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Re: Pro Basketball Prospectus: Initial Thoughts

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  • Dean Oliver
    ... ... I don t think so actually. My system doesn t exactly have an ultimate ranking to it, unless you consider career individual win-
    Message 1 of 28 , Oct 23, 2002
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      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Mike G" <msg_53@h...> wrote:
      > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...> wrote:
      > > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "danthestatman2002"
      <danthestatman@h...>
      > > wrote:
      > > > I'm sure when I'm done
      > > with
      > > > the NBA rankings - 90 of my top 100 players would match DeanO's
      > top
      > > > 100 players. Same with Mike's.
      >
      > You'd like to think so, but I wouldn't bet on it. Dean's system is
      > so different (and to me, puzzling), I only expect to see about 6 of
      > our Top 10s in agreement, 60 of 100, etc.
      >

      I don't think so actually. My "system" doesn't exactly have an
      ultimate ranking to it, unless you consider career individual win-
      loss records (or indiv win-loss records per 82 games). In which
      case, my list has pretty much the same people at the top as on your
      list. (I've never compiled a real list since I'm not all that
      interested in all-time great lists, but Jordan pretty much dwarfs
      anyone in the modern day.)

      You may be remembering the game-by-game win-loss records which
      indicate how well players do their role. That list makes many people
      think hard. I'm still not sure what to do with it, though it holds a
      lot of potential power.

      > Did I say Cummings was great? Or did I just lay out his stats?
      Was
      > that in this room or in another?
      >

      Coulda been over in apbr. You have definitely backed him.

      >
      > > .... frankly, talent is probably only 50-60% of
      > > performance for average to marginal players. Performance
      reflects
      > > probably 80-90% talent in great players for whom systems are
      always
      > > built and for whom the teammates make little difference.
      >
      > Interesting, and timely. If a player like Terry Cummings can carry
      a
      > team like the Clippers, or be a star on an excellent team like the
      > Bucks, or the Admiral's right-hand man with a very good Spurs team -
      -
      > all this for 10 seasons...

      I guess that the popular acclaim at the time was that he wasn't
      great. No one at any time in his career considered him great. As
      you have pointed out, there were a lot of good forwards at the time.
      But a great player to me is one that is the best or close to the best
      at least at his position. And Cummings was never that. Your stats
      may say so. Mine definitely do not. He just wasn't a very efficient
      scorer, save a couple years. And he wasn't great defensively either.

      >
      > > So what exactly are your weights? ...some funky weights. That's
      > why, if I ever find a
      > > need for such a formula (mainly to try to check what you jokers
      are
      > > doing), I just use 1 as a weight on everything. I'll try to get
      > > permission to post all these things sometime soon. Or maybe I'll
      > > only send them to people who ask.
      >
      > Dean, if you're going to average everyone's weights, are you
      > assigning different weights to the different weights?
      >
      > I mean, is my one rebound only worth the same as one rebound of a
      guy
      > blowing in here off the street? I mean, come on...

      My recollection is that your weights are 1, though you have all sorts
      of other things in the system to balance post-season, etc.

      The problem is that we're all just blowing in off the street.
      Legitimately, I should only look at the linear weights systems that
      pro and college teams use? Is that what you're suggesting? To them,
      what system they use matters. To us, it augments smack. All of the
      numbers that are in the matrix in the book have been published,
      except for Doug Steele's version, which has been on the web and used
      for long enough that I figure I can post it.

      Trust me, I ain't saying that the average of all values is what's
      right. I am saying the variability in the weights suggests a lot of
      uncertainty in how linear weights get put together. Because of that
      variability and an inability to check any of the methods for
      accuracy, the linear weights model is simply not appropriate. It in
      no way represents the way the game is played. A point is not awarded
      for an assist on top of the points scored. No points are awarded for
      a steal or a block. That doesn't mean they're not valuable. It
      means the linear weights system assigns a surrogate value with no
      relation to the actual game implication of the action.

      My system is different, very different. It may be puzzling to you,
      but it's so different because it _does_ track what happens in a game,
      unlike linear weights. A block isn't a point. It is a partial stop,
      with a defensive rebound (if obtained) being the rest. I don't give
      any points for it. I credit the player with stopping an opponent.
      You could get to the end of a game and realize an average of 1.2
      points per possession were scored by the team and 0.6 were scored by
      the opponent. Then you could kinda sorta get at the net point value
      of that stop and that blocked shot. I make that estimate and the
      value is rarely +1.

      If all you want to do is rank players, feel free to use linear
      weights. Most teams do that, especially as one indicator for
      drafting players (that's why Dan's system will be interesting to see
      played out with college players). It does identify the best players
      pretty well (as I said our systems are pretty equivalent at the top),
      but for the not-so-obvious players, it doesn't lend any insight. It
      can place valuable role players in the same ship as bad players doing
      a lot for bad teams. They are rarely equivalent, but linear weights
      says that they could be.

      DeanO
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