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We address the question of how to quantify the contributions of groups of players to team success. Our approach is based on spectral analysis, a technique from algebraic signal processing, which has several appealing features. First, our analysis decomposes the team success signal into components that are naturally understood as the contributions of player groups of a given size: individuals, pairs, triples, fours, and full five-player lineups. Secondly, the decomposition is orthogonal so that contributions of a player group can be thought of as pure: Contributions attributed to a group of three, for example, have been separated from the lower-order contributions of constituent pairs and individuals. We present detailed a spectral analysis using NBA play-by-play data and show how this can be a practical tool in understanding lineup composition and utilization.


Originally published in the Journal of Sports Analytics 6 (2020) 215-234


DOI 10.3233/JSA-200407

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