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Re: NBA and scoring

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  • Dean Oliver
    ... Harlanzo suggested a few changes to make the game entertaining and watchable. One at a time... ... I ve seen it enforced, but not since early in the
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 12 8:43 PM
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      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., harlanzo@y... wrote:

      Harlanzo suggested a few changes to "make the game entertaining and
      watchable." One at a time...

      > Obviously, enforcing the already enacted 5-second back down rule
      > could help but I've never seen the rule called.

      I've seen it enforced, but not since early in the season. I
      haven't seen it violated much either. It's a good rule that has made
      something of a difference. It fixed only one egregious problem
      though. There is still a lot of waiting around for the perfect shot,
      while actually jeopardizing the team's chances by waiting so long.
      (How to quantify this?)


      > the ramifications of would be to encourage running by perhaps
      giving
      > a team an extra point if it scores within six seconds or so of when
      > the shot clock starts.

      Never going to happen. Too gimmicky. Refs have a hard enough time
      with the clock as it is.


      > A less radical solution to this issue could be to lower the shot
      > clock to say 20 seconds. This would not change the strategy but it
      > would at least make it less tedious.

      This one could stand some analysis. The average possession (defining
      possession as the time between when one team has the ball and when
      the other has it) is now about 16 seconds long. It was about 14
      seconds in the early 80's. I think this would make a possession more
      frantic at the end, but doesn't avoid the philosophy you talked about
      -- that you can always get a jump shot -- it just now comes at 20
      seconds, not 24 seconds. I'm not convinced this will work, though it
      clearly speeds up the pace. Can Bob Chaikin simulate this??? (He's
      a group member with a simulation program.)

      Another possibility is allowing the zone, which the league is
      thinking about seriously. I worked up some notes on this for another
      group. I'll see if I can get them back.

      Dean Oliver
      Journal of Basketball Studies
    • bchaikin@aol.com
      harlan - needless to say your email was both a breath of fresh air and a pleasure to read. i ve known what you have surmised for quite some time now (most of
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 12 10:51 PM
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        harlan -

        needless to say your email was both a breath of fresh air and a pleasure to
        read. i've known what you have surmised for quite some time now (most of this
        past decade), but only thru the benefit of statistical analysis. kudos on
        dechipering it - you have hit the nail right on the head....

        like you it is also my humble opinion (backed by some convincing numbers)
        that the sole reason for the consistently decreasing scoring since the mid
        1980s is coaches trying to keep their jobs by saying "...sure we lost, but we
        held them to 87 points...". no coach can lose consistently with a high
        scoring team in this league and keep his job, but many have lost consistently
        but remained employed with a slug-like offense (check the record on this
        one). and i have first hand knowledge of this being a life long clevelander
        and having suffered thru the "...phills, mills, hill cavs..." of mike
        fratello (uughh...)....

        i remember it all really starting with bill musselman and the expansion
        t-wolves in the early 1990s. it quickly became a fad and has continued to
        this day. i watch tapes of games from the 1980s and then watch games of today
        and wonder why i even bother watching the league as it is now (and as it has
        been for the last 5-6 years). and watching tapes of games from the 1960s and
        1970s convinces me that the game was much better to watch as a fan back then,
        even without the 3 pt shot (which i thoroughly enjoy - loved the ABA)....

        i've attached a spreadsheet to this email that shows you the yearly numbers
        since 1977-78 (when they first started keeping all the stats they keep today
        - including the trio of TO, BS, and ST). forgeting the league's lousy
        shooting of the past three complete seasons, from 1983-84 to 1996-97, the
        league effective FG% has been stable - wavering from just below 49% to 50%,
        absolutely consistent over a 16 year period. so shooting isn't the reason
        scoring went down. over that same period the number of points scored per team
        ball possession has also been stable, wavering between 1.05 to 1.07 pts/poss
        over that same time period. so "better defense" isn't the reason either for
        scoring going down, because the defense has remained the same. but scoring
        decreased steadily from a high of 110 pts/48min game (8485) to 96 pts/48min
        game (9697). why?...

        because team possessions per game have steadily dropped from 103 per game per
        team (about 14 seconds per team possession) to close to 91 per game per team
        (close to 16 seconds per team possession) from the mid 80s to the mid 90s.
        that's a whopping 13% decrease in the pace of an average game over a 16 year
        period. as anyone who has played the game of basketball at a competitive
        level can tell you, coaches and coaches only dictate the pace of a game.
        players almost always want to run, its the coaches that slow down the game....

        remember, all of the above doesn't even consider the league's lousy shooting
        of the past three seasons - effective FG% of between just under 47% to just
        under 48% compared to the consistent 49% to 50% effective FG% of 8384 to
        9697....

        i believe i have the proper suggestions for "correcting" this trend, and they
        are indeed quite simple. first and foremost is the premise that it should
        never be advantageous to commit a foul - not ever. the first thing the league
        should do is to bring back the bonus free throws (last used in the very early
        1980s) when a team is in the penalty, the 3 to make 2 and 2 to make 1 (when
        the bucket is made). that right there will open up the lane. people today
        will say that the extra free throws will slow up the game, but the 1970s
        disproves that....

        next any foul where its obvious the defender was not going for the ball is an
        automatic ejection, even simply grabbing the player with the ball from behind
        on a breakaway. anytime a defender commits a foul on the player with the ball
        without going for the ball (in the judgement of the official) should be akin
        to 1st degree murder. a hard foul where its obvious the defender was going
        for the ball but also added a hip (or two) for exclamation should be treated
        like they treat a flagrant foul today. but an automatic ejection for nailing
        the man with the ball but with no attempt at going for the ball will
        certainly open the offense back up. and both of these scenarios should result
        in free throws AND possesion of the ball. if those were put into effect you'd
        rarely see them ever happen (except in blowout games)...

        also any foul is a shooting foul in the last two minutes (not sure yet if i
        like this) will keep it "clean" when clean is most needed - at game's end.....

        what not to do?...

        one - if the league allows zone defenses, they might as well give fans
        magazines and newspapers as they enter the arenas. if they allow zones no
        one, i repeat, no one will re-up their season tickets....

        two - forget the present zone defense rules. they only encourage one-on-one
        or two-on-two basketball with 6-8 guys standing above the key. that's a whole
        lot of fun to watch - nothing i like better than watching 7' 7" shawn bradley
        playing above the key on offense. if they simply called defensive 3 seconds
        (which is in the rule book - i know i used to ref) like they now call
        offensive 3 seconds, and i mean call it often, that will solve that
        problem....

        lastly, what i'd love to see but will never happen (TV commercial time) is
        each team limited to one timeout per half...

        institute these changes and in just a few years (2-3) you'd be back to having
        games with total ball possessions per team per game in the high 90s to low
        100s, even if you do not change the shot clock from 24 to 20 seconds...

        bob chaikin
        bchaikin@...
        www.bballsports.com

        p.s. - dean, my software does use team possessions as a game clock...
      • Dean Oliver
        ... numbers ... keep today ... What s your take on why it gets slower in the playoffs? I ve noticed this, too. ... reason ... Pace is the biggest reason.
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 13 7:50 AM
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          --- In APBR_analysis@y..., bchaikin@a... wrote:

          > i've attached a spreadsheet to this email that shows you the yearly
          numbers
          > since 1977-78 (when they first started keeping all the stats they
          keep today
          > - including the trio of TO, BS, and ST).

          What's your take on why it gets slower in the playoffs? I've noticed
          this, too.

          > absolutely consistent over a 16 year period. so shooting isn't the
          reason
          > scoring went down.

          Pace is the biggest reason. Definitely. And it is coaches slowing
          the game down.


          > are indeed quite simple. first and foremost is the premise that it
          should
          > never be advantageous to commit a foul - not ever. the first thing
          the league
          > should do is to bring back the bonus free throws (last used in the
          very early
          > 1980s) when a team is in the penalty, the 3 to make 2 and 2 to make
          1 (when
          > the bucket is made). that right there will open up the lane. people
          today
          > will say that the extra free throws will slow up the game, but the
          1970s
          > disproves that....
          >

          This is probably a very good suggestion. One thing Bob overlooks a
          little in his statement that "shooting isn't the problem" is that big
          men are shooting worse in the '90's. No one guy is shooting 65%
          anymore like they did in the '80's. And this is because of the hard
          fouling. Bringing back the 3/2 should help that. I hesitate only a
          little with Bob's suggestions about obvious hard fouls, that
          hesitation due only to ref's indecision on a lot of stuff already.
          But I agree completely with the spirit of it.

          >
          > what not to do?...
          >
          > one - if the league allows zone defenses, they might as well give
          fans
          > magazines and newspapers as they enter the arenas. if they allow
          zones no
          > one, i repeat, no one will re-up their season tickets....

          Not sure I agree. I tend to believe that the zone is a less
          effective defense than a man in many ways. Allowing it does
          strengthen the defense by giving it another option, but getting away
          from the stifling man would also be good for offenses. But I have
          seen little evidence that a zone even slows down the game. Since a
          zone (some zones) tries to take away the middle, it should become a
          coach's theory to take earlier shots in an offense. Further, you can
          hide weak defending good shooting perimeter players in a zone -- not
          sure if this is the problem, as Bob says. You can hide good
          offensive big men in foul trouble, then.

          >
          > two - forget the present zone defense rules. they only encourage
          one-on-one
          > or two-on-two basketball with 6-8 guys standing above the key.
          that's a whole
          > lot of fun to watch - nothing i like better than watching 7' 7"
          shawn bradley
          > playing above the key on offense. if they simply called defensive 3
          seconds
          > (which is in the rule book - i know i used to ref) like they now
          call
          > offensive 3 seconds, and i mean call it often, that will solve that
          > problem....
          >
          > lastly, what i'd love to see but will never happen (TV commercial
          time) is
          > each team limited to one timeout per half...
          >
          > institute these changes and in just a few years (2-3) you'd be back
          to having
          > games with total ball possessions per team per game in the high 90s
          to low
          > 100s, even if you do not change the shot clock from 24 to 20
          seconds...

          The defensive 3-s rules:

          Rule 12, Section II, part c: Defenders may be in a position within
          the "inside" lane for a tight 2.9 seconds. They must re-establish a
          position with both feet out of the "inside" lane, to be legally clear
          of the area.

          Rule 12, Section II, part d: A defender may be positioned within the
          "inside" lane with no time limitations, if an offensive player is
          positioned within the 3' "posted-up" area.

          Has anyone counted to see how often it gets violated now?

          >
          > p.s. - dean, my software does use team possessions as a game
          clock...

          Does this mean you couldn't simulate a 20-s clock? Your software has
          some great potential. You might want to give a primer here on what
          it does.

          Dean Oliver
          Journal of Basketball Studies
        • Gary Collard
          ... The data s not available I suspect, but shooting percentage by time left on the clock might be instructive. 14-24 are probably pretty good, because these
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 13 2:40 PM
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            Dean Oliver wrote:

            > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., harlanzo@y... wrote:
            >
            > Harlanzo suggested a few changes to "make the game entertaining and
            > watchable." One at a time...
            >
            > > Obviously, enforcing the already enacted 5-second back down rule
            > > could help but I've never seen the rule called.
            >
            > I've seen it enforced, but not since early in the season. I
            > haven't seen it violated much either. It's a good rule that has made
            > something of a difference. It fixed only one egregious problem
            > though. There is still a lot of waiting around for the perfect shot,
            > while actually jeopardizing the team's chances by waiting so long.
            > (How to quantify this?)
            >

            The data's not available I suspect, but shooting percentage by time left on
            the clock might be instructive. 14-24 are probably pretty good, because
            these are fast break or open shot situations for the most part, but it mighe
            be interesting to see <4, 5-8 and 9-12 (or other granularites) to see if
            waiting longer is beneficial.

            --
            Gary Collard | Office: garyc@..., 469-357-8485
            i2 | Mobile: 214-924-3263
            SCP QA Team | Fax: 469-357-8613
            | Home: collardg@..., 972-790-1166

            Co-Moderator, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)
            mailing list
          • Dean Oliver
            ... left on ... because ... it mighe ... see if ... I ve never seen these data (maybe Harvey Pollack has it?). I m going to a HS game tonight and I ll track
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 13 4:47 PM
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              --- In APBR_analysis@y..., Gary Collard <garyc@i...> wrote:

              > The data's not available I suspect, but shooting percentage by time
              left on
              > the clock might be instructive. 14-24 are probably pretty good,
              because
              > these are fast break or open shot situations for the most part, but
              it mighe
              > be interesting to see <4, 5-8 and 9-12 (or other granularites) to
              see if
              > waiting longer is beneficial.

              I've never seen these data (maybe Harvey Pollack has it?). I'm going
              to a HS game tonight and I'll track this during the game. Can't
              really do it on a televised game.

              Dean Oliver
              Journal of Basketball Studies
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