2018-2019 NBA ROY predictions

With Trae Young amazing performances the ROY debate seems to be revived. Luka Doncic and Trae Young are of course favorites but who know maybe an outsider can steal this award ?

Based on statistics of the players plus the previous ROY, I will try to predict the 2018-2019 ROY Award winner by predicting their Vote Share  (award points / maximum number of award points).


The Data

I have collected the data on Basketball Reference : I have created a database with every ROY contenders for each year since 2000. For this season our 5 contenders are :

  1. Luka Doncic
  2. Trae Young
  3. DeAndre Ayton
  4. Marvin Baglay III
  5. Jaren Jackson Jr

For each players, I have selected the following stats :

  • Basic statistics : G, MP, PTS/G, TRB/G, AST/G, STL/G, BLK/G, FG %, 3P %, FT %
  • Team statistics : number of wins
  • Advanced statistics : WS, WS/48, VORP, BPM
  • Vote share statistic

First, let’s have a look on the variables that are correlated with our target (Vote_Share).

PTS/G, MP, VORP and WS are the top 4 variables that are correlated the most with Vote_Share.

Then, we can rank our 5 rookies according to those 4 metrics.

We can see the duel between Harden and Giannis but also that Jokic got maybe a chance by being ranked 3rd for 3 metrics.


The Model

I have tried several regression Machine Learning regression algorithms to predict the Vote_Share for each of our players. To score my models I have chosen the Mean Squared Error (MSE) which mesures the average of the squares of the errors. After a 10-fold cross-validation I have displayed boxplots for each model.

The best modeld are Ridge Regression and Linear Regression but since the Ridge median is smaller, I have decided to chose this model.



The 2018-2019 ROY should be …

Luka Doncic !


Limits of the model
  • Triple doubles, points records for example
  • Consistency : Doncic is impressive since the first months
  • Adversity : it is easier to score 30 points against the Knicks than against the Bucks for example

These factors can’t be ignored.


P.S : In Predicting the best players of the 2018 Draft (october 2018) article I predicted that, excluding Doncic, the best rookies should be Jaren Jackson Jr, Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr, DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges. Except the absence of Trae Young it is not that bad knowing that Mo’ Bamba and Wendel Carter are injured since a few weeks.