Lakers-Magic: Spider Graph Follow-Up

Roger PAnalyst IJune 4, 2009

I think "Spider Graphs" is a good name for these, don't you?

If you haven't seen these before, don't go any further before reading the original article. This article is a follow-up, based on feedback and comments received in the first go-around.

I'd also like to say thanks to everybody who contributed, either in the comments of that article or elsewhere. I think this is the start of something good.

The main piece of feedback I received in the first run of Spider Graphs was that playoff data should also be included—despite my best efforts to argue that it wouldn't change much.

At the risk of tooting my own horn, it turns out it didn't change much. I'm not going to add any commentary, except that I'm not sure there's any visible difference at all. There just weren't enough playoff games to make a statistically significant difference.

I'm pasting those at the end, and getting to some more interesting stuff first.

The other suggestion I got was to also run a team graph, comparing the teams as a whole. I did that, and it looks pretty cool.

It includes the whole team, not just starters, and the values are percentages against the teams with the highest values in the league. Here it is:

What do we get out of this? A few things.

  • The Lakers come out on top for steals. If the conclusion in the original article holds true, that's going to mean that LA is a quicker team, and might be able to give the Magic some headaches that way.
  • The Lakers win in assists, too. That's surprising, since we tend to think of Orlando as a selfless team, always making the extra pass around the perimeter. It may speak to Howard's style of play, though, with plenty of put-backs and post play. I'm not sure this gives the Lakers as much advantage as it would appear.
  • The teams tie (roughly) in rebounds, which is surprising since Howard can pull down 20 a night. It may be because he tends to be the only Magic player that really hangs out in the paint, while the Lakers usually have at least two (out of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom) that patrol the key.

It's a pretty cool graph, and it actually reverses some predictions from yesterday—while it seemed that Orlando had personnel advantages at several positions, this graph gives LA the nod overall.

Do you think it would be interesting to see these charts after a game, just showing how the players performed in that game? Or over the course of a series? I've just realized that spider graphs may be a great tool for post-game analysis as well.

Now, for everyone who asked for them, here are the individual position matchup charts.


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