Data Journalism Basketball Articles
Evolution of NBA
Vivek Datta ◆ August 18, 2018
As the NBA season will soon begin, there is currently not a better time than now to reflect on the state of basketball and its evolution from its relatively overlooked merger with the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1976 to the media and cultural juggernaut it is today. While the Golden State Warriors are enjoying a reign of dominance that places their roster among the greatest of all time, teams across the league are increasingly relying on experimentation with lineups, strategies, and players to create free-flowing offenses and strong team defensives, a phenomenon reflecting the transition to “positionless basketball”.
This style is an incredibly far cry from the NBA of recent decades, in which legendary teams such as the Bulls, Jazz, and Rockets of the 90s as well as the Lakers, Celtics, and Suns of the 2000s played in strict routines such as the triangle offense and...Continue Reading
6th Man Like Lou Will
Stephen Chien ◆ July 31, 2018
There are many players in the NBA that can pack a scoring punch. When we think of efficient scorers with lots of firepower, names like Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and James Harden come to mind. However, there are many other players that have shown the capabilities of being an elite scorer, but fail to do so consistently. JR Smith, Dion Waiters, and Lou Williams are some of these players that are well-known for providing an inconsistent spark of offense, but can still provide a lot of value to a team.
In the games where Williams missed his first field goal (11 of 15 games), he averaged 11.91 points, 2.36 assists, and 3.54 rebounds per game. However...Continue Reading
Technically Speaking, There’s More To The Story
Aaron Mamelak ◆ May 23, 2018
In the NBA, there are good plays and there are bad plays. Simple as that. No ifs ands or buts about it. And if you disagree with me, you must be one of those phony “data analytics” guys who have nothing better to do than hide behind your laptops and ruin the sanctity of the game I love. Seriously though, what is up with you people? All you ever do is try to confuse the world into thinking you know something they don’t with big words and complex data sets. Well guess what? I’m not buying it. News flash to all you so-called “experts” out there: the only word I know is ‘truth’. And truth is, scoring points is a GOOD PLAY and getting a technical foul is a BAD PLAY. Take that for data! ... Continue Reading
Kobe vs LeBron
Suchir Joshi ◆ March 23, 2018
Who’s the better basketball player: Kobe Bryant or Lebron James? This is the basketball debate of our generation that has divided fans and pundits alike. Each player has woven their legacies into the fabric of our memories. Who can forget Kobe’s 81 point masterpiece against the Raptors in 2006, or Lebron’s chasedown block against the Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals? However, as this is a statistical piece, it’s best to disregard nostalgia and focus on the objective statistics. Ultimately, the numbers don’t lie, and these numbers will demonstrate that Lebron James is the greater basketball player... Continue Reading
The Number One Pick
Anoeil Odisho ◆ January 30, 2018
This offseason has been one of the most eventful in recent NBA memory. Notable NBA stars that defined their franchises left their teams for new opportunities. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joined the Thunder after leaving the Pacers and the Knicks, respectively. Chris Paul left the Clippers to join the Rockets while Gordon Hayward decided to start a new journey with the Celtics. In the biggest trade of the offseason, Kyrie Irving left the Cavaliers to join the Celtics and play with Gordon Hayward, with Isaiah Thomas going in the opposite direction. The offseason was dominated by huge player moves, but also by one of the most exciting NBA drafts in recent memory.
This NBA draft was particularly notable, not only because of the loud antics of the Ball family, but also because of the huge potential running deep throughout the draft. This hype... Continue Reading
How Bad Has Tanking Gotten?
Daniel Waldman ◆ January 29, 2018
One does not have to look far to see the effects of what is seen as increased tanking on the NBA over the last few years. Tanking, deliberately losing in order to either keep an insufficiently protected draft pick or just to improve a team’s draft position, has taken an increased role in criticism of the league. The Philadelphia 76ers and GM Sam Hinkie, after a disastrous trade for C Andrew Bynum in 2013, embarked upon a strategy that became the high-profile, worst-kept secret in the league: they would intentionally lose, indefinitely, in order to hopefully amass the collection of affordable, homegrown superstars integral to all modern championship teams.
The strategy predates Hinkie’s 76ers... Continue Reading
Is Luka Doncic the Early Favorite to go #1 in the 2018 NBA Draft?
Jake Hyman ◆ November 3, 2017
Luka Doncic is an 18 year old 6’8 guard from Slovenia who currently plays for Real Madrid in Spain. Donic has been playing in the Euroleague, which is the top tier of European basketball, since he was 16 years old. Doncic’s production at his early age is unprecedented among European prospects.Last season, playing half at the age of 17, Doncic was the only Euroleague player to average at least 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per 40 minutes. Based on a translation of ACB to NBA statistics, Doncic already projects as an average NBA player at the age of 18 with a per-minute WAR of .488. The NBA average is .500. Doncic was even better in Euroleague play where his .595 player win percentage was the best among any regular player... Continue Reading
The Best Point Guard
Armaan Kohli ◆ November 1, 2017
A big debate throughout the years of the NBA has been about determining who the best point guard in the league is. Among the top players of this position, we have Russell Westbrook, who relentlessly attacks the basket to create openings for his teammates, James Harden, who orchestrates Houston’s fast paced offense by getting out in transition, Stephen Curry, who creates space for his teammates through his mere presence, John Wall, who opens up the court with his speed, and Chris Paul, who controls the offense with his excellent ball handling and court vision. However, it is very difficult to compare these point guards because of how they all perform their jobs as floor general differently. So, in order to provide a statistical basis to compare these guards, we will look at these players affected their team stats from the 2016-17 Regular Season in Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) and Offensive Rating (ORtg). Continue Reading
Sir Charles Thinks the NBA is Trash
Kousha Modanlou ◆ April 10, 2017
Are College Freshman the best prospects?
Stephen Chien ◆ March 30, 2017
In the present-day era of college basketball, John Calipari, one of the most influential basketball coaches in the nation, has spearheaded the movement of the “one-and-done rule”. In 2005, the National Basketball Association created a rule where players had to be one year out of high school in order to be eligible for the Draft. Nowadays, many coaches, such as Calipari, are trying their best to send college freshmen to the NBA. The University of Kentucky, where Calipari coaches, has made this a system in the last few years in basketball, completely transforming their roster year after year. Calipari’s reputation stems from the fact that he has constructed elite teams each season and allowed the potential of many of his players, who are mostly first-years, to shine in a way that NBA scouts appreciate... Continue Reading
Saksham Pruthi ◆ March 17, 2017
Unfortunately, even statistics have a fatal flaw in that they do not count for intangible qualifications that make a certain NBA player astounding. For example, Wilt Chamberlain averaged a whopping 30.1 points and 22.6 rebounds a game, but is often times not considered the best center because of the fact that other centers such as Bill Russell recorded 11 rings in comparison to Wilt’s 2. Moreover, there are players like Kareem-Abdul Jabbar who practically invented a type of shot, in the sky-hook, whose value is not recorded in statistics, but has maintained its impact on the game of basketball even today. Continue Reading
The Decline of Rajon Rondo
Jake Hyman ◆ March 16, 2017
Rondo emerged as a solid distributer and fourth option on the Boston Celtics championship team of 2008. He continued to improve and contribute to competitive teams, leading the league in assists in consecutive seasons from 2011-2013. However, in January of 2013, in the midst of a career year averaging 13.7 points and 11.1 assists per game, Rondo suffered an ACL tear that ended his season and held him to just 30 games the following season. Since then... Continue Reading
Derrick Rose Before and After the Injury
Vincent Chen ◆ March 6, 2017
After the injury, Rose didn’t look like his old self; he drove to the basket less, he was less efficient on his mid-range shots, and he no longer threw down dunks, that once would receive uproars from stadium crowds. Rose never fully recovered from the injury... Continue Reading
Can Cousins lead the Pelicans to an NBA title?
Sandeep Tiwari ◆ March 1, 2017