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29Kidd v. KJ and comparing eras

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  • harlanzo@yahoo.com
    Mar 7, 2001
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      I 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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