Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jordan vs. Kobe: A Comparison of their NBA Finals Statistics

Monday, May 17, 2010

Least Valuable Draft Picks: Tight Ends and Offensive Linemen

It's hard to quantify the (lack of) success for offensive linemen due to the scarcity of statistics to gauge them by.  Nonetheless, these are the biggest busts among O-linemen based on games started (very few) and Pro Bowls (none of them made one).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Least Valuable Draft Picks: Quarterbacks

In response to the NFL's Most Valuable Draft Picks (and Jamarcus Russell being released), I've decided to make a list of the Least Valuable Draft Picks in NFL history (post-merger 1970-2009).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What NFL players would benefit from a position change?

  • Reggie Bush (RB to WR): This one was the easiest as anyone who watches Bush play can clearly tell that he's not someone that seeks contact which is what you want out of your running backs.  A move to WR will give him the opportunity to avoid those 250 lb. linebackers and instead match up with the similarly-sized cornerbacks.  I think Bush would excel in a DeSean Jackson-type role; that way he would line up full-time at WR but could still occasionally run the ball on reverses, end-arounds, etc.-just not in between the tackles.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Is McNabb even worth a second rounder?

Here is a look at notable QBs who have been traded and the compensation received for them.  All of these trades occurred when the quarterback was already an established NFL player; thus, trades such as Elway to DEN, Favre to GB, Young to SF, and Manning/Rivers are not included.

First up is a comparison of QBs who were closest in age to McNabb (33) when they were traded:


Here are other notable QBs who were traded and the compensation received for them:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

2009 NFL All-Rookie Team (Offense)

  • Quarterback: Matt Stafford, DET

Even though Stafford only played 10 games for a 2-win team and Mark Sanchez has started every game except one for a potentially playoff bound team, Stafford gets the edge because he was asked to do more for his team than Sanchez was. The Jets have more talent at every position than the Lions do but can you recall any games this year that Sanchez won himself? I can’t but Stafford had his hand in both of the Lions wins: the victory over the Redskins that ended Detroit’s 19 game losing streak and the historic win over the Browns in which Stafford gutted out a serious shoulder injury. That Browns game is what people will most remember about Stafford’s rookie season whereas this video is what we will most remember about Sanzhez’s rookie season.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This why Darren Sharper is still unsigned

To say that the Saints got Darren Sharper at a bargain in 2009 would be an understatement.  Sharper was the 36th highest paid safety last season at about $1.7 million.  He made less than such guys as Sean Considine (JAX) and Will Allen (TB), two guys who didn't even start for their teams.  With Sharper getting 9 INTs and garnering an All-Pro selection, it's clear that he outplayed his contract that he signed with New Orleans.  So why is he still not signed as of March 23?  The charts below may provide some insight:


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Interesting Stats from 3/19/10 NBA Games

  • Amare Stoudemire scored 44 points on just 16 FGAs in the Suns win over the Jazz.  Since 1986, that is the second most points a player has scored in a game in which he had 16 or fewer FGAs.  Gilbert Arenas had 46 in a game in 2006 on 16 FGAs.
  • LeBron James passed the 15,000 point plateau in route to scoring 29 in the Cavs' win over the Bulls.  James broke Kobe Bryant's records for being the youngest and quickest to 15,000 points.  He reached the mark at 25 while Bryant was 27 and James accomplished the feat in 117 fewer games.
  • The Spurs scored 147 points against the Warriors which is the most they've scored in the Tim Duncan-era.  You would have to go back to a 1990 game vs. Denver to find the last time they scored more (161).
  • Speaking of Duncan, two days after having the worst shooting game of his career vs. Orlando (1 for 10), Duncan had the best shooting game of his career vs. the Warriors by going 8 for 8 from the field.
  • Corey Maggette scored 30 points against San Antonio on only 14 field goal attempts.  It's the fourth time this season he's gone for at least 30 on 14 or fewer FGAs.  Dwight Howard has done it twice but no other player in the league has done it more than once.
  • Tracy McGrady went 0-7 in the Knicks win over the 76ers to give him the worst shooting game of his career.  McGrady went scoreless in 29 minutes of action which is also the most minutes he's played in a game without scoring.
  • Marcus Camby pulled down 19 rebounds in the Trail Blazers win over the Wizards, but he scored just 2 points.  Since 2000 this is just the sixth time a player has had at least 19 rebounds but 2 or fewer points in a game.  Camby's now done it twice, Ben Wallace did it three times and Reggie Evans did it once.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Age Study: NFL Wide Receivers

Note: If a player's birthday occurred during the season, then that entire season would be counted under the age in which he turned.  Ex: Reggie Wayne turned 31 mid-season in November 2009 so his entire 2009 season is classified at the age of 31.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interesting Stats from 3/12/10 NBA Games

  • Chauncey Billups hit 2 three-pointers in the Nuggets win over the Hornets to give him 1560 for his career.  That moves him ahead of Glen Rice and into 6th place all time in three pointers made.
  • Starting in place of Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum recorded 20 assists in the Pistons win over the Wizards.  But Bynum scored just 5 points which is the second fewest a player has scored in a game in which they had at least 20 assists.  Steve Nash had 21 assists and 4 points in a game in 2007.
  • Kevin Durant scored 32 points against the Nets and now has scored at least 25 points in 57 games this season.  To put that into perspective, the most times Kobe Bryant has scored at least 25 points in a season was back in 05-06 (68 times).  But apart from that season, Bryant has never scored at least 25 points as many times as Durant has already done this season.
  • It's hard to win a game whenever you get outrebounded by 13, but it's even harder to win a game whenever just 4 players on the opposing team outrebound your entire team.  That was the case in New Orleans as the Hornets grabbed just 36 rebounds while Nene, Johan Petro, Carmelo, and Chris Anderson combined for 41 boards.
  • Chalk this up to rust after missing 2 games: LeBron James went 3-10 on 3PAs and 6-12 on FTAs in the Cavs win over Philadelphia.  It was his lowest 3P% in a game with at least 10 3PAs and just the fourth time he's shot 50% or lower in FTs in a game with at least 12 FTAs.
  • After committing 7 turnovers on March 5 and then 9 turnovers on March 12, Russell Westbrook now has more 7+ turnover games in the past 8 days than Muggsy Bogues had in 889 career games (1).
  • You would think that simply playing with Steve Nash would help you become a better passer but apparently that's not the case for Robin Lopez.  Lopez has now played 852 minutes this season and only has 5 assists.  However, that's still 5 more assists than Portland's Jeff Pendergraph who has yet to record an assist in 360 minutes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stats Don't Lie is now a part of Sports Blog Net

I am delighted to report that Stats Don't Lie has officially joined Sports Blog Net.  Sports Blog Net is a network of blogs who aim to provide you with the most interesting and insightful sports blogs around.  You can visit their network by clicking on the hyperlink above and I invite you to check out some of their other blogs for more great sports content.  If you fancy yourself a sportswriter or you already have your own blog, you can also contact them to see if you are a match for their network.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Age Study: MLB Stolen Bases

The two biggest percentage drop-offs come at ages 33 and 36. At 33, there are 54% fewer occurrences of 30+ stolen bases seasons than at 32. At 36, there are 47% fewer occurrences of 30+ stolen bases than at 35. No other year-to-year drop-off has a percentage of over 40%. Why is there such a drop-off at these ages? I’ll leave that question to the mathematicians and instead, I will profile players who will be these ages in 2010 and point out their significant stats from ’09 that should help extrapolate their results for 2010. Let’s start with the old guys:
  • Derek Jeter (turns 36 in June; 30 SB in 2009) How much of a difference did hitting first in the Yankees’ lineup affect Jeter’s stolen base opportunities? Jeter had 418 stolen base opportunities in 2009 after having 288 opportunities in 2008 when he hit second. That is a huge difference (just ask Johnny Damon) and let Jeter nearly triple his total of SB from 2008 (11). Those opportunities will still be there in 2010, but there is one stat that leads me to believe that Jeter’s legs won’t be as productive as last year and that is extra bases taken percentage (XBT%). Jeter’s career XBT% is 47% and the 2009 league average was 39%; but Jeter’s 2009 XBT% came in at just 38% which is the second lowest mark in his 14 year career. Need further proof that Jeter’s legs are not what they once were even with the 30 SB in 2009? In 2009 Jeter’s rate of grounding into a double play (GIDP %) was 17% which was 6% higher than the league average and the second highest percentage of his career. Prediction: 18-20 SB (hitting 1st), 14-17 SB (hitting 2nd). 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Interesting Stats from 2/26/10 NBA Games

  • Jason Kidd turned back the clock with his performance against the Hawks.  Kidd had 19 points, 16 rebounds, and 17 assists to score his 103rd career triple double.  This was Kidd's second career game with at least 16-16-16 and he, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird are the only players to have a 16-16-16 statline in the last 29 years.
  • Kidd also had two steals in that game to give him 2309 for his career.  That number puts him ahead of Scottie Pippen for fifth on the career list.  He's now just one steal away from tying Maurice Cheeks for 4th all time.
  • Josh Smith also put up a great statline in that game as he had 18 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 7 steals.  He's only the second player in the last 20 years to reach those numbers in a single game.  It was last done by Kevin Garnett in a 1999 game against the Hawks.
  • The Wizards blocked 13 shots in their loss to the Knicks which more than doubles their season average of 5 blocks per game.  It's the first time that the Washington Wizards blocked that many shots in a game but the Washington Bullets last did so in a 1996 game against the Seattle Supersonics.  I'm sure all the 2 year olds reading this blog are wondering who the Bullets and Supersonics are.
  • Russell Westbrook had 18 points, 15 assists, and 8 rebounds as the Thunder beat the Timberwolves to end their two game skid.  Westbrook, who just turned 21 in November, is the fourth youngest player since 1986 to have at least 15 points and 15 assists in a game.  The only players who were younger are LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Stephon Marbury.
  • You've got to give props to the Rockets for putting an emphasis on making free throws.  Both Luis Scola and Kevin Martin went to the line 14 times in their win over the Spurs, and both players made all 14 of their foul shots.  It's the first time (at least since 1986) that two players had a perfect FT% in a game in which they each had at least 14 attempts.
  • Congratulations to Joe Johnson for getting his much-coveted 4th block of the season in the Hawks loss to Dallas.  The 6'8" uber-athletic Johnson now only needs one more block to match the season total of 5'9" Nate Robinson.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NFL WR Catch % (35-50 Receptions)

This chart shows the Catch % of the NFL wide receivers who had in between 35 and 50 receptions in 2009. This is different than the catch % you may have seen on other sites because this chart completely removes the QB out of the equation. Other sites describe catch % as the number of receptions divided by the number of times targeted. This is simply the number of receptions divided by the number of catchable passes (receptions/(receptions + drops)). For example, if a player had 90 receptions but 10 drops then his catch % would be (90/(90+10)) = 90%. Poor, off-target passes are taken out of the equation so this gauges a receiver's hands instead of factoring in his QB's ability (or inability) to deliver an on-target pass.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NFL Running Backs' Catch %

This chart shows the Catch % of the NFL running backs who had at least 30 receptions in 2009. This is different than the catch % you may have seen on other sites because this chart completely removes the QB out of the equation. Other sites describe catch % as the number of receptions divided by the number of times targeted. This is simply the number of receptions divided by the number of catchable passes (receptions/(receptions + drops)). For example, if a player had 90 receptions but 10 drops then his catch % would be (90/(90+10)) = 90%. Poor, off-target passes are taken out of the equation so this gauges a receiver's hands instead of factoring in his QB's ability (or inability) to deliver an on-target pass.

Monday, February 22, 2010

NFL Tight Ends Catch %

This chart shows the Catch % of the top 30 NFL tight ends in 2009. This is different than the catch % you may have seen on other sites because this chart completely removes the QB out of the equation. Other sites describe catch % as the number of receptions divided by the number of times targeted. This is simply the number of receptions divided by the number of catchable passes (receptions/(receptions + drops)). For example, if a player had 90 receptions but 10 drops then his catch % would be (90/(90+10)) = 90%. Poor, off-target passes are taken out of the equation so this gauges a receiver's hands instead of factoring in his QB's ability (or inability) to deliver an on-target pass.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

NFC WR Catch % (50 or more receptions)

This chart shows the Catch % of the NFC wide receivers with at least 50 receptions in 2009. This is different than the catch % you may have seen on other sites because this chart completely removes the QB out of the equation. Other sites describe catch % as the number of receptions divided by the number of times targeted. This is simply the number of receptions divided by the number of catchable passes (receptions/(receptions + drops)). For example, if a player had 90 receptions but 10 drops then his catch % would be (90/(90+10)) = 90%. Poor, off-target passes are taken out of the equation so this gauges a receiver's hands instead of factoring in his QB's ability (or inability) to deliver an on-target pass.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Interesting Stats from NBA Games, 2/19/10

  • The Memphis Grizzlies managed just 87 points even though they went to double overtime against Miami.  It was the fewest points scored in a double-OT game since Dallas scored 85 in a 1998 game vs. Indiana.
  • The high-scoring Phoenix Suns scored just 88 points in their win over Atlanta, but they still won the game.  Since Steve Nash re-joined the team in 2004, it was only the third time that Phoenix won a game despite reaching 90 points.
  • In that same game, Phoenix made only 2 three-pointers which is the fewest they've made in a game since not making any on March 27, 2004 which was the last season before the Nash-era began.
  • Though Orlando lost to Dallas, Dwight Howard had a Superman effort with 29 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots.  Since the start of the 2007 season, Howard now has 6 games where he's posted a 25-15-5 statline.  The rest of the NBA has combined for just 6 such games over that same period.
  • Since his 55 point game in November, the season has just gone downhill for Brandon Jennings.  Jennings went 1-13 from the field against Detroit but still managed to finish with 10 points.  Jennings month-by-month FG% from October to February looks like this 52%-42%-38%-32%-31%.
  • Darren Collison recorded a triple double with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists (and also 8 turnovers).  The UCLA rookie is the 5th youngest player since 2000 to have a 12-12-12 statline in a game.  The others from youngest to oldest were LeBron, CP3, Jay Williams, and Gilbert Arenas.
  • It was a very inauspicious debut for Antawn Jamison with the Cavs as he went 0-12 and finished with 2 points.  Since 2000, only 7 other players went 0-12 (or worse) from the field in a game including Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, and Gilbert Arenas.
  • Since coming into the NBA in 1967, no team has blocked more shots than the San Antonio Spurs.  But they failed to block any shots in their loss to the 76ers on Friday.  It was only the 11th time in the last 20 years (start of David Robinson-era) that San Antonio did not block a shot in a game.

Friday, February 19, 2010

AFC WR Catch % (50 or more receptions)

This shows the Catch % of the AFC wide receivers with at least 50 receptions in 2009. This is different than the catch % you may have seen on other sites because this chart completely removes the QB out of the equation. Other sites describe catch % as the number of receptions divided by the number of times targeted. This is simply the number of receptions divided by the number of catchable passes (receptions/(receptions + drops)). For example, if a player had 90 receptions but 10 drops then his catch % would be (90/(90+10)) = 90%. Poor, off-target passes are taken out of the equation so this gauges a receiver's hands instead of factoring in his QB's ability (or inability) to deliver an on-target pass.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Rashard Mendenhall is so Vital to Ben Roethlisberger's Success

If I told you that Ben Roethlisberger posted a QB rating of 92.1 in the shotgun you may wonder why the Steelers don’t use that formation more often. But if I then told you that Roethlisberger has a QB rating of 109.9 when under center, then you may wonder why the Steelers use the shotgun period. That’s the question I’m wondering as well after Roethlisberger’s QB rating under center jumped 24 points from 2008 when it was around 85.

Perhaps the biggest reason why there was such a large jump for Big Ben is because of one player: Rashard Mendenhall. In 2008 the Steelers didn’t have much of a running game; the combo of Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore combined for just 3.9 yards per carry. In 2009 Mendenhall averaged 4.6 yards per carry, good enough for 7th in the league for players with at least 200 carries. The reason why Mendenhall helps Roethlisberger when he’s under center is because of the threat of the run. Defenses have to prepare for the run or the pass from that formation which means they can’t commit to one or the other. Put 8 in the box and Pittsburgh will throw the ball. Drop your safeties 20 yards from the line of scrimmage and you can expect a handoff to Mendenhall. But when Roethlisberger is in the shotgun, then the defense knows what to expect. There’s no threat of the run so the defenders can just watch the man they are covering or the zone they are occupying and pay no attention to the running back. Take a look at the chart below and you can clearly see when the Steelers spread the field with receivers and take the threat of the run out of the equation, Roethlisberger’s rating recedes like Santonio Holmes’ hairline. Yes the numbers are somewhat ambiguous as related to being under center vs. the shotgun due to the Steelers running multiple-receiver sets while Roethlisberger is under center. But for the shotgun, there is ALWAYS at least 3 receivers in the formation. (In the chart below, receivers are defined as any player split wide or in the slot including running backs and tight ends who are flexed out).

Interesting Stats from 2/9/10 NBA Games

  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas struggled against the Nets by going 1-10 for just 2 points.  It is the tenth time this season that Big Z has scored 2 or fewer points in a game.  Before this season, Big Z had played in 705 games and scored 2 or fewer points a total of 10 times.
  • Even though Shaq only scored 7 points vs. New Jersey, he was still active in other areas.  He also had 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.  It's just the third time since 2001 that Shaq had at least 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in a game.
  • The Houston Rockets were dreadful in all facets of the game vs. Miami as they finished with just 66 points which ties a franchise low.  They also became only the second team since 1986 to have fewer than 9 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in a single game.  The other was the Knicks on Dec. 23, 2007 but they managed to score 90 points in their game.
  • Udonis Haslem came off the bench to pull down 14 rebounds against the Rockets, and all of them were defensive rebounds.  He is the only player this year to grab 14 defensive rebounds in a game despite not starting.
  • Ty Lawson's had a fairly pedestrian night against the Mavericks with 13 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds.  But he did this in just 21 minutes which makes him the first player this season to record a 10-5-5 statline in 21 or fewer minutes.
  • Joe Smith has never been known as a pick-pocketter in his career but this is kind of embarrassing: Smith has played 321 minutes this season and only has 1 steal!  But Jonathan Bender has a chance to catch him as he's played 212 minutes and has yet to record a steal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Philip Rivers: King of the Long Ball

Every time I watched the Chargers play, it always amazed me how often Philip Rivers hooked up with one of his receivers for a deep pass. Lots of QBs pile up big numbers because their receivers gain YAC but it always seems that with the Chargers, most of their yardage comes from when the ball is in the air (Sproles not withstanding). Thus, I tracked down the stats of all of the playoff QBs' numbers when they throw a pass 30 or more yards.

It's important to note that these are not 30+ yard pass plays but rather only plays in which the ball was in the air for 30 or more yards. Here are the yardage results on these plays as well as the number of 30+ yard pass completions for each QB:

Rivers' efficiency in throwing the deep ball is unparalleled; in fact, McNabb and Romo were the only QBs who had more 30+ yard completions than Rivers had 40+ yard completions (7). It certainly helps to have a pair of 6'5" receivers who can go up and pull down the pass but you still have to be accurate enough to put the receiver in such a position. Much was made of Rivers' funky throwing motion when coming out of NC State, but none of that should matter for any QB as long as he can put the ball where it needs to be.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

10 Things to Know before the Super Bowl

  • The average number of points scored by the winning Super Bowl team is 30.1 points while the average for the losing team is 15.3 points.  However, those numbers are somewhat skewed by the assortment of rule changes that have favored the offenses.  Before the adoption of the illegal contact penalty in 1978, the average score was 23.4 to 9.6.
  • Drew Brees has yet to win a playoff game outside of the Superdome.  If the Saints win the Super Bowl then Brees will become just the 8th QB to have his first career non-home playoff win come in the Super Bowl.  The last to do it was the recently retired Kurt Warner in 1999.
  • By the time Super Bowl XLIV starts, it will have been exactly 400 days since the Colts lost a game in which Peyton Manning played into the 4th quarter and 504 days since they lost to a team that plays a 4-3 defense under that same condition.
  • Speaking of 4-3 defenses: the Colts will finally play one in the playoffs for the first time since Super Bowl XLI against the Bears.  Indy has not lost a playoff game to a 4-3 team since January 4, 2003.
  • If Adam Vinatieri plays vs. the Saints then it will be his sixth Super Bowl which will tie the most ever by a single player (Mike Lodish).  If the Colts win then Vinatieri will have five Super Bowl wins which will tie him with Charles Haley for the most all-time.
  • The Colts’ current starting kicker, Matt Stover turned 42 on January 27, 2010 which means he will be the oldest player to ever play in the Super Bowl once the game comes around.
  • Jim Caldwell will seek to become the 3rd rookie head coach to win a Super Bowl joining George Seifert and Don McCafferty.  Like Seifert (Walsh) and McCafferty (Shula), Caldwell is following in the footsteps of a hall of fame coach (Dungy) and all 3 coaches had the luxury of coaching a QB that can arguably be considered the greatest of all time.  (McCafferty had Unitas, Seifert had Montana, and Caldwell has Manning).
  • Drew Brees has fumbled 6 times in 5 career playoff games and he has fumbled 12 times in 17 games played this season.  That’s not good news especially considering the fact that Robert Mathis leads the NFL with 31 FFs since 2004 and Dwight Freeney is 3rd over that span with 23 FFs.
  • If the Saints are to win then Brees will have to overcome his history of poor performances in Miami.  In two career games at Pro Player/Dolphin Stadium, Brees has thrown 1 TD compared to 4 INTs while being sacked 8 times.
  • Speaking of playing surface, Brees has struggled when playing on grass this year as compared to turf while Manning has actually played better on grass than turf despite playing his home games in a dome.  Here is how their numbers stack up when playing on grass:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interesting Stats from 2/3/10 NBA Games

  • Marcus Camby had 6 points and 20 rebounds in the Clippers' loss to the Hawks.  It was the 11th time since 2005 that Camby had at least 20 boards but fewer than 10 points in a game.  No other player has done it more than once during that timeframe.
  • The Bulls lead the NBA with 6.4 blocks per game (entering Wed.) but they failed to block a single shot against 76ers.  It was the first time since November 24, 2006 that the Bulls did not block a shot in a game and on that day the Bulls also happened to be playing Philadelphia.
  • The Wizards attempted just 7 free throws in their loss to the Knicks who attempted only 8 of their own.  In other words, those two teams combined to shoot as many free throws in their game as LaMarcus Aldridge (11-15 FT) did by himself against the Jazz.
  • Since 2003 only 2 players have had at least 30 points, 13 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks in a game: Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.  Wade did it again on Wednesday night to give him 4 career games with those numbers which nudges him just past LeBron who has 3 such games.
  • If I told you a Warrior had 46 points on just 23 FGAs, then you'd probably think it was Corey Maggette.  I know I would but it wasn't Maggette who did that vs. the Mavs, but rather his teammate Monta Ellis.  Ellis was 17-23 from the field (4-6 on 3PAs) and 8-13 from the free throw line in what was his career high scoring game.
  • Utah shot 62.5% from the field and 90.6% from the line in their win over Portland.  It's only the 7th time since 2000 that a team shot at least 60% on field goals and 90% on free throws in a game.  Not surprisingly, those teams are 7-0 in those games.
  • Kobe Bryant scored just 5 points in 37 minutes in the Lakers' win over the Bobcats.  It was the fewest points he's scored in a game since January 13, 2005 (when he played just 6 minutes).  But in games in which he's played at least 30 minutes (now 821 after Wednesday), Bryant's 5 points is a new career-low.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Charlie Weis has his hands full in KC

When you take a look at Matt Cassel's 2008 stats and you factor in the appointment of Charlie Weis as Chiefs' OC, you realize that Kansas City is faced with a paradox: Charlie Weis loves to employ the spread offense which frequently has at least 3, but often 4 or 5 receivers on the field at a time. But Cassel struggles in multiple receiver sets where its tougher to read defenses and throw the ball downfield. (With the stats above, receivers are counted as anyone who lines up out wide or in the slot; thus, running backs and tight ends flexed out are counted as receivers).

So what should the Chiefs do? Forcing Cassel into the spread could be like fitting a square peg into a round hole. I thought about the Chiefs possibly utilizing Cassel more in the shotgun which would give him a little more time to avoid the rush and a better look at the defensive alignment. However, that idea was put to rest once I saw these stats:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Q: How does the NBA spell efficiency? A: M-A-G-G-E-T-T-E

I've always loved how Corey Maggette can go off for 30 points on any given night and do it in just 12-15 shots. That kind of efficiency is usually only seen in post players who are fouled often and go to the line 6+ times per game. In fact, nearly all of his points come from either driving to the hoop and finishing or driving to the hoop, getting fouled, and sinking his free throws (84%). Thus, I decided to look at all the players who primarily play the 1, 2, or 3 and chart their points per shot (PPS) compared to their height.

Interesting Stats from 1/29/10 NBA Games

  • LeBron James filled up the box score Friday night by compiling 22 points, 13 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals.  LBJ became since Chris Mullin in 1995 to have at least 20 points, 13 assists, and 4 blocks in a game.
  • Danny Granger went 6-23 from the field vs. the Cavs to give him a dubious distinction.  He is the first player this season to shoot under 27% in a game in which a player took at least 23 field goal attempts.
  • As a team, the Pacers made just 5 free throws vs. Cleveland.  It was just the 7th time since 1986 that Indiana has made 5 or fewer free throws in a game.
  • Paul Pierce was efficient from both the field (11-15) and from the line (12-13) in the Celtics' loss to Atlanta.  Pierce joined Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili as the only players to score at least 35 points in a game with 15 or fewer field goal attempts.
  • Mike Bibby scored just 2 points in 9 minutes of action vs. Boston.  It's the fourth time in the last 8 games that Bibby has scored 2 or fewer points in a game.  That is something that he only did 4 times all of last season and he did not do it a single time from 2002-2006.
  • The Pistons scored just 65 points in their home loss to Miami.  It was the second time this season that Detroit scored 65 or fewer in a home game.  Prior to this season, they had done that just once in the previous 22 seasons and they actually won that game (64-62 vs. Utah on March 13, 2005).
  • Marcus Camby filled the box score vs. Minnesota with 10 points, 19 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.  The 19-5-4 reb-ast-stl stat line is pretty rare as Camby is just the fifth player since 2000 to accomplish that in a single game.  The others were LeBron, KG, Elton Brand, and Antoine Walker.
  • Congrats to Serge Ibaka of the Thunder for getting his much-coveted 4th assist of the season.  Ibaka has played 621 minutes this season and now has 4 assists which puts him miles ahead of Hasheem Thabeet who has played 446 minutes and has 3 assists.  However, both of those players pale in comparison to Jeff Pendergraph of the Trail Blazers who has now played in 280 minutes WITHOUT A SINGLE ASSIST!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Look at QB Rating Allowed by the Top Cornerbacks

  • Perhaps 2009 was Ronde Barber's last season (at CB at least).  He played 1059 snaps (4th most among CBs) but failed to get an INT for the first time in his career.  He also allowed the second highest QB rating when thrown at and only at 6 PDs which was tied for 41st in the league.
  • Nnamdi Asomugha was only thrown at 22 times!  That's fewer than 2 passes per game and 19 fewer times than the second-least targeted CB, Al Harris (who missed nearly half the season).
  • Darrelle Revis certainly lived up to his rep as the NFL's best cover corner.  He allowed just 2 TDs-to Randy Moss (view video-starts at 1:12) and to Ted Ginn (view video) despite being thrown at 111 times which was the 3rd most in the NFL.  Revis also led the NFL in pass deflections and allowed a completion % of 36.9 which was also the best in the league.
  • It's no surprise the Rams are picking first as their CBs finished first and seventh in terms of highest QB rating allowed.
  • Tracy Porter of the Saints had the most passes thrown at him without allowing a TD.  He allowed 44 receptions (80 attempts), 0 TDs, and 4 INTs.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Look at Yards Gained after Contact for each NFL RB

Rushing yards after contact is one of my favorite statistics to evaluate because it tells you so much about the running back as well as the offensive line. For the chart below, the higher your percentage is then the better your running back is independent of his O-line. Conversely, the lower the percentage then the better the RB's O-line/FB is at creating space.

  • Exactly 50% of Thomas Jones' yards (701 of 1402) were gained after contact-the lowest percentage among starting RBs. That is a great testament to the Jets' O-line (and Tony Richardson) creating space for Jones to run. But his teammate and postseason star Shonn Greene had over 64% of his yards gained after contact which makes you wonder how he would have done given a full load.
  • Thomas Jones' brother, Julius Jones, was 31st in rushing yards so he just missed the cut be he had 66% of his yards gained after contact.
  • Larry Johnson wasn't among the top 30 rushers but of the 50 players with at least 100 rushing attempts, he had the highest percentage of yards gained after contact with 77.4%.
  • Others who topped 70% but weren't among the top 30 rushers: Clinton Portis (71.1%), Tim Hightower (71.4%), Michael Bush (71.6%), and Jason Snelling (73.9%), and Marshawn Lynch (75%).
  • Other notables include: Tashard Choice (35.5% - lowest in league), Reggie Bush (36.9%), Brian Westbrook (46%), and Ronnie Brown (68.5%).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Interesting Stats from 1/22/10 NBA Games

  • Kevin Durant scored 30 points in the Thunder's loss to the Grizzlies which is his 17th straight game with at least 25 points. Only 8 other players in the league have 17 25-point games total this season.
  • Dwight Howard, who was a 59.4% free throw shooter entering Friday, went 11-12 from the free throw line in Orlando's win over Sacramento. It was the 179th game in his career that he had at least 10 free throw attempts, but it was the first time among those 179 games that he made over 90% of his attempts.
  • Boris Diaw went 0-5 from the field and did not attempt any free throws in 35 minutes of play for the Bobcats. This is the second time this season that Diaw has played at least 35 minutes in a game without scoring a point. The only other players to do that are Steve Blake (36 minutes) and Chris Duhon (39 minutes).
  • Danny Granger went 14-14 from the free throw line in the Pacers' win over Detroit. Only Kevin Durant (18-18), Kobe Bryant (16-16), Michael Redd (15-15), and Dwyane Wade (15-15) attempted more free throws in a game this year without missing one.
  • Ryan Gomes started and played 20 minutes for the Timberwolves but you would hardly know it. Not only did Gomes have 0 points, but he also did not have any rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, or even any turnovers.
  • Congratulation to Tim Duncan who reached the 20,000 points plateau against the Rockets. Duncan did it by scoring 25 points and going 15-21 from the free throw line. The 21 attempts is the most ever by Duncan in a game and the 15 makes is 2 short of his career high.
  • Another congratulations goes out to Hasheem Thabeet for picking up his 3rd assist of the year in the Grizzlies win over the Thunder. Thabeet still has a lot more minutes to play to catch the Thunder's Serge Ibaka who has 3 assists this season in 564 minutes. At Ibaka's current rate of one assist every 11.667 games, he would have to play every game through the 4257-4258 NBA season to catch John Stockton's all-time mark (that's not an exaggeration).
  • Derrick Rose scored 32 points against the Suns and nearly all of it came from inside the arc. Rose made just one free throw and one three pointer while going 15-21 from the field. He becomes the only player this season to score at least 32 in a game without making more than one 3-pointer or more than one free throw.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This is why half of Philly wants McNabb gone

I guess it wasn't just the Super Bowl in which Donovan McNabb got tired in the second half. Here is a look at how his passer rating dips from the first half to the second half-both in 2009 and for his career.

This chart doesn't exactly scream "clutch" which is what every fan wants from his team's starting QB. This stat doesn't help McNabb's case either in terms of getting in the good graces of Philadelphia: In 2009 when the Eagles were within 7 points (in either direction) during the 4th quarter, McNabb did not throw a single TD pass (48 pass attempts). BTW just for comparison's sake, JaMarcus Russell threw 2 TDs in these situations in 15 fewer pass attempts. Ouch!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interesting Stats from 1/18/10 NBA Games

  • David Lee has played in 328 career games and has dished out at least 5 assists in 18 of those games. Of those 18, half of them have come in the last 15 games after he did it vs. the Pistons on MLK day.
  • In that same game and for just the second time in the last 23 years, the Detroit Pistons took at least 12 three-point attempts in a game without making a single one. The only other time was in a game in 1999 when they went 0-13.
  • Jon Brockman played 30 minutes in the Kings' loss to the Bobcats and pulled down 14 rebounds. However, he did not score a point which makes him the only player this season to grab at least 14 boards without scoring a single point. By the way Dennis Rodman accomplished this 10 times in the 93-94 season.
  • Three days after scoring 32 points on just 14 shots, Corey Maggette did the exact same thing against the Bulls. Maggette now has 3 of the 5 instances this year in which a player has scored at least 32 on 14 or fewer shots. Efficiency is spelled M-A-G-G-E-T-T-E.
  • Monta Ellis attempted 39 field goals against the Bulls and finished with 36 points. Since 1986 only one player has attempted at least 39 shots in a game while scoring fewer than Ellis' 36. Michael Jordan scored 29 points on 39 shots vs. the Spurs in a 1997 double-OT game.
  • After scoring just 11 points in the Lakers' win over Orlando, Kobe Bryant has scored 16 or fewer points 5 times this month. From 2005-2007 he did it just 4 times total.
  • Joe Johnson is 6'8", a great athlete, and often guards PGs who are half a foot shorter than him. But for the life of him, he can't block a shot. He has just 2 on the year which is the same number that 5'11" Ty Lawson has even though he's played over 600 fewer minutes than Johnson.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Crunching Numbers: Stats from Divisional Round

  • If it wasn't for the Saints then how many Super Bowls would Kurt Warner have played in? After losing to New Orleans in the division round, Warner's record is now 8-2 in the NFC playoffs with both losses (2000 and 2009) coming to the Saints.
  • Warner did not throw a TD pass in the loss to the Saints which marks the only time in his 13 career playoff games that he failed to throw for a score.
  • Reggie Bush is the first player to have both a rushing TD and a punt return TD in a single playoff game.
  • Peyton Manning has thrown 16 INTs in in the playoffs since 2003. Of those 16 picks, 10 have come by just three players: Ty Law (5), Ed Reed (3), and Rodney Harrison (2).
  • In his 23rd career playoff start (tied with Montana for most all-time), Brett Favre threw 4 TD passes which is the most he's ever thrown in a playoff game.
  • Over the Chargers last 6 playoff games, LaDainian Tomlinson has run for just 124 yards on 47 carries (2.6 yards per carry).
  • Of his 87 regular season FGAs at home, Nate Kaeding has missed 7 field goals. Of his 9 playoff FGAs at home, Kaeding has missed 6 field goals.

Interesting Stats from 1/15/10 NBA Games

  • Samuel Dalembert was 7-7 from the field and finished with 17 points ans 12 rebounds. The native Haitian has been playing with a heavy heart since the earthquake in his native land and since that disaster, Dalembert is 13-15 from the field with 29 points and 33 rebounds in 2 games.
  • Allen Iverson played 34 minutes against the Kings but still finished without any rebounds, steals, or blocks. This was the third time this season Iverson has posted donuts in those 3 categories in the same game; in his previous 13 seasons in the league, Iverson did that just four times total.
  • Antwan Jamison played 55 minutes in the Wizards double-overtime loss to the Bulls without making a single turnover. Since 1986 that is the third most minutes a player has played in a game without committing a turnover. Popeye Jones did it in 56 minutes in a game in 1996 and Dan Majerle also did it in 1996 when he played 58 minutes in a game.
  • For just the third time since 1986, a team committed 6 or fewer turnovers in a double-overtime game. The Wizards did so against the Bulls in their double OT loss on Friday night.
  • Serge Ibaka and Hasheem Thabeet have played a combined 858 minutes this season. After each player went assist-less last night; they still have only combined for 4 assists this year (2 for each player). Yinka Dare watch out.
  • Kevin Durant had 8 turnovers against the Mavericks but contributed 0 assists. A lack of assists isn't always one player's fault (his teammates have to make the shots) but that is a weird stat. 8 turnovers and 0 assists in a game has only been accomplished 3 times this season (Durant, Al Jefferson, Tyson Chandler).
  • Corey Maggette was amazingly efficient against the Bucks in scoring 32 points on just 14 field goal attempts. It was the second time this year he's gone for at least 32 on 14 or fewer shot attempts; the rest of the NBA has combined to do it just twice as well.
  • Though his team got shellacked by 40 points by the Lakers, Sebastian Telfair came off the bench to dish out 11 assists in just 20 minutes. It's the first time this year a player had at least 10 assists in 20 or fewer minutes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Comparing QB Rating to 2009 Salary

This chart shows how each team's QB performed in relation to their total salary cap value for the 2009 season. By cap value I mean the amount that each player costs his team in regards to the salary cap for this season. I chose to use cap value over total salary because the total salary numbers are inflated for those players who signed new contracts in 2009. Also, total salary takes into account signing bonuses, performance bonuses, roster bonuses, workout bonuses and many other incentives which are often unavailable to the public. Thus, the amount a player costs his team to their salary cap is the best, and most convenient, statistic to use.

Dodgers Re-sign Matt Kemp; Rihanna not included

The Dodgers re-signed their Gold Glove CF Matt Kemp to a 2-year deal worth $10.95 million according to the LA Times. He hit .297 with 26 HRs and 101 RBIs last year and he also stole 34 bases. This is a great deal for the Dodgers as Kemp put up these numbers despite Juan Pierre stealing some PAs from him (when Manny wasn't suspended). With Pierre now on the South Side of Chicago, Kemp could and should be a 30-30 guy who hits .300 and scores and drives in 100+ runs. That sounds like a first round fantasy pick to me.

Not only is Kemp a gold glover on the field; it appears he's also one of the field as he's reportedly dating singer, Rihanna. I'm not a gossip junkie so I'll just leave you with the pictures.

Has Anquan Boldin played his last game as a Cardinal?

Boldin is unlikely to play against the Saints on Saturday and if the Cards lose then he may never play for Arizona again. For two years now Boldin has expressed his displeasure with his contract especially after Larry Fitzgerald singned a new deal and the Cardinals' front office refused to re-negotiate Boldin's contract. Fitz is making $10.7 million more than Boldin this season and though they aren't of the same caliber, Boldin is still an upper-echelon WR whose salary should match his production.

With the emergence of Early Doucet (who's making just $385,000) and the likelihood that Kurt Warner will retire after this season, it appears as the Cardinals' offensive scheme could be entirely different next year. Matt Leinart or whomever is playing QB (if not Warner) wouldn't have the same authority as far as play-calling and audibles that Warner has had over the past few years. If that's the case then look for the Cards to become a more balanced team a la the Carolina Panthers-a team that uses the dual-RB system and features one star receiver.

Of course, all of this speculation could be delayed if the Cardinals beat the Saints.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Will Pete Carroll go after his former Trojans?

Now that Pete Carroll is at the helm of Seattle, it's time to start wondering if he will try to lure some of his former USC players to his new team. It's certainly not uncommon as Steve Spurrier did the exact same thing with the Redskins. Once he joined the NFL, Spurrier signed former Gators such as Danny Wuerffel, Shane Matthews, and Jacquez Green. So what former Trojans could Carroll sign or trade for?
  • John David Booty - Booty was with the Vikings before the Favre saga but he was cut and now all he has is a "future contract" with the Texans. Yes, that's the exact name of the contract. He would be the 3rd string QB (behind Schaub and Rex Grossman) or in other words one misstep from being out of the league. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Hasselbeck could be traded to Cleveland to reunite with Mike Holmgren which would open the need for a QB. No, Booty is not starting material but he could be the guy who helps teach Carroll's system to whichever QB the Seahawks draft in the first round.
  • LenDale White - White clearly won't be getting many touches in Tennessee with CJ there and he is also a restricted free agent after completing his rookie contract. If the Titans elect not to tender him (and there's a good possibility that they won't) then I could see White going to Seattle to form another thunder and lightning backfield with Justin Forsett who has a similar skill set to Reggie Bush.
  • Dwayne Jarrett - A 2x All-American at USC, Jarrett has undoubtedly underachieved in Carolina with only 33 receptions in 3 years. From Mike Williams to Jarrett to Patrick Turner, Carroll has always liked him big, tall receivers who are redzone threats. If Muhsin Muhammad retires or is released then Carolina will likely keep Jarrett but if Moose sticks around another year, then I could see him asking for a trade. Besides, Carolina's offense is tailored to their 2 RBs and Steve Smith which doesn't leave much action for the rest of the skill players.
  • Reggie Bush - I threw him in here because there is the minute possibility that the Saints could try to trade him if Bush doesn't agree to restructure his contract that would pay him $8 Million in 2010. Of the players on this list, Bush becoming available has the smallest chance of happening but if he does then Carroll bringing him to Seattle has the best chance of happening out of all the players mentioned.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random Notes from 2009 NFL Season

  • What do Matt Schaub and JaMarcus Russell have in common? Not much besides being QBs but they were also the only starting quarterbacks that did not commit a penalty all year. Now whether Russell can be considered a starting QB (or a legit NFL player in general), that's debatable. Schaub was penalty-free in 1066 snaps and Russell was the same in 560 snaps.
  • Despite being 3rd in the NFL in passer rating, Aaron Rodgers had more dropped passes (45) by his receivers than any other QB had. But JaMarcus Russell had the highest percentage of his pass attempts dropped (10.5%) than any other player. Not surprisingly, Darrius Heyward-Bey led the NFL in lowest catch % as he caught only 23.7% of passes thrown to him.
  • Robert Meachem, Greg Camarillo, and Jason Avant, and Reggie Bush were the only players to catch at least 40 passes without having a single drop.
  • If you only counted rushing yards after contact then Chris Johnson would still be a 1,000 yard rusher. CJ had 1071 yards after contact to lead the NFL but Jamaal Charles' 3.6 yards after contact per rushing attempt was the highest average.
  • Who was the worst at gaining yards after contact? BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mewelde Moore, Lousaka Polite, and Brandon Jackson were the only players who had at least 25 carries but failed to break a single tackle.
  • How does Josh Cribbs score so often on punt returns? He takes the most chances as indicated by his league-low 3 fair catches (on 40 punts in play). By comparison Antwaan Randle El had 36 punts in play and returned only 17 while fair catching 19 times.
  • Donovan McNabb had 18 passes batted at the line of scrimmage which was the most in the NFL. Who had the fewest? Surprisingly it was Philip Rivers who only had 2 passes batted at the LOS despite his funky, three-quarters delivery.
Thanks to Neil Hornsby and the entire team for tracking these stats. I enjoyed working with you all last year.

First Blog


(deleting awkward introduction)

This is my sports blog.