CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Basketball On Paper -- Unique Book Analyzes Stats, Performance

20 September 2006


You can count on one hand all the new basketball handicapping books that have come available to bettors in the past decade. Football, on the other hand, remains king and the focus seems to be there for new books.

However, Dean Oliver, strongly influenced by the great Bill James' works on baseball, has produced a gem of a book titled simply Basketball on Paper: Rules and Tools for Performance Analysis (375 pages, paperbound, $18.95) for both bettors and fans of the game. Published two years ago, this title interestingly enough came off the presses of a publisher which has in the past specialized in books with a military theme. Oliver's credentials are impressive ‹ he's a former player, assistant coach and scout, and he founded the Journal of Basketball Studies, while providing statistical advice to the Seattle pro basketball team.

This book debunks basketball theories and myths while examining the difference between team leaders and role players, and offers a new perspective on the game from both a coach's and fan's point of view. Bill James says he actually learned a lot about the game from Oliver.

The book is packed with tables, charts and some mathematical formulas in two dozen chapters. Included are sections covering teamwork, rebounding myths and roles, the power of parity, the effect of bad referees, insights on boxscores and defensive ratings.

One special chapter focuses on evaluations -- of players and a team -- followed by how to calculate individual offensive ratings and floor percentages and individual defensive formulas.

Just as the great Jim Barnes and the late Huey Mahl made breakthroughs in football with the concepts of yards per point and yards per play, Oliver examines points per possession. He graciously credits other authors like Martin Manley, who produced a classic in the late 1980s called Basketball Heaven and Joshua Trupin and Secor Couzens with their Hoopstats also in the late 1980s, along with Doug Heeren's Basketball Abstract with much of the breakthrough research. It'll probably start a run on finding some of the old classics.

One of the most important and controversial areas Oliver covers is the impact of coaches on team performance, specifically the coach's ability to ³coach success out of players.²

He compares the game's greats, looks at one-stop flashes, the over-rated and teams with great defenses. In short, there's a lot to be devoured, absorbed, synthesized and integrated into the way one handicaps the game. This book may open doors you never knew existed, but it should be read gradually, with plenty of time to spare before the pro teams seriously move into action and your money is on the line.

It's a must-read for serious, dedicated, statistically-oriented bettors.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com