Does One Simply Need to Score to Score?, pp. 190-205

David J. Berri
Stacey L. Brook
Martin B. Schmidt

Professional sports are characterized by an abundance of information on worker productivity and severe consequences for failure. Consequently, one would expect information to be processed efficiently in this industry. Recent research indicates, though, that decision makers in professional sports do not behave consistently with the dictates of instrumental rationality. This study of decision making in the National Basketball Association (NBA) begins with a literature review that indicates players can score a major payday by simply focusing on scoring. Beyond this review, we offer an empirical investigation of both the voting for the All-Rookie team and the determination of player salary that clearly indicates that the ability to accumulate points dominates player evaluation in the NBA. Given that such a focus is not consistent with winning games or maximizing profits, we argue that decision-makers in the NBA do not behave according to the dictates of instrumental rationality.