I was reading at Basketball Prospectus today, and came across this little diatribe from John Gasaway that made me smile. It's about a week old, but still funny as heck if you love tempo-neutral stats as much as I do:
It is now November 2008. Basketball Prospectus has been around for, what, 13 months? We’ve been called “indispensable” by the New York Times. (Albeit by a part of the Times that yesterday announced it has ceased to exist–no cause and effect, I swear!) So surely there is no longer any earthly reason for a national write-up on the Carolina-Kentucky game to fret in Roy Williams‘ direction that, sans Hansbrough, the Wildcats ”outrebounded the Tar Heels (34-31).” In fact it was North Carolina that dominated the boards last night, getting to 36 percent of their own misses and 70 percent of the Wildcats’. The fact that UK coughed up the ball on an astonishing 38 percent of their possessions, however, meant there were simply way fewer Wildcat misses to rebound. Meanwhile the Heels were combining low-turnover ball with surprisingly meh shooting, resulting in plenty of chances for Kentucky to record defensive boards.
Pretty straightforward, yes? Now, picture me choking on a half-eaten radish in war-ravaged Georgia circa 1865, backlit in dramatic silhouette: As God is my witness, I will kill this “rebounding margin” cognitive fungus as dead as Marley’s ghost. It is worse than meaningless. In certain cases, such as this one, it is in fact the precise belligerent opposite of long-neglected hoops reality.
To follow that up, Kevin Pelton -- a Seattle native and NBA writer for Basketball Prospectus -- said this in his post later that day:
I’m glad John has chosen to concentrate on rebounding percentage. Personally, I’ll know my life’s work is complete when the last writer has determined an offense or particularly a defense’s quality based on points scored or allowed per game with no regard for pace of play.
To John and Kevin: Just know you have a brother in the war against irresponsible use of statistics. Call on me whenever you need me.