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My NBA Reddit Post That Went Viral: James Harden’s Road Play with City’s Strip Club Quality Analysis [Updated]

My NBA Reddit Post That Went Viral: James Harden's Road Play with City's Strip Club Quality Analysis

Originally published November 7, 2019 on Reddit (r/nba)

Note from author: I have learned a great deal about sports analytics since this post went viral. While I stand by the conclusions of the analysis, it is not without errors. I have amended a couple items in this edition but am working on publishing a full update (with ‘fieldwork’) sometime in the future. So stay tuned!

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I analyzed James Harden’s performance in every NBA city to see if there is a correlation between his box score and the city’s average strip club rating.

Everyone knows James Harden has a particular affinity for the Canadian ballet, aka strip clubs. After the Rocket’s dismal performance in Miami last week, and the city’s reputation for high quality tit-shacks, I became increasingly curious to see just how much James Harden’s vice affects his game. So here we are, I spent the better part of the work week on this, hope y’all enjoy!

Hypothesis: James Harden’s box score declines in cities with high quality strip clubs.

Test: Analyze James Harden’s performance in every NBA city and correlate with the cities’ reputation for strip clubs to see if there is any discernible relationship.

Methodology/Steps:

  • First I extracted all of James Harden’s game logs for the past four seasons from Basketball-Reference.com, cleaned up the data a bit (a bunch), and appended it into a single worksheet.

  • Next, I filtered out all Home games and all games Harden was inactive or DNP. For the purpose of this analysis, we did not look at home games.

  • Poor Performances were determined by variances in 6 stats: Points, Field Goal %, 3-Point%, Free Throw%, Assists and Turnovers. For each of these stats I compared Harden’s overall season average to the city-specific season average. I identified 2 categories of poor performances:

Sub-Par – Harden performed WORSE than season average

Very Sub-Par – Harden performed 20%+ WORSE than season average

  • I analyzed his poor performances across each of the NBA’s 28 different cities (did not look at home games so no Houston, there are 2 teams in LA, and I distinguished between Brooklyn and NYC = 28 cities).

  • City Strip Club Rating was determined by the average Google review rating for the first 10 strip clubs in each city based on the Google search “[CITY] Strip Clubs” (e.g., “Detroit Strip clubs”). Yes, this did involve me doing 30+ searches for strip clubs on my work cpu…

  • Finally, I put the City Strip Club Rating into the pivoted game log data, performed a regression analysis and visualized it into charts.

Here’s a look at the analysis:
(click photo to enlarge for easier reading)

My NBA Reddit Post That Went Viral: James Harden's Road Play with City's Strip Club Quality Analysis

Conclusion:

I have proven, to a statistically significant degree, that James Harden’s performance declines in cities with higher rated strip clubs.

Correlation Coefficient – r – (between city strip club rating and total # of sub-par performances) = .4910

  • Given the nature of the subject matter, this would be considered a moderate-to-strong correlation.

Coefficient of Determination – r2– (between city strip club rating and total # of sub-par performances) = .21

  • This means that James Harden’s box score is 20% predictable based on the quality of a city’s strip clubs.

(click photos to enlarge)

My NBA Reddit Post That Went Viral: James Harden's Road Play with City's Strip Club Quality AnalysisMy NBA Reddit Post That Went Viral: James Harden's Road Play with City's Strip Club Quality Analysis

Other interesting facts:

  • In city with the worst strip clubs – Toronto – Harden recorded fewest # of Sub-Par Performances

  • In city with best strip clubs – Miami – Harden recorded 3rd most # of Sub-Par Performances

  • Salt Lake city has the 3rd-ranked strip clubs of all NBA cities lol

Link to the research!

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Charles Barkley’s Secret: A Critical Analysis

I made a viral reddit post once.

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