Trick or Treat: Early Season Surprises

As usual, we’ve seen some early-season surprises. But which ones will last longer than a jack-o-lantern on a doorstep?

The start of the season is exciting. We get to see new players and new coaches and new rosters. We get to see which teams and players might be better than we thought, and which worse.

But the start of the season can also be misleading. The first handful of games is no different, in the end, than another handful in the middle of the season. Yet we pay so much attention to these first games, they can affect our opinion of players and teams for the rest of the year.

This is partly due to what Daniel Kahneman calls the “what you see is all there is” effect. As he writes in “Thinking, Fast and Slow”:

When presented with evidence we tend to think only about what’s in front of us and construct a story from that information only. We are blind to what we might be missing, and blind to our blindness.

At the start of the season we treat what’s in front of us as all of the information we have, instead of judging it in its context. Let’s not fall victim to that. I’ll dive into some of the surprising storylines from the start of the season and dig a little deeper into their stats to see if their early start is more trick or treat.

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