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Re: Dilution, balance, and Bob-bashing

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  • harlanzo <harlanzo@yahoo.com>
    ... or ... will ... I see the issues this way as well. ... spent, ... Agreed but i think mikeg made the point that it is a little thorny to give players the
    Message 1 of 35 , Jan 2, 2003
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      --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "schtevie2003 <schtevie@h...>"
      <schtevie@h...> wrote:
      >

      >
      > Let me frame the issue in my own words, and in doing so,
      > necessarily repeat a lot of what has been discussed (my
      > apologies).
      >
      > When comparing teams across time, there are two significant
      > issues that need to be confronted. The first is talent dilution
      or
      > concentration (in which category I would include strength and
      > conditioning of the athlete) and the second then is the catch-all
      > of all other factors influencing the ability to compete which I
      will
      > just label as coaching.

      I see the issues this way as well.

      >
      > It seems to me that the only reasonable prior belief regarding the
      > first factor is that talent has improved dramatically over time.
      > This point is obvious to me on two grounds. First, reasoning by
      > analogy, in every sport where increases in "athleticism" (again,
      > defined as a catch-all of raw talent and physical training) can be
      > measured, the conclusion is relentless, monotonic progress
      > with diminishing returns. Take track or swimming where times
      > have plummeted, weight-lifting (ignoring steroids) where more is
      > hoisted, or even the quasi-sport of figure-skating where the
      > ability to rotate in the air has improved dramatically. In this
      > context, it seems inconceivable that basketball would have been
      > exempt from this generally observed progress. Second, if one
      > really believes that time stood still in terms of physical
      > improvements in basketball players, one must necessarily
      > believe that players doing arduous off-season and on-season
      > physical conditioning routines are wasting a great deal of time,
      > both absolutely and relatively - in that time would be better
      spent,
      > say, practicing foul shooting.

      Agreed but i think mikeg made the point that it is a little thorny
      to give players the benefit of the doubt of moderning training.
      players are bigger today that is fact. but with modern training
      russell might've weighed more than 230. on the other players are
      also taller. i don't think training can account for that. so i
      think thereare advantages that are fair to give to modern players
      and some that might be overstated. probably merits further
      investigation.

      >
      > A similar point could be made as to the only reasonable
      > inference regarding the quality and quantity of coaching. Why
      > would owners spend millions of additional dollars for these
      > services if there were no return? Anyway, so much for the
      > rhetorical points.

      no doubt that there were great coaches in the 60s but innovation is
      better. to quote matt goukas on the old 1967 76ers he said that the
      concept of "spacing on offense did not exist." you can see this in
      the book season of the 76ers by wayne lynch (its a decent read).


      >
      > The more important point I wanted to make here regards the
      > interpretation of the familiar historical trends that existed from
      the
      > late 50's/early 60's until the late 70's or early 80's. (I
      apologize for
      > the fuzziness of the dates, but I actually did this research some
      > time in the mid-90's and the results are on some pieces of
      > paper in a box somewhere.) I speak of the trends of two data
      > series: points per possession (what I then called points per
      > common possession, similar to definitions I have seen
      > discussed here) and possessions per game. As we all know,
      > the pace of the game slowed dramatically, yet over this time
      > period offensive productivity soared, such that on net (and this
      is
      > important for the resulting inference) there was a very
      significant
      > increase in points scored per possession.

      It became clear that most coaches in the late 80s and 90s decided
      that the most efficient way to play was to have fewer possessions
      but better % shots and fewer high % fast breaks the other way (which
      a quick long jump shot often leads to). this is in direct contrast
      to the 60s were people were shooting all over the place all the
      time. how else could walt bellamy average 31 and 17 for a season.

      >
      >
      > But what happened is that despite the dramatic slowdown in
      > game pace, there was on net an overcompensating increase in
      > offensive productivity. I can come up with only one
      interpretation
      > of why this was, and that is that coaches were taking control of
      > the game and wringing bad player decision-making out of the
      > game. I like to think of it as the NBA curing itself of Celtic-
      itis. Let
      > me explain.
      >
      > It is pretty clear (though I can't say I investigated this aspect
      > conclusively) that the NBA followed the stylistic lead of the
      Celtics

      just like teams followed chuck daly's team in the early 90s or the
      bulls triangle offense like a few teams tried unsucessfully in the
      90s.

      >
      > Regarding the comparison of teams over time, I would offer this
      > summary. First, regarding talent dilution/concentration, it would
      > seem most prudent to believe that in fact talent has actually
      > increased over time and at least has not decreased. Second, at
      > least regarding the two decades of the 60's and the 70's, a
      > reasonable (in fact low-bound) estimate of the average
      > improvement in team strength is the increase in offensive
      > productivity (I say lowbound because the estimate assumes that
      > the gains were exclusively offensive whereas there were likely
      > were greater offensive improvements still but with offsetting
      > defensive improvements). And this is huge. Again my numbers
      > are fuzzy, but as I recall, this improvement was on the order of
      > about 10 to 12 points per game at a "modern" pace. As I recall
      > framing it back then, the 60's Celtics would have been
      > competitive only with the doormats of the modern era.

      that assumes that the celts style would not change when they play a
      slowed down team. i think the question of how an extreme running
      teams pace "meshes" with an extreme slow down team is an open
      question.

      >
      > To finish the timeline, after the early 80's the analytical "gift"
      of
      > dramatically offsetting trends in game pace and offensive
      > productivity is gone, with the pace still slowing, but at a
      > decreasing rate, and middling offensive improvements
      > accounted largely by the introduction of the three pointer (what I
      > like to call the above-average below-average shot). Finally, in
      the
      > 90's, as is well known, offensive productivity actually began to
      fall
      > discernably. Despite this, my opinion of general progress
      > remains the same, just now that the net improvement was
      > defensive.

      right so we may have reached a point were league improvement has
      slowed down incrementally or improvement on defense continues and
      offense has flat-lined/regressed. what does this tell us? i am not
      sure.

      >
      > Well, that's it from me. Thoughts?
      >
      > Steve
    • John Hollinger <alleyoop2@yahoo.com>
      ... watched ... Put me firmly in the pompous windbag camp. The best thing about the Mason comment, for instance, was that Rosen said the reason Mason can t
      Message 35 of 35 , Jan 11, 2003
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        > I particularly enjoyed Rosen's article on the Sonics where he
        watched
        > one game (one of the worst of the year, for what it's worth) and
        > acted like he knew something about the team. Apparently, Desmond
        > Mason can't make a jumper because he had one bad night.

        Put me firmly in the "pompous windbag" camp. The best thing about the
        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
        his shot.
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