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Monday, March 02, 2015

Deadspin: “Sports Analytics” Is Bullshit Now

To that end, yes, of course, some teams invest more in analytical personnel, and some do a better job of integrating that into strategy, tactics, and method on the field or court. But try naming some and why, specifically, they’re successful. You’ll get as far as an accommodating owner or infrastructure, like the Mavericks or Rockets enjoy, or the efficiency of scale the Red Sox or New York Yankees can sometimes employ in turning small-market tactics loose with big-market ruthlessness (and margin for error), but not much further. There’s a reason for that: the actual work of transcoding data to usable intelligence involves the most closely-kept industry secrets in sports, to the point that, as I heard it from some of the private analytics crowd, multiple NBA teams were furious last year when Kirk Goldsberry and the Harvard group made public their models for parsing SportVU data in a useful way. As a rule, no one shows their work; no one shows proofs or models or submits to peer review that extends beyond the trade deadline. Yes, it’s probable that the Rockets really do have some great quants working in-house—who, like the best quants at your local Evil Finance Operation, are likely kept chained in a dark room being fed graphing paper so competitors never learn their names—but that probability rests in the team’s proven record of turning observation into philosophy into decisions into on-court success. The irony is that for all the complications added to sports organizations over the last several years, because of those complications and their secrecy, simple old wins are just about the only honest metric available to the public by which to judge whether or not a team’s analytics department has done a good job.

That doesn’t mean no one tries to prove otherwise. In the absence of any way to check everyone’s homework for bullshit, it’s very easy to just praise the teams who seem most vociferous about abiding by the maxims of analytics as good-faith practitioners. Draft picks and youth are valuable; roster flexibility is key; defense is cheap, and maybe the new (or now just recent) inefficiency—all the little truisms distilled and disseminated in that ESPN analytics package are basically just talking points when coming from teams that promise they’ve done the math even if you can’t see it working yet.

As such, the analytics story right now isn’t just about a standard-issue business division being imparted divine powers by the media and the people who benefit from such coverage; it’s about right-minded and unverifiable claims being attached to all manner of disasters as a way of reassuring fans that they shouldn’t worry, that there is a plan, and that the plan is based on smart-people things.

But seriously, the Mariners are still working on that state-of-the-art weight room.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 02, 2015 at 10:15 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: 76ers, astros, deadspin, nba, sports analytics

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - March 2015

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the Great War.

The District Attorney Posted: March 02, 2015 at 01:06 PM | 280 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Adam Silver has contacted other commissioners about legal sports gambling

No way I can see MLB coming around on gambling. I give it 50-1 odds.

Silver believes in the potential benefits of legalized sports gambling so much that he’s willing to do what it takes to convince his counterparts in other American sports leagues that he’s right. In an interview with David Purdum for ESPN the Magazine, Silver explains what he’s doing to reach out to other commissioners:

“I have talked to the commissioners in the other leagues about [legalizing sports betting],” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in an exclusive interview with ESPN The Magazine in late January at the league’s Manhattan office. “I leave it to them to make any public statements they want to make on it. I will say that certainly all of them are interested in having a better understanding of the issue, and I know have assigned people in their organizations to study intensively the issue as well.”
In addition to the conversations between the commissioners, there have been other private meetings between counsel for the leagues to discuss the pros and cons of legalization, multiple sources with direct knowledge told ESPN. [...]
The other major professional sports leagues are not on the same page. The NFL says its opposition to legalized sports betting has not changed. Major League Baseball, while transitioning to new commissioner Rob Manfred, declined comment. The NHL’s Gary Bettman has been the only commissioner to speak out since Silver’s op-ed.
“I think there needs some attention to be paid to what sport is going to represent to young people,” Bettman said in an interview with CNN. “Should it be viewed in the competitive team-oriented sense that it is now, or does it become a vehicle for betting, which may in effect change the atmosphere in the stadiums and in the arenas?” [...]
“It’s my personal view that there should be federal legislation on this issue, in part to avoid what is happening now,” Silver said. “My greatest concern is that there will be in essence a hodgepodge of regulations controlling sports betting that will vary from state to state, jurisdiction to jurisdiction and will make it increasingly difficult to monitor betting on our very own sport.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2015 at 11:12 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, nba

Sunday, February 01, 2015

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - February 2015

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the never-ending thrill of ranking Major League Baseball executives.

Some people will never forget DeAndre Jordan’s posterizing dunk over Brandon Knight.

For devoted Clippers fan Darrell Camara, it’ll physically stay with him forever after getting a tattoo on his hip of the dunk face Jordan made afterward.

The District Attorney Posted: February 01, 2015 at 02:25 PM | 1260 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

Monday, January 05, 2015

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - January 2015

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: vegetables that look like feet.

The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2015 at 03:50 PM | 1734 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

Monday, December 01, 2014

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - December 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: trying to justify how Billy Beane isn’t crazy.

The District Attorney Posted: December 01, 2014 at 12:32 AM | 1108 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

Saturday, November 01, 2014

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - November 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: whether communicable diseases are politicians’ fault.

The District Attorney Posted: November 01, 2014 at 01:14 PM | 1175 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: JETER

The District Attorney Posted: October 01, 2014 at 04:32 PM | 715 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

 

 

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