So after going off on one (or two) diatribes in the last few weeks about “learning to win,” I opened my internet today to find that Ken Pomeroy, as usual, has written the same thing I’ve written, but better.
Pomeroy takes on this point by juxtaposing the way Seth Davis treats two separate (but not mutually exclusive) groups of people: those who use advanced analytics, and coaches like Brad Stevens of Butler, who remain calm at the end of close games be it a close win or a close loss (they were on the other side of a tough loss last evening on a last-second layup by former Gamecock – now La Salle Explorer – Ramon Galloway).
My favorite portion of the article is where Stephens discusses his feelings at the end of close games:
“What goes through my mind is, the hay is in the barn,” Stevens said. “If a guy makes a shot like that or doesn’t, it doesn’t define who we are. It doesn’t affect how I evaluate our team. It doesn’t break our season.”
Exactly. As Pomeroy suggests, the problem may be that I simply don’t use enough colloquial expressions to convey my thinking on these matters, thinking which heavily borrows from the works of guys like Pomeroy and Dean Oliver, who’ve been at this for over a decade now.
I do think the initial point made by Pomeroy is also important, and one that I’m going to try to follow more myself – these really aren’t fights worth having, by and large. The battle is not yet won, but it’s being won more and more every day, and coaches like Stephens and announcers like Andy Demetra (whose brilliant Inside the Chart blog is almost good enough to make this blog superfluous… almost) continue to supplant writers and other media personalities who simply cannot let go of tired, well-worn, anachronistic concepts like “learning to win.”
So we’ll try to move on from this topic, but before we do, I suggest you read the entirety of Ken’s post. It’s excellent.