Of All The Dumb Things Ever Written About Analytics, This Might Be The Dumbest

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We don’t really bother to cover the Basketball Analytics wars anymore, because what’s the point? “Analytics” is simply a numbers-based way of understanding what is happening on the court, whether those numbers are expressed as points or RAPM. It is self-evident that teams should use every tool available to try to win, and that journalists can use analytics to inform their work.

This stuff was mostly settled years ago, but there are still some holdouts. And that’s okay! Not every writer needs to, or should, believe the same thing or have the same skillset, and numbers are just one way to understand basketball. But showing no interest in or understanding of even the most basic principles of analytics can make you look like an ignoramus, and that’s just what has happened to Fort Worth Star-Telegram Mavericks beat writer Dwain Price over the last 24 hours.


I mean, just look at this shit:


This is surely in the running for the dumbest thing ever tweeted. There is the very basic statistics error here—just because there are only two possible outcomes doesn’t give each of them a 50% chance of happening—but it’s also an idiotic statement that can be applied to literally anything. By this logic, teams might as well not even bother to sign good players. “You put your best team out there and he rolls out his best one, one of you will lose. So at best, signing good players works just 50% of the time.”

Price’s tweet was just a follow-up to an asinine series of tweets from last night:


I feel like the only proper response is the same one made by the moderator in Billy Madison:

What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


The sad irony here is that the team Price covers is known to be one of the most innovative in the NBA. The Mavericks were the first team to put a “stats coach” on the bench, and that stats coach famously convinced Rick Carlisle to start JJ Barea in the NBA Finals, an adjustment that helped them win. There is an incredible amount of material there for a good beat writer to mine, in service of helping Mavericks fans understand their team. Instead, Price seems content to blithely tweet drivel.

Photo via Getty


Contact the author at kevin.draper@deadspin.com.
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