Friday, March 28, 2014

Numerical Incongruity, NBA-Style!

Greetings and salutations, World.

My name is Horatio N. Proportion, and I am Abacus’ second cousin and alter-ego. While he is prone to wax poetic on language and esoterica, my inclinational is to examine the mathematics upon which observation and analysis is based. ‘Twas I, in fact, who penned yesterday’s entry on championship age.

Without further ado, let’s put a critical eye to the concept of the Offensive Rebound.

While a second chance to score during a possession is certainly a good thing, one should note that an offensive rebound requires an errant shot, i.e. a failure in offensive execution. But considering that exactly one out of 30 NBA teams is making half its field goal attempts in the 2013-14 season, effective offensive rebounding certainly should be considered an asset.

Or is it?

Consider this data, which reflects play through St. Patty’s Day:

Team “A” has played 66 games and been credited with 601 retrievals off the offensive glass, while Team “B” thus far has snatched 473 offensive rebounds in its 64 contests.

At first glance, it would appear Team “A” is more accomplished in the art of offensive boarding, but they actually had over 600 more chances to “get them some.” So, who’s better?

Then there’s Team “C.” Even though this squad is universally acknowledged (both anecdotally and numerically) as one of the very best rebounding teams in the league (offensively, defensively and overall), their opponents have amassed 65 more offensive rebounds in 67 games. Huh??

As in the prior example, it’s a matter of opportunities. Since Team “C” ranks in the Top Five in both field-goal shooting and field goal defense, their opposition has missed 497 more shots this season.

Aha…so Team “C” must be the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, right?

Alas, that would be an inappropriate conclusion to draw. In point of fact, the Heat are Team “B” and by percentage are the second-worst offensive rebounding team in the Association – second-worst (by the narrowest of margins, five “decimal places”) to the disaster currently known as the Los Angeles Lakers, who incidentally are Team “A.”

And who, pray tell, are these powerhouse Team “C”-ers? None other than Kevin McHale’s Houston Rockets.

Numbers, you see, do occasionally misrepresent.

The Truth lies in Horatio N. Proportion.