Calling my “geek” friends

I made this request once before, but I didn’t know really what the hell I was after.  I think I do now, but bare in mind I am a caveman.

At the moment, to provide MWS statistics for this site, you all would be shocked at how much manual work I go through.  I’m like Bill James in his bean factory days.

For instance, for the Bucks Win Chart I use 11 x 17 legal paper, divide it in the middle, partition the paper in four parts, with 12 dashes to represent minutes in each quarter.  I then take information from the popcorn machine to determine each five player “stint”, then along with the same for the Bucks, then I go to the NBA transcript to determine who did what when.

Its accurate, but there’s got to be a better way.

There has to be a way we can develop a program that simply recognizes how each five man unit lines up from point guard to center, and then records the statistics produced by each player and each player’s counterpart.  It would be so simple.  We just plug in every likely defensive alignment.

The Basketball Geek is working on something similar, and I think he’s using Excel, so it should be easy to carry out this task.

Then we will have completely reliable MWS48 statistics.

Calling technologically gifted readers.  If anyone can assist me it would be greatly appreciated.


8 Responses to “Calling my “geek” friends”

  1. brgulker Says:

    I would think there’s an Excel Macro that could be designed to automate this process. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to create one of those. But I have to think that it’s possible.

  2. brgulker Says:

    Oh, and I’d be happy to help test any macro if you find someone to develop it … I certainly can test, I just don’t know how to design.

  3. Colin Says:

    I’d like to see where PopcornMachine gets their raw data. If its anything like other sports stats sites, they probably found an XML backend for the flash gameday thing on The data for MLB’s gameday app is very widely documented, and I’d imagine that the NBA stuff is similar.

    Now I’m curious, so I’ll do some digging and see what turns up. If the NBA’s website does indeed have some XML game log files, it would be pretty easy to format it however we want.

  4. David Says:

    I would imagine the tricky part is when the defensive lineup is mismashed a bit – for example, the Lakers line up Kobe at the 2 and Artest at the 3, but have Artest defending LeBron and Kobe defending Delonte or something like that. If data that accounted for that existed on a spreadsheet, the macro would be pretty straightforward, and I think I’d be able to write it if no one else could.

  5. Jerble Says:

    Ty, you say: “The Basketball Geek is working on something similar, and I think he’s using Excel, so it should be easy to carry out this task.” So, if he succeeds, he will make his spreadsheet templates available to you?

    There is a “suite” of programs called Open Office that includes a “Calc” program. It is free and more or less compatible with Excel.

    The real difficulty here might be to get the desired data into a file in a usable format.

    • tywill33 Says:


      Awesomely informative comment! (sorry for the teenager speak, but it conveys emphasis)

      Would you mind emailing me so I can contact you on these type questions?

      I’m almost positive the Geek said he was going to feed NBA play-by-play transcripts into something and it would spit out defensive information.

      Here’s the process I’m envisioning, Jerb.

      A program that will compute Marginal Win Score based on the NBA play-by-play, and it would have to work as follows. It would ascertain who is on the court at all times. It would be able to aurtomatically align the players according to likeliest defensive matchups — something we would have to feed into the system.

      Then it would ascertain each player’s Win Score and it would attribute the Win Score of the player’s counterpart to that player.

      Am I smoking dope on this one? Could this be done?

      The one problem I can see is this. How many permutations of possible Bucks lineups are there alone? The program would have to understand things like “Ridnour is a point guard except for situations where he is on the court at the same time as Brandon Jennings…”

      Can it be done?

  6. Healthcare Economist Says:

    Although I am a geek, I don’t have any advice on this topic. However, I did see that the Bucks may be interested in Drew Gooden. ( I think this would be a good pick up as long as they don’t spend too much cash and don’t have a deal longer than 3 years. Thoughts?

    • tywill33 Says:

      Geek is no longer perjorative… I’m a geek wannabe.

      You would be astonished at how caveman I am… when I wrote for MVN the owners would send snotty texts about “why don’t you upgrade to this” “why don’t you understand this”. (I like the owners, dont take that wrong)

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