The Best Sports Statistics Article I Have Read

The No-Stats All-Star

“I care a lot more about what ought to have happened than what actually happens,” said Hinkie, who has an M.B.A. from Stanford. The routine N.B.A. game, he explained, is decided by a tiny percentage of the total points scored. A team scores on average about 100 points a game, but two out of three N.B.A. games are decided by fewer than 6 points — two or three possessions. The effect of this, in his mind, was to raise significantly the importance of every little thing that happened. The Lakers’ Trevor Ariza, who makes 29 percent of his 3-point shots, hit a crazy 3-pointer, and as the crowd moaned, Hinkie was almost distraught. “That Ariza shot, that is really painful,” he said. “Because it’s a near-random event. And it’s a 3-point swing.” When Bryant drove to the basket, instead of being forced to take a jump shot, he said: “That’s three-eighths of a point. These things accumulate.”

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the link to a fantastic article. As a coach, I’ve always preferred an average athlete who was smart rather than an excellent athlete who couldn’t figure out what was going on. As a math teacher, this might be just the motivation I can present to some students who want to be involved in sports but would never make the team….

  2. Yeah this is a great article. It definitely improves my respect for Battier and might even offer some insight for my own game. Thanks

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