Dear the media and statisticians,
Stop ruining the NBA.
I don’t care what percentage of home teams win game 7. I don’t care how many shots DeMar DeRozan has made from the left-hand-side short corner all season. I don’t want to see the win percentage for rookie coaches in the Playoffs. I don’t want to see Robin Lopez’s defensive rebounding percentage when Dwight Howard is on the floor. I want to see the games, the buckets, the dimes, the dunks, the hustle plays, the hard fouls, the dagger 3’s, the buzzer beaters, the fights, the technicals, the ejections, the overtimes, the blowouts, the nail-biters, the wins, the losses and what’s happening right now AT PRESENT. I want to watch the game for what it is, not for what numbers it churns out.
I’m sick and tired of advanced statistics ruining people’s perceptions of the beautiful game. No longer is Carmelo Anthony viewed as the purest scorer in the league, but as a volume scorer that doesn’t pass. No longer is Dwight Howard viewed as a dominant post player but a brick free-throw shooter. Damn, people even question if LEBRON IS BETTER THAN JORDAN??!?!? NO!! Melo’s the best scorer in the league not named Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard is an animal and IN NO WAY is LeBron James better than Michael Jordan!
The thing I hate the most is that the media just seem to pick on guys they don’t like and overlook other players’ flaws because they’re in a ‘dry spell’ or ‘up-and-coming’ or my favorite Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol category ‘If their season wasn’t hampered by injury…’. Guys, they’re getting old and they aren’t as good as they used to be. Deal with it.
What I can’t understand is how someone can be labeled a ‘winner’. All he does is win. He can’t stand losing. ETC… Well, I’m sorry to inform you but there’s more than one guy involved in winning a basketball game. Just because a dude dived out of bounds to save a ball or took a charge in the clutch doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a ‘winner’. What about the guy that caught the rebounds, gave the screens, set up plays, knocked down open shots? Why the hell is one guy on the winning team more of a ‘winner’ than another guy? I mean, if I win a game and cry how am I more of a ‘winner’ than someone who punched the air? Also, another thing that grinds my gears, this whole ‘elite’ thing. What’s this about? Who determines who’s elite or not. For example, Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving put up almost identical numbers this year, both for struggling teams, yet only one is considered elite? Yes, the one that manages to blame his team mates when he misses an open three or gets taken off. IT had the exact same season but you’d be laughed at for even considering him in the same league as Kyrie.
My favorite example is DeMar DeRozan. Now, don’t get me wrong I love DeRozan, I respect him and I’ve always thought he’s been underrated and was delighted when he landed a spot on the Allstar team this year but oh boy, the stat dudes missed a BIG blip on the radar here. DeRozan shot .429% in the regular season, down 2 points from the year before and 8 from his career high. He shot .305% from three which was an improvement on all of his previous seasons. Now, for some strange reason, DeMar DeRozan fits into the stat-heads’ favorite category as a ‘volume-scorer’ (Someone who takes a lot of shots to score a lot of points.). But what this doesn’t show us is that DeRozan is the focal-point of Toronto’s offence and if you ACTUALLY WATCHED THE GAME you’d see why he’d be an Allstar. And obviously they must because DeMar DeRozan has skillfully evaded the critics this year and has not found himself in the same list as Carmelo Anthony (27.4PPG,.452%), Monta Ellis (19PPG, .451%), Nick Young (17.9PPG, .435%), but on the same list as the heralded Paul George (Again, no hate, just making a point..) who shot .424% good for 21.4PPg this year. This really influences people’s opinions about the game and the players. As you can clearly see Melo, Swaggy P and Monta all shot better percentages than PG and DD yet, they’re the volume scorers because the media doesn’t like them because they aren’t as clean cut, they’re outspoken and they don’t fly under the radar.
Another thing that sickens me is how quick the media are to turn on guys. Easiest example is Roy Hibbert. Hibbert was the media darling at the start and middle of this NBA season. You heard Hibbert and you though ‘Focal-point of the Pacers’ renowned defense’, ‘Defensive anchor’, ‘Rim-protector’ and ‘DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR’. I remember I read an article in sports illustrated about how Hibbert was ‘changing the way officials call the game’ due to his ability to alter shots while staying in his own ‘cylinder’. Now, after his (and the Pacers’) monumental struggles (Not helped by the media’s dogged approach to it either.) ‘Oaf’, ‘Can’t get a rebound’, ‘Clumsy’, ‘Immature’ and ‘Unreliable’ were all common phrases used to describe the big man. All I keep seeing on my twitter or my facebook were these stats about how BAD Roy Hibbert is. I DON’T CARE! As much as I hate to say it, I want to see the Roy Hibbert that obliterated the Knicks in last year’s postseason, not this Kwame Brown-impression. It’s clear that Hibbert is having a somewhat media-induced crisis of confidence. And to those of you who say ‘Well he should be able to tune the criticism out he’s a professional’ you’re wrong. If you look back throughout Roy Hibbert’s career from highschool to Georgetown it’s clear to see that he’s bad at coping with criticism. I mean what sort of a kick do these guys get from making fun of this guy? In the end of the day don’t we all want to see good basketball?
Of course there are some very mentally strong athletes out there that don’t care what the statistics say or what the keyboard-warriors think (In fairness, a lot of credit goes to LeBron.), but there are those guys where it’s clear to see all the hate and negativity gets to them (Andray Blatche or Roy Hibbert). In the end of the day these guys are human beings. How would you respond if you had millions of people scrutinizing your every box-out to your every tweet? And the statistics don’t help either. Off the top of my head, I can say that Hibbert’s having the worst postseason by any player that was selected to an Allstar team in the same season. I know that Shaquille O’Neal has had 5 better individual games, than all of Roy Hibbert’s first six games COMBINED this postseason. Leave the guy alone.
I’d hate to see the likes of AI or T-Mac in today’s league because they’d be the first to face the axe of the executioner that is advanced statistics. Imagine the amount of usage and efficiency stats all those guys could’ve brought to us during the years where AI basically got the ball on every possession with Philly. Or how about Vince Carter in Toronto. There would’ve been mass genocide done to the Gilbert Arenas’ and the Stephon Marburys, to the hero ball and the long 2’s. There probably would’ve been no 13 points in 30 seconds because T-Mac may have assumed that a turnaround 3 was a low-percentage shot or that Bruce Bowen has a low tendency to foul on 3 pointers.
Please advanced stats, just leave me alone. I don’t want to hear anymore clichéed sentences about the death of tall-lineups or how little assists the Oklahoma City Thunder average a game. Of course this is all incredibly interesting stuff but save it for a while I just wanna watch the game, unbiased and uncorrupted by statistics.
Sincerely, a starry-eyed NBA fan sick and tired of percentages, shot charts, efficiency ratings, previous matchups, comparisons, win ratios, win shares, usage percentages.