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USAToday giving statistics a bad name . . .

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  • Kevin Pelton
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2002-10-23-player- rankings.htm I don t know about the rest of you, but my first rule of thumb for judging a
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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      http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2002-10-23-player-
      rankings.htm

      I don't know about the rest of you, but my first rule of thumb for
      judging a rating system is to see whether Shaq is tops amongst
      systems. When he's behind David Robinson and approximately equal with
      Brad Miller, that starts to raise some eyebrows.

      On the plus side, now that I'm working for the Sonics, I might
      suspend my moral indigation and use this to 'justify' calling Gary
      Payton and Brent Barry the best backcourt in the NBA. And how can
      anybody argue Rashard Lewis wasn't worth his new contract when he was
      apparently better than the $120 million man?
    • bchaikin@aol.com
      can you say what you will be doing with the sonics? is it stats related?... bob chaikin bchaikin@bballsports.com
      Message 2 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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        can you say what you will be doing with the sonics? is it stats related?...

        bob chaikin
        bchaikin@...
      • Kevin Pelton
        Nothing directly statistics-related. I m writing for Supersonics.com (and the Storm s website). Maybe I could convince them to let me write some statistical
        Message 3 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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          Nothing directly statistics-related. I'm writing for Supersonics.com
          (and the Storm's website). Maybe I could convince them to let me
          write some statistical stuff every now and again, but that might
          scare off the fans who come to look at pictures of the dance team. ;)
        • John Hollinger
          Some more great analysis from David DuPree. He is absolutely awful, the Dalibor Bagaric of basketball writers. ... with ... was
          Message 4 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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            Some more great 'analysis' from David DuPree. He is absolutely awful,
            the Dalibor Bagaric of basketball writers.


            --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Kevin Pelton" <kpelton08@h...> wrote:
            > http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2002-10-23-player-
            > rankings.htm
            >
            > I don't know about the rest of you, but my first rule of thumb for
            > judging a rating system is to see whether Shaq is tops amongst
            > systems. When he's behind David Robinson and approximately equal
            with
            > Brad Miller, that starts to raise some eyebrows.
            >
            > On the plus side, now that I'm working for the Sonics, I might
            > suspend my moral indigation and use this to 'justify' calling Gary
            > Payton and Brent Barry the best backcourt in the NBA. And how can
            > anybody argue Rashard Lewis wasn't worth his new contract when he
            was
            > apparently better than the $120 million man?
          • Dean Oliver
            ... awful, ... More than a decade ago, I thought Dupree was decent. I haven t seen his work in a while. That is pretty bad. Though I did like the fact that
            Message 5 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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              --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "John Hollinger" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
              > Some more great 'analysis' from David DuPree. He is absolutely
              awful,
              > the Dalibor Bagaric of basketball writers.
              >

              More than a decade ago, I thought Dupree was decent. I haven't seen
              his work in a while. That is pretty bad. Though I did like the fact
              that he quoted Brent Barry after asking him about the top ranking:

              "It's kind of cool," Barry says of his top ranking, but he's careful
              not to lay claim to being the best of the best. "I guess it shows
              consistency and efficiency ... and it proves that you can do anything
              with numbers if you twist them around right."


              I simultaneously hate and love that last statement. I love the fact
              that Brent recognizes that this system is screwed up. I hate the
              fact that people outright don't trust numbers because of situations
              like this. As much as I can rail against linear weights, I don't
              normally see linear weights methods so bad that they cause the kind
              of statement Barry made. I don't imagine that any of the linear
              weights systems here would cause it.

              I don't want to deprive you, Kevin, but you should be writing about
              the stats and Dupree should be writing about the dance teams.

              DeanO
            • Kevin Pelton
              ... Well, I m not even old enough to drink (legally) yet. I m working on it. I will be doing more substantial work than the dance team, and (hopefully) talking
              Message 6 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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                --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...> wrote:
                > I don't want to deprive you, Kevin, but you should be writing about
                > the stats and Dupree should be writing about the dance teams.

                Well, I'm not even old enough to drink (legally) yet. I'm working on
                it. I will be doing more substantial work than the dance team, and
                (hopefully) talking to some ex-Sonics greats for a series of
                historical articles should be pretty cool. Not to mention that I too
                can ask Barry about this when I go to practice on Friday.

                **********

                Going completely off-topic, what's up with New Orleans releasing Lee
                Nailon? I know JohnH isn't particularly high on Nailon, but he's a
                very useful guy off the bench where his defensive problems aren't so
                evident. Even if they wanted to dump him, seems like they could have
                dumped him for a second-round pick to a team with an exception.
                Strange move in my book.
              • Dean Oliver
                ... about ... on ... You re working on getting older? It does just naturally happen. At age 30, you try to stop it, but you just can t.... Or are you
                Message 7 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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                  --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Kevin Pelton" <kpelton08@h...> wrote:
                  > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...> wrote:
                  > > I don't want to deprive you, Kevin, but you should be writing
                  about
                  > > the stats and Dupree should be writing about the dance teams.
                  >
                  > Well, I'm not even old enough to drink (legally) yet. I'm working
                  on
                  > it.

                  You're working on getting older? It does just naturally happen. At
                  age 30, you try to stop it, but you just can't.... Or are you
                  working on drinking? Trying to find one of those fake ids?

                  > I will be doing more substantial work than the dance team, and
                  > (hopefully) talking to some ex-Sonics greats for a series of
                  > historical articles should be pretty cool. Not to mention that I
                  too
                  > can ask Barry about this when I go to practice on Friday.
                  >

                  Speaking of dance teams, somehow I managed to flip to ESPN during the
                  Sunday football games on Fox and CBS. Do you know what ESPN shows
                  then? I didn't know. Something like cheerleader championships or
                  dance team championships. The play-by-play person or whatever you
                  call them for such a competition just couldn't say anything. All she
                  was saying is "ooooh", "oohhhhh". The dance team was about 10 very
                  attractive women wearing basketball team outfits (which definitely
                  makes them more attractive) and 1 guy in the back. I think one of
                  the commentators (ah, that's a better word than play-by-play man) was
                  saying that the guy in the back was the choreographer and that he was
                  one of the world's best. I don't know. I couldn't take it. I
                  couldn't eat chips and salsa with all that cheese. I had to flip
                  back to the games.

                  Now that's off-topic.

                  DeanO
                • Dean Oliver
                  ... awful, ... Now that I m out of work, I actually can think about this method. Clearly, Dupree just came up with a simple idea, one that makes sense on the
                  Message 8 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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                    --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "John Hollinger" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
                    > Some more great 'analysis' from David DuPree. He is absolutely
                    awful,
                    > the Dalibor Bagaric of basketball writers.

                    Now that I'm out of work, I actually can think about this method.
                    Clearly, Dupree just came up with a simple idea, one that makes sense
                    on the surface. Look at some relevant statistics and see how players
                    do when ranked this way. Sports Illustrated just did it for NFL
                    historic QBs in order to, err, in showing that Johnny Unitas was the
                    best QB of all time. People wrote in about that to complain about
                    the results, but no one laughed like we can laugh at these results.

                    My point is that this type of technique is common. I see it in some
                    of the litigation work I do. When people don't know how to put
                    different important concepts together, they do this kind of general
                    ranking and scoring. Then they either add the number ranks or
                    multiply them (or some combination) possibly in combination with
                    weights (kinda like linear weights) to get scores. Usually the
                    methods get the classes -- the best are usually clustered together,
                    the worst are usually clustered -- fairly well, but trusting the
                    ultimate end rank is foolish. It has cost companies billions of
                    dollars doing this kind of thing. It has cost politicians
                    elections. Be very skeptical any time you see people ranking things
                    on importance and applying some basic formula to arrive at a
                    decision.

                    I wrote something on this years ago at

                    http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/articles/aa021997.htm

                    DeanO
                  • danthestatman2002
                    Talk about a worthless piece of crap the rankings). Literally - it looks like how I used to rank players when I was 8 years old. Seriously.
                    Message 9 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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                      Talk about a worthless piece of crap the rankings).

                      Literally - it looks like how I used to rank players when I was 8
                      years old. Seriously.
                    • danthestatman2002
                      ... Lee ... so ... have ... I agree with that. Last season my system had Davis, Campbell, Magloire, Mashburn, and PJ Brown as easily the top 5 players for the
                      Message 10 of 20 , Oct 23, 2002
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                        > Going completely off-topic, what's up with New Orleans releasing
                        Lee
                        > Nailon? I know JohnH isn't particularly high on Nailon, but he's a
                        > very useful guy off the bench where his defensive problems aren't
                        so
                        > evident. Even if they wanted to dump him, seems like they could
                        have
                        > dumped him for a second-round pick to a team with an exception.
                        > Strange move in my book.

                        I agree with that. Last season my system had Davis, Campbell,
                        Magloire, Mashburn, and PJ Brown as easily the top 5 players for the
                        Hornets in that order (ALL above league average player). Nailon was
                        6th. 18.7 SCO/48 (league ave. 20) is respectable for sub. Was a
                        hella lot better than Augman, Wesley, and Lynch per minute.

                        That being said - he's hardly irreplaceable. If he's a cancer in the
                        clubhouse - he could be dumpable. I assume some team will snatch him
                        up with the quickness though.
                      • danthestatman2002
                        ... Sports Illustrated just did it for NFL ... the ... Speaking of the NFL - at work today I finally realized HOW I m gonna compare players from different eras
                        Message 11 of 20 , Oct 24, 2002
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                          --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...> wrote:
                          Sports Illustrated just did it for NFL
                          > historic QBs in order to, err, in showing that Johnny Unitas was
                          the
                          > best QB of all time. People wrote in about that to complain about
                          > the results, but no one laughed like we can laugh at these results.


                          Speaking of the NFL - at work today I finally realized HOW I'm gonna
                          compare players from different eras in football (like I am attempting
                          in basketball). I'm pretty excited - I think it'll work well. It'll
                          eventually be a mainstay on my site in the football section ;)

                          Anyone know where I can get complete season by NFL season statistics -
                          especially in a easily downloadable or cut/paste raw form (like Doug
                          Steele's Stats)?

                          Dan

                          PS - where the hell is by ProBBall Prospectus???? Freakin' snail
                          mail.
                        • John Hollinger
                          Nailon is one of their better offensive players, but they got rid of him anyway because he s a terrible defender. Apparently they tried to trade him and had no
                          Message 12 of 20 , Oct 24, 2002
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                            Nailon is one of their better offensive players, but they got rid of
                            him anyway because he's a terrible defender. Apparently they tried to
                            trade him and had no takers b/c the only teams with the need were
                            capped out. With Lynch, Augmon, and Mashburn at his position, they
                            decided to just get rid of him. Still not sure I would have done it,
                            but like dan said, he's hardly irreplacable.






                            --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "danthestatman2002" <danthestatman@h...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > > Going completely off-topic, what's up with New Orleans releasing
                            > Lee
                            > > Nailon? I know JohnH isn't particularly high on Nailon, but he's
                            a
                            > > very useful guy off the bench where his defensive problems aren't
                            > so
                            > > evident. Even if they wanted to dump him, seems like they could
                            > have
                            > > dumped him for a second-round pick to a team with an exception.
                            > > Strange move in my book.
                            >
                            > I agree with that. Last season my system had Davis, Campbell,
                            > Magloire, Mashburn, and PJ Brown as easily the top 5 players for
                            the
                            > Hornets in that order (ALL above league average player). Nailon
                            was
                            > 6th. 18.7 SCO/48 (league ave. 20) is respectable for sub. Was a
                            > hella lot better than Augman, Wesley, and Lynch per minute.
                            >
                            > That being said - he's hardly irreplaceable. If he's a cancer in
                            the
                            > clubhouse - he could be dumpable. I assume some team will snatch
                            him
                            > up with the quickness though.
                          • Michael Tamada
                            I haven t read the DuPree article, but I ve seen other articles of his and he always ranks players in statistical categories, and adds up the ranks or
                            Message 13 of 20 , Oct 25, 2002
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                              I haven't read the DuPree article, but I've seen other articles of his and he always ranks players in statistical categories, and adds up the ranks or something close to that. It's a clear step worse than linear weights because ranking scales contain less information than scales based on numbers such as rebounds and assists.

                              It's also essentially how USNews used to rank colleges in its annual "American's Best Colleges" issue (although they did use different weights on the different categories). An absurdly primitive technique which aggravated quantitatively knowledgeable college administrators no end. For about the past four years they've used a slightly better system, one based on z-scores which amounts to a linear weights system, but with varying weights. (The year they switched was the year Caltech suddenly jumped to number one in the rankings, due to its absurdly high z-scores in areas such as expenditure per student ([a multibillion dollar endowment and a student body of about 2,000 will do that for a school.])

                              Realizing that their own system was not passing the laugh test (Caltech *is* in many ways the best at what it does, but what it does is a relatively narrow part of higher education), USNews the very next year started taking logarithms of the financial variables before calculating z-scores, reducing Caltech's advantage in the dollars-per-student areas. And Caltech fell to #5 or whatever and Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford resumed their stranglehold on the rankings.

                              It's all fun and games when we look at NBA players, but its scary to think that some students or parents might be basing college-going decisions on these DuPree-like USNews ratings.


                              --MKT


                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: Dean Oliver [mailto:deano@...]
                              Sent: 2002-10-23 (ζ˜ŸζœŸδΈ‰) 18:47
                              To: APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com
                              Cc:
                              Subject: [APBR_analysis] Re: USAToday giving statistics a bad name . . .



                              --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "John Hollinger" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
                              > Some more great 'analysis' from David DuPree. He is absolutely
                              awful,
                              > the Dalibor Bagaric of basketball writers.

                              Now that I'm out of work, I actually can think about this method.
                              Clearly, Dupree just came up with a simple idea, one that makes sense
                              on the surface. Look at some relevant statistics and see how players
                              do when ranked this way. Sports Illustrated just did it for NFL
                              historic QBs in order to, err, in showing that Johnny Unitas was the
                              best QB of all time. People wrote in about that to complain about
                              the results, but no one laughed like we can laugh at these results.

                              My point is that this type of technique is common. I see it in some
                              of the litigation work I do. When people don't know how to put
                              different important concepts together, they do this kind of general
                              ranking and scoring. Then they either add the number ranks or
                              multiply them (or some combination) possibly in combination with
                              weights (kinda like linear weights) to get scores. Usually the
                              methods get the classes -- the best are usually clustered together,
                              the worst are usually clustered -- fairly well, but trusting the
                              ultimate end rank is foolish. It has cost companies billions of
                              dollars doing this kind of thing. It has cost politicians
                              elections. Be very skeptical any time you see people ranking things
                              on importance and applying some basic formula to arrive at a
                              decision.

                              I wrote something on this years ago at

                              http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/articles/aa021997.htm

                              DeanO


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                            • Dean Oliver
                              ... annual American s Best Colleges issue (although they did use different weights on the different categories). An absurdly primitive technique which
                              Message 14 of 20 , Oct 27, 2002
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                                --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Michael Tamada" <tamada@o...> wrote:
                                >
                                > It's also essentially how USNews used to rank colleges in its
                                annual "American's Best Colleges" issue (although they did use
                                different weights on the different categories). An absurdly
                                primitive technique which aggravated quantitatively knowledgeable
                                college administrators no end. For about the past four years they've
                                used a slightly better system, one based on z-scores which amounts to
                                a linear weights system, but with varying weights. (The year they
                                switched was the year Caltech suddenly jumped to number one in the
                                rankings, due to its absurdly high z-scores in areas such as
                                expenditure per student ([a multibillion dollar endowment and a
                                student body of about 2,000 will do that for a school.])
                                >
                                > Realizing that their own system was not passing the laugh test
                                (Caltech *is* in many ways the best at what it does, but what it does
                                is a relatively narrow part of higher education), USNews the very
                                next year started taking logarithms of the financial variables before
                                calculating z-scores, reducing Caltech's advantage in the dollars-per-
                                student areas. And Caltech fell to #5 or whatever and
                                Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford resumed their stranglehold on the
                                rankings.

                                Since I went to Caltech and MikeT knows this, I figure he was going
                                for a response.

                                MikeT's analogy is a good one. If Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford
                                ends up at the top school, does that mean that it is the best school
                                for you? No. Does it even mean it's the best for a valedictorian?
                                No. There were some people I know who got almost nothing out of
                                going to Caltech. All that money going to students, all those Nobel
                                Laureates, all that competition from other students can mean nothing
                                or even intimidate some really sharp kids. Looking for the all-
                                around best school doesn't mean that it is the best school in all
                                situations. Replace "school" by "player" in that sentence and that's
                                how I feel about any of these all-encompassing player rankings.
                                Making a decision about a school/player based solely on rankings like
                                these is bound to cause people to overlook important considerations.
                                I read US News' rankings of schools and I read MikeG's rankings of
                                players. They are entertaining and they are good for some
                                trashtalking (especially when MikeT leaves out Caltech rival MIT in
                                his discussion of top schools). That's enough.

                                DeanO
                              • Mike G
                                ... A logarithm isn t exactly a root is it? The math part of my brain was destroyed in an experiment. I know a log and a root are both parts of a tree...
                                Message 15 of 20 , Oct 29, 2002
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                                  --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...> wrote:

                                  > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Michael Tamada" <tamada@o...> wrote:

                                  > > Realizing that their own system was not passing the laugh test
                                  > ... started taking logarithms of the financial variables before
                                  > calculating z-scores,...

                                  A logarithm isn't exactly a root is it? The math part of my brain
                                  was destroyed in an experiment. I know a log and a root are both
                                  parts of a tree...

                                  Laugh tests shouldn't be the end-all of evaluations, either. One
                                  guy's snicker might elicit an avalanche of roaring laughter; or it
                                  could turn into a snickering match.


                                  > I read US News' rankings of schools and I read MikeG's rankings of
                                  > players. They are entertaining and they are good for some
                                  > trashtalking ...

                                  Well, you have the option of talking at the trash level. In the end,
                                  we may be working together toward something pretty sound.

                                  I like some of what danthestatman has done. Some of it is identical
                                  to my own (standards of 100 ppg and 42 rpg); some of it may arrive at
                                  the same in a more roundabout way (scaling to yearly average, then by
                                  team); and then there's his way of tinkering with the Weights.

                                  I tinker with the weights, too. When I do career comparisons, I see
                                  that increased weight on Totals promotes the Gilmores and Cummingses
                                  over the Kemps and McGinnises. Increasing assist-weight promotes the
                                  Jaxes , etc.

                                  If you try to pick out one player for promotion or demotion, you can
                                  cut and paste him higher or lower in the list; or you can change the
                                  weights, and see who else is promoted or demoted along with him.

                                  Picking out one example you don't like, pointing and laughing without
                                  explanation, doesn't do much for progress. I think we should
                                  encourage one another, even steal one another's ideas (giving credit,
                                  of course); but self-education is here, for the receptive.

                                  Finally, I think single-number player-ranking is pretty handy when
                                  looking at the course of a players's career. Whether or not his
                                  scoring is inflated (for example), you can still see how his playoffs
                                  fared relative to his season, or how one season compares to another.

                                  Mike G
                                • danthestatman2002
                                  ... end, ... identical ... at ... by ... see ... Cummingses ... the ... can ... the ... without ... credit, ... playoffs ... Thanks Mike.... I m not new to
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Oct 29, 2002
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                                    --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Mike G" <msg_53@h...> wrote:

                                    > Well, you have the option of talking at the trash level. In the
                                    end,
                                    > we may be working together toward something pretty sound.
                                    >
                                    > I like some of what danthestatman has done. Some of it is
                                    identical
                                    > to my own (standards of 100 ppg and 42 rpg); some of it may arrive
                                    at
                                    > the same in a more roundabout way (scaling to yearly average, then
                                    by
                                    > team); and then there's his way of tinkering with the Weights.
                                    >
                                    > I tinker with the weights, too. When I do career comparisons, I
                                    see
                                    > that increased weight on Totals promotes the Gilmores and
                                    Cummingses
                                    > over the Kemps and McGinnises. Increasing assist-weight promotes
                                    the
                                    > Jaxes , etc.
                                    >
                                    > If you try to pick out one player for promotion or demotion, you
                                    can
                                    > cut and paste him higher or lower in the list; or you can change
                                    the
                                    > weights, and see who else is promoted or demoted along with him.
                                    >
                                    > Picking out one example you don't like, pointing and laughing
                                    without
                                    > explanation, doesn't do much for progress. I think we should
                                    > encourage one another, even steal one another's ideas (giving
                                    credit,
                                    > of course); but self-education is here, for the receptive.
                                    >
                                    > Finally, I think single-number player-ranking is pretty handy when
                                    > looking at the course of a players's career. Whether or not his
                                    > scoring is inflated (for example), you can still see how his
                                    playoffs
                                    > fared relative to his season, or how one season compares to another.
                                    >
                                    > Mike G

                                    Thanks Mike....

                                    I'm not new to this - I've been attempting to find player performance
                                    values since I was quite young (like 11 - I'm 31 now). Of course -
                                    like many - I did this in baseball, thanks to Bill James. I've
                                    turned to basketball and most recently football because, honestly,
                                    there isn't that much decent statistical analysis out there available
                                    to the public. There is a TON for baseball.

                                    So, I work on my stuff - and ALWAYS assume I can make it a little
                                    better at indicating player value in any given season - given the
                                    limitations of the stats we have to draw from.

                                    Dan
                                  • Dean Oliver
                                    ... A log is different. The log of 10 is 1. The log of 100 is 2. The log of 1000 is 3. (All base 10 log). ... of ... end, ... How can we know what is
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Oct 29, 2002
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                                      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Mike G" <msg_53@h...> wrote:

                                      > > > Realizing that their own system was not passing the laugh test
                                      > > ... started taking logarithms of the financial variables before
                                      > > calculating z-scores,...
                                      >
                                      > A logarithm isn't exactly a root is it? The math part of my brain
                                      > was destroyed in an experiment. I know a log and a root are both
                                      > parts of a tree...
                                      >

                                      A log is different. The log of 10 is 1. The log of 100 is 2. The
                                      log of 1000 is 3. (All base 10 log).

                                      >
                                      > > I read US News' rankings of schools and I read MikeG's rankings
                                      of
                                      > > players. They are entertaining and they are good for some
                                      > > trashtalking ...
                                      >
                                      > Well, you have the option of talking at the trash level. In the
                                      end,
                                      > we may be working together toward something pretty sound.
                                      >

                                      How can we know what is sound? What objective measure will we use to
                                      say that this linear weights method is "pretty sound"? Is it, as
                                      Kevin P said, just making sure that Shaq is #1 among today's players?

                                      > I like some of what danthestatman has done. Some of it is
                                      identical

                                      I guess the question is Why would you use something he has done? Do
                                      you like "some" of what he's done only so far as it's the same as
                                      what you've done? Why don't people just use JohnH's weights? Or
                                      Doug Steele's weights? What have people learned by looking at other
                                      people's weights? Why does anyone adopt other people's ratings?

                                      > Finally, I think single-number player-ranking is pretty handy when
                                      > looking at the course of a players's career. Whether or not his
                                      > scoring is inflated (for example), you can still see how his
                                      playoffs
                                      > fared relative to his season, or how one season compares to another.

                                      Bill James listed a few times when single ratings are handy. I don't
                                      recall what they were, other than basic trade analysis and first cut
                                      analysis of player evaluation. Anyone else remember?

                                      DeanO
                                    • Dean Oliver
                                      ... performance ... available ... Funny, I started with football back in the mid 70 s. When I saw James stuff on baseball in 84, I was impressed with how
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Oct 29, 2002
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                                        --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "danthestatman2002" <danthestatman@h...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Thanks Mike....
                                        >
                                        > I'm not new to this - I've been attempting to find player
                                        performance
                                        > values since I was quite young (like 11 - I'm 31 now). Of course -
                                        > like many - I did this in baseball, thanks to Bill James. I've
                                        > turned to basketball and most recently football because, honestly,
                                        > there isn't that much decent statistical analysis out there
                                        available
                                        > to the public. There is a TON for baseball.

                                        Funny, I started with football back in the mid 70's. When I saw
                                        James' stuff on baseball in '84, I was impressed with how well it all
                                        linked together. I realized pretty quickly that basketball had a
                                        nice structure as well. Football was waaay too hard (though I have
                                        since mentioned a structure I like to both Pete Palmer and Sean
                                        Lahman and they both have data to do what I want to do). In '87, I
                                        scored my first basketball game and that led me down the apparently
                                        demonic path of points per possession (though it's actually been
                                        around 50 years in the coaching profession, as Dean Smith did it at
                                        UNC) and away from linear weights.

                                        >
                                        > So, I work on my stuff - and ALWAYS assume I can make it a little
                                        > better at indicating player value in any given season - given the
                                        > limitations of the stats we have to draw from.

                                        There are definite limitations in the #'s, especially prior to 1978
                                        and the advent of individual turnovers. I see hugely varying
                                        turnover rates among individuals who play the same position. And
                                        those really make a big difference in how effective they appear to
                                        be. Nate Archibald's turnover rate didn't appear to be a stable
                                        thing and probably varied. He obviously played well, scored a lot of
                                        points, but if he was turning the ball over a ton, that would explain
                                        partially why his team didn't win. MJ was so great in part because
                                        he didn't turn the ball over while using a ton of possessions
                                        (something MikeG has also pointed out, using a comparison
                                        with "expected" turnovers as he defined it). I do have a few tricks
                                        up my sleeve for estimating turnovers from way back when, but the
                                        uncertainty is pretty big.

                                        Regardless, making changes in methodology based upon players pre-1978
                                        is risky. Just too much uncertainty in what the non-measured stats
                                        were.

                                        DeanO
                                      • John Hollinger
                                        Personally, I found single-number rating extremely handy for the studies in the book. In particular, the Detroit study (searching for fluke years) and the
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Nov 1, 2002
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                                          Personally, I found single-number rating extremely handy for the
                                          studies in the book. In particular, the Detroit study (searching for
                                          fluke years) and the Indiana study (comparing playoff performance)
                                          would have been close to impossible without the numerical comparison.



                                          --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                          > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Mike G" <msg_53@h...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > > > > Realizing that their own system was not passing the laugh
                                          test
                                          > > > ... started taking logarithms of the financial variables before
                                          > > > calculating z-scores,...
                                          > >
                                          > > A logarithm isn't exactly a root is it? The math part of my
                                          brain
                                          > > was destroyed in an experiment. I know a log and a root are both
                                          > > parts of a tree...
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          > A log is different. The log of 10 is 1. The log of 100 is 2. The
                                          > log of 1000 is 3. (All base 10 log).
                                          >
                                          > >
                                          > > > I read US News' rankings of schools and I read MikeG's rankings
                                          > of
                                          > > > players. They are entertaining and they are good for some
                                          > > > trashtalking ...
                                          > >
                                          > > Well, you have the option of talking at the trash level. In the
                                          > end,
                                          > > we may be working together toward something pretty sound.
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          > How can we know what is sound? What objective measure will we use
                                          to
                                          > say that this linear weights method is "pretty sound"? Is it, as
                                          > Kevin P said, just making sure that Shaq is #1 among today's
                                          players?
                                          >
                                          > > I like some of what danthestatman has done. Some of it is
                                          > identical
                                          >
                                          > I guess the question is Why would you use something he has done?
                                          Do
                                          > you like "some" of what he's done only so far as it's the same as
                                          > what you've done? Why don't people just use JohnH's weights? Or
                                          > Doug Steele's weights? What have people learned by looking at
                                          other
                                          > people's weights? Why does anyone adopt other people's ratings?
                                          >
                                          > > Finally, I think single-number player-ranking is pretty handy
                                          when
                                          > > looking at the course of a players's career. Whether or not his
                                          > > scoring is inflated (for example), you can still see how his
                                          > playoffs
                                          > > fared relative to his season, or how one season compares to
                                          another.
                                          >
                                          > Bill James listed a few times when single ratings are handy. I
                                          don't
                                          > recall what they were, other than basic trade analysis and first
                                          cut
                                          > analysis of player evaluation. Anyone else remember?
                                          >
                                          > DeanO
                                        • Dean Oliver
                                          ... for ... comparison. I guess I always use individual offensive and defensive ratings, as well as a player s percentage of the team offense. (%age of team
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Nov 1, 2002
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                                            --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "John Hollinger" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
                                            > Personally, I found single-number rating extremely handy for the
                                            > studies in the book. In particular, the Detroit study (searching
                                            for
                                            > fluke years) and the Indiana study (comparing playoff performance)
                                            > would have been close to impossible without the numerical
                                            comparison.

                                            I guess I always use individual offensive and defensive ratings, as
                                            well as a player's percentage of the team offense. (%age of team
                                            defense is harder to estimate, so I don't use that).

                                            As a screen, one number gives you a sense and you can do stats on
                                            it. I guess I like to know reasons. How can you change and predict
                                            it? The stats from one number can help make predictions (sometimes
                                            better than with multiple #'s because you don't rationalize a
                                            number), but it doesn't help you _change_ anything, which is how I
                                            like to use my stuff.

                                            Didn't get an answer, though, to how people use each other's weights
                                            or what they've learned from them.

                                            DeanO

                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...> wrote:
                                            > > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Mike G" <msg_53@h...> wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > > > > Realizing that their own system was not passing the laugh
                                            > test
                                            > > > > ... started taking logarithms of the financial variables
                                            before
                                            > > > > calculating z-scores,...
                                            > > >
                                            > > > A logarithm isn't exactly a root is it? The math part of my
                                            > brain
                                            > > > was destroyed in an experiment. I know a log and a root are
                                            both
                                            > > > parts of a tree...
                                            > > >
                                            > >
                                            > > A log is different. The log of 10 is 1. The log of 100 is 2.
                                            The
                                            > > log of 1000 is 3. (All base 10 log).
                                            > >
                                            > > >
                                            > > > > I read US News' rankings of schools and I read MikeG's
                                            rankings
                                            > > of
                                            > > > > players. They are entertaining and they are good for some
                                            > > > > trashtalking ...
                                            > > >
                                            > > > Well, you have the option of talking at the trash level. In
                                            the
                                            > > end,
                                            > > > we may be working together toward something pretty sound.
                                            > > >
                                            > >
                                            > > How can we know what is sound? What objective measure will we
                                            use
                                            > to
                                            > > say that this linear weights method is "pretty sound"? Is it, as
                                            > > Kevin P said, just making sure that Shaq is #1 among today's
                                            > players?
                                            > >
                                            > > > I like some of what danthestatman has done. Some of it is
                                            > > identical
                                            > >
                                            > > I guess the question is Why would you use something he has done?
                                            > Do
                                            > > you like "some" of what he's done only so far as it's the same as
                                            > > what you've done? Why don't people just use JohnH's weights? Or
                                            > > Doug Steele's weights? What have people learned by looking at
                                            > other
                                            > > people's weights? Why does anyone adopt other people's ratings?
                                            > >
                                            > > > Finally, I think single-number player-ranking is pretty handy
                                            > when
                                            > > > looking at the course of a players's career. Whether or not
                                            his
                                            > > > scoring is inflated (for example), you can still see how his
                                            > > playoffs
                                            > > > fared relative to his season, or how one season compares to
                                            > another.
                                            > >
                                            > > Bill James listed a few times when single ratings are handy. I
                                            > don't
                                            > > recall what they were, other than basic trade analysis and first
                                            > cut
                                            > > analysis of player evaluation. Anyone else remember?
                                            > >
                                            > > DeanO
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