I’ll link to the Harding Sports page, but the story is from Searcy’s Daily Citizen. Kelly Fenton tells the story of Matt Hall’s rehab and explains how he’s now a marked man in the GSC after winning the Player of the Year award as a sophomore.
This got me thinking about an interesting part of basketball analysis. Unlike baseball, which is a series of individual matchups, the other major sports are much more difficult when it comes to separating individual accomplishments from the team. It’s even tougher in football and hockey, but basketball is still very much a team game, and one player’s performance can have an impact far beyond the box score.
So, let me pose a question. How big is the influence of Matt Hall on the Harding team? Clearly it’s huge, because he’s a fantastic player, but are the double- and triple-teams creating measurable opportunities for guys like Patrick Andrepont and Rick Hamilton. Is Hall the reason they do well, or are they the reasons he does well? My answer is that we ultimately can’t say for sure. I think Hall’s a spectacular player, and it’s likely his numbers will suffer with opponents keying in on him. Can we attribute others’ success to that? I don’t know, but the speculation is fun to me. The teamwork aspect of the game can really make you think, and it is one of the frontiers of statistical analysis in sports.