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Great Lakes Analytics in Sports Conference

Andres Alvarez

CEO | Nerd Numbers

Why Does the NBA Still Undervalue Free Throws?

The NBA has ramped up its use of analytics considerably. Yet, a fundamental part of the game paramount for winning is still ignored. In this talk, we review the importance of free throws and a case study on the impact of improving a player's performance. Attendees will gain a basic understanding of the math behind the box score for evaluating wins in the NBA, learn the importance of free throws in the NBA game (similar to walks in Moneyball), and gain context, both on a macro and player level, for how free throws can impact team performance.

For several years, Andres Alvarez has made his living as a freelance software developer working on data analytics and sports (including daily fantasy sports). Previously he worked as a software engineer for Google. In his spare time he researches and blogs about sports, particularly the NBA, at and He has a master's degree in computer science from Colorado State University, with a focus on machine learning for computer vision.

Follow Andres on Twitter

Listen to a podcast interview with Andres and GLASC director Scott Tappa

Watch a video of Andres' 2018 GLASC presentation

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