professional basketball teams.

Brief Overview:

Using the Internet, students will access information and statistics about professional basketball teams. They will use these data to explore relationships between player characteristics and their performance on the basketball court.

Prerequisite Knowledge:

Students should have working knowledge of the following skills:

Basic familiarity with the Internet, and the ability to locate web sites when given an URL

Fractions, decimals, and percents



Students will:

Calculate measures of central tendency to compare data.

Graph scatter plots and identify correlations if they occur.

Communicate conclusions and interpretations of graphs in writing.

Locate cities of NBA franchises on a blank map of the United States of America.

Materials/Resources/Printed Materials:

Access to the Internet

Graph paper


Blank maps of the United States, with state outlines

Basketball terms and abbreviations

Outline map of the United States

Worksheets for statistical calculations (4 sheets)

Analytical questions requiring written responses



Choose an NBA team and clear it with the professor. No team will be assigned to more than one student.

Review basketball terms on attached list. (#1)

Students will use the Internet to locate their assigned team’s statistics. All required statistics can be found at

Students should produce a hard copy their team’s location, as well as their team’s individual players’ season statistics and team roster.


Students will locate their NBA team on an outline map of the United States as closely as possible to the location of the correct city and state.


Students will convert the players’ heights given in the Internet tables into inches and the/ages from dates of birth to years. Students will calculate the mean, median, and mode of the players’ heights (in inches), weights, and ages (in years).

Students will calculate the total points scored by each player using the formula:

2(FGM) + 3(3PM) + 1(FTM) = total points.

For each player, they will calculate average points per minute played and average points per game. (See attached worksheets #3 to enter data and calculate measures of central tendency)


Students should predict relationships (if any) between pairs of variables below and have them justify their predictions.

Students will generate and create scatter plots between the following pairs of variables:

§age vs. total points scored

§height vs. total points scored

§player number vs. total points scored

§weight vs. total points scored

They will generate and create bar graphs between the following potential relationships:

§position (Guard, Center, Forward) vs. average height of players at those positions

§position vs. total number of points scored at those positions.


  • Students will interpret the graphs generated in Step 4 and to assess whether the relationships obtained represent positive, negative or no evident correlation.


Students will locate a list of player salaries and use that list to relate salaries to points scored, minutes played and points per minute, as well as to calculate costs in dollars per minute played. NBA salaries can be located at

Students will report on who is the most expensive player in terms of dollars/minute played and who is the “best buy”–the player who costs the least per point scored.

Students will conduct a multivariate regression to predict player’s salary from points scored, minutes played, position played, age, height, weight, and player’s number. Discuss findings. Discuss what other variables (if any) should be included in the model.

Students will respond to the analytical questions in attachment #6


Students will write a summary of their findings.

Students will present their findings to the class in week nine.

Performance Assessment:

Each student will be required to assemble a packet containing the following materials:

  • Printout of team and player data from Internet
  • Statistics worksheets
  • U.S. map, with NBA team located
  • Written response for Step #4
  • All graphs listed in Step 4 above
  • Written responses for Step 5
  • Written responses for Step 6
  • Summary of findings
  • Presentation of findings to class

Attachment #1: A Guide To Basketball Abbreviations

Reading the Statistics

There are two sections to the statistics, averages and totals. Anything with a % is an average for the season. There are 82 regular season games in a season. These statistics do not include playoff games.

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