Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1935972
 
 

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NBA Chemistry: Positive and Negative Synergies in Basketball


Allan Maymin


AllianceBernstein

Philip Maymin


NYU Poly - Department of Finance and Risk Engineering

Eugene Shen


AllianceBernstein

October 31, 2013

International Journal of Computer Science in Sport, December 2013, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
We introduce a novel Skills Plus Minus (“SPM”) framework to measure on-court chemistry in basketball. First, we evaluate each player’s offense and defense in the SPM framework based on three basic categories of skills: scoring, rebounding, and ball-handling. We then simulate games using the skill ratings of the ten players on the court. The results of the simulations measure the effectiveness of individual players as well as the 5-player lineup, so we can then calculate the synergies of each NBA team by comparing their 5-player lineup’s effectiveness to the “sum-of-the-parts.” We find that these synergies can be large and meaningful. Because skills have different synergies with other skills, our framework predicts that a player’s value is dependent on the other nine players on the court. Therefore, the desirability of a free agent depends on the players currently on the roster. Indeed, our framework is able to generate mutually beneficial trades between teams. Other ratings systems cannot generate mutually beneficial trades since one player is always rated above another. We find more than two hundred mutually beneficial trades between NBA teams, situations where the skills of the traded players fit better on their trading partner’s team.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: Synergies, chemistry, player rankings, mutually beneficial trades, intangibles, NBA

JEL Classification: L83, G11, G14

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Date posted: September 30, 2011 ; Last revised: October 31, 2013

Suggested Citation

Maymin, Allan and Maymin, Philip and Shen, Eugene, NBA Chemistry: Positive and Negative Synergies in Basketball (October 31, 2013). International Journal of Computer Science in Sport, December 2013, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1935972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1935972

Contact Information

Allan Maymin
AllianceBernstein ( email )
1345 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10105
United States
Philip Maymin (Contact Author)
NYU Poly - Department of Finance and Risk Engineering ( email )
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

Eugene Shen
AllianceBernstein ( email )
1345 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10105
United States
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