Monday, May 18, 2009

Press Your Gladwell

We weren't the only ones obsessing over Malcolm Gladwell's understanding of the full-court press. More criticism at NY Mag and Deadspin.

Deadspin's coup de grace:

The writer who sings the praises of The Wages of Wins has traveled a vast distance from the writer who once declared that "Iverson is worth a dozen Larry Browns" and who took it for granted that "to be a great athlete, you have to care." It's a writer who seems to be doing quite a bit of thinking without thinking."


Matt said...

If you haven't seen it, Bill Simmons (a/k/a the Boston Sports Guy) does an extended treatment with Gladwell, and they address this issue. Despite the fact that Simmons claims to know a lot about basketball, and to have been a pretty decent point guard (albeit not with a lot of physical talent), he actually gives Gladwell some support on this issue.

Frankly, the reason I'm in the "This would never work" camp is because probably 80% of beating the press is knowing what to do (see, e.g., against a 1-3-1, get the ball to the middle), and then not panicking. There's a good chance that middle school girls teams won't be good against the press. There's very little chance that professional point guards won't know how to beat the press.

Christopher said...

My favorite part of the Simmons-Gladwell tongue bath is when Gladwell mentions his theory that teams like the Patriots and Colts are good because they run the no-huddle. Hmm. Or perhaps correlation and causation work the other way and those teams are lucky enough to have QBs with the stuff to handle a no huddle offense in the NFL. Good one, Gladwell.