Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Basketball Wednesday - Dean Oliver edition (Book Review #9 of 2008)

Basketball on Paper by Dean Oliver is a MUST read if you're a basketball fan of any era. Dean Oliver is an NBA scout and UNC alum who has revolutionized the way statisticians and REAL analysts watch basketball.

Oliver essentially invented the formulas for efficiency, "tempo-free" stats as they're called. He also created a measure of using a normal bell curve to predict winning percentages and determine player contribution to his team's win/loss record, a "player win percentage." All of his formulas are explained clearly in the book, so you can use them to analyze your favorite players and teams.
The book is very readable, filled with humor and good stories. Oliver is able to go back and look at how the game has changed over the years, and analyze how good players really were/weren't in particular seasons. Which teams really had the best offenses/defenses? Which players were underrated and which were all hype? You can read more about the book at Oliver's website.

Ken Pomeroy has made some of Oliver's work famous, (as everything you see on his site is Oliver's ideas) but there's still no one out there using ALL of the tools that Oliver has invented. If I had access to the data on a daily basis...

Easily one of the top-10 most gratifying books I've ever read. He has changed my life and how I watch and track stats for basketball. If you're a basketball fan, you WON'T regret reading this book.

5 stars out of 5!

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