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Basketball on Paper: Rules and Tools for Performance Analysis Hardcover – November, 2003
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The problem I have with much of the literature aimed at the general public though, is that is over simplifies the problems, and all to often takes away the argument by assumption. John Maynard Keynes taught us that the big problem with statistics is not the methods, it's having no way to validate the numbers we put in.
So here we have an assumed method of picking the best offensive and defensive teams in history, no discussion of why most of those teams did not win a championship, no discussion of alternative methods. We get probabilities of winning streaks, but only a couple paragraphs on problems with those stats. (player injuries as the only example.). What about the fact that NBA teams almost always lose the second game of back to back road games? What about teams tanking at the end of the season to improve draft position?
I appreciated large parts of this book, but also found myself deeply frustrated with it at points. There are better books out there for people who want to get started on modern sports statistics.
Best book on sports statistics that I've read.
An example of an interesting idea: Comparing a team's points scored, points allowed differential with the league average for a particular year is a pretty good indicator of the teams winning percentage. Of course, if a team has played enough games to have a statistically significant point differential, the teams won/loss record is also a pretty good indicator of how the teams winning percentage will end up. An interesting correlation but not very interesting for making predictions nor for understanding the game.
The author makes a very good point that players should be evaluated not on how much they score, but their value as a scoring asset minus their liability on defense. The author considers shooting percentage, assists, free throws, etc. as contributions to scoring. He also tries to include statistics on blocks, shooting percentages of opposing players, etc. to determine a defensive value. While a step in the right direction, it is a long ways from being useful to determine a players value. A couple of examples:
1. A player is very good at 3 point shooting. The opposing teams denies him the ball and instantly double teams him every time he touches the ball. This allows the remainder of his team to play 4 on 3, get lots of open looks presumably score very efficiently. Since the player in question probably commonly passes out of double teams but not directly to the player ultimately taking a shot, he will probably get few assists. According to the author, this player has very little offensive value.
2.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dean Oliver's Basketball on Paper is a must read for coaches and those interested in statistics. This book provides a significant amount of information leading to the genesis of... Read morePublished 6 months ago by John Scott
this book was too acvanced for my osn at his age(12 yrs). May be able to get more use from it later on.Published 13 months ago by S. K. Lovett
If you are into a technical, mathematical analysis of basketball teams, then this book is a right fit for you. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Randy Rueger
Service by Amazon was perfect, on time and brand new condition. The book is interesting as I expected, and I beleive Oliver adds some wit and humor that helps in the drier... Read morePublished 16 months ago by R. Intrieri
Dean Oliver provides us all with some incredible tools for breaking down the game!Published 18 months ago by daddySUP
This book has helped me identify some key statistics in the game of basketball. This in turn has improved my coaching.Published 22 months ago by Anthony
I am almost half way through the book and already sure that it will be a very satisfying book. Thanks to the author.Published 24 months ago by mehmet gedik