Moneyball in Basketball

Moneyball in Basketball

Jen Bowman from Trinity College in Connecticut sent over a link to a really fascinating article written by Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball. It looks at Shane Battier of the NBA Houston Rockets.

The part I found interesting was the discussion of how Battier tried to defend Kobe Bryant, and what he was willing to give and what he wanted to force. Really complex statistical questions being asked and answered, something you don’t intuitively see when you watch a game. I’d be surprised if very many teams have players that can interpret and apply the data the way Battier can, let alone produce that data in the first place.

The whole thing makes me think we can go even further in our analysis of volleyball stats. Time to give Gil a call . . .

The entire article can be found here.

4 comments on Moneyball in Basketball

  1. Roshambo says:

    >Great post to really emphasize the importance of intelligent scouting.

    I once heard someone say that it is “nice if you know something about what teams like to do”…can’t say it’d be any different for individuals.

    After reading this article I took my team to a club tournament and I decided to really focus on scouting teams and players. I found that most teams (even the top ones) in my age division where relatively simple to beat based solely on the statistical actions of one or two players. Needless to say, we won a lot of games we probably would’ve lost without the data.

    Thanks for another awesome post!

  2. Shawn says:

    >At this year's clinic Carl said that the stat "hitting effeciency" is now not considered to be the best statistical evaluation of the effectiveness of a hitter or how much he/she is helping or hurting your team. My memory/notes are a little hazy from this session, is there a better formula r for analyzing this area that is not a long complicated algebraic equation??

  3. Grutzbo says:

    >I leave the GM2 Stats sessions with a desire to have the Video analysis system and army of stats takers that the Major Colleges can do.

    For a HS team that does not have the staff – what stats would you say are the most useful? I let parents keep the media stats but between scoring serves & Passes, terminal touches or charting locations of opponents etc I run out of resources before I run out of interest.


  4. CJM says:

    >Grutzbo, we are going to cover the stats stuff extensively in the LEVEL 2 clinics, hopefully you can make it to one of these.

    In any case, at a minimum I would consider taking the following stats:

    – Side Out and Point Scoring by Rotation
    – Serving and Passing (by Player)
    – Attack (by player)
    – Creates (by Player) / Converts (by Team)
    – Stuff Blocks (by Player)

    It is REALLY helpful if you have these statistics by player, by rotation. Keeping them by rotation makes things much harder, but the analysis portion is much easier if you have that in place.

    And if you can't have parents keeping those stats, just do it afterwards while watching film. There is also some very affordable (relatively) video analysis software from DataProject called DataVideo Essential. Contact James Wilroy from DPUSA for details at This will really help when you start analyzing stats by rotation.

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