Re: Pan-Era conversions
- --- In APBR_analysis@y..., msg_53@h... wrote:
> expanded subject heading: How to compare players of differenteras.
Fundamentally, my answer to this question is always: Depends on what
you want to do.
1. Do you want to see who dominated their era more?
2. Do you want to do the hypothetical competition of players from
In case 1, you compare everything to league averages. This is pretty
unambigous to me. Martin Manley actually spelled this out pretty
well 15 years ago.
In case 2, it is much harder, much more ambiguous. I am generally of
the philosophy that players are better athletically now and (I have
to choke a little when I say this) better coached. There is more
strategy among players now than there was when I first began
watching. (That being said, there is also a larger proportion of
undisciplined players not listening to their coaches.) I really
don't know how to show this statistically.
> I have been grappling with a few factors:
> 1) Between 1952 and 1969, the NBA increased its schedule from 66
> games to 82 games. If a player's 1952 totals are multiplied by
> 82/66, you get an estimate of what they might have produced in a
> modern schedule. This might also give credit for accomplishments
> an era of primitive conditions, as physical training, equipment,shot
> travel, etc.
> 2) Some systems rate a player's shooting percentage (FG%) against
> the prevailing league-wide % at the time. Does this assume that
> lower FG% is the result of tougher defense? Or is every player
> responsible for his own shot selection? Would Oscar and Wilt shoot
> 60-70% if they came up in the 1980's? Would Scottie Pippen have
> in the .300's in the 1950s?higher
> 3) Have assists always been granted so liberally? There is a
> % of assisted baskets today than in earlier times, notably the latekeep
> 50's - early 60's. Despite high-scoring games, assists did not
> up with FG totals.I've asked someone I know with access to tapes to count assists from
different eras using his rules to see how things come out. He's
rather busy and hasn't done it. My opinion is that assists were as
relatively prevalent back in the old days as now -- meaning that with
all the additional FGM's, there probably should have been more
assists. I don't have any hard evidence for this.
> 4} League expansion is very tough to deal with. To an extent, an
> increase in talent can justify it; but the rapid expansion of the
> late 60s - early 70s creates a case that there were a lot of stiffs
> in the league, for a while. Would the superteams of the era have
> 70% of their games in any other era?People always said the Bulls had it so easy because of expansion. I
always thought they were shooting bull. I tend to agree that good
teams of the 60's would have had a harder time with more teams to
> 5) Finally, how can we get past the "what if?" factor? What if BobOscar's
> Pettit had had better shoes and training, etc.
> What if Bob Pettit had been exposed to video games? What if
> mother had been a crack head?watched
> There's just no point to it. I think we all like whomever we
> when we were 10-15 years old, and no amount of analysis can changeAh to be young and optimistic.
> it. Admit our biases, and move on.
- The problem of comparing eras is obviously one where there are no
verifiable answers. Still, I don't think we are at a complete dead-
end and should give up. These pan-era comparisons are a bit dicy but
there is some evidence to work with. Most people agree that the
level of basketball has increased since the 50s (it is arguable to
some whether the improvement has flat-lined or not). I think the key
is to at least catch evidence of this improvement.
The first evidence that people point to is the average weight and
hieght argument. Indeed, basketballs have gotten bigger and heavier
almost every year since the 50s. (I think APBR's website told me
that in the early 50s the player was 6'4 190 and today the average
player is 6'7 225). THis is strong evidence that players are better
today. Of course someone brought up whether it was fair to penalize
older players for not having the same weight training and other stuff
that players have today. This is a problem but I think a fair
solution to the problem is by not penalize a player for being
slightly underized (like happy hairston who i think is lister at 6'7
225) and recognize that other players (ie neil johnston) may be too
small to contribute in today's NBA. This is of course a first
impression idea and we still need to look at more empirical evidence
to make any real hard conclusions.
The first bit of evidence that I see that gives a strong indication
of NBA improvement comes in the early 60s. We can see the ungodly
numbers put up by young player in 61-62 and 62-63 by Elgin, Wilt, and
even Walt Bellamy, that they could not reach later on. As we can see
from baseball analysts and looking at typical NBA careers, most
players peak statiscally around the age of 27. However, Wilt, Elgin
and Bellamy while still remaining great players really did not put
the crazy numbers they did in their younger years. Some might argue
that this decline is a function of adjusting roles to different roles
but I think this is an indication that the NBA got a little bigger
and better after the early 60s and Bellamy for example could not just
show up and score 35 and 20 against Johnny Red Kerrs everynight.
I am still looking over the late 60s and beyond to determine
improvement in game play but I think the reduction of the crazy stats
of the early sixties may very well be likely a function of the
improvement of the nba by the late 60s.