How Statistics Screwed Up the NBA

Robert Seagal-MisovicCorrespondent IMay 14, 2009

BOSTON - MAY 12:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic drives to the net as Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics defends in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden May 12, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Magic 92-88.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sometimes two and two don't add up to four.

Before you send me to an asylum, let me explain. It seems that there are far too many people who ignore their eyes in favor of what can only be called, "John Hollingerism".

A player is good or bad based on the numbers which fill the categories next to his name, and the more advanced they get, the further astray people are led.

The biggest victims are probably the team owners, who essentially pay for paper production. Such is the case with players like Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh. Who could forget Andre Iguodala's comments regarding the weight his opinion should carry with the Sixers front office?

With those three guys, it's a case of second banana's getting first banana attention for all the wrong reasons.

Dwight Howard is complaining about touches?

Chris Bosh is holding the Toronto Raptors in the dark, saying he won't comment on the future while Colangelo is waving a max contract in his face. Hell should freeze over the day Bosh rejects a max-contract.

The bottom line is, if you put two first bananas on one team, you'd assume nothing less than the NBA championship would suffice. You could put Iguodala with Bosh and Howard, and still not have enough in them alone to get you there.

What about All-Stars like Danny Granger, or players like Shawn Marion?

These are all examples of what is truly wrong with comparing players through some statistical method. Even after adjusting for team success, one cannot gauge a player by their statistics alone.

Is Tim Duncan a worse player than Dwight Howard? There's no way in hell you're taking Howard in a Game Seven over the big fundamental, unless of course you're aiming to lose.

Is Shawn Marion a max contract player, and was he ever?

No, he was never one. He's a guy who played in an uptempo system and much like every player who plays in 82 games where there are about 25 more rebounds available due to pace than in an average NBA game, he padded his stats and did so on a winning team. His statistics may have made him an elite player worthy of a maximum contract, but in reality, he was simply a role player.

Orlando, Indiana, and Toronto better learn the lesson quickly. NBA games are not won on paper.

Sure, on paper maybe Zach Randolph is good, Chris Bosh is the best power forward in the league, Danny Granger is a prolific scorer, Shareef Abdur-Rahim was the next coming of Jesus, and Dwight Howard is the best player in the league.

The truth is, Randolph is horrible, Bosh is barely a top five power forward if that, Granger would be a third option on any contender, Abdur-Rahim should have been the third banana on a good team, and Dwight Howard is the best role player in the league.