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Pace prediction

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  • aaronkoo
    I finally did what we talked about a long time ago here. I looked at how well we can predict the pace of a single game based upon the two teams average
    Message 1 of 22 , Apr 12, 2003
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      I finally did what we talked about a long time ago here. I looked at
      how well we can predict the pace of a single game based upon the two
      teams' average paces. I used a formula like Stratomatic uses:

      GamePace = TmA_avgpacediff + TmB_avgpacediff

      So if TmA is 4 possessions per game faster than normal and TmB is 1
      possession per game slower than league average, then they
      are "expected" to play at a pace 3 possessions faster than average.

      Over the last few years, this has an average error of -0.07 poss per
      game. It actually slightly underpredicts pace, which surprised me,
      but not by any large amount. The mean absolute error was 3.1, as
      opposed to 3.8 using just the league average as a predictor. It
      predicted about 71% of games correctly with regard to whether they
      would be faster or slower than average.

      This implies to me that a team's average pace has a pretty small
      impact on the actual game pace. Reducing 3.8 to 3.1 is only about
      20%. There is a fair amount of "other" factors that may account for
      pace changes. I'm not sure how much we can identify in those other
      factors, though.

      Time to brainstorm: What independent factors are there that can be
      used to a priori predict the pace of a game? Playoffs used to be a
      significant one -- the pace used to get a lot slower in the playoffs.
      I haven't looked in a while. If that's the case, competitiveness
      (how close the teams are and how good they are) would be another
      factor (correlated to playoffs). Not sure what else.

      Note: I did correct for overtime games.

      DeanO
    • schtevie2003
      It seems to me there is one fundamental omission in the game pace model presented below and that is relative team strength. Why is this important? Well, in
      Message 2 of 22 , Apr 14, 2003
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        It seems to me there is one fundamental omission in the game
        pace model presented below and that is relative team strength.
        Why is this important? Well, in close games - a function of
        relative team strength - there is an incentive for the team that is
        behind at the end of the game to foul early in the opposing
        team's shot clock (increasing both the expected probability of
        victory and expected margins of defeat). This has the statistical
        effect of increasing the number of possessions in these
        contests. Furthermore, one should expect this effect to be
        greatest in the games that are neither blow outs or nearly
        deadlocked. As to the functional form that would best identify
        this effect, offhand, I am guessing that it would have to be some
        non-linear specification of relative team strength.

        ***********

        --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
        <deano@r...> wrote:
        >
        > I finally did what we talked about a long time ago here. I looked
        at
        > how well we can predict the pace of a single game based
        upon the two
        > teams' average paces. I used a formula like Stratomatic uses:
        >
        > GamePace = TmA_avgpacediff + TmB_avgpacediff
        >
        > So if TmA is 4 possessions per game faster than normal and
        TmB is 1
        > possession per game slower than league average, then they
        > are "expected" to play at a pace 3 possessions faster than
        average.
        >
        > Over the last few years, this has an average error of -0.07 poss
        per
        > game. It actually slightly underpredicts pace, which surprised
        me,
        > but not by any large amount. The mean absolute error was
        3.1, as
        > opposed to 3.8 using just the league average as a predictor. It
        > predicted about 71% of games correctly with regard to whether
        they
        > would be faster or slower than average.
        >
        > This implies to me that a team's average pace has a pretty
        small
        > impact on the actual game pace. Reducing 3.8 to 3.1 is only
        about
        > 20%. There is a fair amount of "other" factors that may account
        for
        > pace changes. I'm not sure how much we can identify in those
        other
        > factors, though.
        >
        > Time to brainstorm: What independent factors are there that
        can be
        > used to a priori predict the pace of a game? Playoffs used to
        be a
        > significant one -- the pace used to get a lot slower in the
        playoffs.
        > I haven't looked in a while. If that's the case, competitiveness
        > (how close the teams are and how good they are) would be
        another
        > factor (correlated to playoffs). Not sure what else.
        >
        > Note: I did correct for overtime games.
        >
        > DeanO
      • aaronkoo
        ... That s what I called competitiveness below. But I considered it a slowing factor -- only because that had been what had been observed. You re right,
        Message 3 of 22 , Apr 14, 2003
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          --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
          wrote:
          > It seems to me there is one fundamental omission in the game
          > pace model presented below and that is relative team strength.
          > Why is this important? Well, in close games - a function of
          > relative team strength - there is an incentive for the team that is
          > behind at the end of the game to foul early in the opposing
          > team's shot clock (increasing both the expected probability of
          > victory and expected margins of defeat). This has the statistical
          > effect of increasing the number of possessions in these
          > contests. Furthermore, one should expect this effect to be
          > greatest in the games that are neither blow outs or nearly
          > deadlocked. As to the functional form that would best identify
          > this effect, offhand, I am guessing that it would have to be some
          > non-linear specification of relative team strength.

          That's what I called "competitiveness" below. But I considered it a
          slowing factor -- only because that had been what had been observed.
          You're right, though, too. Teams slow the game when coaches want
          more control in the playoffs, when they want to maximize every
          possession, when the defense doesn't take possessions off. But
          fouling at the end of the game definitely increases possessions.
          Need to come up with a model that a priori can handle this. Or maybe
          it's just that the spread in competitive games is going to be greater
          due to this uncertainty.

          DeanO


          >
          > ***********
          >
          > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
          > <deano@r...> wrote:
          > >
          > > I finally did what we talked about a long time ago here. I
          looked
          > at
          > > how well we can predict the pace of a single game based
          > upon the two
          > > teams' average paces. I used a formula like Stratomatic uses:
          > >
          > > GamePace = TmA_avgpacediff + TmB_avgpacediff
          > >
          > > So if TmA is 4 possessions per game faster than normal and
          > TmB is 1
          > > possession per game slower than league average, then they
          > > are "expected" to play at a pace 3 possessions faster than
          > average.
          > >
          > > Over the last few years, this has an average error of -0.07 poss
          > per
          > > game. It actually slightly underpredicts pace, which surprised
          > me,
          > > but not by any large amount. The mean absolute error was
          > 3.1, as
          > > opposed to 3.8 using just the league average as a predictor. It
          > > predicted about 71% of games correctly with regard to whether
          > they
          > > would be faster or slower than average.
          > >
          > > This implies to me that a team's average pace has a pretty
          > small
          > > impact on the actual game pace. Reducing 3.8 to 3.1 is only
          > about
          > > 20%. There is a fair amount of "other" factors that may account
          > for
          > > pace changes. I'm not sure how much we can identify in those
          > other
          > > factors, though.
          > >
          > > Time to brainstorm: What independent factors are there that
          > can be
          > > used to a priori predict the pace of a game? Playoffs used to
          > be a
          > > significant one -- the pace used to get a lot slower in the
          > playoffs.
          > > I haven't looked in a while. If that's the case, competitiveness
          > > (how close the teams are and how good they are) would be
          > another
          > > factor (correlated to playoffs). Not sure what else.
          > >
          > > Note: I did correct for overtime games.
          > >
          > > DeanO
        • Gary Collard
          ... Just a guess, but maybe scheduling situations? Back to backs in different cities, 3 in 4 s, 4 in 5 s. Not sure if it would slow the pace due to tired
          Message 4 of 22 , Apr 14, 2003
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            aaronkoo wrote:
            >
            > Time to brainstorm: What independent factors are there that can be
            > used to a priori predict the pace of a game?

            Just a guess, but maybe scheduling situations? Back to backs in different
            cities, 3 in 4's, 4 in 5's. Not sure if it would slow the pace due to
            tired advancement or raise it due to tired defense (particularly
            transition) but some effect might show up.

            --
            Gary Collard
            SABR-L Moderator
            collardg@...
          • schtevie2003
            Taking one step back, I am just wondering what is the particular interest of trying to predict game pace (or more precisely, I suppose, the number of
            Message 5 of 22 , Apr 15, 2003
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              Taking one step back, I am just wondering what is the particular
              interest of trying to predict game pace (or more precisely, I
              suppose, the number of possessions) in the regular season?
              Of course more knowledge is better than less, but is there any
              question as to the fact that pace is the tail that doesn't wag the
              dog? That is to say that pace itself doesn't determine
              "competitiveness" - except in the sense that a "high" game pace
              can be indicative of bad shot selection but not the cause in any
              meaningful sense of the term.

              That said, comparing game paces in the regular season and the
              post season does seem like a very interesting avenue of inquiry.
              Why? Because it allows possible insight into the optimal
              performances of teams during the regular season. (Under the
              assumption that teams are playing their best - or at least trying to
              - in the playoffs.) For example, if a team were found, all else
              equal, to play at a different game pace in the post-season
              (presumably slower, reflecting a more intensive defensive effort)
              one could surmise the counterfactual cost of not pursuing this
              "better" strategy duing the post-season, in terms of potential
              games lost and better positioning for the playoffs.

              But to repeat the initial question. Why do we care about game
              pace?

              *********************

              --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
              <deano@r...> wrote:
              > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
              <schtevie@h...>
              > wrote:
              > > It seems to me there is one fundamental omission in the
              game
              > > pace model presented below and that is relative team
              strength.
              > > Why is this important? Well, in close games - a function of
              > > relative team strength - there is an incentive for the team that
              is
              > > behind at the end of the game to foul early in the opposing
              > > team's shot clock (increasing both the expected probability of
              > > victory and expected margins of defeat). This has the
              statistical
              > > effect of increasing the number of possessions in these
              > > contests. Furthermore, one should expect this effect to be
              > > greatest in the games that are neither blow outs or nearly
              > > deadlocked. As to the functional form that would best identify
              > > this effect, offhand, I am guessing that it would have to be
              some
              > > non-linear specification of relative team strength.
              >
              > That's what I called "competitiveness" below. But I considered
              it a
              > slowing factor -- only because that had been what had been
              observed.
              > You're right, though, too. Teams slow the game when coaches
              want
              > more control in the playoffs, when they want to maximize every
              > possession, when the defense doesn't take possessions off.
              But
              > fouling at the end of the game definitely increases
              possessions.
              > Need to come up with a model that a priori can handle this. Or
              maybe
              > it's just that the spread in competitive games is going to be
              greater
              > due to this uncertainty.
              >
              > DeanO
              >
              >
              > >
              > > ***********
              > >
              > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
              > > <deano@r...> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > I finally did what we talked about a long time ago here. I
              > looked
              > > at
              > > > how well we can predict the pace of a single game based
              > > upon the two
              > > > teams' average paces. I used a formula like Stratomatic
              uses:
              > > >
              > > > GamePace = TmA_avgpacediff + TmB_avgpacediff
              > > >
              > > > So if TmA is 4 possessions per game faster than normal
              and
              > > TmB is 1
              > > > possession per game slower than league average, then
              they
              > > > are "expected" to play at a pace 3 possessions faster than
              > > average.
              > > >
              > > > Over the last few years, this has an average error of -0.07
              poss
              > > per
              > > > game. It actually slightly underpredicts pace, which
              surprised
              > > me,
              > > > but not by any large amount. The mean absolute error was
              > > 3.1, as
              > > > opposed to 3.8 using just the league average as a
              predictor. It
              > > > predicted about 71% of games correctly with regard to
              whether
              > > they
              > > > would be faster or slower than average.
              > > >
              > > > This implies to me that a team's average pace has a pretty
              > > small
              > > > impact on the actual game pace. Reducing 3.8 to 3.1 is
              only
              > > about
              > > > 20%. There is a fair amount of "other" factors that may
              account
              > > for
              > > > pace changes. I'm not sure how much we can identify in
              those
              > > other
              > > > factors, though.
              > > >
              > > > Time to brainstorm: What independent factors are there
              that
              > > can be
              > > > used to a priori predict the pace of a game? Playoffs used
              to
              > > be a
              > > > significant one -- the pace used to get a lot slower in the
              > > playoffs.
              > > > I haven't looked in a while. If that's the case,
              competitiveness
              > > > (how close the teams are and how good they are) would be
              > > another
              > > > factor (correlated to playoffs). Not sure what else.
              > > >
              > > > Note: I did correct for overtime games.
              > > >
              > > > DeanO
            • aaronkoo
              ... to ... This is probably true and the reason why we re doing this second round of polling now on who will win the title. We seemed to KNOW that the Lakers
              Message 6 of 22 , Apr 15, 2003
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                --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                wrote:
                > That said, comparing game paces in the regular season and the
                > post season does seem like a very interesting avenue of inquiry.
                > Why? Because it allows possible insight into the optimal
                > performances of teams during the regular season. (Under the
                > assumption that teams are playing their best - or at least trying
                to
                > - in the playoffs.) For example, if a team were found, all else
                > equal, to play at a different game pace in the post-season
                > (presumably slower, reflecting a more intensive defensive effort)
                > one could surmise the counterfactual cost of not pursuing this
                > "better" strategy duing the post-season, in terms of potential
                > games lost and better positioning for the playoffs.

                This is probably true and the reason why we're doing this second
                round of polling now on who will win the title. We seemed to KNOW
                that the Lakers would win the title the last couple years despite not
                having the best record. Some of that is injury, but a lot of it is
                people perceiving they save their A game for the playoffs. This goes
                completely counter to the long-held belief in baseball that clutch
                play does not exist, so putting together the story in a very
                convincing manner is important.

                >
                > But to repeat the initial question. Why do we care about game
                > pace?

                The question was posed about whether a slow team or a fast team could
                dictate tempo. I didn't think that either could and that a formula
                like the one tested would do reasonably. It turns out to be accurate
                but doesn't explain a ton of the variation, implying that there may
                be cases where one can do better with other methods. Maybe we
                believe that certain slow teams can dictate pace and certain fast
                teams can dictate pace and we know it through some non-quantified
                thing. If we can find that, it may help improve prediction.
                Ultimately, this then gets at whether teams play better or worse at
                certain paces. I've found that most teams don't play all that
                different, but there are definite exceptions. One I remember because
                it's in the book is the 2002 Raptors who played much better at a
                faster pace. I have found several others, but don't remember them.

                >
                > *********************
                >
                > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                > <deano@r...> wrote:
                > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                > <schtevie@h...>
                > > wrote:
                > > > It seems to me there is one fundamental omission in the
                > game
                > > > pace model presented below and that is relative team
                > strength.
                > > > Why is this important? Well, in close games - a function of
                > > > relative team strength - there is an incentive for the team
                that
                > is
                > > > behind at the end of the game to foul early in the opposing
                > > > team's shot clock (increasing both the expected probability of
                > > > victory and expected margins of defeat). This has the
                > statistical
                > > > effect of increasing the number of possessions in these
                > > > contests. Furthermore, one should expect this effect to be
                > > > greatest in the games that are neither blow outs or nearly
                > > > deadlocked. As to the functional form that would best identify
                > > > this effect, offhand, I am guessing that it would have to be
                > some
                > > > non-linear specification of relative team strength.
                > >
                > > That's what I called "competitiveness" below. But I considered
                > it a
                > > slowing factor -- only because that had been what had been
                > observed.
                > > You're right, though, too. Teams slow the game when coaches
                > want
                > > more control in the playoffs, when they want to maximize every
                > > possession, when the defense doesn't take possessions off.
                > But
                > > fouling at the end of the game definitely increases
                > possessions.
                > > Need to come up with a model that a priori can handle this. Or
                > maybe
                > > it's just that the spread in competitive games is going to be
                > greater
                > > due to this uncertainty.
                > >
                > > DeanO
                > >
                > >
                > > >
                > > > ***********
                > > >
                > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                > > > <deano@r...> wrote:
                > > > >
                > > > > I finally did what we talked about a long time ago here. I
                > > looked
                > > > at
                > > > > how well we can predict the pace of a single game based
                > > > upon the two
                > > > > teams' average paces. I used a formula like Stratomatic
                > uses:
                > > > >
                > > > > GamePace = TmA_avgpacediff + TmB_avgpacediff
                > > > >
                > > > > So if TmA is 4 possessions per game faster than normal
                > and
                > > > TmB is 1
                > > > > possession per game slower than league average, then
                > they
                > > > > are "expected" to play at a pace 3 possessions faster than
                > > > average.
                > > > >
                > > > > Over the last few years, this has an average error of -0.07
                > poss
                > > > per
                > > > > game. It actually slightly underpredicts pace, which
                > surprised
                > > > me,
                > > > > but not by any large amount. The mean absolute error was
                > > > 3.1, as
                > > > > opposed to 3.8 using just the league average as a
                > predictor. It
                > > > > predicted about 71% of games correctly with regard to
                > whether
                > > > they
                > > > > would be faster or slower than average.
                > > > >
                > > > > This implies to me that a team's average pace has a pretty
                > > > small
                > > > > impact on the actual game pace. Reducing 3.8 to 3.1 is
                > only
                > > > about
                > > > > 20%. There is a fair amount of "other" factors that may
                > account
                > > > for
                > > > > pace changes. I'm not sure how much we can identify in
                > those
                > > > other
                > > > > factors, though.
                > > > >
                > > > > Time to brainstorm: What independent factors are there
                > that
                > > > can be
                > > > > used to a priori predict the pace of a game? Playoffs used
                > to
                > > > be a
                > > > > significant one -- the pace used to get a lot slower in the
                > > > playoffs.
                > > > > I haven't looked in a while. If that's the case,
                > competitiveness
                > > > > (how close the teams are and how good they are) would be
                > > > another
                > > > > factor (correlated to playoffs). Not sure what else.
                > > > >
                > > > > Note: I did correct for overtime games.
                > > > >
                > > > > DeanO
              • schtevie2003
                ... It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for clutch play in baseball is the hot hand in basketball, and I think that people are correct to disbelieve
                Message 7 of 22 , Apr 15, 2003
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                  --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                  > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                  > wrote:
                  > > That said, comparing game paces in the regular season and the
                  > > post season does seem like a very interesting avenue of inquiry.
                  > > Why? Because it allows possible insight into the optimal
                  > > performances of teams during the regular season. (Under the
                  > > assumption that teams are playing their best - or at least trying
                  > to
                  > > - in the playoffs.) For example, if a team were found, all else
                  > > equal, to play at a different game pace in the post-season
                  > > (presumably slower, reflecting a more intensive defensive effort)
                  > > one could surmise the counterfactual cost of not pursuing this
                  > > "better" strategy duing the post-season, in terms of potential
                  > > games lost and better positioning for the playoffs.
                  >
                  > This is probably true and the reason why we're doing this second
                  > round of polling now on who will win the title. We seemed to KNOW
                  > that the Lakers would win the title the last couple years despite not
                  > having the best record. Some of that is injury, but a lot of it is
                  > people perceiving they save their A game for the playoffs. This goes
                  > completely counter to the long-held belief in baseball that clutch
                  > play does not exist, so putting together the story in a very
                  > convincing manner is important.

                  It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                  baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that people are
                  correct to disbelieve it. That said, there is a certain rationality
                  for a team that knows they are likely the best team in basketball not
                  to give its all in the regular season - especially if it doesn't feel
                  that home court advantage matters much to it.

                  >
                  > >
                  > > But to repeat the initial question. Why do we care about game
                  > > pace?
                  >
                  > The question was posed about whether a slow team or a fast team could
                  > dictate tempo. I didn't think that either could and that a formula
                  > like the one tested would do reasonably. It turns out to be accurate
                  > but doesn't explain a ton of the variation, implying that there may
                  > be cases where one can do better with other methods. Maybe we
                  > believe that certain slow teams can dictate pace and certain fast
                  > teams can dictate pace and we know it through some non-quantified
                  > thing. If we can find that, it may help improve prediction.
                  > Ultimately, this then gets at whether teams play better or worse at
                  > certain paces. I've found that most teams don't play all that
                  > different, but there are definite exceptions. One I remember because
                  > it's in the book is the 2002 Raptors who played much better at a
                  > faster pace. I have found several others, but don't remember them.
                  >

                  First, a comment on semantics only because it apparently influences
                  thinking here. How exactly can a team dictate tempo to another? If a
                  given team plays best (in the sense that doing so gives it its best
                  expectation of victory) by settling into its half-court offense, say,
                  how could anything that its opponent does compel a change its behavior?
                  I suppose if the opponent is a running team and the team, lacking
                  poise, decides to mimic it one could call this "dictation", but it
                  isn't, is it?

                  Second, out of curiosity, how was the exceptional behavior of the 2002
                  Raptors identified? That is how does one tell if a correlation of game
                  pace and productivity isn't spurious? The concern: even if one's null
                  hypothesis is that each team plays best at a given set offensive pace,
                  random variation would be expected to cough up a team which happens to
                  perform better when the game pace happens to be higher than average.
                • aaronkoo
                  ... ... are ... See my book in October. The original study missed something, intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot hands
                  Message 8 of 22 , Apr 15, 2003
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                    --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                    wrote:
                    > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                    > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                    <schtevie@h...>
                    > > wrote:
                    > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                    > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that people
                    are
                    > correct to disbelieve it.

                    See my book in October. The original study missed something,
                    intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot hands may
                    exist.

                    > That said, there is a certain rationality
                    > for a team that knows they are likely the best team in basketball
                    not
                    > to give its all in the regular season - especially if it doesn't
                    feel
                    > that home court advantage matters much to it.
                    >

                    Yes, a different type of clutch. Perhaps we need a better term for
                    it.

                    > > be cases where one can do better with other methods. Maybe we
                    > > believe that certain slow teams can dictate pace and certain fast
                    > > teams can dictate pace and we know it through some non-quantified
                    > > thing. If we can find that, it may help improve prediction.
                    > > Ultimately, this then gets at whether teams play better or worse
                    at
                    > > certain paces. I've found that most teams don't play all that
                    > > different, but there are definite exceptions. One I remember
                    because
                    > > it's in the book is the 2002 Raptors who played much better at a
                    > > faster pace. I have found several others, but don't remember
                    them.
                    > >
                    >
                    > First, a comment on semantics only because it apparently influences
                    > thinking here. How exactly can a team dictate tempo to another?
                    If a
                    > given team plays best (in the sense that doing so gives it its best
                    > expectation of victory) by settling into its half-court offense,
                    say,
                    > how could anything that its opponent does compel a change its
                    behavior?
                    > I suppose if the opponent is a running team and the team, lacking
                    > poise, decides to mimic it one could call this "dictation", but it
                    > isn't, is it?

                    Changing pace isn't hard to force on an opponent. A team that likes
                    to go slow and is facing a fast breaking team can go less hard to the
                    offensive boards, wait longer to take shots, pass up iffy fast break
                    opportunities, cut off passes to start breaks, and play zone (though
                    type of zone can matter). A team that likes to go uptempo and get in
                    the open court can strictly send 3 guys to the defensive boards and
                    strictly send guards to fast break locations (not send them to the
                    defensive glass). Or it can send 2 guys to the defensive boards with
                    3 releasing. It can play high pressure defense in a half or full
                    court.

                    >
                    > Second, out of curiosity, how was the exceptional behavior of the
                    2002
                    > Raptors identified? That is how does one tell if a correlation of
                    game
                    > pace and productivity isn't spurious? The concern: even if one's
                    null
                    > hypothesis is that each team plays best at a given set offensive
                    pace,
                    > random variation would be expected to cough up a team which happens
                    to
                    > perform better when the game pace happens to be higher than average.

                    This is a good point and one I haven't addressed in full yet in the
                    research. I believe the significance of what I found for the Raptors
                    was greater than 99%, though. So it is unlikely to be spurious but
                    possible. Ideally, we do more than use a statistical argument to say
                    this. There should be a mechanical explanation as well and I believe
                    there is one for the Raptors. Carter and Williams definitely prefer
                    an open court game. I'm not so sure about Peterson or Davis. I saw
                    strong correlation between forcing turnovers and pace with these
                    guys, so they probably should put pressure on opponents to force pace
                    and turnovers.

                    Frankly, though, I need to rework the entire methodology behind the
                    strategy analysis I've done. I've been doing it for a few years now
                    and, though I know how to use the results, they are too ugly to be
                    presented (too much of an art, not enough science), so they didn't
                    make it into the book. I've figured out a better way -- I think. I
                    need to test it when I have time.

                    DeanO
                  • John Hollinger
                    ... Seems to me this is a much bigger factor in college, but a drop of water in the ocean in the NBA. Pro teams almost never foul intentionally until the final
                    Message 9 of 22 , Apr 15, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      >there is an incentive for the team that is
                      > behind at the end of the game to foul early in the opposing
                      > team's shot clock (increasing both the expected probability of
                      > victory and expected margins of defeat)


                      Seems to me this is a much bigger factor in college, but a drop of
                      water in the ocean in the NBA. Pro teams almost never foul
                      intentionally until the final minute, and only do it then when the
                      math on playing it straight absolutely won't work. And whereas
                      college teams will hack even if they're down 15, NBA guys are jaded
                      enough that they need a reasonable chance of winning before they'll
                      whack a guy.
                    • schtevie2003
                      ... of ... jaded ... they ll ... ****** Maybe so, but my guess is that it matters quite a bit. And my guess also is that teams that foul in the final minute
                      Message 10 of 22 , Apr 16, 2003
                      • 0 Attachment
                        --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "John Hollinger"
                        <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
                        > >there is an incentive for the team that is
                        > > behind at the end of the game to foul early in the opposing
                        > > team's shot clock (increasing both the expected probability of
                        > > victory and expected margins of defeat)
                        >
                        >
                        > Seems to me this is a much bigger factor in college, but a drop
                        of
                        > water in the ocean in the NBA. Pro teams almost never foul
                        > intentionally until the final minute, and only do it then when the
                        > math on playing it straight absolutely won't work. And whereas
                        > college teams will hack even if they're down 15, NBA guys are
                        jaded
                        > enough that they need a reasonable chance of winning before
                        they'll
                        > whack a guy.

                        ******

                        Maybe so, but my guess is that it matters quite a bit. And my
                        guess also is that teams that foul in the final minute are only
                        needing one extra possession or perhaps two for a chance at
                        victory. But if you are down by more, the rationality of fouling
                        kicks in well before two minutes. In any case, even if leads to
                        only two or three extra possessions, if must be a significant
                        amount of the unexplained variation.
                      • schtevie2003
                        ... ... people ... something, ... may ... Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way lessen my eagerness to buy the book come
                        Message 11 of 22 , Apr 16, 2003
                        • 0 Attachment
                          --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                          <deano@r...> wrote:
                          > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                          <schtevie@h...>
                          > wrote:
                          > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                          <deano@r...> wrote:
                          > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                          > <schtevie@h...>
                          > > > wrote:
                          > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                          > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                          people
                          > are
                          > > correct to disbelieve it.
                          >
                          > See my book in October. The original study missed
                          something,
                          > intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot hands
                          may
                          > exist.

                          Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way lessen
                          my eagerness to buy the book come October. (Or has it already
                          been spoken of in a previous posting?)

                          *******************

                          > > > be cases where one can do better with other methods.
                          Maybe we
                          > > > believe that certain slow teams can dictate pace and
                          certain fast
                          > > > teams can dictate pace and we know it through some
                          non-quantified
                          > > > thing. If we can find that, it may help improve prediction.
                          > > > Ultimately, this then gets at whether teams play better or
                          worse
                          > at
                          > > > certain paces. I've found that most teams don't play all that
                          > > > different, but there are definite exceptions. One I remember
                          > because
                          > > > it's in the book is the 2002 Raptors who played much better
                          at a
                          > > > faster pace. I have found several others, but don't
                          remember
                          > them.
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > First, a comment on semantics only because it apparently
                          influences
                          > > thinking here. How exactly can a team dictate tempo to
                          another?
                          > If a
                          > > given team plays best (in the sense that doing so gives it its
                          best
                          > > expectation of victory) by settling into its half-court offense,
                          > say,
                          > > how could anything that its opponent does compel a change
                          its
                          > behavior?
                          > > I suppose if the opponent is a running team and the team,
                          lacking
                          > > poise, decides to mimic it one could call this "dictation", but it
                          > > isn't, is it?
                          >
                          > Changing pace isn't hard to force on an opponent. A team that
                          likes
                          > to go slow and is facing a fast breaking team can go less hard
                          to the
                          > offensive boards, wait longer to take shots, pass up iffy fast
                          break
                          > opportunities, cut off passes to start breaks, and play zone
                          (though
                          > type of zone can matter). A team that likes to go uptempo and
                          get in
                          > the open court can strictly send 3 guys to the defensive boards
                          and
                          > strictly send guards to fast break locations (not send them to
                          the
                          > defensive glass). Or it can send 2 guys to the defensive
                          boards with
                          > 3 releasing. It can play high pressure defense in a half or full
                          > court.
                          >

                          Pardon me if I am belaboring what might be construed as a
                          trivial semantic point, but as I read your examples, they do not
                          describe ways in which one team forces a team to play at a
                          certain pace. Rather they describe both optimal and sub-optimal
                          strategy decisions taken by teams facing given opponents, but in
                          no case would I refer to these factors as explaining how one
                          team "dictates" pace to another. And the semantic distinction is
                          important, I would argue, as imprecise language is the easiest
                          way to being led astray analytically.

                          Taking your examples, one by one:

                          Slow Team Pace Control Variables:

                          1) Going less hard to the offensive boards. Comment: it may be
                          optimal for a "slow" team to do this if it is slow in getting back
                          defensively, but if it is optimal, it is not so for the purpose of
                          controlling the pace of the game, rather for not losing the game.

                          2) Waiting longer to take shots. Comment: This is by definition a
                          sub-optimal strategy (why would one deny oneself maximum
                          time on the shot clock to come up with the best possible) and
                          though one may be dictating pace in this instance, one is also
                          dictating to one's own team a higher probability of losing.

                          3) Cut of iffy fast breaks and passes that start fast breaks.
                          Comment: Again, to deny one's team the potential for an easy
                          basket is by definition a sub-optimal strategy. Again, a team
                          dictates pace at a high price.

                          4) Playing a zone. Comment: Here again, pace isn't the issue, it
                          is choosing an optimal defense.

                          Fast Team Pace Control Variables:

                          I guess I won't list them, but they all describe strategy choices
                          that relate to controlling the probability of victory, not pace.

                          So to repeat the bottom line, teams making conscious optimal
                          choices try to maximize the probability of victory not the pace of
                          the game. Teams choosing to influence the pace of the game
                          independently do so at their peril - unless of course I am
                          missing something.
                        • schtevie2003
                          ... ... people ... something, ... may ... Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way lessen my eagerness to buy the book come
                          Message 12 of 22 , Apr 16, 2003
                          • 0 Attachment
                            --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                            <deano@r...> wrote:
                            > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                            <schtevie@h...>
                            > wrote:
                            > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                            <deano@r...> wrote:
                            > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                            > <schtevie@h...>
                            > > > wrote:
                            > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                            > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                            people
                            > are
                            > > correct to disbelieve it.
                            >
                            > See my book in October. The original study missed
                            something,
                            > intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot hands
                            may
                            > exist.

                            Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way lessen
                            my eagerness to buy the book come October. (Or has it already
                            been spoken of in a previous posting?)

                            *******************

                            > > > be cases where one can do better with other methods.
                            Maybe we
                            > > > believe that certain slow teams can dictate pace and
                            certain fast
                            > > > teams can dictate pace and we know it through some
                            non-quantified
                            > > > thing. If we can find that, it may help improve prediction.
                            > > > Ultimately, this then gets at whether teams play better or
                            worse
                            > at
                            > > > certain paces. I've found that most teams don't play all that
                            > > > different, but there are definite exceptions. One I remember
                            > because
                            > > > it's in the book is the 2002 Raptors who played much better
                            at a
                            > > > faster pace. I have found several others, but don't
                            remember
                            > them.
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > First, a comment on semantics only because it apparently
                            influences
                            > > thinking here. How exactly can a team dictate tempo to
                            another?
                            > If a
                            > > given team plays best (in the sense that doing so gives it its
                            best
                            > > expectation of victory) by settling into its half-court offense,
                            > say,
                            > > how could anything that its opponent does compel a change
                            its
                            > behavior?
                            > > I suppose if the opponent is a running team and the team,
                            lacking
                            > > poise, decides to mimic it one could call this "dictation", but it
                            > > isn't, is it?
                            >
                            > Changing pace isn't hard to force on an opponent. A team that
                            likes
                            > to go slow and is facing a fast breaking team can go less hard
                            to the
                            > offensive boards, wait longer to take shots, pass up iffy fast
                            break
                            > opportunities, cut off passes to start breaks, and play zone
                            (though
                            > type of zone can matter). A team that likes to go uptempo and
                            get in
                            > the open court can strictly send 3 guys to the defensive boards
                            and
                            > strictly send guards to fast break locations (not send them to
                            the
                            > defensive glass). Or it can send 2 guys to the defensive
                            boards with
                            > 3 releasing. It can play high pressure defense in a half or full
                            > court.
                            >

                            Pardon me if I am belaboring what might be construed as a
                            trivial semantic point, but as I read your examples, they do not
                            describe ways in which one team forces a team to play at a
                            certain pace. Rather they describe both optimal and sub-optimal
                            strategy decisions taken by teams facing given opponents, but in
                            no case would I refer to these factors as explaining how one
                            team "dictates" pace to another. And the semantic distinction is
                            important, I would argue, as imprecise language is the easiest
                            way to being led astray analytically.

                            Taking your examples, one by one:

                            Slow Team Pace Control Variables:

                            1) Going less hard to the offensive boards. Comment: it may be
                            optimal for a "slow" team to do this if it is slow in getting back
                            defensively, but if it is optimal, it is not so for the purpose of
                            controlling the pace of the game, rather for not losing the game.

                            2) Waiting longer to take shots. Comment: This is by definition a
                            sub-optimal strategy (why would one deny oneself maximum
                            time on the shot clock to come up with the best possible) and
                            though one may be dictating pace in this instance, one is also
                            dictating to one's own team a higher probability of losing.

                            3) Cut of iffy fast breaks and passes that start fast breaks.
                            Comment: Again, to deny one's team the potential for an easy
                            basket is by definition a sub-optimal strategy. Again, a team
                            dictates pace at a high price.

                            4) Playing a zone. Comment: Here again, pace isn't the issue, it
                            is choosing an optimal defense.

                            Fast Team Pace Control Variables:

                            I guess I won't list them, but they all describe strategy choices
                            that relate to controlling the probability of victory, not pace.

                            So to repeat the bottom line, teams making conscious optimal
                            choices try to maximize the probability of victory not the pace of
                            the game. Teams choosing to influence the pace of the game
                            independently do so at their peril - unless of course I am
                            missing something.
                          • aaronkoo
                            ... Basically, observers and shooters were somehow able to predict whether the next shot would go in better than would be expected by pure chance. It was
                            Message 13 of 22 , Apr 16, 2003
                            • 0 Attachment
                              --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                              wrote:
                              > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                              > <deano@r...> wrote:
                              > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                              > <schtevie@h...>
                              > > wrote:
                              > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                              > <deano@r...> wrote:
                              > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                              > > <schtevie@h...>
                              > > > > wrote:
                              > > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                              > > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                              > people
                              > > are
                              > > > correct to disbelieve it.
                              > >
                              > > See my book in October. The original study missed
                              > something,
                              > > intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot hands
                              > may
                              > > exist.
                              >
                              > Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way lessen
                              > my eagerness to buy the book come October. (Or has it already
                              > been spoken of in a previous posting?)

                              Basically, observers and shooters were somehow able to predict
                              whether the next shot would go in better than would be expected by
                              pure chance. It was significant at greater than 95%, but not framed
                              that way in Tversky's paper. He didn't do that test, oddly.


                              >
                              > Pardon me if I am belaboring what might be construed as a
                              > trivial semantic point, but as I read your examples, they do not
                              > describe ways in which one team forces a team to play at a
                              > certain pace. Rather they describe both optimal and sub-optimal
                              > strategy decisions taken by teams facing given opponents, but in
                              > no case would I refer to these factors as explaining how one
                              > team "dictates" pace to another. And the semantic distinction is
                              > important, I would argue, as imprecise language is the easiest
                              > way to being led astray analytically.
                              >
                              > Taking your examples, one by one:
                              >
                              > Slow Team Pace Control Variables:
                              >
                              > 1) Going less hard to the offensive boards. Comment: it may be
                              > optimal for a "slow" team to do this if it is slow in getting back
                              > defensively, but if it is optimal, it is not so for the purpose of
                              > controlling the pace of the game, rather for not losing the game.
                              >

                              You're assuming that there is a single "optimal" strategy for each
                              team. I'd say that optimal strategy varies depending upon opponent,
                              depending on your status as an underdog/favorite, and other things.
                              Against some opponents, those strategies _that lead to pace slowing_
                              may be more valuable than against others, regardless of your own
                              personnel. Slowing the pace also makes sense if you are a general
                              underdog but grab an early lead. That's pretty standard coaching
                              actually...

                              > 2) Waiting longer to take shots. Comment: This is by definition a
                              > sub-optimal strategy (why would one deny oneself maximum
                              > time on the shot clock to come up with the best possible) and
                              > though one may be dictating pace in this instance, one is also
                              > dictating to one's own team a higher probability of losing.
                              >

                              If you have a lead against a tougher opponent, you want to run that
                              clock as much as possible (shorten the game). It adds as much as
                              about 10% to your odds of winning. There are also theories (tougher
                              to prove) that defenses get less effective the longer in the clock
                              they have to play. I've disproved this when there are <3 s on the
                              clock, but it's difficult to say before that time.

                              > 3) Cut of iffy fast breaks and passes that start fast breaks.
                              > Comment: Again, to deny one's team the potential for an easy
                              > basket is by definition a sub-optimal strategy. Again, a team
                              > dictates pace at a high price.
                              >
                              > 4) Playing a zone. Comment: Here again, pace isn't the issue, it
                              > is choosing an optimal defense.

                              You are right that there is some cause-effect issue between strategy
                              and pace. If a zone is better against a certain team, it can slow
                              the pace. But there are some inherent benefits of slow pace if you
                              are an underdog EVEN IF you are slightly worse at working at a slow
                              pace.

                              See http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/articles/aa030597.htm for an
                              interactive example.

                              >
                              > Fast Team Pace Control Variables:
                              >
                              > I guess I won't list them, but they all describe strategy choices
                              > that relate to controlling the probability of victory, not pace.
                              >
                              > So to repeat the bottom line, teams making conscious optimal
                              > choices try to maximize the probability of victory not the pace of
                              > the game. Teams choosing to influence the pace of the game
                              > independently do so at their peril - unless of course I am
                              > missing something.

                              The Pistons of the late '80's were highly noted for beating the
                              Lakers by slowing the pace. If they could play at their tempo,
                              they'd win. Yes, some of that implied that they just could implement
                              their strategies successfully, which _caused_ the pace to slow. That
                              was part of the point of the discussion -- what could they do to slow
                              that pace successfully?

                              Actually, it would be interesting to look back at their series and
                              see whether pace was important in deciding winner-loser...

                              DeanO
                            • schtevie2003
                              ... Thanks for the teaser. I look forward to October! ... Responding to the various points in your above remarks...Actually, I am not assuming that there is a
                              Message 14 of 22 , Apr 16, 2003
                              • 0 Attachment
                                --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                                > wrote:
                                > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                > > <deano@r...> wrote:
                                > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                > > <schtevie@h...>
                                > > > wrote:
                                > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                > > <deano@r...> wrote:
                                > > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                > > > <schtevie@h...>
                                > > > > > wrote:
                                > > > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                                > > > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                                > > people
                                > > > are
                                > > > > correct to disbelieve it.
                                > > >
                                > > > See my book in October. The original study missed
                                > > something,
                                > > > intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot hands
                                > > may
                                > > > exist.
                                > >
                                > > Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way lessen
                                > > my eagerness to buy the book come October. (Or has it already
                                > > been spoken of in a previous posting?)
                                >
                                > Basically, observers and shooters were somehow able to predict
                                > whether the next shot would go in better than would be expected by
                                > pure chance. It was significant at greater than 95%, but not framed
                                > that way in Tversky's paper. He didn't do that test, oddly.

                                Thanks for the teaser. I look forward to October!

                                ************************

                                > > Pardon me if I am belaboring what might be construed as a
                                > > trivial semantic point, but as I read your examples, they do not
                                > > describe ways in which one team forces a team to play at a
                                > > certain pace. Rather they describe both optimal and sub-optimal
                                > > strategy decisions taken by teams facing given opponents, but in
                                > > no case would I refer to these factors as explaining how one
                                > > team "dictates" pace to another. And the semantic distinction is
                                > > important, I would argue, as imprecise language is the easiest
                                > > way to being led astray analytically.
                                > >
                                > > Taking your examples, one by one:
                                > >
                                > > Slow Team Pace Control Variables:
                                > >
                                > > 1) Going less hard to the offensive boards. Comment: it may be
                                > > optimal for a "slow" team to do this if it is slow in getting back
                                > > defensively, but if it is optimal, it is not so for the purpose of
                                > > controlling the pace of the game, rather for not losing the game.
                                > >
                                >
                                > You're assuming that there is a single "optimal" strategy for each
                                > team. I'd say that optimal strategy varies depending upon opponent,
                                > depending on your status as an underdog/favorite, and other things.
                                > Against some opponents, those strategies _that lead to pace slowing_
                                > may be more valuable than against others, regardless of your own
                                > personnel. Slowing the pace also makes sense if you are a general
                                > underdog but grab an early lead. That's pretty standard coaching
                                > actually...

                                Responding to the various points in your above remarks...Actually, I am
                                not assuming that there is a single "optimal" strategy for each team.
                                I am assuming that in expectation, for a given team pairing, there is
                                an optimal strategy for both sides (reflecting mutual expectations of
                                plays that are to be run.) And as such, the point about pace stands,
                                in reality, strategy choices are made for the purpose of winning, not
                                on independently influencing the pace of the game for the purpose of
                                winning. As for optimal strategy depending on underdog versus favorite
                                status, I don't see how this is the case. As an underdog, you expect
                                to lose; you just do the best such that if luck is on your side, you
                                get to "steal" a victory. As far as choosing a slower pace if you are
                                an underdog but early game luck sees you in the lead, of course that is
                                true at a certain point in the game. How late in the game one should
                                resort to a conscious slowing, where by definition one is forgoing
                                one's own offensive productivity for the added "value" (in terms of
                                expectation of victory) of time running off the clock, is a very
                                interesting research question, but I would be willing to bet money on
                                short odds that it is something which should occur very late in the
                                game (that is the time threshold is not very sensitive to the realized
                                lead, especially if one is an underdog).

                                *******************

                                > > 2) Waiting longer to take shots. Comment: This is by definition a
                                > > sub-optimal strategy (why would one deny oneself maximum
                                > > time on the shot clock to come up with the best possible) and
                                > > though one may be dictating pace in this instance, one is also
                                > > dictating to one's own team a higher probability of losing.
                                > >
                                >
                                > If you have a lead against a tougher opponent, you want to run that
                                > clock as much as possible (shorten the game). It adds as much as
                                > about 10% to your odds of winning. There are also theories (tougher
                                > to prove) that defenses get less effective the longer in the clock
                                > they have to play. I've disproved this when there are <3 s on the
                                > clock, but it's difficult to say before that time.

                                Where did this 10% statistic come from, and what does it depend on? I
                                am very curious. As far as defenses getting less effective the longer
                                in the clock they have to play, that may be the case, but it is besides
                                the point I make above. Restating: There is an expected optimal
                                offense which takes an expected amount of time, on average, off the
                                shot clock. Deciding independently to change the average time consumed
                                on the shot clock, will necessarily lower the expected points per
                                possession, unless this derivative is zero - in which case, and in only
                                which case, one can control pace.

                                > > 3) Cut of iffy fast breaks and passes that start fast breaks.
                                > > Comment: Again, to deny one's team the potential for an easy
                                > > basket is by definition a sub-optimal strategy. Again, a team
                                > > dictates pace at a high price.
                                > >
                                > > 4) Playing a zone. Comment: Here again, pace isn't the issue, it
                                > > is choosing an optimal defense.
                                >
                                > You are right that there is some cause-effect issue between strategy
                                > and pace. If a zone is better against a certain team, it can slow
                                > the pace. But there are some inherent benefits of slow pace if you
                                > are an underdog EVEN IF you are slightly worse at working at a slow
                                > pace.
                                >
                                > See http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/articles/aa030597.htm for an
                                > interactive example.

                                Yes, I remember years ago reading this article and being heartened,
                                perhaps for the first time, that that there was a fellow traveler in
                                this world. And, in fact, I was going to add some words on this in the
                                preceding note, but didn't because it was my impression that the "fewer
                                unfair coin flips if your team sucks is a good thing" effect was
                                ultimately more of a theoretic curiosity than significant possible
                                competitive advantage. A question: how confident are you that the 8%
                                gain shown in the Cav-Bulls example is robust in terms of behavioral
                                assumptions? In terms of what I wrote above, it implies that the
                                derivative referred to above (expected points per possession as a
                                function of elapsed time on shot clock) is rather flat. Because one
                                would never rationally turn down a fast break layup for the purpose of
                                slowing down the pace of the game. Now, it may have been true for the
                                Cavs if their baseline offense was to waste shot clock time anyway, but
                                I have my suspicions. Shot clock time is valuable!!!


                                > > Fast Team Pace Control Variables:
                                > >
                                > > I guess I won't list them, but they all describe strategy choices
                                > > that relate to controlling the probability of victory, not pace.
                                > >
                                > > So to repeat the bottom line, teams making conscious optimal
                                > > choices try to maximize the probability of victory not the pace of
                                > > the game. Teams choosing to influence the pace of the game
                                > > independently do so at their peril - unless of course I am
                                > > missing something.
                                >
                                > The Pistons of the late '80's were highly noted for beating the
                                > Lakers by slowing the pace. If they could play at their tempo,
                                > they'd win. Yes, some of that implied that they just could implement
                                > their strategies successfully, which _caused_ the pace to slow. That
                                > was part of the point of the discussion -- what could they do to slow
                                > that pace successfully?
                                >
                                > Actually, it would be interesting to look back at their series and
                                > see whether pace was important in deciding winner-loser...
                                >
                                > DeanO

                                This is the kind of impressionistic observation that I am most leery
                                of. Were these games slower than expected? Of course, if the Lakers
                                were a fast break team and there was a slow game pace, chances are
                                there would have been fewer realized fast breaks, hence, all else
                                equal, one might expect that in these games the Pistons would have been
                                the victors.

                                All this said, besides the end of game effect of intentionally slowing
                                the game to protect an "insurmountable" lead (but then again, in terms
                                of detecting this effect empirically, remember that the apparent pace
                                of the game in the final box score would not necessarily reflect this
                                eventuality for the appearance of extra foul generated possessions by
                                the team attempting to catch up) and the possibility of underdogs whose
                                half-court offensive productivities aren't dependent on time (those
                                with but one shooter, who can get his equivalent, open shot whenever?)
                                is there any other variable where a team, by choosing to influence
                                pace, is not sacrificing competitiveness?
                              • aaronkoo
                                One quick response but gotta work. You are basically assuming that offensive performance declines with time left on the shot clock. What I ve found is that it
                                Message 15 of 22 , Apr 16, 2003
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  One quick response but gotta work.

                                  You are basically assuming that offensive performance declines with
                                  time left on the shot clock. What I've found is that it declines
                                  with <3 s on the clock but is not significantly impacted before
                                  then. That implies that teams have pretty constant offensive
                                  performance up to that point and that the assumptions in that web
                                  page are pretty accurate up to the point of <3 s on the clock.

                                  So, yes, I do think 8% is within the realm of possibility. 8% ain't
                                  a lot to gain and can be offset if your team doesn't play well at a
                                  slow pace (they defy the more general study above, which is
                                  definitely possible). And, yes, throwing away fast breaks doesn't
                                  make sense.

                                  But I'd take money on that bet. I have seen many times in college
                                  especially where slowing the game was used successfully. The most
                                  prominent time was when I was at UNC at Florida St. got an early lead
                                  against the eventual National Champs, let Sam Cassell dribble until
                                  there was about 10 s on the clock, then attacked. They did that from
                                  midway through the first half. As long as they could hold that lead,
                                  they stuck with it. It also made sense because they weren't deep
                                  (they could rest a lot) so there were secondary factors, but the
                                  strategy was go slow (and shoot 3s and stick in a zone). The longer
                                  the shot clock, the more valuable slowing can be early on. In the
                                  NBA, it is tougher with the short clock.

                                  DeanO

                                  --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                                  wrote:
                                  > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                  > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                  <schtevie@h...>
                                  > > wrote:
                                  > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                  > > > <deano@r...> wrote:
                                  > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                  > > > <schtevie@h...>
                                  > > > > wrote:
                                  > > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                  > > > <deano@r...> wrote:
                                  > > > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                  > > > > <schtevie@h...>
                                  > > > > > > wrote:
                                  > > > > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch
                                  play" in
                                  > > > > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                                  > > > people
                                  > > > > are
                                  > > > > > correct to disbelieve it.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > See my book in October. The original study missed
                                  > > > something,
                                  > > > > intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot
                                  hands
                                  > > > may
                                  > > > > exist.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way
                                  lessen
                                  > > > my eagerness to buy the book come October. (Or has it already
                                  > > > been spoken of in a previous posting?)
                                  > >
                                  > > Basically, observers and shooters were somehow able to predict
                                  > > whether the next shot would go in better than would be expected
                                  by
                                  > > pure chance. It was significant at greater than 95%, but not
                                  framed
                                  > > that way in Tversky's paper. He didn't do that test, oddly.
                                  >
                                  > Thanks for the teaser. I look forward to October!
                                  >
                                  > ************************
                                  >
                                  > > > Pardon me if I am belaboring what might be construed as a
                                  > > > trivial semantic point, but as I read your examples, they do
                                  not
                                  > > > describe ways in which one team forces a team to play at a
                                  > > > certain pace. Rather they describe both optimal and sub-
                                  optimal
                                  > > > strategy decisions taken by teams facing given opponents, but
                                  in
                                  > > > no case would I refer to these factors as explaining how one
                                  > > > team "dictates" pace to another. And the semantic distinction
                                  is
                                  > > > important, I would argue, as imprecise language is the easiest
                                  > > > way to being led astray analytically.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Taking your examples, one by one:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Slow Team Pace Control Variables:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > 1) Going less hard to the offensive boards. Comment: it may be
                                  > > > optimal for a "slow" team to do this if it is slow in getting
                                  back
                                  > > > defensively, but if it is optimal, it is not so for the purpose
                                  of
                                  > > > controlling the pace of the game, rather for not losing the
                                  game.
                                  > > >
                                  > >
                                  > > You're assuming that there is a single "optimal" strategy for
                                  each
                                  > > team. I'd say that optimal strategy varies depending upon
                                  opponent,
                                  > > depending on your status as an underdog/favorite, and other
                                  things.
                                  > > Against some opponents, those strategies _that lead to pace
                                  slowing_
                                  > > may be more valuable than against others, regardless of your own
                                  > > personnel. Slowing the pace also makes sense if you are a
                                  general
                                  > > underdog but grab an early lead. That's pretty standard coaching
                                  > > actually...
                                  >
                                  > Responding to the various points in your above remarks...Actually,
                                  I am
                                  > not assuming that there is a single "optimal" strategy for each
                                  team.
                                  > I am assuming that in expectation, for a given team pairing, there
                                  is
                                  > an optimal strategy for both sides (reflecting mutual expectations
                                  of
                                  > plays that are to be run.) And as such, the point about pace
                                  stands,
                                  > in reality, strategy choices are made for the purpose of winning,
                                  not
                                  > on independently influencing the pace of the game for the purpose
                                  of
                                  > winning. As for optimal strategy depending on underdog versus
                                  favorite
                                  > status, I don't see how this is the case. As an underdog, you
                                  expect
                                  > to lose; you just do the best such that if luck is on your side,
                                  you
                                  > get to "steal" a victory. As far as choosing a slower pace if you
                                  are
                                  > an underdog but early game luck sees you in the lead, of course
                                  that is
                                  > true at a certain point in the game. How late in the game one
                                  should
                                  > resort to a conscious slowing, where by definition one is forgoing
                                  > one's own offensive productivity for the added "value" (in terms of
                                  > expectation of victory) of time running off the clock, is a very
                                  > interesting research question, but I would be willing to bet money
                                  on
                                  > short odds that it is something which should occur very late in the
                                  > game (that is the time threshold is not very sensitive to the
                                  realized
                                  > lead, especially if one is an underdog).
                                  >
                                  > *******************
                                  >
                                  > > > 2) Waiting longer to take shots. Comment: This is by
                                  definition a
                                  > > > sub-optimal strategy (why would one deny oneself maximum
                                  > > > time on the shot clock to come up with the best possible) and
                                  > > > though one may be dictating pace in this instance, one is also
                                  > > > dictating to one's own team a higher probability of losing.
                                  > > >
                                  > >
                                  > > If you have a lead against a tougher opponent, you want to run
                                  that
                                  > > clock as much as possible (shorten the game). It adds as much as
                                  > > about 10% to your odds of winning. There are also theories
                                  (tougher
                                  > > to prove) that defenses get less effective the longer in the
                                  clock
                                  > > they have to play. I've disproved this when there are <3 s on
                                  the
                                  > > clock, but it's difficult to say before that time.
                                  >
                                  > Where did this 10% statistic come from, and what does it depend
                                  on? I
                                  > am very curious. As far as defenses getting less effective the
                                  longer
                                  > in the clock they have to play, that may be the case, but it is
                                  besides
                                  > the point I make above. Restating: There is an expected optimal
                                  > offense which takes an expected amount of time, on average, off the
                                  > shot clock. Deciding independently to change the average time
                                  consumed
                                  > on the shot clock, will necessarily lower the expected points per
                                  > possession, unless this derivative is zero - in which case, and in
                                  only
                                  > which case, one can control pace.
                                  >
                                  > > > 3) Cut of iffy fast breaks and passes that start fast breaks.
                                  > > > Comment: Again, to deny one's team the potential for an easy
                                  > > > basket is by definition a sub-optimal strategy. Again, a team
                                  > > > dictates pace at a high price.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > 4) Playing a zone. Comment: Here again, pace isn't the issue,
                                  it
                                  > > > is choosing an optimal defense.
                                  > >
                                  > > You are right that there is some cause-effect issue between
                                  strategy
                                  > > and pace. If a zone is better against a certain team, it can
                                  slow
                                  > > the pace. But there are some inherent benefits of slow pace if
                                  you
                                  > > are an underdog EVEN IF you are slightly worse at working at a
                                  slow
                                  > > pace.
                                  > >
                                  > > See http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/articles/aa030597.htm for an
                                  > > interactive example.
                                  >
                                  > Yes, I remember years ago reading this article and being heartened,
                                  > perhaps for the first time, that that there was a fellow traveler
                                  in
                                  > this world. And, in fact, I was going to add some words on this in
                                  the
                                  > preceding note, but didn't because it was my impression that
                                  the "fewer
                                  > unfair coin flips if your team sucks is a good thing" effect was
                                  > ultimately more of a theoretic curiosity than significant possible
                                  > competitive advantage. A question: how confident are you that the
                                  8%
                                  > gain shown in the Cav-Bulls example is robust in terms of
                                  behavioral
                                  > assumptions? In terms of what I wrote above, it implies that the
                                  > derivative referred to above (expected points per possession as a
                                  > function of elapsed time on shot clock) is rather flat. Because
                                  one
                                  > would never rationally turn down a fast break layup for the purpose
                                  of
                                  > slowing down the pace of the game. Now, it may have been true for
                                  the
                                  > Cavs if their baseline offense was to waste shot clock time anyway,
                                  but
                                  > I have my suspicions. Shot clock time is valuable!!!
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > > > Fast Team Pace Control Variables:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I guess I won't list them, but they all describe strategy
                                  choices
                                  > > > that relate to controlling the probability of victory, not pace.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > So to repeat the bottom line, teams making conscious optimal
                                  > > > choices try to maximize the probability of victory not the pace
                                  of
                                  > > > the game. Teams choosing to influence the pace of the game
                                  > > > independently do so at their peril - unless of course I am
                                  > > > missing something.
                                  > >
                                  > > The Pistons of the late '80's were highly noted for beating the
                                  > > Lakers by slowing the pace. If they could play at their tempo,
                                  > > they'd win. Yes, some of that implied that they just could
                                  implement
                                  > > their strategies successfully, which _caused_ the pace to slow.
                                  That
                                  > > was part of the point of the discussion -- what could they do to
                                  slow
                                  > > that pace successfully?
                                  > >
                                  > > Actually, it would be interesting to look back at their series
                                  and
                                  > > see whether pace was important in deciding winner-loser...
                                  > >
                                  > > DeanO
                                  >
                                  > This is the kind of impressionistic observation that I am most
                                  leery
                                  > of. Were these games slower than expected? Of course, if the
                                  Lakers
                                  > were a fast break team and there was a slow game pace, chances are
                                  > there would have been fewer realized fast breaks, hence, all else
                                  > equal, one might expect that in these games the Pistons would have
                                  been
                                  > the victors.
                                  >
                                  > All this said, besides the end of game effect of intentionally
                                  slowing
                                  > the game to protect an "insurmountable" lead (but then again, in
                                  terms
                                  > of detecting this effect empirically, remember that the apparent
                                  pace
                                  > of the game in the final box score would not necessarily reflect
                                  this
                                  > eventuality for the appearance of extra foul generated possessions
                                  by
                                  > the team attempting to catch up) and the possibility of underdogs
                                  whose
                                  > half-court offensive productivities aren't dependent on time (those
                                  > with but one shooter, who can get his equivalent, open shot
                                  whenever?)
                                  > is there any other variable where a team, by choosing to influence
                                  > pace, is not sacrificing competitiveness?
                                • schtevie2003
                                  ... You are correct that I am effectively assuming that offensive performance declines with time left on the shot clock. But the real assumption is that teams
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Apr 17, 2003
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > One quick response but gotta work.
                                    >
                                    > You are basically assuming that offensive performance declines with
                                    > time left on the shot clock. What I've found is that it declines
                                    > with <3 s on the clock but is not significantly impacted before
                                    > then. That implies that teams have pretty constant offensive
                                    > performance up to that point and that the assumptions in that web
                                    > page are pretty accurate up to the point of <3 s on the clock.

                                    You are correct that I am effectively assuming that offensive
                                    performance declines with time left on the shot clock. But the real
                                    assumption is that teams aspire to optimal play - that is maximizing
                                    their offensive productivity - given this assumption, the theory is
                                    dead solid that offensive performance is expected to decline as a
                                    function of elapsed shot clock time.

                                    > So, yes, I do think 8% is within the realm of possibility. 8% ain't
                                    > a lot to gain and can be offset if your team doesn't play well at a
                                    > slow pace (they defy the more general study above, which is
                                    > definitely possible). And, yes, throwing away fast breaks doesn't
                                    > make sense.

                                    I think that 8% improvement is a very large number in the context of a
                                    possibly costless competitive advantage - an expected 4 additional wins
                                    per season for an average team in the league if I am understanding the
                                    statistic correctly?

                                    > But I'd take money on that bet. I have seen many times in college
                                    > especially where slowing the game was used successfully. The most
                                    > prominent time was when I was at UNC at Florida St. got an early lead
                                    > against the eventual National Champs, let Sam Cassell dribble until
                                    > there was about 10 s on the clock, then attacked. They did that from
                                    > midway through the first half. As long as they could hold that lead,
                                    > they stuck with it. It also made sense because they weren't deep
                                    > (they could rest a lot) so there were secondary factors, but the
                                    > strategy was go slow (and shoot 3s and stick in a zone). The longer
                                    > the shot clock, the more valuable slowing can be early on. In the
                                    > NBA, it is tougher with the short clock.
                                    >
                                    > DeanO

                                    And I too remember some atrocious pre-shot clock college games. But
                                    let's pose the question this way. Suppose two equal and average NBA
                                    teams are playing, and one has a 10 point lead. Pick a time X before
                                    the end of the game at which point you think it is optimal to alter
                                    one's offensive strategy so that the first priority is controlling
                                    pace.

                                    **************

                                    > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                                    > wrote:
                                    > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                    > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                    > <schtevie@h...>
                                    > > > wrote:
                                    > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                    > > > > <deano@r...> wrote:
                                    > > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                    > > > > <schtevie@h...>
                                    > > > > > wrote:
                                    > > > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                    > > > > <deano@r...> wrote:
                                    > > > > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                    > > > > > <schtevie@h...>
                                    > > > > > > > wrote:
                                    > > > > > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch
                                    > play" in
                                    > > > > > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                                    > > > > people
                                    > > > > > are
                                    > > > > > > correct to disbelieve it.
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > > See my book in October. The original study missed
                                    > > > > something,
                                    > > > > > intentionally or not. It missed its own evidence that hot
                                    > hands
                                    > > > > may
                                    > > > > > exist.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Divulging the type of evidence you refer to will in no way
                                    > lessen
                                    > > > > my eagerness to buy the book come October. (Or has it already
                                    > > > > been spoken of in a previous posting?)
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Basically, observers and shooters were somehow able to predict
                                    > > > whether the next shot would go in better than would be expected
                                    > by
                                    > > > pure chance. It was significant at greater than 95%, but not
                                    > framed
                                    > > > that way in Tversky's paper. He didn't do that test, oddly.
                                    > >
                                    > > Thanks for the teaser. I look forward to October!
                                    > >
                                    > > ************************
                                    > >
                                    > > > > Pardon me if I am belaboring what might be construed as a
                                    > > > > trivial semantic point, but as I read your examples, they do
                                    > not
                                    > > > > describe ways in which one team forces a team to play at a
                                    > > > > certain pace. Rather they describe both optimal and sub-
                                    > optimal
                                    > > > > strategy decisions taken by teams facing given opponents, but
                                    > in
                                    > > > > no case would I refer to these factors as explaining how one
                                    > > > > team "dictates" pace to another. And the semantic distinction
                                    > is
                                    > > > > important, I would argue, as imprecise language is the easiest
                                    > > > > way to being led astray analytically.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Taking your examples, one by one:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Slow Team Pace Control Variables:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > 1) Going less hard to the offensive boards. Comment: it may be
                                    > > > > optimal for a "slow" team to do this if it is slow in getting
                                    > back
                                    > > > > defensively, but if it is optimal, it is not so for the purpose
                                    > of
                                    > > > > controlling the pace of the game, rather for not losing the
                                    > game.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > > You're assuming that there is a single "optimal" strategy for
                                    > each
                                    > > > team. I'd say that optimal strategy varies depending upon
                                    > opponent,
                                    > > > depending on your status as an underdog/favorite, and other
                                    > things.
                                    > > > Against some opponents, those strategies _that lead to pace
                                    > slowing_
                                    > > > may be more valuable than against others, regardless of your own
                                    > > > personnel. Slowing the pace also makes sense if you are a
                                    > general
                                    > > > underdog but grab an early lead. That's pretty standard coaching
                                    > > > actually...
                                    > >
                                    > > Responding to the various points in your above remarks...Actually,
                                    > I am
                                    > > not assuming that there is a single "optimal" strategy for each
                                    > team.
                                    > > I am assuming that in expectation, for a given team pairing, there
                                    > is
                                    > > an optimal strategy for both sides (reflecting mutual expectations
                                    > of
                                    > > plays that are to be run.) And as such, the point about pace
                                    > stands,
                                    > > in reality, strategy choices are made for the purpose of winning,
                                    > not
                                    > > on independently influencing the pace of the game for the purpose
                                    > of
                                    > > winning. As for optimal strategy depending on underdog versus
                                    > favorite
                                    > > status, I don't see how this is the case. As an underdog, you
                                    > expect
                                    > > to lose; you just do the best such that if luck is on your side,
                                    > you
                                    > > get to "steal" a victory. As far as choosing a slower pace if you
                                    > are
                                    > > an underdog but early game luck sees you in the lead, of course
                                    > that is
                                    > > true at a certain point in the game. How late in the game one
                                    > should
                                    > > resort to a conscious slowing, where by definition one is forgoing
                                    > > one's own offensive productivity for the added "value" (in terms of
                                    > > expectation of victory) of time running off the clock, is a very
                                    > > interesting research question, but I would be willing to bet money
                                    > on
                                    > > short odds that it is something which should occur very late in the
                                    > > game (that is the time threshold is not very sensitive to the
                                    > realized
                                    > > lead, especially if one is an underdog).
                                    > >
                                    > > *******************
                                    > >
                                    > > > > 2) Waiting longer to take shots. Comment: This is by
                                    > definition a
                                    > > > > sub-optimal strategy (why would one deny oneself maximum
                                    > > > > time on the shot clock to come up with the best possible) and
                                    > > > > though one may be dictating pace in this instance, one is also
                                    > > > > dictating to one's own team a higher probability of losing.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > > If you have a lead against a tougher opponent, you want to run
                                    > that
                                    > > > clock as much as possible (shorten the game). It adds as much as
                                    > > > about 10% to your odds of winning. There are also theories
                                    > (tougher
                                    > > > to prove) that defenses get less effective the longer in the
                                    > clock
                                    > > > they have to play. I've disproved this when there are <3 s on
                                    > the
                                    > > > clock, but it's difficult to say before that time.
                                    > >
                                    > > Where did this 10% statistic come from, and what does it depend
                                    > on? I
                                    > > am very curious. As far as defenses getting less effective the
                                    > longer
                                    > > in the clock they have to play, that may be the case, but it is
                                    > besides
                                    > > the point I make above. Restating: There is an expected optimal
                                    > > offense which takes an expected amount of time, on average, off the
                                    > > shot clock. Deciding independently to change the average time
                                    > consumed
                                    > > on the shot clock, will necessarily lower the expected points per
                                    > > possession, unless this derivative is zero - in which case, and in
                                    > only
                                    > > which case, one can control pace.
                                    > >
                                    > > > > 3) Cut of iffy fast breaks and passes that start fast breaks.
                                    > > > > Comment: Again, to deny one's team the potential for an easy
                                    > > > > basket is by definition a sub-optimal strategy. Again, a team
                                    > > > > dictates pace at a high price.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > 4) Playing a zone. Comment: Here again, pace isn't the issue,
                                    > it
                                    > > > > is choosing an optimal defense.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > You are right that there is some cause-effect issue between
                                    > strategy
                                    > > > and pace. If a zone is better against a certain team, it can
                                    > slow
                                    > > > the pace. But there are some inherent benefits of slow pace if
                                    > you
                                    > > > are an underdog EVEN IF you are slightly worse at working at a
                                    > slow
                                    > > > pace.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > See http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/articles/aa030597.htm for an
                                    > > > interactive example.
                                    > >
                                    > > Yes, I remember years ago reading this article and being heartened,
                                    > > perhaps for the first time, that that there was a fellow traveler
                                    > in
                                    > > this world. And, in fact, I was going to add some words on this in
                                    > the
                                    > > preceding note, but didn't because it was my impression that
                                    > the "fewer
                                    > > unfair coin flips if your team sucks is a good thing" effect was
                                    > > ultimately more of a theoretic curiosity than significant possible
                                    > > competitive advantage. A question: how confident are you that the
                                    > 8%
                                    > > gain shown in the Cav-Bulls example is robust in terms of
                                    > behavioral
                                    > > assumptions? In terms of what I wrote above, it implies that the
                                    > > derivative referred to above (expected points per possession as a
                                    > > function of elapsed time on shot clock) is rather flat. Because
                                    > one
                                    > > would never rationally turn down a fast break layup for the purpose
                                    > of
                                    > > slowing down the pace of the game. Now, it may have been true for
                                    > the
                                    > > Cavs if their baseline offense was to waste shot clock time anyway,
                                    > but
                                    > > I have my suspicions. Shot clock time is valuable!!!
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > > > Fast Team Pace Control Variables:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > I guess I won't list them, but they all describe strategy
                                    > choices
                                    > > > > that relate to controlling the probability of victory, not pace.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > So to repeat the bottom line, teams making conscious optimal
                                    > > > > choices try to maximize the probability of victory not the pace
                                    > of
                                    > > > > the game. Teams choosing to influence the pace of the game
                                    > > > > independently do so at their peril - unless of course I am
                                    > > > > missing something.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > The Pistons of the late '80's were highly noted for beating the
                                    > > > Lakers by slowing the pace. If they could play at their tempo,
                                    > > > they'd win. Yes, some of that implied that they just could
                                    > implement
                                    > > > their strategies successfully, which _caused_ the pace to slow.
                                    > That
                                    > > > was part of the point of the discussion -- what could they do to
                                    > slow
                                    > > > that pace successfully?
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Actually, it would be interesting to look back at their series
                                    > and
                                    > > > see whether pace was important in deciding winner-loser...
                                    > > >
                                    > > > DeanO
                                    > >
                                    > > This is the kind of impressionistic observation that I am most
                                    > leery
                                    > > of. Were these games slower than expected? Of course, if the
                                    > Lakers
                                    > > were a fast break team and there was a slow game pace, chances are
                                    > > there would have been fewer realized fast breaks, hence, all else
                                    > > equal, one might expect that in these games the Pistons would have
                                    > been
                                    > > the victors.
                                    > >
                                    > > All this said, besides the end of game effect of intentionally
                                    > slowing
                                    > > the game to protect an "insurmountable" lead (but then again, in
                                    > terms
                                    > > of detecting this effect empirically, remember that the apparent
                                    > pace
                                    > > of the game in the final box score would not necessarily reflect
                                    > this
                                    > > eventuality for the appearance of extra foul generated possessions
                                    > by
                                    > > the team attempting to catch up) and the possibility of underdogs
                                    > whose
                                    > > half-court offensive productivities aren't dependent on time (those
                                    > > with but one shooter, who can get his equivalent, open shot
                                    > whenever?)
                                    > > is there any other variable where a team, by choosing to influence
                                    > > pace, is not sacrificing competitiveness?
                                  • Gary Collard
                                    ... I m not sure that the two are analogous. Playing harder in basketball helps, notably on defense and rebounding but also hustle plays. There is no
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Apr 17, 2003
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                                      schtevie2003 wrote:
                                      >
                                      > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                      > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                                      > > wrote:
                                      > > > That said, comparing game paces in the regular season and the
                                      > > > post season does seem like a very interesting avenue of inquiry.
                                      > > > Why? Because it allows possible insight into the optimal
                                      > > > performances of teams during the regular season. (Under the
                                      > > > assumption that teams are playing their best - or at least trying
                                      > > to
                                      > > > - in the playoffs.) For example, if a team were found, all else
                                      > > > equal, to play at a different game pace in the post-season
                                      > > > (presumably slower, reflecting a more intensive defensive effort)
                                      > > > one could surmise the counterfactual cost of not pursuing this
                                      > > > "better" strategy duing the post-season, in terms of potential
                                      > > > games lost and better positioning for the playoffs.
                                      > >
                                      > > This is probably true and the reason why we're doing this second
                                      > > round of polling now on who will win the title. We seemed to KNOW
                                      > > that the Lakers would win the title the last couple years despite not
                                      > > having the best record. Some of that is injury, but a lot of it is
                                      > > people perceiving they save their A game for the playoffs. This goes
                                      > > completely counter to the long-held belief in baseball that clutch
                                      > > play does not exist, so putting together the story in a very
                                      > > convincing manner is important.
                                      >
                                      > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                                      > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that people are
                                      > correct to disbelieve it. That said, there is a certain rationality
                                      > for a team that knows they are likely the best team in basketball not
                                      > to give its all in the regular season - especially if it doesn't feel
                                      > that home court advantage matters much to it.

                                      I'm not sure that the two are analogous. Playing harder in basketball
                                      helps, notably on defense and rebounding but also "hustle plays." There is
                                      no reason to believe that playing harder in baseball will have much of an
                                      effect at all. There is so little margin for error in hitting that
                                      half-assing it would show a huge effect in performance. Pitching, one
                                      might gain a mile an hour but might also lose some control, any effect
                                      would be negligible. Maybe it would help a tiny bit in fielding in the OF,
                                      but the two sports are apples and oranges vis a vis the effect of effort.

                                      --
                                      Gary Collard
                                      SABR-L Moderator
                                      collardg@...
                                    • schtevie2003
                                      ... ... and the ... inquiry. ... (Under the ... trying ... else ... defensive effort) ... pursuing this ... potential ... second ... to KNOW
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Apr 17, 2003
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                                        --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, Gary Collard
                                        <collardg@e...> wrote:
                                        > schtevie2003 wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                        <deano@r...> wrote:
                                        > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                        <schtevie@h...>
                                        > > > wrote:
                                        > > > > That said, comparing game paces in the regular season
                                        and the
                                        > > > > post season does seem like a very interesting avenue of
                                        inquiry.
                                        > > > > Why? Because it allows possible insight into the optimal
                                        > > > > performances of teams during the regular season.
                                        (Under the
                                        > > > > assumption that teams are playing their best - or at least
                                        trying
                                        > > > to
                                        > > > > - in the playoffs.) For example, if a team were found, all
                                        else
                                        > > > > equal, to play at a different game pace in the post-season
                                        > > > > (presumably slower, reflecting a more intensive
                                        defensive effort)
                                        > > > > one could surmise the counterfactual cost of not
                                        pursuing this
                                        > > > > "better" strategy duing the post-season, in terms of
                                        potential
                                        > > > > games lost and better positioning for the playoffs.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > This is probably true and the reason why we're doing this
                                        second
                                        > > > round of polling now on who will win the title. We seemed
                                        to KNOW
                                        > > > that the Lakers would win the title the last couple years
                                        despite not
                                        > > > having the best record. Some of that is injury, but a lot of it
                                        is
                                        > > > people perceiving they save their A game for the playoffs.
                                        This goes
                                        > > > completely counter to the long-held belief in baseball that
                                        clutch
                                        > > > play does not exist, so putting together the story in a very
                                        > > > convincing manner is important.
                                        > >
                                        > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                                        > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                                        people are
                                        > > correct to disbelieve it. That said, there is a certain rationality
                                        > > for a team that knows they are likely the best team in
                                        basketball not
                                        > > to give its all in the regular season - especially if it doesn't
                                        feel
                                        > > that home court advantage matters much to it.
                                        >
                                        > I'm not sure that the two are analogous. Playing harder in
                                        basketball
                                        > helps, notably on defense and rebounding but also "hustle
                                        plays." There is
                                        > no reason to believe that playing harder in baseball will have
                                        much of an
                                        > effect at all. There is so little margin for error in hitting that
                                        > half-assing it would show a huge effect in performance.
                                        Pitching, one
                                        > might gain a mile an hour but might also lose some control,
                                        any effect
                                        > would be negligible. Maybe it would help a tiny bit in fielding in
                                        the OF,
                                        > but the two sports are apples and oranges vis a vis the effect of
                                        effort.
                                        >
                                        > --
                                        > Gary Collard
                                        > SABR-L Moderator
                                        > collardg@e...

                                        Pardon the imprecision, my understanding of the term "hot hand"
                                        as used generally here and in the literature, and the sense in
                                        which I was using it was "predictable above average
                                        performance, unrelated to effort". In that sense, I drew the
                                        analogy. It is the belief in such a hot hand that I have problems
                                        with, certainly not with the idea that individuals and teams try
                                        harder from one game to another - very often predictably.
                                      • Gary Collard
                                        ... Sorry, I was conflating two things, namely upping intensity in the playoffs vs what you were talking about, which seems to be hot hand. But a hot hand
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Apr 17, 2003
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                                          schtevie2003 wrote:
                                          >
                                          > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, Gary Collard
                                          > <collardg@e...> wrote:
                                          > > schtevie2003 wrote:
                                          > > >
                                          > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo"
                                          > <deano@r...> wrote:
                                          > > > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                          > <schtevie@h...>
                                          > > > > wrote:
                                          > > > > > That said, comparing game paces in the regular season
                                          > and the
                                          > > > > > post season does seem like a very interesting avenue of
                                          > inquiry.
                                          > > > > > Why? Because it allows possible insight into the optimal
                                          > > > > > performances of teams during the regular season.
                                          > (Under the
                                          > > > > > assumption that teams are playing their best - or at least
                                          > trying
                                          > > > > to
                                          > > > > > - in the playoffs.) For example, if a team were found, all
                                          > else
                                          > > > > > equal, to play at a different game pace in the post-season
                                          > > > > > (presumably slower, reflecting a more intensive
                                          > defensive effort)
                                          > > > > > one could surmise the counterfactual cost of not
                                          > pursuing this
                                          > > > > > "better" strategy duing the post-season, in terms of
                                          > potential
                                          > > > > > games lost and better positioning for the playoffs.
                                          > > > >
                                          > > > > This is probably true and the reason why we're doing this
                                          > second
                                          > > > > round of polling now on who will win the title. We seemed
                                          > to KNOW
                                          > > > > that the Lakers would win the title the last couple years
                                          > despite not
                                          > > > > having the best record. Some of that is injury, but a lot of it
                                          > is
                                          > > > > people perceiving they save their A game for the playoffs.
                                          > This goes
                                          > > > > completely counter to the long-held belief in baseball that
                                          > clutch
                                          > > > > play does not exist, so putting together the story in a very
                                          > > > > convincing manner is important.
                                          > > >
                                          > > > It seems to me that the linguistic analogy for "clutch play" in
                                          > > > baseball is the "hot hand" in basketball, and I think that
                                          > people are
                                          > > > correct to disbelieve it. That said, there is a certain rationality
                                          > > > for a team that knows they are likely the best team in
                                          > basketball not
                                          > > > to give its all in the regular season - especially if it doesn't
                                          > feel
                                          > > > that home court advantage matters much to it.
                                          > >
                                          > > I'm not sure that the two are analogous. Playing harder in
                                          > basketball
                                          > > helps, notably on defense and rebounding but also "hustle
                                          > plays." There is
                                          > > no reason to believe that playing harder in baseball will have
                                          > much of an
                                          > > effect at all. There is so little margin for error in hitting that
                                          > > half-assing it would show a huge effect in performance.
                                          > Pitching, one
                                          > > might gain a mile an hour but might also lose some control,
                                          > any effect
                                          > > would be negligible. Maybe it would help a tiny bit in fielding in
                                          > the OF,
                                          > > but the two sports are apples and oranges vis a vis the effect of
                                          > effort.
                                          >
                                          > Pardon the imprecision, my understanding of the term "hot hand"
                                          > as used generally here and in the literature, and the sense in
                                          > which I was using it was "predictable above average
                                          > performance, unrelated to effort". In that sense, I drew the
                                          > analogy. It is the belief in such a hot hand that I have problems
                                          > with, certainly not with the idea that individuals and teams try
                                          > harder from one game to another - very often predictably.

                                          Sorry, I was conflating two things, namely upping intensity in the playoffs
                                          vs what you were talking about, which seems to be hot hand. But a "hot
                                          hand" in basketball is still not the analogue for "clutch play" in
                                          baseball, which is (however defined) play in the late portions of close
                                          games or performance in runners on base and/or in scoring position
                                          situations. Performance in close and late basketball situations would be
                                          an analogue to the former, noting in basketball really to the latter (all
                                          possessions are created equal).

                                          There are a number of studies of "streakiness" in baseball, i.e. how well
                                          does a hot or cold hitter hit in the near future. This would be the
                                          analogue to "hot hands."

                                          --
                                          Gary Collard
                                          SABR-L Moderator
                                          collardg@...
                                        • aaronkoo
                                          ... with ... real ... maximizing ... The real assumption is that teams aspire to win, which is different than maximizing offensive productivity. If slowing
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Apr 17, 2003
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                                            --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                                            wrote:
                                            > > You are basically assuming that offensive performance declines
                                            with
                                            > > time left on the shot clock. What I've found is that it declines
                                            > > with <3 s on the clock but is not significantly impacted before
                                            > > then. That implies that teams have pretty constant offensive
                                            > > performance up to that point and that the assumptions in that web
                                            > > page are pretty accurate up to the point of <3 s on the clock.
                                            >
                                            > You are correct that I am effectively assuming that offensive
                                            > performance declines with time left on the shot clock. But the
                                            real
                                            > assumption is that teams aspire to optimal play - that is
                                            maximizing
                                            > their offensive productivity - given this assumption, the theory is
                                            > dead solid that offensive performance is expected to decline as a
                                            > function of elapsed shot clock time.

                                            The real assumption is that teams aspire to win, which is different
                                            than maximizing offensive productivity. If slowing the game can give
                                            you an extra 8% and maximizing offensive productivity gives you an
                                            extra 1%, which do you go with? I'm not sure how steep or flat you
                                            think the curve is for offensive productivity as a function of time
                                            left on the clock. I'm not even convinced that productivity is high
                                            with 21-24s on the clock when turnover rates can be high.

                                            >
                                            > > So, yes, I do think 8% is within the realm of possibility. 8%
                                            ain't
                                            > > a lot to gain and can be offset if your team doesn't play well at
                                            a
                                            > > slow pace (they defy the more general study above, which is
                                            > > definitely possible). And, yes, throwing away fast breaks
                                            doesn't
                                            > > make sense.
                                            >
                                            > I think that 8% improvement is a very large number in the context
                                            of a
                                            > possibly costless competitive advantage - an expected 4 additional
                                            wins
                                            > per season for an average team in the league if I am understanding
                                            the
                                            > statistic correctly?

                                            Not quite. That extra 8% came from when they were an underdog and a
                                            big underdog. In normal games, you aren't going to get 8%. Over the
                                            course of the season, there are a few games where this matters.
                                            Winning 4 seems a little high but I haven't done the calc.


                                            >
                                            > And I too remember some atrocious pre-shot clock college games.
                                            But
                                            > let's pose the question this way. Suppose two equal and average
                                            NBA
                                            > teams are playing, and one has a 10 point lead. Pick a time X
                                            before
                                            > the end of the game at which point you think it is optimal to alter
                                            > one's offensive strategy so that the first priority is controlling
                                            > pace.
                                            >

                                            Obviously it depends on assumptions about how a team's offensive
                                            strategy affects its productivity. If I assume that it doesn't, I
                                            get one answer. If I assume that it does, I get another. Though I'd
                                            like to get the answer either way (and think I can -- I have my old
                                            simulator sitting around somewhere), I don't know if we have a good
                                            way to make that assumption.

                                            DeanO
                                          • schtevie2003
                                            ... ... declines ... web ... is ... give ... high ... It is hard to keep an eye on the forest for all the trees in these strings, so let me
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Apr 17, 2003
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                                              --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "aaronkoo" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                              > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003"
                                              <schtevie@h...>
                                              > wrote:
                                              > > > You are basically assuming that offensive performance declines
                                              > with
                                              > > > time left on the shot clock. What I've found is that it
                                              declines
                                              > > > with <3 s on the clock but is not significantly impacted before
                                              > > > then. That implies that teams have pretty constant offensive
                                              > > > performance up to that point and that the assumptions in that
                                              web
                                              > > > page are pretty accurate up to the point of <3 s on the clock.
                                              > >
                                              > > You are correct that I am effectively assuming that offensive
                                              > > performance declines with time left on the shot clock. But the
                                              > real
                                              > > assumption is that teams aspire to optimal play - that is
                                              > maximizing
                                              > > their offensive productivity - given this assumption, the theory
                                              is
                                              > > dead solid that offensive performance is expected to decline as a
                                              > > function of elapsed shot clock time.
                                              >
                                              > The real assumption is that teams aspire to win, which is different
                                              > than maximizing offensive productivity. If slowing the game can
                                              give
                                              > you an extra 8% and maximizing offensive productivity gives you an
                                              > extra 1%, which do you go with? I'm not sure how steep or flat you
                                              > think the curve is for offensive productivity as a function of time
                                              > left on the clock. I'm not even convinced that productivity is
                                              high
                                              > with 21-24s on the clock when turnover rates can be high.

                                              It is hard to keep an eye on the forest for all the trees in these
                                              strings, so let me restate the larger "pace" argument:

                                              Except for milking the clock when ahead at the end of the game and
                                              possibly the "shoot slow if you suck and hope you are lucky", I see
                                              no way, theoretically, for a team to try and control game pace
                                              without costing itself points and the likelihood of victory.

                                              That said, I agree with the above statement that the real assumption
                                              is that teams aspire to win, but disagree with the statement that it
                                              is necessarily different than maximizing offensive productivity -
                                              except in the two realized cases above.

                                              As to how steep or flat I think the curve is for offensive
                                              productivity as a function of time left on the clock, I don't know
                                              either, as I have only a general formula with hypothetical variables
                                              and lack true data to plug in. That said, I will shuffle through
                                              some old paper and offer up hypothetical slope values that the good
                                              folks here can comment on.

                                              **************************************

                                              > > > So, yes, I do think 8% is within the realm of possibility. 8%
                                              > ain't
                                              > > > a lot to gain and can be offset if your team doesn't play well
                                              at
                                              > a
                                              > > > slow pace (they defy the more general study above, which is
                                              > > > definitely possible). And, yes, throwing away fast breaks
                                              > doesn't
                                              > > > make sense.
                                              > >
                                              > > I think that 8% improvement is a very large number in the context
                                              > of a
                                              > > possibly costless competitive advantage - an expected 4
                                              additional
                                              > wins
                                              > > per season for an average team in the league if I am
                                              understanding
                                              > the
                                              > > statistic correctly?
                                              >
                                              > Not quite. That extra 8% came from when they were an underdog and
                                              a
                                              > big underdog. In normal games, you aren't going to get 8%. Over
                                              the
                                              > course of the season, there are a few games where this matters.
                                              > Winning 4 seems a little high but I haven't done the calc.

                                              Can you give a graphical argument as to why the gain is greatest when
                                              the expected loss is greatest. If I suppose a bell shaped curve
                                              centered around this expected losing margin, then tweak the system
                                              with a slow down strategy and this shifts the distribution such that
                                              a greater amount of probability mass is above zero. If this is the
                                              argument (and I am not saying it is) then suppose a more equal but
                                              still superior opponent. Wouldn't I expect a greater gain in the
                                              probability of victory if a thicker part of the bell curve (assume
                                              same moments) was being pushed past zero?

                                              **********************

                                              > > And I too remember some atrocious pre-shot clock college games.
                                              > But
                                              > > let's pose the question this way. Suppose two equal and average
                                              > NBA
                                              > > teams are playing, and one has a 10 point lead. Pick a time X
                                              > before
                                              > > the end of the game at which point you think it is optimal to
                                              alter
                                              > > one's offensive strategy so that the first priority is
                                              controlling
                                              > > pace.
                                              > >
                                              >
                                              > Obviously it depends on assumptions about how a team's offensive
                                              > strategy affects its productivity. If I assume that it doesn't, I
                                              > get one answer. If I assume that it does, I get another. Though
                                              I'd
                                              > like to get the answer either way (and think I can -- I have my old
                                              > simulator sitting around somewhere), I don't know if we have a good
                                              > way to make that assumption.
                                              >
                                              > DeanO

                                              Yeah sure it depends on assumptions, but that is the game...Just
                                              trying to establish a hypothetical tradeoff to anchor our
                                              expectations.
                                            • aaronkoo
                                              ... Forest is about the same. I think we may have different senses of the magnitude of cost . Cost of 1% vs value of 8% would need to be weighed. In some
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Apr 17, 2003
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                                                --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003" <schtevie@h...>
                                                wrote:
                                                > It is hard to keep an eye on the forest for all the trees in these
                                                > strings, so let me restate the larger "pace" argument:
                                                >
                                                > Except for milking the clock when ahead at the end of the game and
                                                > possibly the "shoot slow if you suck and hope you are lucky", I see
                                                > no way, theoretically, for a team to try and control game pace
                                                > without costing itself points and the likelihood of victory.
                                                >

                                                Forest is about the same. I think we may have different senses of
                                                the magnitude of "cost". Cost of 1% vs value of 8% would need to be
                                                weighed. In some cases, the cost will be greater than the benefit,
                                                I'm sure.

                                                > Can you give a graphical argument as to why the gain is greatest
                                                when
                                                > the expected loss is greatest. If I suppose a bell shaped curve

                                                It's in the book. But here's a try. Basically the bell curve
                                                describes the point difference between the 2 teams. Centered at +5
                                                for the favorite, spreading the distribution (which is all that
                                                taking a high risk/slow pace strategy does) causes the tail of the
                                                distribution go more across that 0 line (when the underdog wins). If
                                                it's centered at +1 (small favorite), a fair amount of the curve is
                                                already across the 0 line, so spreading the curve doesn't make much
                                                difference.

                                                Is that clear?

                                                >
                                                > Yeah sure it depends on assumptions, but that is the game...Just
                                                > trying to establish a hypothetical tradeoff to anchor our
                                                > expectations.

                                                I can add it to the list.
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