Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Big Ten Wonk: State of the stats

A great read from the Wonk today:

But I think the most common misconception related to this particular fad is a belief that these stats must surely represent something irreducibly complex and esoteric. I think the truth is pretty much the exact opposite. The value of tempo-free stats is precisely that, like a batting average, they enable us to perform the most mundane and least esoteric of descriptive housekeeping, to wit: "That team has a good defense." "This player is a better rebounder than that player." "That team turns the ball over a lot."

This type of mundane statement comes in really handy. It'd be nice if the announcers on the game we're watching on a given night could be trusted to make this type of statement dependably. And I'm not asking for the fully loaded tempo-free utopia all at once. But someday soon, games on ESPN could take a baby step or two:

--Replace FG percentage with effective FG pct.
--Never again confuse mere slowness for "defense," "allowing just 55 points a game," etc.
--Maybe even an occasional PPWS, especially in discussing tomorrow's Redicks and Morrisons.