If they keep this up, ESPN is going to have to change their name to ESPMN. The “M” would stand for Moneyball, for the controversial book that chronicled the stat-centric Oakland Athletics front office. Today Moneyball is synonymous with any type of sports statistical analysis. For years Rob Neyer has been the main attraction of ESPN’s statistical writers. The former Bill James assistant is sabermetrics’ most popular author, bringing objective analysis of baseball to a main stream audience on a regular basis. Already having baseball’s best number-crunching author, ESPN is building a Moneyball monopoly by signing Neyer’s basketball’s equivalent.
It has been learned by KnickerBlogger.Net that John Hollinger will soon be writing for ESPN.com Insider. Hollinger made a name for himself when he created a web page, www.alleyoop.com, for his thoughtful sports analysis. His groundbreaking work didn’t go unnoticed for long, and John would eventually write for CNNSI.com and the New York Sun.
However, Hollinger might best be known for authoring the annual Pro Basketball Prospectus/Forecast books. Largely if not entirely a solo project, he fills the pages with analysis on every NBA player, while interspersing his own unique studies. John avoids the monotony or writing about such a number heavy topic with his humor. He circumvents using complex terms or stats where common language can succinctly get the same point across. For example, his entire analysis on guard Bimbo Coles who ceased being useful years ago: “Please, let this be the end.”
The unofficial announcement was made on Friday by fellow hoops author Dean Oliver on APBRmetrics, the main forum for basketball statistical discussion. To date there hasn’t been an official word on the move. Odds are Hollinger’s columns won’t appear on ESPN.com rival CNNSI.com, and it’s still unknown if he’ll still be writing for the New York Sun. What is known is that ESPN.com’s Insider members can now enjoy fantastic writing in two sports.