Friday, April 20, 2007

John Hollinger=Zombie

So if you head over to espn.com, you will read a fascinating account of John Hollinger's attempts to predict the playoffs. He uses his power rankings to determine the likelihood of each payoff team's chances to get to the NBA finals. He admits that he doesn't take into account injuries, or playoff experience, or anything outside of statistical information. Ok, it's an interesting attempt to take subjectivity out of the argument, and get a real idea of the championship contenders. However, there might be a little problem with this formula. It has the Miami Heat having ZERO percent chance of getting to the NBA finals. ZERO! Not fifteen, or ten, or even one. Hollinger's playoff formula foresees literally no chance of the Miami Heat making it to the finals.

Now, the Heat have had a weird season, and they clearly aren't as strong as they were last year. But I think that I can safely say that a system that says the Heat have ZERO chance of getting to the finals this year should require some tinkering.

Hollinger's system loses even more credibility if you look at his predictions from last year. Using the same formula that he used this year showed the Mavs and Heat having the forth and fifth best chances to make the finals. Mavericks were behind the Suns and Spurs, and the Heat had only five percent chance of making it to the finals, almost thirty-five percent behind the Pistons. Not exactly a winning formula.

I admire Hollinger's attempts to use statistical data to create new ways to look at teams and players, but he has huge problem, in that many times his data does not match up with the real world. Instead of looking at this formula and thinking, "Wow! The Heat have no chance to make it to the finals! I'm a genius!", he should be saying "Wow! This formula sucks!". Then again, he might get agitated. And no one wants that.

1 comment:

Jaffe said...

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