A response

Posted on 12/08/2010 by


Ok. This was going to be a comment but I decided to make it’s own post
Let me try to summarize my position:
Wins Produced measures the value of each players contribution on the court when their on it.
The coefficients line up perfectly to Point Margin on a game to game basis
In general the value of the wins produced can be assumed to be linear but edge conditions have been shown to affect it significantly (i.e. its harder to accumulate marginal wins for really good teams , its easier to accumulate wins on really bad teams this is the Diminishing returns and increasing returns effect). Prof. Berri has a simple model for this (see his blog and the Al Jefferson post) that we (he and I) agree needs to be refined.

With me so far? Ok let’s talk Rbs. The claim is that we don’t see the full effect of a great rebounder on a team because he takes away rebounds from his team (even though I’ve shown repeated examples of great rebounders on great rebounding terams). So rebounds are overvalued in the model. While true, the problem with this claim is that the same happens with pretty much every other statistic in basketball. When Kobe shoots the ball someone else didn’t. At the end of the day we can only credit the player who undertakes the action for the effect. The other big problem is that the effect of any player statistic on any team statistic is driven by the minutes he plays and who his replacement player is on that particular team.   So above average performance on any statistic is muted by these factors. Here’s the thing, the actual value of the event itself and the correlation to winning cannot be disputed.The year to year correlation of player statistics accounting for age and now for the quality of teammates cannot also be disputed.  So we know the value of the event, the probability of the event repeating and we can use this to project team wins. Which we do. And we do so fairly well. When we see discrepancies (see Heat) we work on improving the model.

I want everyone to be clear on this: I want reasoned critiques. This is how we learn and advance the discussion. Some of the best work I’ve done has been driven by criticism. Dialogue drives growth. What I hope is that the dialogue is not one sided. All of us have to accept the fact that the likelihood of any one of us holding the ultimate truth is remote but if we’re all willing to pool our efforts and give a little we might have something.

At the end of the day, the contents of this blog are just my opinion and my wife can make clear and concise arguments against my infallibility.

Just remember to think positively.

Image courtesy of xkcd


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