Star Players in the NBA - Decoys or Game-Changers?

  •  Yangmufeng Liu    


In the National Basketball Association (NBA), when an attacking team is trailing by a small margin in the last seconds of a game, the coach has to make a critical decision: should he or she design a play for the star player or a non-star player's In this strategic situation, the offensive team can choose to let either the star or the non-star to shoot the ball while the defensive team can either double-team the star player or play conventional one-on-one defence. For the purpose of this research, star players are divided into two types - perimeter and interior. Given different point deficits, an equilibrium point is obtained and comparative statics are computed to analyze how the equilibrium will change given a change in a player's shot percentage. It is found that the offensive team should play the star player at most 3 out of 10 times in all scenarios.

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