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Does Klay Thompson Have a Hot Hand?

Observations
November 1, 2018

Wow, talk about “hot hands”! On Monday night, Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson set an NBA record with 14 three-pointers against the Chicago Bulls, breaking the previous record of 13 set by teammate Stephen Curry. Said Thompson, “It’s one of the best feelings in basketball when you touch the ball and feel like it’s going in every time.”

Clearly, Thompson’s record is yet another example of the “hot hand” phenomenon at the intersection of sports and statistics, which posits that whoever is on a shooting streak should get the ball because they are more likely to make the next basket if given a chance to shoot.

Or is it? In spite of Thompson’s amazing performance, is the “hot hand” real?

This brings us to Aperio’s very own Director of Research, Lisa Goldberg, who had her own big score (with coauthors Alon Saks and Nishant Desai) with this month’s very timely (and prescient?) article in Scientific American, “Do the Golden State Warriors Have Hot Hands?”

We’d like to congratulate Lisa and her coauthors for their publication in Scientific American magazine, and in light of Klay Thompson’s amazing performance on Monday night, we thought you might enjoy a statistician’s perspective on the topic of "hot hands."

Read Lisa's article in Scientific American.

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Send questions or comments to blog@aperiogroup.com.

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