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View Full Version : The "I don't buy all this advanced stats stuff!" Thread



DenButsu
09-25-2010, 08:55 PM
Think it's better to understand basketball "just by watching" the game?

Think traditional basketball stats (such as points per game) are a more accurate representation of efficiency stats (points per possession)?

Express your views here in this thread - and only here, please. :cool:

JordansBulls
09-25-2010, 09:39 PM
Watching the game is important in determining how good a player is, however just watching the game doesn't do itself justice, has to be something behind the game. People tend to hide there players deficiencies and etc by just watching, but when you have stats to back you up then that will speak volumes in itself.

jetsfan28
09-25-2010, 10:34 PM
My post may not be exactly what this thread is intended for. I do believe in advanced stats completely. They paint a decent picture and do tell us a lot about players. My problem is that people try to use stats as an all-proving measure (not all people, but some). In baseball, this is true. Baseball is an individual sport in a team format, your stats show how good you are. In basketball, I think that certain people look at stats too much as "proof", ignoring things like environmental circumstance of your team and things that don't show up in the stat sheet (and there are a TON of them in basketball). I'm tired of people thinking that just because basketball has made great strides in statistics, statistics alone can prove something like 'player A is better than player B.'



And while I don't feel just watching the game is better, I do feel that there are some players that I learn more about by watching a game than by looking at stats. I think of Tim Duncan for instance. Sure, even by advanced metrics he's amazing, but he's underrated by those. They don't show how good he is at knowing when to seal his man off to help his guard, something a ton of big men today don't do well (which pisses me off, because I'm 6', 135 lbs, and even I can do it, it's all about positioning), or how many rebounds he gets his teammates by boxing out, or how his man is often a bit slow helping off him because he CAN hit perimeter jumpers (although he often doesn't take him because they're not efficient shots). So I feel they leave a tremendous amount unknown, and it bothers me that people ignore that sometimes. Tremendously useful, but not all-inclusive.

lakers4sho
09-26-2010, 01:23 AM
I've always said that only looking at stats (or watching games) is only half the battle. A knowledgeable student of the game knows that both must be incorporated in order to have the complete picture of things.

That being said, stats are a pretty good indicator of a player's performance. Just like everyone says, numbers don't lie. But then again they don't tell the entire story either :p

abe_froman
09-26-2010, 01:36 AM
oh thank you for making this thread,maybe a few people might actually come in here with their complaints and come out the wiser

lakers4sho
09-26-2010, 01:44 AM
People are turned off by stats in general because of the misconception that it involves "advanced math" and that they should not bother with it since they can't keep up. Then they start throwing out excuses such as "It ruins the beauty of the game, Who needs stats when we can watch the game, etc".

While it is true that it can be complicated sometimes, with a little bit of effort and patience, one can understand the mechanics behind the formulas. Dean Oliver once said that all (or most) of his stats involve nothing more than the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division he learned from studying baseball cards when he was 10.

abe_froman
09-26-2010, 02:17 AM
People are turned off by stats in general because of the misconception that it involves "advanced math" and that they should not bother with it since they can't keep up. Then they start throwing out excuses such as "It ruins the beauty of the game, Who needs stats when we can watch the game, etc".

While it is true that it can be complicated sometimes, with a little bit of effort and patience, one can understand the mechanics behind the formulas. Dean Oliver once said that all (or most) of his stats involve nothing more than the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division he learned from studying baseball cards when he was 10.
some of it is that,and some i found are just genuinely distrustful and/or human natural "take an antagonistic tone towards anything that may challenge a previously held believe" mindset.so say you think player x is great,advanced stats say player x is not so great,instead of that person changing his mind,he instead claims that stats are wrong and not to be trusted.people in general want an echo chamber in life,they usually dont take well to anything that doesnt reaffirm them.

and yes,well just the bringing up of math..the word,the meaning most put behind it strikes fear in most people.they find anything approaching the subject intimidating and some how will be hard,even if its elementally add/subtract they can do in their heads in a moments notice/time.

Hawkeye15
09-26-2010, 02:24 AM
long story short, I find it ironic that most stat haters crap on them when they point to their man being not what they thought, but are the same people who use them when trying to make a point.

lakers4sho
09-26-2010, 02:28 AM
some of it is that,and some i found are just genuinely distrustful and/or human natural "take an antagonistic tone towards anything that may challenge a previously held believe" mindset.so say you think player x is great,advanced stats say player x is not so great,instead of that person changing his mind,he instead claims that stats are wrong and not to be trusted.people in general want an echo chamber in life,they usually dont take well to anything that doesnt reaffirm them.

You're right. Statistical evaluation is a brand new type of analysis in basketball; it is still in its infancy stages. So yes people would generally be distrustful, especially if it challenges a previously held belief, especially those they have held for a long time.

I wish ESPN would incorporate more indepth statistical analysis in their basketball programs. But we all know it's an entertainment channel. After all, who would want to watch something full of math and numbers?

lakers4sho
09-26-2010, 02:29 AM
long story short, I find it ironic that most stat haters crap on them when they point to their man being not what they thought, but are the same people who use them when trying to make a point.

Another great point.

abe_froman
09-26-2010, 02:37 AM
You're right. Statistical evaluation is a brand new type of analysis in basketball; it is still in its infancy stages. So yes people would generally be distrustful, especially if it challenges a previously held belief, especially those they have held for a long time.

I wish ESPN would incorporate more indepth statistical analysis in their basketball programs. But we all know it's an entertainment channel. After all, who would want to watch something full of math and numbers?

i always likened this time in basketball to the beginnings of baseballs sabr revolution,when the first wave of guys were starting to be hired,and the material was out there but most still looked down upon it(obp,whats that? give me rbi's)

anyone who comes in here would watch that :laugh: but your right.which is why,nor anyone should watch it in hopes of hearing anything insightful

MrFastBreak
09-26-2010, 11:49 AM
There shouldnt be a prob taking in these metrics if there's context applied and if you really are a 'true' fan of the game the math shouldnt drive you away either. Abe has addressed the prob, fans would HATE to witness a player they've perceived as a star to fare notsowell in these metrics. So what do they do? Call them DUMB and bash, bash, bash

Avenged
09-26-2010, 12:45 PM
All I will say is, it seems like some users should just watch the stat-line instead of the games by the way some praise advanced stats so much and don't even consider someone's opinion when they say they watch the game.

Hawkeye15
09-26-2010, 05:20 PM
All I will say is, it seems like some users should just watch the stat-line instead of the games by the way some praise advanced stats so much and don't even consider someone's opinion when they say they watch the game.

of course. But the same can be said of the other way around. There are countless posters out there who claim stats are for nerds, or are all skewed, or flawed, and they refuse to look at them.
As I have always said, you need to watch as much basketball as possible, and then embrace and understand stats to truly get the best perspective. But when a debate comes down to who is better, stats can really open up some tough choices and make them easier. Stats show us how much better Paul is than Williams, even though if you only watched the two, you would have a hard time making that claim, simply seeing Paul as only slightly better most likely.
Kobe vs Jordan. Many Kobe fans see the fall away's, the similar movements, the rings, etc, and truly believe Kobe is in Jordan's class. But the stats show they have never been in the same class.
I am just sick of using statistics in a debate, and the only retort you get is, "You have to watch the games, your stats mean nothing to me". That is a pathetic response I have started to not even address anymore.

Hawkeye15
09-26-2010, 05:22 PM
I for one grew up playing sports all my life, basketball specifically. Even into my later 20's, I didn't care to look at stats, I just watched and made my evaluations by watching only. It wasn't until right before I joined here that I found some basic advanced stats online, and then with the help of some posters here, got more familiar with even more advanced stats. I embraced them. This is what the average fan needs to do, or they are missing the big picture.

Baller1
09-26-2010, 08:31 PM
Honestly, it seems as if the only people who are "against" advanced statistics are the ones who's favorite players' weaknesses are exposed by the analysis (i.e. Melo fans, Monta Ells fans, Derrick Rose fans).

I'm relatively new to the whole "advanced statistics" scene, but I love them. It's like Hawkeye said, you have to be willing to embrace the factual evidence and profound analysis found in these stats.

Basketash
09-27-2010, 01:39 PM
Don't really know if this falls in this thread but i have a request, to have more threads like the "Statistics 101: Possesions" so fans can become more aquainted with these stats and learn to use them in the proper way.

And my take on the thread is that, like it was said before, you have to watch the game and take a look in the stats to get the big picture.

DenButsu
09-27-2010, 01:45 PM
Don't really know if this falls in this thread but i have a request, to have more threads like the "Statistics 101: Possesions" so fans can become more aquainted with these stats and learn to use them in the proper way.

I posted the "Primers" thread with hopes that it might be a starting introductory point for the uninitiated.

That said, I totally agree that more threads centered on specific stats where people can learn about and explore what they mean in depth is a great idea.

Really, I hope some of these will come from the people who have questions about them.

Basketash
09-27-2010, 02:57 PM
I posted the "Primers" thread with hopes that it might be a starting introductory point for the uninitiated.

That said, I totally agree that more threads centered on specific stats where people can learn about and explore what they mean in depth is a great idea.

Really, I hope some of these will come from the people who have questions about them.

Yeah well this forum really got me exploring these advanced stats so i'll try and make one.

lakers4sho
09-27-2010, 07:18 PM
Don't really know if this falls in this thread but i have a request, to have more threads like the "Statistics 101: Possesions" so fans can become more aquainted with these stats and learn to use them in the proper way.

Don't worry, more will be coming ;)

I'm sorry, it's just that I've been busy lately, I'll probably add another 101 by the end of this week.

Raidaz4Life
09-27-2010, 07:32 PM
I would be a lot more receptive to advanced statistics if the people who used them didn't throw them around thinking they were so much better than everyone else and had the secret answers that nobody else could understand. Advanced statistics are very helpful but just as open to misinterpretation as traditional statistics. There is nothing wrong with either form of statistics, they don't lie... they do exactly what they say they do. Its lazy people that skew their meaning by inferring things from them that they are not stating. For example... the most common would be people thinking that PPG= offensive ability or efficiency. PPG tells exactly what it says... how many points a player scores in a game but there are so many other factors involved in determining how valuable those points actually are to a team. The same goes for advanced statistics though. The big one with that one I seem to find it people throwing out me that player A has a higher AST% and therefore is a better passer. That is just as ignorant as saying a players PPG determines a players offensive ability. But of course people think that just because it is an advanced statistic it automatically tells the whole story when it doesn't.


Like I said I have been turned off to advanced statistics in the past which is why I rarely use them unless someone is dead set on bringing them out. Thats not to say I have a problem understanding them, I just find them to be a bit overrated in regards of what they are able to tell us. ESPECIALLY in regards to player comparisons.

DenButsu
09-27-2010, 11:13 PM
I would be a lot more receptive to advanced statistics if the people who used them didn't throw them around thinking they were so much better than everyone else and had the secret answers that nobody else could understand. Advanced statistics are very helpful but just as open to misinterpretation as traditional statistics. There is nothing wrong with either form of statistics, they don't lie... they do exactly what they say they do. Its lazy people that skew their meaning by inferring things from them that they are not stating. For example... the most common would be people thinking that PPG= offensive ability or efficiency. PPG tells exactly what it says... how many points a player scores in a game but there are so many other factors involved in determining how valuable those points actually are to a team. The same goes for advanced statistics though. The big one with that one I seem to find it people throwing out me that player A has a higher AST% and therefore is a better passer. That is just as ignorant as saying a players PPG determines a players offensive ability. But of course people think that just because it is an advanced statistic it automatically tells the whole story when it doesn't.


Like I said I have been turned off to advanced statistics in the past which is why I rarely use them unless someone is dead set on bringing them out. Thats not to say I have a problem understanding them, I just find them to be a bit overrated in regards of what they are able to tell us. ESPECIALLY in regards to player comparisons.

I understand where you're coming from, and I've been there at times, too.

And I do think the people who are into this stuff, if they want to promote its usefulness, best serve the cause by being tolerant and patient with people who haven't caught on yet.

That said, there are those who stubbornly refuse to even open their minds to the possibility that better basketball analysis can be achieved through more modern stats that are efficiency based. And it can be frustrating - even maddening.

But I hope those people will come into this thread and post their doubts. And I hope those of us who disagree, rather than bashing them, will make such persuasive arguments that we'll bring them around to seeing the benefits. :cool:

lakers4sho
09-27-2010, 11:17 PM
Yes, if people are doubting stats because of certain reasons, post those uncertainties here, and we'll try to help you out.

Remember we're all learning here. No one here knows everything, and from learning from our mistakes we all become better.

Hawkeye15
09-28-2010, 02:28 AM
I would be a lot more receptive to advanced statistics if the people who used them didn't throw them around thinking they were so much better than everyone else and had the secret answers that nobody else could understand. Advanced statistics are very helpful but just as open to misinterpretation as traditional statistics. There is nothing wrong with either form of statistics, they don't lie... they do exactly what they say they do. Its lazy people that skew their meaning by inferring things from them that they are not stating. For example... the most common would be people thinking that PPG= offensive ability or efficiency. PPG tells exactly what it says... how many points a player scores in a game but there are so many other factors involved in determining how valuable those points actually are to a team. The same goes for advanced statistics though. The big one with that one I seem to find it people throwing out me that player A has a higher AST% and therefore is a better passer. That is just as ignorant as saying a players PPG determines a players offensive ability. But of course people think that just because it is an advanced statistic it automatically tells the whole story when it doesn't.


Like I said I have been turned off to advanced statistics in the past which is why I rarely use them unless someone is dead set on bringing them out. Thats not to say I have a problem understanding them, I just find them to be a bit overrated in regards of what they are able to tell us. ESPECIALLY in regards to player comparisons.


I can't begin to explain how much you are missing. Using a single advanced stat to prove something is subjective, depending, but you are in the dark without learning them. I have already stated this to you bro. When you peel the layers, you do indeed learn Melo isn't an elite player, Ellis is pretty bad, and Rose is not a top 6 PG. Those are facts. You can choose to acknowledge them, or ignore them. Up to you

Basketash
09-28-2010, 09:11 AM
Don't worry, more will be coming ;)

I'm sorry, it's just that I've been busy lately, I'll probably add another 101 by the end of this week.

Awesome, love your stuff.