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"Hand down, man down." Analysis of defensive adjustments in response to the hot hand in basketball using novel defense metrics.

Csapo P, Raab M - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: The hot-hand phenomenon, according to which a player's performance is significantly elevated during certain phases relative to the expected performance based on the player's base rate, has left many researchers and fans in basketball puzzled: The vast majority of players, coaches and fans believe in its existence but statistical evidence supporting this belief has been scarce.However, we find that shooting percentages of presumably hot players do not increase and that shooting performance is not related to streakiness, so that the defenders' hot-hand behavior cannot be considered ecologically rational.Therefore, we are unable to find evidence in favor of the hot-hand effect even when accounting for defensive pressure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Psychology, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The hot-hand phenomenon, according to which a player's performance is significantly elevated during certain phases relative to the expected performance based on the player's base rate, has left many researchers and fans in basketball puzzled: The vast majority of players, coaches and fans believe in its existence but statistical evidence supporting this belief has been scarce. It has frequently been argued that the hot hand in basketball is unobservable because of strategic adjustments and defensive interference of the opposing team. We use a dataset with novel metrics, such as the number of defenders and the defensive intensity for each shot attempt, which enable us to directly measure defensive pressure. First, we examine how the shooting percentage of NBA players changes relative to the attributes of each metric. We find that it is of lesser importance by how many defenders a player is guarded but that defensive intensity, e.g., whether a defender raises his hand when his opponent shoots, has a larger impact on shot difficulty. Second, we explore how the underlying metrics and shooting accuracy change as a function of streak length. Our results indicate that defensive pressure and shot difficulty increase (decrease) during hot (cold) streaks, so that defenders seem to behave according to the hot-hand belief and try to force hot players into more difficult shots. However, we find that shooting percentages of presumably hot players do not increase and that shooting performance is not related to streakiness, so that the defenders' hot-hand behavior cannot be considered ecologically rational. Therefore, we are unable to find evidence in favor of the hot-hand effect even when accounting for defensive pressure.

Show MeSH
Segmentation of the Different Shot Locations Based on the Vantage Sports Dataset (Indicated by Letters) and the Utilized Clusters in this Analysis (Indicated by the Shading and the Legends).
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pone-0114184-g001: Segmentation of the Different Shot Locations Based on the Vantage Sports Dataset (Indicated by Letters) and the Utilized Clusters in this Analysis (Indicated by the Shading and the Legends).

Mentions: Shot difficulty tends to increase with distance (see Bocskocsky et al. [12], Neiman & Loewenstein [13], and Attali [14]). The underlying dataset accounted for shot location by symmetrically dividing the basketball court into 26 sections. We grouped the sections into four categories to provide a simpler interpretation of this variable and thereby used one additional cluster to also account for the shot angle: (1) lower part of the paint, (2) upper part of the paint and high post, (3) mid-range wing and corner, (4) three pointers (see Figure 1).


"Hand down, man down." Analysis of defensive adjustments in response to the hot hand in basketball using novel defense metrics.

Csapo P, Raab M - PLoS ONE (2014)

Segmentation of the Different Shot Locations Based on the Vantage Sports Dataset (Indicated by Letters) and the Utilized Clusters in this Analysis (Indicated by the Shading and the Legends).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4256225&req=5

pone-0114184-g001: Segmentation of the Different Shot Locations Based on the Vantage Sports Dataset (Indicated by Letters) and the Utilized Clusters in this Analysis (Indicated by the Shading and the Legends).
Mentions: Shot difficulty tends to increase with distance (see Bocskocsky et al. [12], Neiman & Loewenstein [13], and Attali [14]). The underlying dataset accounted for shot location by symmetrically dividing the basketball court into 26 sections. We grouped the sections into four categories to provide a simpler interpretation of this variable and thereby used one additional cluster to also account for the shot angle: (1) lower part of the paint, (2) upper part of the paint and high post, (3) mid-range wing and corner, (4) three pointers (see Figure 1).

Bottom Line: The hot-hand phenomenon, according to which a player's performance is significantly elevated during certain phases relative to the expected performance based on the player's base rate, has left many researchers and fans in basketball puzzled: The vast majority of players, coaches and fans believe in its existence but statistical evidence supporting this belief has been scarce.However, we find that shooting percentages of presumably hot players do not increase and that shooting performance is not related to streakiness, so that the defenders' hot-hand behavior cannot be considered ecologically rational.Therefore, we are unable to find evidence in favor of the hot-hand effect even when accounting for defensive pressure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Psychology, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The hot-hand phenomenon, according to which a player's performance is significantly elevated during certain phases relative to the expected performance based on the player's base rate, has left many researchers and fans in basketball puzzled: The vast majority of players, coaches and fans believe in its existence but statistical evidence supporting this belief has been scarce. It has frequently been argued that the hot hand in basketball is unobservable because of strategic adjustments and defensive interference of the opposing team. We use a dataset with novel metrics, such as the number of defenders and the defensive intensity for each shot attempt, which enable us to directly measure defensive pressure. First, we examine how the shooting percentage of NBA players changes relative to the attributes of each metric. We find that it is of lesser importance by how many defenders a player is guarded but that defensive intensity, e.g., whether a defender raises his hand when his opponent shoots, has a larger impact on shot difficulty. Second, we explore how the underlying metrics and shooting accuracy change as a function of streak length. Our results indicate that defensive pressure and shot difficulty increase (decrease) during hot (cold) streaks, so that defenders seem to behave according to the hot-hand belief and try to force hot players into more difficult shots. However, we find that shooting percentages of presumably hot players do not increase and that shooting performance is not related to streakiness, so that the defenders' hot-hand behavior cannot be considered ecologically rational. Therefore, we are unable to find evidence in favor of the hot-hand effect even when accounting for defensive pressure.

Show MeSH