Sabermetrics. They have been a continous hot topic of conversation in modern sports circles, recently sparked (and fueled) by Jonah Lehrer’s Grantland column, The Math Problem. Lehrer argued that while sabermetrics — the computerized measurement of statistics, in this case basketball data — can be extremely useful at times, the allure of definitive measures of production leads us to ignore the oft-underrated intangibles. Worse, the popular obsession with quantifiable sports values has resulted in shortsighted personnel decisions. The horror!
But this post isn’t about the great paradox of sports statistics nor whether dismissing math in sports is the right call. It’s about how Washington Wizards 2011 draft pick Jan Vesely played on paper — was he a slam dunk in Europe or something less spectacular?
The Wizards brass had their hearts and minds set on adding the 6’11” combo-forward to the roster for over two years, so I wanted to take a look at what attracted the team’s attention (assuming, of course, that the front office dabbles in advanced hoops data).
Our friendly neighborhood basketball statistician, ESPN.com’s John Hollinger, has determined that there is a predictable relationship between how a player performs in the Euroleague and how he will compete as a rookie in the Association. When transitioning to the NBA, a Euroleague player’s pace-adjusted per-minute stats will be affected as follows: Read more »