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2440Re: [APBR_analysis] Re: Player Movement

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  • igor eduardo küpfer
    Sep 1, 2003
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2003 11:11 PM
      Subject: [APBR_analysis] Re: Player Movement

      --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...>
      > So, though I didn't see JohnH's column, it would surprise me that
      > anyone is suggesting that competitive balance is good now.


      By JohnH's measure (# of teams with 60 or more wins or losses), the
      last two years have been two of the seven most competitive in league
      It just occurred to me that the topic of "competitive balance" is more subjective than I originally thought. For me, I think of a balanced league as one in which the outcome of any given game is close to 50-50, where picking winners unpredictable. I've always thought about it that way: if the result is a foregone conclusion, where's the competitiveness? My focus has always been on the game in front of me, at least as far as this topic goes.
      Other people like to see the absence of truly dominant teams (or truly putrid) during the course of the season as evidence for balance. JohnH seems to favour this view in his column. There is nothing inherently mistaken with this view. From this perspective it makes perfect sense to look at measures of the variability of winning percentages like standard deviations.
      Still other people focus not on individual games, nor individual seasons, but eras: frequent "dynasties" to them indicate an imbalanced league, as do horrendous sad sack franchises like the Clippers. A dominant team is one that manages to win across many seasons, not just one or two. Someone who favours this view of competitiveness would deny the standard deviation argument as irrelevant; they would claim that if the Celtics or the Lakers win every single season, it doesn't matter the variation in the league winning percentages. It's hard to deny the validity of this argument.
      What I like about the Competitive Balance Ratio is that it combines the two elements from the paragraphs above: it is the ratio of variation of team wins during one season to the variation across seasons. A pretty neat idea, but still needs a wee bit of tweaking IMO. For example, its reliance on winning percentages is too abstract for a concept as ephemeral as competitive balance, I think -- substituting some sort of ranks might give results closer to the everyperson view. After all, does it really matter whether the Bulls had 30 wins or 38 wins? In neither case are they in any danger of making the playoffs, and I think most fans see the primary difference between the Bulls and the Bucks as the difference between a crappy team and a postseason team, and not between a 30-win team and a 42-win team.
      Which brings up another thing: presumably the economists studying balance are doing so from their perspective as economists, and not necessarily as fans. Their definitions of "balance" may not be the same as the average fan's definition -- or yours and mine, for that matter. Maybe DeanO can add some thoughts here, but I'm guessing that econs study the topic by looking at its economic effects, such as attendance. This, however, is not my primary interest -- I am interested in the health of the league as I define it, not as it applies to those studying its economic health. For this reason I am interested in  finding a measure for competitive balance that assumes my definition. CBR looks like it does more to capture what I think of as balance.

      He also suggests in there that imbalance is good for the league - a
      question I have to imagine has been answered in some form by some
      economist at some point, but doesn't seem that difficult to do if it
      An argument  could be made that the health of the league is increased by having the same recognizable stars achieving success on a regular basis. I can see some validity to this argument: the continuity of familiar names would be appealing to very casual fans, I think.
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