Exploring NBA Data with Python

After a long weekend of NBA All-Star game festivities I stumbled upon Greg Reda's excellent blog post about web scraping on Twitter. In it he goes over how to find and use API's to scrape data from webpages. The example he uses is the NBA's very own stats website, which to my surprise provides a lot of very interesting data. I decided to dig a little deeper and see what I could find. The shot log API from NBA.com returns data about every shot a player took during a game. These data points include how much time was left…

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Breakfast under Bill - A look at my morning on the front page of Hacker News

Tuesday night I wrote a short blog post about how I used python to find cheap tickets to a music festival. I finished up pretty late so I decided to post it online the next morning. I woke up pretty early and posted the article on a few websites around seven. I started watching my google analytics page and the hits started coming in very fast, much faster than normal. First it was twenty, then thirty, and shortly after fifty people were reading within minutes of submitting. I looked at the map and most of the hits were from Europe.…

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Analyzing a NHL Playoff Game With Twitter

Since its inception eight years ago Jack Dorsey's Twitter has grown into one of the most popular websites on the internet. With over a billion registered users and an average of five hundred million tweets sent per day Twitter is creating incredible amounts of data. Many novel ideas have come out of the question of what to do with all of this data, from predicting stocks to more recently predicting crime. When I was first learning python one of the first libraries I came across was Tweepy, an open source, easy to use python library for accessing the Twitter API.…

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Is Basketball A Weakest Link Sport?

I recently finished The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong by Chris Anderson and David Sally, the book describes recent innovations in soccer analytics. In it Anderson and Sally talk about how they believe soccer is on the verge of its "Moneyball" moment, as more and more clubs are employing analysts to run the numbers trying to find that extra edge on the competition just as Bill James did for the Oakland A's over a decade ago. One of the most intriguing takeaways I found in The Numbers Game was a chapter where the authors described…

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Analyzing Philadelphia's Bike Thefts

While mulling over project ideas and browsing Twitter earlier today I ran across http://opendataphilly.org/. Per their website OpenDataPhilly "is a portal that provides access to over 175 data sets, applications, and APIs related to the Philadelphia region. Simply accessing data, however, is not the ultimate goal of OpenDataPhilly. By connecting people with data, we’re hoping to encourage users to take the data and transform it into creative applications, projects, and visualizations that demonstrate the power that data can have in understanding and shaping our communities." This sounded intriguing enough, so I began sorting through the available data.…

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What If NCAA Basketball Players Were Paid? - An Analysis

Every year around this time, after the conclusion of the collegiate football season and the height of March Madness the question I always hear posed is, should NCAA athletes be paid? This got me thinking, if student athletes were to be paid how much would they be worth? Since we are in the middle of the annual NCAA basketball tournament I chose to work with basketball data in an attempt to answer this question. My first order of business was to find a statistic that expresses a players overall contributions, A tell all stat that pools everything a player does…

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