Introducing: The Shabazz Assist 

Two years ago, Grantland's Kirk Goldsberry introduced the Kobe Assist, a new statistic that "proves that missing shots is sometimes just as valuable as making them." Goldsberry's analysis was interesting, but it left out a key component: the dunkpass. You see, Goldsberry examined what percentage of a player's missed… » 1/07/15 11:29pm 1/07/15 11:29pm

Use the Wisdom of Crowds to Draft the Best Fantasy Football Team

It's that time of the year—when fantasy football fans take to making their draft picks. But rather than relying on blind intuition, utilizing the wisdom of crowds will put your picks above the experts almost every time. » 8/08/14 2:00pm 8/08/14 2:00pm

​Relax, the United States Will Not Dismantle Our Perpetual War Machine

The front page of today's New York Times has astonishing news for a nation accustomed to life on an eternal war footing: Defense secretary Chuck Hagel has proposed shrinking the United States military to a size, as the subheadline puts it, "Equal to That of 1940." Online, where the subheads are more expansive, the… » 2/24/14 5:54pm 2/24/14 5:54pm

Do Colder NFL Games Have Fewer Penalties?

While watching some insanely frigid football last weekend, one Deadspinner wondered if there were fewer flags in cold NFL games, the result of referees deciding, consciously or not, to speed games up and get the hell off the field. Without scrutinizing hundreds of hours of game tape we can't really tell if the refs or… » 1/11/14 11:15am 1/11/14 11:15am

Rex Ryan's Odd Obsession With Passer Rating

According to the New York Times, the Jets coach "cares deeply" about passer rating, that much-maligned, simplistic, often misleading statistic dismissed by many as a curio. He uses it to evaluate his and opposing quarterbacks, and considers it one of the leading indicators of team success—even as it notoriously… » 10/20/13 1:58pm 10/20/13 1:58pm

Brandon Marshall Is Better Than Drew Brees, And Other Fantasy Truths

Fantasy football may not have all the blood and sweat and violence and trauma of the game as it's played on the field, but there's at least one way in which it's just like the real thing: as John Madden put it, "usually the team that scores the most points wins." How you get those points may be very different—as… » 9/03/13 4:33pm 9/03/13 4:33pm

Phil Mickelson Takes A Statistical Approach To His Short Game

British Open winner Phil Mickelson has remained relatively quiet in the media since his win last week, but he popped up on the radar after requesting to be featured on the podcast Science Friday. What'd he talk about? Math, science and golf! » 7/27/13 9:00am 7/27/13 9:00am

What The Hell Is Going On With The Grizzlies' Coaching Situation?

Lost though it may have been in the relentless beatdown the Spurs delivered last week, the Memphis Grizzlies had a great season, another tremendous step forward. Under head coach Lionel Hollins, the Grizzlies' winning percentage has increased every year: from .293 in 2008-09 (he coached the last half of the season),… » 6/03/13 4:45pm 6/03/13 4:45pm

Even If Icing The Kicker Doesn't Work, It's Better Than Never Icing The…

Mike Tomlin iced the kicker twice last night, but with an unfortunate twist: First, he called a timeout on his own kicker, Shaun Suisham, who proceeded to miss a 54-yarder. Then he stopped the Titans' Rob Bironas just as he was about to attempt the game-winning 40-yarder. Bironas waited two minutes and nailed the… » 10/12/12 4:05pm 10/12/12 4:05pm

Just How Tight Is The AL Playoff Race?

With three weeks to go in the season, over half of baseball is still in the race. Seventeen teams are within five games of a playoff spot. You might think that's mostly due to the new second wild card, and that's the case in the NL. With all three division leaders comfortable and the Braves safe at the first wild… » 9/13/12 10:20am 9/13/12 10:20am

Redskins Quarterback Had A Great Debut

For a bungling NFL franchise looking for a reason to believe, there's nothing quite like a breakout performance by a superstar quarterback. So after years of failure, Washington fans had to be delighted to see the numbers RGIII put up in his first start for the team. When you see a stat line like this—in a road game,… » 9/10/12 12:15pm 9/10/12 12:15pm

Denard Robinson Had More Offense Than Michigan's Offense Today

Some stock car named Denard Robinson suited up for Michigan today and accomplished more offense than the entire Michigan offense. This sounds impossible but it is not. Like the American financial system, college football's statistics attribute success to individual performance while collectivizing the losses.… » 9/08/12 9:40pm 9/08/12 9:40pm

L.A. Kings PR Staff Plans To Withhold Stats From The Devils,…

It's the responsibility of the home team's PR staff to compile statistics after each period, then rush print-outs down to both teams' locker rooms. It's not vital information, but it's nice for a coach to be able to quantify things like ice time and shots taken. During Saturday's game 5 in Newark, Devils PR was… » 6/11/12 5:31pm 6/11/12 5:31pm

Math! Says Hero Ball Doesn't Work

Some interesting research from the TrueHoop gang today, meant to address the non-flop-related issue of the 2012 playoffs: Who should be taking those crucial last shots? If the choice is between a covered superstar and an open non-superstar, the numbers say: give it to the open man. » 6/05/12 3:35pm 6/05/12 3:35pm

Sex Offenders And NHL Success: An Astonishingly Accurate New Metric

I'm not big on advanced stats in hockey. It's not because I don't think they're valuable, but because it's tough to translate the concepts to what I'm seeing on the ice. It's my own ignorance, yes, but for a new generation of hockey metrics to take hold, they'll have to be more relatable to the average fan. Like this… » 3/15/12 11:35am 3/15/12 11:35am

ESPN's Numbers Never Lie* Expects Every American To Drink 12 Beers…

Here's a ridiculous segment by the usually-reliable Michael Smith on ESPN's Numbers Never Lie* in which he recites a series of absurd statistics about the Super Bowl (without citing where they got the information, of course). » 2/03/12 5:40pm 2/03/12 5:40pm

The Verducci Effect Is Overworked And Broken Down

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci came out with his annual "Year After Effect" column yesterday, based on his hypothesis that that young pitchers tend to break down the season after an increased workload. Specifically, a pitcher 25 and under is supposed to be at risk if he pitched at least 30 more innings than his… » 1/19/12 1:55pm 1/19/12 1:55pm

Kobe Is (Allegedly) A Better Womanizer Than He Is A Basketball Player:…

The National Enquirer dropped one of its perhaps-truth bombs this week on Kobe Bryant's marriage (here's a summary, since the Enquirer wants you to splurge in the supermarket and didn't put its story online): The tab reports that Bryant had affairs with 105 women during the 10 years he was married to Vanessa. Or at… » 12/22/11 5:10pm 12/22/11 5:10pm