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Basketball on Paper: Rules and Tools for Performance Analysis Hardcover – November, 2003
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"At the risk of succumbing to hyperbole, BASKETBALL ON PAPER is a revolutionary strike for statistical analysis of the game of basketball. . . . There has never been a basketball book quite like [it]." --HOOPSWORLD.COM
From the Publisher
Basketball stats and strategy for coaches and fans alike.
Top customer reviews
Without giving away key premises, Oliver truly dives deep into the fundamentals of how a basketball game works to determine tools to evaluate how teams and players do just past the final score. Typical cliches are challenged -- some proven, some shown to be irrelevant -- as he puts a statistical and logical argument behind why the proposed approaches are superior. And I agree with his results. After focusing on them over the past year, I can truly say that this book has helped me further understand how and why a team wins just behind the final score. Diving into the box score alone can reveal hidden gems that you might not have thought about otherwise. If you're a stat nut, a basketball fanatic, or some sort of a combination of the two, this book is a definite must read.
Considering that this is one of the greatest books I've ever read, I'd say it is worthy of a five star rating.
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.