The Hot Hand Myth

The “hot hand” fallacy describes the belief that the performance of a player, temporarily improves following a string of successes.

Players, coaches, commentators and fans believe in streaky shooting, but the academic studies against this conventional wisdom suggest that there is no player with the hot hand. Analysis through play-by-play data strongly considers streaks of made shots are some sort of natural variation.

Making 10 consecutive shots does not prove that a player is hot. NBA players tend to become significantly overconfident after making consecutive shots. After making one shot, a player’s shooting percentage actually drops for the next field goal attempt. As if the player and his teammates believed him to be the team’s best scoring option. Behaving as though the hot hand existed might actually be detrimental and cost an average team about four victories over one season!

See the analysis of “a hot hand”, breakdown of Kobe’s 81 points.