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Hoop Pointers: Star Points

February 6, 1998

With the All Star break upon us, I thought I'd provide a Smallworld Point (SWP) perspective on the game.

First, I calculated the average output per game for each of the two All Star teams. (For this analysis, I'm using stats through games of Feb. 2nd.) On this absolute comparison, the West looks a bit stronger, with the 12 West Stars averaging 37.4 SWP/G, whereas the East Stars average only 34.3 SWP/G. That computes to about a 9% advantage. I'don't think this comparison is quite fair, though, because simply tallying the points for each team implicitly assumes that each team's players will play an aggregate total of 430-440 minutes per game. Since a game is 48 minutes long (assuming no overtime), and since only five players can play at a time, then the expected total minutes played for the All Star game is only 240 per team. So, how do we factor down our expectations?

There are a number of reasonable ways to do this, but since this whole exercise is pretty trivial to begin with, I went with a simple assumption. I assumed that each player would get equal playing time during the game. Since there are 12 players on a team, this assumption produces an expected playing time of 20 minutes per player. For each player, then, I proportionately reduced the individual "per game" stats to a "per 20 minutes" basis. Here are those results, summed for each team:

All Star Team Statistics
per 240 Minute Game
Statistic East West
Points 126.5 132.6
FG Missed 55.1 49.9
FT Missed 9.3 12.4
Rebounds 46.5 48.2
Assists 20.6 29.2
Steals 8.1 9.4
Blocks 6.1 7.3
Turnovers 16.9 17.0
Smallworld Points 219.1 251.0

Notice that after this conversion, the West team has almost a 15% SWP advantage. The biggest advantages are in the shooting percentages, although the West has better numbers in every category but turnovers - and that category is a virtual tie. It is interesting to note, though, that the difference in points scored is not nearly as great (<5%). If we looked solely at that stat, the comparison would look pretty close. But when evaluated across all categories, the West looks remarkably stronger.

Of course, anything can happen in a single game. And some players will get more playing time than others - presumably the guys with the hottest hands. So this analysis isn't something I'd take to the bank. But, if the West should happen to win in convincing fashion, I'll be glad to say "I told you so!"

Hoop Pointers is written by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is not an employee Smallworld, and any opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.