• Noel Moon

NBA Player Salaries by Position and Team: Who gets paid the most?


Every year the video game company, 2K sports, publishes a new iteration of the NBA 2K series with new ratings for every player. These ratings influence the performance of the players in-game, and a higher rating usually leads to better player performance in-game. It is not clear how these ratings are determined, but it is reasonable to assume that they are based on historical performance and some projection about future performance in the upcoming season. I obtained a dataset, linked above, which contains data about player statistics and their corresponding in-game rating. I was interested in seeing how much correlation certain statistics have with the player rating.

One variable I was interested in looking into was the 3-point percentage. In recent years, the NBA has placed a greater emphasis on 3-point shooting, so I wanted to see if that was reflected in the in-game ratings. For the graph, I filtered out any player with less than 2 attempts. In this case, the R-squared value was only 0.02, so there did not appear to be any connection between the two variables. It is possible that because better players are guarded by better defenders, they may not actually experience an increase in 3-point accuracy.

The graph above represents points per game (PPG) vs 2K rating. The two values appear to be related, with an R-squared value of 0.80. This makes sense given that players who score more are generally more effective than those who score less. There are several limitations of using PPG, however. It is possible for players to have a high PPG while not actually being an efficient player by shooting many shots. Also PPG fails to take into account the defensive contributions of players, which is also very important. I believe that the 2K rating takes this into account given that there isn’t a 100% correlation between the two values.

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