How Do We Form Our Opinions?

"Don't be led astray by popular convention, dig deep and do your own research to expose people who fib to fit a narrative." - SLCDunk's Twitter

This Tweet is what I want for Jazz fans. I read the posts and the message boards and have come to only 2 conclusions. Fans will always disagree and fans will always try to justify what they believe. I am ok with both of those. I do however want to shed light on some things. We all have opinions, which I love, and there are some things that are facts (John Stockton is the All Time Leader in assists) , which help shape our opinions (John Stockton is the best pure point guard in history). The problem that I see all too often here is that we get the cart before the horse and use our opinions to shape our facts. I believe that is what the twitter quote above was referring to.

I just read a great downbeat a couple days ago by Yuccaman that had section in it on one of my favorite statistics, TS%. I think this is a great stat for looking at how well guys really shoot. It points out for example how good of a shooting year Foye had last year despite his low overall FG%. It is a good stat. Then I read the comments and a commenter named Bobby pointed out that Yucca said it measure scoring efficiency and he should note that it really measures "shooting" efficiency. I think it is pretty clear that he was right and that Yucca knew that Bobby was right, but in our natural Internet world, Yucca said no I said it right the way I said it and then it went the rounds until both guys apologized. I don't think that is why we are here. If someone points out an error in our thinking on fact based things I think we should be able to acknowledge it without having to get defensive about a now obviously incorrect point. Continuing to fight a point that is pretty clearly factually wrong, gets us into territory of fibbing to fit a narrative.

We need to look at the difference in opinion and fact. Diana not liking Coach Corbin's rotations last year is her opinion and shouldn't be challenged. Why she thinks that and her thought process and facts she uses to come to that conclusion is fair game for discussion. She should be opened minded in telling other how she has come to her opinions and if others express points to her that she hasn't thought of she should take those into consideration in her opinion. Maybe she will point out to someone something about not giving Kanter enough minutes that will sway someone to her way of thinking, maybe someone will make a point to her about Burks not deserving more time that could soften her stance. Regardless of who has what opinion, at the end of the day we need to be open minded on message boards about opinions rather than stuck in our opinion without listening to the thoughts and points of others. (I actually think Diana does a good job of this, I was just using her stance on Corbin as an example not a referendum.)

Knowing our opinion is right is where I think too often things get tricky, because a lot of opinions on the site seem to be formed and then facts are searched for to back up said opinions. Amar says Al Jefferson isn't an efficient scorer, which is his opinion and that is fine. Then you read his facts to back up his opinion and see that he uses points scored divided by FGA (PPS) to come to his conclusion. But if you take advice from the Tweet above and research it yourself you find that actually Jefferson has a historically low TO%, something not taken into account in PPS. You dig a little more and find out that we had the 11th best offense in the NBA last season and that the Jazz were better offensively with Jefferson on the floor. More digging reveals that he used more possessions and played more minutes than anyone else on the team. You Dig a little more and see Jefferson has a PER of over 20. So you dig even deeper and look into actual possessions Jefferson used and form an opinion that Al Jefferson is efficient at scoring the basketball. When you dig deep you find out that points per shot isn't really used as an advanced metric to measure scoring efficiency as much as it is a time saving one that can be easily calculated.

I think the problem is that a lot of people realize someone like Amar is smart (I do really believe he is super smart) and just believe that Jefferson is inefficient because of Amar's post and the fact that low post, head faking, ball stopping, offense just doesn't seem to be efficient. Then before you know it you have my favorite SLCDunk writer Clark saying on Twitter that Al Jefferson is basically the same player as Chris Kaman. Which lead me to point out that Jefferson was superior to Kaman, in virtually every category (WS, PER, PPP, AST%, TO%, Vi, Ortg, Drtg to name a few). Then he asked what their PPP where for last year - Jefferson was .97 PPP and Kaman was .92 PPP. Which is a pretty big difference. Then Clark responded by saying I think they are usually pretty close in other years. They weren't. Kaman's career PPP is 0.87 to Jefferson's 0.97. Clark just said he couldn't believe Kaman was that bad. I just was glad that Clark was open minded from his opinion to the actual numbers.

So what does it all mean? In my opinion we need to be more open minded when sharing our opinions and when others are sharing theirs. When David Locke says something don't be a zombie that thinks everything he says is a Jazz narrative and false, but don't believe everything he says is gospel truth. Be open minded. I think it would serve us all good to find facts that you believe in to form your opinion instead of as the Twitter quote above says fibbing the facts to fit our opinion. If someone points out something that we put out isn't true, don't fight just say thanks and take that knowledge to make you a better fan. If you tell someone something that you believe is true and they still don't believe it, don't be a condescending jerk to them and try to keep hammering the same point over and over again on them till they get it. Just move on.

Embrace the discussion, but don't be stuck in your ways to the point that you can't see the light when someone points it out to you. I for one believed that PER wasn't a great metric because of some Wages of Wins Post from a few years ago saying that shooting 30.4% helps your PER. Yesterday in the middle of the TS% debate, Beeblebrox42 posted Hollinger's response to that accusation correcting that false assumption that shooting 30.4% would help your PER. He pointed out where the Wages of Wins guys missed the boat on the league average part of the calculation and the article totally changed my opinion on PER. I went on to read more about PER and the more I read the more I found out that what I had believed about PER just wasn't true. I just needed to be open minded when people were sharing their knowledge and not stuck in my own opinions. So to sum up my babbling, Read the tweet above try to apply it when you analyze the game. If you can do that and keep an open mind to others thoughts it might amaze you how much more you can learn about this game that we all love.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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