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Re: Vin, Rants, and Roland

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  • Dean Oliver
    ... evaluations ... too. Outfield had its own problems (stemming, I think, more from Palmer and Thorn s willingness to estimate defensive innings than a real
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 5, 2003
      --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, john1974@u... wrote:
      > >
      > > I only call it a rant because I also rant about defensive evaluation.
      > > Baseball has been able to evaluate D pretty well for a long time, well
      > > before Win Shares. Hidden Game of Baseball presented defensive
      evaluations
      > > for players that stand the test of time. The only position with some
      > > question was catcher.
      >
      > I have to disagree here. Fielding Runs for first base were way off
      too. Outfield had its own problems (stemming, I think, more from
      Palmer and Thorn's willingness to estimate defensive innings than a
      real problem in how they put things together). 2nd, 3rd, and short
      aren't really great either.

      It sounds like you've studied it more than I, so I defer, for now. In
      my looks, I didn't see a lot of difference.

      > > A big part of the problem with evaluating individual defense in
      basketball
      > > is that individuals are to blame for defensive breakdowns only a
      fraction of
      > > the time. A fair fraction of defensive problems are systemic -
      the defense
      > > chooses to give up a 3 pt shot in favor of shutting down Shaq, for
      example.
      > > That is probably THE BIGGEST result that came out of the work I
      did with
      > > scoring defense. If a perimeter guy comes down to double team
      Shaq, Shaq
      > > gets it back out to Fisher at 25 ft, who makes the 3, whose fault
      is that?
      > > Is it the low box defender who needed help on Shaq? Is it the guy
      who came
      > > to help but couldn't get back? Is it the other perimeter guy who
      could have
      > > rotated over? This happens A LOT.
      >
      > Yeah, especially since the early 90s, I agree. Do you just chalk
      these missed assignments to team defense, or do you attempt to assign
      blame?

      With a variety of volunteers, it's not perfectly clear how they all
      did it. I told them not to be too concerned about assigning "Team" in
      cases like this or when there was doubt.

      I'd actually say that a lot of this began in the '80's, not
      league-wide, but definitely on several teams.


      > > That's useful. Same with Roland's plus/minus. People are
      pointing out
      > > problems with the number as an isolated rating. Roland
      acknowledges those
      > > problems and suggests that there are a lot of adjustments that can
      be used.
      > > That is great. As JohnH said, it was horrible that a coach used a
      single
      > > plus/minus to sit down Kendall Gill.
      >
      > That was ME, you bastige.

      I'll do that every so often. The anonymous halls of the internet make
      it even more difficult to remember all that...

      >
      > > I would also say it's horrible to use
      > > PER or MikeG's numbers or my numbers or Winston/Sagarin numbers or
      any of
      > > these single numbers to sit down every statistician's least
      favorite player:
      > > Michael Curry. Basketball is a team game with significant complex
      > > interactions not reflected very well in statistics. You have to
      do a ton of
      > > work to get something meaningful. I think we here do a pretty
      good job
      > > getting at some of the meaning, but we ain't gonna get it all and
      we gotta
      > > keep that in mind in looking at all summary stats, whether it's
      Roland's
      > > work or anyone else's here.
      >
      > I would go so far to add that in basketball it is simply not
      possible to play "Moneyball"; that these numbers can be useful for fan
      illumination, but ultimately I'm not sure that they'll have a big
      impact on how the game itself is played. You've been employed by the
      Sonics, I know, so maybe your experience is different. It just seems
      to me that basketball involves such a complex, tangled skein of player
      attributes and talents that you can't simply make a statement like
      "Allen Iverson should shoot less" or "the Celtics should trade Antoine
      Walker" without talking about things in an at least partially
      non-statistical manner.
      >

      Respectfully disagreeing here. I do think that playing "moneyball" is
      a different game in hoops. It's not just identifying the best
      players. I do a lot more than that. It's identifying how players fit
      together. Chp 19 shows the basic optimization you can do, using
      numbers to optimize how players fit together. So, yes, just
      identifying the guys who have the best RC/27 outs may work in
      baseball, but no such thing is possible in basketball. Basketball
      adds a significant degree of freedom in allowing certain players to
      use more possessions, which means a big tradeoff in quality and
      quantity. Further, with that degree of freedom, you can actually use
      stats to IMPROVE players, as we did with Rashard Lewis (hopefully he's
      improved, it is still early). I also looked at similar stuff for
      Collison and Ridnour, the two draft picks, to see how they could best
      improve. Keeping them out of the trainer's room -- not much I could
      do about that. We'll see what happens.

      Yes, there is always non-statistical stuff in the conversation. There
      should be in baseball, too. But stats can be a significant
      contributor. I guess baseball stat guys tend to look at the stats and
      say they _are_ the player. Whereas I'd say that basketball stat guys
      have to look at stats and say they define a range of players that he
      could be. You have to set the environment (his teammates, his
      coaching) right so that he and the team become better.

      DeanO
    • wimpds
      - ... I think you ll find that where James takes on Palmer directly, he makes some good points. ... Could you expand on this? Very intriguing, but I m afraid
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 5, 2003
        -
        >
        > It sounds like you've studied it more than I, so I defer, for now. In
        > my looks, I didn't see a lot of difference.
        >

        I think you'll find that where James takes on Palmer directly, he
        makes some good points.

        > quantity. Further, with that degree of freedom, you can actually use
        > stats to IMPROVE players, as we did with Rashard Lewis (hopefully he's
        > improved, it is still early). I also looked at similar stuff for

        Could you expand on this? Very intriguing, but I'm afraid I have
        almost no idea what you mean.
      • Dean Oliver
        ... now. In ... Where is that exactly? I ve read some of the rants on general lin weights vs runs created but not found them very instructive. Having asked
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 5, 2003
          --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "wimpds" <wimpds@y...> wrote:
          > -
          > >
          > > It sounds like you've studied it more than I, so I defer, for
          now. In
          > > my looks, I didn't see a lot of difference.
          > >
          >
          > I think you'll find that where James takes on Palmer directly, he
          > makes some good points.
          >

          Where is that exactly? I've read some of the rants on general lin
          weights vs runs created but not found them very instructive. Having
          asked Pete about the disagreements, I tend to find his responses a
          little more, how do I say it, more emotionally detached and
          scientific. But I haven't seen much on the defense.

          > > quantity. Further, with that degree of freedom, you can actually
          use
          > > stats to IMPROVE players, as we did with Rashard Lewis (hopefully
          he's
          > > improved, it is still early). I also looked at similar stuff for
          >
          > Could you expand on this? Very intriguing, but I'm afraid I have
          > almost no idea what you mean.

          Right now, that's a trick of the trade. And it ain't simple.
          Basically, if you see a number of players with certain similar
          characteristics, but certain things distinguish some as being much
          better than others, what causes those things? Why did MJ not commit
          turnovers? Why did Dirk Nowitzki explode after a brutal frosh year
          whereas others don't do that? The right numbers shed interesting
          light on some of this. Some of those are things like similarity
          scores, but there is more. Some of it's in the book, some of it is
          not.

          DeanO
        • bchaikin@aol.com
          I d also like to see other people come up with lists that combine postseason and regular-season stuff.     you can do this at
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 5, 2003
            I'd also like to see other people come up with lists that combine postseason and regular-season stuff.    

            you can do this at www.bballsports.com, using the web-based basketball players database (and the "subtotals" feature)...

            bob chaikin
            bchaikin@...



          • bchaikin@aol.com
            I would go so far to add that in basketball it is simply not possible to play Moneyball ; that these numbers can be useful for fan illumination, but
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 5, 2003

              I would go so far to add that in basketball it is simply not possible to play "Moneyball"; that these numbers can be useful for fan illumination, but ultimately I'm not sure that they'll have a big impact on how the game itself is played........It just seems to me that basketball involves such a complex, tangled skein of player attributes and talents that you can't simply make a statement like "Allen Iverson should shoot less" or "the Celtics should trade Antoine Walker" without talking about things in an at least partially non-statistical manner.

              aahh... the naysayers exist in every venue :) .... seems to me i've heard this before, say before the revelations of people like bill james (or galileo for that fact)...isn't that what this group is for, to discuss and possibly collectively come up with the better basketball mousetrap?.... guess we'll just have to try to prove you wrong....

              and Roland's efforts will go a long way towards helping that attempt...

              There's still a lot of interesting stuff coming out - like the firestorm that erupted 3 years ago around the notion that pitchers don't affect their team's performance except in terms of striking players out and not giving up homeruns and walks.

              and the person who - i'm not sure if he actually came up with the idea, but who certainly popularized it - did this, voros mccracken, now works for the boston red sox, no?...

              Overall, though, I would tend to agree that there isn't any "killer ap" waiting on the horizon..

              not for basketball? we'll just have to do something about that...

              fyi - "Moneyball" is turning heads not just in the baseball world but the world of almost all professionals sports in the old US of A, to a greater extent than you may be aware of...

              bob chaikin
              bchaikin@...

            • Stephen Greenwell
              and the person who - i m not sure if he actually came up with the idea, but who certainly popularized it - did this, voros mccracken, now works for the boston
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 5, 2003
                and the person who - i'm not sure if he actually came up with the idea, but who certainly popularized it - did this, voros mccracken, now works for the boston red sox, no?...

                Voros is technically the assistant to Bill James.  Both work for the Red Sox right now, and are allegedly drawing up four scenarios - Red Sox with Nomar and Pedro, just Nomar, just Pedro, or neither.

                fyi - "Moneyball" is turning heads not just in the baseball world but the world of almost all professionals sports in the old US of A, to a greater extent than you may be aware of...

                With the ChiSox hiring of Ozzie Guillen and continual bad trades by the Cubs and White Sox, I'm not so sure that this is true ;)  Until the A's or Red Sox or Blue Jays win a world series, I don't think people will be trying to copy them.  The last two winners (Angels and Marlins) have stated policies of relying on "smallball" to win, and the winter hirings have reflected this.

                Steve Greenwell
              • Mike G
                ... postseason ... HREF= www.bballsports.com www.bballsports.com , using the web- based basketball ... I believe you without checking, Bob. I ve used your
                Message 7 of 11 , Nov 8, 2003
                  --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, bchaikin@a... wrote:
                  > I'd also like to see other people come up with lists that combine
                  postseason
                  > and regular-season stuff.    
                  >
                  > you can do this at <A
                  HREF="www.bballsports.com">www.bballsports.com</A>, using the web-
                  based basketball
                  > players database (and the "subtotals" feature)...

                  I believe you without checking, Bob. I've used your site many times
                  (and never found an error!) However, I was thinking along the lines
                  of comparing seasons and careers.

                  Lots of people have "ranked" player-seasons based on numbers more
                  sophisticated than raw totals. There are a few examples I'm aware
                  of that rank postseasons, as well.

                  A few people have players ranked by career -- but they've only gone
                  by regular-seasons. In the playoffs, your opponents aren't the
                  whole NBA, but a select sample; so any game-pace or competition
                  factors should be customized for each team, each year.

                  It's a pretty big job to do it, but I have done it, by my own
                  imperfect methods. If others do it, we could compare. That's what
                  I've been looking forward to.
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