Sports Reference Blog

2015-16 Simple Projection System Projections Are Live

14th October 2015

It's hard to believe, but we're under 2 weeks away from the start of the NBA season. That means it's also time to unveil the SPS projections for 2015-16!

What is Simple Projection System? Simply put, SPS is a very basic method for projecting basketball stats. SPS weighs the last 3 seasons by a factor of 6/3/1 and factors age and a little regression to the mean to project what a player will do in the upcoming season (you can read a more detailed explanation of how it's calculated on this page). If this rings a bell, it may be because you're a baseball fan who is familiar with Tom Tango's Marcel projection system. This quote from Tango pretty succinctly describes his projection system's raison d'etre (and why it's called "Marcel"):

"[I]t is the most basic forecasting system you can have, that uses as little intelligence as possible. So, that's the allusion to the monkey."

SPS applies the same general principles to basketball, though the name has no connection to a 1990s sitcom. As the name would suggest, SPS' calculation is relatively simple, but it also does a pretty decent job and holds its own, even compared to more sophisticated projection systems. Of course, SPS can't take into account contextual changes such as a player moving to a new team, changing coaches, or getting new teammates, but it's a fun starting point as we gear up for another NBA season. It's also important to note that SPS' numbers are per 36 minutes.

So, without further ado, here's who SPS projects to lead the NBA in points per 36 minutes:

Per 36 Minutes
Rk
1 Kevin Durant 27.8
2 Russell Westbrook 27.4
3 James Harden 25.6
4 LeBron James 24.9
5 Carmelo Anthony 24.7
6 DeMarcus Cousins 24.6
7 Stephen Curry 24.6
8 Anthony Davis 23.0
9 LaMarcus Aldridge 22.8
10 Blake Griffin 22.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2015.

SPS is looking at strong bounceback seasons for KD and Carmelo, while expecting James Harden to outscore Stephen Curry again. Here's the rebound leaders, where SPS projects big things for Hassan Whiteside following his 2014-15 breakout:

Per 36 Minutes
Rk
1 Andre Drummond Projected 15.4
2 DeAndre Jordan Projected 14.5
3 Hassan Whiteside Projected 14.2
4 Reggie Evans Projected 13.4
5 Omer Asik Projected 13.3
6 DeMarcus Cousins Projected 12.9
7 Rudy Gobert Projected 12.7
8 Tyson Chandler Projected 12.5
9 Thomas Robinson Projected 12.5
10 Dwight Howard Projected 12.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2015.

Finally, here are the projected leaders in assists per 36 minutes:

Per 36 Minutes
Rk
1 Chris Paul 10.3
2 Rajon Rondo 9.5
3 John Wall 9.4
4 Ricky Rubio 9.3
5 Ty Lawson 9.0
6 Kendall Marshall 9.0
7 Russell Westbrook 8.4
8 Stephen Curry 8.1
9 Jeff Teague 7.8
10 Brandon Jennings 7.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2015.

If you're anything like me, you were probably surprised to see Kendall Marshall there, but his per 36 assist numbers have been crazy good for the last 3 seasons.

In case you're curious about how SPS has done in the past, we have tables for SPS going back to 1980-81 showing what the projections would be and how they'd compare to the actual results. For example, here's how the projections for last season's two MVP frontrunners, Stephen Curry and James Harden, compared to their actual 2014-15 numbers. Some things, like Harden's 3-pt % or Steph's turnovers, it got almost exactly right. Other stats, like both players' field goal attempts, were a little further off:

Per 36 Minutes Shooting
Stephen Curry Projected 8.0 17.0 3.2 7.4 3.6 4.1 0.7 4.2 7.6 1.6 3.4 22.7 .469 .437 .886
Stephen Curry Actual 9.0 18.5 3.9 8.9 4.2 4.6 0.8 4.7 8.5 2.2 3.4 26.2 .487 .443 .914
James Harden Projected 7.0 15.4 2.2 5.9 7.5 8.7 0.8 4.6 5.6 1.5 3.3 23.8 .457 .374 .861
James Harden Actual 7.8 17.8 2.5 6.7 8.6 10.0 0.9 5.5 6.8 1.9 3.9 26.8 .440 .375 .868
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2015.

And here are the SPS projections for Michael Jordan's last season with the Bulls, just because:

Per 36 Minutes Shooting
Rk
350 Michael Jordan Projected 10.3 21.5 1.2 3.3 5.7 6.8 1.4 5.8 4.0 1.7 2.1 27.6 .481 .384 .828
351 Michael Jordan Actual 10.0 21.4 0.3 1.4 6.4 8.2 1.5 5.4 3.2 1.6 2.1 26.7 .465 .238 .784
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2015.

You can also see a player's 2015-16 projections at the top of their player page. Here's Carmelo Anthony's:

Per 36 Minutes Shooting
8.9 19.9 1.8 4.8 5.1 6.2 1.8 7.0 2.9 1.0 0.5 2.4 2.6 24.7 .445 .371 .822 .139
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2015.

While you're getting ready for the season, don't forget that we also have the full preseason schedule with box scores, an updated free agent tracker with all of this summer's big and small player moves, a detailed injury report, and of course the most comprehensive basketball stats database on the web!

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Statgeekery | Comments Off on 2015-16 Simple Projection System Projections Are Live

Find Liga ACB Statistics Back to 1983-84 on Basketball Reference

13th October 2015

With the 2015-16 Liga ACB basketball season is underway in Spain, we'd like to make a couple of announcements.

First of all, you can find box scores, standings, player and team stats at our Liga ACB landing page. As you'll see, Barcelona's Ante Tomic got off to a hot start with 23 points on 10-for-11 shooting in a win over Zaragoza. Tomic was drafted by the Jazz in 2008 and they still retain his NBA rights. You can check out some of the other top players in this table with sortable stats for every player in the league. Don't forget to bookmark this page to keep up with perhaps the world's premier basketball league outside of the NBA all season long.

Our other big announcement is that we have added statistics for past Liga ACB seasons all the way back to 1983-84, which was the first season in the modern history of the league. This means we now have awesome things like vintage Arvydas Sabonis stats:

This addition also gives us statistics for Drazen Petrovic's season in Spain, the year before he started his NBA career in Portland. That year, he set a still-standing league record with 1,026 points in the regular season. You can access all sorts of leaderboards for various Euro leagues via this link. Among the cool nuggets you can uncover is the fact that the legendary Oscar Schmidt still owns the league record for three-pointers made in a single regular season with 160, with one of the most energetic players in NBA history coming in second on the list.

We hope you enjoy this addition to our site. College basketball fans will likely enjoy seeing statistics for college stars they had lost track of after they disappeared from the NBA. Now that these new pages have been created, we will continually be working on linking them up with already existing NBA pages for players who played in both leagues and/or have pages on our college site.

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, Features, History | Comments Off on Find Liga ACB Statistics Back to 1983-84 on Basketball Reference

Michael Jordan high school, amateur, and exhibition game logs

15th September 2015

We recently published the game logs for Michael Jordan's high school, amateur, and NBA career, with every exhibition and charity game along the way.

This awesome feature is the product of research by author and hoops maven Todd Spehr (@toddspehr35). Todd had previously donated a decade of NBA All-Star Legends Game box scores to our site. Most recently, he is the author of Drazen: The Remarkable Life and Legacy of the Mozart of Basketball.

The records begin with Jordan's 1978-79 Junior Varsity effort with Wilmington, North Carolina's Laney High School, then continues with his varsity career and high-school showcase games like the McDonald's All-American game. Along the way, it includes every game of his UNC career, and every pre-season and international effort, including his Dream Team performances, and much much more. It really is an awesome effort, so we've included a permanent link at the top of our main Jordan page so that it's always easy to find.

Sports Reference Welcomes Jonah Gardner to Our Staff

7th August 2015

Jonah Gardner joined the Sports Reference crew (working out of Philly) a few weeks ago as our Social Media Coordinator bringing SR's head count to seven full-time staff. Jonah brings experience working in social media for The Human Solution in Austin and also for several musical acts and record labels. He's an Atlanta Braves fan, backs Everton FC (the Braves of the EPL), and is a big NBA fan (see his Kevin Garnett Trade Voltron). Jonah will be leading our change on social media for Sports Reference and you'll see us on much more active on twitter and joining additional platforms in the near future.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, expire21d, Hockey-Reference.com, Olympics at S-R, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sports Reference Welcomes Jonah Gardner to Our Staff

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

Get Ready for the 2015 NBA Draft

23rd June 2015

The 2015 NBA Draft will take place Thursday night, June 25. Here's some draft info you should check out before, during & after the draft:

And don't forget to read up on some recent draft-related additions to the Play Index.

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, Draft | Comments Off on Get Ready for the 2015 NBA Draft

18th June 2015

With the NBA Draft a week away, we wanted to briefly introduce some subtle, but useful additions to the Play Index.

First up, is a tweak to the Player Season Finder, which now allows for customized statistical searches by player draft year. You'll notice there's now a filter for BAA/NBA Draft Year. Utilizing this, you can now search for things such as:

Additionally, we have made some enhancements to the Draft Finder. The biggest change is that you can now filter by the draftees' NBA/BAA position (please note that we don't have positions in the DB for many drafted players who never went on to play in the league). But, for instance, here are centers drafted in 2014. Additionally, you'll notice that player ages on draft day and birth country now display in the results. Again, this data is unavailable for many players who never played in the league.

We hope you find these new tools useful.

Find NBA Finals Data on Basketball-Reference

4th June 2015

With the NBA Finals (finally) tipping off tonight, we just wanted to quickly link to some of the NBA Finals data & tools we have on the site.

• For a full list of NBA Champions, Finals MVPs & annual top playoff performers click here.
• For greater detail on the performance of Finals MVPs, check out this list. LeBron James is 1 of just 10 players with multiple NBA Finals MVPs. Only Jordan, Duncan, Magic & Shaq have more than 2.
• For a full list of every Playoff series in NBA history click here. You can also click on any series on that list to see a cumulative box score for that series, with links to every game. Here is the 2014 NBA Finals, for instance.
• If counting "ringz" is your thing, check out our list of the players with the most championships. As you can see, LeBron James has a chance to match another all-time great SF, Larry Bird, with 3 titles.
• Additionally, you can use our Play Index to run searches specifically for NBA Finals games. In the Team Game Finder or Player Game Finder, just set the game type filter to Playoffs and the round filter to Finals like in the image:

We hope you find these tools useful as you enjoy the 2015 NBA Finals.

Several New European Stats Features

27th May 2015

We've been working recently to make our European stats better and easier to access. Toward that end, I wanted to introduce a few recently-added features that make it easier to find detailed European league player and team stats, standings, and game logs. In case you haven't spent time on our European league sites, know that we maintain sites for the Euroleague and Eurocup competitions as well as Liga ACB (Spain), LNB Pro A (France), Lega Serie A (Italy), and the Greek Basket League.

Foremost, our European sites share a new, easy-to-find homepage at http://www.basketball-reference.com/euro. The homepage has six large links that serve as a portal to each league's individual home. Each league's page looks much like our NBA homepage, with a rotating leaderboard, league standings, results from recent games, top performers, and more.

We've also added player game logs and box scores to the site, for example this box from Real Madrid's Euroleague clinching game. To find the gamelogs, visit any active player's page and mouse over the 'Gamelogs' box, and you'll see a link for game logs from each league in which the player has appeared (see below). Links to box scores are available on the respective league homepages, team schedule pages, and are also linked from the player game logs.

We've also added a new European stats section to the bottom-right of our homepage, with links to each league and the most recent day's games:

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference | Comments Off on Several New European Stats Features

NBA All-Star Legends Game boxscores added

27th May 2015

We occasionally get emails from users who have interesting research to share. Recently, Todd Spehr (@toddspehr35) forwarded box scores from the NBA All-Star Legends Games that were played for a decade in the mid-80s until the 90s. It would seem out of this world to modern fans, but the NBA staged an annual exhibition of living legends during its All-Star festivities. Hall of Famers John Havlicek, Walt Bellamy, and Artis Gilmore were among the participants until the exhibition ran its course in 1993.

You can find links to these box scores from any page of our comprehensive all-star archives. In particular, look for the Legends Game tab and hover your mouse for a link to every box from the 1980s and 1990s.

In addition to his donated research, Todd is also the author of a recently released biography of the Croation legend Drazen Petrovic: Drazen: The Remarkable Life & Legacy of the Mozart of Basketball.

Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference | Comments Off on NBA All-Star Legends Game boxscores added