A Brief Refutation of Purist Dogmatism

2009 November 16
by rahat huq

In conversing with purists, immediately imminent is a pervasive distrust of the modern stat metrics now extensively utilized in analysis. This distrust stems from a strawman assumption.

Upon the encounter of data in conflict with the purist’s prior predilections, the predictable response is outright dismissal of the metric as void of any analytical merit and inherently flawed.

The present fallacy is the mistaken belief that these metrics are presented as self-sufficient conclusions. This is not the case. Stats are not intended as replacements for observational analysis nor are they meant to serve as definitive proofs. Their value is as supplemental tools; aids to quantify, not exclude, that which we actually see.

In essence, advanced stats are not intended to completely shift the old paradigm. They are simply the latest advancement upon how we understand and think about the game.

The greater question is when will these new metrics achieve complete integration into the mainstream arena of discourse? While no longer just a pseudo-science, the mainstream curiosity is primarily one of mere novelty intrigue. When will the likes of eFG% and PER become accepted analytical norms? That is the question of greatest concern as we adapt to an ever-evolving sport and transform our assessment of what we thought we knew.

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