1. The bonds are acting more like the S&P futures of the old days, and the S&P futures are acting more like the bonds of the old days. This is the kind of co-evolution that one sees so much between plants and animals. My statement would have to be quantified, but it is patently apparent to my many followers.

2. The biggest mistake a person can make in life or markets that is easiest to correct is getting in over the head.

3. The Knicks are like the person who has a system that is guaranteed to fail because of poor money management or excessive slippage. They are endlessly creative in losing. They cant win because they have a bad coach, and what Marbury says about the coach having a system that worked 10 years ago but is not applicable could be said about most market systems. Marbury is a reprehensible personage in my book, typified by his refusal to play when asked last year. No wonder no coach will touch him, aside from the fact that he's a shooting star who's not fast or accurate enough to be good anymore, but even a reprehensible person could say something true because he's not beholden to anyone. In case, I am always inspired by the many ways the Knicks have of losing, (they're currently on a 6 game streak). Yesterday they lost never being ahead at any time during the game. Considering the number of minutes, it's highly improbable, although I would guess it's true in 15% of all games. In any case I looked to see how many times the market is up each hour of the day, and whether that's bullish or bearish. I found no regularities, except that it's bullish for the fest of the day if it's happened every hour until 300 pm, except that it hasn't worked for the last 2 years. Surprisingly the market registers up every hour of the day 1/4 of all days, and it's down every hour of the day, about 22% of all days.

4. It is an interesting exercise to estimate the expected move of a dependent variable from an independent variable being up or down on the day given it's correlation. I have found a useful approximation to be that the expected value is the mean change + 90% of the standard deviation. For example, if the correlation between bonds and stocks is 0.20 and the standard dev of stocks is 10, then when bonds are up, you can expect stocks to be up 1.8. I don't believe it sensible to give a closed form solution of this, given all the mixed up distributions and varying parameters, and relations between the absolute deviation and the standard deviation, and up or down, although one is certainly possible.

Pitt T. Maner III responds:

About the knicks: a statistical anomaly. Ostensibly a loss due to fewer free throws. Was there a dribble off the foot near the end as contributing factor?

"They made more field goals. They made more 3-pointers.
They had more rebounds.
They had more assists.
They had fewer turnovers.

And they had more blocked shots.

The Elias Sports Bureau told us that the last 266 times a team outperformed its opponent in all of those statistical categories, that team won the game.

Except the Knicks didn't win. They lost again, 120-118, their sixth straight defeat, this one starting a tough West Coast road trip.

The last team to lose a game despite meeting all of the criteria listed above were the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost to the Toronto Raptors, 95-87 on November 22, 2006, a game Cleveland lost despite those edges, and 30 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and four steals from LeBron James. "…..

Lars Van Dort adds:

Dean Oliver is for basketball analysis what Bill James is for baseball analysis. Oliver is known for identifying the 'Four Factors' that win basketball games, in this ranking of importance:

1. Shooting (effective field goal percentage)

2. Turnovers per possession

3. Offensive rebounding percentage

4. Free throws per possession (can be measured as free throw attempts as well as free throws made, Oliver actually prefers the first, because he thinks getting fouled is the more variable skill)

See more.  He has a book 'Basketball on Paper' I'd like to read.

When applying the four factors to the Knicks-Nuggets game, both teams win two of them. The Knicks had better numbers in turnovers and offensive rebounding, but the Nuggets where better in shooting and getting/making free throws. Seen like this, the (2 pt) loss for the Knicks is less of a mystery. Dean Oliver actually works for the Nuggets as their Director of Quantitative Analysis.As for the mentioned 2006 Cavaliers-Raptors game that is also supposed to be an anomaly, also there both teams won 2 of 4 factors, with a massive edge in free throws for the winning Raptors.

I think assists is the most useless statistic the ESPN article mentions, how would that be of importance in winning games.

Tonight the Knicks play against Sacramento, who are on a nice 5 game losing streak themselves and are the NBA's worst defensive team. Let's see if they are motivated by the Chair's post and can score a win somehow.

Pitt T. Maner III adds:

Assists would be seemingly indicative of unselfish ball distribution and/or offensive efficiency and perhaps leadership by a good passing point guard (ie. Cousy, Stockton, Magic, Nash, Kidd, etc.). Thinking back to the Celtics with Bird, Parrish, DJ, McHale et al. or even earlier with Havlicek and JoJo White it seems that passing and assist creation were an important factor in team success. Assists reflect a thought process such that a player is normally passing the ball to a teammate who is unguarded or in a better or higher percentage shooting position—shot selection and field goal % are thus shown to be valued by the team.

Granted if you have a superstar player on the team, run and gun works well too.

A post about Dean Oliver (thanks to Lars for the book recommendation) suggests that he found assists, as a single statistic, to have a good correlation with winning percentage. Perhaps the rankings have changed with more recent data. Defensive (not offensive) rebounds (holding other teams to one shot) though might explain Dennis Rodman's longevity in the game.

Category Won Loss Tied Win %
Field Goal % 4595 1132 33 .801
Assists 4007 1414 339 .725
Def. Rbds. 3984 1485 291 .717
Ass./Turn ratio 3991 1717 52 .697
Total Rbds. 3526 1959 275 .636
FT's made 3453 2022 284 .624
Blocks 3182 1930 648 .609
Free Throw att. 3358 2174 228 .603
Fewer fouls 3256 2094 410 .601
Steals 3148 2037 575 .596
Fewer Turns 3114 2186 460 .581
Free throw % 3224 2459 77 .566
Offensive rbd. % 3205 2513 42 .560
Offensive rbds. 2452 2900 408 .461



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