A couple weeks ago, I argued that the hack-a-Howard strategy could work on a player who shoots 50% from the line. My post was timely; four days later, Mark Jackson instructed his Warriors to foul Howard repeatedly. Howard attempted 39 free throws (an NBA record) and made 21 (54%). The Warriors lost the game, and commentators hammered Jackson for ruining the flow of the game and being afraid to face up to the opposition. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t really complain but refused to foul 51% career free throw shooter Andris Biedrins in retaliation. However, the Warriors still had a chance to win with 3 minutes left against a far superior opponent. To me, that looks like a success.
What do the numbers say about Jackson’s decision? Well, Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Innovative Ideas, Probability Analysis
Tagged Andris Biedrins, Andris Biedrins free throw shooting percentage, basketball, Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard free throw shooting percentage, Dwight Howard free throws, Golden State Warriors, hack Howard, hack-a-Biedrins, hack-a-Howard, hack-a-Shaq, Howard attempts 39 free throws, intentional fouls, Mark Jackson, Mark Jackson is an idiot, Mark Jackson shouldn't have hacked Howard, NBA, Orlando Magic, Stan Van Gundy
In my post on Friday about the DiMaggio hit streak, I mentioned the old hack-a-Shaq strategy. With Dwight Howard playing for Shaq’s old team, I’m surprised that teams don’t try the hack-a-Howard (Howard is a 60% career free throw shooter). Friday night’s Bulls-Magic game was a potential opportunity; the Bulls led for the entire fourth quarter. Here are the Bulls possessions inside of 4:30 remaining: Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Innovative Ideas, Probability Analysis
Tagged 56 games, baseball, basketball, Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, hack-a-Howard, hack-a-Shaq, Hedo Turkoglu, hit streak, intentional foul off the ball, intentional fouling, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Joe DiMaggio, Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, Orlando Magic, poor free throw shooter, Shaquille O'Neal, Taj Gibson
I just finished reading “56,” a retelling of Joe DiMaggio’s hit streak by Kostya Kennedy (thanks to my buddy Jake for the book!). He unfolds the 1941 streak like a story, complete with what the players were thinking/saying and lots of contextual details concerning DiMaggio’s family life, World War II, Italian American immigrants, etc. The book has a bit too much typical baseball nostalgia, perhaps (witty newspaper reports, grand ballparks and announcers, exaggerated personalities), but the story is undeniably fascinating and the writing is pretty good. Kennedy also sprinkles in some discussion of other hitting streaks and finishes with a good summary of quantitative work that’s been done on streaks.
The big debate about both good and bad streaks is whether they arise due to chance alone or whether they reflect Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Book Reviews, Causal Analysis, Probability Analysis
Tagged 56, at 'em ball, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds steroids, baseball, basketball, Bernoulli trials, book review, Detroit Tigers broadcaster, free throws, hack-a-Shaq, Hank Aaron, hit streaks, hitting streaks, home runs, Indiana basketball, Italian Americans, Jim Price, Joe DiMaggio, Kostya Kennedy, Major League Baseball, Mark McGwire steroids, Michigan basketball, Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, Pacific Coast League, Pete Rose, RBI, Roger Maris, Shaq, Shaquille O'Neal, Stu Douglass, Ted Williams, Willie Keeler, Willie Mays, World War II