Ever done something out of habit even though you know it doesn't make any sense?
You're not alone. NBA execs do it, too. For a good example, consider how they evaluate point guards.
Coaches and personnel people almost instinctively look to a player's assist/turnover ratio to check how he's doing. But ask them why they look at assist/turnover ratio, and you'll get lots of blank stares and convoluted answers. Probe further, asking if they think
Reggie Miller would make a better point guard than Steve Nash, and you'll quickly get a series of guffaws. But guess who had the better assist/turnover ratio last year?
Yet, in spite of the logical disconnect of a name like Miller's showing up near the top of the list, some still insist on using assist/turnover ratio to gauge point guards. They're getting some confusing information. For instance, this year's leader, for a second straight season, isn't Nash. It isn't Jason Kidd or Baron Davis or
Brevin Knight, either. It's (drumroll, please) Antonio Daniels. Does that mean Daniels is really better than those guys at running a team? Of course not.
What it really means is almost nothing, because assist/turnover ratio is a flawed stat. The problem isn't with "assist" or "turnover," it's with the "ratio."