Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Play by Play Data Now Goes Back to 96-97

Play by play data has now been released for a few new seasons, going back to 96-97. What does this mean? There is now more complete information for a few more seasons, which can lead to more detailed shot data and plus/minus numbers. Basically, what this means is that for the first time plus minus models can now directly measure Jordan on the Bulls, although it's only his last two seasons, and a more complete appraisal of prime Shaq.

You can see the detailed information starting here. Click on advanced to sort through "net" plus minus data. Click on player shots to sort by percentage by shot distance. Dig through all the levels to find the interesting information. For instance, here are the top midrange shooters in 1996-97 and 1997-98 with a minimum number of attempts at 100:

Table 1: 1996-97 Midrange Shots
Name
Midrange FG
Midrange FGA
%
Muggsy Bogues (CHH)
138
242
57.0
Steve Kerr (CHI)
171
305
56.1
Bill Wennington (CHI)
87
155
56.1
Anthony Mason (CHH)
99
177
55.9
Dell Curry (CHH)
207
372
55.6
Marty Conlon (BOS)
101
183
55.2
David Wesley (BOS)
188
360
52.2
Ricky Pierce (CHH)
60
119
50.4
Glen Rice (CHH)
335
665
50.4
Dino Radja (BOS)
60
119
50.4
Chris Mullin (GSW)
221
445
49.7
Michael Jordan (CHI)
588
1202
48.9

Table 2: 1997-98 Midrange Shots
Name
Midrange FG
Midrange FGA
%
B.J. Armstrong (CHH)
52
98
53.1
Tom Gugliotta (MIN)
185
378
48.9
Dale Ellis (SEA)
147
301
48.8
Karl Malone (UTA)
383
797
48.1
Patrick Ewing (NYK)
87
183
47.5
Dana Barros (BOS)
98
210
46.7
Hubert Davis (DAL)
175
378
46.3
Joe Dumars (DET)
138
300
46.0
Eldridge Recasner (ATL)
87
189
46.0
Jeff Hornacek (UTA)
189
413
45.8
Steve Nash (PHX)
120
262
45.8
Muggsy Bogues (GSW)
99
216
45.8

Table 3: 1998-99 Midrange Shots
Name
Midrange FG
Midrange FGA
%
Muggsy Bogues (GSW)
57
108
52.8
Dell Curry (MIL)
71
138
51.4
Danny Ferry (CLE)
83
168
49.4
Dana Barros (BOS)
56
117
47.9
Lindsey Hunter (DET)
108
227
47.6
J.R. Reid (CHH)
55
117
47.0
Wesley Person (CLE)
69
148
46.6
Rik Smits (IND)
160
347
46.1
Rick Fox (LAL)
50
110
45.5
Arvydas Sabonis (POR)
64
141
45.4
Dean Garrett (MIN)
53
117
45.3
Luc Longley (PHX)
61
135
45.2


The pint-sized Muggsy Bogues was a supreme midrange shooter, and you can see a bunch of other names known for their shooting prowess like Curry, Hornacek, Nash, Ellis, Kerr, etc. There are also a lot of big men on the list like the huge Sabonis, Ewing and Luc Longley. What's more amazing is that Gheorghe Muresan hit 52% of his shots in 97 and barely missed the attempts cutoff at 95. These numbers are also comparable to the recent seasons where only elite guys like Nash or, strangely enough, Horford consistently hit their midrange shots in the upper 40's and 50's. Another interesting note is the sheer volume of Jordan's midrange game: 1200! And he does this with a very good percentage, even though he's constantly being guarded by the best defender or double-teamed. He makes the leaderboard in 97, and missed it the next season with 42% and 1100 shots. I couldn't find a player with similar volume, even Bryant when he averaged 35 points.

The plus-minus leaderboard is intriguing, but the obvious problem is that players on great teams will have sterling numbers. Ostertag is the leader one year, likely because he only plays with the other starters more often than not, while Stockton and Malone play such long stretches they're often in there with the bench so the offense doesn't fall apart. Hopefully soon, we'll have adjusted plus-minus models out there trying to measure the Holy Grail: Michael Jordan.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! Can’t wait for the next one. Keep stuff like this coming.
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