Data Pet Peeve #1: Loose Ball Fouls & Rebounds
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I’m always running into recurring issues with existing basketball data that cause me exercise my obsessive compulsiveness, so I’m going to start keeping track of those issues here. If they frustrate you just as much as they frustrate me then maybe someone will do something about it one day. Or not.
First on the list of my data pet peeves is the way loose ball fouls that lead to rebounds are recorded in play-by-play data. I’m on game #5 of 80 in the 2008 NBA playoffs tracking project, and I already cringe every time I see a loose ball foul that results in the opponent being rewarded a rebound.
I cringe because the rebound is credited first before the loose ball foul. Clearly this doesn’t make sense. If the ball is loose, then how can one team obtain possession before the foul? If PlayerX were to actually have made the rebound then we’d give him credit for it and call a personal (instead of loose ball) foul on PlayerY.
Why does this matter?
This is a huge deal to me because of the way I’m keeping track of (X,Y) coordinates of event locations. Everything is in relation to the offensive team, so if PlayerX actually had possession of a defensive rebound then the coordinates of the foul would be much different. Therefore, I’m forced to change every single one by hand. It’s resolved by a simple cut and paste, but those add up over time. It is a bane to my tracking efficiency.
Thanks a lot scoring software.