The Terminator & Great Point Guards – More in Common Than You’d Ever Imagine

Through the eyes of the Terminator we get a visual of the calculations and analysis involved in reading and assessing a situation. This is how I imagine Steve Nash sees the fast-break.

I’ve just finished reading a fantastic article written by Tom Farrey at ESPN, which focuses on Ricky Rubio’s court vision and reminded me of the Terminator 2.  Head over to Outside the Lines to read the article.  Below is a sample for those of you too lazy to read the whole thing:

“For starters, there’s the movement *of four teammates to consider, each of whom has 14 body segments — right and left feet, lower legs, thighs, trunk, head, upper arms, forearms, hands — and each of those segments has its own linear position, velocity and acceleration, according to Peter Vint, a sports scientist with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Each of those 252 “parameters” per athlete counts toward making him a candidate to receive a pass.

Now throw in the five defensive players trying to stop a score, plus Rubio himself, and the numbers grow significantly. Also there’s the ball, which has its own movement characteristics Rubio must consider and control as he dribbles through traffic. “So, in total, if you include Ricky paying attention to himself and everything else, there are approximately, 10*(9+252)+1*11 = 2,621 parameters related just to the position and motion of the other players and the ball at every instant in time,” Vint wrote in an e-mail to “Outside the Lines.”

You don’t have to understand the math to appreciate where Vint is headed. “If an average sequence up and down the floor lasts 10 seconds,” he wrote, “and if Ricky samples [collects] the available data just twice every second, the number of ‘data points’ in the entire sequence becomes 2,621*10*2 = 54,420.” Yeah, 54,000-plus pieces of information to download, with plenty of time left on the shot clock.

Incredible!  I highly recomend you read the entire article. 

A computer processes information in a similar way to a human brain.  The faster the processor, the faster the computer can analyze the information and come to a decision.  A brain is like the best computer on the planet, jacked up on steroids and multiplied by 1,000,000,000.  It doesn’t suprise me in the least that the best point guards have the ability, like the Terminator, to process large amounts of information quickly, analyze it and make the best decision possible.  The more intelligent a person is, the faster they would be able to process information.  Just like the best computers run better than lesser models, the most intelligent players play better than dumb players.   

I’ve always felt that great point guards like Bob Cousy, John Stockton and Steve Nash were more intelligent than the other players on the court.  They have/had an almost supernatural ability to make pin-point passes to the right player, in the right spot, without even looking and while on the run.  They know/knew where every player on the court is/was and where they are/were headed as well as what their own movement could do to shift the defense or cause a change in the offense spacing.  Please excuse the excessive past/present notes.  I should have just picked all present day players to make writing those sentences easier.  Seriously, that was confusing and you probably hate me now.  Anyway, I had the following discussion with my father the other day.  How do small, slow, white guys (like all of the above) play in the League at such a high level?  Surely there’s something which gives them a special advantage to make up for their impairements?  Dad, I think we found the answer.

This entry was posted in Geekery, Science of Basketball. Bookmark the permalink.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s