The Hurricane and I

28 03 2009

There’s a story about the original Star Trek TV series that early on, the creators wanted to have Captain Kirk have fierce arguments with himself (a la Stephen Colbert?), with one version of Kirk driven by logic and the other by emotion.  Instead, they created Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy to have those arguments, with Kirk serving as arbiter.  As fantasy co-managers, Hurricane Kawasaki and I play similar roles, with him as Bones and me as the Vulcan.

Background: Hurricane and I attended the University of Chicago as undergrads, where we played a lot of pickup/intramural sport, bridge, and fantasy basketball.  He moved to Japan to do a PhD in game theory, I moved to LA to do standup, we stayed in touch because of fantasy hoops. Over years of fantasy league play and discussion, we noticed our similar yet contrasting styles.  We both valued  players that helped in overlooked categories–shooting percentages, low turnovers, steals and blocks–so we always competed for them.  My strategy focussed on drafting and trading; his focussed on finding sleepers and playing the waiver wire.  My strategy was macro, relying on a mathematical model that I crafted before each draft; his strategy was micro, looking at match-ups tinkering his roster and lineup almost constantly.  We both did well, but each of us had holes in our game and I wanted to see what happened if we joined forces.

Last basketball season (07-08), we managed two teams.  One team won its league.  The other team won by such a huge margin that the league disbanded and I think several members went into the witness protection program after agreeing to testify regarding the massacre.  We branched into baseball (mediocre results in 08) and our second hoops season, in which we faced some adversity, looks likely to yield a 2nd or 3rd place finish.  Our second baseball season is gearing up.

During the regular season, I generally let Hurricane run our teams, popping in to talk strategy, offer trades, maybe a pickup suggestion.   I check his lineups from time to time, mostly to try to figure out what he’s doing, and sometimes I’ll question a decision.  Here’s a recent google talk conversation (paraphrased):

  • Me: Paul Pierce @ Atl over Rashard Lewis vs. Mil?
  • Hurricane: I actually want to bench both.  I don’t like Lewis’s matchup.
  • Me: Milwaukee’s defense?  I send a link to ESPN.  Points against they’re 17th.  FG% against they’re 17th.  3PT% aginst they’re 21st.
  • Hurricane: is Orlando playing for anything at this point?  Milwaukee is deceptively good on defense.  It’s a trap game for Orlando.  I’m benching both.
  • I link to basketball monster, which shows Milwaukee to be middle of the pack in fantasy terms, I think.
  • Hurricane: I’m starting Conley.  I take that back.  I’m going back to Pierce.
  • Me: Okay.
  • Hurricane: I don’t think either Pierce of Lewis will be good tonight.  Mike Conley tends to disappoint.  And Eric Gordon is going against San Antonio, a team that probably got blasted by its coach for its recent lackluster performance.

Lets unpack what’s going on here.  We’re initially starting Paul Pierce.  I want Hurricane to consider starting Rashard Lewis instead.  I’m not going to overrule him, I just want him to think about it.  While I’m making my case, he changes his mind and decides to start Mike Conley instead of Paul Pierce.  Then he switches back to Pierce.  Now we know why I call him the Hurricane.  I’m looking at statistical analyses.  He’s thinking about the psychology of coaches.

I let him decide.  He got it wrong–Conley and Lewis both had better lines than Pierce, though only barely.  But ignore the results.  Hurricane gets most of these calls right. (He wants me to mention an earlier dispute we had about benching Steve Blake, in which he was right.)  But what matters is how to make the decision.  What do we do when Hurricane and I disagree?  I’m Spock, he’s Bones, who’s Kirk?  Anyone still reading?  Feel free to apply.




One response

31 03 2009

I think i’ll apply for Kirk. I get macro, but like to micromanage sometimes. I get micro, but think the minutia is sometimes way to small. Plus. I. Like. to talk. in. abnormal. speech patterns.

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