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Re: Gary Payton's D

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  • msg_53@hotmail.com
    ... Good question, Dean; I have long thought that this defensive award is a mixed bag of bones thrown to players who seem to deserve something for their
    Message 1 of 4 , May 8, 2001
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      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@t...> wrote:
      >
      > Payton won election to the first team All-D for the 8th straight
      > year. Does he deserve it?

      Good question, Dean; I have long thought that this defensive award
      is a mixed bag of bones thrown to players who seem to
      deserve "something" for their troubles; whether laboring in the
      shadows for a champion, or for carrying a poor team to respectability.
      Does Doug Steele's (or your) defensive index make the assumption
      that a player generally guards his counterpart at the same position?
      That is my impression, and I am sure you agree this is a rough
      approximation at best. Players go in and out at different times,
      many guys play more than one position, etc.
      There are certainly many cases of good defensive centers guarding
      power forwards who are scoring threats. Point guards who are good
      defenders often check the opponent's shooting guard, etc.
      Has anyone got an approximation of the pct. of time a player
      actually is guarding the same position on the other team? Not sure
      if such an index would help anything, but it might lead to this
      number having a estimable degree of credibility.
      I am still looking for wide availability of individual +/- (is
      that the accepted term?) ratings. I have no doubt than we can
      effectively measure offense, optimistically; and that we can factor
      out the total team +/- to reach an individual's worth; and finally,
      that we can factor the player's offense out of his total worth, and
      that what remains could be called his defensive value.
      I propose that our mission in here be to uncover a source of the
      holy +/- grail. I have read objections to its significance, but I
      haven't found one that holds water. If you can point me in the right
      direction, I will get right on it.


      > One of my points here also is that the defensive awards are all
      > pretty poorly determined. Payton shouldn't have made the team, I'm
      > pretty convinced. It takes usually a year or two for voters to
      > figure out who really is good and bad defensively. It's simply
      hard
      > to do.
      >
      > Dean Oliver
      > Journal of Basketball Studies
    • Dean Oliver
      ... position? Doug s method looks at matchups, yes. Mine doesn t. The methods have different strengths and weaknesses. That s why I look at them both. A key
      Message 2 of 4 , May 9, 2001
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        --- In APBR_analysis@y..., msg_53@h... wrote:
        > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "Dean Oliver" <deano@t...> wrote:

        > Does Doug Steele's (or your) defensive index make the assumption
        > that a player generally guards his counterpart at the same
        position?

        Doug's method looks at matchups, yes. Mine doesn't. The methods
        have different strengths and weaknesses. That's why I look at them
        both.

        A key thing I've observed (and recorded) is that there is a lot of
        help in defense. Big men are involved in defense a lot more. Every
        drive to the middle brings a big man to help whereas not every post
        move brings a perimeter guy to help. Big men then generally are keys
        to defense, both positively and negatively. This also means that,
        yes, players don't guard the same person all the time -- both because
        they go in and out at different times and because of switching/help.
        There is also the problem of fast breaks, where no one is guarding
        certain people.

        > Has anyone got an approximation of the pct. of time a player
        > actually is guarding the same position on the other team? Not sure
        > if such an index would help anything, but it might lead to this
        > number having a estimable degree of credibility.

        I have a few game scores where I've tracked how often different
        players were involved in stopping the opponent and in allowing a
        score.

        > I am still looking for wide availability of individual +/- (is
        > that the accepted term?) ratings. I have no doubt than we can
        > effectively measure offense, optimistically; and that we can factor
        > out the total team +/- to reach an individual's worth; and finally,
        > that we can factor the player's offense out of his total worth, and
        > that what remains could be called his defensive value.

        This may be a way to start getting at defense. On its own, I am one
        of those people who doesn't see too much value in the +/- #. But
        perhaps it can be used to get at defense. There is still strong
        correlation problems (always playing with the same people) and the
        fact that it often reflects substitution pattern.

        The +/- number is often in Harvey Pollack's stat guide, which Bob
        Chaikin has for several years.


        Dean Oliver
        Journal of Basketball Studies
      • bchaikin@aol.com
        i agree with dean, the +/- ratio (as they call it) is in my opinion useless. yet a number of nba teams use it (IBM data mining techniques extract most of
        Message 3 of 4 , May 9, 2001
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          i agree with dean, the +/- "ratio" (as "they" call it) is in my opinion
          useless. yet a number of nba teams use it (IBM "data mining" techniques
          extract most of it). the bottom line is what good is a part time player with
          a very positive +/- on a team where most of the starters have negative +/-
          (or vice versa). the bottom line is who plays at the same time with whom, and
          as far as i know that info is not closely tracked by nba teams. obviously the
          teams with high W-L % will have starters with a high +/- ratio and those
          teams with a low W-L % will have a low +/-...

          in hockey its one thing because players tend to play with specific "lines",
          but not so in the nba...

          i do have pollack's guides from 88-89 to 96-97, some of which have the +/-,
          and i've looked closely at the listings of +/- without being able to discern
          any appreciable pattern...

          as for how often players guard their "counterparts" the answer is well over
          50% of the time (meaning in seconds and minutes), and my guess is 80% of the
          time if not more (i used to watch hundreds of nba games on tape over a decade
          ago). however, the problem is that those defensive statistics that the league
          keeps track of (steals, blocks, charging, fouls) occur much more often when
          an offensive player loses his man and is then guarded by one of the other 4
          opponents. players who block 200-300 or more shots a year block all 5
          opponents shots, not just the man he is directly guarding, many many fouls
          occur on switches, and i'd guess most steals are not by the man directly
          guarding the player with the ball but made on pass attempts...

          bob chaikin
          bchaikin@...


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