The Basketball Podcast: EP137 Simon Gerszberg on Optimizing Player and Team Shot Selection
In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, founder and CEO of ShotQuality Simon Gerszberg joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss optimizing a player and teams’ shot selection.
Simon Gerszberg is the CEO and founder of ShotQuality, a product that calculates the quality of shots on a play-by-play basis. The goal of the www.shotquality.com website, used by more than 40 NCAA teams and 5 NBA teams, is to create actionable change for coaches by optimizing their player and teams’ shot selection. A junior at Colgate University studying psychology and statistics, Simon is the data analyst for the Colgate Men’s Basketball team and a strategy consultant for the Manhattan College team.
Simon Gerszberg, a data analyst for Colgate Basketball, founded a product that calculates the quality of shots on a play-by-play basis. The goal of the website is to create actual change for coaches by optimizing their player and teams’ shot selection. s now used by over 40 NCAA teams and over 5 NBA teams.
Shot Quality is calculated by multiplying the percent chance a shot has of going in, i.e. the probability that the basket is made and the type of shot, denoted by the no. of points that shot entails – either a 2-pointer or a 3-pointer.
So, if I shoot a 3-pointer that has a 25% chance of going in,
Then, Shot Quality = 3 (type of shot) * .25 (% chance of going in) = 0.75
Or, I have a mid range shot (2 pointer) that has a 35% change of going in .
Then: Shot Quality= 2 (type of shot) * .35 (% chance of going in) = 0.70
The type of shot (2 pointer or 3 pointer) is always known, but calculating the percent chance the shot has of going in is the challenging part.
Over 90 disparate variables are incorporated to output the overall ShotQuality. The most important aspect in calculating ShotQuality is computing the individual player’s shot making ability, and there are a plethora of factors involved in quantifying this.
Simon Gerszberg Quotes:
“In total there are over 90 different variables that go into the calculation [of shot quality] . . it’s always the individual player that has the greatest impact.”
“People tend to overvalue the outcome over the quality of the decision itself.”
“You can find each player’s green, red, yellow zones with ShotQuality’s numbers.”
“Teams get lucky and unlucky but the goal of ShotQuality is to give . . the numbers on how the game should have played out.”
“When you get great shots and you hold your opponents to worse shots, in the long run, you’ll win.”
“The main area where [the defense impacts shot quality] is the interior paint defense.”
[On scouting] “How can we force more of their worse shots and less of their best shots? How can we take away their top-tier shots? What defense can we run to take away these shots for this team?”
“I think now, more than ever, people are really seeing the value of data and . . using data to create actionable change that will maximize your team’s efficiencies.”
“You can’t just focus on the bad things for each player . . there are always ways to become more efficient and gain a higher shot quality value . . you need to . . really see these zones and the numbers behind each zone . . to see what we can do to . . maximize this player in our scheme.”
“You need to be tracking shot quality and shot selection . . to really get a better look at the shot you’re getting for your team and who’s getting these shots.”
“I think the biggest issue with college basketball right now is that we overvalue outcomes . . hopefully, these stats will help to get a better look at what’s luck and what’s actually coaching ability.”
“Imagine the thought process of a shooter thinking about the defender flying forward while they’re shooting . . that would affect the shooter as well..”
Selected Links from the Podcast:
1:00 – Why ShotQuality.com
3:00 – Calculating Shot Quality
5:00 – Independent of the Outcome
7:30 – Creating Paralysis by Analysis
11:30 – Game Strategy
14:30 – Shot Quality Defense
16:30 – Quality of Opponent Affecting Metrics
20:00 – Conversation about Player Development
24:00 – Improving Shot Quality
28:00 – Evaluating Shot Selection into Intuition
31:00 – Dribble Threes
33:30 – High School Coaches on Shot Quality
36:00 – Offense vs Defense on Shot Selection
40:00 – Assessment of Coaches
42:00 – Pythagorean Theorem Expectation
44:00 – Unconventional Offensive Philosophy
48:00 – Quality Rebounders
51:00 – Conclusion
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