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3679Re: Dampier (was Article from _The Economist_)

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  • Kevin Pelton
    Apr 6, 2004
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      > I looked at peak Manley Credit performances for 54 All-NBA players.
      > I plotted the aging curve here:
      > http://members.rogers.com/edkupfer/images/peakperformance.htm
      > The decline after age 30 is precipitous. Only 14 of 48 (29%) 31
      > year-olds maintained their 30-year-old performances.

      Valuable stuff, Ed.

      The projection system I've worked on has the theoretical benefit of
      being able to capture effects like centers peaking later or good
      players peaking later in that only the performance of similar players
      is used for projection. It was actually reasonably optimistic about
      Dampier -- by contrast to his backup, Adonal Foyle, who is the same
      age, Dampier had a lower rate of coppaging (defined as 20% decline or
      greater, 22% vs. 28%) and a higher rate of improvement, but still one
      below 50% (46% vs. 36%). Dampier, by this system, is playing at about
      the 80% level of expectation -- not entirely unsustainable, but not
      an easily predictable level either.

      (How much this would change if I improved the system to add Dampier's
      production prior to 2002-03 I don't know.)

      One of the nice things about this system, which I've blatantly stolen
      from _Baseball Prospectus_' Pecota, is that it looks at player
      performance as probabilities as opposed to absolutes. The average
      player development is important and valuable, but at the same time
      we're really looking at, in Ed's case, 54 different player
      development curves being slammed together. The average curve may
      model the actual performance of only a handful of players.

      I think it's better to say something like "Dampier is 75% likely to
      play worse next season" as opposed to "He will play worse next
      season" -- something I got away from a little bit during my previous
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