Tanner Talks (3/1/2020)

Greetings from Arizona!

I hope you had a great February.

I came across a lot of interesting ideas this month and hope that what I share with you will help you find breakthroughs in whatever you do.


The Economics of 3-Point Shooting

All images come from Kirk Goldsberry’s book, Sprawlball

​The best NBA teams are the best investors.

They understand where they get the most return on their investments and choose to go all-in.

From the 2013-14 season through the end of the 2017-18 season, the two most valuable areas to shoot from were within a few feet from the rim and right around the 3-point line.

Playing the law of percentages, NBA players would be foolish to shoot in less-efficient areas of the court. They choose to invest in areas that promise better returns than others.

As this message has pervaded front offices, coaching staffs, and players, they’ve changed their behavior patterns.

There’s a certain superstar that refined his game to match the economics of the NBA (and his skill set) and skyrocketed towards the top of the league’s best players list.

Match quality is the term an economist uses to describe how the work a person does matches who they are–their abilities and proclivities. I first learned of this idea in David Epstein’s Range and I see its application in this discussion of the NBA.

Since the NBA introduced the 3-point line in 1979, players have gradually shifted their skill sets to get the best results in The League. If you can get to the rim and drain three-pointers, you “match” the needs of your environment and will likely be compensated in accordance with that match.

In a highly specialized industry, you benefit from extremely high match quality.

The NBA is a highly specialized industry and the league’s general managers make their wishes known when they pay a premium for a stretch five or a 3-and-D wing that would have been a role player two decades ago.

NBA players can improve match quality in two ways: 1) doing more of what will get them the best results or 2) improving their ability to score from in-demand spots on the floor.


Things I Learned this Month

​Penalty Kicks are Free Throws (From Sprawlball)

Since 1996, 81% of World Cup penalty kicks have resulted in a goal. Each penalty kick is worth .81 points. That far surpasses any other shot range in the sport.

How Not to be Stupid

I’ve shared this before, but it’s worth sending out again. Jess and I talked about this while we were buying a new car.

Seven Factors of Stupidity According to Adam Robertson

  1. Being outside your normal environment or changing your routines
  2. Being in the presence of a group
  3. Being in the presence of an expert or if you, yourself, are an expert
  4. Doing any task that requires intense focus
  5. Information overload
  6. Physical or emotional stress, fatigue
  7. Rushing or a sense of urgency

What Would Jurgen Klopp be doing 500 years ago?

“I would’ve been sleeping in the streets 500 years ago.”

One of the world’s best soccer coaches wouldn’t have had an in-demand skillset 500 years ago. Today, he’s one of the most celebrated people in the sports world.

This makes me think of Warren Buffett claiming that he won the “Ovarian Lottery.” He was born into an era where his skillset was valuable.

Part of succeeding is acknowledging where your skillset uniquely fits the needs of the day.

A Parting Bible Verse:

“Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.” — Ecclesiastes 4:4​


Have a great month. If you’re in Arizona, come say hi at the Tempe Diablo minor league fields!

​Tanner