Editor’s note: This post is part of our Sports Analytics Roundup series. You can read more about the series here.
Real Plus-Minus talk: The NBA community continues to discuss ESPN’s unveil last week of Real Plus-Minus. Two of the more popular links actually were podcasts: Grantland’s Zach Lowe talked with Kevin Pelton and Hickory-High’s Ian Levy talked to Andrew Lynch. All four of those guys are really, really smart.
In related articles, Xavier Weisenreder of the Georgetown Sports Analysis blog wrote about the recent "value of steals" article, RAPM and positions. At Hickory-High, Kevin Ferrigan had an awesome article on what Real Plus-Minus might mean. And Mavs Moneyball’s Jonathan Tjarks wrote about Jae Crowder, a player example of some necessary criticism of the statistic.
Sensational Spurs: In case you haven’t realized, the San Antonio Spurs are quietly dominating the NBA. They’re now 62-18 with two games left. If they win both, they’ll set a new franchise single-season record for wins. After their recent 19-game winning streak, The Box Score Geeks’ Arturo Galletti wrote about the historical context of that accomplishment. It was the most dominant 19-game stretch in over 40 years. Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry also shared two graphics about the Spurs recently. And last month, Swetha Prabhakar at Pounding the Rock wrote an open letter to Kawhi Leonard, likely the NBA's most underrated star.
Struggling Pacers: Although the Indiana Pacers are about to clinch the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, they’ve been struggling now for nearly three months. After starting 33-7 this season, they’re 22-19 since. Hickory-High’s Jacob Frankel wrote about recency bias and sample size with regards to the team’s issues. David Finn at NBA Analytics asked what might be wrong. And 8 Points 9 Seconds’ Tim Donahue delved into the numbers of resting the team’s starters and whether that might be hurtful.
Basketball minutiae: Vantage Sports' Krisha Narsu asks whether teams contest more shots in the playoffs. Chicken Noodle Hoop shared pretty neat point distribution charts of the league's top 10 scorers. ESPN Stats & Info's Ryan Feldman shared the historical oddity of Corey Brewer's surprise 51-point outburst. FiveThirtyEight's Carl Bialik finds that a particular college arena where assists are more plentiful. And Inpredictable's Michael Beuoy analyzes the average length of each minute of NBA game time.
Football data: As the NFL Draft approaches in a couple weeks, there continues to be really, really good football content on a number of websites. Football Perspective’s Chase Stuart looks at position values in the NFL, with quarterbacks perhaps slightly undervalued. Pro Football Focus' Nathan Jahnke looks at detailed team blitzing statistics. And Football Outsiders' Scott Kacsmar analyzes the four-minute offense as the prevent style offense.
Soccer analytics: Sky Sports' Adam Bate was at the recent Sports Analytics Innovation Summit in London and has a phenomenal recap article about the future of analytics in soccer (football). Definitely read this one. Here's a quick line:
"Indeed, while it may be more glamorous and high profile than it once was, this notion of the stats geeks working away in a vacuum persists. And while it might be fun to plough on like that, it’s also dangerous if real progress is the goal."
Distribution of fandom: FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver has a pair of interesting blog posts recently on the distribution of North American sports fandom. He used Google Trends data to inform his charts. The first post, with Ritchie King, looked at the distribution of fandom within leagues. The follow-up post then looked at the real “Big Five” of North American sports leagues by total fan distributions.
Baseball: Last week’s roundup featured baseball-only articles. While there still are great articles going on in the baseball world, I wanted to feature other sports this time around. But these two were too good not to share. At Baseball Prospectus, my friend Lewie Pollis shares revised thoughts on the economics of the MLB free agency win market. And the San Francisco Gate's John Shea writes about the growing trend of teams slotting their best hitters in the No. 2 slot of the lineup.
Jacob Rosen is a graduate of the University of Dayton, where he majored in applied mathematical economics and was the school newspaper's editor-in-chief and sports editor. Currently, Jacob (an Akron native) contributes to WaitingForNextYear, a website dedicated to Cleveland sports.