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3663Dampier (was Article from _The Economist_)

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  • Kevin Pelton
    Apr 4, 2004
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      Can we all agree that if you think Dampier is a flashy player,
      you've never watched more than five games of basketball in your life?

      > > What should define a Fluke Season? 
      > IMHO one that is out of character of a defined pattern of play -
      > meaning someone who has played a number of seasons (at least 3-5),
      > having played substantial minutes (1000, maybe less, per season),
      > whose performance has "leveled" out, meaning not necessarily
      > peaked but a certain level or pattern of production has been
      > established, and then drastically improves or gets worse (gets
      > worse without injury)...

      By your own standard, Dampier pretty clearly is not having a fluke
      season, in that he had not "leveled" prior to this year. Before last
      season, he had leveled off at a sub-mediocre level of performance,
      but he dramatically improved last year -- in fact, in a point I
      don't think anyone else has pointed out, JohnH has Dampier as one of
      his fluke players this year.

      Take a look at this graph of Dampier's efficiency by my formula
      divided by replacement level year-by-year:

      That's not a player who's leveled off. PER shows a similar pattern,
      so I didn't bother graphing it.

      To quote JohnH, "Dampier enjoyed a career year at the age of 28,
      which means I'll be looking very closely at him this season. The
      Fluke Rule says that players who make sudden jumps in productivity
      after 27 almost always come back to earth the next season, but 28-
      year-olds do less serverely than others."

      Well, Dampier hasn't come back to earth, he's been even better. Two
      years of well above-average play in the middle seems an awful lot to
      explain away to a fluke to me. Dampier is extremely unlikely to
      repeat this year's All-Star level performance in the future, but
      given the current level of centers in the NBA, he's still a very
      valuable free agent.

      Comparing him to a player in McIlvaine who signed his contract a
      year after averaging 3.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game (with
      48.6% true shooting percentage and 10.7 boards per 48 minutes) is
      incredibly unfair and insulting to Dampier.
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