Counting Dribbles, Other Nonsense, and the Lost Art Of Cutting

WHAT does this stat mean?!?

I posted this question on this blog’s FB page and my NBA guru friend Michael G. Yu educated me on the matter:

Now Mike is an Actual NBA Guru, not like most of you fakers out there, so when he says something its appropriate to sit your ass down and listen.

Which is what I did, by clicking on those links and thereby getting an education into the wild world of the ‘NBA NON – STAT’ ie., ‘non – information’ ie. ‘something that does not constitute useful information’ ie., ‘bullshit’.

Not that I wasn’t aware of any. For example I’ve always been wary of player’s ‘plus / minus’, ‘assist to turnover ratio’ and ‘efficiency rating’, the discussion of any of which can convert otherwise good friends into sword wielding maniacs trying to pound their version of sense into each others’ heads. I’ve long disregarded these as BS by applying a simple rule: If I don’t refer to those stats, then they do not matter.

I know that sounds facetious and I’m good at being that but let’s face it. If I’m trying to make sense of a game or a player’s performance I look at the stats and the traditional ones (points, rebs, ass, steals, etc.), and just WATCHING the guy do his thing make the most sense. Anything else is just a bunch of meaningless numbers.

And none more so than this, COUNTING DRIBBLES before a shot.

But here’s the thing. I don’t wanna get into it. I’d much rather note the positive in other words why they even thought about it in the first place. And the reason it exists is because they want to award the player who does the least (dribble) to produce the most (points). I won’t get into why this stat would necessarily assume dribbling is a bad thing. Try telling that to Jason Kidd or John Stockton. Or how producing points is the end all be all, try telling that to Shane Battier or Bruce Bowen (see what I did there? I DID get into it, but subtly).

And now I segue into what that stat actually means albeit inadvertently. It means NBA Players don’t Cut.

Cutting to the basket is a lost art. It involves a guard doing his thing (let’s call him Mr. Flashy player), the flashier the better to attract the most attention from the defense, then two or three teammates start making a move toward the basket purportedly while everyone is watching Mr. Flashy. Mr. Flashy would then suddenly make a pass to a cutter, hopefully looking away to increase the flashiness and therefore the NBA’s ratings also. Mr. Cutter is barreling towards the goal and getting in his way would almost automatically result in a blocking foul. If that cutter is defended well he might then pass to another cutter, by which time the defense is all f’d up, and he may well end up with an alone layup or dunk.

Occasionally this would happen today but more often than not it would be unintended. If it does everyone loses their shit because it’s amazing to watch because it looks orchestrated. But as I’ve mentioned in today’s game it is not. Today it’s five guys standing around the 3pt line waiting to get a clear shot, including Mr. Flashy and the 7’6 guys.

So there you go I have achieved the purpose of this post which is to call ‘FG by # of Dribbles’ a useless stat, promote this blog’s FB page, declare Cutting as a lost art and best of all declare Mike G. Yu an NBA Guru. That’s enough win to last me a few days until I post again.