All Forums > SimLeague Basketball > SimLeague Basketball > The importance of foul rates
6/1/2013 11:55 PM (edited)

Thanks to Sly for getting me really thinking about this.

Only recently have I REALLY seen the importance of PF rate in the sim. In the ODL I drafted a team with a TON of fouls, but it had rebounds and drew a lot of fouls, so I thought “no big deal”. That is until games 4-6 of the 2nd round of the playoffs where I saw felonius wipe out my 2-1 series lead by taking 150 FT’s in our last three games and defeating me 4-2. The FTA numbers were padded a bit by my aggressive end of game foul settings, but felonius took many trips to the line long before the end of each game.

Offensive and shooting fouls aside, what happens in a quarter when fouls 1-4 are committed? Nothing, play stops and the team with the ball keeps on going. But what happens when foul numbers 5 and beyond occur? Two FTA’s for your opponent of course.

I have found that the FTA/pf ratio in the sim stays around 1.28:1 on average, that is, for every foul there are 1.28 FTA’s generated. When I calculate a draw rate for a player I divide RL FTA’s by minutes played, then divide that number by 1.28. Of course I calculate each player’s own pf rate simply by dividing the RL number of fouls committed by the RL minutes played.

SO, in general every foul your guy commits generates 1.28 FTA’s for the other team. However, the higher your team’s weighted foul rate is over .0667 the more FTA’s your opponents can expect to take, and the number REALLY grows the further your team is away from .0667.

The draw rate for the opponent is also important, but that’s a topic for another discussion. The reason .0667 matters for much is that if your team has an average foul rate of .0667 then your team is likely to have .0667x240 = 16 fouls a game.

Why is 16 important? Well, (again throw out shooting and offensive fouls for a moment) how many FTA’s will your opponent get if you commit 16 fouls on the floor for the entire game, 4 each quarter (again none in the act of shooting), the answer is 0. But what is guaranteed (assuming you are not in OT) to happen with foul #17 (assuming it’s not a shooting foul where the basket was made)? Yep 2 FTA’s for the other guy. #18, yep 2 more FTA’s, and so on and so on.

Basically every foul a team committed past #16 is HIGHLY LIKELY to result in two FTA’s for the opponent, and every foul from 1-16 is FAR less likely (and in fact has zero chance if it is #’s 1-4 in a quarter and on the floor) to generate a FTA.

I’ll need to look at more data and individual boxscores to generate the ratio differences between the thresholds, but I just took a quick look at the first 10 games of the DH$52 league for my own team and observed the following:

In the first 10 games my team or my opponent committed 16 or fewer fouls 7 times. The total number of fouls for those 7 games for those teams was 96 which resulted in 112 FTA’s, that’s 13.7 pf/g and 16.0 FTA/g with a FTA generation rate of 1.17 per foul. Also there were 6 times when my opponent fouled me at least 17 times, the total fouls for those games were 144 which generated 210 FTA’s or 24.0 pf/g and 35.0 FTA/g for a 1.46 ratio.

Here’s the key though in the above data sample (which is VERY small, but logically this will hold true for a very large data sample as well) the differences between the 16 and under pf games and the 17+ pf games are (24-13.7 =) 10.3 pf/g and (35-16 =) 19 FTA/g. The ratio for the differences is 1.84! SO, in this very small sample, every foul up to 16 is expected to generate 1.17 FTA’s for the other guy, but every foul from 17 up is expected to generate 1.84 FTA’s.

Again, I need to review a lot of data to really KNOW what there ratios are, but assume for a minute that these numbers are accurate. Say there are two teams competing for the division and assume the draw rates for the teams in the league are very similar. Team A has a pf rate of .075 and team B has one of .0925. What can we expect this to mean? Team A should commit .075x240= 18 pf/g and Team B will commit .0925x240=22.2 pf/g. So, team B fouls 4.2 more times per game than team A.

Now let’s look at the likely FTA’s generated for opponents, Team A = (16x1.17)+(2x1.84)= 22.4 FTA/g generated for opponents. Team B = (16x1.17)+(6.2x1.84)= 30.13 FTA/g.  So, Team B has only 4.2 more pf/g than Team A, Team B gives up 7.73 more FTA’s/g than Team A.

So, the lesson to learn here is that the further your team’s weighted pf/rate is away from .0667 the more it is likely to create serious issues for you in the FTA battle in the sim. And I think this can help answer why sometimes we see a small gap between our fouls and our opponents but a much large gap in the number of FTA’s that the other teams are shooting.

Final note is that the REAL key here is actually on a game-by-game basis. The higher your pf/rate the more likely it is that your team will enter into the 17+pf zone in a given game, so if a team that has a RL pf/rate that generates 17 or fewer pf/g may only go over 16 around 50-55% of the time, but a team north of 20 pf/g may be in the 17+ zone 75-80% of the time, this will create an even LARGER difference between opponents FTA’s for each of the given teams.

Hope this helps. And for any new guys, I’ve been on this site for about a year now and just started to think about this kind of stuff, and there are FAR more important factors to consider when building your team, so look at this again after you’ve played in 10 leagues or so and it will make more sense. Again, for you vets, yes it’s a small sample size, but I think the logic is sound and it explains an area of strategy that many of us probably overlook, but some of us (like ash, tar, vancem and eleibowitz) have realized for a long time and may explain why they keep wining so many draft league titles.

UPDATE

Recent ODL data for completed season:
37,635 pf
47,986 FTA
Ratio 1.275 FTA for every PF
(Just below the 1.28 because IMO fewer FTA's drafted in the lower cap leagues, so less of a draw rate)

Own pf/ opp FTA correlation: .9244

Also if you subtract 31,488pf (16 per team per game) you are left with: 6147.
And if you take the 31,488 and multiple by 1.17 and subtract from the total FTA's you get: 11,146
That ratio is 1.813. 
The true value of the 16 and below pf ratio is still an unknown, but I think it's a very safe assumption that fouls over 17 generate really close to 1.8 FTA's per foul.



6/1/2013 12:42 AM
ps none of my guys on that squad he faced were particularly heavy in the FTA/m dept either
6/1/2013 9:27 AM (edited)
Great detail Nate, I never went that in depth with my foul analysis.  I just used a simple formula MP/total fouls to get an idea what the foul rate was.  And the number where I felt it was getting to high is .076. 

Also another point is the higher your foul rate the more it messes with your rotation.  So you might have your usage distribution perfectly set up and someone gets a 3rd foul in the 1st half and now the rotation is messed up. 

But again great analysis and keep it coming Nate

6/1/2013 3:05 PM
Changing the aggression setting for foul substitution can help with foul-induced rotation problems, true ?
6/1/2013 3:28 PM
ive always just used fp48....mistake?

also...check out my team in the 52 league nate....every single guy on my team is fouling more than they did in rl

do you think this is just because im in a high scoring division and played more road games then home?...and i should expect the fouls to drop

or is there something going on i may have overlooked...i do have more fouls from the pg position then most
6/1/2013 4:28 PM
Great analysis nate...thx
6/1/2013 6:43 PM
Posted by dh555 on 6/1/2013 3:28:00 PM (view original):
ive always just used fp48....mistake?

also...check out my team in the 52 league nate....every single guy on my team is fouling more than they did in rl

do you think this is just because im in a high scoring division and played more road games then home?...and i should expect the fouls to drop

or is there something going on i may have overlooked...i do have more fouls from the pg position then most
FP48 is a good start but it also depends upon minutes played.  When you start doing the math you'll see some players are more foul prone then they appear.  Some goes for TO48, when you start doing the tov% some players have a high tov% even though the have a low TO48
6/1/2013 9:29 PM
Posted by thohoops on 6/1/2013 3:05:00 PM (view original):
Changing the aggression setting for foul substitution can help with foul-induced rotation problems, true ?
Yes, in  some ways, but if you are in a low cap league like the ODL you could end up having your players minutes all over the board and fatigue could become a big problem fast. In and fact if you go conservative on the substitutions then your rotation is even MORE likely to be different than your depth chart settings.
6/1/2013 9:32 PM
Thanks eleibo and smokey.

Dh, I'll take a long look at our league at the 26-game mark, that way we all have 13h and 13a. One thing that did happen to me in season 1 of the PPL is that I had a low team foul rate and Jerry Lucas ended up having almost 1 more fpg than gin's exact same Lucas, some of it might have been due to me playing a lot of -2 in that league because of the lack of a league-wide perimeter game, I'll be sure to check at all after 26.
6/1/2013 11:56 PM
First post updated with most recent ODL data.
6/4/2013 9:40 PM
as a stat junkie i can really appreciate the time you put into this piece. I think Fouls are a very important less talked about factor in the sim. I've always said to myself I don't care about Nash's Defense. He just NEVER fouls. Which he's seems like a one of a kind player. if you sort PFper48 the highest foul rates come with poor Def, and the lowest usually have high def. Thats another topic in general. 

Good work keep em coming
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