You’ve always loved following your favorite sports teams but lately, have realized announcers sometimes speak in a less familiar language. What exactly are wins above replacement ((WAP), value over replacement player (VORP), or a Pythagorean expectation? We can help.
“It’s not your parent’s National Basketball Association. It’s not even really your older sibling’s. Over the last decade, data analysts have chewed up professional basketball and spit out an almost entirely new game. … The NBA has embraced statistics with a verve that may even surpass that of Major League Baseball, the first US sports league to let data into the locker room. … Basketball is a complicated sport to analyze. Unlike baseball, which is mostly made up of discrete contests between individuals in predictable locations, basketball involves five players on each team interacting with each other in an infinite number of ways.”
With 11 players on each team interacting on any given play, football is no less complicated than basketball, and ice hockey adds the complication of changing lines without stoppages in play.
The most reliable path toward understanding and perhaps even trusting advanced metrics is to recreate and apply them yourself. Fortunately, each of the major U.S. sports provides rich data resources for doing so, and specialized software for conducting analyses is readily available.
This workshop provides hands-on training for replicating or developing sports analytic metrics:
Jerry Platt, Ph.D., is Emeritus Dean and Professor of Finance at San Francisco State University. Most recently, he developed and taught courses in applied analytics and data mining for the Verterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California.
Jason Platt, MBA, CFP, is a retired professional hockey player who currently serves as Vice President of Wealth Management at Citizens Securities, based in Providence, RI.