Friday, June 28, 2013

Filtering The Reality From The Mountain of Illusions: The NBA Draft

Yesterday was the NBA Draft, where each professional basketball team choose a "presumed  flawless" young superstar  who will score so many points and rebound so many times.   The reality is that most of those performance reports are hype.  Rarely does anyone ever focus on some of their possible flaws like the constant habit of turning over the ball during a  defensive press.

Some of my favorite negatives are: 
  • Replying too much on athletic skills than on technical skills; 
  • Having a learning disability; 
  • Possessing the emotional refusal to learn the playbook and/or to play team ball; 
  • Having the attitude of not playing "one on one" defense; and 
  • Having the possible reputation of being a team's cancer.

Sometimes, the statistics that the general manager employ, do not show some of these negatives.  ... That is the grand flaw of the "Moneyball" approach.

Depending on the circumstances, some serious fans and various general managers are more focused on their second round draft choice. The cost is less and that those chosen players are given more time to refine their various skills.

Speaking of statistics, the longevity of most NBA players are usually is about few years.  It is quite rare that a drafted NBA player stays in the NBA for over 10 years.

Most smart sport observers are usually assessing them throughout the season as a team player and having the patience and the tenacity to overcome pressure.

Past Result is no Indicator of Future Performance 
The lesson is that the successful strategists do not get hooked on the hype.  Instead of focusing on the same old set of horses, they look for the zebra.  ... The zebra is someone who does more than expected.   ...  He does the dirty work and is usually the consummate team player. These rare individuals usually venture above and beyond the call of duty.

In this current draft, there are no over-hyped superstars.  The best "safe" decision is to pursue a good performer who has a good work ethic and possessed a reputation of not becoming a  social embarrassment.

Preparation Precedes Performance
In professional basketball, one of our favorite zebras is Shane Battier. He has been in the NBA for over 10 years and is currently playing for the Miami Heat.   ... What makes Shane's unique is his competitive nature that has propelled him to spend many hours of studying the strengths and the weaknesses of his next opponent.  This  act of preparation has helped him and some of his teammates to gain a strategic advantage in the myriad of games. Beside being an exceptional three point shooter,  Battier is also considered a first class defender and is usually assigned against the opposition's best shooter.

His favorite quote "... proper planning (or preparation) prevents poor performance   tells us that he is quite focused on achieving the ultimate win, not the semantics of saying that he wants to win.

Click herehere  and here on the other aspects that have transformed him to become an exceptional coach-player on the floor.  ... 

Preparation Creates Profit
During game time, Shane's comprehension of each player's proclivity and deficiencies has enabled him to positioned his team to succeed and his opponent to deteriorate in a dramatic fashion

For example, Shane knows who he is guarding and what are his strengths and weaknesses regarding to their proclivity and deficiency.  

He also understands how he fits into the grand offensive and defensive scheme of the floor team while always mindfully recognizes where is his opponent on the floor of the court in relationship to time and space.  

His targeted object might have a habit of driving on the right side of the court 95% of the time and toward the middle the rest of the time while shootings with the left hand and never passing the ball.  Shane might force him to go left and shoot with his right hand, knowing if he ever passes the ball, that it might be a forced pass.  

If forced to defend against someone else in a poorly team defense situation,  Battier would still know their offensive tendencies.

At the end of the game  Battier usually have defended him well enough that the offensive damage by the opponent would be minimized.

On the offensive side, Battier knows when and where to set that screen play or that pick play that frees a certain teammate for an easy shot. In most occurrences, he is a superior three point shooter.

“In warfare, the strategic configurations of power do not exceed the unorthodox and orthodox, but the changes of the unorthodox and orthodox can never be completely exhausted. The unorthodox and orthodox mutually produce each other, just like an endless cycle. Who can exhaust them ?” - Art of War 5 

In summary, this intense preparation enables him to be the catalyst or the force multiplier who makes other players better. ... Whenever Battier is on the court, the team scored more than the opponent. ... In the last championship game against the Spurs, Shane scored 18 points in 30 minutes.

One day, Mr. Battier will make a ultra class basketball coach/strategist.

To reach that 10+ year benchmark, the rookies should study the "Shane Battier's" model.

Side notes
Click here on our specific view of  the Moneyball approach. 

Knowing when to release a court performer one season sooner than one season later, is the essence of the art of evaluating personnel.   

In the efficient economy, we are always evaluated by our last performance. 

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