Monthly Archives: November 2010

Last Night’s Numbers – 11/30/10

My apologies for not posting yesterday. I’m having some problems with the internet at home so my posting may be sporadic the next day or two. Thanks for your patyience!

Welcome to Last Night’s Numbers, a daily feature where we run through the NBA games from the night before, highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores.

Dallas 101 – Houston 91

  • Dallas had a very strong shooting night at 49.4%. They were 12 of 25 on jumpers from 16-23ft.
  • Rookie Dominique Jones got some run for Dallas, but missed both shots he took and turned the ball over three times in 8 minutes.
  • Jordan Hill played 28 minutes for the Rockets last night. He had 10 points and 8 rebounds, including 5 offensive boards. He also picked up 5 fouls and was 3 of 9 from the field.

Miami 105 – Washington 94

  • Miami’s Big Three, Wade, Bosh and James, all had double digit free throw attempts in the game. They were a combined 29 of 35. They also combined for 76 points, 21 rebounds, 12 assists, 6 steals and 2 blocks.
  • Gilbert Arenas played 41 minutes with only one turnover for Washington. Unfortunately he was 9 of 21 from the field including 7 missed three pointers.
  • Joel Anthony played 23 minutes for Miami picking up 6 fouls to only 5 rebounds.

Oklahoma City 95 – New Orleans 89

  • Once again the Thunder outshot their opponents at the free throw line by a huge margin. The Thunder attempted 29 free throws compared to only 17 for the Hornets. They ended up with a 15 point advantage at the line.
  • Serge Ibaka was a team best +15 during his time on the floor for the Thunder. He accomplished this without scoring a single point, but did have 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal.
  • The Hornets were badly outrebounded by the Thunder, grabbing only 39.2% of the available rebounds. Emeka Okafor had 11, David West had 7, no one else had more than 4.

Utah 109 – Milwaukee 88

  • The Bucks simply couldn’t put the ball in the basket, finishing the night at 34.7% from the field. John Salmons and Brandon Jennings combined to go 9 of 31.
  • Al Jefferson had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Utah on 11 of 14 from the floor.
  • Utah recorded an assist on 60.9% of their made baskets. That includes 10 for Deron Williams, 7 for Earl Watson and 4 apiece for Paul Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko.

Leave a comment

Filed under Last Night's Numbers, NBA, Statistical Analysis

Last Night’s Numbers – 11/24/10

Welcome to Last Night’s Numbers, a daily feature where we run through the NBA games from the night before, highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores.

Dallas 88 – Detroit 84

  • The Mavs and Pistons had nearly identical FTRs (0.346 and 0.356), ORRs (22.2 and 25.6) and eFG% (42.3 and 44.5). The difference in the game was that Detroit turned the ball over on 17.1% of their possessions, the Mavs on only 9.1%.
  • Rodney Stuckey scored 19 points on a 76.6% TS% for the Pistons. He was 10 of 10 from the line and made his only three point attempt.
  • Dirk Nowitzki scored 42 points on a 69.9% TS% for the Mavs. He was 13 of 16 from the line and made all 3 of this three point attempts.

Indiana 100 – Cleveland 89

  • Indiana won their second straight game with tough defense, holding Cleveland to 42.3% from the field and a 94.7 Offensive Rating.
  • The Cavs attempted 31 jumpshots from 16-23ft. making only 7.
  • Darren Collison had 18 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and a steal for the Pacers, restaking his claim to the starting point guard position.

L.A. Lakers 98 – Chicago 91

  • Both teams had an identical FG%, 39.6%. The Lakers made 5 more free throws and 6 more three pointers than Chicago, helping them pull out the win.
  • Derrick Rose scored 30 for Chicago, but took 25 shots to only 8 assists. The good news is that he got to the line 9 times and 13 of his shot attempts came inside of 10ft.
  • Shannon Brown was 7 of 14 from the field and a ridiculous 5 of 10 on three pointers on his way to 21 points.

New Jersey 107 – Atlanta 101

  • Brook Lopez beat up on the Hawks’ front line, scoring 30 points on 12 of 19 from the field. He also made 8 of 10 at the line, scored 16 points from inside of 10ft. and added 9 rebounds.
  • Josh Smith attempted 15 shots inside of 10ft. but made only 8 on his way to a 9 of 21 shooting night for Atlanta.
  • Atlanta had 26 assists compared to only 13 turnovers on the night. New Jersey one upped that ratio with 23 assists and only 10 turnovers.

New York 110 – Charlotte 107

  • The Knicks hit the 50/90/40 plateau as a team this game. They shot 52.1% from the field, 96% from the line and 40% on three pointers.
  • Shooting perfection abounded for the Knicks. Ronny Turiaf was 6 of 6 from the floor. Danilo Gallinari and Amare Stoudemire combined to go 15 of 15 at the free throw line. Bill Walker made his one and only three point attempt.
  • D.J. Augustin had an impressive game for Charlotte, scoring 24 points on 10 of 18 from the field to go along with 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. He was a +4 for the game.

Washington 116 – Philadelphia 114

  • Gilbert Arenas apparently soaked his hands in olive oil before the game, turning the ball over 8 times. He tried to make up for it by taking 16 shots of which he made only 6. You need a time out Gilbert.
  • Washington made 10 three pointers on the night to only 6 for Philadelphia. Nick Young knocked in four and Arenas and Wall had three each.
  • Andre Iguodala had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. However, he was only 6 of 18 from the field and 9 of 12 at the line.

I’ll be out of town for Thanksgiving so this will be the final edition of Last Night’s Numbers for the week. Have a happy and safe holiday everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Last Night's Numbers, NBA, Statistical Analysis


I’m proud to announce that this is my 100th post here at Hickory High. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot since March when this whole crazy thing got started. Thanks to everyone who’s stopped by to read and comment. Thanks to the 18 brave souls who have made the choice to follow my nonsense on Twitter. Thanks to everyone who has shared a link to something I’ve done here or offered advice. I can’t wait to see what comes out in the next 100 posts.

Also, Expected Scoring numbers have been updated. You can link to the spreadsheet here, or click through the Expected Scoring – Statistics and Analysis page on the header.

Thanks again everyone!


Filed under NBA, Random, Statistical Analysis

The Pick and Roll Eternal

This summer the often stormy marriage of Amare Stoudemire and the Phoenix Suns was finally dissolved. Amare joined his former coach Mike D’Antoni with the New York Knicks and in doing so split apart one of the NBA’s great pick and roll combos. Steve Nash stayed to soldier on in Phoenix and try to remake the Suns vaunted offense with the leftover pieces. While it could be worse, things haven’t been overly rosy for Nash or Stoudemire, the Suns or the Knicks.


While Amare may be finding the perfect bagel with lox is a lot easier to come by in his new home, open shots are not. In addition to the nightly struggle to produce at the same level, Amare has been vocally frustrated with his team’s inability to win games. The Knicks are off to a 6-8 start and Amare has found a few things more difficult to accomplish on the court at Madison Square Garden. The table below shows Amare’s stats for this season and last season. The bottom row of the table shows the percent increase or decline in his production in each category.

At first glance Amare’s stats seem pretty similar to last season. He is scoring and rebounding at roughly the same rate while his steals, assists and blocks have increased. The big difference is coming in his scoring efficiency. Amare’s FG% has dropped by more than 5 points. Another change hinted at by the numbers is where his shots are coming from. Last season 61.2% of Amare’s baskets were assisted on, many of those from Steve Nash. This year Amare is be asked to create a lot more of his offense on his own. Only 48.7% of his baskets have been assisted on this season and his turnovers have increased by more than 40% per 40 minutes. This drop in his scoring efficiency and resulting rise in turnovers is exhibited in some overall player ratings such as PER and Wins Produced per 48.

As usual rumors are swirling in New York about trade possibilities, so help may be on the way before the season is over. For all his desire to be the central offensive figure on a team, Amare is discovering, as Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, James Jones and Shawn Marion have before him, that it’s a lot easier to maximize your offensive skills when Steve Nash is setting you up.

The Suns

The Suns have posted an Offensive Rating of 109.4 in the 12 games they’ve played with Steve Nash. That’s a pretty rough drop off from the league best 112.7 they posted last year, but it would still rank them as second best in the league behind the Lakers. The make-up of their offense has changed without Amare and this change is best exhibited in their shot selection. The table below shows the Suns’ shot breakdown from last season and this season. For each category you can see what percentage of their field goal attempts came from that area and what their field goal percentage was on those shots.

There would appear to be a big change in the percentage of their shots which are coming At the Rim and from <10ft. However, there has been some discussion that the play by play data which Hoopdata uses to track those shots may have changed how they are classified this season. If you add those two categories together though you can see the Suns are essentially taking the same percentage of their shots from inside of 10ft. as they were last year. They are shooting slightly more three pointers and slightly less long two pointers, which is definitely a good thing.

The real change comes in two areas. The Suns are finishing at a much lower rate on shots <10ft., an area where Amare lived on offense. They are also making a much lower percentage of their three pointers. Amare’s departure is a factor here as well. Without him on the floor the Suns are even more one-dimensional, reducing open space for their shooters and allowing teams to give more attention to defending the three point line.

Knowing that they couldn’t simply acquire another player to fill the hole left by Amare, the Suns went with a combination approach. They added Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick. In terms of style of play and skill set Warrick seems like the player who most closely mirrors what Amare did for the Suns. Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to entirely replace him, the Suns hoped Turkoglu and Childress could bolster their already impressive wing rotation to make that an even bigger strength.

Because of the need to factor in elements besides box scores statistics comparing Amare to his primary replacement, Hakim Warrick, is not a zero-sum game. However, a glance at the table below and a few numeric approximations could lead you to the largely correct conclusion that Warrick is providing somewhere in the area of 75% of Stoudemire’s statistical production at roughly 25% of the cost. Not a bad deal all things considered.

I also find it interesting that some of the categories in which Amare has seen the biggest decline sinse leaving the the Suns are the same areas in which Warrick has seen the biggest increase in his production. Warrick’s FG% is up roughly 14 points and the percentage of his baskets which are assisted on his risen by roughly 7 points. Warrick is a player with distinct limitations on the basketball court but Steve Nash is helping him make the most of his talents.

Steve Nash

I heard plenty of talk this summer about how Amare might find things more difficult than he expected in New York. There was also discussion to spare on how the Suns’ offense would suffer without him, likely dragging them out of the Western Conference elite. While the Suns’ offensive decline was largely predicted, I don’t remember much discussion on the effect Amare’s departure might have on Steve Nash’s individual numbers. The attitude seemed to be that Nash made his supporting cast great and would largely be able to continue at the same pace regardless of the pieces around him. While the Suns’ offensive numbers would sufffer, I am not sure anyone predicted how much losing Amare as a weapon would cause Nash’s individual numbers to suffer as well.

Steve Nash’s assists have declined from 11.0 per game last season to 8.9 this season. His Assist Rate (the percentage of his possessions which end in an assist) has declined from 39.28, 4th best in the league, to 31.04, 13th in the league. The easy answer would be that no Amare, Nash’s most significant offensive weapon last season, is responsible for most of that decline.

Wanting to hone in on that idea I went through the play-by-play data for the Suns games last season and this season and counted how many assists Nash handed out to each player and from what area the shot came from. The top two tables are from last season, the bottom two tables are from this season. The left tables just show the total assists, the tables on the right show the assists per game.

In terms of roster changes the Suns essentially replaced Amare Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa and Louis Amundson with Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick. Nash is handing out roughly the same assists per game on three pointers and on shots <10ft. However he is handing out a lot less assists on shots at the rim and on mid and long range jumpers, shots which were Amare’s bread and butter.

Last season Nash handed out 4.049 assists per game to Amare, Barbosa and Amundson, with 3.354 of those going to Amare. This season Nash is handing out only 2.667 assists per game to Warrick, Turkoglu and Childress. The Suns’ three new roster additions are receiving less assists per game from Nash than Amare was on his own. All three players have offensive limitations but I think Phoenix was expecting slightly more shot-making contributions from them when they were acquired. It’s difficult to pin all of this decline on them not getting open or not making shots, but Steve Nash’s record of creating offense for this teammates pretty much speaks for itself.

Jared Dudley and Channing Frye are also receiving slightly fewer assists per game from Nash as opposed to last season. I wanted to point out, although I didn’t track it specifically, that a huge percentage of Frye’s assists from Nash came in the first half of last season, so this season’s numbers could be considered part of that general decline. As teams became more aware of him as a three point threat the open space he found at the beginning of last year was a lot less common. Jason Richardson is the only Sun who is receiving significantly more assists from Nash this season than last season.

The Grass is Always Greener

Amare’s departure for New York doesn’t appear to have catastrophic consequences for anyone involved. The Suns could have had an outside shot at competing for a championship this season, but even without Amare they remain one of the best offensive teams in the league. There is every indication that they will compete for a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference this season. Amare will continue to put up big numbers and will get the attention he desired in doing so.

Even so, it’s sad to watch the dissolution of this great tandem. For the past six seasons watching them run the pick and roll in Phoenix was an absolute joy. In the NBA there are many more stories of near misses than there are of championship glory, and the Suns have their share. I wonder if it any point this season, Amare will catch a SportsCenter highlight of Nash feeding Warrick for a dunk and wonder what might have happened if he had stayed.


Filed under NBA, Phoenix Suns, Statistical Analysis

Last Night’s Numbers – 11/23/10

Welcome to Last Night’s Numbers, a daily feature where we run through the NBA games from the night before, highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores.

Boston 99 – Atlanta 76

  • Boston jumped out to a 26 point lead in the first quarter and never looked back. They shot 53.4% from the field, 77.8% from the line and and 45.5% on three pointers.
  • Atlanta’s big three, Al Horford, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, were a combined 5 of 23 from the floor.
  • Boston destroyed Atlanta on the glass with a 20 rebound advantage.

Denver 106 – Golden State 89

  • Carmelo Anthony exploded for 39 points. He was only 10 of 24 from the field but went 17 of 17 at the line. He also added 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.
  • When Monta Ellis and Stephon Curry aren’t making shots things get ugly in a hurry for the Warriors. They were a combined 15 of 43 last night, including 3 of 14 on three pointers.
  • Denver was a terrific 12 of 21 on three pointers. Four different players hit at least 2 three pointers.

Phoenix 123 – Houston 112

  • Phoenix didn’t just rely on the jumpshot last night, making a concerted effort to get to the free throw line. They had 38 attempts on the night, making 32, compared to only 12 made free throws for Houston. Phoenix’s FTR was 0.487 for the game.
  • Houston was 6 of 26 on three pointers including a 2 of 8 performance by Shane Battier.
  • Kyle Lowry came up with 6 steals for Houston and dogged Steve Nash into 5 turnovers.

L.A. Clippers 99 – New Orleans 95

  • Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 24 and 27 points respectively.
  • The margin of victory for the Clippers could have been much larger if Gordon and Griffin had been able to do better than their 13 of 24 performance at the free throw line.
  • In just their second loss of the season the Hornets struggled at the line as well, making only 15 of 23 free throws.

Indiana 93 – Miami 77

  • Indiana used strong defense to hold Miami to a season-low point total. They held Miami to 38.8% shooting and forced the Heat into turnovers on 23.2% of their possessions.
  • Dwayne Wade had one of his worst shooting nights as a pro, going 1 of 13 from the field, 1 of 5 at the line and 0 of 4 on three pointers.
  • Danny Granger also had a tough shooting night, going 6 of 21 from the field. Granger did contribute 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and 4 made three pointers.

San Antonio 106 – Orlando 97

  • San Antonio got to the free throw line more than Orlando, with a FTR of 0.299, and shot the lights out on three pointers, making 12 of 19.
  • Dwight Howard had a strong offensive game for Orlando, scoring 26 points. He was 5 of 6 at the rim and an impressive 6 of 9 on shots less than 10ft. Howard also had 18 rebounds.
  • Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for 19 assists and just 5 turnovers for the Spurs.

Oklahoma City 117 – Minnesota 107

  • The Thunder continued their ridiculous pace of drawing fouls, attempting 40 free throws in the game for a FTR of 0.548. Kevin Durany was 16 of 17 from the line.
  • Michael Beasley finally had a game were the jumpers weren’t falling. He was 0 of 10 on shots longer than 10ft.
  • Kevin Love had another terrific game with 24 points and 17 rebounds. He also added 3 assists and 4 made three pointers. It didn’t benefit the TWolves that much as they were -25 with Love on the floor.

Utah 94 – Sacramento 83

  • Utah turned the ball over on only 8.8% of their possessions and posted a FTR of 0.434.
  • The Kings’ young core, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins were a combined 8 of 25 in the game.
  • Al Jefferson attempted 12 shots from beyond 10 ft. for the Jazz, making only 4.

Leave a comment

Filed under Last Night's Numbers, NBA, Statistical Analysis

Mascotian Analysis

One of the things that has always confused me about professional basketball, and sports in general, is mascots. I get their supposed role; firing up the crowd, entertaining during breaks in play, high-fiving kids. The thing that is confusing is how often the mascots appear to be chosen out of a hat, with little or no connection to the nickname of the team. Some make sense, like the Leprechaun of Notre Dame, and the actual bulldog that the Georgia Bulldogs bring to games. Other’s just baffle me, for example the Standford Cardinals who’s mascot is a tree.

Using a high tech statistical model, the details of which I am not at liberty to disclose, I ran a series of correlations between the nicknames of NBA teams and their mascots. The results and analysis are below.

1. Atlanta Hawks – Harry the Hawk – Correlation: 1.00

The team is called the Hawks. The mascot is a Hawk. Makes sense.

2. Boston Celtics – Lucky the Leprechaun – Correlation: 0.38

Celtic refers either to an actual ethnic group native to the British Isles, or the language spoken by that ethnic group. Leprechauns are mythical creatures part of the cultural tradition of Ireland, a component of the British Isles. Although seperated by time and reality, at least Celtics and Leprechauns share a common region of origin.

3. Charlotte Bobcats – Rufus D. Lynx – Correlation: 0.85

The Lynx refers to a genus of felines, of which there are four species, one of which is the Bobcat. The other three species (Canadian Lynx, Eurasian Lynx, Iberian Lynx) are commonly referred to by the name Lynx. So the Bobcats either chose to name their mascot after the genus of their nickname, or chose a different species altogether. Give the Bobcats some credit though, Rufus D. Bobcat just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

4. Chicago Bulls – Benny the Bull – Correlation: 1.00

This was obviously the inspiration for Harry the Hawk. A sense of the literal wins again.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Moondog – Correlation: 0.12

With the strong historical connection between Northern Ohio and the mounted soldiers of the 1642 English Civil War, Cleveland naturally settled on Cavalier as the nickname for their basketball team. To go along with their mounted military theme they chose some sort of mastiff as their mascot. The small correlation comes from the fact that Moondog could theoritically be saddled and ridden into battle should the need arise.

6. Dallas Mavericks – Champ – Correlation: 0.76

A  Maverick refers to a wild or feral, unbranded animal such as a horse or cow. Champ is horse, so Dallas got the right species, but Champ is relatively well behaved and doesn’t display any of the ferocious unpredictability one would expect from keeping a feral horse inside a crowded arena.

7. Denver Nuggets – Rocky the Mountain Lion – Correlation: 0.54

Nuggets is a reference to gold nuggets, which I am told can be found in them thar hills around Denver. Mountain lions can also be found in the peaks of the Rockies. Another case of unrelated items connected only by a similar physical location.

8. Detroit Pistons – Hooper the Horse – Correlation: -0.95

My understanding is that the Pistons take their name from the engine part as an homage to the relationship between the city of Detroit and General Motors. Choosing a horse as a mascot would appear to be the polar opposite, in a transportation sense, to any vehicle powered by pistons. This is a slap in the face to the American automotive industry.

9. Golden State Warriors – Thunder – Correlation: 0.04

The Warriors’ mascot, Thunder, appears to be a humanoid incarnation of the elemental force from which it takes it’s name. Thunder certainly has the physical tools to be a capable Warrior, but appears to be a complete pacifist, thus the low correlation. 

10. Houston Rockets – Clutch the Bear – Correlation: 0.00

My statistical model didn’t account for all the bears who ride around in rockets and ended up with a correlation of 0.00. I will definitely need to make some adjustments.

11. Indiana Pacers – Boomer the Panther – Correlation: 0.05

Obviously short on ideas, the Pacers choose alliteration as their guiding principal in choosing a mascot. That being said I prefer a panther to a peanut, pickle or pig.

12. Los Angeles Clippers – No Mascot – Correlation: NA

Mascot costumes cost money. Donald Sterling owns the Clippers. Donald Sterling is cheap, ergo, no mascot.

13. Los Angeles Lakers – No Mascot – Correlation: NA

The Lakers are currently without a mascot. They have been unable to find a satisfactory replacement for Mark Madsen. 

14. Memphis Grizzlies – Grizz – Correlation: 1.00

Memphis, famous for their Grizzly Bears, kept the nickname and mascot when the team moved from Vancouver. Memphis, the City of Imagination!

15. Miami Heat – Burnie – Correlation: 0.88

The Miami Heat are represented by Burnie who I believe to be a phoenix. The Phoenix is a mythical fire spirit, which would generate heat! Every 500 to 1000 the Phoenix lights it’s nest on fire consuming the nest and itself and a new baby Phoenix rises from the ashes. This mascot seems particularly appropriate given the Heat’s summer.

16. Milwaukee Bucks – Bango – Correlation: 1.00

The Bucks went with the obvious choice, a Buck, and factored in some alliteration as well in choosing the name. They obviously wanted to keep their expectations reasonable, going with a 4 point rack for their buck. (Yeah, I just made a hunting joke.)

17. Minnesota Timberwolves – Crunch the Wolf – Correlation: 1.00

The Timberwolves went obvious as well, sticking with the strictly literal interpretation. In a little known fact, the name Crunch the Wolf comes from the campaign slogan of an Idaho State Senator. (Yeah, I just made an Inland Northwest regional political joke.)

18. New Jersey Nets – Sly the Silver Fox – Correlation: -0.28

New Jersey picked this mascot because people often try to catch a fox with a net. Silver fox is also a euphimism for a senior citizen so apparently the organization is targeting a specific age group for season ticket sales.

19. New Orleans Hornets – Hugo the Hornet – Correlation: 1.00

A little heavy on the alliteration there New Orleans? You decided Hugo the Huge Hornet wouldn’t fit on the back of his jersey?

20. New York Knicks – No Mascot – Correlation: NA

New York, too cool for mascots.

21. Oklahoma City – Rumble the Bison – Correlation: 0.73

Oklahoma City received some extra points for their creativity. Bison can evoke images of thunder as they pound across the Great Plains. They lost some points for design however, as their Bison appears to be of the long haired African variety.

22. Orlando Magic – Stuff the Magic Dragon – Correlation: 0.77

On one hand Orlando has chosen Dragons, mystical and magical beasts featured in the legends of many cultures. However, in choosing a name for their mascot they have butchered the memory of a cherished children’s song. In addition, there is a vocal minority on the interwebs claiming the entire song is a euphemism for inhalation of marijuana. Is this really the message you want to send to your fans? (If it is the case, the Pacers would be happy to send them Brandon Rush for Brandon Bass.)

23. Philadelphia 76ers – Hip Hop the Rabbit – Correlation: 0.11

A little known fact is that the Founding Fathers gave serious thought to choosing a rabbit as our national symbol. Kudos to Philadelphia for doing their research.

24. Phoenix Suns – Go the Gorilla – Correlation: 0.96

At first glance this seems like a strange correlation. But it’s important to remember the namesake star for the Phoenix basketball team is not the star at the center of our solar system, but the star around which the Planet of the Apes orbits. Go the Gorilla is an extraterristreal primate.

25. Portland Trail Blazers – Blaze the Trail Cat – Correlation: NA

Apparently Trail Cats are a fictional creature cooked up by the Portland front office. Since my statistical model wasn’t exactly sure what a Trail Blazer was either, it was unable to produce a numeric correlation.

26. Sacramento Kings – Slamson the Lion – Correlation: 0.74

The Kings avoided the easy, literal solution of a masculine, royal humanoid and instead went with the King of the Jungle. This makes sense when considering the team was likely trying to attact kids. There are several positive lion role models for children including Simba and Aslan. Hamlet and Henry the VIII don’t elicit quite the same response from the 6-12 year old demographic.

27. San Antonio Spurs – The Coyote – Correlation: 0.00

This is almost as nonsensical as the choices that were made in Portland. Since spurs and coyotes are actual things we were able to actually run the numbers. Spurs go on your boots and are used to urge a horse to go faster. Coyotes don’t wear boots or ride horses. They also don’t get ridden by humans. I’m lost here.

28. Toronto Raptors – The Raptor – Correlation: 1.00

Excellent work by another expansion team, putting as little effort into this whole exercise as possible. I know Raptors were likely non-verbal creatures but it can’t even get name. Ronnie the Raptor? Reginald the Raptor? Rowdy the Raptor? 

29. Utah Jazz – Jazz Bear – Correlation: 0.98

When the Jazz moved to Salt Lake they had a tailor-made mascot solution. The mountains of Utah have many bears and everyone knows bears love jazz. They do NOT care for that new breed of funky jazz fusion, thank you very much Soulive. Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica. 

 30. Washington Wizards – G-Wiz and G-Man – Correlation 0.32

G-Man on his own had a fairly strong correlation. Washington is home to the FBI, who’s agents are occasionally referred to as G-Men. Forget the fact that he bears no resemblance to any FBI agent I’ve ever seen (I’ve seen exactly one in person.) G-Wiz appears to be a cousin to the Philly Phanatic and is obviously supposed to be a representative from our government’s Department of Magical Management, our answer to the U.K.’s Ministry of Magic.

All your mascot friends miss you Sasquatch. We hope we get to see you soon!



Filed under NBA, Random

Last Night’s Numbers – 11/22/10

Welcome to Last Night’s Numbers, a daily feature where we run through the NBA games from the night before, highlighting one or two numbers I found particularly interesting from each game. All the stats are from Hoopdata’s box scores, which contain some additional advanced stats not available in traditional box scores.

Detroit 115 – Washington 110

  • Detroit did focused on protecting the ball against the Wizards and it showed, as they turned the ball over on only 9.2% of their possessions. Washington on the other hand turned the ball over on 15.2% of their possessions, with Gilbert Arenas as the main culprit with 6.
  • 16 was the magic number for Washington. It was the number of rebounds JaVale McGee had and the number of assists Gilbert Arenas had. It was also the total of layups and long jumpers the Wizards missed on the evening.

L.A. Lakers 117 – Golden State 89

  • The Lakers absolutely devastated the Warriors with their offensive attack. They shot better than 50% from the field, 80% from the line and 40% on three pointers for an in-game offensive rating of 123.3.
  • Pau Gasol scored 28 points on a oerfect 10 of 10 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line. He also added 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. He was a +27 in his 30 minutes on the floor.
  • The Warriors starting backcourt (plus small forward), Monta Ellis, Stephon Curry and Dorell Wright, were a combined 12 of 37 from the floor.

New Orleans 75 – Sacramento 71

  • Chris Paul was held to 2 of 12 from the field but still contributed 7 rebounds, 14 assists and 5 steals. Despite his poor shooting he was able to post a +11 in his 40 minutes on the floor.
  • This was an ugly offensive game with neither team shooting better than 40% from the field. New Orleans turned the ball over on 16.3% of their possessions. Not to be outdone, Sacramento coughed it up on 23.9% of their possessions. Ugh.
  • DeMarcus Cousins pulled an Amir Johnson and came up with more personal fouls, six, than rebounds, five. Double Ugh.

Toronto 102 – Boston 101

  • Amir Johnson pulled a reverse Amir Johnson and came up with a very efficient 17 points and 11 rebounds, including the game winning free throws.
  • Boston was outrebounded by Toronto (I know it felt just as weird for me to type that as it probably did for you to read it). Toronto grabbed 53.2% of available rebounds including 10 on the offensive glass.
  • Only two rebounds for Andrea Bargnani. I think that brings his season total to -4.

Leave a comment

Filed under Last Night's Numbers, NBA, Statistical Analysis