Although I doubt it would make much difference, you could simply calculate a weighted mean percent change in free throw percentage. E.g. maybe it was Duncan +1%, Shaq +2%, Payton -3%, etc. etc. Calculate the mean change in FT% -- but weight the numbers by the number of playoff FTs. A player who shot 24 playoff FTs will count twice as much as a player who shot 12 playoff FTs.

I suppose that in theory one should do some fancy weighting to also take into account the number of regular season FTs, but that'd be a lot of extra work for not much extra reliability.

--MKT

-----Original Message-----

From:

igorkupfer@... [mailto:

igorkupfer@...]

Sent: Friday, January 17, 2003 10:57 AM

To:

APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [APBR_analysis] Playoff Pressure

In a newsgroup debate, I challenged a fellow to produce evidence that playoff pressure

affects shooting performance (as opposed to offensive efficiency, which typically falls

in the playoffs). He showed me free throw percentages, which were lower for 11 teams in

last years playoffs than their regular season percentages. I said that teams were not

the proper focus of study here. Teams don't shoot free throws, players do. If the

contention is that players are affected by playoff pressure, and we can identify a

"clutch" player as one whose performance rises in those situations, then we must look

at how each individual player did.

157 players shot FTs in the 01-02 playoffs. 79 of them increased their FT% from the

regular season, and 78 had it decrease. (The raw data can be seen here:

http://members.rogers.com/igorkupfer/odd/0203playoffs.htm ) But since many of those

players had few attempts, maybe that result was due to chance.

94 players shot more than 10 free throw attempts -- 48 of them raised their FT% in

comparison to their regular season average, and 46 players decreased.

How about playoff experience? 123 players had prior playoffs experience -- 61 raised

their FT%, 62 decreased. Players with no post season games played -- 18 increased, 16

decreased.

How about players who showed the greatest difference between regular season and playoff

percentages? 72 players had differences greater than 10% -- 30 showed an increase, and

42 decrease.

Maybe it deserves more study, but from what I've seen, playoff pressure has no effect

on free throw shooting.

ed

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