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Monday, April 19, 2010
Haralabos Voulgaris names the NBA's worst defenders

By Henry Abbott

Haralabos Voulgaris is the former skycap with the analytical mind that he once used to beat sportsbooks. Now he is trying to get a job in the NBA, has stopped betting on basketball, and is using the database for things like trying to beat my mom in the TrueHoop Stat Geek Smackdown.

Voulgaris recently started a blog called Alone in the Corner, where he uses his database to name the NBA's worst defenders.

Making the list are:
Honorable mentions are: J.J. Barea, Jeff Green, Yi Jianlian, Drew Gooden, Al Jefferson, Will Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Derek Fisher and David West.

How did he come up with this? A few years ago, Voulgaris discussed aspects of his database on TrueHoop:
In the basketball analytic world (stat geeks) people talk of Offensive and Defensive Efficiency (points per possession). I take it a step further and break down the efficiency of different types of possessions. Possessions off of turnovers, made baskets, missed shots (broken down a step further types of missed shots), etc.

As I mentioned, once you have the data you can begin to do all sorts of cool things with it.

The NBA has an interesting application on their site called "Hot Zones" that shows you how a player shoots from a certain spot on the floor. I can give you the same information but I can break it down with much more detail.

Take Kobe Bryant for example, we have every shot he (and every other player in the league) has taken in the last five seasons.

How does Kobe Bryant's shooting chart look when Bruce Bowen is on the floor (guarding him). How does it look with Shane Battier? (I know, small sample size, but you get the idea).

How does it look with X lineup for the Lakers, or how does it look with just Gasol on the floor, and on and on.