Nylon Calculus

New data on NBA player passing tendencies can help us visualize the structure of an offense in a new way. Last season I experimented with charting players’ passing tendencies by tracing the path of their assists from the origin of the pass to the point where the scorer caught the ball. But, because I was
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Making quick decisions can give an NBA player an offensive edge. But some players excel by taking their time and holding the ball. Every time an NBA player catches the ball, they are faced with a trio of options — dribble, pass or shoot. A player’s triple-threat tendencies can dramatically affect both the structure of
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Ben Simmons is having a special defensive season and his ability to stretch his positional range has helped keep the 76ers afloat. Ben Simmons‘ combination of size and skill is an exercise in cognitive dissonance. He measures out at 6-foot-10 with the bulk of a power forward but his quickness, ball skills, passing and vision
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The Raptors have been among the most successful teams in the NBA at taking and making wide-open 3-pointers this season. Who else is making it work? Whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo dashes towards the rim, the rationale for the modern NBA’s emphasis on floor spacing becomes abundantly clear. As that burst of size, speed and strength picks
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Brandon Ingram’s box score stats are scraping career-highs. But are all his points really helping the New Orleans Pelicans? Somehow, Brandon Ingram is only 22 years old. The shine of the Hollywood spotlight was unrelenting throughout the former second overall draft pick’s first three seasons in the NBA, allowing the burgeoning basketball populous insight into
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We’re used to James Harden breaking statistical norms and this year he could pass Stephen Curry for the greatest 3-point shooting season ever. As basketball has been remade in the modern era, we’ve become accustomed to absurd statistical outliers — triple-doubles becoming viable for a season-long average, 3-point records falling on a neverending basis, exploring
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Year four of the Kenny Atkinson era in Brooklyn was not supposed to start like this. Why are the Nets struggling? Six years removed from that infamous trade with the Boston Celtics for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Brooklyn Nets completed an incredible rebuild with a “clean sweep” this offseason, signing Kyrie Irving, Kevin
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The Timberwolves are off to a surprising 7-4 start and the evolution of Andrew Wiggins and the team’s previously stagnant offense has been striking. After a relatively quiet offseason, not much was expected of the Timberwolves in a Western Conference crowded with hungry contenders looking to take advantage of the Warriors’ injuries. But a 7-4
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Understanding the science of load management can add context to the discussion about the positives and negatives of resting players. Andrew Patton has over ten years of experience as a strength and conditioning coach working with athletes ranging from Olympians and All-Americans to regular recreational athletes. He is also involved in strength and conditioning research relating
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As the NBA season moves through its second week, a new Nylon Notebook looks at Kawhi Leonard’s playmaking and other statistical outliers. Kawhi’s playmaking Kawhi Leonard has long since established himself as one of the most potent offensive players in the NBA but this season he’s working on another tier. Through five games, Leonard has a
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The NBA‘s regular-season kicked off in earnest on Wednesday night with 11 teams playing their first game. Here are some quick statistical takeaways from the league’s first big slate. Kyrie goes off Kyrie Irving‘s 50-point explosion was a nice way for him to formally introduce himself as a Net. He finished 17-of-33 from the field
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If the Pelicans’ 130-122 overtime loss on opening night is any indication, rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker is going to have plenty of opportunities to make things happen. Zion Williamson‘s injury obviously has enormous ramifications for the Pelicans but the most visceral on opening night, along with the absence of thunderous dunks, was the way it moved
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The Thunder and Pelicans received numerous future first-round draft picks in trades this offseason. What can we say about the value of picks far in the future? In the few years before the 2019 offseason, front offices seemed reticent to part with future unprotected first-round draft picks. No one wanted to repeat the mistakes of
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The proliferation of advanced analytics has meant we now judge a scorer by volume and efficiency. It’s time to really add consistency to the mix. The proliferation of basketball analytics has exponentially increased the number of ways in which we can describe, analyze, and understand the game of basketball. Advances over the last decade have
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