Here’s a fascinating article by Michael Lewis in the New York Times Magazine, surely one of the only times I’ve ever linked to something about sports.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15Battier-t.html?_r=2&ref=magazine&pagewanted=all

It focusses on Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets, a player his own front office admits is “a marginal NBA athlete”… who nonetheless has an uncanny ability to make his team win.  Both teams he’s played for started out losing and ended up in multiple playoff seasons.  Battier doesn’t score well by any conventional metric… but he’s an outlier on several unconventional metrics.  Something about his play makes his team play better and his opponents worse. 

It’s an offshoot of the statistical methods that began in baseball and are now being applied to other sports, but it’s also a spotlight on what makes teams gel, why it’s important to ask exactly what we’re measuring, and why we need more than superstars.

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