On Analytics, Lin, etc.

With Linsanity in full force, the Houston Rockets management in recent days has once again found itself in the crosshairs of vicious skeptics.  What’s hilarious is that the criticisms paint the analytics method as some esoteric strategy foreign to common sense.  In actuality, it’s in line with what we do in every single walk of life.  Ever buy a car?  Did you just take it for a test drive or did you check out some consumer reports too?  This isn’t rocket science.  Consumers gather as much information at their disposal to make informed decisions in the marketplace, especially when millions of dollars of investments are involved. Why is this something so difficult to understand?

Some of the logic out there right now is borderline absurd.  I contest that Lin wouldn’t have been producing nearly at this level had he remained with this team, and wouldn’t have even gotten the chance.  But let’s say we concede the Rockets messed up and let a gem slip through their fingers.  What does that mean?  Some paint it as a mark against management; proof in the flaws of their ways.  Since when has any methodology been error-free?  Since when did random flaws disprove the entire method?  No approach is 100% in any scope of nature. If you point to Lin as reason for disbelief, I point to Brooks, Landry, Hayes, Scola, Parsons, and Budinger as reason that it’s working.

There are a lot of things over which one can criticize Rockets management. Holding on to Yao too long.  Doing the same with Scola.  Perhaps not tanking, though the verdict on that is still out.  But holding them to the fire over Jeremy Lin is preposterous.

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