As we near the Conference Finals, let me touch upon the subject of "sticking to your guns" and "chickening out".
Sticking to your guns. This is defined as picking a winner at the beginning of a series, and staying the course of NOT picking from the expected winner throughout the series. Unless of course you reach a certain threshold of changing plans.
Chickening out. This is defined as changing a pick plan due to an event that you think changes the fate of a series. The event may be an injury (e.g. last year's Westbrook), lack of good picks, or most commonly a reversal of win-loss record. This may be a home court steal or a comfortable lead of an expected loser from the expected winner.
Some examples of changing pick plans would be:
- Road win in Game 1. Many writers still hedge their series winners on Game 1 winners. I don't believe it much though. But after the Nets won Game 1 in Toronto, 25% of DTTF picked Kyle Lowry in Game 2.
- Even series 1-1. A superset of the above, except that it can be a Game 2 win. Winning 1 of the first two road games means the lower seed has chance to lead 3-1 as they are favoured to win Games 3 and 4 at home.
- 2-1 lead. Sometimes a "stolen home court advantage" is not enough, but a 2-1 lead by the lower seed may be enough to sway some to change pick plans. For example, I picked Tony Parker in Game 3 after the Mavs led 2-1. Go Mavs! :P
- Road sweep 2-0. Who wouldn't jump ship? This spells a chance for a sweep. After the Wizards won both games in Chicago, 21% of DTTF jumped ship and went ahead and picked Joakim Noah in Game 3.
- Elimination game. Sometimes even the strong-willed fan cannot ignore it any longer. 64% of DTTF chose Dwight Howard and James Harden after falling 1-3. 42% picked Paul George after falling 2-3.
There's also that risk of waiting too long to switch. Wait too long and you might lose the chance to pick stars from a team.
And of course there are double-reversals. That's changing pick plans at least twice in a series. That's the worst kind because chickened out twice and should have stuck to your guns. Hawks won 1-0, pick a Pacer. Pacers evened series, pick a Hawk. Hawk led 2-1, pick a Pacer. Pacers evened again, pick a Hawk. Hawks led 3-2, pick a Pacer. Pacers evened yet again, pick a Hawk.
Sometimes there should be a point where the madness stops. That's where that threshold must be drawn.
I promise, by the power of Grayskull, from here on out I will stick to my guns, and change plans only on 2-0, on elimination game, or lack of good picks. Those are my thresholds.
Even though this year has been a crazy postseason, there's no excuse for all of us not to raise our game coming into the next round. And hopefully stick to our guns.