The Weakest Link

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This is not a plea to revive the game show The Weakest Link from 2001.  Rather, I recently read a book called The Numbers Game which discusses analytics in the world of soccer.  One of the chapters is how success in soccer is not tied as much to the strongest players on your team, but rather the weakest players on your team.  The better your weakest player, the greater probability of success.

We’re witnessing (pun intended) strong evidence of this theory in the NBA Finals.  As good as LeBron James was in game one, it was JR Smith being JR Smith that prevented the Cavaliers from pulling off the upset.  In game two, the Warriors managed to continually find the weakest link on defense and exploit it for an easy basket.

The great thing about having lineup data is you can pinpoint your weakest links as well as unsung heroes in order to maximize your probability of success.  The same can be true when you’re looking at your opponents, are they starting someone you can take advantage of?  Or if it’s a rematch, which lineup gave you the biggest advantage?

June is a great time to take a look back if you haven’t done so already.  And while you’re talking to players about what they need to work on or on the recruiting trail, keep in mind how to strengthen that weakest link in order to make you stronger.