1986 | NBA   |    82161 |      82161 |
|    1985 | NBA   |    82008 |      82008 |
|    1984 | NBA   |    81150 |      81150 |
|    1983 | NBA   |    83853 |      83853 |
|    1982 | NBA   |    81987 |      81987 |
|    1981 | NBA   |    82010 |      82010 |
|    1980 | NBA   |    81065 |      81065 |
|    1979 | NBA   |    81564 |      81564 |
|    1978 | NBA   |    84984 |      84984 |
|    1977 | NBA   |    84886 |      84886 |
|    1976 | NBA   |    69960 |      69960 |
|    1976 | ABA   |    30815 |      30815 |
|    1975 | NBA   |    69468 |      69468 |
|    1975 | ABA   |    40239 |      40239 |
|    1974 | NBA   |    67230 |      67230 |
|    1974 | ABA   |    40705 |      40705 |
|    1973 | NBA   |    70555 |      70555 |
|    1973 | ABA   |    41062 |      41062 |
|    1972 | NBA   |    71299 |      71299 |
|    1972 | ABA   |    48429 |      48429 |
|    1971 | NBA   |    74059 |      74059 |
|    1971 | ABA   |    50234 |      50234 |
|    1970 | NBA   |    60697 |      60697 |
|    1970 | ABA   |    49991 |      49991 |
|    1969 | NBA   |    65324 |      65324 |
|    1969 | ABA   |    46674 |      46674 |
|    1968 | NBA   |    65166 |      56999 |
|    1968 | ABA   |    46957 |      46957 |
|    1967 | NBA   |    54536 |      48095 |
|    1966 | NBA   |    49118 |      43250 |
|    1965 | NBA   |    48433 |      42563 |
|    1964 | NBA   |    47423 |      41894 |
|    1963 | NBA   |    48044 |      41418 |
|    1962 | NBA   |    51415 |      43183 |
|    1961 | NBA   |    46314 |      40732 |
|    1960 | NBA   |    44104 |      37401 |
|    1959 | NBA   |    40343 |      34794 |
|    1958 | NBA   |    41279 |      35814 |
|    1957 | NBA   |    35948 |      32136 |
|    1956 | NBA   |    34616 |      31395 |
|    1955 | NBA   |    32292 |      28777 |
|    1954 | NBA   |    32987 |      29808 |
|    1953 | NBA   |    36168 |      32314 |
|    1952 | NBA   |    35977 |      31209 |
|    1951 | NBA   |    35019 |      30621 |
+---------+-------+----------+------------+

So what's the deal? Is this a bug in our database?

Actually, no. It's just a matter of accounting by the official scorer, because technically speaking, for every missed shot there has to be a rebound.

Starting in 1968-69 (1967-68 in the ABA), so-called "team" rebounds (rebounds where there was no clear individual who should receive credit) were no longer counted toward a team's overall rebounding total. Before that, "team rebounds" were credited at the team level, but they (obviously) didn't make it into individual rebounding totals. This is what caused the massive discrepancies between teams' rebounds and the sum of their individual players' rebounds.

Nowadays, those "team rebounds" are thrown into their own bucket, neither allocated to individuals nor to teams for the purpose of overall stat totals.

Mystery solved!

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Stat Questions, Trivia

BBR: NBA & ABA Trailers

Posted by admin on September 1, 2013

NBA & ABA Trailers | Basketball-Reference.com.

Just a fun add to the site that didn't take too much time. Of course it probably isn't fun if you are the all-time worst FG% shooter.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com

Justin Kubatko Leaving Sports Reference

Posted by Justin Kubatko on August 20, 2013

I am sad to announce that after six years, five websites, and hundreds of thousands of lines of code, my tenure at Sports Reference will come to an end this week. More information can be found on my new blog, Statitudes. Thanks to all of the users who have supported the sites that I ran.

45 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Expire30d, expire40d, Hockey-Reference.com, Olympics at S-R, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Are you a Web Developer Who Loves Sports? Let’s Talk.

Posted by admin on August 9, 2013

Jobs @ Sports Reference.

Sports Reference has an immediate opening for a web developer. Please see our job advertisement for all of the details. We will begin reviewing applications on August 26th.

7 Comments | Posted in Advanced Stats, All-Star, Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Bleg, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, expire21d, General, Hockey-Reference.com, Olympics at S-R, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Statgeekery

Career and Single-Season Triple Double Leaders

Posted by Neil on July 11, 2013

Just in case you missed this last month year, we now offer the option to search for double- and triple-doubles using the Player Game Finder tool. Under "Additional Criteria", just check the box next to "Double-Double" or "Triple-Double", and you'll be able to find games that match any combination of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks that meet the criteria you're looking for.

As an example, here are the career leaders in Triple-Doubles since 1985-86 (the first year we have complete boxscore data):

13 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Features, History, Play Index

2013-14 NBA Free Agent Tracker

Posted by Neil on July 5, 2013

Back again by popular demand, you can follow this summer's action in free agency using Basketball-Reference's 2013-14 Free Agent Tracker page. We'll update it daily, so you can keep tabs on every player who changes his address this offseason.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Features

Player Career Gaps

Posted by Justin Kubatko on July 5, 2013

Just a quick post to let you know that I have added rows to the the first stat table on each player page to note any gaps in the player's career. For example, here is Michael Jordan:

Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1984-85 21 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3144 837 1625 .515 9 52 .173 630 746 .845 167 367 534 481 196 69 291 285 2313
1985-86 22 CHI NBA SG 18 7 451 150 328 .457 3 18 .167 105 125 .840 23 41 64 53 37 21 45 46 408
1986-87 23 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3281 1098 2279 .482 12 66 .182 833 972 .857 166 264 430 377 236 125 272 237 3041
1987-88 24 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3311 1069 1998 .535 7 53 .132 723 860 .841 139 310 449 485 259 131 252 270 2868
1988-89 25 CHI NBA SG 81 81 3255 966 1795 .538 27 98 .276 674 793 .850 149 503 652 650 234 65 290 247 2633
1989-90 26 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3197 1034 1964 .526 92 245 .376 593 699 .848 143 422 565 519 227 54 247 241 2753
1990-91 27 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3034 990 1837 .539 29 93 .312 571 671 .851 118 374 492 453 223 83 202 229 2580
1991-92 28 CHI NBA SG 80 80 3102 943 1818 .519 27 100 .270 491 590 .832 91 420 511 489 182 75 200 201 2404
1992-93 29 CHI NBA SG 78 78 3067 992 2003 .495 81 230 .352 476 569 .837 135 387 522 428 221 61 207 188 2541
1993-94 30 Did Not Play (minor league baseball—Birmingham Barons)
1994-95 31 CHI NBA SG 17 17 668 166 404 .411 16 32 .500 109 136 .801 25 92 117 90 30 13 35 47 457
1995-96 32 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3090 916 1850 .495 111 260 .427 548 657 .834 148 395 543 352 180 42 197 195 2491
1996-97 33 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3106 920 1892 .486 111 297 .374 480 576 .833 113 369 482 352 140 44 166 156 2431
1997-98 34 CHI NBA SG 82 82 3181 881 1893 .465 30 126 .238 565 721 .784 130 345 475 283 141 45 185 151 2357
1998-99 35 Did Not Play (retired)
1999-00 36 Did Not Play (retired)
2000-01 37 Did Not Play (retired)
2001-02 38 WAS NBA SF 60 53 2093 551 1324 .416 10 53 .189 263 333 .790 50 289 339 310 85 26 162 119 1375
2002-03 39 WAS NBA SF 82 67 3031 679 1527 .445 16 55 .291 266 324 .821 71 426 497 311 123 39 173 171 1640
Career NBA 1072 1039 41011 12192 24537 .497 581 1778 .327 7327 8772 .835 1668 5004 6672 5633 2514 893 2924 2783 32292
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/5/2013.

As you can see, Jordan's stints away from the game have been included in the table. In most cases we have been able to identify a reason the player did not play (injury, retirement, other league, etc.) and will note that in the row.

If you have any questions or comments about this addition or anything else, please let us know.

3 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com

NBA Finals Composite Stats

Posted by Neil on June 28, 2013

With the NBA Finals ending last week, we now have a composite Finals stats page for 2013 here. You can access previous years' composite stats from the Finals (or any other series) by going to the yearly playoffs pages, mousing over the menu option marked "Series ▼", and picking the playoff round in question.

On another related note, you can also access sortable stats from the Finals (single-game, single-season, or career) using the Player Game Finder, choosing "Game Type" = Playoffs, and picking the round you want.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com

Support Basketball-Reference.com, Sponsor a Page

Posted by Neil on June 27, 2013

Sponsoring a page is fun, fast, and easy way to support what we're doing here at Basketball-Reference. With a sponsorship, you can:

  • Show your support for your favorite player or team.
  • Drum up traffic for your own site & draw in fans with a common interest.
  • Get some well-deserved recognition for your support of BBR.
  • Make your voice heard by the tens of thousands of people who visit Basketball-Reference every day.

Here's all you have to do to get involved:

  1. Create a membership account.
  2. Find the page(s) you'd like to support, and click "sponsor" (available pages).
  3. If the page you want is already sponsored, click "Alert Me!" to be informed when the current sponsorship expires.
  4. Follow the instructions to create your message and make your payment.
  5. Your message and links will be visible on the page after we approve them (usually in less than 24 hours).

And who knows, if you're clever enough, your message might end up on lists like these.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, Sponsors

Individual and Team Records

Posted by Justin Kubatko on June 25, 2013

I have added pages with various regular season and postseason records for both individual players and teams to the leaders and records section. Links to these pages can be found on the main index of the leaders and records section. There is also a navigation bar at the top of each records page that will allow you to jump from one page to another. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this latest addition.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com

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