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# NBA Player Statistics, Research Paper Example

Pages: 10

Words: 2825

Research Paper

Abstract

Establishing a statistical approach to evaluate different forms of data requires an effective understanding of programmatic needs, as well as the different elements which contribute to data analysis as a whole. It is necessary to establish a greater understanding of these elements and their role in supporting specific dependent and independent variables, and what is required to determine if the dataset will answer the original questions. These elements play a role in shaping outcomes for consideration, and in determining methods that will identify the meaning of the chosen variables in an effective manner. This practice will convey the importance of different factors in demonstrating the value of statistical concepts in supporting datasets, and in determining their reliability and other factors.

Introduction

The development of a successful statistical approach to determining NBA player statistics requires an effective understanding of the contributing elements which make up this small yet distinguished population. It is important to recognize the different factors which contribute to this group, and the other elements which are important in determining this type of statistical analysis. This unique and somewhat rare group of individuals is worthy of further consideration because it is important to determine how many males over seven feet tall actually become NBA players in the league. This is an interesting and intriguing variable to consider, and provides further evidence of the different elements which are important in determining any type of statistical analysis effectively and efficiently. The following discussion will address this topic in greater detail, and will emphasize the importance of different approaches to this form of data in order to determine how many males seven feet or taller have actually played in the NBA.

Review of Literature

The statistical relevance of males over seven feet tall is small to begin with, but those who actually make it to the NBA are even smaller. Nonetheless, this is an interesting concept to consider, and it represents a means of addressing the recruitment, popularity, and success of this group of individuals. An article by Torre (2011) addresses some of the most notable examples of seven-foot plus NBA players, such as former player Mark Eaton from the Utah Jazz, who “blocked 3,064 shots in his NBA career, including a still-record 456 in 1984—85.” This is a highly distinguishable trait, and it represents an example of an NBA player who used his tremendous height to his advantage in every possible way (Torre). The article also states that “An actual accounting of 7-footers, domestic or global, does not exist in any reliable form. National surveys by the Center for Disease Control list no head count or percentile at that height. (Only 5% of adult American males are 6’3″ or taller.) In terms of the growth spectrum, 7 feet is simply extreme… The curve shaped by the CDC’s available statistics, however, does allow one to estimate the number of American men between the ages of 20 and 40 who are 7 feet or taller: fewer than 70 in all. Which indicates, by further extrapolation, that while the probability of, say, an American between 6’6″ and 6’8″ being an NBA player today stands at a mere 0.07%, it’s a staggering 17% for someone 7 feet or taller” (Torre). This is a staggeringly low statistic, given the number of males that exist in the United States alone, not to mention within the entire population. Nonetheless, since this is such a rare breed of males at this height, the potential exists for these individuals to achieve possible success in the NBA with talent, drive, motivation, and perhaps luck. It is not surprising to note that the chances of a seven foot male being drafted to the NBA are higher than average, simply because this group of individuals is so small and highly exclusive. This is an important tool to consider when addressing the different elements associated with this group of individuals and how they contribute to the success of the NBA and its different teams.

Another example to consider is Kenny George, who measures at seven feet, seven inches tall, and plays college basketball for the University of North Carolina-Asheville team (Clemmons). According to the author, “Gigantism or acromegaly — in which a tumor on the pituitary gland causes an oversecretion of growth hormone — may be the cause of his condition. Dr. Michael Thorner, professor of internal medicine at the University of Virginia, said acromegaly had an incidence rate of three to four cases per million and usually was not diagnosed until after puberty” (Clemmons). This demonstrates that the player has a preexisting condition which has led to his significant height, and that this type of condition, although extremely rare, must be monitored closely to ensure that George does not experience significant health concerns (Clemmons). This type of approach is common for basketball players of enormous height, because they face significant challenges as a result of their height and general size (Clemmons). However, in spite of these drawbacks, these males are often ideal candidates for player positions in the NBA because they offer the height and hopefully the level of skill that is required to be successful in this highly prominent and highly competitive market (Clemmons). The NBA is an elite group of athletes, and therefore, this requires an effective understanding of their core strengths and attributes in order to be successful in this industry and on one of the 30 teams that are present within the league itself.

In recent years, it was determined that out of the approximately 70 males in the United States over seven feet tall, 30 of them are in the NBA in starting positions, which is staggering in and of itself (Diamond). Recent statistics demonstrate that “In the past two decades, 88 different players identifying as U.S.-born and at least 7-feet tall have played at least one minute in the NBA. (Fifty-two list themselves as an even 7-feet.) Thirty-five of them, from greats like David Robinson to curiosities like Chuck Nevitt, are now over-40-years-old. That leaves 53 seven-footers in our target age and nationality” (Diamond). This is a staggering statistic to consider because it presents not only the availability of players within this height range, but also the fact that a significant number of males in this height range have played in the NBA at one time or another throughout their lives (Diamond). This is important and highly relevant because it supports a greater understanding of the rarity of this distinguished group of individuals, and also influences how these players are recruited to play in the NBA (Diamond). Furthermore, the article states that “an NBA scout says that he’ll “check up on anyone over 7 feet that’s breathing.” So while there’s no guarantee of stardom, it’s a pretty sure thing that any 7-footer will at least get a shot at the NBA” (Diamond). This represents the call to the rare group of males who fit this category, and how they might contribute to the success of the NBA over time (Diamond).

One of the most important concepts to consider with this discussion is height and its relevance to many popular sports, and in particular, basketball. The primary question to consider is as follows: “How much should a player’s size (or lack thereof) play into the decision of whether or not he will see the court?” (Brodess). In addition, “Mountain State’s 7′ 8″ junior Paul Sturgess (pictured) is the tallest college basketball player in the country, and barely gets off the bench for the NAIA school from West Virginia” (Brodess). In this context, the relevance of height to basketball is important, but it is not the only reliable factor, as other elements are also critical to achieve success, such as talent, opportunity, and general good fortune (Brodess). These efforts are critical because they convey that basketball players over seven feet tall are not an immediate shoe-in for success; rather, they must also demonstrate talent, charisma, likability, and motivation in order to achieve their goals and objectives (Brodess).

Finally, the opportunities that are available to seven feet or taller males are significant, particularly if they demonstrate any level of sheer talent or potential in basketball. This is a critical characteristic to consider, and it provides a basis for exploring the different dimensions of the sport and why height is so significant. It is known “that a team’s average height does correlate to its offensive and defensive prowess. On the offensive side, average height has a correlation coefficient of .27 to adjusted efficiency, and on the defensive side it’s .38. For those new to correlation, a value of 1 would mean that variation in height would explain all the variation in efficiency. A correlation coefficient of zero means that the two values are entirely unrelated. So in layman’s terms, there’s a relationship between height and efficiency on both ends of the floor, but it’s not very strong. In addition, the relationship between height and efficiency is stronger on the defensive end” (Pomeroy). Therefore, it is important and necessary to establish an effective understanding of this practice and what level of skill is required to succeed in the NBA, in addition to height (Pomeroy). A combination of height, skill, and talent are essential to the success of players who make it into the NBA and achieve measurable success in this distinctive league (Pomeroy).

Presentation of Hypothesis

In this case study, the dependent variable is males who are over seven feet tall. The independent variable is the number of players that currently play in the NBA on an annual basis, which is approximately 900, spread out over 30 different teams. Therefore, the probability of the 70 players making it into the NBA on one of the 30 teams should be addressed. Based upon the information provided in the literature review, it is estimated that almost one-half of the males seven feet or taller will be drafted into the NBA at some point in their young lives, and this contributes to the analogy that their height is critical in achieving the opportunity to play for this elite and distinguished league of players.

Presentation of Data and Empirical Strategy

From a statistical point of view, it is important to recognize the different challenges associated with evaluating the seven feet and above group of males, and whether or not these individuals are likely to be drafted into the NBA in their lives. This is essential to the development of statistical analyses related to the number of NBA players that are over seven feet tall, and if the rare number of males in the United States who fit this profile could be drafted into the NBA on an active roster. Therefore, the potential for this group of individuals to be selected for consideration into the NBA is critical to the discussion and data analyses.

Results

The following statistics are provided in the last section:

Confidence Variable (Norm): 72.55525015

This describes the confidence norm for a specific population range, using normal distribution in the process. This is critical because it conveys the importance of this variable in shaping the probability of different factors in determining whether or not seven feet or taller males will be drafted into the NBA at some point in their young lives.

Confidence Variable (T-Test): 72.93952

This describes the normal distribution of a population or set of data using a null hypothesis in the process. These efforts are important because they determine the different elements associated with confidence intervals and what is required to achieve the desired results with this small population.

Normal Distribution: 0.90878878

This describes the normal distribution of variables as aligned with the mean, using the basic concept of low, medium (mean) and high scores.

Reflection upon Findings

Based upon the statistical findings in this process, it is important to recognize the different elements which contribute to effective outcomes, and in determining how many males over seven feet tall possess the chance of making it to the NBA to play professional basketball. Based upon statistical inferences and common knowledge, this number is relatively high, given the very small number of males who meet these very limited criteria. In essence, the development of a successful approach to this statistical model depends upon the rare breed of individuals who meet these criteria, and what is required to ensure that these individuals are provided with this opportunity in the NBA to begin with. Under this pretense, it is believed that the NBA is very likely to at least look at a male who is over seven feet tall, given that the male will play basketball in junior high, high school, and perhaps college in a competitive fashion. This will ensure that this group of individuals possesses even a remote opportunity to play competitive sports in the NBA, and that there is an opportunity for this distinguished group of individuals to be selected for the draft in any given year. These objectives provide further evidence that the NBA is a highly competitive group, but that in spite of the rarity of this population, they are likely to be selected for NBA consideration, with approximately one-half of this group as starters for one of the NBA’s 30 teams. This is a staggering yet realistic statistic, given the number of males within this elite group, and their potential for success within this highly competitive league. These efforts are important because they enable statistical analyses to be conducted, and to be recognized for their value and contribution in supporting viable outcomes and results for NBA players.

Works Cited

Brodess, Doug, 2011. “College basketball’s 10 tallest teams: does height make right?” 9 May 2012: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/580068-college-basketballs-ten-tallest-teams-does-height-make-right

Clemmons, Anna Katherine, 2008. “7 feet 7 and 360 pounds, with bigger feet than Shaq’s.” 9 May 2012: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/sports/ncaabasketball/09asheville.html

Diamond, Dan, 2012. “True or false: half of all 7-footers are in the NBA.” 9 May 2012: http://www.truthaboutit.net/2012/05/true-or-false-half-of-all-7-footers-are-in-the-nba.html

Nelson, Rachel, 2011. “Is height important in basketball?” 9 May 2012: http://www.livestrong.com/article/363066-is-height-important-in-basketball/

Pomeroy, Ken, 2008. “The height of expectations” 9 May 2012: http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=82

Torre, Pablo S., 2011. “Larger than real life.” 9 May 2012: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1187806/index.htm

Statistical Analysis

 Team Name Average Number of Players Per Team Number of Males Over 7 Feet within NBA Playing Age Boston Celtics 30 70 New York Knicks 30 Philadelphia 76ers 30 Toronto Raptors 30 Confidence Variable (Norm) 72.55525015 New Jersey Nets 30 Confidence Variable (T-Test) 72.93952 Chicago Bulls 30 Normal Distribution 0.90878878 Indiana Pacers 30 Milwaukee Bucks 30 Detroit Pistons 30 Cleveland Cavaliers 30 Miami Heat 30 Atlanta Hawks 30 Orlando Magic 30 Washington Wizards 30 Charlotte Bobcats 30 Oklahoma City Thunder 30 Denver Nuggets 30 Utah Jazz 30 Portland Trailblazers 30 Minnesota Timberwolves 30 Los Angeles Lakers 30 Los Angeles Clippers 30 Phoenix Suns 30 Golden State Warriors 30 Sacramento Kings 30 San Antonio Spurs 30 Memphis Grizzlies 30 Dallas Mavericks 30 Houston Rockets 30 New Orleans Hornets 30 Total 900

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