Dec

27

KnicksOne of the striking things about the NY Knicks is that their offensive rebounding percentage, 23%, is the lowest in the NBA, going along with their third-worst record. What is the comparable statistic for markets that's not too much biased by part/whole fallacy in that it assumes knowledge of scores implicitly?

Alston Mabry writes:

Any thorough discussion of rebounding must include Dennis Rodman. He maintained that he gave up on "boxing out" because he was simply too small compared to other NBA post players. Instead, he would use the "locking up" technique, which meant using his elbows and legs to hinder other players' movement, then break away quickly to get the rebound, leaving the other player flat-footed. Also, he claimed that other players would start to focus more on how annoying Rodman was than on how the actual game was going.

That was what he said publicly, but it's also been confirmed that privately he would watch hours and hours of videotape, studying individual shooters, where they shot from, and where the ball tended to go when they missed. He would position himself on the court to maximize the probability he would be near the ball when it bounced off the rim. But he never liked to talk about this so as not to give away his best stuff and also because his studious statistical/analytical side just didn't jibe with his popular "crazy rebel" persona.

The comparisons to trading are clear.

Scott Brooks writes:

I once sat down with Bill Bartman, who told me the story of when he was trying to buy the Chicago Bulls. He got to meet the players and spend some time with them.

One was Dennis Rodman. Dennis was notorious for sitting in the locker room and on the sidelines before a game listening to his Walkman. Dennis always said that he was listening to music — he was a Peal Jam fan. During one pregame warmup, Bartman walked over to Rodman and sat next to him. Bartman struck up a conversation and asked what he was listening to and how the music psyched him up before the game.

Rodman just smiled, grabbed his head phones and placed them on Bartman's head. Bill Bartman said he could only smile at what he heard. Instead of hearing Pearl Jam, what he heard was Dennis Rodman's voice.

You see, after every game, Rodman dictated notes to himself about the other players as well as notes to himself from watching the films.

For all his bad boy persona, Rodman was a student of the game.

As to Big Al's comments about Rodman's not blocking out because other guys were so much bigger and stronger, when I read the description of "locking up", it sounds just like a variation of blocking out, with a strong emphasis on the "intimidation" part of the equation.

For all its high flying acrobatics, and ballet/gymnastic moves, and fancy passing and dribbling and all the emphasis on not being able to touch the opponent (fouling), basketball, played right, is an incredibly physical game — but the physicality is nuanced. It's like boxing, except you don't want to let the judges see you hit the other guy.

I wish my knees weren't in such bad shape. I really miss banging under the boards.

Craig Bowles remarks:

If you think of rebounding as an underlying fundamental health measure, it’s not so different from the market trying to go up when it begins being outpaced by both oil prices and interest rates. You see that now when you compare short-term growth rates. Even in intraday trading, stocks pull back when this happens. Another is basic materials and energy sectors. The market has trouble when these become the strongest sectors. It’s like a football team with no running game.


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3 Comments so far

  1. Steve Leslie on December 27, 2009 7:42 am

    Being a part of this website for 5 years, I find some things very interesting. Here is another fabulous example and perhaps a lesson.

    The chair mentions rebounding of the Knicks and their record. He inquires as to a similar statistical comparisons to trading. Now here is the interesting part. One respondent introduces Dennis Rodman into the conversation. And summarizes his statement with the comparison to trading is clear. If so WHAT IS IT.

    Next my great friend in the midwest talks about Rodman again and mentions his aging knees and his own personal love for the game. Again I ask WHAT IS THE STATISTICAL COMPARISON.

    As Larry Kudlow says "There is the manure now where is the horse"

    Tony Soprano says "Remember when is the lowest form of conversation."

    My lesson here is when one stays focused on the issue at hand, better results follow.

  2. Steve Leslie on December 27, 2009 8:15 am

    I will make a feeble attempt to address the chairman's question as to a statistical comparison of rebounding to trading.

    1) Low offensive rebound % is similar to low productivity numbers or low confidence numbers in the market.

    2) Low % can be indicative of just an all-around lousy team who has other problems such as shooting percentage. In this regard, brains can be confused with a bull market. When a team is shooting well it disguises the flaws that they have in other areas. If things are generally bad to begin, it is very difficult to work out of and eventually the record displays this.

    3) Poor financial condition (high debt). Companies who have high debt to capital ratios struggle mightily in difficult markets. Teams who rebound poorly do poorly through a long season.

    4) Poor team players and/or cowboys. Bad fundamentals lead to poor results. Good rebounding comes from very hard work and sacrifice for the team. Success comes through attention to details and working on the behind the scenes stuff that others would just as soon not do and hope they go away.

    5) Perhaps a comparison cannot be made. Even Freud said "Sometimes a dream is just a dream." The same can be said as to nightmares.

  3. Craig Bowles on December 31, 2009 11:34 am

    We’ll see if it holds but New Years Eve has intermediate and long-term growth rates for oil prices and interest rates moving above stocks. Oil prices and interest rates being stronger than stocks lowers reward potential relative to risk. A long-term growth rate signal can take a while to affect stocks as this turned negative in mid-1999 and stocks continued higher for several months.

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