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1444Re: USAToday giving statistics a bad name . . .

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  • Dean Oliver
    Oct 29, 2002
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      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "danthestatman2002" <danthestatman@h...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Thanks Mike....
      >
      > I'm not new to this - I've been attempting to find player
      performance
      > values since I was quite young (like 11 - I'm 31 now). Of course -
      > like many - I did this in baseball, thanks to Bill James. I've
      > turned to basketball and most recently football because, honestly,
      > there isn't that much decent statistical analysis out there
      available
      > to the public. There is a TON for baseball.

      Funny, I started with football back in the mid 70's. When I saw
      James' stuff on baseball in '84, I was impressed with how well it all
      linked together. I realized pretty quickly that basketball had a
      nice structure as well. Football was waaay too hard (though I have
      since mentioned a structure I like to both Pete Palmer and Sean
      Lahman and they both have data to do what I want to do). In '87, I
      scored my first basketball game and that led me down the apparently
      demonic path of points per possession (though it's actually been
      around 50 years in the coaching profession, as Dean Smith did it at
      UNC) and away from linear weights.

      >
      > So, I work on my stuff - and ALWAYS assume I can make it a little
      > better at indicating player value in any given season - given the
      > limitations of the stats we have to draw from.

      There are definite limitations in the #'s, especially prior to 1978
      and the advent of individual turnovers. I see hugely varying
      turnover rates among individuals who play the same position. And
      those really make a big difference in how effective they appear to
      be. Nate Archibald's turnover rate didn't appear to be a stable
      thing and probably varied. He obviously played well, scored a lot of
      points, but if he was turning the ball over a ton, that would explain
      partially why his team didn't win. MJ was so great in part because
      he didn't turn the ball over while using a ton of possessions
      (something MikeG has also pointed out, using a comparison
      with "expected" turnovers as he defined it). I do have a few tricks
      up my sleeve for estimating turnovers from way back when, but the
      uncertainty is pretty big.

      Regardless, making changes in methodology based upon players pre-1978
      is risky. Just too much uncertainty in what the non-measured stats
      were.

      DeanO
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