The best basketball site on the Web, 82 Games, recently got a little well-deserved publicity. It is at the leading edge of a wave that will change how basketball players and teams will be evaluated and you should be checking it out.
Let me explain, by way of another sport.
For the past few years, baseball insiders and fans have been divided over the “Moneyball” debate. For those unfamiliar, there is no one sentence description that does it justice, but the essence of the Moneyball approach is this: Statistics, particularly newly designed statistics, are more valuable in determining the value of a player than gut feel, even from “experts.” Moneyball teams have been successful — most recently the Boston Red Sox — but there is a lot of resistance as well from people who say stats can’t track the undeveloped potential of a player. It’s an “old school vs. new school” debate that has drawn plenty of animosity on both sides.
My humble opinion is that these new statistics are a very good tool. When and how an individual (say, a GM) chooses to use that tool will vary, but the tool has purpose.
This “Moneyball” statistical approach to basketball is the wave of the future, and some teams are catching on. It will never replace scouting, or having knowledgeable basketball people on the staff, but it is a useful tool.
Here at Forum Blue and Gold, look for me to link to 82 Games a lot, I’ve been reading that site for more than a year and find it invaluable. I took a lot of statistic classes in college (I did a lot of other stupid things in college as well — why would someone who wanted to write for a living keep taking hard math classes?) so I can sort of get my arms around the concepts, even if the individual calculations leave me more confused than Jessica Simpson on Jeopardy.
Read the linked article above, if nothing else it will help put another tool in your belt.