Grantland: Debating Basketball's 'Hot Hand' Theory

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Grantland: Debating Basketball's 'Hot Hand' Theory

The "hot hand" has been mostly dead for the last half-decade — the province of irrational believers in “the zone” and “clutch hitting” and other amorphous concepts that haven't withstood killjoy statistical analysis. Almost every search for the alleged “hot hand,” from the mid-1980s and onward, has either come up empty or found the opposite phenomenon — that players who make a basket are less likely to make their next shot than they are after a miss. David Brooks mocked the hot hand in the New York Times, and Larry Summers, who has been both U.S. Treasury secretary and president of Harvard, chastised the university's basketball team for believing in the concept.

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