If money and job qualification are not an issue, I think it will be cool to be a basketball statistician and analyst. Not referring to the one you hear and see on TV (courtside analysts) but those cool guys who work within basketball teams and supplement life to scouting reports. From the outside, I think this is one of the jobs which for me lives up to the saying “find something you love doing and you will never work even for a day“
Yes, I remain a proponent of being self-employed and being a businessman. But let’s face it, not everyone is cut for being self-employed and being a businessman. As such, from time to time, I find myself wondering about other jobs out there that are very appealing to me. And if I can do this on top of having my own business, why not right? Again, just dreaming out loud as such monetary rewards and job qualifications are not really considered.
Gone are the days when scouting reports were purely qualitative: which is the player’s weak side, which spots are he strongest, the usual plays designed for him, is the player a passer or a shooter, does he block using the left hand or right hand. Now competitiveness is very much driven by how much stats you know about the opponent. As the old adage goes, “knowing your opponent is winning half of the battle.”
If you are an NBA fan (too bad they’re still on a lock-out as of this writing), then you’ve probably heard of NBA Stats Cube. This numbers generating maching is not just about percentages of shots, blocks, rebounds, steals, minutes logged, or attempts made etc. It’s all about turning numbers into usable form, easily digestible:
- Which side has a higher percentage for a player shooting jump shots?
- Is a certain player more productive in terms of points when defender A is on the court, or when defender B is?
- Which quarter does star player #24 score the most?
- Which side does center #8 use more often for turn-around hook shots?
- Does pointguard X like to dribble in the middle, left or right side when bringing down the ball?
- Who’s the better team in OT games? 2OT games? What are their numbers and stats in terms of substitutions, bench scoring, minutes played per player?
- Which team has the best do-or-die games record?
- Who is the player with the best assists-to-turnovers ratio? Shots-to-offensive-rebounds ratio?
- Is player #42 better as starting 5 or off the bench?
- Who’s the player who’s likely to choke during 4th quarter? During game 5? 6? 7?
Imagine, computing for all these things, and imagine the performance improvement on players who know these things. Right? In fact, there are even softwares that basketball teams use locally and abroad to analyze, dissect and digest the performances of their own teams and opponents, broken down as teams and as players. So this job is really serious, but sounds very much fun to me.
Being a person addicted to basketball and gifted to be not-afraid of numbers, playing with these stats and information can be a dream job. Imagine playing basketball and seeing your idols, and analyzing them and their other star opponents? How much fun can numbers and stats get?
Any job openings out there?