Identifying Trends in the NBA

By: Bryan Povlinski on November 14, 2012

The game of basketball produces a lot of data in the simple, aged box score format. Sites like NBA.com, ESPN.com and other sports media websites do a great job of displaying that data and sorting it by league leaders in each category. There’s even sophisticated splits (Home vs. Away, by month, by opponent, etc) tracked for each player’s statistics. The one component that’s missing is a way to see how each player’s team does when they accumulate a certain threshold of points, rebounds, assists, etc. For example, how often do the Lakers win when Kobe scores over 35 points? How about when he scores less than 20? What’s the Thunder’s winning percentage when Kevin Durant takes more than 25 shots?

The NBA Trends Database will answer those questions and give you insights into how certain players affect a team’s winning percentage. To operate the sheet first Click File > Make a Copy so you now have your own editable copy in your Google Drive account. Then simply type in the player’s name at the top of the “Trends Analysis” tab. There’s one important caveat. This sheet is based off of data pulled from ESPN.com and it requires the player ID to be added in the “Player ID’s” tab. Most of the big name players are already there, but if you’d like to add a player that’s currently not included in that list simply search for that player on ESPN.com and add the player name and ESPN ID to the “Player ID’s” sheet. When you search for the player on ESPN this is the number you’re looking for in the URL:

Let me know in the comments if there’s any additional functionality you’d like to see and I’d love to hear any valuable insights that you find!