Headline NBA Teams Performance Analysis

Performance Analytics: Still A Long Way To Go

The following is a guest contribution from Marc Rubin of RayRubin Sports Analysts.

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Agent Blog recently posted a link to writer Will Mui’s 4/21/15 article “How The Orlando Magic Prosper With Analytics Despite Relatively Small Market”. The focus of the story was the Magic’s use of statistical analysis relative to their marketing efforts. I applaud their success but wonder why the franchise is NOT being as attentive to their on-court product, a team that finished at only 25-57.

Let’s focus on star PG VICTOR OLADIPO; he was the #2 pick in the entire 2013 draft out of INDIANA. In the 2012/13 season he played only 2 games on “2nd nights of back-to-back” and the 2nd was 3/6/13 when he shot only 4 for 12 in a BIG TEN TOURNEY LOSS to WISCONSIN.

In his ROOKIE year his SHOOTING in “ 2nd games of back –to-backs” was 39.4% in 18 such games; for the other games he shot 42.6%.

That 3.2% difference mushroomed to 7.7% in 2014/15 as he shot only 37.5% in the “2nd night” games versus 45.2% in his others. In the last 7 ORLANDO 2nd nights ( 1/10; 1/26; 2/9; 3/11; 3/18; 4/4 and 4/11) the TEAM went 1-6 and OLADIPO SHOT a BRUTAL 30.6% ( 37/121).

Rookie backup PG ELFRID PAYTON SUFFERED a 2.2% DIFFERENCE ( 40.8% vs 43.0%) and SG EVAN FORNIER in his 1st year in ORLANDO SUFFERED a 3.9% DIFFERENCE ( 41.1% vs 45.0%). However MAGIC players FORWARD TOBIAS HARRIS and CENTER NIKOLA VUCEVIC were NOT AFFLICTED with this problem.

Back on 11/18/14 in an article entitled “What Do Stats Guys Do Beyond Compensation Analysis?” that was posted to, I cited FORWARD AL FAROUQ AMINU as an example of a player with a severe case of the “2nd night” malady.

2011/11 7.8% difference;   2011/12   7.4%         2012/13   6.9%         2013/14     7.8%

I also suggested that besides team management personnel his agent would have incentive to find a remedy. Therefore I was shocked to observe in 2014/15 the difference was again 7.7% as he shot 33 of 93, 35.5% in “2nd nights” versus 114 of 264, 43.2% in his other games. He’s played for the LA Clippers, for New Orleans for 3 years and this past season with Dallas and now he’s set to become a FA . Internet reports mentions the Lakers and Celtics will be potential suitors. The young man will still only be 25 years old when the 2015/16 season starts and hopefully someone will come forward to help him fully achieve his potential.

That’s what analytics can do and I hope the ORLANDO stats personnel will turn their attention to OLADIPO so that he too can continue his growth into an elite NBA PG.