Saturday, March 25, 2006

The dangers of overthinking things

Everyone makes mistakes, Sports Illustrated:
While we're tweaking SI: the magazine ran an embarrassing NBA item a few weeks ago. Entitled "True Gauge," it announced: "Want to separate contenders from pretenders? NBA coaches and executives do so by looking at what is key come the playoffs: the ability to protect home court and to win on the road. Subtract home losses from road wins, and you'll find these teams on top." What follows is a list of the teams with the best differential between home wins and road losses; stunningly, these teams are the Pistons, Spurs, Mavericks, Heat, and Suns—the same teams that have the best records in the league. You see, teams play the same number of home and road games, so the difference between home wins and road losses tells you nothing the league standings don't. And yes, a won-and-loss record is a "true gauge" of an NBA team, and it's important to both win at home and on the road; or, you might also say, to win games. Also key, therefore, is to score more points than your opponent; look out for a chart revealing that insight on a newsstand near you.