Detroit’s 6th Man Apps Scores With Advanced Basketball Analytics
NCAA bracketeers, are you shaking your fists at the sky over Ohio State’s massive crap-out yesterday? Don’t feel bad—I had OSU going to the Elite 8 because my brain was obviously malfunctioning when I filled out my bracket. (But I’ll make up for that error in judgment when the Michigan State Spartans win the whole thing, right?)
This is the time of year when it seems like anything is possible in college basketball. But there’s a lot of hard work that goes into producing a winning team, and increasingly, coaches and players are relying on sophisticated analytics tools to help. Detroit’s 6th Man Apps is one of the newer entrants in this market, and the startup believes it has created a groundbreaking new tool called Wins Produced, which it has just added to its HoopMetrics app.
Luke Geiger, co-founder of 6th Man Apps, says Wins Produced calculates a basketball statistic that is typically so tedious to figure out that it’s only tabulated in the NBA. Using sports economist David Berri’s “Wages of Win” model, Wins Produced calculates each player’s individual contribution to a winning game and takes into account more than 25 variables, like how many points, rebounds, and steals the player has recorded, as well as how the team performs when that player is on the floor.
“This is a really popular statistic in the basketball realm,” Geiger says. “It’s a huge step forward for HoopMetrics, and no other basketball statistics program can calculate this.”
There are some pretty striking examples of how important the wins produced statistic can be for a team. In 2008, the Detroit Pistons traded fan favorite Chauncey Billups for legendary scoring guard Allen Iverson. The year before, the wins produced statistic revealed that Billups played a major part in 15 team wins, which Geiger says is nearly superstar level. Iverson, on the other hand, was credited with being a big factor in just 2.1 wins.
After the trade, as Pistons fans will remember, the team took a nosedive, while Billups’ new team, the Denver Nuggets, flourished. “Wins produced ends up being a pretty accurate prediction,” Geiger says.
Geiger, who was formerly a programmer for Detroit-based startup UpTo, started 6th Man Apps in July with his brother Luke. The company’s free iPad app, HoopMetrics, offers an in-depth statistical analysis that Geiger compares to the “Moneyball” approach popularized in Major League Baseball. It also allows users to export all stat tables and then renders a complete, filled-out PDF of the standard scorebook for every game.
Since its release in September, Geiger says more than 850 teams have used the app, including the University of Detroit, Tennessee, and Marshall. The free download entitles teams to a free trial; to get access to the full range of analytics tools, teams pay $60 for the first season and $49 for each subsequent season.
Both Geiger brothers were high school bench players, but their love of in-depth athletic analytics transcends hoops. In late spring, 6th Man Apps plans to release a version of HoopMetrics for baseball called DiamondMetrics.
“Eventually, we want to get into all sports,” Geiger adds.