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Re: Similarity Scores

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  • Dean Oliver
    ... only ... I think this is what I was interested in. I was curious who from today would fit in the 60 s. Or, more interestingly, who from the 70 s might
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 17, 2001
      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., msg_53@h... wrote:
      > > 1. I'd like to see some non-standardized comparisons. I do like
      > the
      > > standardized because they make some sense, but I think
      > > non-standardized will also tell a story.
      >
      > Dean, you could do raw averages, but players from the 60s would
      only
      > compare to players in the 60s. Actually, a great rebounder in the
      > 90s would seem to compare to an average rebounder in the 60s, for
      > example.
      > I don't have a ready database of raw averages.
      >

      I think this is what I was interested in. I was curious who from
      today would fit in the '60's. Or, more interestingly, who from the
      '70's might fit in today's game. Are West's raw #'s similar to
      Iverson's or to Richmond's? What happens in baseball is that
      outstanding players tend to be dissimilar to other players in their
      era, but similar to outstanding players of other eras. I have doubt
      that this would happen in basketball, using raw #'s, because of the
      style change. You seem to be saying the same thing.

      (I didn't realize that you don't have a db of raw#'s.)

      > > 2. You really need some comparison of shooting percentages and
      > > turnovers. It really caught my eye with the Duncan-Kareem
      > > comparison. I see some similarity between these two, but there
      are
      > > big differences in offensive efficiency. Kareem was nearly
      > > unstoppable offensively - my floor%'s and offensive efficiencies
      > > reflect that. Duncan is very stoppable, his offensive rating and
      > > floor percentage blending in to be about average. Kareem fell to
      > > average offensively only in his last year. (I also don't think
      > that
      > > Kareem was the defensive force that Duncan is, but my memories
      are
      > > biased by the Kareem post-'80, when he wasn't as good as he was
      > when
      > > younger.)
      >
      > Shooting percentages are part of what determines my standardized
      > scoring rate, along with game pace (defined as points allowed). I
      > only did career totals, so Kareem's incredibly long career has been
      > smoothed over, and his very dominant early seasons are not truly
      > reflected.

      One of my personal quibbles with all the tendex-like rating systems
      out there is there is that they do combine offensive with defensive
      contributions. There is a big difference in my mind between Moses
      Malone, who was an offensive force, and Hakeem Olajuwon, who has been
      dominant defensively. Both were good in the other thing, but
      dominant in just one. Kareem was dominant offensively (and probably
      defensively) early on. Duncan has been dominant defensively, not
      offensively. (Duncan appears to have more of the competitive fight
      than Kareem, but, again, I missed the early Kareem.)

      > Maybe Duncan has peaked, and his career averages really
      > won't rank close to Kareem's.

      I don't think I'd say that Duncan's peaked. He's been pretty
      remarkably consistent since entering the league. Maybe it's only
      remarkable that he stayed in school long enough to actually be ready
      for the league when entering.

      > Further, Duncan's offensive numbers, in my system, get a big boost
      > from his being on a great defensive team. You have to agree his
      > offensive strength is way above average on his team.

      Depending on how you define "average", but, yeah, Duncan looks better
      offensively than he really is because he plays on a great defensive
      team. (He would make most teams better defensively, too.)

      > Personally, I don't ever consider 'position' to be a quantifiable
      > statistic.

      James defined numbers to positions for defensive purposes (a
      shortstop is much more valuable to a defense than a 1st baseman, for
      example). That might be necessary for some of the older guys because
      defensive stats really don't exist in the '60's and early '70's. But
      we can probably still assume that a center was the most important
      defensive player back then, as he is now. This gets adequately
      reflected in blocks, steals, and defensive boards, but you do need
      those #'s.

      > assist from a center is exactly as important as an assist from a
      > guard.

      Only a minor point here -- this is not precisely true (though
      probably true enough for government work). Assists from guards tend
      to be more valuable. This is because they often have to make the
      tougher pass than big men. The weight on an assist is proportional
      to the expected FG% of the guy he passes to. Historically, big men
      have had higher FG% than guards -- hence their assists are weighted
      less. (The assists of the best shooting player on a team are less
      valuable than the assists of the guys getting him the ball.) This
      has changed with the 3 pt shot, but it's a conversion from FG% to
      effective FG%...

      Dean Oliver
      Journal of Basketball Studies
    • Mike Goodman
      ... My raw totals and per-game averages are contained in my season files, along with team totals and averages for that season. My composite lists only have
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 18, 2001
        --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@t...> wrote:
        > (I didn't realize that you don't have a db of raw#'s.)
        >
        My raw totals and per-game averages are contained in my 'season'
        files, along with team totals and averages for that season. My
        composite lists only have the 'standardized' rates. From those
        rates, I can generate 'equivalent totals'. For 'average'
        scoring/rebounding teams, these would be equal to raw season totals.

        >
        > One of my personal quibbles with all the tendex-like rating systems
        > out there is there is that they do combine offensive with defensive
        > contributions. There is a big difference in my mind between Moses
        > Malone, who was an offensive force, and Hakeem Olajuwon, who has
        been
        > dominant defensively. Both were good in the other thing, but
        > dominant in just one. Kareem was dominant offensively (and
        probably
        > defensively) early on. Duncan has been dominant defensively, not
        > offensively. (Duncan appears to have more of the competitive fight
        > than Kareem, but, again, I missed the early Kareem.)

        I get your point, Dean, but your examples don't seem the clearest.
        Olajuwan is better than Malone because he has all the offense Malone
        had PLUS defense. Never seen the Dream shake?
        Duncan has virtually all the offense Kareem had, averaged over their
        careers, according to my numbers. Kareem did maintain a great
        shooting pct., but Duncan plays in an era of universally-tough D.

        > I don't think I'd say that Duncan's peaked. He's been pretty
        > remarkably consistent since entering the league. Maybe it's only
        > remarkable that he stayed in school long enough to actually be
        ready
        > for the league when entering.

        Some guys enter the league at full strength: Wilt, Oscar, Kareem,
        Robinson, never improved beyond their first 3 years. Others start as
        near- superstars, then several years along suddenly shift into true
        superstar mode: Magic, Bird, Olajuwon, ...

        >
        > Depending on how you define "average", but, yeah, Duncan looks
        better
        > offensively than he really is because he plays on a great defensive
        > team. (He would make most teams better defensively, too.)

        Don't know how a guy 'looks better than he really is', DeanO.

        >Assists from guards tend
        > to be more valuable. This is because they often have to make the
        > tougher pass than big men. The weight on an assist is proportional
        > to the expected FG% of the guy he passes to. Historically, big men
        > have had higher FG% than guards -- hence their assists are weighted
        > less. (The assists of the best shooting player on a team are less
        > valuable than the assists of the guys getting him the ball.) This
        > has changed with the 3 pt shot, but it's a conversion from FG% to
        > effective FG%...
        >
        > Dean Oliver
        > Journal of Basketball Studies

        This is fun, splitting hairs!
        If your center kicks out 3 nice passes to guards, who only hit one of
        the 3 shots, the center only gets one assist.
        The guard can make 3 nice passes inside, 2 of which may be converted,
        so he gets 2 assists.
        So an equally valid argument is that assists from guards
        are 'easier', and assists from centers are 'undercounted'.
        I say they are equal.

        Perhaps more to the issue, evaluate which players make those
        practical passes which may or may not get them an assist, versus
        those who will not give up the ball unless it gets them an assist. I
        can't discern the 2 types from the statistics, but I know it when I
        see it. (It might be partly discernible in that old assist/turnover
        ratio.)


        Mike Goodman
      • Dean Oliver
        ... systems ... defensive ... fight ... Olajuwon was very solid offensively (not stellar, like Kareem) -- I didn t mean to imply otherwise. Malone was just
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 18, 2001
          --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Mike Goodman" <msg_53@h...> wrote:
          > > One of my personal quibbles with all the tendex-like rating
          systems
          > > out there is there is that they do combine offensive with
          defensive
          > > contributions. There is a big difference in my mind between Moses
          > > Malone, who was an offensive force, and Hakeem Olajuwon, who has
          > been
          > > dominant defensively. Both were good in the other thing, but
          > > dominant in just one. Kareem was dominant offensively (and
          > probably
          > > defensively) early on. Duncan has been dominant defensively, not
          > > offensively. (Duncan appears to have more of the competitive
          fight
          > > than Kareem, but, again, I missed the early Kareem.)
          >
          > I get your point, Dean, but your examples don't seem the clearest.
          > Olajuwan is better than Malone because he has all the offense Malone
          > had PLUS defense. Never seen the Dream shake?
          > Duncan has virtually all the offense Kareem had, averaged over their
          > careers, according to my numbers. Kareem did maintain a great
          > shooting pct., but Duncan plays in an era of universally-tough D.

          Olajuwon was very solid offensively (not stellar, like Kareem) -- I
          didn't mean to imply otherwise. Malone was just the epitome of a good
          offensive center who wasn't that good defensively. Rik Smits is
          another example of the poor defensive type who can score (not as well
          as Olajuwon/Moses). Olajuwon is very DISSIMILAR to these guys because
          he is much better defensively. Similarity is all I'm trying to
          capture, not quality.

          I looked at Duncan's offensive #'s last night and his offensive rating
          has been between about 104 and 108 since entering the league, when
          average offensive ratings have been between about 100 and 103. He's a
          little more efficient than average. My recollection of Kareem's #'s
          were about 115 in the early '80s, when average was about 106-108 --
          relatively higher than Duncan's. Again, these two players just don't
          seem very SIMILAR to me. I would think of David Robinson as more
          similar to Kareem. Or possibly Olajuwon. Probably Wilt. Not
          Russell.

          > >
          > > Depending on how you define "average", but, yeah, Duncan looks
          > better
          > > offensively than he really is because he plays on a great
          defensive
          > > team. (He would make most teams better defensively, too.)
          >
          > Don't know how a guy 'looks better than he really is', DeanO.
          >

          Another way of saying that the hype on Duncan has been a little
          extreme. Put him on the Hawks last year and, while he's better than
          Mutombo offensively, the team still wouldn't have scored much. They
          would have been pretty close to as good defensively as they were with
          Mutombo (or better), but they wouldn't be an offensive threat. I
          don't think Kareem ever played on a weak offensive team.

          > This is fun, splitting hairs!
          > If your center kicks out 3 nice passes to guards, who only hit one
          of
          > the 3 shots, the center only gets one assist.
          > The guard can make 3 nice passes inside, 2 of which may be
          converted,
          > so he gets 2 assists.
          > So an equally valid argument is that assists from guards
          > are 'easier', and assists from centers are 'undercounted'.
          > I say they are equal.
          >
          > Perhaps more to the issue, evaluate which players make those
          > practical passes which may or may not get them an assist, versus
          > those who will not give up the ball unless it gets them an assist.

          The goal is to identify when a good pass is made. Generally a better
          pass is one made to a better shooter. That's all I try to capture. I
          capture it in formulas with teammate FG%. For years, I didn't worry
          about it and it really didn't matter much. Now I've got more
          sophisticated calculation devices. I've actually found that this
          adjustment makes the most difference when evaluating different levels
          of basketball (high school, college, women's).

          Dean Oliver
          Journal of Basketball Studies
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