Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Greatest Comebacks in NBA Playoff History

Last night we almost saw two amazing comebacks in the NBA playoffs:

  • In Indiana, the Pacers were down by as many as 30 points to the Hawks in the third quarter before a furious rally cut the deficit to nine points with 1:54 remaining. That was as close as the Pacers would get, though, and they eventually lost by 10 points.
  • In Dallas, the Spurs led the Mavericks by 20 points in the third quarter but saw that lead dwindle to just one point with 0:19 remaining. San Antonio held on, though, for a four-point victory.

Those games got me thinking: What was the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history?

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So Who’s the MIP?

A few years ago I developed a method for identifying the leading candidates for the Most Improved Player (MIP) award. Since the winner of the award for the 2013-14 season will be announced soon, I thought it might be interesting to revisit this topic. I’ve made some minor tweaks to the method since it was first conceived, so let me outline the process before reporting this season’s results.

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The Biggest Fluke Scoring Performances in NBA History (Update)

About six weeks ago I wrote about the biggest fluke scoring performances in NBA history. This past Friday night we had a new name to add to the mix: Corey Brewer, who’s stunning 51-point performance bested his previous career high by 22 points.

Please read the blog post linked above for complete details, but just to summarize a player’s “fluke” score is determined using the following formula:

(Pts – Avg)2 / Avg

where “Avg” is the player’s season scoring average.

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Is Dikembe Mutombo a Hall of Famer?

The Keltner List is a series of subjective questions formulated by famed sabermetrician Bill James used to help assess whether or not a player deserves to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Although the system was designed to evaluate baseball players, with a few minor tweaks it can also be used to assess the Hall-worthiness of basketball players. Today I will assess the Hall of Fame chances of Dikembe Mutombo, who will be eligible for election for the first time in 2015.

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The Horace Grant Conundrum

Horace Grant had a career year in 1991-92, averaging 14.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, shooting a career-high .578 from the field, and he was one of just six players with at least 100 steals and at least 100 blocks.

On the surface those numbers appear to be good, not great, yet he finished the season third in the NBA with 14.1 win shares, and his average of .237 win shares per 48 minutes was good for third as well.

How did this happen? How did a player like Grant manage to contribute so much to the bottom line?

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The 1980s NBA In a Box

My favorite contemporary writer, the incomparable Bill James, has used the “In a Box” concept in several of his books. Basically what James does is choose a topic (e.g., a baseball manager) and then makes an idiosyncratic list of the topic’s defining features. I think the format works well for a blog post, so today I would like to put the the 1980s NBA “In a Box”.

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