Two classic articles from the author of Moneyball:
The Trading Desk - For the past four years, working with one of the lowest payrolls in the game, the Oakland A’s have won as many regular-season games as any other team except the Atlanta Braves. They’ve been to the playoffs three years in a row and twice taken the richest team in baseball, the Yankees, to within a few outs of elimination. How on earth did they do it?
The No-Stats All-Star - His greatness is not marked in box scores or at slam-dunk contests, but on the court Shane Battier makes his team better, often much better, and his opponents worse, often much worse.