Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Finally, Some Real Insight
So imagine the joy I felt when Knickerblogger.net reported that basketball stathound and underappreciated genius John Hollinger was slated to begin writing for ESPN.com soon. Pure ecstasy. After years of senseless schmaltz from Chris Ford and incomprehensible mind-vomiting from Bill Walton, we get an analyst who actually brings some insight to a basketball game.
For those who don't know, Hollinger is the author of Pro Basketball Forecast (formerly Prospectus), a book that changed my perspective on basketball in ways that are too numerous to explain without sending your head crashing through your LCD screen in boredom. Basically, the book shows how silly performance evaluation based on per-game averages is, and uses several different (sensible) formulas to show that just because a guy averages 20 points a game doesn't mean he is actually a star, or any good in the first place (I'm looking at you, Carmelo). Hollinger argues that traditional basketball statistics fail to account for several factors during gameplay, most notably pace and number of possessions, and thus are inherently deceiving. If you buy the book (well worth the $21.95 cover price), it'll go a long way toward changing how you look at players. You'll realize that Mehmet Okur is actually great and Antoine Walker is truly as crappy as he looks.
Of course, Hollinger will write on ESPN Insider, which is a bummer for cheap bastards like me who don't want to dish out the $4.95 a month to find out what hyper-nerdy new statistic Rob Neyer came up with. But Hollinger is certainly worth it, just for the humor he brings to his articles and his all-too understandable deep-seeded hatred of Michael Olowakandi. It's about time he received a wider audience. Now if only ESPN would contact me...(cough).