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A Stat Even Dr. Naismith Would Love
ROY BLOUNT JR.
May 28, 2012
These NBA playoffs have been a tough slog for me. Intensity! Defense! Starters out or visibly hobbled! Hard fouls and hurt scowls! (It's not so much the Heat, it's the hostility.) The same damn bromantic or baroom! commercials over and over and over—I hate the one where the bison rams the two guys' car! But I am hanging in there, because I am rooting for OTTs. Let me explain.
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May 28, 2012

A Stat Even Dr. Naismith Would Love

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These NBA playoffs have been a tough slog for me. Intensity! Defense! Starters out or visibly hobbled! Hard fouls and hurt scowls! (It's not so much the Heat, it's the hostility.) The same damn bromantic or baroom! commercials over and over and over—I hate the one where the bison rams the two guys' car! But I am hanging in there, because I am rooting for OTTs. Let me explain.

What would you give to have been there that dewy-fresh moment when Dr. James Naismith's friend Horace said, "Let's call them ... rebounds"?

"Hmm," said Dr. Jim, "I like it. Bound is a jump, and there's a suggestion of bounce in there too. I wish we had something bouncier than dribble, for passing the ball to yourself off the floor continually. Dribble ... runs down. If only there were a word like, say, badabing. Or badonkadonk."

"Dr. Jim, that train has left the station. Anyway, dribble is not a statistic. Whereas rebounds...."

"Statistic? You mean like the score?"

"Not just the score. Other things, like points."

"But that is the score."

"I mean individual points, and shooting percentage, and...."

"Ah," sighed Dr. Jim, "I foresee my game getting very complicated."

Little did he know. To devise a new stat today, people do calculations like this (from wagesofwins.com): Player's adjusted field goal percentage = f(player's adjusted field goal percentage last season, age, age squared, percentage of games played last two seasons, dummy variable for position played, dummy variable for new coach, dummy variable for new team, dummy variable for year, stability of roster, teammates' assists per minute, teammates' adjusted field goal percentage).

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