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255Re: Tim Duncan

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  • Dean Oliver
    Sep 27, 2001
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      I had to head out the door before getting to this last thing...

      > As for correlation with team success, this is definitely an
      > intriguing avenue; I feely admit, when I total a team's talent (as
      > measured by me), I don't get a team ranking compatible with their
      > success rate (Denver looks better than NY).
      > So I blame it on coaching. Easy!

      Your system and just about every "linear weights" system (as I label
      all these that add positives and subtract negatives) do tend to have
      this problem. They don't capture the defensive teams very well, which
      is NY (and Miami and probably Philly), and overrate the offensive
      teams (I really don't think too highly of Antonio McDyess). Even
      Heeren's system, which compensates for pace, doesn't do defense
      justice, as far as I'm concerned. Defense is just underweighted in
      the formula because there just aren't as many defensive stats kept
      (dreb+stl+blk is often less than pts+oreb+ast-errors). Defense is the
      biggest thing that players like Duncan, Mourning, Webber, Garnett
      provide (though they all provide some O, too). Defense is why Mutombo
      and Ratliff are in the league (and they do it very well). But that
      contribution is hard to measure. I feel like my stuff captures it a
      little better, if just because it doesn't combine offense and defense.
      But it is really hard to say how many points per game Mutombo or
      Ratliff defense is worth. And, frankly, defense is due a lot to

      Also, I would add that I have tried hard and will continue to try hard
      to determine the trade-off between "production" and "efficiency". I
      have looked to see whether increased player production means lower
      efficiency. We believe it must happen, but it's hard to see. For
      instance, I would have expected David Robinson's efficiency to be
      helped by not having to score as much due to Duncan's presence.
      Hasn't been the case. Ron Harper, on the other hand, was made more
      efficient by playing with Jordan. Heck, I think everyone who played
      with Jordan got more efficient -- in part because they took smarter
      shots or only smart shots. But it has really been hard to see the
      effect with stars or even pretty good players. Shouldn't every player
      shoot a little better and pass a little better when they're surrounded
      by better players? I'd like to show that "efficiency" rise with the
      simultaneous "production" decline, but it is hard to do. My methods
      are complex, but if someone wants to just look at FG% as a function of
      % of team shots while on the court -- useful stuff. (Hmm, maybe
      Shawn Kemp was an example of getting less efficient because of losing
      his good teammates. But Baker didn't exactly get better by going to

      Dean Oliver
      Journal of Basketball Studies
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