Another Giveaway Winner – and Trivia Answers

Published: April 15, 2010

On April 12th, I wrote a review of the new book Stumbling on Wins, and then put up a trivia game with a copy of the book as the prize.  Not surprisingly (to me at least) those of you who tried out the new contest didn’t do that well, and I have to confess I kinda rigged it against you.  I drew questions from the most surprising parts of the book, and then made sure that the answers had some seeming perfectly logical incorrect answers mixed in.  In the end, no one got more than 2 answers right.  It’s okay though, I still love you.

Anyways, I figured out the entries and winning combinations, rolled my Dungeons and Dragons dice until I got one of those combinations,  and the winner came out Julia, who, ahem, didn’t get any questions right and therefore only had one entry and a 2% chance of winning.

Congrats Julia, and thanks to those of you who participated!

The Answers to the questions, along with some brief commentary, are below.

1.  When does an average NBA player’s production peak?
A. 24-25
B. 25-26
C. 27-28
D. 28-29

Yeah – I was surprised by this too.  Conventional wisdom, which I’ve always spouted, is that players are at their prime between ages 27 and 29.  This, however, is not true.  Players are most productive per minute at 24.6 years of age, though, Dave Berri points out, players are given the most minutes at age 28 – which is why people think that’s the prime year – their gross numbers are highest, despite the player producing less per minute.

2. When should you go for it when holding the ball on fourth down on your opponents 30 yard line?
A. Always
B. With 2 yards or less to go.
C. With 6 yards or less to go.
D. With 10 yards or less to go.
E. What the hell is a fourth down?

There is a section in Berri’s book that details how many points, on average, a particular field position is worth to a team.  To determine what to do in this situation, you must take into account the chance of success of converting a first down with the number of yards left to go, what the chance of success is for a field goal, and if there is anything to be gained by punting, (since field position at the beginning of the opposing teams drive is worth a certain amount of points).  All that taken into account, and you’ll have to read the book to get the actual charts and results, the answer is D – on average, making that decision will be worth the most points to your team, and least to the other team.

3. After scoring totals, which of the following factor is most significant when determining if a player will win the ROY.
A. Draft Position
B. Rebounding
C. Shooting Efficiency
D. Turnovers

This is another major point in Dave Berri’s book.  Draft position, despite having no bearing on how a player actually produces in the NBA, significantly impacts the voting for the Rookie of the Year award – more than anything other than scoring totals.  In other words, if two players scored 15 points a game, one had 8 rebounds per game and the other had 6, but the 6 rebound a game player was picked higher in the draft, he is more likely to win the ROY.  Counter-intuitive, yes?

4. Which TWO of the following factors has a significant negative impact to a player’s draft position?
A. High turnover rate
B. Playing Shooting Guard
C. Inefficient Scoring
D. High Personal Foul rate.

Again, more craziness.  Turnover rate is statistically insignificant to draft position.  Inefficient scoring doesn’t matter at all.(In fact, the efficiency of a players scoring barely registers.  However, playing shooting guard(Hello, buckets!) has a strong negative effect on your draft position, as does having a high personal foul rate.

5. Which of the following coaches appears to have a significant positive impact on their player’s production?
A. Byron Scott
B. Isiah Thomas
C. Doc Rivers
D. Avery Johnson

Okay – this one was a trick question, and no one got it.  Only Isiah Thomas has had a significant positive impact on his players production, once production is controlled for age, minutes, and a myriad of other factors.  The other three coaches did not have significant impact on their players production.  There are, of course, a solid group of coaches headlined by Popovich and Phil Jackson that far outstrip Isiah, but he is on the short list of coaches that do seem to improve their players.