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Most Downloaded Articles
- A Starting Point for Analyzing Basketball Statistics by Kubatko, Justin/ Oliver, Dean/ Pelton, Kevin and Rosenbaum, Dan T
- Effect of position, usage rate, and per game minutes played on NBA player production curves by Page, Garritt L./ Barney, Bradley J. and McGuire, Aaron T.
- The relationship between concentration of scoring and offensive efficiency in the NBA by Ruiz, Manuel/ Martinez, Jose A./ López-Hernández, Fernando A. and Castellano, Almudena
The Price of Anarchy in Basketball
1University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Citation Information: Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Volume 6, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1559-0410, DOI: 10.2202/1559-0410.1217, January 2010
- Published Online:
Optimizing the performance of a basketball offense may be viewed as a network problem, wherein each play represents a pathway" through which the ball and players may move from origin (the in-bounds pass) to goal (the basket). Effective field goal percentages from the resulting shot attempts can be used to characterize the efficiency of each pathway. Inspired by recent discussions of the price of anarchy" in traffic networks, this paper makes a formal analogy between a basketball offense and a simplified traffic network. The analysis suggests that there may be a significant difference between taking the highest-percentage shot each time down the court and playing the most efficient possible game. There may also be an analogue of Braess's Paradox in basketball, such that removing a key player from a team can result in the improvement of the team's offensive efficiency.