Been spending the past couple of weeks reading and getting caught up with marking/lesson planning, etc... I was lucky enough to catch a Lakers game live at the Staples Center over the break (not vs Miami, but vs the Bucks, ya, lucky me), and since then, there has been so much talk about what's wrong with the Lakers losing 4 of the last 6 (ya I know, the Lakers just beat the Pistons last night).

With the Lakers, it's always the same story, how often should Kobe shoot vs pass to his teammates to score? It is similar to the Ewing Theory but slightly more complicated. Clearly he is the best offensive weapon, but if he shoots too much, his offensive efficiency goes down as defenses key in on him. If we passes too much, than the team isn't taking advantage of his overall higher offensive efficiency. The answer then lies in finding the exact balance of how many shots Kobe gets and how many shots his teammates get.

So, in thinking about your own teams, especially teams that have a superstar player, you really need to think in terms of the Braess’s Paradox, which is basically like the law of diminishing returns. In other words, you can keep going to your superstar, but eventually your superstar's offensive efficiency will become lower over time as defenses adjust (double-teams, Box and 1, etc..). You can apply the same logic to a great play you use. It works great the first time, but as you use it over and over, defenses will adjust and it will become less and less effective.

There is a great post by the physics blog Gravity and Levity which explains the Braess's Paradox as it relates to basketball a lot clearer, it's a good read and definitely recommended for anyone who wants to dig deeper.