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Bird Affect

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  • tajallie@hotmail.com
    Turns out there is not alot of data on the Bird (Boston) effect mainly bcs 82games didn t track player possessions at the time and there wasn t alot of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2004
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      Turns out there is not alot of data on the Bird (Boston) effect
      mainly bcs 82games didn't track player possessions at the time and
      there wasn't alot of turnover on the Celtic teams in the 80's. I
      checked for players who played at least 1,000 minutes for another NBA
      team in the previous season and played at least 1,000 minutes for
      Boston the following season between 1979-1980 and 1989-1990. I
      eliminated Dirk Minnifield since he only played three years in the
      NBA and wasn't really a regular NBA player. It is also fair to
      eliminate Reggie Lewis' stats (he played his rookie year with Bird
      ~500 minutes, Larry missed the next season when Lewis became the goto
      player, and them played the following season alongside Bird).
      Finally, I didn't consider Bird first year in the league mainly bcs
      most of the players on that team with either old - after 30 - or -
      young 24 - and I figured it was only fair to give Larry one learning
      year. The resulting set was only seven players:

      Robert Parish
      Scott Wedman
      Quinn Buckner
      Dennis Johnson
      Bill Walton
      Jerry Stichting
      Joe Kleine

      Not really enough to draw much in the way of conclusions, however:

      Player name, Year 1 PPFGA, Year 2 PPFGA

      Robert Parish 1.08 1.16
      Scott Wedman 0.94 1.01
      Quinn Buckner 1.01 0.93
      Dennis Johnson 1.07 1.03
      Bill Walton 1.12 1.21
      Jerry Stichting 1.13 1.22
      Joe Kleine 0.97 1.06

      So five of the seven players improved their PPFGA with only Buckner
      really declining significantly. Two of the players - Wedman (54GP)
      and Walton (67GP) - were coming off injury years (of course Walton
      was pretty much always injured.

      It is interesting to note that Walton improved when he was 33 years
      old (typically you expect decline at this age) and was his highest
      PPFGA of his career. Stichting also had his highest PPFGA in his
      career @ 29. Kleine had the highest of his career at 28 (he played
      another ten years!!?). All in thier first year playing in Boston.

      Parish made a big jump his first year in Boston, fell off the next
      year and then continued to improve over the next ten years. I think
      it probably likely that some of the improvement was team chemistry
      and some was Robert Parish. His overall stats improved virtually
      across the board in his first year in Boston @ 27, pretty much when
      you expect him to peak, although it worth noting he played at pretty
      much the same level over the next ten years. Before coming to Boston
      he was a consistently 50% FG, but never dipped under 54% when playing
      alongside Bird. (When Bird only played half the season in 91-92 he
      shot .535 @ 38, but you would expect him to be declining then anyway)

      Wedman clearly had better years when he was a boderline all-star in
      Kansas City, but despite the fact the he played the last years of his
      career in Boston 30-34, he PPFGA was roughly inline with his career
      averages (slightly below).

      Quinn clearly played much better with Mil (ages 22-27) than Boston
      ages 28-30, as he was pretty much down across the board and then
      retired.

      DJ is a tough one to read . .his first year in Boston was probably
      the weakest of his first five @ 29. He played better over the next
      three years 30-33 and then declined pretty significantly over his
      last two. In general I would be hard pressed to say Boston had a
      material effect on his game and would write off his last year in Pho
      and first year Boston (28-29) as blips is his career performance
      (maybe he was injured during that time, I don't remember). About the
      only arguement I could make (regarding the Boston effect) is that he
      would have declined faster (ages 30-33) if he didn't have Bird in his
      front court . . .clearly unsupported by any evidence.

      Glancing at the stats from an overview level, it appears that Bird
      tended to have more impact on front court players stats rather than
      backcourt and that generally players made fewer turnovers when
      playing with Bird than in previous years (Nate Archibald for example
      dropped for 5.6 per 48min to 4.0 per 48min)
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