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Is Credit Due?

In our Times column published last Sunday, we wrote about how Mike Zarren of the Boston Celtics organization uses statistical analysis to help with personnel and strategic decisions.

Here’s one paragraph toward the end:

Zarren is also responsible for the Celtics’ basketball-related technology and uses a service that delivers video footage tagged with statistical information. With just a few mouse clicks, he can call up every clip in which LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers has touched the ball at the top of the key and see whether he went left or right, was double-teamed or not, passed or shot — and, if the latter, whether he missed, scored or was fouled. So if the Celtics dampen James’s scoring the next time they play a high-stakes game against the Cavs, Zarren might be entitled to a smidgen of credit.

In his first two playoff games against the Celtics, James has shot 2-for-18 and 6-for-24, with 12 and 21 points respectively. His season average was 30 points. Knowing Zarren a bit, I am sure he is not crowing about his contribution to the Celtics’ defensive success against James.

But maybe, just maybe, some kid somewhere in America this morning has decided to spend a little less time working on his jump shot and a bit more time working on his math skills.