Monthly Archives: June 2014

NBA players by state

Predicting NBA success is incredibly difficult. With the NBA draft coming up I thought I would look at what part of the United States is most likely to produce NBA players. If you take a random child from birth, the formula for NBA success is some combination of culture, infrastructure, access, and genetic lottery. All of these are very difficult to quantify, but using the home states of the current players in the NBA we can get some insight into the first three.

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I found this handy graphic that has some totals and I also have 2013 population estimates to make some quick n dirty NBA players per capita calculations. But first, I’ll check how the number of NBA players varies with population.

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Unsurprisingly there is a strong positive correlation between population and the number of NBA players that come from that area. The predictive ability of population for NBA success is statistically significant at a 95% confidence level with and R-squared value of nearly 73%, meaning nearly 73% of the variance in the number of NBA players from a state is due to the population of that state.

Here are the states reordered by number of active NBA players per 100,000 state residents

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The results are interesting and I don’t have the insight to explain them. The eye test says these results probably don’t correlate with NBA media markets or proximity to successful college programs, but that’s all from the hip. There are a couple of ways I may expand this in the future, with # of NBA teams, # of division 1 college basketball programs, # of AAU clubs, and some kind of childhood nutritional measure, off the top of my head.

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Ass, Shit, Bitch, Fuck

typical_librarian

The new-ish Google Ngram Viewer has been getting some well deserved love from data journalism and number-affiliated word vomit sites (aka my competitors). This tool draws on over 5.2 million books from between 1500 and 2008 that have been digitized by the Google Library Project and gives a graphical representation of how often different words and phrases are used. You can then paint with the world’s broadest brush and conclude that that represents that word/phrase’s place in culture over time.

To see Ngram used really well, take a look at this piece from the ‘Regressing’ blog at Deadspin. To see it used poorly, continue reading.

Before Mr. Fischer-Baum wrote his piece I believe he did a different type of analysis altogether that never got published. In fact, I would bet that if you, the reader, went to the Ngram Viewer now you would do the same thing.

You would type in cuss words.

Because no one was brave enough to post their results, I’ll do it, I’ll be the hero. For my list of words I went with what words off the top of my head would make my poor mother wince

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Some interesting narratives could be teased out of this. First, clearly the 60s were a helluva time. Second, I’m seeing some poop-related correlation between shit and ass. Third, there also seems to be some kind of relationship between anatomical cuss words. To investigate these more I divide into two categories; bad words that are about poop, and bad words that are about the sex bits. I know there’s probably some crossover there but I’m going to ignore that for simplicity.

Butt Stuff
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1997-98 was an incredible time for asses it seems, and I’m determined to know why. Sir Mixalot’s seminal ‘Baby Got Back’ was released in 1992 (conveniently, I was also released in 1992) so that can’t be it. The top song of 1997 was Elton John’s ‘Candle in the Wind’, I don’t think that’s it either. For nearly a decade (1995-2005) its increase in appearance was almost exactly the same as ‘shit”s, which could signal a general cultural acceptance of talking about butt related things, but as I mentioned, making sweeping generalizations about culture based off of Ngram is tricky.

Sex Bits
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Here the story is all about ‘cock’, it’s had a meteoric rise starting in 2000. I actually switched out the data for ‘cock’ with blood-flow to the penis during an erection. You have no way of knowing if I’m lying because the graphs would look the exact same 1985-2008.

JMart, His Dankness

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This popped up on my time line this morning and I have to say I’m a little surprised. It did not surprise me when Justin “Contested 3” Martin left Xavier but none of the programs he’s looking to transfer to seem like vertical moves. Most of this is based on each team’s recent history and my knowledge of them, which is not a lot. I also don’t know enough about basketball schemes to know whether or not Justin “Dribble through the Press” Martin is a good fit for a program, but I assume that variable is approximately equal across all programs he’s looking at.

To see if my assumption was correct about program strength I looked up some basic information on each team. MIN/G is minutes per game.

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The most obvious thing here is that even for it’s strong incoming class, Xavier is losing a large amount of its minutes while the three other schools are retaining the bulk of their program. Incoming class rank is misleading because though 247sports had the most comprehensive list, its ranking of SMU is WAY off espn, rivals, and yahoo, who all have SMU’s class somewhere around 30. Tournament success is also misleading, though Xavier was the only team in the NCAA tournament, SMU and FSU very likely could have been close competitors to Xavier. Overall, it’s clear that none of the three teams JMart is looking at are a clear step up from Xavier.

However, there’s another consideration that may be coloring his decision

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Using data from priceofweed.com (welcome to the future) here is some info someone might want to show Justin “Lazy Ass Layup” Martin.

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Scores here are out of 5, with 5 meaning that laws are heavily enforced and people are intolerant of marijuana smoking

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SMU probably has the best incoming freshman class after Xavier, and they’re retaining a lot of minutes from last year, but it is probably the worst fit on this whole list for JMart. If he did not enjoy his time with the Jesuits, wait until he meets a Methodist. The scores for law enforcement and social acceptance I’m guessing are much higher than for the rest of the state of Texas.

As much as I was not looking forward to watching a team where Justin “Shuffle back on D” Martin was considered the veteran leader, I don’t believe he did himself a great favor by transferring if these are his options. So long JMart.

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