Frozen Tool Forensics: First Half Success Stories

Chris Kane

2022-09-09

A few weeks ago on Frozen Tool Forensics, we focused on potential breakout players using a breakout threshold process outlined elsewhere on the site. For the full break down check out the article. Part of the analysis was looking at players that had strong second half splits. That got me thinking generally about first half/second half splits and that is where we are going to be for this week's article.

This week on Frozen Tool Forensics: 2021 First Half Success Stories

Generally, when we talk about splits (players performing better in one section of the season vs another) we encounter a lot of noise. For most players seeing them perform better in the first half than the second half or vice versa is often variance driven rather than some kind of repeatable skill. This variance could be as simple as shooting luck, or maybe we have a player adjusting to a new place in the lineup, or they get injured, or they get to take an injured player's spot. Through it all though we do occasionally have some players who do seem to have notorious slow starts (eh hem Kevin Fiala).

For the purposes of this article, we are going to be diving into some of the players with the more dramatic splits from the 21-22 season. Seeing their name listed shouldn't necessarily be a red flag that they will repeat in the 22-23 season. Giving players a label as a first half or second half performer would require a bit deeper of a dive that we won't get to today.

Preamble out of the way so let's get to the process. To start we are using the same methodology as in the article mentioned above. I ran two Big Board reports (available in our Frozen Tools), with the split date of January 15th. I exported those reports to be able to combine and isolate the columns I am most interested in. I also converted everything into points per game to account for the fluctuations there.

Just for completion’s sake, there are 303 players who performed better in the first half than in the second, while there are 319 players who performed better in the second. That left about 185 players who were the same. If we account for small sample sizes, say played a total of 15 games both in the first and second halves we have 225 players who played better in the first half, and 222 in the second.

The focus of this article though is going to be about players who performed better in the first half. I am mostly concerned about players who put up a fantasy relevant point pace, and players who saw a reasonably impactful (a 20+ full-season point pace) swin