Bringing order to the court

first_imgLuke Bornn isn’t the coach of a top-flight NBA team, a general manager with an eye for talent, or an agent representing the next up-and-coming superstar. In fact, he’s only recently become a basketball fan.But Bornn, an assistant professor of statistics, is part of a team of Harvard researchers poised to rewrite the rules of how coaches, players, and fans think about the game.Using a massive database tracking every possession of every game played in the National Basketball Association, the team developed a new metric — expected possession value, or EPV — to help coaches and players evaluate the fraction-of-a-second decisions that happen on the court. The researchers are Bornn; Kirk Goldsberry, an associate of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science; and Ph.D. students Dan Cervone and Alex D’Amour. The work was presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference this past weekend.  “Until now, we were relying on data gathered at the end of a possession … all we were seeing were snapshots at certain times — this person scored a point at this time or this person turned over the ball at this time,” Bornn said. “But basketball is a continually evolving sequence of 10 people and a ball dynamically interacting.“What traditional statistics were doing was taking this continuum, chopping it up into very coarse events, and losing a lot of information in the process,” he continued. “With this new data, we can capture the true, flowing essence of basketball.”While the new paper is the first description of EPV, the statistic relies on the installation of motion-tracking cameras in more than a dozen NBA arenas several years ago.By recording the position of the ball and all 10 players on the court 25 times a second for every possession, the cameras have helped researchers build a data set that shows how thousands of individual decisions affect the outcome of a possession. This year, Bornn said, the cameras were installed in all NBA arenas, giving researchers even more data to draw from.To calculate EPV, Bornn and colleagues use a series of algorithms to comb through the data to identify similar situations and calculate how a player’s decisions — whether to shoot, pass, or drive to the basket — can increase or decrease the value of a single possession.“Much of sports analytics, to some extent, has been a bedroom endeavor until now, and this data may change that,” said Bornn.“The simplest example to look at is a player shooting a free throw,” Bornn said. “If someone shoots 100 free throws and makes 60 of them, we know the expected value for any free throw is 0.6, or 60 percent of a point. What we’re doing is looking across all the past season’s data to extend this notion to more complex basketball plays, obtaining an estimate of what, historically, any play would have been worth.”While EPV can offer insight into the split-second decisions made in individual plays, its real utility may be as a player-evaluation tool.By comparing hundreds of possessions across an entire season, researchers can assign positive and negative EPV ratings to players according to whose decisions result in more points scored.“I think it’s a useful measure for GMs in terms of valuing players,” Bornn said. “There are a lot of players out there who don’t have traditionally great stats, but are strong decision-makers. Further, EPV could be used as a tool for coaches to understand where players are making good or bad decisions, so they can try to adjust their play.“I think it’s also interesting for the fans,” he added. “Much of sports analytics, to some extent, has been a bedroom endeavor until now, and this data may change that. People have asked us if we will someday see a running measure of EPV on ESPN — I’m not sure it will get to that point, but I could see analysts using it at halftime to break down a few plays.”The statistic isn’t perfect or complete, Bornn acknowledged, and will probably be refined to capture other aspects of the game. But it does mark a new approach for understanding the action on the court, he said.“The way we frame it is that this is a new microeconomics for the NBA,” he said. “This is a way to understand and value the small-scale decisions and small-scale features of what’s happening on the court. Whereas earlier statistics were akin to macroeconomics, they were seeing the big picture — we’re getting down to the fine details and seeing how the small components interact.”last_img read more

Cricket News England vs India 5th Test, Day 1: Check full scorecard as Kohli and co make brilliant comeback

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: On the day 1 of the fifth Test between England and India at the Kennington Oval in India, the visitors fought back to down the hosts to 198 for 7 as the Joe Root-led side collapsed after a bright start by the openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings. Indian pacer Ishant Sharma scalped three wickets after Jasprit Bumrah sent Alastair Cook and Joe Root packing in a single over.Alastair Cook, who is playing his final Test played a beautiful knock of 71 runs before Bumrah’s sharp inswinger got the better of him. After Cook’s departure, the floodgates were open as the hosts lost six wickets for 58 runs post tea to collapse from 133-1 to 181-7.ALSO READ: You can name NASA rockets if you pay enough Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali slowed the downfall as they put on 37 runs partnership for the fifth wicket. Ali scored his 13th half-century on day 1.Scorecard of England 1st Innings:Alastair Cook                      b Bumrah                          71Keaton Jennings               c Rahul b Jadeja                   23Moeen Ali                           c Pant b Sharma                50Joe Root                              lbw b Bumrah                    0Jonny Bairstow                 c Pant b Sharma                    0Ben Stokes                         lbw b Jadeja                      11Jos Buttler                           not out                             11SM Curran                           c Pant b Sharma                 0AU Rashid                           not out                               4Extras    (B-25, LB-3)                                                  28Total      (For 7 wicket, 90 overs)                 198Fall of wickets: 1-60, 2-133, 3-133, 4-134, 5-171, 6-177, 7-181.ALSO READ: Petrol prices cross Rs 80-mark in Delhi; Diesel rates touch new level across metrosBowling: Jasprit Bumrah 21-9-41-2, Ishant Sharma 22-10-28-3, Hanuma Vihari 1-0-1-0, Mohammed Shami 22-7-43-0, Ravindra Jadeja 24-0-57-2England have already sealed the series with an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. last_img read more

Clippers wallop Lakers, 106-78, who set new mark for most losses in franchise history

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Los Angeles Lakers will not be in the playoffs this season, and it might be another season or two before they get back there. But their hallway-neighbor Clippers have already qualified for the postseason and they are playing well at the right time, having won nine of 10 prior to Sunday’s game against the Lakers.With the postseason just around the corner, it was interesting to hear the thoughts of Lakers coach Byron Scott regarding how far he believes the Clippers could advance.“I think they feel they can go all the way to win the championship, and that’s how they should feel,” Scott said prior to his team being demolished 106-78 by the Clippers before 18,997 at Staples Center. It was the 56th loss of the season for the Lakers (20-56), most in franchise history. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if they got to the Western Conference Finals or to the NBA championship.“I wouldn’t be surprised if San Antonio got back there, I wouldn’t be surprised if Golden State, you know … But that’s how good the West is.” The Clippers, who led by as many as 43 points (99-56) in the fourth quarter, now have just four games left in the regular season. They still have no idea who they will meet in the first round, or if they will have homecourt advantage,“I would love to have homecourt in the first round,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I think that’s very important, if you could get it. But if you can’t, you can’t. Let me put it this way, if you ask me homecourt or health, I’m taking health every time.”For the Clippers, health would mean the return of sixth-man Jamal Crawford. He missed his 17th consecutive game with a calf injury, but there appears to be a strong chance he’ll return for Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.As it stands, the Clippers are 52-26 and technically in fifth in the West, even though they have a better record than fourth-place Portland (50-26) because the Trail Blazers are winners of their Northwest Division. Still, the Clippers would have homecourt advantage over Portland if the playoffs began today because of their superior record.The regular season still has a few games left to be played, however, and with the teams sitting in the second through sixth spots being separated by only two games, a lot can happen.center_img Scott afterward was asked about setting the record for most Lakers losses. He was not a happy camper.“Obviously, losing doesn’t sit well with me, period,” he said. “I’m not thinking about the record. But the losing doesn’t sit well with me. Hopefully, the losing doesn’t sit well with the guys in the locker room as well.”Even though they have lost more games than any other Laker team, they still don’t have the worst winning percentage. They are currently at .263 and the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers went 19-53 for a percentage of .264. The Lakers went 27-55 in 2013-14.Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 18 points, DeAndre Jordan scored 16 and grabbed 11 rebounds, Matt Barnes scored 14, J.J. Redick 12 and Chris Paul had seven points and 15 assists.The Lakers got 16 points from Wesley Johnson and 10 apiece from Tarik Black and Jabari Brown. The Clippers led 83-54 after three quarters.There wasn’t much of a buzz early on, but a charge was sent through Staples Center when Paul threw a high lob to Jordan, who threw down a body-twisting dunk that brought roars from the crowd.That gave the Clippers a 17-point (39-22) lead, their largest of the first half, and completed an 11-0 run. They have won 10 of 11.“It’s always good to win,” Paul said. “We’re still figuring things out. Right now, it’s all about execution.”Perhaps the prettiest play came from Paul with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Paul dribbled through the legs of a retreating Lakers forward Carlos Boozer, then passed to Austin Rivers, who nailed a 3-point basket for a 72-49 lead.last_img read more