Counterpoints, a new sports analytics podcast, launched this week, with sports analytics consultant, author, and speaker Ben Alamar proposing that basketball IQ, separate from measures of athleticism or past performance, is a predictor of a player’s success in professional basketball.
Co-hosted by Ben Shields, who teaches sports analytics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Paul Michelman, editor-in-chief of MIT Sloan Management Review, Counterpoints offers fans and analytics professionals an inside perspective on what drives teams’ performances on and off the field.
In this debut episode, Alamar defines basketball IQ as “understand[ing] what’s going to happen on the court before everybody else does so they’re not reacting to what’s happening right now. They’re reacting to what’s going to be happening in two or three, four or five seconds. It’s like a chess master who is thinking four, five, six moves ahead.” Though the data is not conclusive yet, Alamar says he has developed a simple test for this rating, and predicts that ever more refined methods of capturing data from athletes as they play will make it make progressively easier to develop an accurate test of basketball IQ.
In each episode, Shields and Michelman set up a thesis statement and then turn to a top expert in the field of sports analytics to make the case. Shields and guests, including senior executives from sports organizations, sports analytics researchers, and sports technologists, engage in a lively discussion and debate, and look to data and analytics to prove or disprove the issue at hand.
Episode 2, also released yesterday, features Jessica Gelman, CEO of Kraft Analytics Group and cofounder and cochair of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Gelman joins the show to defend the hypothesis: Teams can win at selling tickets without winning on the field.