Author(s): Andy Glockner
Sports | No Category
Chasing Perfection goes behind the scenes of the multi-million dollar, high-stakes world of basketball player development, research and analysis, and the often secretive, cutting-edge methods that NBA franchises use to turn less-expensive, supporting players into vital parts of championship teams. NBA superstars push as close to perfection as we're likely to see, but they are few and far between. The farther you get from the league's top echelon of talent, the more it's up to the players--and their teams--to develop and utilize their strengths while diminishing and masking their weaknesses as much as possible. There are no perfect basketball players, but there are plenty of perfected ones, who start with a basis of skill and physical ability and then are refined further and further in order to move closer and closer to their absolute potential. In Chasing Perfection, national sportswriter Andy Glockner reveals that, though the concept of player improvement is as old as basketball itself, the current era of Big Data analytics in the NBA is transforming that process more quickly and aggressively than anything we have seen before.
Players are learning more and more about themselves through video and data visualization, seeing how things like diet and sleep can impact their performance, and learning how having healthy joints and role-specific workout plans are lengthening and improving their careers. Teams are internalizing the same lessons, as well as figuring out how to better implement optimal on-court strategies, how to refine their approaches to player acquisition and how to gauge the varying values and success rates of different, crucial team-building strategies. It's an absolutely fascinating time to be a fan, as the marriage of basketball and technology is bringing two of our most popular and competitive worlds together in compelling fashion. Using the 2014--15 NBA season as a prism to explore this mesh of sport and science, Glockner offers detailed perspective from NBA players, coaches, team management, and media, offering a comprehensive insider's view of how analytics are shaping the basketball we watch, and how those who are lagging behind in the technology race already are feeling the competitive hit.
Praise for Chasing Perfection Jay Bilas, ESPN basketball analyst and author of Toughness "Every player hears about working and playing hard, but the game is rewarding those that work and play smart. Chasing Perfection is a terrific look at how every level of the game, from high school to the pros, is taking advantage of cutting-edge technology and new strategies to find and develop better players, teams, and game plans." Fran Fraschilla, ESPN basketball analyst and former head coach at Manhattan, St. John's, and New Mexico "Andy Glockner takes you on a fascinating and entertaining look inside the world of basketball analytics. Whether you are 'old school' or 'new school', you will know a lot more about the game of basketball than you did before." Doug Gottlieb, host of The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Network "If you love basketball and you love learning about how basketball is evolving, this is the book for you. Throwing around the term 'analytics' sounds cool, but what if you really knew how math and science are playing roles in perfecting the game? Chasing Perfection nails this, in depth and in timely fashion." Library Journal, 3/1/16 "[A] balanced account...Highly recommended for NBA junkies who scour box scores." Booklist, 3/15/16 "Solid, and just in time for this year's playoffs." Washington Post, 3/20/16 "[A] revealing...look into the world of advanced analytics, training technologies, roster management and peak fitness strategies for professional and collegiate basketball." Signature, 3/22/16 "As Michael Lewis did with baseball in Moneyball, sportswriter Glocker shows how scrutiny of seemingly obscure performance stats drives everything from predicting how much a young player will improve to improving a three-point shooter's accuracy in the NBA with Chasing Perfection." BBallBreakdown.com, 3/23/16 "Chasing Perfection will not only show how analytics become so popular in basketball, but will take you through how organizations use all forms of advanced metrics to construct their roster in the best possible way. The book is perfect for both analytic novices and those that have stats.nba.com as their homepage...After reading this, you will know doubt have a better appreciation for how off the court information is translated to on court success."
Andy Glockner has been a national writer and editor for college basketball (as well as the NBA draft and soccer) for 12 years, first at ESPN.com, then with SI.com, and now as the co-founder and Executive Editor of The Cauldron (@TheCauldron), a national sports publication incubated by Medium.com and operating in partnership with SI.com. He lives in Denver, Colorado.