Basketball Analytics

Here you can read Roger’s basketball analytics articles. Roger has been trained as an actuary, where he analyzes risk within a business environment. He’s also a huge NBA fan looking to apply risk analysis to the game of basketball.


July 4, 2014

NBA Speed Analytics Tool (new!)

I’ve developed a tool analyzing the speed of NBA players. Visit this external link to analyze your favorite NBA player by position.

Notice that players like Carmelo Anthony (SF), Chris Paul (PG), and James Harden (SG) are some of the slowest players in their position, but are high caliber players overall.


June 29, 2014

“Who said they were old and slow? Yes, we’re talking about the Spurs”

I analyzed the SportVU Speed and Distance data from the 2013-2014 Regular Season. In particular, I was interested in how speed of the NBA players impacts a team’s overall winning percentage. The linear fitted line’s R-squared is very low near 1%, but the outliers are a telling story. Look where the San Antonio Spurs live (see top right corner. That’s them!). They have the highest winning percentage and the fastest speed.



If we break down the San Antonio Spurs (SAS) players, we can see where their speed comes from. I wonder where Patty Mills is ending up this free agency period. He’s one fast guy, plus he can shoot!



Final Observation: San Antonio had the highest speed and the highest winning percentage. Is this a coincidence? The only other team that came close to San Antonio’s speed was Philadelphia (4.3 mph), but their record was poor (23% winning percentage). Maybe the league just couldn’t keep up. For your information, Patty Mills was the fastest player during the regular season (4.8 mph) and the most notable slow player was James Harden (3.6 mph).

Next drill down: I wonder what the correlation is between the speed of a player and the probability of getting injured…

The chart is below. There does not seem to be a correlation between the speed at which a player runs vs. the number of games missed. There may be something if I isolate the guards from the big men.


Just in case you are wondering, LeBron James ran at a pace of 3.8 mph and Kevin Durant ran 3.9 mph. Those two guys toward the top of the chart running at 4.6 mph and missing 12 to 14 games were Danny Green (SAS) and Michael Carter-Williams (PHI).


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