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Re: Payton

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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 1 of 13 , May 1 5:40 PM
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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 2 of 13 , May 2 3:06 AM
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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 3 of 13 , May 2 7:30 AM
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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 4 of 13 , May 2 9:05 AM
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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 5 of 13 , May 2 12:07 PM
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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 6 of 13 , May 2 12:51 PM
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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 7 of 13 , May 2 1:33 PM
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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
                  >
                  >
                  > __________________________________________________
                  > Do You Yahoo!?
                  > Yahoo! Health - your guide to health and wellness
                  > http://health.yahoo.com
                • 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 8 of 13 , May 2 3:10 PM
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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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