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3677Re: [APBR_analysis] Re: Dampier (was Article from _The Economist_)

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  • bchaikin@aol.com
    Apr 6, 2004
      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...

      Hakeem Olajuwon "busted out" in 1993, at age 29-30.  He continued his megastar play for a few years. Magic Johnson's most dominant seasons came after the age of 27. Larry Bird had a similar career trajectory, peaking at age 28-31. Shaq's most monster year was at age 27-28. Duncan's approaching year 28 and still improving. Ditto, Garnett.

      Maybe the data that shows "most players" have peaked before age 28 are biased by the effect that marginal players are peaking at age 23 -- and out of the league by age 27.

      yes - "most players" includes those. it also includes all those players who have played in the league on nothing more than 10 day contracts, and also all those CBA-lifers who have a cup of coffee in the league (1 year at most), plus all players who play 10-15 year careers and end up in the hall of fame...

      Meanwhile, average players may peak at age 25, done by 29.  (Numbers off the top of my head)

      actually the historical numbers show - on average, meaning this includes all players - a player who plays substantial minutes his first 3 years in the league peaks about his 3rd-4th season in terms of production (piling up stats that are measured) and maintains that for another 3-4-5 seasons, then begins a descent, typically about age 29-30. since the average college player graduates at age 22-23, your numbers are pretty much correct...

      Presumably, smaller players rely more on quickness; when that begins to fail, their usefulness is curtailed. But big men seem to do better by merely surviving, and adding skills to their repertoire.  Beefing up doesn't seem to slow them as much.

      big men hang around longer than little men possibly because they are like L handed pitchers in baseball - there aren't a whole lot of them to go around, you need them, and thus are at a premium if they can play at all...

      Interesting prediction, but given that quite a few big men make such a career jump at just about this age, I'd be reluctant to back such a prediction.

      define "...quite a few....". 2%, 5%, 50%? or just future hall of famers?..

      unfortunately all the examples mentioned above are sure hall of famers. e.dampier had been in the league a full seven years before he had his, quote, bust out season if you want to call it that, and i don't think anyone would consider him a sure hall of famer based on his performance during his first 7 seasons in the league...

      dampier's 02-03 season, as i see it, was his best season up and to that point, but it wasn't much better than his 97-98 season. his production minute-wise this 03-04 is substantially better this year than last (and 97-98). since it appears the majority of his "improvement" this season over those two seasons has been via his rebounding, about the only other example i can think of that could parallel his "potential" future would be the performance of somebody like robert parish, who in his 12th season in the league dramatically improved his overall rebounding by over 17%-20% (compared to his previous 5 seasons), and then managed to maintain that level of performance rebounding-wise for another 4-5 seasons...

      so it is possible - but i certainly do not put e.dampier in parish's class of talent...

      I'll predict that he comes back next year at a level closer to this year than to last year.  I'd make that prediction with anyone, barring extenuating circumstances:  known injury, etc.

      but unfortunately extenuating circumstances do play a part in this, as when players reach their 30s injuries, competition from younger players, etc, start to occur more often. so if you're an NBA GM, you gonna' stake your reputation on that prediction, knowing those occur more often at that age? you going to sign a center with one really good season under his belt (possibly 2-3 if you include 02-03 and 97-98 as really good), with a career trend of low touches/min such that he will never be a major factor on offense, whose shot blocking is now half of what it used to be, and who has had a scoring FG% that in the past 8 seasons has only twice been above the league average, to a multi-year contract for dollars being paid star players?...

      if e.dampier does play another season with rebounding wizards like clifford robinson in particular along his side for most of the season he could do this again. but if he's signed as a free agent or traded to someone who has at least average rebounders for their positions in the frontcourt, strong odds are that he won't....

      bob chaikin
      bchaikin@...

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