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587Re: nice methods

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  • HoopStudies
    Feb 5, 2002
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      > > What I wonder is, does anyone have a wins-based evaluation method
      > > that dates back several years? If so, are players like Pierce
      > > considered "bad" players as long as their team is bad, and then
      > > suddenly become "good" players at the moment their team improves
      > (or
      > > they move to a better team)?
      > I don't have it with me here at work, but I have been doing wins-
      > based stuff for a long time and it shows this kind of change for
      > supporting cast kind of players -- the Steve Kerr's of the world
      > are valuable on good teams, but not so valuable on poor teams. By
      > numbers last year, Pierce was one of the best players in the
      > with a win-loss record of 12.2-4.5. Kobe, for comparison, was 11.6-
      > 3.4. Those are some very solid numbers.

      Let me back up a little here. I do see some variation for even good
      players who change teams IF the team defense of the two teams are
      different. Most players do not have significant effects on team
      defense, big men being the exception (and apparently Jason Kidd and
      maybe MJ). Offensively, stars don't really change much from team to
      team. Role players can, but don't necessarily. Defensively, it's a
      mixed bag. And since I don't calculate wins and losses as an
      explicit rating method (usual Bill James-like disclaimer: I don't
      believe in one number for overall ratings of players), they are just
      meant to reflect a player's contribution to his team. They are a
      pseudo-measurement, not an overall rating. Because they are pseudo-
      measurements, they are not subjective and, hence, a bit more
      predictable and meaningful than stupid awards.

      Pierce, by the way, is a pretty unusual player. His win-loss record
      has been above 0.500 since entering the league, a star-like quality.
      5.9-1.8 as a rookie. 8.5-4.5 as a 2nd year guy. 12.2-4.5 last
      year. He's a good but not great defender. You put him on one of
      these poor defensive teams (like Cleveland) and they may get a little
      better defensively. They should get better offensively.

      > Also, if you have a team that wins only 15 games, it doesn't make
      > sense to have one player on that team who wins 16 games like a Shaq
      > or a Jordan or Duncan do. Those guys make winning teams. Elton
      > Brand, though a good player, clearly doesn't add more than the 15
      > wins that Chicago had last year; it's impossible. My first cut was
      > an addition of 6 wins by Brand. I frankly am coming to believe
      > it was more like 9 wins, but that's all a little theoretical right
      > now. And it always seems strange to me if someone contributes more
      > than half of his team's wins (especially since the Bulls are on
      > to beat 15 wins this year).

      This is an interesting case. The Clips are better with Brand. The
      Bulls are better without Brand. So how good is Brand? Context

      > It's hard to argue that even Jordan ever
      > won half his team's games when he was scoring 35 ppg and the Bulls
      > were winning only 40 games. Actually, Jordan should be a very good
      > example of what MikeG was asking for. I don't have all my info in
      > front of me (again), but
      > http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/articles/JordanvsOlaj.html
      > shows that Jordan was 19.4-0.7 in 1988. I don't think the Bulls
      > that good that year, maybe 40-42 (help?). So, sure, it is indeed
      > very possible for win-based ranking methodologies to show stars (or
      > superstars in this case) on mediocre teams.

      OK. I'm back home and the Bulls were 50-32 in 1988. In 1987, the
      Bulls were 40-42 and Jordan was 17.3-3.7. That's about as close to
      half a team's wins I can quickly find. Jordan scored 37 ppg with
      Oakley and John Paxson as principal surrounding cast. With Pippen
      and Grant around the following year, the team D got a little better
      and Jordan's O got a little more efficient (his FG% went from 48% to
      54%). Was Jordan a better player in 1988 than in 1987 because his
      win-loss record was better, because his offensive and defensive
      numbers improved? Hell, I don't know. I don't really care. It was
      obvious that he would improve both an offense and a defense. If the
      Lakers offered me Magic Johnson at the time for Jordan, would I have
      taken it? I guess we'll never know....

      Dean Oliver
      Journal of Basketball Studies
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