I will always try to be the guy — especially in sports — who says streaks are random, and not due to coaching, new players, or clutch performance.
I could write pages on this but I’ll just state my premises and conclusions: As a species we excel at noticing patterns and coming up with explanations for them. It’s how we survived, prospered and developed. Smart people are good at it and dumb people are good at it. The explanations of smart people tend to make more sense and be right more often, but every one of us including the idiots can notice patterns and come up with plausible-sounding theories in our sleep. Otherwise we would lack both high technology and popular conspiracy theories. It’s in our nature.
But any statistician on the planet will tell you that in any true random distribution you will find streaks, clusters and patterns that have no meaning or rationale whatsoever. And as a species we suck at admitting this in practical applications. We especially suck at it in sports, because we want our heroes to be clutch and our goats to have flaws. But much, much more often than we are willing to admit, the hot streaks, slumps, and performance in big moments just reflect random distributions.
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