Knicks Morning News (2016.08.15)

  • [NY Newsday] Rio Olympics: Klay Thompson scores 30 as USA edges France
    (Sunday, August 14, 2016 5:44:14 PM)

    RIO DE JANEIRO — Three wins from gold, and still no reason to think it will be easy for the U.S. men’s basketball team.

  • [NYTimes] Basketball-U.S. on Top After Nervy Win Over France
    (Sunday, August 14, 2016 9:24:28 PM)

    The U.S. men’s basketball team closed out pool play with an unbeaten record but a nervy 100-97 win over France on Sunday confirmed that getting to the top step of the Olympic podium will not be an easy climb.

  • [NYTimes] Basketball: Unbeaten U.S. Target Japan in Last Eight
    (Sunday, August 14, 2016 10:33:29 PM)

    The U.S. women’s basketball team wrapped up Olympic preliminary round play in familiar blowout style by routing China 105-62 on Sunday, storming into the quarter-finals unbeaten and on course for a sixth straight gold medal.

  • [NYTimes] Highlights: Day Nine at the Rio Olympics
    (Sunday, August 14, 2016 8:33:30 PM)

    Latest news from the ninth day of competition at the Rio Olympics on Sunday (times GMT):

  • [ESPN] Carmelo Anthony says LeBron James convinced him not to ‘go off’ on his critics
    (Sunday, August 14, 2016 5:04:28 PM)

    Carmelo Anthony says LeBron James convinced him not to ‘go off’ on his critics

  • 40 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2016.08.15)”

    Here is that article on the hot hand study I posted last night. PTMilo, I remember discussing it when it first came out on KB. But the statistical wrinkle I don’t remember. Specifically….

    What the table shows, convincingly, is that due to what had been an as-yet-undiscovered quirk of the math, there is a cold hand built into the very laws of probability. The probability of getting tails on any individual flip is, of course, always 50 percent. But when you have a finite number of coin flips — or shot attempts, or any other probability-based event — the sequences with consecutive identical outcomes can only be arranged in so many ways. As a result, a given flip of heads is more likely to be followed by tails than by another heads.

    I don’t understand this. I get what they have done for the Sportsvu part of it, which is adjust for shot difficulty with some hack. But the statistical tweak they put on top is just confusing to me. It seems like basically another variation of the Monty Hall problem, with four shots/flips instead of three doors, right? Doesn’t seem all that revolutionary from a statistical perspective. But I don’t get what it has to do with basketball or the hot hand, which is defined far far more broadly than a set of four shots.

    And I don’t get what the utility of this for a basketball coach is. I don’t read these results as suggesting that if a guy has hit a shot that I, as his coach, should call a play for him next time down the court.

    Or is that in fact the implication of the study?

    Lots of people trying to milk the statistical cow nowadays. Not expressing an opinion on the linked article (too convoluted for my taste), just saying stats are great and very useful, but, like everything else, they can be used, abused and very often manipulated to conform to a particular agenda. That’s the main reason for the endless and frequent debates on this blog: wildy different interpretations of the same data, often taken out of context or lacking non- quantifiable factors.

    My layman theory on the hot hand: the law of probabilty allows for thw occasional occurrance of a positive, above-average outcome (Galloway making two 3’s in a row) , so the player feels more confident and probably performs a bit better for a while (Gallo goes ‘unconcious’ and makes two more). Eventually the law of probability corrects the small aberration, the player goes ‘cold’ and misses the next 3. ‘Hot hand’ over.

    @ 3 and 4 –

    So, you didn’t bother to read the article or assess the math (which is actually not that complicated), but…you have an opinion? Because the “same data can be taken out of context?” Perfect.

    The irony is that the math can’t possibly be taken out of context; it’s raw computing without interpretation. It looks pretty unassailable to me (though I’m not ptmilo and can’t address it with the sophistication s/he does). It simply means that because there are a limited number of outcomes in terms of results when flipping a coin after a first flip (and better still, after several flips), the number of outcomes is limited so that after several heads (makes), tails (a miss) is SUBSTANTIALLY MORE LIKELY than heads.

    The interpretation in bball is that it is harder to keep making shots after a make or several makes, so someone who does make a shot after several other makes is in fact beating the odds, which are NOT 50/50.

    It simply means that because there are a limited number of outcomes in terms of results when flipping a coin after a first flip (and better still, after several flips), the number of outcomes is limited so that after several heads (makes), tails (a miss) is SUBSTANTIALLY MORE LIKELY than heads.

    The problem is, the coin doesn’t know this.

    I understand the quirk. I just don’t how it’s relevant. But anyway.

    Apparently 20-1 for USA to win gold in basketball before the France game . That seems a like a bet worth taking.

    I hate to say things like this because without brilliant mathematicians we wouldn’t learn nearly as much or as quickly as we do now. However, there is a problem with academics that study sports. If you’ve never actually played a meaningful game under pressure, you have never experienced some of the things that make serious players (stress serious) believe in things like hot hand and ability to handle pressure.

    I never played serious basketball, but I’ve played other hand/eye coordination games at a high level.

    Most successes and failures are random. They are no different than flipping coins. However, there are times you can literally feel a heightened state of awareness, a greater smoothness in your stroke, a higher level of confidence etc… and it all feeds into better results for short period of time. That’s what is commonly refereed to is a hot hand or dead stroke. It’s not just random results that are being misinterpreted. It’s an actual biological sensation that is accompanied by better results (or worse results when you are experiencing the opposite phenomenon). I KNEW when I was hot and was going to start rolling. I could tell when I choked a shot because of pressure. You know because you “feel it biologically”. You can feel the different levels of confidence/fear, smoothness/jerkiness, calmness/nervousness, heightened concentration/cloudiness etc….

    Z-man – it has nothing to do with what the coin “knows;” there are simply a limited number of outcomes. From the description of the paper:

    “Let’s say you flip a coin four times and write down the outcomes. If you go back and look at your results and choose one of the heads flips at random, what is the probability that the next flip will also have been a heads? If you said .5, that’s understandable, since it makes perfect intuitive sense — but it turns out to be wrong.”

    Right underneath that it pulls a table from the paper that is not hard to follow: it lists all the possible outcomes when you flip a coin, ASSUMING EQUAL CHANCE OF HEADS/TAILS. Despite it being 50/50 on any given coin toss, cumulatively, across a number of tosses (in this chart, 4), the chance of tails is actually higher after a heads. It is, as the writer notes, a quirk of math. The universe is rigged against makes!

    As they say it is a math quirk. I looked at the chart. After three consecutive H it was 1 head one tail on the next flip. ie: 50/50. After two consecutive H it was 4 H 4T. The same results were there for Tails. I seem to get 12/23 heads after one heads. So I think it is just a “gimmick” of calculation rather than a finding, but that’s me.

    @strat, the whole point is that Yes, it is true that an athlete can be “feeling it” and be correct. Because the universe is rigged against makes, when the athlete continues to make, s/he is beating the odds. S/he is “hot.” The math is confirming what you’ve experienced.

    As I said in the previous thread, I have always believed in it because I’ve been there. Not often, but one time so completely and thoroughly that I could not be stopped for an extended period of time. The other team knew it and started playing up on me at the 3-point line. I knew it and started shooting from behind the 3-point line. The other team started sending two guys at me. I started shooting as soon as I crossed halfcourt. It was insane.

    So to me, this math simply says it’s more likely that I’ll miss, but I didn’t, and that’s a hot hand – a hot hand I was well aware of.

    The other study takes into account the other aspects I have (and probably most of us) have experienced: people playing up on us once we got hot, us taking shots further away once we got hot, us making those shots, etc. THAT study also confirmed a hot hand, though only by a couple of percentage points – enough to be real, but not as shocking as the raw computation study.

    I guess I’m going to get slammed for this but the eye test, which for example always “confirmed” the hot hand theory, is awesome. Try walking a couple of blocks on Broadway and it becomes obvious.

    But it really depends on the set of eyes.

    Stats are awesome too. If you use both the eye test and stats you give yourself a better chance of getting it right, and most likely you also improve your set of eyes and thus your success in doing the eye test.

    [looking for the nearest shelter.]

    At best, I think what is being described is a “tendency” to regress towards the mean probability, rather than a “probability” in and of itself. If You know a series of prior outcomes, you are working in a situation with a fixed probability based on random outcomes, and the known prior outcomes are misaligned with the expected outcomes, it makes sense that over time, enough “balancing” outcomes will occur to get back to the mean. So if you flip a coin ten times and you get heads all ten times, the odds are that if you flip it another 90 times, you would get 50 out of 90 tails, giving you a 55.5555….% theoretical probability of tails for the remaining 90 flips.

    But that doesn’t have much relevance in practice. The fair coin still doesn’t know the result of previous outcomes and each toss will still have a 50-50 chance of heads or tails on each successive toss.

    This is not the same as the Monty Hall case, which depends on knowing that the eliminated door is wrong, or the “hot hand” in basketball case, where the shooter and defenders both have knowledge of preceding outcomes and can have an influence on future outcomes.

    Uhhh…how to say this politely…this thread is big, man.

    Owen is right that this issue is intimately related to the Monty Hall problem. But he is wrong that it thus not relevant because selection bias and restricted choice are well known in statistics. This issue is very subtle, but the bottom line is not: If you properly adjust for the subtle bias infecting the shot sample population in the very influential no-hot-hand studies, their data actually show evidence that hot hands do exist. A complete reversal.

    The wrinkle is not very intuitive and not easy to explain here. Rest assured, though, it is not true that you are more likely to miss after makes or throw tails after ten heads in a row. Physics has not changed.

    The Monty Hall aspect is that researchers with finite samples who study things like “what should I expect for a 4th shot after a streak of 3 misses or makes” are accidentally revealing implicit knowledge when the unveil the 4th shot. Because they are starting out looking for streaks, when they find a fourth shot they are telling you something about the samples they *didn’t choose* that didn’t contain such streaks. And in doing so, they are changing the posterior probability of the sample they did choose, in almost the same way that Monty is affecting the posterior probability of his doors because you know he started off looking for goats.

    The accidentally introduced choice-restriction due to streak-searching and finite samples means that the 4th shot is more likely to be a reversal from the previous three. This is NOT true ex ante, but only for researchers looking backward through finite samples. This means the makes after makes they saw were more than what they should have expected if no hot hand existed, but they didn’t realized this because their expectations was biased upward by failing to account for this nasty little bias.

    Nicely explained, pt. Essentially you are saying that in retrospect you should expect that the most common occurrence is H-T-H-T…; then streaks of two heads or two tails less common; then streaks of 3 heads or 3 tails even less common, etc….

    So that, in retrospect when you tease out all outcomes with three heads or three tails in a row, it is more likely that there are more outcomes where the streak ends at 3 then it ending at 4, or 5, or 6, etc.

    But this has no relevance in predicting future events.

    If I’m understanding this correctly, it’s a function of selection bias and the reduction of large sets to subsets. But also, I’m probably not understanding this correctly.

    PT Milo if I read you correctly, means HHH will have T be more likely than H and vice versa.

    The accidentally introduced choice-restriction due to streak-searching and finite samples means that the 4th shot is more likely to be a reversal from the previous three.

    I’m having a hard time getting that, and I don’t see that in the “chart” included in the article.

    Really cool stuff. On a lighter note espn released their international player rankings. Porzingod is #3. http://www.espn.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/17304976/ranking-kristaps-porzingis-giannis-antetokounmpo-best-international-basketball-players-nba

    “Projected WARP: 10.59
    Last year’s rank: 13

    SCHOENE and RPM agree on where Porzingis is slotted here. The sky is the limit for him.

    For this season, the only subjective concern is whether Porzingis will struggle for touches in a Knicks lineup shared with Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony. But he may be so good that, actually, the other guys will need to hunt for shot opportunities.”

    Despite all of my skepticism on making the superstar leap (for virtually anyone outside of, like, Chris Paul and Kawhi), I see with my own two eye-tests why Porzingis could be considered an “untouchable” prospect. Plus, da statz.

    @9 – strat… i think what you might be referring to is just either adrenaline or excessive dopamine…. which might give you the feeling of more focus but you might not be doing anything mechanically different….

    there was a study done on college students who take adderral and while everyone thinks they actually aced their test after they take adderral… most students fall within the range of their normal scores… so what it actually does is increase your confidence which may or may not increase your performance….

    we’re still technologically behind to measure miniscule changes in physiology to measure these things in a meaningful way…. i sort of subscribe to the theory that hothands are usually just results based thinking instead of a leading indicator…

    1 plus 1 is 2 all day long and it’s never gonna change

    and that’s factorial

    Porzingis has immortal written all over him. As does Towns. Admittedly, that’s the eye test talking. But it also takes into account what seems to be a 5-star approach to the game and to life. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they became the next colossal big-man rivalry? That game last year was very promising in that regard. Shame they’ll only match up twice a year until they meet in the finals in 2020.

    That same ESPN article mentioned that it’s extremely possible that the Greek Freak and Kristaps Porzingis will be the conversation for the best non-American player in the world. I mean, duh, but I never quite thought of it that way.

    All the more reason for the Greek Freak to not sign the extension in Milwaukee and for him to take that QO into 2018 so he can be a free agent.

    Z-man, you’re really good at defending bad players and cutting down good players. If I were you, I’d stop talking about Porzingis before he fails to crack .530 TS% and becomes another “intriguing future star with the right system and fit” prospect for the rest of his career.

    rama,

    @strat, the whole point is that Yes, it is true that an athlete can be “feeling it” and be correct. Because the universe is rigged against makes, when the athlete continues to make, s/he is beating the odds. S/he is “hot.” The math is confirming what you’ve experienced.

    I know.

    My point was that for a long time academics argued against what every high school educated athlete has long known to be true. Sometimes it takes mathematicians and scientists a long time to prove what everybody else already knows either intuitively or via experience. Yet they sometimes look down on the rest of us with arrogance until the proof exists.

    My point was that for a long time academics argued against what every high school educated athlete has long known to be true.

    This is a red hot take. Another point is that academics sometimes argue against what ever high school-educated athlete believes to be true, as sometimes unconfirmed belief is pretty, uh, dumb. Y’know, like how people thought for decades that bunting, aka giving a virtually-guaranteed out to the other team, was real good for a baseball team.

    Yeah, I watched the game. Not Kuz’s best night, and Saric was very good. The play in the Olympics has generally been very physical!

    I think Saric is going to be a very good NBA player, but man, he and Simmons seem like a really weird fit together, especially when they have Okafor, Embiid and Noel on the team.

    As for Kuz, my expectations for him are pretty low so I don’t think he can possibly disappoint me. I’m just hoping for a guy who can at least stay on the court. One of the things I liked best about Lance Thomas last season was that even when he wasn’t doing much of anything (which was often), he wasn’t doing anything really bad, either, and I think that there is a real need sometimes for teams with as many “go to” guys as the Knicks have with Melo, Rose and Porzingis to have guys who can just be there and not need to get their shots and not actively hurt the team. And I think Kuz might be that type of guy. That type of player is more than worth Kuz’s salary. And if he does more than that, then that’s just gravy.

    Kuz looks like he can play, but is very vulnerable as a post defender against bigger, stronger players. He might have enough ball-handling skill and quickness to play the 2, but seems like more of a stretch 3. He looks like he has a pretty decent back-to-the-basket game himself and has thrown some nice passes out of the post after backing a smaller guy down. But my guess is that he’ll really struggle defensively covering the screen man on the P&R and teams will try to exploit that. He also struggled in covering the 3-pt line, seemed to drop off too much. That was a team-wide problem, maybe a coaching thing. Jonas V had a terrible game, looked like a lumbering stiff vs. the quicker Croatian bigs.

    The Lithuanian team plays a weird brand of b-ball, lots of unimaginative selfish iso play. Talent-wise, there is no reason why Spain and Croatia should have been able to run them off the court these past two games. Maybe their coach is the European Mike Woodson.

    Kuz as a Lance-level flyer is probably a good comparison, although their games are very different. Both are long, smart, energy guys with good motors, but Lance was a good defender who can’t shoot (until last year, that is), while Kuz seems like more of a good shooter who can’t defend.

    Saric and Simmons definitely have similarities but the both seem multi-talented and big enough to adapt to different roles. They both seem to have the same weakness as well…perimeter shooting. But man, if Embiid comes back strong, they are a very big, young, skilled team on paper.

    This is a red hot take. Another point is that academics sometimes argue against what ever high school-educated athlete believes to be true, as sometimes unconfirmed belief is pretty, uh, dumb. Y’know, like how people thought for decades that bunting, aka giving a virtually-guaranteed out to the other team, was real good for a baseball team.

    The default should be “something that everybody believes to be true based on experience is probably true until such time as it is proven to not be true”. It should not be “something is not true because we haven’t been able to prove it yet”.

    Of course there will be occasions where a strong consensus is wrong, but I never met a single experienced athlete that didn’t believe in being “hot”. The only people that didn’t believe it were math gurus that never played the game and hadn’t proved it didn’t exist.

    The default should be “something that everybody believes to be true based on experience is probably true until such time as it is proven to not be true”.

    What? Are you serious with this?

    Do you know for how long a vast majority of people thought that people of color were naturally predisposed to be slaves, or that women were incapable of advanced thought, or that beating your children was good for them, or that the earth was flat, or that disease could be cured through prayer?

    This is the hottest and dumbest of takes I’ve seen on this site for a long, long time. Plus your false dilemma is all sorts of troubling.

    No one says “the unproven is untrue.” It’s “the unproven is not necessarily true.”

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