I just reached page 117 of 342 in Basketball on Paper by Dean Oliver, and came across an interesting passage last night that I wanted to discuss.
With a lot of hype over Kobe Bryant’s current 35 PPG Average and his miraculous 81 point game against the Raptors, I started wondering if such performances and inflated numbers actually help out his team in their effort to make the playoffs and have a successful season.
On pg. 115 of Basketball on Paper, Dean Oliver discusses how temmates compete amongst each other for playing time, shots, and ultimately, glory. But Oliver claims that such competition can severly hurt a team.
Quoting directly from Dean Oliver:
Allowing your star player to score 70 percent of your points may seem like an optimal theory because he is so much better than his teammates, but does it start infringing upon the fairness that the teammates need to feel is there? More relevantly, is that 70 percent actually better for the team?
A lot of game theory is discussed within the chapter, which questions whether teammates will stop playing as hard if they are being unfairly rewarded (do you even know who Kobe’s supporting cast is?). Interestingly enough, Dean Oliver points out Phil Jackson as a coach who has been able to motivate his former teams to perform even when there is one superstar that takes much of the credit for the team’s success. We will see if he is able to lead Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers into the post-season while making sure that his team remains to play together as one cohesive unit.
[tags]basketball, kobe bryant, phil jackson, game theory, dean oliver[/tags]