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April 11, 2006

Comments

TZ

Just for future reference: Hollinger is much more than "just-a-numbers" guy. Pick up his book, the Pro Basketball Prospectus, the next time you're in Borders or B&N. He's one of the very few great basketball minds employed by the worldwide leader.

Chris Clarke

I think what Tom may have meant was "He was one of the very few great basketball minds employed by the worldwide follower."

Craig

He is a basketball mind in the fact the he's found his niche in the sports information world and is capitalizing on it. He is to stats what Chris Ford is to European players. But Hollinger’s theories have a major hole in them... the naked eye. Not counting his book (which I don't want to read if it anything similar to the drek that he writes on ESPN), he bases a ton of his opinions on stats. The NBA is the easiest sport to pad your stats in. Just look at the players with awesome stats who can't win when it counts.(Webber, Garnett, etc.)

And that’s not counting those players who play 5 minutes or less that have killer points per minute or rebounds per minute stats that Hollinger favors.

But if his book is different, then I'll take a look at it. Hell, I'll read anything about the NBA. I even bought and read Jerry Reynolds' book on the Kings and I'm a Laker fan.

Craig

"I think what Tom may have meant was "He was one of the very few great basketball minds employed by the worldwide follower.""

Good point! The talent level has dropped over the past few years.

Matt

"But Hollinger’s theories have a major hole in them... the naked eye. Not counting his book (which I don't want to read if it anything similar to the drek that he writes on ESPN), he bases a ton of his opinions on stats."

Yeah, get the book. One of the best parts of it is the tendencies he lists for each player, stuff that is not numbers-based at all.

And plus its his job to follow the NBA so I think he watches his fair share of games.

And Brett, he was picking Memphis as a potential sleeper, using his knowledge of statitics to find a team that is possibly overlooked. I don't see what that's so offensive, Hollinger has never said it's just about the numbers, that'd be as ignorant as saying the numbers mean nothing.

VC

Hollinger also selected the Suns to finish out of the playoffs, as in, not even get there. This despite having the MVP and Marion on the team. I think his anti-Nash stand blinded him to any good that Nash brings to the Suns. His actual comment in his preseason rankings- "Well, it was fun while it lasted. Losing Amare Stoudemire obviously hurts, but they would still be a playoff team if they had kept Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson on the wings". Too often he seems to look at stats and not the players.

Craig

So Matt, if the book is more like a scouting report (stating things like Garnett sets up farther away from the paint in the late minutes of games) than that's TOTALLY worth buying.

So why doesn't he write more scouting report stuff about players instead of the number crunching? I'd be more interested in the technical side of players and team offenses than how many steals per minute Chucky Atkins averages.

Charlie Rosen used to write more technical/scouting articles when he was writing for Page 2 a few years ago.

Matt

Craig,

I actually don't read his ESPN articles (since they're behind the insider wall of woe). But when he does provide free content (through the daily dime or chats) I don't notice him only mentioning 'his' stats but he does reference them. I don't see the problem with that, they are a useful tool and if you don't believe that then you won't like his writing.

Plus it makes him unique among the the contributors to ESPN.com

Matt

Plus I don't see how you can have a scouting report without 'number crunching'. What good is it to say 'it looks like he makes a lot of shots'.

Stats ARE a form of scouting.

basketbawful

Well, you already know how I feel about Hollinger. The basic problem I have with the so-called "stat guys" is that the present their arguments as absolutes, since, after all, they're supported by "irrefutable facts."

Take Elliot Kalb's book, "Who's Better, Who's Best." He would have you believe that his conclusions are beyond doubt, based on his expert analysis of the stats. BUT...he makes little mistakes here and there. He states, more than once, that Magic Johnson won 4 titles, when he actually won 5. He mis-states Larry Bird's APG during a particular playoff series. Stuff like that.

A few weeks ago, I proved that Hollinger's statistical analysis of the "all-time worst defensive teams" actually missed a team...based on the stats he was using.

So when stat guys err, and everything they believe and try to prove is supposed to be supported by stats, how does that effect their credibility?

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