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Re: [APBR_analysis] Re: another angle on talent dilution

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  • John W. Craven
    ... I don t think that the argument is that the _entire_ league is getting better; truly great players will be truly great players in any environment. However,
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 28, 2002
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      On Sat, 28 Dec 2002, Mike G <msg_53@...> wrote:

      > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "John Hollinger
      > <alleyoop2@y...>" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
      > > Actually, that's a reason to think it's MORE stocked with talent,
      > not
      > > less.
      >
      > If one doesn't look at both the caliber and the number, one could
      > make that assumption.
      >
      >
      > > The league was 100 percent white american before Chuck Taylor, and
      > > has been declining ever since as talented players from other
      > > backgrounds and countries have been drawn in.
      >
      > True enough, to a point. In the 50s and 60s, black players took
      > roster spots from white players. But not from white allstars; rather
      > from guys on the bench. Unless coach thought there was only room for
      > one allstar on the team.??
      >
      >
      > > Your hypothesis assumes that white Americans have simply chosen not
      > > to play, rather than assuming that they have been beaten out for
      > > roster spots by players from other backgrounds. Given how many
      > white
      > > Americans play major college ball, I think the answer here is
      > obvious.
      >
      > Well, I know enough kids who have decided not to play basketball.
      > And of course, just playing isn't going to get anyone into the NBA.
      > There's also work involved.
      >
      > I find it a stretch of the imagination to think that Nowitzki is
      > keeping a Walton out of the league (Dudley maybe), or that Nash would
      > force a Westphal to the minor leagues, etc.
      >
      > If you think a 41-year-old Stockton, Harpring, BMiller, Van Horn, and
      > Bradley are equivalent to Walton, Issel, Adams, Westphal, and Barry
      > (of 1977), I really don't know what to tell you. It isn't because
      > the 2002 bunch is surrounded by superior talent, that they don't look
      > as good; it's because they aren't as good.
      >
      > The vast potential of NBA talent in white America has slowed to a
      > trickle. It doesn't serve anyone's interest to suggest the
      > possibility is beyond them, as individuals, to achieve this end.
      > Stating as fact, that they are inferior as basketball players,
      > doesn't explain Larry Bird, Bill Walton, Kevin McHale, etc., etc.

      I don't think that the argument is that the _entire_ league is getting better; truly great players will be truly great players in any environment. However, I also have a hunch that the "replacement level", so to speak, has gotten higher over the last 40 years. I still need to do that standard deviation study (the minimum of 30 attempts per year includes way too much noise); hopefully, I'll get around to it next week.

      A couple notes on that before I start it, because I don't want to sound like I am trying to invalidate results just because they don't agree with my suppositions. First and foremost, if standard deviation does suggest talent, then the following should be true, regardless of whether or not the overall numbers get smaller or bigger as the seasons progress:

      1. There should be a drop in competitive balance in expansion years,

      2. There should also be a drop in years that there are other leagues competing for players besides the NBA (i.e. the ABA in the late '60s to mid-70s, with a corresponding rise the year the merger occurs, and the early days of the league), and

      3. In the case of the ABA in particular, the level of competitive balance early on should be lower than the NBA. Maybe it got better later, but what anecdotal evidence I've seen (mostly Loose Balls, I have to admit) would seem to suggest that, at least in the early days of the league, competitive balance was a lot worse than the ABA.

      Anyway, like I said, I'll try and look at the thing soon. I'm still on the fence as to whether I should look at every player with 300+ attempts in a season or if just taking the top 5 players per team is the way to go.

      John Craven

      >
      >
      > >
      > > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "Mike G <msg_53@h...>"
      > > <msg_53@h...> wrote:
      > > > .... white Americans in the
      > > NBA
      > > > in 1977 and in 2002:
      > > >
      > > > 1977 ............ 2002
      > > > Bill Walton ..... John Stockton
      > > > Dan Issel ....... Matt Harpring
      > > > Alvan Adams ..... Brad Miller
      > > > Paul Westphal ... Keith Van Horn
      > > > Rick Barry ...... Shawn Bradley
      > > > Dave Cowens ..... Jason Williams
      > > > Rudy Tomjanovic. Wally Szczerbiak
      > > > Mitch Kupchak ... Mike Miller
      > > > Billy Paultz .... Brent Barry
      > > > Rich Kelley ..... Jon Barry
      > > > Doug Collins .... Scott Padgett
      > > > Tom Burleson .... Raef Lafrentz
      > > > Brian Winters ... Christian Laettner
      > > > Dave Robisch .... Greg Ostertag
      > > > Bob Gross ....... Eric Piatkowski
      > > > John Havlicek ... Jeff Foster
      > > > Dave Twardzik ... Pat Garrity
      > > >
      > > > It kinda looks like you could take the best white American off
      > > every
      > > > NBA team of 1977, and still have as much talent as you have in
      > 2002.
      >
      >
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