Title: Fred VanVleet’s historic night breaks marks set by DeMar DeRozan, Moses Malone
Date: February 2, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Fred VanVleet’s historic, record-setting 54-point night.
For the man who has made a career off his “Bet On Yourself” mantra, the gambler’s fallacy needs reworking.
Thanks to a torrid night on an otherwise nondescript Tuesday in Orlando, so, too, does the Toronto Raptors franchise record book. Fred VanVleet turned in perhaps the most incredible individual performance in Raptors history, scoring 54 points on ludicrous 17-of-23 shooting, topping DeMar DeRozan’s record of 52 points and leading Toronto to a 123-108 victory against the Magic.
The gambler’s fallacy is a tricky bit of irrationality our brains stumble into when sorting through probabilities. When a player has missed a lot of shots in a row, he’s “due” to make his next attempt, even though his next shot is, to a large degree, unrelated to the ones that came before it. It’s expecting all regression to occur in a single leap, and the leap that’s very next in sequence. When the comment was made on the Raptors Reasonablist podcast this week that VanVleet would see some positive regression in his 3-point percentage moving forward, the gambler’s fallacy would erroneously expect that to happen, like, now. It was to be expected that VanVleet’s shooting would improve moving forward after a bit of cold spell, not that it would happen all at once.
The beauty of basketball is that on any given night, something completely unexpected can happen.