29Kidd v. KJ and comparing eras
- Mar 7, 2001I see things on the site have slowed down of late so I thought I
would pose a less scientific question than most that are wrestled
with on this site. The question arose not in the context of serious
basketball analysis but the knee jerk argument between and a friend
of mine in a local New York City watering hole.
My friend swears that Jason Kidd is a better player than Kevin
Johnson ever was. Now my intial reaction was, based solely upon my
memory of the two players in action, was that I prefer KJ. I thought
he could shoot and finish and while not as good a passer as Kidd, he
definitely was more than adequate in that department.
The question I have is how to quantify this difference in statistical
terms. (I realize that Kidd is still young so that any argument must
be restricted to peak value [ie the top 3 years of each player]). A
rudimentary tendex analysis of their tendex peak (kidd 97-00 and kj
88-91) gives KJ a huge edge 720 to 569. Of course tendex is hardly
perfect in that it does not quantify value and does not take into
account the difference in scoring between the NBA of the late 80s and
the late 90s.
The second of these questions is highlighted by an examination of the
suns teams in different eras. KJ's higher tendex, it should be noted
came on a team that scored 115.8 per game while Kidd played on a team
that scored 98 per game. If we assume this difference in scoring is
not the result of one team being better but the basketball
environment in which each played, we can assume that tendex (or
anyother formula) is flawed. This could be adjusted by pro rating
points and assits of each player (compared with each other and the
league average that they competed within). However, some could argue
that the difference in scoring could be balanced off in the idea that
theoretically there could be more rebounds in that late 90s than the
late 80s. Indeed, the 80s/kj suns shot around 49% whereas the
90s/kidd suns shot closer to 44-46%.
With all these variables in mind, how do we most efficiently compare
these players from two different eras with statistical formulas?
(Secondarily, I would like to know who is better kidd or kj).
Finally, I realize there is something called floor percentage but I
don't know its formula and the problems and solutions it might
present over other formulas. So, please give me some feedback on
these issues. Thanks for your time.
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