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Stumbling On Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports

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Stumbling On Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports

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About

Features

A quantum leap past Moneyball: why sports decision-makers are wrong so often and what you can learn from their mistakes

  • Draws on the latest advances in behavioral economics to reveal the biggest mistakes decision-makers make in four sports: basketball, baseball, football, and hockey.
  • Why famous coaches don't deliver better results...and much more.
  • For the millions of readers who made Moneyball and Freakonomics gigantic best-sellers!
  • Description

    • Copyright 2010
    • Edition: 1st
    • Book
    • ISBN-10: 0-13-235778-X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-235778-4

    The next quantum leap beyond Moneyball, this book offers powerful new insights into all human decision-making, because if sports teams are getting it wrong this badly, how do you know you're not? Sometimes the decisions that teams make are simply inexplicable. Consider: sports teams have an immense amount of detailed, quantifiable information to draw upon, more than in virtually any other industry. They have powerful incentives for making good decisions. Everyone sees the results of their choices, and the consequences for failure are severe. And yet... they keep making the same mistakes over and over again... systematic mistakes you'd think they'd learn how to avoid. Now, two leading sports economists reveal those mistakes in basketball, baseball, football, and hockey, and explain why sports decision-makers never seem to learn their lessons. You'll learn which statistics are connected to wins, and which aren't, and which statistics can and can't predict the future. Along the way, David Berri and Martin Schmidt show why a quarterback's place in the draft tells you nothing about how he'll perform in the NFL... why basketball decision-makers don't focus on the factors that really correlate with NBA success... why famous coaches don't deliver better results... and much more.

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    Maybe the Fans Are Right

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    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments . . . xi

    About the Authors . . . xiii

    Preface . . . xv

    Chapter 1: Maybe the Fans Are Right . . . 1

    Sporting Rationality. . . 3

    Crunchers, “Experts,” and the Wrath of Randomness . . . 5

    A Century of Mistakes in Baseball . . . 7

    Chapter 2: Defending Isiah . . . 13

    Isiah Thomas Illustrates How Money Can’t Buy You Love . . . 14

    Getting Paid in the NBA. . . 20

    Coaching Contradictions. . . 23

    Isiah’s Defense. . . 28

    Chapter 3: The Search for Useful Stats . . . 33

    Identifying the Most “Useful” Numbers . . . 33

    The Most Important Position in Team Sports? . . . 39

    Assigning Wins and Losses . . . 47

    Chapter 4: Football in Black and White . . . 49

    A Brief History of the Black Quarterback . . . 50

    Performance in Black and White . . . 55

    Quarterback Pay in Black and White . . . 63

    Chapter 5: Finding the Face of the Franchise . . . 67

    Birth of the Draft . . . 68

    The Problem with Picking First . . . 69

    How to Get Picked First? . . . 78

    Back to Kostka. . . . 80

    Chapter 6: The Pareto Principle and Drafting Mistakes . . . 83

    The Pareto Principle and Losing to Win . . . 83

    The NBA Draft and NBA Performance. . . 93

    Catching a Baseball Draft . . . 100

    Chapter 7: Inefficient on the Field . . . 103

    Just Go For It! . . . 106

    Evaluating the Little Man in Football . . . 113

    The Hot Hand and Coaching Contradictions . . . 115

    Chapter 8: Is It the Teacher or the Students? . . . 119

    The Wealth of Coaching . . . 120

    “Take Your’n and Beat His’n” . . . 122

    Deck Chairs? . . . 125

    Growing Older and Diminishing Returns . . . 126

    Putting the Picture Together . . . 132

    Chapter 9: Painting a Bigger Picture . . . 135

    Appendix A: Measuring Wins Produced in the NBA . . . 141

    A Very Brief Introduction to Regression Analysis . . . 141

    Modeling Wins in the NBA . . . 143

    Calculating Wins Produced in the NBA. . . 148

    Win Score and PAWS48 . . . 154

    A Comment on Alternatives . . . 156

    Three Objections to Wins Produced for the NBA . . . 158

    Appendix B: Measuring Wins Produced in the NFL . . . 161

    Endnotes . . . 173

    Chapter 1 . . . 173

    Chapter 2 . . . 176

    Chapter 3 . . . 181

    Chapter 4 . . . 186

    Chapter 5 . . . 189

    Chapter 6 . . . 194

    Chapter 7 . . . 198

    Chapter 8 . . . 202

    Chapter 9 . . . 207

    References . . . 209

    Books and Articles . . . 209

    Web Sites . . . 222

    Index . . . 225

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