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Re: [APBR_analysis] Payton

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  • Dennis Keefe
    ... As a long-time NBA fan, I know there have been worse selections. Larry Bird comes to mind, in my opinion. I m a Sonic fan but I m sorry I can t give a
    Message 1 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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      --- alleyoop2 <alleyoop2@...> wrote:
      > I was wondering what
      > the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton
      > getting voted first-
      > team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the
      > award's honor,

      As a long-time NBA fan, I know there have been worse
      selections. Larry Bird comes to mind, in my opinion.


      I'm a Sonic fan but I'm sorry I can't give a
      definitive answer--I have mixed feelings about GP's
      selection. GP's defense has changed--he's now more
      conservative, has lost some quickness and gets fewer
      steals since he's not fast enough to take chances.
      He's been following the coach's assignments closely,
      staying in position and helping out on double teams
      when he's told to. He's not the stopper he once was,
      but he's still a pretty good defender. I don't see
      the selection as a blight on the award.

      A side note: the fact that Tony Parker has done well
      against him in a few recent playoff games is slightly
      misleading--Payton wasn't supposed to be guarding him
      closely, he was helping double team Duncan. But if he
      had the speed of his youth, Parker wouldn't have
      gotten free as much....

      There were probably better players to give the award
      to, but it's uncommon to see guys who don't accumulate
      stats get on the All Defense team--guys like Greg
      Buckner or Derek Fisher. Bruce Bowen, a small forward
      who sometimes guards smaller players, might deserve
      the 1st team award more, but again he's one of those
      guys who doesn't accumulate impressive stats.





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    • Michael K. Tamada
      On Wed, 1 May 2002, thedawgsareout wrote: [...] ... True, and Kevin Johnson too for that matter. But there was awhile, when Payton was at his height in the
      Message 2 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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        On Wed, 1 May 2002, thedawgsareout wrote:

        [...]

        > Quick point guards have given Payton trouble dating back to the
        > Robert Pack/Nick Van Exel playoff era, but this year it was on

        True, and Kevin Johnson too for that matter. But there was awhile,
        when Payton was at his height in the late 1990s, when he seemed to handle
        most of the little guys pretty well too. Payton was for my money the best
        guard not named Michael Jordan for a few years. It'd be a stretch to call
        him that now, but not that big of a stretch.

        But I haven't seen enough of Payton this year to give a good comment on
        how much or little his defense has truly fallen off.


        --MKT
      • john wallace craven
        ... Two points: 1. I think it was mostly a legacy vote; GP s been such a good defender for so long that he s going to get the benefit of the doubt the first
        Message 3 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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          On Wed, 1 May 2002, alleyoop2 wrote:

          > I know a lot of people here are Sonics fans, and I was wondering what
          > the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton getting voted first-
          > team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the award's honor, but
          > I also didn't see every Sonics game ...

          Two points:

          1. I think it was mostly a "legacy" vote; GP's been such a good defender
          for so long that he's going to get the benefit of the doubt the first year
          or so that he's not one of the best defending guards in the league.

          2. As far as the Spurs series goes, remember that you're seeing Tony
          Parker play well against a Gary Payton with a _very_ bad back right now.
          People like to pretend that injuries magically disappear in the playoffs
          because of adrenaline or something, but the fact is that they don't. He's
          noticeably hurt, and didn't look nearly this poor on D earlier in the
          year.

          John Craven

          >
          > John
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        • HoopStudies
          ... what ... first- ... but ... defender ... first year ... now. ... playoffs ... don t. He s ... the ... Welllll... Payton has been falling off a bit on the
          Message 4 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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            --- In APBR_analysis@y..., john wallace craven <john1974@u...> wrote:
            > > I know a lot of people here are Sonics fans, and I was wondering
            what
            > > the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton getting voted
            first-
            > > team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the award's honor,
            but
            > > I also didn't see every Sonics game ...
            >
            > Two points:
            >
            > 1. I think it was mostly a "legacy" vote; GP's been such a good
            defender
            > for so long that he's going to get the benefit of the doubt the
            first year
            > or so that he's not one of the best defending guards in the league.
            >
            > 2. As far as the Spurs series goes, remember that you're seeing Tony
            > Parker play well against a Gary Payton with a _very_ bad back right
            now.
            > People like to pretend that injuries magically disappear in the
            playoffs
            > because of adrenaline or something, but the fact is that they
            don't. He's
            > noticeably hurt, and didn't look nearly this poor on D earlier in
            the
            > year.

            Welllll... Payton has been falling off a bit on the defensive end for
            more than a year or two, at least according to every measurement
            available. If you look at the guys he matches up against, they have
            burned him. If you look at the number of stops Payton has, they have
            fallen off for going on 5 years or so. If you look at the Sonics'
            team defense, it has fallen off for several years now. I don't think
            that there is a single way that numbers show GP to be near his old
            levels.

            My experience has been that All-Defense Teams are about as subjective
            as they come. What truth they have in them is often a year or two
            behind when the actual contributions occur. Gary is staying on the
            team a lot longer than I would have guessed. But I don't see him
            very often.

            I also do think that these All-Defense teams are a little stilted to
            guys who cover their guy well -- read Bruce Bowen. These guys are
            valuable, no doubt. But their value is a bit overstated. Centers
            generally make a much bigger difference in defense than guards, even
            average centers vs. good guards. A Bowen is valuable to put on a
            scorer any time, but particularly valuable when the guys behind him
            can't help. Frankly, Bowen has Duncan and Robinson behind him, so
            his D isn't that big a deal. He may be more valuable tonight when
            neither of the big guys is available. Larry Bird was a good defender
            in the non-traditional sense. He had very quick hands and was tall
            enough to help out in the middle if necessary, plus he got a lot of
            defensive boards. Did he let guys go by him? Sure. But he
            prevented outside shots and when guys went by him, they had to go at
            McHale and Parish. Bird could afford to not be defensively quick.
            Those Celtics never were a bad defensive team, not by any
            coincidence. I'd rather have Bird's defensive ability than Bowen's
            on most teams because he did force stops on guys besides his own
            man.

            In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you if you don't have
            good defensive guys around them. Examples -- Latrell Sprewell, who
            some have said is a good ball-
            defender, was on one of the worst defensive teams in history in
            the '97 Warriors. Doug Christie, another supposed good ball-
            defender, was on the '98 Raptors, another of the worst defensive
            teams in history. T.R. Dunn, another legitimately good ball-
            defender, was on the 1982 Nuggets, perhaps the worst defensive unit
            in history. And, yes, even the great Joe Dumars -- in 1994, with
            Rodman and Laimbeer gone, the Pistons also had one of the worst
            defenses in league history. These guys do play good D, but they
            cannot make a good defensive team like a bigger man who covers not
            only their own man, but helps off on other guys.

            Dean Oliver
          • Michael K. Tamada
            On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote: [...] ... Yup, if I were modelling players defense, I would literally create two sets of measures: the player s
            Message 5 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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              On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote:

              [...]

              > neither of the big guys is available. Larry Bird was a good defender
              > in the non-traditional sense. He had very quick hands and was tall
              > enough to help out in the middle if necessary, plus he got a lot of
              > defensive boards. Did he let guys go by him? Sure. But he
              > prevented outside shots and when guys went by him, they had to go at
              > McHale and Parish. Bird could afford to not be defensively quick.
              > Those Celtics never were a bad defensive team, not by any
              > coincidence. I'd rather have Bird's defensive ability than Bowen's
              > on most teams because he did force stops on guys besides his own
              > man.

              Yup, if I were modelling players' defense, I would literally create two
              sets of measures: the player's ability to play individual defense,
              against the player he guards, and the player's ability to play team
              defense. Not just steals and blocks from the weakside, but
              double-teaming at the right time, switching at the right time (and not
              switching at the right time), generally clogging the passing lanes, and
              getting at would-be open players and making them no longer open and
              thus preventing the easy layin -- most of those things don't show up at
              all in the stat sheets, except in the entire team's defensive stats.

              My guess is that team defense is probably twice as important
              as individual defense, to the extent that we can quantify such things.

              And as you mention, a player's team defense or at least the effectiveness
              of that team defense is going to depend on the team context.

              My only disagreement is calling Bird good in the "non-traditional sense".
              Celtic fans certainly appreciated that he wasn't a very good one-on-one
              defender, but an extremely good team defender. And the writers or whoever
              it was who voted him all-defense appreciated it too (although it is
              possible they were simply blinded by Bird's overall excellence and voted
              for him as a knee-jerk reaction). So it was not a really uncommon or
              non-traditional view. We even have a name for this concept: team
              defense.

              > In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you if you don't have
              > good defensive guys around them. Examples -- Latrell Sprewell, who
              > some have said is a good ball-
              > defender, was on one of the worst defensive teams in history in
              > the '97 Warriors. Doug Christie, another supposed good ball-
              > defender, was on the '98 Raptors, another of the worst defensive
              > teams in history. T.R. Dunn, another legitimately good ball-
              > defender, was on the 1982 Nuggets, perhaps the worst defensive unit
              > in history. And, yes, even the great Joe Dumars -- in 1994, with
              > Rodman and Laimbeer gone, the Pistons also had one of the worst
              > defenses in league history. These guys do play good D, but they
              > cannot make a good defensive team like a bigger man who covers not
              > only their own man, but helps off on other guys.

              Yup, or Danny Vranes with the Sonics, although the Sonics were around
              average defensively most of his years. But the same limited usefulness.

              On the other hand, Bowen has taken Barry right out of the series. Or
              maybe it's the Spurs team defense (team defense usually being more
              important than any one individual defender), but in this case I think it's
              Bowen.


              --MKT
            • dlirag
              ... to ... even ... I remember you writing in an old article about the WNBA that the guards there may have the upper hand defensively over the centers due to
              Message 6 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "HoopStudies" <deano@r...> wrote:
                > I also do think that these All-Defense teams are a little stilted
                to
                > guys who cover their guy well -- read Bruce Bowen. These guys are
                > valuable, no doubt. But their value is a bit overstated. Centers
                > generally make a much bigger difference in defense than guards,
                even
                > average centers vs. good guards.

                I remember you writing in an old article about the WNBA that the
                guards there may have the upper hand defensively over the centers due
                to differences in the womens' game. Is the idea of the center as
                dominant defender one that is peculiar to certain leagues or one that
                could be deemed a general principle?
              • Dean Oliver
                ... I need to update that study. The WNBA has changed. Now, the big (wo)men are more important defensively. That was not the case early on (and it changed
                Message 7 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                  --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "dlirag" <dlirag@h...> wrote:
                  > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "HoopStudies"
                  <deano@r...> wrote:
                  > > I also do think that these All-Defense teams are a little
                  stilted
                  > to
                  > > guys who cover their guy well -- read Bruce Bowen.  These
                  guys are
                  > > valuable, no doubt.  But their value is a bit
                  overstated.  Centers
                  > > generally make a much bigger difference in defense than guards,
                  > even
                  > > average centers vs. good guards.
                  >
                  > I remember you writing in an old article about the WNBA that the
                  > guards there may have the upper hand defensively over the centers
                  due
                  > to differences in the womens' game. Is the idea of the center as
                  > dominant defender one that is peculiar to certain leagues or one
                  that
                  > could be deemed a general principle?

                  I need to update that study.  The WNBA has changed.  Now, the big (wo)men are more important defensively.  That was not the case early on (and it changed really quickly).  I do think that tall players are inherently most important for defense.  Height wipes out quickness if you play team defense.  Quickness can allow you to stay with people, but it's hard to get a hand in someone's face if they're 6 inches taller, no matter how quick you are.  But those early WNBA days suggested that there are leagues where quickness and good hands are more important.  I am guessing that post men were not very skilled in the early WNBA days, though I don't remember thinking that then.  Guards weren't used to the increased quickness? Hmm.  In general, I think height being most important on the defensive end is a stable condition.  I think that there may be transient periods where quickness is important, but I don't think that they can last.  I think they are more subject to being overcome by strategic moves.

                  Dean Oliver
                  Journal of Basketball Studies
                  http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/index.html
                  deano@...

                • Michael K. Tamada
                  On Thu, 2 May 2002, Dean Oliver wrote: [...] ... There are two interpretations of what you re saying here: when you say that tall players are inherently most
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                    On Thu, 2 May 2002, Dean Oliver wrote:

                    [...]

                    > changed really quickly). I do think that tall players are inherently most
                    > important for defense. Height wipes out quickness if you play team
                    > defense. Quickness can allow you to stay with people, but it's hard to get
                    > a hand in someone's face if they're 6 inches taller, no matter how quick

                    There are two interpretations of what you're saying here: when you say
                    that tall players are inherently most important for defense, you seem to
                    be saying that the tallest players on the court, i.e. the centers, are
                    more important to determining the quality of the defense than the short
                    players are. This is something that you've said before, and is almost
                    certainly correct. In particular, it is correct even with the lack of
                    quickness that a 7-footer has, relative to a 6-footer.

                    The other interpretation though, which is what the second half of the
                    above paragraph seems to be saying, is that players who are taller than
                    their opponent have an advantage on defense. No argument there either.
                    But moreover, you seem to be saying that this height advantage also
                    nullifies quickness advantages that the shorter player may (and usually
                    does) have.

                    If I am interpreting what you're saying correctly, I don't think this is
                    correct. The typical rule of thumb is that a size-quickness matchup puts
                    BOTH players at a disadvantage on defense. Asking Sabonis to guard
                    Iverson 1-on-1 is asking for trouble. Asking Iverson to guard Sabonis
                    1-on-1 is asking for trouble.

                    Height does trump quickness in the first sense: having a good big guy in
                    the middle is important. But height does not trump quickness in the
                    second sense: the taller guy does not necessarily do a better job of
                    guarding Iverson than the shorter guy does.


                    > you are. But those early WNBA days suggested that there are leagues where
                    > quickness and good hands are more important. I am guessing that post men

                    post women?

                    > were not very skilled in the early WNBA days, though I don't remember

                    Another aspect of quickness, which I had not thought about until a
                    couple of years ago: rebounding. I do not know if this applies to the
                    mens game, but when I watched a seemingly good UCLA womens team play
                    against Louisiana Tech in the NCAA West Regional two or three years ago,
                    the contrast in quickness was startling. Louisiana Tech was just so much
                    quicker than UCLA, and blew them out by over 20 points. But: this wasn't
                    due to fast breaks or even so much UCLA's inability to cover LA Tech on
                    defense. Rather, the quickness edge showed up in the rebounding: LA Tech
                    absolutely dominated the boards, their offensive rebounding percent was
                    over 50%. But it wasn't because they were taller or stronger. It was
                    because they were quicker, they simply got to all the loose balls before
                    the UCLA players could. Lakresha (sp?) Flannigan and Maylana Martin were
                    the only UCLA players who could keep up with LA Tech's team speed.

                    But, this may be unique to the college womens game, one could imagine that
                    in the mens game strength and fighting for position might be relatively
                    more important than having quickness to get into position.


                    --MKT
                  • Dennis Keefe
                    ... I agree that part of good defense is fitting into the team system. Bird did that quite well. He was a great team player. ... Here s where I get puzzled.
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                      > On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote:
                      >
                      > [...]
                      >
                      > > Did he (Bird) let guys go by him?
                      > Sure. But he
                      > > prevented outside shots and when guys went by him,
                      > they had to go at
                      > > McHale and Parish.

                      I agree that part of good defense is fitting into the
                      team system. Bird did that quite well. He was a
                      great team player.


                      > > In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you
                      > if you don't have
                      > > good defensive guys around them.

                      Here's where I get puzzled. How would Bird's "team
                      defense" make anything better when everyone else is a
                      bad defensive player?

                      And while Bowen can play great individual defense, I
                      have seen him play team defense too....double teaming,
                      switching, etc.

                      I do agree that team defense is very important (at
                      least if you want to win....), but my gut feeling is
                      that individual defensive awards (rather than team
                      awards) belong to guys who can shut down opposing
                      players. Giving individual awards to players who fit
                      into a great team defense...someone should come up
                      with separate awards for "individual defense" and for
                      "individuals who play good team defense."


                      dkeefe


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                    • alleyoop2
                      Thanks for all the replies on Payton everyone. I thought Eric Snow got hosed and just wanted to get a feel for others reaction. Regarding Bowen, I have to
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                        Thanks for all the replies on Payton everyone. I thought Eric Snow
                        got hosed and just wanted to get a feel for others' reaction.

                        Regarding Bowen, I have to partially disagree with what's been said
                        so far. By my rankings, San Antonio was the top-ranked defensive team
                        this year; one can point that they were last year too, BUT, their win-
                        loss and defensive marks this season are both far better with Bowen
                        in the lineup, despite the fact that the guy who replaced him
                        (Charles Smith) isn't a bad defender either. Overall, the addition of
                        Bowen made up for the loss of Derek Anderson and the decline by David
                        Robinson (though wildly overstated by the media, IMHO his performance
                        did drop this year).

                        Second, saying size is of more value on defense is almost certainly
                        true -- once you're in a halfcourt setting. However, transition
                        defense is also important. There are any number of big men who are
                        terrible at it; for example, the Sonics won't even play Vin Baker and
                        Jerome James at the same time because it gives the other team an
                        automatic 5-on-3 break every trip.

                        Beyond Bowen, last year I had the league's No. 2 defense as Phoenix;
                        this year I had the No. 2 defense as New Jersey. Neither team had an
                        imposing center, but both had Jason Kidd. Overall, I don't think we
                        should carry the hypothesis too far about big men's defensive value.



                        --- In APBR_analysis@y..., Dennis Keefe <sonicdk2@y...> wrote:
                        >
                        > > On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote:
                        > >
                        > > [...]
                        > >
                        > > > Did he (Bird) let guys go by him?
                        > > Sure. But he
                        > > > prevented outside shots and when guys went by him,
                        > > they had to go at
                        > > > McHale and Parish.
                        >
                        > I agree that part of good defense is fitting into the
                        > team system. Bird did that quite well. He was a
                        > great team player.
                        >
                        >
                        > > > In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you
                        > > if you don't have
                        > > > good defensive guys around them.
                        >
                        > Here's where I get puzzled. How would Bird's "team
                        > defense" make anything better when everyone else is a
                        > bad defensive player?
                        >
                        > And while Bowen can play great individual defense, I
                        > have seen him play team defense too....double teaming,
                        > switching, etc.
                        >
                        > I do agree that team defense is very important (at
                        > least if you want to win....), but my gut feeling is
                        > that individual defensive awards (rather than team
                        > awards) belong to guys who can shut down opposing
                        > players. Giving individual awards to players who fit
                        > into a great team defense...someone should come up
                        > with separate awards for "individual defense" and for
                        > "individuals who play good team defense."
                        >
                        >
                        > dkeefe
                        >
                        >
                        > __________________________________________________
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                      • HoopStudies
                        ... team ... win- ... of ... David ... performance ... I think this is a good partial disagreement. No doubt that Bowen does help the defense, but not as much
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                          --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "alleyoop2" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
                          > Thanks for all the replies on Payton everyone. I thought Eric Snow
                          > got hosed and just wanted to get a feel for others' reaction.
                          >
                          > Regarding Bowen, I have to partially disagree with what's been said
                          > so far. By my rankings, San Antonio was the top-ranked defensive
                          team
                          > this year; one can point that they were last year too, BUT, their
                          win-
                          > loss and defensive marks this season are both far better with Bowen
                          > in the lineup, despite the fact that the guy who replaced him
                          > (Charles Smith) isn't a bad defender either. Overall, the addition
                          of
                          > Bowen made up for the loss of Derek Anderson and the decline by
                          David
                          > Robinson (though wildly overstated by the media, IMHO his
                          performance
                          > did drop this year).
                          >

                          I think this is a good partial disagreement. No doubt that Bowen
                          does help the defense, but not as much as the big kahunas in the
                          middle. I am definitely not saying that Bowen is a bad defender or
                          even an average one. I am just pointing out that he, unlike Duncan
                          Robinson Olajuwon Mutombo Shaq, cannot on his own make a good defense.

                          > Beyond Bowen, last year I had the league's No. 2 defense as
                          Phoenix;
                          > this year I had the No. 2 defense as New Jersey. Neither team had
                          an
                          > imposing center, but both had Jason Kidd. Overall, I don't think we
                          > should carry the hypothesis too far about big men's defensive value.
                          >

                          This is interestingly true. Kidd is both a good man and a good team
                          defender, something that can be said of big men, too. What is
                          amazing, though, is how Kidd, unlike other little guys who do both,
                          has been able to carry it over to a few teams to the degree he has.
                          I would expect any team with Bowen, Christie, Vranes to be better
                          defensive teams. But history says otherwise. Is there a team that
                          Kidd couldn't make good defensively? Yeah, probably. But I think
                          there are fewer of them than for the (almost) pure man defenders.

                          DeanO
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