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Re: [APBR_analysis] Re: Centers vs. guards (formerly Re: Payton)

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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