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Farjand • Jan 28, 2012

Mathematics Increases Scoring Probability In Basketball

Mathematics is worth studying for any basketball player! It is the opinion of Brian Skinner of the University of Minnesota. A research associate at Minnesota, Skinner has tried to apply mathematical model to find out the probability of scoring the highest. The model which clearly states the shortcomings of strategies used during the game, underlines the importance of playing basketball mathematically.

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Applying a different approach to the game, Skinner has tried to find out the best moment to attempt a shot to assist players in shot selection. In his research published in Public Library of Science aka PLoS ONE, Skinner suggest that a player should attempt high quality shots only when team has some significant time remaining. Earlier, it was on the judgment of coach and player to decide an opportunity to score. With the game becoming more science oriented, we might soon find NBA players acting more according to the optimized methods.

However, the model is based on certain assumptions which cannot be true always. For example, the model applied by Skinner has that- it is always possible to have a shot once ball is in player’s hand. In practice, shot opportunities arise frequently but not always. It is hence important for the player to have his opinion. Keeping aside some inaccuracies, the model is close to reality. The theory by Skinner takes in to account the probability of the other side have possession of the ball. Moreover, it also considers the perceived probability of a ball entering basket when thrown.

A game is a game after all. If it is to be believed that mathematical models can be applied everywhere, then we should expect the game to be played by robots. However, for national teams, the research might prove just useful to win for their countries.

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