Sports Reference Blog

Three Ways to Mess Up the #1 Pick in the NBA Draft

Posted by Jonah Gardner on June 16, 2016

It's tough to remember, since we're in the middle of the wild, entertaining, and cheap shot filled 2016 NBA Finals, but in just around a week, it'll be time for the 2016 NBA Draft. That's right, we only have to wait until next Thursday to find out if Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons will be the newest member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simply obtaining the number one pick is a huge moment for the 76ers. It'll be the third time in franchise history that the team has selected first overall and the first major decision of the team's new regime, led by GM Bryan Colangelo.

Unfortunately, a dark truth lingers in the background of the NBA Draft, the Lottery, and the debate over the process that brought Philly here: It's very, very easy to screw up the #1 pick. There are the famous busts, of course, but more than that, there's just not that many times that the team with the number one pick in the NBA Draft can look back at what happened and say to themselves "Yup, we'd do that again if we had the chance." Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Draft | Comments Off on Three Ways to Mess Up the #1 Pick in the NBA Draft

2016 MLB Draft Tools

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 8, 2016

The 2016 MLB Draft will be held from June 9-11, so here are some tools to get you ready:

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Draft, History | 1 Comment »

Player and Team Elo Rater Shutting Down

Posted by sean on June 3, 2016

We have decided to remove the team and player Elo Rating pages. We had high hopes for the raters when we launched them but over the years they have too often become a test tube for online campaigns to elevate Dallas Cowboys or push down Los Angeles Lakers to a degree that we don't have any faith that they represent actual general user opinions on the relative quality of players or teams.

These pages will be removed as we launch our redesigned sites this summer beginning with hockey in a week or two.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Hockey-Reference.com, Olympics at S-R, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 33 Comments »

Has LeBron Been Better than Jordan in the Finals?

Posted by Jonah Gardner on June 2, 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

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 1, 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

Posted by Mike Lynch on May 31, 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)

Posted by Jonah Gardner on May 25, 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

Posted by Mike Lynch on May 24, 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

Posted by Jonah Gardner on May 19, 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

You’ve Been Leaving Manny Machado Out of Your Harper/Trout Debates

Posted by Jonah Gardner on May 12, 2016

Two years ago, if you asked a stranger "Who is the best player in baseball," their reaction would likely have been stunned silence. Now maybe that would have been because they had no idea who you were or why you were so passionate about baseball, but the more likely reason is that the answer was extremely obvious. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, you weirdo.

One year ago, you'd get a slightly different response. Best Player in Baseball became a two man race thanks to the Bryce Harper's epic 2015. The Trout-Harper debate is a natural one, given the contrast they provide. Harper's game is loud, obvious, and a lot of fun, befitting his brash personality. Trout, on the other hand, is more low-key, both in terms of his off-the-field image and his on-the-field greatness. Harper is rated higher by defensive metrics, but Trout has the better reputation and plays a more important position. Trout is more known for his speed, but Harper was actually more valuable running the bases in 2015. You can go back and forth without getting any closer to answer.

There's just one problem with this debate. It may be leaving out the guy who's the actual best player in the baseball. As of this writing, Manny Machado is third in the Majors in WAR, ahead of both Trout or Harper. At 23 years old, Machado is as young as Harper and a year younger than Trout. And while early season WAR can be a little flukey (he's joined in the Top 10 by players like Adam Eaton and Dexter Fowler), there are reasons to think that Machado's success may be more than just a hot April. The Orioles' third baseman has really earned himself a seat at the table. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com | 8 Comments »