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Visualization: The Brightest Stars in the NBA

April 27, 2011
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I’m working on a new metric to quickly measure a player’s single-game contribution (a slightly more complex “game score”). I’ve tabulated the results for every game played this year, and that lets me do this:

Here are the brightest stars in the NBA, by dominant superstar performances this year. I’m giving 3 points for a top 50 performance, 2 points for a top 100 performance, and 1 point for a top 250 performance.

NBA Brightest Stars Wordle

The NBA's Brightest Stars: Wordle Visualization

There have been 25,877 individual performances so far in this NBA season, so just making this chart is significant. Chris Paul has shown the brightest, with 4 Top 50 performances, 4 Top 100 performances (including the top 50–so none between 50 and 100) and 11 total top 250 performances.

There are 4 players who have had 3 Top 50 performances–you know them. These are players who can take over the game completely: Howard, James, Durant, and Ellis. (Yes, Ellis also has several of the worst performances this year.)

There are 10 players that were a flash-in-the-pan. Players that for one, and for only one night, played a game for the ages–and then it was over. You’ll remember them, too: Ty Lawson‘s 10-10 3′s streak. Bargnani going for 41-7-6 on the Knicks. Matt Barnes pouring in 24-7-6 in just 24 minutes without missing any shots. The other 7: Amare Stoudemire, Marcus Thornton, Rudy Gay, Toney Douglas, Carlos Boozer, Andre Miller, and Andris Biedrins. Yes, Amare only had 1 top 250 performance this year.

On the other hand, there were some workmanlike superstars, players with a bundle of top-250 performances this year: Chris Paul had his 11, Kevin Love turned in a massive 10, Howard had 9, Lebron and LaMarcus Aldridge had 8, and Monta Ellis and Zach Randolph had 7 each. No one else had more than 5 top-250 performances.

One final note: Tony Allen had 2 top 50 performances, and 3 top 100 performances. His NBA-wide 13th-best performance of the year line: 9-12 from the floor and 9-12 from the line for 27 pts, with 4 Rbs, 1 Ast, 5 steals, and 3 blocks at OKC to carry Memphis to a win on February 8th.

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6 Responses to Visualization: The Brightest Stars in the NBA

  1. Stathead ยป Blog Archive on April 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    [...] Visualizing the Brightest Stars in the NBA: DStats with a graphic showing the players who had the most great games this season. [...]

  2. EvanZ on April 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Cool stuff. Scary that I’m seeing Monta, Biedrins, and Dorell Wright, but not Curry.

    I love Wordle. I’m surprised it was able to handle this amount of data.

    • DanielM on April 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      If you go to Wordle>Advanced, you can put in names and numbers in the format “Chris Paul:36″ or whatever you calculate, rather than parsing through a big block of text. Besides, I only included players that had one of the top 250 performances this year.

      • EvanZ on April 30, 2011 at 8:30 am

        Oh, thanks! That’s good to know.

  3. DB on April 27, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    No Derrick Rose. This is junk.

    • DanielM on April 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      Over the a in Lebron James.

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