Nov 22 2009

2008-09 Offensive Statistical Scouting Reports

Late last year I started putting together some statistical scouting reports for lineups of players in an attempt at trying to understand how combinations of players worked together. Nothing great came of that, but the general idea of putting together a statistical scouting report for players has interested me.

The general idea of the report is to give a quick idea of what to expect from a player given the team, system, and role they currently play under. These won’t exactly tell me which players are the best at a given skill, but it will tell me how players are performing in their given situations.

With that in mind, I’d like to present a first look at offensive scouting reports from the 2008-09 season. For each player you will find a variety of offensive measures that will help give you an idea as to what players do on the court.

With the exception of offensive ratings, all statistics were estimated with multilevel models (similar to this one, for example), where players are grouped by their designated position. The point of fitting these models is to provide realistic estimates of the statistics, but also to provide realistic estimates about the uncertainty we have about these estimates. Therefore, you will find an estimate and range for each statistic, where the estimate refers to the estimated mean and range refers to a 95% confidence interval.

I’ve tried to make everything as self explanatory as possible, but let’s look at LeBron James’ statistical scouting report as an example:

  • Offensive Rating: From Basketball on Paper, this is the number of points LeBron produces per hundred possessions he uses while on the court.
  • Usage: The proportion of possessions LeBron uses while on the court.
  • Own Shots Assisted On: When LeBron makes a shot that a teammate assisted with.
  • Teammate’s Shots Assisted On: When a teammate makes a shot that LeBron assisted with.

I hope everything else explains itself, but if not, feel free to leave a comment. Speaking of comments, I’d like to hear your thoughs on the good and bad of the reports. Clearly defensive information is a must, but what offensive information am I missing (or is perhaps unnecessary)?

Also, there are some weird things in the data (like Adonal Foyle showing up with the Memphis Grizzlies). I appreciate any help in finding other similar cases of weirdness.

Lastly, the ultimate goal is to translate these numbers into words, such as “this player is a good shooter”, or “this player is a bad passer”. What sort of statements would you like to see being made about players (good rebounder, average shot blocker, etc)?

With the work now done for the 2008-09 season, I hope to have the 2009-10 reports up soon. Until then, let me know what you think!

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4 Comments on this post

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  1. Eddy said:

    Adonal Foyle was part of a three-team deal last year that brought Rafer Alston to Orlando, so that’s not an error in the data.

    November 22nd, 2009 at 3:42 am
  2. Ryan said:

    Thanks Eddy. I realize now that I was looking at preseason numbers from his NBA.com info page and didn’t see Memphis listed. Sure enough he played 2 minutes in one game with them last year.

    November 22nd, 2009 at 3:46 am
  3. Deepak said:

    It would be helpful to also have a percentile ranking alongside each stat in the report. It could be with respect to all other players, or maybe with respect to other players at his position (or Point, Wing, Big).

    November 22nd, 2009 at 12:22 pm
  4. Ryan said:

    Great Idea Deepak. I’m thinking those could help create the “numbers to words” translation, as in a player with a certain percentile is “good”, “bad”, etc.

    November 22nd, 2009 at 12:24 pm