Things You Can't Measure in Basketball, Part I

The Big Lead isn't buying advanced basketball metrics.

Looking at this season’s PER stats, Jameer Nelson (20.70) is marginally better than Deron Williams (20.69). And that means … what exactly? Deron Williams has played most of this season without AK-47 and Carlos Boozer. How difficult were the opponents in the 42 games Nelson played in before his season ended? Would someone attempt to enter a debate that Nelson had a better season prior to his injury, than Williams? Does PER take into account the Olympics? The fact that Williams came into the preseason a little portly?

Dammit John Hollinger what does your statistic voodoo even mean when you can't even factor for all that mozzarella and baba ganoush Deron Williams ate in September? What good is a statistic that doesn't account for what the player did in the offseason? Does PER account for who Jason Kidd is dating? No? Useless. Oy.

There is more:

Wade misses 70 percent of his three’s … because he’s never been a good 3-point shooter. This is actually his best season shooting the three in his career. He’s attempted nearly as many three’s this season (236) as he did in his first five seasons, combined (330). Is that because he no longer has Shaq or because a) the team has a new coach (team scoring up over the last two years) or b) coming off two injury-plagued seasons, he decided that contorting his body in the lane 20 times a night probably isn’t good for wear and tear, and adding a three-point shot to the arsenal could prolong his career by a few seasons?

Please ignore the distractingly poor grammar and syntax to get to the meat of TBL's argument here. This guy argues that advanced statistics are not useful and then launches into three completely invented theories as to why Wade has shot more threes this season, one of which seems more like a random string of words than an actual potential explanation. And again, all this to deride the theory Bill Simmons suggests, which is that Wade's teammates are awful and the star has to fire up bad jumpers late in the shot clock.

This TBL post is exactly the reason advanced statistics are important: because a lot of people who get paid to write about sports have no f---ing clue what they are talking about.

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