Thursday, January 4, 2018

"Hero Ball", the "Hot Hand", Harold, and Endgame Possibilities

No, this is not a Lonzo Ball column. We value players who "let the game come to them" and do not "force the issue." 

From Urban Dictionary...

Bobby Knight had a saying, "shooters shoot, passers pass, and everyone plays defense." If you are the cleaner, you are the best shot. 

Stars are expected to star. But situations (injury, illness, fouls) impose critical burdens. Sometimes defenses 'take away' the star. Then others must rise up.

"Bad players" almost never consummate a "hot streak" as it's statistically nearly impossible for a low percentage shooter to "get hot." In baseball, "hitting streaks" are informed by consecutive games with hits, not consecutive at bats. Occasionally, mediocre players fashion impressive streaks. 

"Hero ball" connotes negativity. Harold Jensen was the ultimate hero. Note that Villanova shot 78.6 percent for the game. 

Box score from April 1, 1985. 

Now we cite "hero ball" whenever shots don't drop or when players who are not scorers suddenly find shooting religion. We hear about HEAT CHECKS and know about the HOT HAND FALLACY, established and verified...until it wasn't. "All else being equal, they found that an NBA player who hits four shots in a row is about 2 percent more likely to hit his next one than one who has hit just two of his last four shots. This translates to about one percentage point. So if a player normally shoots 45 percent from the field, the SportVU data suggests that, after four makes, even controlling for shot difficulty, he will be a 46-percent shooter on his next shot.It’s not a huge number, but it’s statistically robust, said Stein."

But we also know that teams often choose isolation strategies that produce mediocre shots. 

Hero ball or strategic blunders? Can teams get "better quality" shots with team play late in certain possessions? 

We know that shots off the catch have higher percentages than shots off the dribble. We also know that shots taken before two second score at a higher percentage than balls held longer. So why end quarters, halves, and games with isolation, off-the-dribble, lower percentage play? Should we not devise some game actions to create higher percentage shots while managing the clock? 

Some actions to think about. 

SLOB with middle PnR and options for corner 3s. 

Celtics DHO 45 backcut. Timing is everything. 

Celtics zipper back cut (2016-2017).

Spurs zipper away sequential screen for three by the 2. IF the defense switches everything, mismatch 2 into 4. 

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