Imagine knowing every statistic about yourself

[NBA star John] Wall is shooting 42 percent, his lowest mark since he was a rookie, and he just hasn’t played with enough vigor on either end of the floor. One measure of that: He has spent 76.57 percent of floor time either standing still or walking, the largest such share among all rotation players, according to tracking data from Second Spectrum. Dirk Nowitzki is right behind Wall, and he’s almost 40.

That is from Zack Lowe at ESPN.  By the way, Wall was just named to the NBA All-Star team.


Wall has always seemed to me a player who would have a short career due eventual physical breakdown. It would not surprise me to learn that his knees are already starting to go.

That was my first thought. Playing injured.

Agreed. Frankly Dragic should have gotten that slot this year.

Don't need to imagine, someone else already know every statistic about yourself.

"""Right now there's a good chance your phone is tracking your location, keeping tabs on your steps and recording any voice searches that you might make. And that's just the beginning."""

"""We're Watching: Malls Track Shoppers' Cellphone Signals to Gather Marketing Data"""

"""According to the editor of trade site Storefront Backtalk, Evan Schuman, the data can be paired with other sources of data, including surveillance video and point-of-sale transaction information. If they went this route, retailers would get a very detailed profile of who's carrying each phone. "Some malls are even using facial recognition software," Schuman told Ars Technica in a phone interview, with the primary purpose of "loss prevention" — identifying shoplifters. But that data, he said, could be tied to location data to be turned into customer relationship management data. Mall operators could then theoretically sell data to retailers, alerting them when big-ticket shoppers were approaching so that they could be given personalized service."""

In its infancy, big data was used in horse race handicapping. Even so, betting favorites only win about 25% of the time. Tracking basketball players every move on the floor might yield information of a sort that general managers could use to justify their actions but that data won't allow prediction of outcomes. It doesn't indicate if a player had an argument with his wife or agent 2 hours before game time that had an impact on his performance. The bizarre fixation with data might be of interest to fans with time on their hands but it isn't very meaningful on a day to day basis.

This just isn't true. Such data is already being used constantly.

Maybe its not quite the case for basketball, but baseball is heavily data driven at this point for almost every decision.

Basketball is catching up quickly. This item kind of shows that. Tracking every move on the floor is at least as detailed as the baseball stats that get tracked.

The Rockets and Warriors are the two most data-driven teams in the NBA, and they are also the two best teams in the NBA. Granted you don't have to be a genius to sign Kevin Durant or Chris Paul, but LeBron James's career in Cleveland shows that a supporting cast has a big impact.

Similarly, a theory on the continuing dominance of the New England Patriots is that the Ernie Adams has more influence in their organization than any other numerate person does in any other NFL organization.

baseball is heavily data driven at this point for almost every decision

Only in the sense that the data determines the decision. Managers can justify their failed maneuvers on the basis of data. And, since the data is available, they don't dare disregard it. The decisions have become robotic. Broadcasters' obsession with arcane stats actually detracts from the drama of the game.

Racing faves -- known as "the chalk" -- actually win at close to a 35 percent clip. That difference may not sound like much but to heavy-betting chalkplayers it really adds up.

DNA, who needs DNA about someone when all of the big data is already available. Yesterday, I commented that Cowen's 12 Rules can be summarized as one rule, or one word (well, two words), namely self-awareness. So today Cowen throws this at us: you want self-awareness, then big data will provide it for you, to make you self-aware of who you are and your weaknesses so you can improve yourself. Big data knows where you are, where you have been, where you live, what you eat, what you wear, what you read, who your friends are, where you went on vacation, where you work, how much you make, how much you save, where you save, how much you save, if you have seen a doctor, why you saw the doctor, how often you call your parents, what medications you take, what you do for entertainment, how much you weigh, what political party you belong to, where you went to school, what crimes and offenses you have committed, what make and year of car you own, what ride hailing firm you use, how many wives, girlfriends, and mistresses you have had, who they are, why you lost your job, why you lost your wife, how much alcohol you drink, how often you visit AA, how often you attend church, what church you attend, what games you like to play. Data isn't just for athletes any more. Coaches believe athletes have the ability for self-improvement provided they know what needs to be improved and are motivated to improve. Do I really want to know everything there is to know about me, my weaknesses as well as my strengths? Will all this knowledge about myself make me better, make me self-absorbed, or make me crazy?

It's Zach, not Zack.

Lowe has to be the best sportswriter in America since Bill James's heyday. It's hard to think of anyone working today who is even close to him.

Absolutely. His podcast is indispensable for intelligent fans.

I guess he hit the Wall (rimshot)

Lowe is ok but stuff like this undermines my trust in him. I think the bar for sports writing is just super low(e).

"Even having missed those 15 games -- 15 potential stat-padding blowouts -- Curry is still second overall in raw plus-minus. (Eric Gordon tops the league.)"

Lowe has CWT potential.

One of the interesting facts about Messi is that apparently he walks more than nearly anyone else.

I don't have a sophisticated understand of soccer, but it appears to me that he's trying to stay as slightly onsides as possible until the ball makes its way to him, and then his role is to cash in the chance.

Obviously different sport, and different role within the sport, but its a neat example of Wooden's quote-

"Never mistake activity for achievement."

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