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Rants, References and Revelations

- Kevin Arnovitz reviewed a potentially huge statistical study on Tuesday. The study, NBA Chemistry: Positive and Negative Synergies in Basketball, introduces a new statistical model called Skills Plus Minus. Basketball statheads all acknowledge that each player has an effect on the statistical production of the players around them, to varying degrees. For example, playing alongside Steve Nash will probably raise your FG% a few ticks. Skills Plus Minus rates the offensive and defensive skills of each players and uses computer models to predict how effectively those skills mesh.

The biggest bombshell in the paper was a prediction, from the authors’ model, that both Utah and New Orleans would have improved if Chris Paul and Deron Williams had been traded for each other in 2010. The full text of the study doesn’t appear to be available to the public, but Arnovitz’s write-up hits all the high points. For anyone interested in how numbers can help us better understand the game of basketball, this is a must-read.

- Another week, still no NBA games. The guys at HoopSpeak have been sifting through the rubble, sieve in hand, extracting the themes below the surface. Beckley Mason talks about the lockout as a hypocritical quest for accountability. Ethan Sherwood Strauss finds the owners proposal a representation of a drab and frustrating future.

- The start of the college basketball season has been a welcome reprieve from the throbbing migraine of the NBA labor negotiations, or lack thereof. Kevin Pelton recapped some of the highlights of ESPN’s Tuesday night maration.

- One of the few benefits of the “extended off-season” is more time for Sebastian Pruiti to breakdown players, teams and sets from last season. Here’s his analysis of the jump in efficiency Gerald Wallace saw in Portland.

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