Metrics 101: Ranking NBA’s Greatest All-Star Performances

How much does Kobe Bryant‘s unforgettable dunk against LeBron James matter in a statistical analysis of All-Star performances? Can it help the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard outpace the best efforts of Wilt Chamberlain, who routinely put up massive scoring and rebounding figures before the implementation of the three-point arc? 

What about Michael Jordan? Were Anthony Davis’ record-setting 52 points last year enough to earn him admission into the leading group of NBA All-Star performances? 

To see how literally each showing in the midseason festivities stacks up against all the rest, we’re turning to the numbers—game score, specifically. 


How It Works

The box-score metric is by no means a perfect measure, but it does boil all types of contributions into a singular number. We’re using a slightly modified version here where every rebound (offensive and defensive) is weighted appropriately. But that’s not the only step in finding All-Star Score. 

Throughout league history, the complexion of these inter-conference contests has changed dramatically. Now more than ever, defense is entirely eschewed in favor of scoring. The last four years have produced the four highest average game scores for the players involved. 

In 1955, average game score bottomed out at 8.45 in a 100-91 victory for the Eastern Conference. During the West’s 192-182 win in 2017, the average player had a record-setting 17.4 game score. 

To account for these ballooning scores over time, we’re ranking these performances using z-scores, which show how a player stood out against his competition that specific day. This takes care of changing levels of pace, defensive intensity and three-point shooting. 

All-Star Score is simply the z-score for each specific outing, and you can view all 1,525 marks throughout NBA history. Most of them just aren’t in the same ballpark as these 10 memorable explosions (limited to one selection per player). 

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NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA

February 13, 2018 at 10:23PM


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