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244Re: Similarity Scores

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  • Dean Oliver
    Sep 17, 2001
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      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., msg_53@h... wrote:
      > > 1. I'd like to see some non-standardized comparisons. I do like
      > the
      > > standardized because they make some sense, but I think
      > > non-standardized will also tell a story.
      > Dean, you could do raw averages, but players from the 60s would
      > compare to players in the 60s. Actually, a great rebounder in the
      > 90s would seem to compare to an average rebounder in the 60s, for
      > example.
      > I don't have a ready database of raw averages.

      I think this is what I was interested in. I was curious who from
      today would fit in the '60's. Or, more interestingly, who from the
      '70's might fit in today's game. Are West's raw #'s similar to
      Iverson's or to Richmond's? What happens in baseball is that
      outstanding players tend to be dissimilar to other players in their
      era, but similar to outstanding players of other eras. I have doubt
      that this would happen in basketball, using raw #'s, because of the
      style change. You seem to be saying the same thing.

      (I didn't realize that you don't have a db of raw#'s.)

      > > 2. You really need some comparison of shooting percentages and
      > > turnovers. It really caught my eye with the Duncan-Kareem
      > > comparison. I see some similarity between these two, but there
      > > big differences in offensive efficiency. Kareem was nearly
      > > unstoppable offensively - my floor%'s and offensive efficiencies
      > > reflect that. Duncan is very stoppable, his offensive rating and
      > > floor percentage blending in to be about average. Kareem fell to
      > > average offensively only in his last year. (I also don't think
      > that
      > > Kareem was the defensive force that Duncan is, but my memories
      > > biased by the Kareem post-'80, when he wasn't as good as he was
      > when
      > > younger.)
      > Shooting percentages are part of what determines my standardized
      > scoring rate, along with game pace (defined as points allowed). I
      > only did career totals, so Kareem's incredibly long career has been
      > smoothed over, and his very dominant early seasons are not truly
      > reflected.

      One of my personal quibbles with all the tendex-like rating systems
      out there is there is that they do combine offensive with defensive
      contributions. There is a big difference in my mind between Moses
      Malone, who was an offensive force, and Hakeem Olajuwon, who has been
      dominant defensively. Both were good in the other thing, but
      dominant in just one. Kareem was dominant offensively (and probably
      defensively) early on. Duncan has been dominant defensively, not
      offensively. (Duncan appears to have more of the competitive fight
      than Kareem, but, again, I missed the early Kareem.)

      > Maybe Duncan has peaked, and his career averages really
      > won't rank close to Kareem's.

      I don't think I'd say that Duncan's peaked. He's been pretty
      remarkably consistent since entering the league. Maybe it's only
      remarkable that he stayed in school long enough to actually be ready
      for the league when entering.

      > Further, Duncan's offensive numbers, in my system, get a big boost
      > from his being on a great defensive team. You have to agree his
      > offensive strength is way above average on his team.

      Depending on how you define "average", but, yeah, Duncan looks better
      offensively than he really is because he plays on a great defensive
      team. (He would make most teams better defensively, too.)

      > Personally, I don't ever consider 'position' to be a quantifiable
      > statistic.

      James defined numbers to positions for defensive purposes (a
      shortstop is much more valuable to a defense than a 1st baseman, for
      example). That might be necessary for some of the older guys because
      defensive stats really don't exist in the '60's and early '70's. But
      we can probably still assume that a center was the most important
      defensive player back then, as he is now. This gets adequately
      reflected in blocks, steals, and defensive boards, but you do need
      those #'s.

      > assist from a center is exactly as important as an assist from a
      > guard.

      Only a minor point here -- this is not precisely true (though
      probably true enough for government work). Assists from guards tend
      to be more valuable. This is because they often have to make the
      tougher pass than big men. The weight on an assist is proportional
      to the expected FG% of the guy he passes to. Historically, big men
      have had higher FG% than guards -- hence their assists are weighted
      less. (The assists of the best shooting player on a team are less
      valuable than the assists of the guys getting him the ball.) This
      has changed with the 3 pt shot, but it's a conversion from FG% to
      effective FG%...

      Dean Oliver
      Journal of Basketball Studies
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