Find 5 Sunday 2/11

Hope these five things help you play a little bit more — Going to keep with my NBA/Math theme a little bit…

I enjoy using sports and math to help students develop decision-making skills and open-minded math skills. The less rigid math is, the more that can be done with it. Or in the words of this class, ‘play’ with it.

  1. I subscribe to Cleaning the Glass by Ben Falk, a former Sixers analytics guy, but you can see a lot of statistics without paying for it. This site offers some insights into ‘playing’ in a front office, as well as trying to find out different factors that make NBA teams good.
  2. Sam Hinkie, the former GM of the 76ers, wrote a famous resignation letter of how to navigate playing through factors of luck and opportunity cost and analytics. It’s a cool insight into his brain to approaching his job.
  3. This is more of a fun type of play — Tankathon simulates the NBA lottery system for draft picks. You can play it over and over again, and see all the different possibilities for the NBA Draft order. We’ve used it in class to illustrate how over a short sample, probabilities don’t play out as predicted, but over the long term they do.
  4. People often view success — in sports or anywhere — as good or bad, but there are really so many in betweens. Sometimes, it’s unreasonable to be upset if an outcome didn’t work out perfectly. For example, some teams want their top draft pick to be a superstar, while others want him to be a good role player. This is the beginning of an analysis into that lens of thinking.
  5. In class last week, we used this article about the 1998 Yankees to try to define what greatness meant. It didn’t have to be in a sports context, but the results were interesting. Did you use statistics or more qualitative attributes? There were no wrong answers, and it was really helpful in getting kids to think openly about math.


Go Eagles! What a week.


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