Analytic research on basketball games is growing quickly, specifically in the National Basketball Association. This paper explored the development of this analytic research and discovered that there has been a focus on individual player metrics and a dearth of quantitative team characterizations and evaluations. Consequently, this paper continued the exploratory research of Fewell and Armbruster's "Basketball teams as strategic networks" (2012), which modeled basketball teams as networks and used metrics to characterize team strategy in the NBA's 2010 playoffs. Individual players and outcomes were nodes and passes and actions were the links. This paper used data that was recorded from playoff games of the two 2012 NBA finalists: the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The same metrics that Fewell and Armbruster used were explained, then calculated using this data. The offensive networks of these two teams during the playoffs were analyzed and interpreted by using other data and qualitative characterization of the teams' strategies; the paper found that the calculated metrics largely matched with our qualitative characterizations of the teams. The validity of the metrics in this paper and Fewell and Armbruster's paper was then discussed, and modeling basketball teams as multiple-order Markov chains rather than as networks was explored.
- It Takes Five: Basketball Teams Using Network Metrics
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