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My curiosity in advanced statistics began with a question that plagues basketball fans everywhere: why are the Blazers signing unproven players to enormous contracts? These players weren’t stars in the past, and only played marginal roles on their previous teams. But after taking a closer look at their metrics, which is something my peers and even reporters forget to do, I realized that these moves were steals.
While the average NBA fan might just settle for basic statistics such as points per game, assists, and rebounds, I obsess over the advanced. On basketball-reference.com, I constantly check player efficiency ratings, true shooting percentages, and value over replacement, attempting to determine a player’s worth to a team. These statistics capture the complexity and abilities of each player on the court; they reveal the truth that primary statistics can obscure.
My favorite page on basketball-reference.com is the 2015-16 NBA Team Ratings page because teams aren’t merely ranked by their win/loss records but by a holistic evaluation. I use this website because it reflects the power of statistics to clarify reality. Statistics can translate a broad range of disjointed data into a complex set of useful answers. I seek to understand the world at a core level, and basketball is just one area of knowledge I’m interested in.
Next time ESPN thinks about slamming the Blazers for signing someone unknown, they should probably first pay a visit to basketball-reference.com.
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