> I think this raises an issue that needs to be re-raised because it
> forgotten. How do we know he takes over a game? If you can't
> it, how do you know it? That was baseball's excuse until the recent
> enlightenment -- "well, you just can't measure the value of a
> sacrifice, you just 'see' it." So many many years of people
> things that they couldn't prove in any way. Finally, baseball is
> recognizing that if the numbers don't support use of the sacrifice
> bunt, there might be a very obvious reason for it -- it ain't very
Shaq takes over games, not Kobe. Kobe just looks more impressive
doing it (low percentage fade aways, driving floaters). He's fluid,
and this year he was very effective. But Shaq is still the man. Shaq
takes ugly looking 8 footers or power dunks shooting at 55-60% or gets
fouled and makes 50% from the line (which is awful, but he's there so
often, i.e., isn't 10 for 20 is better than 5 for 5, when teams employ
the hack-a-Shaq?). The only way to stop Shaq is for Shaq to stop
himeself, which happens more often than it should.
> We can measure anything! Define "crucial" and Roland has the data
> that says _something_. Whether it says something meaningful is
> specialize in. DanVal accounts for clutch play and Kobe isn't the
> best player there. People say they just "see" it when they know the
> numbers don't support them. They use numbers if it does support
> How to Lie with Statistics 101. I'm betting that Kobe does use
> possessions at the end of the game. I'm betting that he is no more
> effective than he is normally. I'd place a bet that he is slightly
> less effective at crucial times.
Stats have been used to justify, excuse, explain, and massage for
centuries. Politicians are the masters, but sports isn't far behind.
Be it agents, GMs, or writers, we all have used stats to bolster our
positions which are based on our perceptive beliefs. That's not to
say it should happen, but it does. My favorite is hearing that the
violent crime rate went down by 10%. Of course, their were 50 more
murders that year, but as a percentage this was a decrease. It's
> I will agree that some things _haven't_ been measured. But can't be
> measured? The tooth fairy can't be measured and I'm pretty sure
> because she doesn't exist.
> Besides, the problem with making projections without numbers is that
> most of the people doing it are flat out wrong.
> (Not to pick on you, but I have to hear about how such-and-such
> be measured ALL THE TIME from NBA people. And it's almost always a
> case of defending the traditional way of thinking, not a forward
> thinking 'how can we measure it' approach. So I'm pretty sick of
> It's bad basketball. It's bad science. It's bad business.)
I agree. Baseball is slowly turning the corner with the influx of new
blood in front offices. Basketball needs the same. Start by
encouraging teams to hire people with open minds about the importance
and usefulness of stats. I, for one, would be happy to stop
practicing law and join a front office.
> Dean Oliver
> Author, Basketball on Paper
> When basketball teams start playing Moneyball, this is the book
> they'll use!