NBA Usage Rate

Mention the word "Analytics" to a baseball guy and prepare to be engulfed in an hour-long discussion about Sabermetrics. Mention that word to some basketball experts and you are unlikely to get into a conversation about points per 100 possessions or the usage rate of star players. It is fascinating that one sport embraces this new way of analyzing the game while another shuns it. Michael Wilbon of the NBA on ESPN went so far as to say that nobody in the barber shops he goes to cares about analytics. Stephen A. Smith echoed the same sentiments about how he does not need analytics because he relies on the eye test. Both guys argue that people who know the game of basketball do not need analytics to tell them what is going on. This line of thinking drives me insane. It reminds me of the way the scouts shunned the new thinking that Billy Beane and Paul Depodesta were trying to instill in the Athletics organization. We all know how that whole Moneyball thing worked out for them. I am willing to give all the non-believers the benefit of the doubt. I will assume that the reason they do not embrace analytics is that it scares them. People are always scared of things they do not understand. The goal here is to tackle one aspect of analytics each week to help everyone understand what they are and how they can help us analyze the game. No one should be scared to become a more knowledgeable basketball mind. Understanding analytics is your path to get there.

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