An Analytical Approach to 2013 Free Agency

By: Ben Noah

Free agency now complete in the NBA – a good time to analyze all of the free agent signings. This list includes all free agent signings except for players who have not played at least 100 NBA minutes. I will start by identifying all the free agents agreements, indicating the amount and length of their signed contract. My analysis will be based on selected key advanced stats, which I will then compare to the value of the contract using the Arturo Galletti model (explained at the end of the article). Finally, I will use all that information to provide an overall evaluation and determine a grade for the signing from the NBA team’s perspective (A-F).

Click here for the evaluations.


Ben Noah is a sophomore at the University of Oregon. Connect with Ben on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Brad Stevens: Bridging the Analytics Gap in Coaching

Brad Stevens is all smiles during his press conference with his newest team, the Boston Celtics.

Brad Stevens is all smiles during his press conference with his newest team, the Boston Celtics.

“A lot of you analytics people, you think that the game is a video game. You seem to think that players will always react as your models say they will react”. Stan Van Gundy addressed the audience at the 2013 Sloan Sports Conference Basketball Analytics panel with these remarks.

Ever since the advance of advanced metrics in sports analytics, the cliché  divide in sports management philosophies has been between the “old school” of thought that favors instinctual, qualitative analysis and the “new school” of thought that  boasts elaborate formulas and probabilities: think the dramatized relationship between Art Howe and Billy Beane in the movie adaptation of Moneyball.

Later in the panel, Van Gundy added “The mark of a coach isn’t understanding the analytics. That may help you. But as a coach, you’ve got to go out there and get a team to perform.”

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How does Dwight Howard fit into the Rockets’ strategies?

Will Howard solve Houston's problems? Or add to them?

Will Dwight Howard solve Houston’s problems? Or add to them?

The Dwight Howard saga is over. Thankfully, his decision was not a 75-minute television special broadcasted by ESPN.

Dwight’s 4-year, $88 million agreement with the Houston Rockets signifies that Dwight and the Rockets believe they can win championships, starting with next season. While many are not quite ready to jump on that bandwagon, it does appear that Dwight has the surrounding cast to make a legitimate run in next year’s playoffs.

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Effective Field Goal Percentage or Field Goal Percentage: Better Predictor of Success?


To see which statistic was a better predictor of regular season success, I ranked every team’s record, effective field goal percentage, and field goal percentage in their conference and the NBA, as a whole, in each of the past 5 seasons.  After that, I found the average difference between a team’s ranking for their record and effective field goal percentage and between a team’s record and field goal percentage.

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Alex Len or Nerlens Noel?

Image Copyright: ESPN

Image Copyright: ESPN

The 2013 NBA Draft is tonight and all eyes are on the Cleveland Cavaliers and who they decide they are going to take with the number one pick in a notably weaker draft than ones in years past. Yet, while the draft is weak, there are still a few standout players that could possibly be taken with that number one pick.

Two of those players are big men Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky and Alex Len out of Maryland. With the need for a skilled big man being prevalent for many NBA teams, both of these players are being strongly considered for top five picks. Noel has been the favorite to be the number one overall pick for quite some time, but Len is making a late serge up the big board.

So who is the more reliable big man to take in this draft? We look to good ol’ reliable statistics for the answer:

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Are NBA teams getting better at drafting?

NBA: NBA Draft

It seems that in order to succeed in today’s NBA, you either need to have LeBron James, or you need to be able to draft really well. Unfortunately, having LeBron James is not an option for 29 other squads in the league, so these teams look to the NBA draft for a change of fortune.

Since the inception of the NBA draft, the scouting and drafting process has changed a lot. Basketball powerhouses are now more-than-ever earning the reputation as pro-basketball factories. Scouting videos for any player are readily available nation-wide; larger programs have the resources to go around, or even out of the country to scout players, and word on recruits spreads around quickly with the Internet.

Scouts are now able to hear about the newest European sensations, and savvy NBA general managers do their best to get these guys to play basketball in the United States.

Advanced statistics are starting to have more of a presence in basketball; there are brand new tests to test a players overall strength and ability.

But here’s a question. Has any of this advancement in scouting and drafting done anything for NBA teams? Or are we just as good at drafting as we were 20 years ago, before we had all this technology?

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Anatomy of a Dagger: How LeBron and the Heat won on San Antonio’s terms

Copyright: Business Insider

Copyright: Business Insider

Arguably the reason the last two series of these playoffs went to seven games for the Heat was because two opposing coaches managed to try to force Miami to beat them with mid-range jumpers, the least efficient short on the court. This is on face a near-optimal strategy against the Heat, a team that is unlikely to get a lot of post scoring and relies on the 3. They shot relatively few jumpers comparatively.

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