When we talk about the defensive potential of incoming NBA players, we’re usually referring to a set of physical attributes – height, length, physical strength, footspeed, etc. – that can may be improved upon at the margins, but essentially exist as raw athletic foundation upon which a defensive stalwart can be built. But to what extent, and in what combination, do these building blocks actually predict future defensive performance? This post is the first in a series that aims at answering that question.
I’ve at some point described every place I’ve ever lived as “a good town/city/region/state for basketball”. As clearly as this judgment is tainted by a sort of home-spun narcissism rootless tribalism goodhearted loyalty, it’s also clear that some places are better than others. Which are those places? To begin answering this question, I pick from Basketball Reference’s extraordinary stock of information, scraping their Birth Places page to get the country/state and city of birth for every player in NBA history.