While technology can help you predict the talent and performance of a player, experience on the court is the most vital aspect of the game.
In this new age of sabermetrics and other technology in sports, a laptop can tell you how many drops of Gatorade you need to have before making the game-winning play. However, the one thing a computer can never give you is experience.
Talent is only half the battle.
Now, this topic does hit close to home, as my Kentucky Wildcats fell to the Auburn Tigers in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Division I Tournament. While you can make the case that Kentucky had the better team, if you look back at the score from February 23rd, 2019, Auburn was credited with one of the most experienced teams in the entire tournament. In the opening minutes of the game, Kentucky stars, like Keldon Johnson and PJ Washington, took over the game and looked to take the Tigers behind the woodshed. But with about five minutes remaining in the first half, Auburn started to turn things around and never looked back. It was clear to most fans that while Kentucky is one of the greatest basketball programs in the country, some of the freshmen, who played in the state championship game last year, might have had the moment become too much for them.
Computers can only teach kids so much.
The younger generations coming in are from an era where they can look up how many dribbles to take before shooting to get the optimal rotation and make the shot go in. With technology at hand, this information is great for allowing the players to achieve their full potential, but one thing the stats don't take into account is the "human element." For the players at Auburn who have had their hearts broken before in the tournament in years past, they were able to learn from what happened and use those lessons to prepare themselves for this year's run, which led them to the Final Four. Looking at this year's Final Four, the two teams many assumed were going to be locked, Duke and Kentucky, lost in the Elite Eight. The two teams that defeated them have at least three players who have started for their respective team for at least two seasons.
Talent is needed, but its that perfect mixture of talent and experience that makes a winning team.
There has to be a good mix of talent and experience. If you send four seniors from Northern Michigan State Tech out onto the floor that have been to the big dance before, then, of course, they would be lucky to score at least 50 points against whomever they would play. Many people hate the old man in the rocking chair, yelling about all these new terms that are used to in today's society, like spin rate, euro step, and others. But, if those kids never gain experience from the big lights before it's too late, they might as well have stayed on the bus.