Pseudo analysis of basketball

This is just one example of a stats-based basketball related article which makes this corner shudder:

CHISHOLM: CAN CALDERON RUN AN UP-TEMPO OFFENCE
Therein lies the schism: Calderon works best when the pace is slow and determined, but the team scores best when the pace is fast and furious. The Raptors shoot a FG% of .517 in the first ten seconds of the shot clock, and dip to .471 in the next five seconds (the jump back up to .515 in the ensuing seconds correlates to Chris Bosh’s .493 percentage in that time as the team will start to look to him to bail them out of a short clock situation). Too often on fast break opportunities, though, Calderon either takes the ball all the [way] up the court himself (instead of outletting to a teammate ahead of him for a layup or dunk) or he stops himself at the three-point line to look for a trailing three-point shooter.

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How come, you ask?

Well …

PART ONE
If Jose Calderon does really work best when the pace is slow and determined then a basketball analyst who is attempting to explain this observation should actually examine how the Raptors perform with Jose Calderon at the PG spot, exclusively, rather than what their team’s overall FG% might be at different times during the shot clock?

Does it make logical sense to assert the following:

The Raptors shoot .517 in the first 10 seconds on the shot clock.
The Raptors shoot .471 in the 11-15 second segment on the shot clock.
The Raptors shoot .515 in the 16-24 second segment on the shot clock.
Therefore, Jose Calderon works best when the pace is slow and determined.

The simple answer is: No … it … does … not.

PART TWO
If Jose Calderon does really make a habit of:

A. Dribbling the ball all the way up the court himself;

B. Stopping at the three-point line and waiting for a trailing shooter;

C. Rather than passing it ahead to a teammate;

then a basketball analyst who is attempting to explain this observation should actually examine how the Raptors perform with Jose Calderon as their PG, exclusively, in each of these three specific scenarios, to gauge accurately which one he excels in versus which ones he does not.

Far too many times an article like this starts with a basic observation about the game [in general], or an individual player, which is faulty from the outset - i.e. Jose Calderon performs better at a slow pace - and then, without properly defining the terms under discussion, uses incorrect comparative analyses in an effort to prove that point.

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Q1. Can Jose Calderon run an up-tempo offense?
A1. Maybe he can; or, maybe he can’t.

All that’s known for sure is that none of the “statistical analysis” presented in this specific article makes that point, either one way or the other.

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7 Responses to “Pseudo analysis of basketball”

  1. Mauro Says:

    oops. It seem that I agree 100 % on your point. Doesn’t happen often but it does.
    Btw, nice to talk just about basket

  2. Mauro Says:

    oh, I forgot.
    This guy has been paid to write this poor article. Amazing.

  3. khandor Says:

    Mauro,

    I agree, it’s a treat just to talk about hoops.

    ————————————————

    I’ve read some of Tim Chisholm’s other articles and know that he can do a good job understanding what transpires on the court and communicating his impressions to others.

    IMO, however, he missed the boat on this one.

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    In general, what I find disappointing is that many professional sports writers show by what they write in their articles that they haven’t spent a great deal of time actually learning about the intricacies of the sport they are writing about.

    i.e. What they are is a “good writer” who has been assigned to cover basketball … not a “knowledgeable basketball person” who is employed to write about the game.

  4. Linkage for Mar 23 9am to Mar 25 7am - Raptors Republic Says:

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  5. Swirsky's Soldier Says:

    the raps also shoot a combine 45.6%… which means none of his numbers jive period.

    I to have always hated when people use only stats as their argument (whether its basketball or ‘the real world’). They are useful, and in all reality required at times, but one can never know all the factors that influence specific stats and any person can analyze and present any stats in any fashion they see fit.

  6. khandor Says:

    SS,

    An old saying goes like this,

    “Stats themselves don’t lie; they just don’t always tell the whole truth.”

    Personally, I would amend it to something along these lines instead:

    “Stats are only as accurate as the individual keeping/using them; and, unfortunately, all too frequently certain individuals are rather unconcerned with discovering the whole truth which lies behind them.” – khandor

    ———-

    PS. The hand cannot catch what the eye fails see.Anonymous

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