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Archive for the 'Ridiculousness' Category

Some Famous Names You Might Not Have Known Played College Basketball

21st March 2017

As you may have noticed, we recently made a massive update to the site, adding thousands of player pages back to the 1947-48 season. As we handled the update, we couldn't help but notice the wide variety of new payers in the database, who in the years (often decades) since they hung up their basketball sneakers, have become famous for things besides basketball. Below is a sampling of some of those players. We're sure there's others we're yet to notice, so please leave any discoveries that you make in the comments!

Posted in Announcement, CBB at Sports Reference, Data, History, Ridiculousness | 7 Comments »

Russ & Harden’s Oscar-Worthy Performances

5th January 2017

We all know Oscar Robertson became the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double when he averaged 30.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 11.4 APG in 1961-62. Though he didn't have the benefit of first-class air travel, modern nutrition and training techniques, he did have the benefit of playing for a team that averaged an estimated 124.9 possessions per game, while playing over 44 minutes per game. Though I don't want to diminish the stamina required to perform at a high level at such a frenetic pace, the point stands that there were more opportunities for a player to accumulate counting stats in 1962 than there are in 2017, where the average game has about 96 possessions.

Still, even if we adjust statistics to a Per 100 Possessions basis, few have ever matched Oscar's production. Robertson averaged an estimated 26.7 Pts, 10.8 Reb & 9.9 Ast per 100 possessions in 1961-62. At Basketball-Reference, we have estimated per 100 possessions statistics for every player back to 1973-74 (when the advent of tracking of offensive rebounds, among other stats, made the estimates more reliable). From 1973-74 to 2015-16, a total of just four player seasons (by three players) matched The Big O's Per 100 Possession statistics. They were by do-it-all forwards Grant Hill & LeBron James (twice) and then Russell Westbrook, last season. But, now, the 2016-17 NBA season has TWO players doing that. Russell Westbrook, in his most ridiculous form yet, and James Harden, who has emerged as the perfect player for Mike D'Antoni's relentless attack. But it's not that these guys are matching Robertson's production. They're obliterating it.

Let's first consider Westbrook's numbers.

And yet, saying that Westbrook is like a combination of peak Jordan's scoring with peak Malone's rebounding and peak Kidd's passing doesn't even do justice to how breathtaking his level of activity on the floor is.

As for Harden, the numbers aren't as eye-popping as Westbrook's, but his scoring and rebounding are roughly equivalent to peak LeBron James, except with 50% more assists thrown in. So, I guess that's pretty decent.

Query Results Table
Per 100 Possessions
Player Season Age Tm Lg PTS TRB AST
James Harden 2016-17 27 HOU NBA 37.8 10.9 15.9
Russell Westbrook 2016-17 28 OKC NBA 44.1 15.0 14.9
Russell Westbrook 2015-16 27 OKC NBA 33.9 11.3 15.1
LeBron James 2012-13 28 MIA NBA 37.5 11.2 10.1
LeBron James 2008-09 24 CLE NBA 40.8 10.9 10.4
Grant Hill 1996-97 24 DET NBA 30.9 13.0 10.5
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/5/2017.
Tonight, the former teammates will square off for the 13th time in their regular-season careers, with each player owning six wins to this point. Harden is currently the overwhelming favorite to the win the MVP Award, but it's still early. Anyways, with their matchup tonight, we just wanted to take the opportunity to gawk at their absurd 2016-17 seasons.
Top Candidates Table
Rk Player Tm W/L% eFG% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS Prob%
1 James Harden HOU .750 .528 .847 8.2 11.9 1.4 0.3 5.7 28.4 57.6%
2 Kevin Durant GSW .861 .594 .868 8.6 4.7 1.2 1.6 2.3 25.8 16.1%
3 LeBron James CLE .765 .559 .683 7.8 8.5 1.4 0.6 3.9 25.8 8.8%
4 Russell Westbrook OKC .583 .462 .821 10.5 10.5 1.4 0.3 5.3 30.9 5.2%
5 Stephen Curry GSW .861 .575 .929 4.3 5.8 1.7 0.1 2.8 24.2 3.0%
6 Kawhi Leonard SAS .800 .530 .918 5.9 3.1 2.0 0.6 1.9 24.0 2.9%
7 Chris Paul LAC .632 .543 .877 5.3 9.5 2.2 0.2 2.3 17.7 1.9%
8 Kyle Lowry TOR .676 .585 .854 4.9 7.1 1.4 0.3 2.9 22.2 1.6%
9 Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL .529 .559 .779 9.1 5.8 1.9 2.0 2.9 23.9 1.5%
10 Kevin Love CLE .765 .534 .872 10.9 1.7 1.1 0.4 2.1 21.8 1.3%
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/5/2017.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, History, Ridiculousness, Statgeekery | 1 Comment »

Why the Ads on Sports Reference Are Sometimes Terrible

13th September 2016

One of the things I pride myself on at Sports Reference is that our sites are fast and not annoying. We want to connect you with the data you want, as quickly as possible, every single time. We spend a lot of time trying to make this happen.

We have another important goal with our site, which is to make money. We have seven full-time employees maintaining our sites on a daily basis, so if we don't generate a significant amount of revenue, things will start to go south for us reasonably quickly. We spend a lot of time thinking about that as well, and for a small-to-medium-sized publisher like us, that means running advertisements on our site.

Unfortunately, sometimes the ads that come through our site cause serious problems for users. This is a constant source of frustration for us, so I wanted to take this moment to explain how this happens. I realize we are 100% responsible for what we put on our pages, and so any ad that is served on our page is ultimately our responsibility and the fault lies with us for any negative impacts from an ad.
Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Bleg, History, Ridiculousness | 4 Comments »

The Sports Oscars

25th February 2016

Sunday night, I will be taking a brief break from sports to watch the Academy Awards. And while my favorite film of 2015, It Follows, won't be competing, there are plenty of excellent films to root for (and some very bad ones to root against).

As someone who loves both the Oscars and sports, I've been thinking about ways in which we can combine the two. Sure, there are the ESPYs, but those categories aren't exactly equivalent to the Academy Awards. So, I decided to make my own!

Using stats that you can find across all of the Sports-Reference sites, I've created the Sports Oscars, adapting (and, admittedly in some cases, stretching) categories that we'll see on Sunday to fit with sports teams. For our purposes, we'll be using the stats from the 2015 MLB season and 2015 NFL season, which are complete, as well as the 2015-16 NBA season and 2015-16 NHL season, still in progress. Unlike the actual Oscars, these awards are determined by stats, although I'm sure you'll still find plenty to argue with.

Don't worry, I won't subject you to my terrible singing voice in an elaborate musical number. Instead, let's get to the awards! Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Ridiculousness | 2 Comments »

Explaining our Handling of “Holds”

24th February 2016

UPDATE (Feb. 25, 2016): MLB has informed us that they will be updating Brach's 2015 holds total to 15 (matching us). MLB's Cory Schwartz commented: "We do credit Holds whenever the pitcher enters in a Save situation and leaves with the lead intact, so this was an oversight on our part."

It recently came to our attention that for the 2015 season, we credited Brad Brach with 15 holds. MLB, meanwhile, credited Brach with just 14 holds (NOTE: After reading this post, MLB has agreed that 15 is the correct number of holds for Brach in 2015). It was discovered that the difference was in the handling of the Orioles 5-4 win over the Mariners on May 21. Before we jump into the details, let's examine MLB's definition of a hold (bolding is ours, for emphasis):

"The hold is not an official statistic, but it was created as a way to credit middle relief pitchers for a job well done. Starting pitchers get wins, and closers -- the relief pitchers who come in at the end of the game -- get saves, but the guys who pitch in between the two rarely get either statistic. So what's the most important thing one of these middle relievers can do? "Hold" a lead. If a reliever comes into a game to protect a lead, gets at least one out and leaves without giving up that lead, he gets a hold. But you can't get a save and a hold at the same time."

UPDATE (Feb. 26, 2016): Please see MLB's updated Holds definition here

As you can see, this isn't really much of a definition at all. There's little in the way of criteria here, and it's also pointed out that the statistic isn't even official, anyways. In fact, there's enough confusion that MLB.com credits Cory Rasmus with 2 holds in 2015, but Elias (MLB's official statistician) credits him with 1 hold in 2015. We credit him with 2, for what it's worth. This "definition" provides enough room for interpretation that variance in recorded totals is not uncommon.

Being that the statistic is unofficial, explaining all of this might be a pointless exercise, but in an effort to be transparent, we at least want to point out what standard we are using to assign holds.

Our standard is to give a pitcher a hold any time they protect a lead in a save situation (meaning they could have been eligible for a save if they finished the game). Brach presents an interesting study in that May 21 game. Starter Chris Tillman pitched 3 innings and left with a 4-1 lead. Obviously, he was not eligible for the win due to Rule 10.17(b), as he did not complete 5 innings. Tillman was relieved by Brian Matusz, who allowed 2 runs in the 4th, but completed the inning of work and left the game leading 4-3, when Brach took the mound for the 5th inning. Brach completed 2 scoreless innings, but the Mariners tied it up in the 7th after Brach left the game. The Orioles eventually won the game.

With the benefit of hindsight, you could say that Brach would have been in line for the win (not the save) if he had finished the game, since he ended up being more "effective" than Matusz, which would make it nearly a lock that the official scorer would have given him the win. But, hypothetically, Brach could have given up 20 runs in relief, but maintained the lead, and earned the save (with Matusz getting the win). As unlikely as that scenario is, the point here is that we're not using hindsight in assigning holds. In our opinion, the opportunity for a hold is defined when you enter the game and is only removed retroactively if you are given the win.

To be as clear as possible: our policy is to credit a hold when a pitcher enters the game in a save situation and leaves with the lead (and is not later given the win by the official scorer).

As we bolded in MLB's definition of a hold, "If a reliever comes into a game to protect a lead, gets at least one out and leaves without giving up that lead, he gets a hold." It would sure seem to us that Brach's May 21st appearance fits that criteria.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, FAQ, Ridiculousness, Stat Questions, Statgeekery | 10 Comments »

Kevin Garnett vs the Trade Voltron

31st July 2015

Today is the 8th anniversary of the Kevin Garnett trade. Of course, there have now been 3 Kevin Garnett trades, but you know the one I'm talking about. In 2007, the Minnesota Timberwolves changed NBA history by sending KG to Boston in exchange for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and the picks that would be come Wayne Ellington and Jonny Flynn.

As you know, that trade went much better for Boston and KG than it did for the Timberwolves, who haven't been to the playoffs since. It's easy to criticize this trade, but Minnesota was in a difficult position for two reasons. First, Kevin Garnett is a once-in-a-generation talent, so almost no trade could have brought back a fair return. And, second, they couldn't build a Voltron out of the players they received in the trade.

While there's nothing we can do about the former, we decided to celebrate the anniversary of the trade by doing the latter. I give you, the Kevin Garnett Trade Voltron: Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Basketball-Reference.com, Ridiculousness, Statgeekery | 1 Comment »