Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Differences between young Americans and young foreign players

Expand Messages
  • dan_t_rosenbaum
    This is a copy of an e-mail that I sent to John Hollinger. I apologize for not being more active on the board, and I still owe a number of you reply e-mails
    Message 1 of 31 , Aug 23, 2004
      This is a copy of an e-mail that I sent to John Hollinger. I
      apologize for not being more active on the board, and I still owe a
      number of you reply e-mails on a variety of topics. I have been
      busier this summer than I expected.

      I finally had some time this weekend to more systematically look at
      the differences between young American and foreign players
      in "glory" and "non-glory" stats. And the results that I described
      below hold up even after accounting for age.

      Using my overall ratings (combining plus/minus and statistics) and
      limiting the sample to just the 32 players who played 2,000 or more
      minutes in 2003/04 and were less than 24 as of 1/1/2004, the 8
      foreign players are ranked #1 (Kirilenko), #2 (Gasol), #3 (Nene), #4
      (Ming), #7 (Radmanovic), #15 (Parker), #16 (Welsch), and #23
      (Dalembert). In other words, the top young foreign players are much
      better than the top young American players. Americans in the top 10
      are #5 (Boozer), #6 (Jefferson), #8 (Crawford), #9 (L James), and
      #10 (Arenas).

      If I look at my adjusted plus/minus ratings (and ignore the effect
      of box score statistics), the differences between the American and
      foreign young players is even sharper. The 8 foreign players rank
      #1 (Nene), #2 (Kirilenko), #3 (Ming), #4 (Parker), #5 (Gasol), #8
      (Radmanovic), #18 (Dalembert), and #22 (Welsch). Americans in the
      top 10 are #6 (Crawford), #7 (Jefferson), #9 (Wade), and #10
      (Miles).

      If I look just at "glory stats," which I now define as points plus
      rebounds plus assists per 40 minutes, foreigners do much worse with
      the 8 foreign players ranking #2 (Gasol), #3 (Ming), #8 (Kirilenko),
      #19 (Parker), #22 (Radmanovic), #26 (Nene), #27 (Dalembert), and #29
      (Welsch). In other words, on average they are worse than the
      Americans in "glory stats." Americans in the top 10 are #1
      (Randolph), #4(Boozer), #5(Stoudamire), #6(L James), #7(Anthony), #9
      (Arenas), and #10(J Richardson). Notice the four Olympians on that
      list.

      Finally, if I look at the difference between my adjusted plus/minus
      stats and the "glory stats," the differences between Americans and
      foreigners are magnified even more. The 8 foreign players rank #1
      (Nene), #2 (Kirilenko), #3 (Parker), #4 (Radmanovic), #6 (Welsch),
      #9 (Dalembert), #19 (Ming), and #21 (Gasol) on these "non-glory
      stats." In fact, on this metric the average foreign player is
      better than the best American player (Kirk Hinrich). The top
      Americans are #5 (Hinrich), #7 (Crawford), #8 (Hayes), and #10 (J
      Johnson). Four of the six Olympians bring up the rear in this
      category - #26 (Boozer), #27 (L James), #31 (Stoudamire), and #32
      (Anthony). Carmelo Anthony, by the way, is in a class all by
      himself. The difference between the highest rated American (Kirk
      Hinrich) and #27 LeBron James is smaller than the difference between
      #27 LeBron James and #32 Carmelo Anthony. It is no mystery why
      Carmelo Anthony and Larry Brown are not getting along.

      This Olympics may be the last one where the U.S. might have been
      prohibitive favorites by sending its best players. By 2008 the top
      NBA players may no longer be American players.

      I have run a lot of this stuff expanding to all players who played
      500 minutes or more and looking at narrower age groups and this
      general story does not change much. Young American players are
      much, much worse at non-glory stats and thus they do not help their
      teams win as much as the young foreign players do. This
      relationship does not hold when comparing older American and foreign
      players, where the fraction of foreign players drop precipitously.
      Among the older players, Americans seem to do better on the non-
      glory stats - although much of this is due to two Canadians (Steve
      Nash and Jamaal Magloire) who are horrible on non-glory stats.
    • doc319
      Just to clarify, I agree that the adapting to rules scenario works both ways. My point was that I think that it was actually an impressive achievement for this
      Message 31 of 31 , Sep 1, 2004
        Just to clarify, I agree that the adapting to rules scenario works
        both ways. My point was that I think that it was actually an
        impressive achievement for this thrown together NBA team to win a
        bronze medal under FIBA rules because I doubt that any of the
        foreign teams could do the equivalent in the NBA on such short
        notice. Certainly, many foreign players can adapt to the NBA given
        time, just as the NBA team showed improvement over the course of the
        Olympics, beating both teams that were 5-0 in pool play.



        >
        > One thing I'd like to point out with all this consideration of
        > adapting to rules is that it works both ways. If we reason that it
        > would take a little while for Americans to get used to
        International
        > Rules, then we should consider that some of these Europeans who
        > supposedly "haven't worked out" in the NBA just weren't given
        enough
        > time. Looking at some of the foreign players, many of them did
        take a
        > couple years to get as good as they have become.


        Other than the shaky officiating--and getting past the frustration
        of seeing the U.S. team struggle at times--FIBA ball is entertaining
        to watch.


        >
        > Frankly, international rules seem fine to me. Exciting
        basketball. A
        > bit more offense. Definitely a lot of good interior passing. Not
        > sure why interior passing is so rare in the US. The trapezoidal
        lane
        > doesn't explain it unless you stretch your arguments a long ways.
        >
        > DeanO
        >
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.