How NBA Fans Cost Their Teams at the Free-Throw Line

Photograph by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Among the research showcased this week at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston—where sports nerds gather each year to parse stats in Talmudic detail—is a paper titled “Effort vs. Concentration: The Asymmetric Impact of Pressure on NBA Performance.” Behind the cryptic name is strong evidence that basketball fans have it all wrong when it comes to free-throw shooters.

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