Aug 6 2008

Welcome

Welcome to BasketballGeek.com. My name is Ryan J. Parker, and I am one of the many basketball geeks out there.

I have started this website for a couple of reasons:

Reason #1: Play-By-Play Data

First, and most importantly, I believe that for the average researcher basketball research has reached a ceiling due to a lack of data. With the exception of measures such as adjusted plus-minus and the charting work done at 82games.com, most basketball research revolves around the box score. There isn’t a lot of knowledge left to squeeze out of this area of basketball research, mostly because the statistics measured about a player in the typical box score depend on context. Questions raised about these measures include:

  • Who is on the court with the player?
  • What is the player’s role for each unit he plays with?
  • Where is the player shooting the ball from?
  • What are the player’s defensive responsibilities?
  • Who is contesting the player’s shots?

Without play-by-play data, these questions are impossible to answer. Even with play-by-play data, some of these questions can’t be answered.

Thus my highest priority is to provide an open source of play-by-play data that is accessible and modifiable by game charters. A lot of event location and defensive information is not tracked in play-by-play data, and this is the sort of data that will open new insight into the game. This website will provide a forum for contributing to and accessing this data.

If all goes as planned then in a year from now an open source of data will be available to analyze with respect to the 2008-2009 season.

Reason #2: Sharing My Opinions

Over the past couple of months I have become fully devoted to developing better models of offense and defense in basketball. I am interested in other areas as well, but everything always leads me back to creating these models.

I am fascinated to know what a given lineup’s optimal usage is, and I would also like to better quantify what is likely to happen when adding players to an already defined lineup (such as Brand in Philadelphia or Artest in Houston). Thus this website will provide me with a forum for airing my thoughts and research.

I’m also planning on writing some software and tools that dive into areas of basketball I’m interested in, and those will be contained here on the site.

Welcome to the site, and thanks for stopping by!

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7 Comments on this post

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  1. Mountain said:

    “What are the player’s defensive responsibilities?”

    The really obsessive could track this second by second for a play and identify the defensive vulnerabilities allowed to occur and by whom and perhaps attempt to identify where the offense began to take advantage, even bit by bit a number of seconds before the final exploit.

    August 30th, 2008 at 2:50 am
  2. Mountain said:

    This might the time intensive / “ultimate” path to try to split blame for getting scored on as opposed to no blame on anyone (most linear weight metrics) or equal blame on all (Wins Produced, Winshares, “defensive rating) or all blame on presumed counterpart (82 games one on one data) or simply identifying the opponent at the time of the shot (who might deserve a lot of responsibility or might be the fall guy for the breakdowns of others).

    August 30th, 2008 at 1:03 pm
  3. Mountain said:

    Admittedly my previously suggested approach of blame the presumed counterpart 50-66% and the rest of team for an equal share of the rest was not “accurate”, it just split the difference between approaches that assigned all blame to one and all blame equally. I still think that is better than either extreme but only slightly better. Visual tracking is essential to any hope of fair defensive performance ratings and it would be difficult and require strong game knowledge and the application of judgment.

    August 30th, 2008 at 1:10 pm
  4. Ryan said:

    As others have suggested before, defensive play has a lot to do with coaching. If a player is told to double down which in turn provides an opponent with an open look, how much are we going to blame any one player?

    For units as a whole (or teams for that matter) I’m hoping we can identify who gives up the most open looks. Hopefully at some point soon we can estimate what an open look is worth and then we can better relate that to what teams or players are doing.

    Other cases a player simply gets beat off the dribble or doesn’t try to contest a shot at all. You can’t contest a shot if you don’t try, but then again is that part of the defensive scheme? The Celtics defensive changes last year could be a starting point with which to analyze some of these questions.

    August 30th, 2008 at 1:51 pm