"For the 1986-1987 season we introduced two innovations in our comparisons [of player performance]....

"First, instead of ranking our players against each other, we began comparing them to people on opposing teams with similar positions and similar role definitions. Our starting point guard against everyone else's. Our first reserve power forward against everyone else's. And so on. . . . Everybody had a category in which they could -- at least potentially -- rank number one in the NBA.

"The second change was to sharpen our historical comparisons. We stacked November of 1986 against November of 1985, for example, to show our players whether they were doing better or worse than at the same point last season. One month later we showed them how their performance in December of 1986 compared to their performance in November of 1986....

"We would always post the newest numbers in a plastic sleeve on the front of each player's locker. Before a couple of months had gone by, the players developed a keen interest in these charts. They wanted to know where they stood. Anybody does."

-- From The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players, by Pat Riley (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1993, $22.95)

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