Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks, John Rauser

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo, @CloudExpo, @ThingsExpo

@BigDataExpo: Blog Feed Post

Golden State Warriors Analytics Exercise | @BigDataExpo #BigData #Analytics

Identifying and quantifying variables that might be better predictors of performance

For a recent University of San Francisco MBA class, I wanted to put my students in a challenging situation where they would be forced to make difficult data science trade-offs between gathering data, preparing the data and performing the actual analysis.

The purpose of the exercise was to test their ability to “think like a data scientist” with respect to identifying and quantifying variables that might be better predictors of performance. The exercise would require them to:

  • Set up a basic analytic environment
  • Gather and organize different data sources
  • Explore the data using different visualization techniques
  • Create and test composite metrics by grouping and transforming base metrics
  • Create a score or analytic model that supports their recommendations

I gave them the links to 10 Warrior games (5 regulation wins, 3 overtime losses and 2 regulation losses) as their starting data set.

I then put them in a time boxed situation (spend no more than 5 hours on the exercise) with the following scenario:

You have been hired by the Golden State Warriors coaching staff to review game performance data to identify and quantify metrics that predict a Warriors victory

Here were the key deliverables for the exercise:

  1. I wanted a single, easy-to-understand slide with in-game and/or player recommendations.
  2. I wanted a break out of how they spent their 5 hours across the following categories:
  • Setting up your analytic environment
  • Gathering and organizing the data
  • Visualizing and analyzing the data
  • Creating the analytic models and recommendations
  1. Finally, I wanted back-up information (data, visualizations and analytics) in order to defend their in-game and/or player recommendations.

Exercise Learnings
Here is what we learned from the exercise:

Lesson #1: It’s difficult to not spend too much time gathering and cleansing data. On average, the teams spent 50% to 80% of their time gathering and preparing the data. That only left 10% to 20% of their time for the actual analysis. It’s really hard to know when “good enough” is really “good enough” when it comes to gathering and preparing the data.

Lesson #2: Quick and dirty visualizations are critical in understanding what is happening in the data and establishing hypotheses to be tested. For example, the data visualization in Figure 1 quickly highlighted the importance of offensive rebounds and three-point shooting percentage in the Warriors’ overtime losses.

Figure 1: Use Quick Data Visualizations to Establish Hypotheses to Test

Lesson #3: Different teams came up with different sets of predictive variables. Team #1 came up with Total Rebounds, Three-Point Shooting %, Fast Break Points and Technical Fouls as the best predictors of performance. They tested a hypothesis that the more “aggressive” the Warriors played (as indicated by rebounding, fast break points and technical fouls), the more likely they were to win (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Testing Potential Predictive Variables

Team #2 came up with the variables of Steals, Field Goal Percentage and Assists as the best predictors of performance (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: ANOVA Table for Team #2

Team #2 then tested their analytic models against two upcoming games: New Orleans and Houston. Their model accurately predicted not only the wins, but the margin of victory fell within their predicted ranges. For example in the game against New Orleans, their model predicted a win by 21 to 30 points, in which the Warriors actually won by 22 (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Predicting Warriors versus New Orleans Winner

And then in the Houston game, their model predicted a win by 0 to 10 points (where 0 indicated an overtime game), and the Warriors actually won that game by 9 points (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Predicting Warriors versus Houston Winner

I think I’m taking Team #2 with me next time I go to Vegas!

By the way, in case you want to run the exercise yourself, Appendix A lists the data sources that the teams used for the exercise. But be sure to operate under the same 5-hour constraint!

Summary
A few other learnings came out of the exercise, which I think are incredibly valuable for both new as well as experienced data scientists:

  • Don’t spend too much time trying to set up the perfect analytic environment. Sometimes a simple analytic environment (spreadsheet) can yield consider insights with little effort.
  • Start with small data sets (10 to 20GB). That way you’ll spend more time visualizing and analyzing the data and less time trying to gather and prepare the data. You’ll be able to develop and test hypotheses much more quickly with the smaller data sets running on your laptop, which one can stress test later using the full data set.
  • Make sure that your data science team collaborates closely with business subject matter experts. The teams that struggled in the exercise were the teams that didn’t have anyone who understood the game of basketball (not sure how that’s even possible, but oh well).

One of the many reasons why I love teaching is the ability to work with students who don’t yet know what they can’t accomplish. In their eyes, everything is possible. Their fresh perspectives can yield all sorts of learnings, and not just for them. And yes, you can teach an old dog like me new tricks!

Appendix A:  Exercise Data Sources
Extract “Team Stats” from the Warriors Game Results website: http://www.espn.com/nba/team/schedule/_/name/gs.  Listed below is a cross-section of games from which you may want to use to start your analysis.

Wins

Rockets 1/20/17: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400900067

Thunder 1/18/17: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400900055

Cavaliers 1/16/17: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400900040

Raptors 11/16/16: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400899615

Trailblazers 1/2/17:  http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400900139

Overtime (Losses)

Houston 12/1/16: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400899436

Grizzles 1/6/17: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400899971

Sacramento 2/4/17: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400900169

Losses

Spurs 10/25/16: http://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400899377

Lakers 11/4/16: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400899528

Cavaliers 12/25/16: http://www.espn.com/nba/matchup?gameId=400899899

Note: You are welcome to gather team and/or individual stats from any other games or websites that you wish.

The post Golden State Warriors Analytics Exercise appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By William Schmarzo

Bill Schmarzo, author of “Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business”, is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service line offerings and capabilities for the EMC Global Services organization. As part of Bill’s CTO charter, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He’s written several white papers, avid blogger and is a frequent speaker on the use of Big Data and advanced analytics to power organization’s key business initiatives. He also teaches the “Big Data MBA” at the University of San Francisco School of Management.

Bill has nearly three decades of experience in data warehousing, BI and analytics. Bill authored EMC’s Vision Workshop methodology that links an organization’s strategic business initiatives with their supporting data and analytic requirements, and co-authored with Ralph Kimball a series of articles on analytic applications. Bill has served on The Data Warehouse Institute’s faculty as the head of the analytic applications curriculum.

Previously, Bill was the Vice President of Advertiser Analytics at Yahoo and the Vice President of Analytic Applications at Business Objects.

@CloudExpo Stories
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"Loom is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning into the entire log analysis process, from start to finish and at the end you will get a human touch,” explained Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President, Marketing at Loom Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...