Analysis: The 'Experts' Don't Know Anything (NBA Edition)

You are not, under any circumstances, obligated to respect their opinions

May 15, 2023

It has become abundantly clear over the past few years that so-called experts often don't know anything and certainly don't deserve to be treated as an exalted class of data-driven nerds whose advice we must follow for the sake of our cherished democracy.

One of the most recent examples involves the so-called experts at ESPN, a website that until recently was primarily concerned with sports. Earlier this month, ESPN assembled a crew of 15 NBA experts who "analyzed all the data" and "talked to insiders across the league" before predicting which team would prevail in every second-round series in the NBA playoffs.

Those second-round series concluded on Sunday, so let's take a look at how the experts did:

Golden State Warriors (6) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (7)

Winner: Los Angeles Lakers

Experts who got it right: 2/15 (13%)

Denver Nuggets (1) vs. Phoenix Suns (4)

Winner: Denver Nuggets

Experts who got it right: 4/15 (27%)

New York Knicks (5) vs. Miami Heat (8)

Winner: Miami Heat

Experts who got it right: 6/15 (40%)

Boston Celtics (2) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (3)

Winner: Boston Celtics

Experts who got it right: 9/15 (60%)

Not a single expert predicted all four winners correctly. Only one went three-for-four. Collectively, after analyzing all the data and talking to all those insiders, the ESPN experts went 18-for-60. That's a success rate of 30 percent—not very good, according to the results of a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

Bottom line: No one really has any idea what they are talking about. This is especially true of self-identified "experts" who voice their professional opinions on television or have them published in media outlets that aren't the Free Beacon. Acquiring the credentials required to declare yourself an "expert," such as attending a fancy Ivy League university, is just as likely (perhaps more likely) to make you dumber and less able to understand or relate to the real world.

Flashback: In August 2016, a prominent survey of political "experts" predicted Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election with 347 electoral college votes. She won just 227 electoral votes, and lost the election—in case you'd forgotten.


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Published under: ESPN , Sports