Using data and machine learning classification modeling to predict the next generation of NBA stars. Can the data tell us something that our eyes can’t?

Image for post
Image for post
Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox is quickly becoming the NBA’s best PG.

In this article I will look at how classification models perform when trying to predict whether a particular NBA player is likely to hit a certain benchmark or not. This is the second entry in my series on using data to predict NBA player performance. In my previous article I looked at how certain players have gone from having slow starts to their NBA careers to being breakout stars. I conducted some basic Exploratory Data Analysis to see how a player’s draft status (round and pick) relates to his future performance. I measured that future performance using metrics such as PER (player efficiency rating) and win share (more specifically win shares per 48 minutes played). I looked at how those varied from first round picks to second round picks and how they varied from one draft class to the next. From there we were able to make some statistical inferences about how players progress and how teams treat and evaluate players based on where they are drafted and if there is some bias in that analysis. I want to expand on those findings and more specifically see if I can predict whether a particular player will ever achieve a particular minutes played and PER threshold in a given season. …

Image for post
Image for post

The Magic gave up on Victor Oladipo when they traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka. …

The lengths we have to go to be understood

Image for post
Image for post

Growing up in New England I lived through the Bill Belichik Patriots becoming a cultural phenomenon. From 2001 until today the Patriots keep winning and winning and winning. There have been numerous attempts to capture what is so special about Belichik, and how he continues to have success and what is different about the way he goes about constructing, managing, and leading a football team. Inevitably after every playoff run or Super Bowl title there’s an article that refers back to Belichik’s most famous line: “Do Your Job!”.

“Do your job…..well!”

But what Belichik says at the end of this video highlights perhaps the most crucial aspect of the message. …


Patrick Wales-Dinan

Data Scientist with a background in Statistics and Mathematics. Former teacher, current coach to elite athletes and NBA lover. Follow me on Twitter: @pjwd_

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store