Re: Dilution, balance, and Bob-bashing
- --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "John W. Craven"
> > statistically, the league has trended significantly towardselecting
> > athletic tall players who can dribble and defend, rather thantall
> > players who can just play the low post. All these 7 footers whoplay
> > on the perimeter didn't exist even in the early '90's. Does thatknow -
> > mean that Wilt couldn't have played on the perimeter? We don't
> > - that's the point. Can you simulate something? Sure. Can youcan
> > calibrate it or validate it? No. There is no reality check I
> > think of to do so. Calibration in my mind means having a real-
> > experiment -- actually playing the 1996 Bulls vs the 1972 Lakers -
> > to check a simulation against. Obviously impossible. What wecan do
> > better is come up with reasonable statistical metrics for whatany
> > cross-generational simulator should have to live up to. Shouldthey
> > meet the average pace of the two generations? The average paceof
> > the two teams? I guess I'd find Bob-bashing more productive ifwe
> > can all come up with rules for what cross-generational simulatorsthe pace of past teams downward or decrease/increase their field goal
> > would do, not in specifics (Lakers should beat Bulls), but in
> > generalities.
> That's the crux, here. I just don't see how one can simply adjust
percentages and then say that the games you sim are at all
meaningful. I don't have a problem with guys who do this as a leisure
activity; I'll be the first to admit that it's a lot of fun to
answer, if only to yourself, whether or not the 1970 Lakers could
take down the 1996 Bulls. The problem is that unlike, say, baseball,
the game has changed quite a bit over the last 30 years.
>I would agree.
> > For example, any games between the two shouldnumber of
> > obviously result in stats where the two teams have the same
> > possessions. That's a basketball rule.those of today (meaning that games should be simmed at or near their
> Yes, but... were the teams of the 1970s and 80s simply faster than
pace) or are teams nowadays better at cutting off the fast break? I
don't know, and after the little study that I did (and I'll be the
first to admit that it's by no means perfect) I can't even cast an
opinion here. The NBA of the mid-70s appears to be of a higher talent
level than at any other time, but other than that there just doesn't
seem to be a lot of difference in competitive balance between now and
around 1971 or '72.
Is it greater talent or more competitive?
> > Or just stating the
> > assumptions of a cross-generational simulation would help. We
> > that the Mavericks of 2003 are not allowed to play a zone whenMavs are built around running the zone a lot. If the illegal defense
> > competing against the Lakers of 1987.
> ...which seems to me to be an unfair handicap, since the 2002-3
rules were still in place, they would likely be constituted
differently, in terms of both personnel and rotation choices.
> > Or, more likely, we assume
> > that the Mavericks defensive ability is independent of how they
> > defense (which is, of course, wrong but statistically practical).shown in the past that when they don't run the zone, they're not much
> ...and I have just as much of a problem with this, as the Mavs have
of a defensive team.
That's my point. You could have problem with any assumption you make.
> > which is that predetermined outcomes of sports are bad. PurelyHyperbole for the sake of a point.
> > random outcomes may also be bad, but things that are almost
> > guarantees -- the Lakers winning the title in 2001
> I disagree that this was a guarantee, but I agree with the point.
> > Someone pointed out that talent almost assuredly gets diluted instatistic
> > expansion years. This is true and is a minimum test of any
> > we use for assessing average level of talent.baseball and many of the expansions actually didn't have a great deal
> Yes, although to be fair this has been studied a lot more in
of effect in league talent. There were quite a few capable players,
for example, squirrelled away in farm systems and on benches of
contending teams in the late 1950s who finally got a chance to play
in the early 60s.
One of the more interesting studies I saw last summer was one by Rod
Fort, one of the leading sports economists, having testified before
Congress on baseball issues. He looked at competitive balance as a
function of free agency, drafts, etc. over a long period of time
using all sorts of statistical methods and he couldn't find
statistics that showed significant changes in competitive balance
(except in expansion years, I think). Of course, this is part of his
economic theory, so he was hoping it would say that.
> > Many statistics should
> > show this, however. I believe MikeG had some stat a long time
> > showing how much net gain in minutes played per player there was,shows
> > which was a weird stat (one I'm not sure about), but certainly
> > expansion years and possibly other things. I thinkdo
> > turnovers/possession would show expansion years, too. Would FG%
> > that? It's a purely offensive stat. Does this meanthat "talent" is
> > primarily an offensive thing? What other statistics can we use?differences between FG% between individual players. One would assume
> It wasn't even looking at FG%, per se. It was looking at the
that as the overall talent level of a basketball league increases,
players who shoot really, really poorly would shoot less and in
situations better suited to their limited abilities (raising their
FG%), and conversely the really really great players would be
increasingly less better than the league average. This is an
imperfect stat, since the NBA obviously doesn't determine who will
play and shoot based solely on their FG% (or EfFG% later on). I was
hoping that that effect would cancel itself out from year to year;
unfortunately, it looked like there was still a good deal of noise.
Inter-individual variations are tough. I have a way to deal with
them so that the noise gets muted a bit, but it would take a while to
> I particularly enjoyed Rosen's article on the Sonics where hewatched
> one game (one of the worst of the year, for what it's worth) andPut me firmly in the "pompous windbag" camp. The best thing about the
> acted like he knew something about the team. Apparently, Desmond
> Mason can't make a jumper because he had one bad night.
Mason comment, for instance, was that Rosen said the reason Mason
can't make a jumper was his "low release point", which was hilarious
on several levels:
1) Apparently he's never watched Steve Kerr. Or Andrew Toney. Or
Bryce Drew. Or about a hundred other guys who shoot from under their
chin but make everything.
2) Mason's release point isn't low, especially given that he's about
20 feet off the ground when he shoots it.
3) Mason's problem isn't the release point, it's the lack of arc on