Re: [APBR_analysis] NBA and scoring
- 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
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
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
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
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...
p.s. - dean, my software does use team possessions as a game clock...
- --- In APBR_analysis@y..., bchaikin@a... wrote:
> i've attached a spreadsheet to this email that shows you the yearlynumbers
> since 1977-78 (when they first started keeping all the stats theykeep today
> - including the trio of TO, BS, and ST).What's your take on why it gets slower in the playoffs? I've noticed
> absolutely consistent over a 16 year period. so shooting isn't thereason
> 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 itshould
> never be advantageous to commit a foul - not ever. the first thingthe league
> should do is to bring back the bonus free throws (last used in thevery early
> 1980s) when a team is in the penalty, the 3 to make 2 and 2 to make1 (when
> the bucket is made). that right there will open up the lane. peopletoday
> will say that the extra free throws will slow up the game, but the1970s
> 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
> magazines and newspapers as they enter the arenas. if they allowzones 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
> 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 3seconds
> (which is in the rule book - i know i used to ref) like they nowcall
> offensive 3 seconds, and i mean call it often, that will solve thattime) is
> lastly, what i'd love to see but will never happen (TV commercial
> each team limited to one timeout per half...to having
> institute these changes and in just a few years (2-3) you'd be back
> games with total ball possessions per team per game in the high 90sto low
> 100s, even if you do not change the shot clock from 24 to 20seconds...
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
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
Journal of Basketball Studies
- Dean Oliver wrote:
> --- In APBR_analysis@y..., harlanzo@y... wrote:The data's not available I suspect, but shooting percentage by time left on
> 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 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)
- --- In APBR_analysis@y..., Gary Collard <garyc@i...> wrote:
> The data's not available I suspect, but shooting percentage by timeleft 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, butit mighe
> be interesting to see <4, 5-8 and 9-12 (or other granularites) tosee 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.
Journal of Basketball Studies