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Just watch them play!

George Mason Basketball: Just watch them play!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just watch them play!

The days of evaluating college players by actually watching them play might be numbered. Everywhere you look these days some "analyst" is making a case for some formula or equation they created that can more accurately evaluate talent. It's getting closer to the day when scouts won't even have to step away from their computers to evaluate talent. Soon NBA teams will hire guys like the ones from that show "Numb3rs" on CBS to tell them which players to draft. I think there is a reason guys like John Hollinger works for and not the front office of an NBA franchise; he has no idea what he's talking about. Take a look at his new system for evaluating college talent here. This article is free on ESPN insider this week, my god people pay to see this stuff? He goes on to explain the method to his madness and from reading it I can suffice it to say that I still have no idea how he is calculating this. One thing I noticed is that strength of schedule it not factored in. So basically he's basing some of his evaluation on situations like when Greg Oden grabbed 16 boards against Cleveland State or when Glen Davis scored 26 against Louisiana-Monroe.

It's a long math equation most likely that could probably only be understood by him and maybe Matt Damon's character in "Good Will Hunting". Not a bad idea if you trying to make some waves at ESPN. Make a long, difficult math equation to explain your rankings, its genius, not like anyone would actually go and check your work. No sports fan likes math, so why not use it as backup to justify why you think Mike Conley Jr. is the third best player in this year's draft.

Hollinger isn't the only stat guru out there with too much time on his hands. The Win Score model is something I came across on and I like how it adjusts to the level of competition but I don't see how that can be explained with numbers. The guys over at are even more nuts. At least their website actually has useful information and analysts but trying to understand how they calculate tempo, pace, and efficiency is mind boggling. And they factor in "luck" to their equations, yeah and thats not a typo. Here is Mason's statistic page, you could literally spend hours trying to figure out what some of this means. One stat I do like is the free throw rate. I said all season long that the Patriots needed to get to the line more and heres proof, their free throw rate was ranked #328 in nation, pretty close to dead last.

I know most of these crazy calculations have their purpose but I think some of these guys are taking it to the extreme. Watch the boys play, that is the best way to evaluate talent. Greg Oden can shoot free throws with either hand, wheres the stat that tells you about that? There are just too many other factors besides numbers that tells me what makes a quality basketball player.


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