fivethirtyeight hot takedown and Sports – a great combination

I don’t write about sports a lot here, unless there’s an alternate angle. Here’s the angle for today: The NFL doesn’t hold my interest all that much. Basketball? Pelicans! #TakeFlight! However, I can’t keep up with my sons on the NBA. Baseball? I’m a Giants fan, and I support the New Orleans Zephyrs, but I don’t wear support for either on my sleeve. I keep my passion for La Joga Bonita, specifically for the US Men’s National Team and the USWNT, the New Orleans Jesters, and Arsenal Football Club on the Book of Zucker and YatSoccer. So, no angle, talk to me about football on YatSoccer.

The “Hot Takedown” podcast fascinates me. A lot of the data-driven work that Silver and his elves do had its origins with sport. That’s reflected by the fact that they dumped the New York Times and are now affiliated with ESPN. Go to the ep titled, “What Pat Summitt Did For The Game Of Basketball“. Go in to about 31 minutes. When they start talking about Durant, the numbers hit me. Here’s Durant, done with his contract with OKC, looking to go to a winner.

The NBA, Kevin Durant, and Championships

kevin durant 2014

Kevin Durant (courtesy Keith Allison)

There’s a lot of psychology involved in such a decision by a professional athlete. What I loved here was the discussion here about whether this type of personal decision actually works. What percentage of players who leave their current team for a “championship-level” team actually get there? There’s a distinction here between the player getting paid a bunch of money to build a championship team and the player looking to join a team to get a ring. Durant isn’t a Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, whose expectations are to be the focal point of a winner. Well, maybe Durant is ‘Melo, actually, given that Anthony hasn’t been able to make the magic happen in New York. In addition, there’s factors like a player’s age and physical condition.

Then there was the discussion about why aren’t players like Durant looking to go to the NBA East if they want to be a champion, but that’s a different discussion. Suffice to say, “Hot Takedown” is a good listen.

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