Blog Stats by Numbers

Processing Data, New Scores And Schedule Pages, And The Story Of Stats By Numbers

Written By Bobby Oster

Processing Data

I said that I’d give an update when I was about a week into the process of getting the old data launched back on the site. We’ve finished compiling all of the data necessary to run our game simulators and crank through all the statistics. It turns out that there were about 1.64 million plays and 90,524 player box score line entries over the course of the last three seasons. Right now, we’re in the middle of categorizing and processing data on these plays so that we can give you the advanced box scores and play by plays that were on the site before.

New Scores And Schedule Pages

In the meantime, the site has been updated with the new scores page:

Updated Scores Page

The updated scores page with a weekly carousel and date selector.

This is a huge improvement over the previous incarnation of the page, where you could only move to and from the previous days games.  For a frame of reference, here is a screenshot of the old interface:

Old Scores Page

The old scores page that was pretty sparse and made it difficult to get to a specific date.

Finally, we’ve separated the scores page from the schedule in order to create a few ways to get at the information you’re looking to find. The schedule will contain all the game for a season, sortable by month. The scores page will contain the latest box scores and play by plays that we have on the site after we finish processing data for that day.

Updated Schedule Page

The improved format for the schedule page with games viewable by month.

Origins Of Stats By Numbers

While we’re still processing data for the start of the season, I thought I’d take the time to share more about the origins of Stats by Numbers. The site started with my own desire to access statistics that weren’t readily available. It was the 2006-2007 season and Lakers were being crushed by the Suns in the 1st round playoff series. The consensus among the media and fans was that Lamar wasn’t the Robin that Kobe’s Batman needed. I remember thinking this was totally off base as their two-man statistics were great in the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 series. LO averaged 19+ PTS, 12 REB, 3.5 AST, and 1+ BLK per game over the course of the playoffs. Not that bad for a second option; it was the rest of the team that was lacking. In order to make my point, I remember coming up with a crazy Excel spreadsheet that had all the game performances and splits – so I could bolster my case that Lamar wasn’t the cause of the problem. I spent a great deal of time processing data and getting my numbers put together, but I still didn’t have them organized in a way that I could really do anything with them.

At the time, I thought to myself that it was silly that there wasn’t a better way for me to access the statistics that I wanted; this was the genesis of Stats by Numbers. I started tracking game data in a database instead of a spreadsheet and that is when things changed. I realized that there was a wealth of basketball statistics available that weren’t being processed. The data was right there, but no one was doing anything with it. One of my biggest pet peeves is the possessions equation:

0.5 * ((Tm FGA + 0.4 * Tm FTA – 1.07 * (Tm ORB / (Tm ORB + Opp DRB)) * (Tm FGA – Tm FG) + Tm TOV) + (Opp FGA + 0.4 * Opp FTA – 1.07 * (Opp ORB / (Opp ORB + Tm DRB)) * (Opp FGA – Opp FG) + Opp TOV))

Look at all that nonsense. Really!? The number of possessions that a team has each game is a very calculable thing – you just count how many possessions each team has based on the play by play. The Possessions statistic has been available since the 1970s and I think that is part of the reason that they use an estimate; back then, you couldn’t exactly parse the play by play to find out the real number of possessions.  With the amount of information and processing power available today, there is no reason to estimate a statistic that you can calculate and know with certainty.

The goal of Stats by Numbers is to provide a new set of raw statistics that can be used to derive a better understanding of basketball. I hope that by providing the stats and splits I myself was looking for, I can provide that same information to others who want to use it. By creating a set of new stats like Time of Possession and tracking the actual number of Possessions, you can also come up with interesting new derived stats like Average Time Per Possession. There is one somewhat big – not so new – idea that I have for the site for this season. I’m keeping it under wraps until we get closer to the start of the season, but rest assured it will be a new take on a way to measure performance. That’s all for now…back to processing data for the 1.64 million plays.

Stats List Published For Players and Teams

Written By Bobby Oster

I’ve been able to work throughout the weekend and get the stats list published for players and teams.

Updated Stats Page

The updated stats page with descriptions for every statistic.

If any of the statistics in the stats list don’t make sense, or if you have any questions – please email and let us know! You can view the complete lists with the links below (click on the different categories to see the complete stats list):

In addition to the box score and play by play game views, you will also be able to view the game, daily, and season totals of each statistic for a player. Each of the stats will be ranked against the other players that in that game, players for that day, or players that played that season. There are actually a few less statistics than there were on the previous site – although, they will be getting added back over time. The current count is 456 unique NBA statistics, with many of those being exclusively found at Stats by Numbers.

Some of the exclusive stats you’ll find here are shot types; not only do we track a players field goal and free throw percentage, we also track their jump shots, hook shots, layups, dunks, tip shots, and of course 3-point field goals.  Tracking these stats lets us take a look at just how many of Dwight Howard’s points come from dunks, or how many layups Derrick Rose makes.  We also dive deeper into some of the standard statistics categories like free throws, assists, and blocks.  Want to know how many 3-point play free throws Kobe Bryant takes?  How about the number of dunk assists LeBron James dishes out?  We track all of those statistics and many more.  Finally, we also have a set of stats that you will only find here such as jumpballs, chance points, and time of possession.  Check out our stats list and let us know what you think via twitter @StatsByNumbers.

The next stage in the process of the getting the site relaunched is to get the data for the 2009-2010 season back up on the site. This involves running our game simulator again to track all of the stats and create our box score and play by play views. This may take a couple weeks, but I will post an update in about a week on the status. In other NBA news, it is now less than 50 days until the start of the 2012-2013 season!

Returning For The NBA 2012-2013 Season

Written By Bobby Oster

Welcome to the new and improved Stats by Numbers, returning for the NBA 2012-2013 season. If you haven’t noticed or are new to the site, it has undergone a dramatic change over the course of the last week. Since I’m both a fan and the developer of the site, I’ll break down what is going on with an imaginary conversation between myself and…myself:

Updated Teams Page

The updated team selection page, returning for the 2012-2013 season.

Fan Bobby: “WTF! You took all the stats off the site and made it useless!”

Developer Bobby: “I know, that sucks. I’m sorry – but it’s a change that is necessary to get the site ready for the new season! You want new stats right?”

Fan Bobby: “Yea, new stats would be nice. Not updating the site over the last couple years was pretty whack. Is it going to be easier to find stuff?”

Developer Bobby: “That is definitely the goal of the new site – to deliver more stats in a more meaningful way. There are still going to be a bunch of different splits like starter versus bench statistics, and you’ll also be able to view the stats by different periods like just 1st half assists or 4th quarter scoring.”

Fan Bobby: “I liked it before but it was way too complicated to get to anything so I mainly looked at the box scores, play by plays, and leaderboards.  Are you still going to have those?”

Developer Bobby: “Those were some of the most popular pages and they will be coming back in a new improved visual form. The most important part to getting those pages working is getting the data up to date.”

Fan Bobby: “What’s the deal with that? It isn’t exactly the 2009-2010 playoffs anymore – why haven’t there been any updates to the site?”

Developer Bobby: “Since all of the statistics that are presented on Stats by Numbers are generated using our own basketball game simulator technology that tracks and calculates stats, it can be a difficult task keeping the data up to date. That is going to change as there is now a new system for data acquisition and processing that is going into effect this season. Using the new system, the plan is to have game data available the following morning after the games occur.”

Fan Bobby: “Wow, that sounds great and very complicated!”

Developer Bobby: “It is. We’ll see how well it works and it will continue to evolve as the season goes on. The other major change is that the only range that will be tracked for rankings for the time being are: daily and season.”

Fan Bobby: “That’s all I really cared about anyway, the other ones-”

Developer Bobby: “-will be coming back. They haven’t gone forever, they have just been put on the back burner until the data is updated consistently and daily. The number one priority is being able to process new games on a daily basis.”

Fan Bobby: “Alright, that seems like a reasonable goal. So what is there new now?”

Developer Bobby: “Did you see that the Nets moved to Brooklyn and changed their colors to black and white. They’re now the only two color team in the league! You can still see all the pretty colors from the team history on their page.”

Fan Bobby: “So that’s it? Pretty colors.”

Developer Bobby: “I’m trying here. I did add the blog and will continue to add more content as it gets finished.”

Fan Bobby: “Okay, what’s next? Something good right – not some paint swatches.”

Developer Bobby: “Next up is the complete list of stats!”

Fan Bobby: “Given your rate of updates, I’m not holding my breath. I’ll believe when I see it.”

Developer Bobby: “No, really! It’s coming soon.”

Fan Bobby: “You have one week before I start getting impatient.”

Developer Bobby: “Fair enough.”

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