Finals Strategy: Coldest Pick

In the ESPN 1-N-Done forums, I came upon a strategy that I have not weighed heavily before. It gives someone a chance to overtake people ahead of him/her. Now remember I said "chance", not "guarantee". Here's how it works...

Given: Three more games for the shortest series length (e.g. Spurs sweep). Lay out your three best players remaining (say, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker). Among these three, pick the not-so-hottest player owned in Game 2 (say Wade 22%, Duncan 11%, Parker 9%), so that means you pick Parker.

The strategy is the anti-thesis of mirroring or shadowing someone. If you pick the same player as the ones ahead of you, you will ensure that you will rise and dip with the masses, thus ensuring that you more or less preserve your rank and percentile. BUT, it will never allow you to overtake them. Granted, not everyone in front of you will pick the same player, so you can only assume that the owners ahead of you will probably (I say probably, not surely) pick the hottest picks. In this strategy, you are hoping that differentiating from the pack will give you the chance to overtake them.

You will eventually pick Wade, Duncan and Parker. It's just not in the order that the popular mass are taking. You may ask, "What if Parker sucked in Game 2?" The answer to that one is, "Well then you are screwed!" I am sure that that is one of your first thoughts (the human mind can easily realize the negative much more than the positive). But ask yourself though, "What if Parker did great while the others did just average?" Then you'll see that's were you achieve the overtaking. If that still does not make you comfortable, you can say that the gravity of success is equal to the gravity of failure. No blood, no glory.

The strategy has some flaws, I am sure you have a few you'll write in the comments section. That is why it shouldn't be used all alone by itself. If you are to use this strategy, follow the steps, but in the end you will still have to use your other strategies or methods or tactics to see if that pick does make sense. Say this strategy say pick Parker, but your usual strategy (say home and away) contradicts it, then do not employ it.

If you are desperate to leap forward, try it.


  1. It totally makes sense, though to really implement it it seems you would have to research if the top players are actually making that popular pick.

    The stats represent all the players so it might only be the heard that is choosing the hot pick (for this example D Wade - over Parker) while the leaders may be doing whatever it is that got them the lead.

    At the end of the day it's really a game of inches (as in squeezing the most points out of a particular player). I know the concept is to pick the highest point producer on a given day...but I'd say it's really to pick a player on their best PRA performance at the highest multiplyer possible.

    For example I picked Durant in the final elimination game. He was the highest PRA producer that day...but he was 52 pts lower than his highest PRA game. So I basically gave away 52 pts by picking him when I did.

    I chose LeBron in game 7 of the last round. I got his second highest PRA (132) of that round (he had a 150 game). So if the heat was eliminated as I hoped I would have only given away 18 pts....but with them advancing I've already given away 52 pts.

    From what I can tell the leaders are the ones who have been lucky enough to pick players on their best PRA performance as I've been fortunate to do enough time to still be in the hunt.

    This final round, mathmatically, you have to get the most points for each player regardless of what other people are picking. Since there's really no formula for that it would appear its your best guestimate and a lot of luck...but this approach is as good as any.

    1. Works well too if it agreed with other principles. My preGame2 pick happened to coincide with my Game2 coldest pick.

  2. On a game 2 note - heard that J Crawford would be officiating the game so the rumors that the NBA uses refs to fix games will definitely be tested.

    For those that don't know:

    "The veteran NBA referee was suspended indefinitely by commissioner David Stern for his conduct toward Tim Duncan, who contends the official challenged him to a fight during a game in Dallas."

    If he is officiating it's a headscratcher as this is clearly a must win for Miami and Crawford (even without a personal vendetta against a player) has always been prone to making the game about himself and making wildly inapropriate calls (mostly ejections) that dramatically changed the game.

    I really hope nothing happens, as if it does I will likely stop watching basketball. But if the Heat win thanks to questionable officiating, or worse, Duncan, Pop or Parker getting tossed for no reason, we have a clear answer to the rumor mill.

    1. Funny thing is that while everyone will be eyeing him, he will most certainly have a questionable call (every referee does), and it will be overblown. So might as well expect it, whether or not the rumors are true.

      I hope the game is lopsided, so it's hard to fix.

    2. I hope he leaves Tim Duncan well enough alone, as I picked him and don´t want TD to spend most of the game on the bench with lots of fouls. Then Parker hits 10 shots in a row, Timmy starts laughing and gets ejected by Crawford. Wouldn´t be the first time.

      Should I reconsider my pick now?

    3. If he does referee and if your second choice also makes sense for Game 2.

  3. This year I simplified my strategy... I picked players I feel will get a good PRA, just reserving those who I'm (nearly) sure they will advance to have some avaible picks for next rounds.
    The result is that this is being my best year... I just hope I could be among the bests at the end of the competition...

    What I mean is, don't worry about strategies. Just pick the best option trying to save some players for next rounds... Don't worry if you bet on Lebron the first week if he produces 50+ PRA. Just think he was in his average and it might be his maximum...


Post a Comment