January 11, 2010

Latest Super Bowl Odds

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 8:37 am

Based on the well known Sagarin ratings published in USA Today we replayed the rest of the NFL playoffs 5000 times. Here are the chances for each team to win their conference championship and the Super Bowl. We assume outcome of each game follows a normal random variable with mean margin for home team = home rating-away rating+3 and standard deviation 14 points.

NFC Championship chances

  1. Saints 48%
  2. Vikings 23%
  3. Cowboys 22%
  4. Cardinals 7%

AFC Championship Chances

  1.  Colts 37%
  2. Chargers 31%
  3. Jets 17%
  4. Ravens 15%

Super  Bowl

  1. Saints 26%
  2. Colts 19%
  3. Chargers 15%
  4. Vikings and Cowboys 11%
  5. Jets 9%
  6. Ravens 7%
  7. Cardinals 2%

January 5, 2010

Is Luol Deng as Good as Kobe?

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 4:16 pm

I got lots of criticism today for stating that this year, after adjusting for who they played with and against, Luol Deng(+20 points Adjusted+/-) was playing better(so far this year) than Kobe (+15 Adjusted +/-.

Let’s try and see why Deng is having a much better year than people think and Kobe, while still great, should not be in the MVP conversation. Simply put, Kobe has much better teammates than Deng. Let’s look at a few numbers.

  • When Deng is on the court the Bulls play 2 points better than average and when he is off the Bulls play 24 points worse than average.
  • Let’s see how the Bulls do with Deng out and combos of their other starters (Rose Noah Hinrich and Salmons) on  the court. All 4 on court -34 points; Noah Rose Salmons -18 points; Noah Hinrich Salmon -48 points; Hinrich Noah Rose -14 points.
  • From this data I conclude either that Deng is really good or his temmates are not that great. If his teamates are not that great, then Deng is probably the major reason the Bulls are not one of the league’s worst team,

Now to the Lakers. Here are some numbers

  • With Artest in and Kobe out the Lakers are only 4 points worse than average. How can this be? Without the world’s best player the Lakers are ok.
  • With Kobe in and Artest out the Lakers are only 2 points better than average.
  • With Kobe out and Gasol, Odom, and Artest in the Lakers are great: 17 points better than average.
  • From this data I conclude that Kobe has some really good teammates. The Lakers have played a really easy schedule and have only played 5 points better than average , so I do not see that Kobe is an MVP.

Fixing the Pistons

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 3:17 pm

The Pistons have lost 9 games in a row. They play 3.9 points worse than average per game. What can be done to help them?  First let’s note the Pistons are terrible when Ben Wallace is out (12 pointsworse than average), They play one point better than average when Ben is in. Can we improve things when Ben is out? Very simple. When Brown and Maxiell are in and Wallace is out Pistons play only 2 points worse than average (134 minutes).  (By the way when Wilcox subs for Ben Pistons lose by 20 points per game! )Rest of time Ben is out Pistons are 15 points worse than average.

     Another thing that  seems to work with Ben out is Bynum, Maxiell, Charley V, Stuckey and Gordon (+36 rating  in only 16 minutes, but worth a shot). 

        The core for this team should be Charley V, Gordon, Stuckey and Wallace. In 237 minutes  with fifth of Jerebko or Bynum Pistons play 8 points better than average.

             Here are Pistons best lineups:

First number is how many points better or worse than average per 48 minutes lineup is (adjusted for strength of opponents)

DET       2.89 (    4.67    1.36   -3.31    5.09    0.40    5.14)  167.32 minutes   42 appearances     1 A     -4.02      -14 $
Gordon        Jerebko       Stuckey       Villanueva    Wallace       26.79 years       6736_DET_2010

DET       7.11 (    2.86   -5.43   -8.29   18.48    0.43    5.18)  138.15 minutes   39 appearances     2 A      3.47       10 $
Atkins        Jerebko       Maxiell       Stuckey       Wallace       28.82 years       4801_DET_2010

DET      17.45 (    6.14    7.07    0.93   39.63    1.18    4.75)   69.82 minutes   40 appearances     3 A     17.19       25 $
Bynum         Gordon        Stuckey       Villanueva    Wallace       27.62 years       6676_DET_2010

DET      11.32 (   -2.74   -2.43    0.30  -14.03   -0.43    5.13)   42.86 minutes   23 appearances     4 A      6.72        6 $
Bynum         Jerebko       Stuckey       Villanueva    Wallace    

DET       7.89 (  -10.51  -15.80   -5.29  -26.03   -1.15    2.88)   21.44 minutes   16 appearances     4 B     11.20        5 $
Bynum         Daye          Jerebko       Villanueva    Wallace       26.41 years

  DET       5.42 (   -6.01   -6.67   -0.66   -6.48   -0.48    3.97)   19.05 minutes   18 appearances     1 C      5.04        2 $
Bynum         Gordon        Jerebko       Villanueva    Wallace       27.45 years       6228_DET_2010

DET      36.08 (   -0.48    8.82    9.30  -20.73   -0.37    5.31)   16.25 minutes   13 appearances     2 C     32.49       11 $
Bynum         Gordon        Maxiell       Stuckey       Villanueva    25.93 years       2708_DET_2010

January 4, 2010

NFL Playoff Picks

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 5:35 pm

Based on the well known Sagarin ratings (see them on USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/nfl09.htm) I simulated the NFL playoffs 5000 times. I reduced the Patriots rating by 3 points due to Welker’s injury.  The simulation “knows” how to compute home team in each 2nd and 3rd round game and matchups  based on results of previous games. Here are odds for each conference champion as well as Super Bowl.

AFC Champion

  • Colts 44%
  • Chargers 28%
  • Patriots 9%
  • Bengals 5%
  • Jets 9%
  • Ravens 5%


  • Saints 47%
  • Vikings 24%
  • Cowboys 13%
  • Cardinals 4%
  • Packers 8%
  • Eagles 4%

Super Bowl

  • Saints 27%
  • Colts 24%
  • Chargers 13%
  • Vikings 11%
  • Cowboys 6%
  • Patriots 4%
  • Jets 4%
  • Packers 3%
  • Ravens 3%
  • Eagles 2%
  • Bengals 2%
  • Cardinals 1%.

January 1, 2010

An NBA “Chemistry” Lesson

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 4:29 pm

First of all, Happy New Year and Happy New Decade! May this decade be better than the “zeros.”

            In this post we will discuss how the important statistical concept of interaction plays a role in a coaches’  in game lineup decisions.

            If we are trying to predict sales of a product from our price and advertising levels what does it mean to say that “price and advertising interact?.” Simply that the effect of changing one of the independent variables, say advertising, depends on the other independent variable price. For example, it may be that increasing advertising has a large effect on sales if price is low, but a small effect on sales if price is high.

            So what does the concept of interaction have to do with NBA coaching? When we compute Adjusted +/- ratings we assume we can estimate a team’s performance by adding together the abilities of the individual players. If a coach consistently plays two guys together who play poorly together (often called bad chemistry) then each player’s Adjusted +/- as well as team performance will suffer. For each pair of players in the NBA we compute an interaction rating. For example, Hansbrough and Rush of the Pacers have an interaction rating of 6.2 points. This means that after adjusting for the ability of all players on the court the Pacers tend to play 6.2 points worse than expected (per 48 minutes) when these guys play together. This means these guys should not play together too often!  On the other hand Carter and Barnes of the Magic have an interaction rating of +7 points. This indicates that these guys should be played together more often. Here is a list of “significant interaction ratings.

Pacers Hibbert Rush +5.3 Hansbrough Rush -6.2 Murphy Dunleavy +5.2

Clippers Telfair Kaman -7.9 Telfair Butler -5

Grizzlies  Gasol Young -4.6

Heat Haslem Arroyo -13.7 Anthony Wade -5.7

Bucks Ridnour Bell – 8.7 Warrick Bogut -5

Wolves Brewer Sessions -4.9

Nets Roberts Hassell +5.6 Boone Lee +6.6

Hornets West Collison -5

76ers Holliday Young +5.6

Kings  Casspi Nocioni +12 Greene Udrih -5

Spurs Blair Jefferson +6.6 Bonner Hill +5.7

Raptors Bargnani Bellinelli +5.4   Bellinelli Johnson -5.3

Wizards Arenas Foye -5.2  Jamison Young +4.8

Jazz Millsap AK47 +4.2

Celtics Allen House +8.4

Bulls Gibson Hinrich +4.6

Cavs Moon Mo Williams +6.1

Mavs  Barea  Dampier +6.1 Barea Gooden -10.4 Gooden Kidd +6

Nuggets Affalo Andersen +6.5 Nene Carter +7.9

Pistons Wallace Maxiell -4.6

Warriors Curry Moore -5.6

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