Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense

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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1901 » by O_6 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:09 pm

Haven't gotten a chance to dig into the write-up yet, but I checked out the CORP_values to see how much "longevity" played a role in Kareem's #1 ranking.


Seasons that ElGee graded among his Mount Rushmore... Russell (13); James (14); Jordan (14); Kareem (19).

CORP-Value (through X seasons)
Player ------- 13yrs ----- 14yrs ---- 19yrs

Kareem ------ 2.64 ------- 2.73 ------ 2.99
Jordan ------- 2.80 ------- 2.81 ------ 2.81
LeBron ------- 2.54 ------- 2.79 ------ 2.79
Russell ------- 2.63 ------- 2.63 ------ 2.63

I could be off by a hundredth of a decimal point or 3, but those numbers are based off of his CORP-graphs and should be pretty damn accurate.

So through 13 seasons, aka Bill Russell's entire career, Kareem and Russell seem to be dead even with a slight edge on LeBron but clearly trailing MJ. So it appears that even without those last 5/6 seasons of post-prime value, Kareem still seems like he would be on ElGee's "Mt. Rushmore". But those last handful of years do seem to be what gives him separation over Jordan/Russell and serve as a sort of tie-breaker for his GOAT argument.

It appears LeBron is just a strong and healthy playoff run away from matching Kareem's CORP-value, and probably passing it. Pretty amazing considering how he's still playing at an MVP-level and showing no signs of slowing down on offense.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1902 » by mischievous » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:26 pm

Interesting that he considers 84-86 just merely all star level. And i think he underrates 1980, i think that should be on borderline of “all time season” or even right in there. His seasonal valuations do have Kareem as the best player on those first 2 Laker championships, then Magic as the best on the last 3 all by clear margins. Seems right.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1903 » by Reservoirdawgs » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:35 pm

Ron Swanson wrote:
It's all of the above. I don't know what you're not understanding here. Would you say that a player who shoots efficiently over a decent sample size is by definition an efficient shooter? Does one or a couple inefficient shooting nights all of a sudden make him an inefficient shooter? So why on earth would a player who frequently produces at a higher level in the most important games, and the most important times during the most important games, not be considered a clutch player based on historical trends and the very definition of the word?


Because they're good? The players that we consider "clutch" are the ones that are already considered the best players out there BECAUSE they are good.

I'm certainly willing to be convinced otherwise, however. Who and what are examples of players that, for some reason, have a "clutch" gene and who are players that do not have it. And can you still define "clutch" for me? Being a great playoff performer, or a great fourth quarter performer, or a great final minute performer are obviously completely different...so which is it? If a player is a great playoff performer but doesn't perform well in the final minute, does that mean that person is not clutch? Similarly, if a player is a poor playoff performer but only does well in the final minute is that person somehow clutch?
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul Jabbar 

Post#1904 » by Samurai » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:37 pm

dhsilv2 wrote:
SideshowBob wrote:
ThaRegul8r wrote:
When Kareem retired after 20 years in the league, John Havlicek and Elvin Hayes played 16. Two years ago we had three guys retire who played 19, 20, and 21 seasons, last year we had a guy retire who played 19, Dirk's going to play his 21st season next year, and Vince Carter's going to play his 21st. Kareem playing 20 when no one else had ever played more than 16, and doing so before the modern medicine and knowledge of today which enables players to play longer now is more impressive.


I was just hit by this yesterday. In my mind still had Kareem/Parish/Malone/Stockton as the token "longest NBA careers". Then my younger brother asked who had the longest current active career and I pulled up the BBR list and lo-and-behold, KG sits atop (G comes before P) and Vince is just a few spots under Kareem (also having just announced his intentions to play at least another year). Remarkable the difference, and remarkable the outlier Kareem was back in the day.

Makes you wonder how long some of these more health/body disciplined (and lucky) 00 drafted guys will play (25?), and the guys getting drafted now have probably been prepping their body for long careers before even entering the league.


I'd still wonder how much of this is just more players and more opportunities for freaky long careers? I'm sure it is both but how do you quantify that?

I'd say rule changes are also a significant factor. LeBron, for example, joined the NBA at age 19 and never played a minute of college ball. So while he is now in his 15th season, he's only 33 years old. This was not allowed in Kareem's era, so he joined the NBA at age 22 after one of the GOAT college careers at UCLA. When Kareem was 33, he finished 3rd in MVP voting and I would guess LeBron will finish similarly this year (I am guessing he could finish second). But Kareem was only in his 12th season during his age 33 season. If Kareem were allowed to join the NBA at age 19, I think he would have been an All-Star caliber player from 19-22, which would have raised his career CORP-values, although there could be some tradeoff in his overall development by missing out on the opportunity to study basketball under John Wooden.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1905 » by Ron Swanson » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:47 pm

"Because they're good" doesn't account for why even some of the greatest players ever (David Robinson, KG, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, James Harden, Patrick Ewing, etc.) tend to have a notable decline in production/efficiency/overall level of play in the postseason vs. better teams and tougher defenses.

The idea that players play just as hard and with just as much motivation for all 48 minutes of a basketball game is patently untrue. So I'm not understanding where the disconnect is with the pretty logical idea that playing well in the final 5 minutes of a game is more important than playing well in the first 5 minutes of a game.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1906 » by kabstah » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:59 pm

MisterHibachi wrote:I do buy the idea of last few minutes meaning more than the first part of the game. Having a 5 point lead with 5 minutes left in a game is better for your win probability than having that same lead 2 minutes into the game.

Your second sentence is true, but it's not really related to your first.

There's a vast asymmetry of information when comparing the score at 43 minutes versus the score at 2 minutes -- that's why the former has a greater predictive value than the latter. To use an analogy from another sport, a one meter lead at meter 99 out of 100 allows us to pick the eventual winner with much greater certainty than a one meter lead at meter 1 out of 100 in the 100 meter dash, and yet no one seriously contends that the last few strides of the race are more important than the first.

If you want to contend that, say, the last 5 minutes are more meaningful than the first 5 minutes, you need to look at scoring margins only for the time period in question. In other words, does a +X margin in the final minutes better correlate to wins and losses than the same +X margin in the opening minutes?
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1907 » by Owly » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:50 pm

Reservoirdawgs wrote:
Ron Swanson wrote:
It's all of the above. I don't know what you're not understanding here. Would you say that a player who shoots efficiently over a decent sample size is by definition an efficient shooter? Does one or a couple inefficient shooting nights all of a sudden make him an inefficient shooter? So why on earth would a player who frequently produces at a higher level in the most important games, and the most important times during the most important games, not be considered a clutch player based on historical trends and the very definition of the word?


Because they're good? The players that we consider "clutch" are the ones that are already considered the best players out there BECAUSE they are good.

I'm certainly willing to be convinced otherwise, however. Who and what are examples of players that, for some reason, have a "clutch" gene and who are players that do not have it. And can you still define "clutch" for me? Being a great playoff performer, or a great fourth quarter performer, or a great final minute performer are obviously completely different...so which is it? If a player is a great playoff performer but doesn't perform well in the final minute, does that mean that person is not clutch? Similarly, if a player is a poor playoff performer but only does well in the final minute is that person somehow clutch?

I assumed, in my reading, that "higher level" meant relative to their own typical standards (being clutch being a rising of standard, rather than an absolute level). If that is the case then clutch could stand distinct from general player quality - this would disarm your bolded line of reasoning. That said Ron Swanson has responded and hasn't picked up on this, so perhaps my reading was wrong.

Ron Swanson wrote:"Because they're good" doesn't account for why even some of the greatest players ever (David Robinson, KG, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, James Harden, Patrick Ewing, etc.) tend to have a notable decline in production/efficiency/overall level of play in the postseason vs. better teams and tougher defenses.

The idea that players play just as hard and with just as much motivation for all 48 minutes of a basketball game is patently untrue. So I'm not understanding where the disconnect is with the pretty logical idea that playing well in the final 5 minutes of a game is more important than playing well in the first 5 minutes of a game.

You appear to have switched from defending one point - that "clutch" (in the sense of distinctive late game performance) exists
Spoiler:
Ron Swanson wrote:Well, "clutch" does exist in certain players more so than others. As in, mentally, not all athletes are created equal and not all have the kind of mental focus to block out everything else in those high stakes moments. It's just highly subjective and people get frustrated by the word because it can't be quantified by a number or statistic. If a player performs "clutch" basketball plays (notice how I don't say just "shots") with a relative amount of frequency, it's just being obtuse to not call them inherently "clutch".

to another "final 5 minutes of a game is more important".

(I would think) These are quite seperate. One could believe that some players deal with late game pressure better than others (regardless of whether you feel we have the quantity and quality of data and/or the tools for analysing this accurately in many cases) but find that (even after eliminating "garbage time" foregone conclusions) the idea that later minutes somehow count more to be unpersuasive. It might prevent arguing past one another to be clear which you're talking about.

Btiw, what would be the "logic" of late game greater importance?
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1908 » by Owly » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:55 pm

kabstah wrote:
MisterHibachi wrote:I do buy the idea of last few minutes meaning more than the first part of the game. Having a 5 point lead with 5 minutes left in a game is better for your win probability than having that same lead 2 minutes into the game.

Your second sentence is true, but it's not really related to your first.

There's a vast asymmetry of information when comparing the score at 43 minutes versus the score at 2 minutes -- that's why the former has a greater predictive value than the latter. To use an analogy from another sport, a one meter lead at meter 99 out of 100 allows us to pick the eventual winner with much greater certainty than a one meter lead at meter 1 out of 100 in the 100 meter dash, and yet no one seriously contends that the last few strides of the race are more important than the first.

If you want to contend that, say, the last 5 minutes are more meaningful than the first 5 minutes, you need to look at scoring margins only for the time period in question. In other words, does a +X margin in the final minutes better correlate to wins and losses than the same +X margin in the opening minutes?

I almost posted something somewhat similar (primarily in being about the lack of relationship between the points, also pointing to the fact that insofar as the two do relate, they might indicate that the earlier minutes might tend to be more important as later it gets the more likely the outcome has already been decided - e.g. if the gap were 30 points instead of 5).

I'm struggling with the "why", the reasoning as to how the late game would matter more.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1909 » by dhsilv2 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:06 pm

Ron Swanson wrote:"Because they're good" doesn't account for why even some of the greatest players ever (David Robinson, KG, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, James Harden, Patrick Ewing, etc.) tend to have a notable decline in production/efficiency/overall level of play in the postseason vs. better teams and tougher defenses.

The idea that players play just as hard and with just as much motivation for all 48 minutes of a basketball game is patently untrue. So I'm not understanding where the disconnect is with the pretty logical idea that playing well in the final 5 minutes of a game is more important than playing well in the first 5 minutes of a game.


Only if the game is still close. Otherwise you've already lost. And why not put in the effort earlier so you can rest at the end? I'll pass on the post season piece as that's grossly lucky based, timing base, injury based, and is just too hard to fairly judge.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1910 » by Run DLC » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:34 pm

KG is too high on the list. If anything, swap Kobe in for KG’s spot and KG in for Kobe’s spot
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1911 » by 70sFan » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:52 pm

Run DLC wrote:KG is too high on the list. If anything, swap Kobe in for KG’s spot and KG in for Kobe’s spot


Have you even read both write-ups? Or you just don't care about legit discussion?
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1912 » by ronnymac2 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:52 pm

:rockon: The GOAT!

Great writeup. Hunner percent agree on KAJ's peak being 1977 and being excellent but below the GOAT-peak level. KAJ is my GOAT, but I've got at least four players over him in terms of peak play.

I also like that the '74 season is his Buck peak. I think style, opportunity, and a weak league led to greater boxscore numbers in 1971 and 1972, but his 1974 version could have done anything those earlier versions of him did and then some. Monster two-way carry job with Oscar in deep decline in '74.

I do think 1980 is underrated here. I wonder if it has to do with the injury at the tail end.

Obviously appreciate the writeup about his defensive pros and cons.

Hell of a way to end an awesome project.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1913 » by ardee » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:50 am

The analysis and effort was GOAT level, great overall project, however I still can't and never will reconcile the bizarre rankings for Wilt, Magic, Bird, and particularly Kobe, KG and Malone.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Post#1914 » by LA Bird » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:05 am

It seems to be a popular opinion in this thread but I would disagree with 74 over 72 as Kareem's peak in Milwaukee.
For starters, Kareem's box score production were much higher in 72. As shown in ElGee's own scoring volume + relative efficiency chart, 72 was one of the GOAT pre-3pt line scoring seasons whereas 74 was arguably Kareem's worst prime season outside of his rookie year.

Per 100 possession
72 Kareem: 34 / 16 / 4.5 on +9.8 rTS%
74 Kareem: 28 / 15 / 5 on +6.1 rTS%

72 Kareem also led the Bucks to better team results on both offense and defense. The only key advantage I see for 74 Kareem is the better offense in the playoffs but some of that comes down to luck in not having to face two of the GOAT defenders in Thurmond and Wilt. It's also a small sample size compared to the large difference we saw in the regular season production. And while he did suffer an offensive dropoff in the 72 playoffs, Kareem anchoring one of the GOAT non-Russell postseason defense for that run is generally overlooked. Taking into account both regular season and playoffs, 72 Bucks rate out at -5.8 DRtg relative to league average compared to -3.9 for 74 Bucks. Combine the team result with Kareem's defensive motor declining as he aged and I would say it's fair to assume he was also better defensively in 72 than 74.

ElGee mentioned the league expansion "catching up" to the Bucks as an explanation to the SRS declines from 73 onwards but the 72 Bucks were still a ~10 SRS team when healthy against non-expansion teams. There were 8 new teams added from 67 to 71 but only the last batch of expansion teams (Blazers/Braves/Cavs, -9 SRS average) were fodders. The others had already adjusted to the league and some (Bulls/Suns/Bucks) were among the highest SRS teams in the league. Removing the games against the three newest expansion teams, 72 Kareem averaged 35.2 ppg, 17.1 rpg, 4.6 apg on +9.1% rTS which is head and shoulders above what he did in 74. I personally find it hard to believe the quality of the league improved so much between 72~74 as to be able to attribute the reduction in offensive production to league dilution wearing off when we saw Kareem and the Bucks dominating just fine against non-expansion teams in 72.

That being said, another great writeup as usual from ElGee and I hope he expands his list in the future beyond top 40 so we can have even more of his writeups.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1915 » by WarriorGM » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:13 am

Reservoirdawgs wrote:
Ron Swanson wrote:
It's all of the above. I don't know what you're not understanding here. Would you say that a player who shoots efficiently over a decent sample size is by definition an efficient shooter? Does one or a couple inefficient shooting nights all of a sudden make him an inefficient shooter? So why on earth would a player who frequently produces at a higher level in the most important games, and the most important times during the most important games, not be considered a clutch player based on historical trends and the very definition of the word?


Because they're good? The players that we consider "clutch" are the ones that are already considered the best players out there BECAUSE they are good.

I'm certainly willing to be convinced otherwise, however. Who and what are examples of players that, for some reason, have a "clutch" gene and who are players that do not have it. And can you still define "clutch" for me? Being a great playoff performer, or a great fourth quarter performer, or a great final minute performer are obviously completely different...so which is it? If a player is a great playoff performer but doesn't perform well in the final minute, does that mean that person is not clutch? Similarly, if a player is a poor playoff performer but only does well in the final minute is that person somehow clutch?


I think the idea of clutch is valid and exists. It is more obvious though in individual sports where it is highlighted. You can have two brilliantly talented tennis players or even one who isn't as talented but the one who displays superior tenacity goes on to have the success you wouldn't expect otherwise. Michael Chang and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario would be examples.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1916 » by SideshowBob » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:48 am

But in his home dwelling...the hi-top faded warrior is revered. *Smack!* The sound of his palm blocking the basketball... the sound of thousands rising, roaring... the sound of "get that sugar honey iced tea outta here!"
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1917 » by Reservoirdawgs » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:14 pm

WarriorGM wrote:
I think the idea of clutch is valid and exists. It is more obvious though in individual sports where it is highlighted. You can have two brilliantly talented tennis players or even one who isn't as talented but the one who displays superior tenacity goes on to have the success you wouldn't expect otherwise. Michael Chang and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario would be examples.


When you say "superior tenacity", what do you mean by that?
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1918 » by WarriorGM » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:47 pm

Reservoirdawgs wrote:
WarriorGM wrote:
I think the idea of clutch is valid and exists. It is more obvious though in individual sports where it is highlighted. You can have two brilliantly talented tennis players or even one who isn't as talented but the one who displays superior tenacity goes on to have the success you wouldn't expect otherwise. Michael Chang and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario would be examples.


When you say "superior tenacity", what do you mean by that?


In tennis, playing bigger on the important points (it's possible in tennis to win more points and still lose) and making every single point a dogfight. If you watch Federer or the other top players vs. talented but lesser players you often see the lesser players capable of playing fabulously but then on those important points when the game is on the line they just don't show the same mental stamina or endurance and are more prone to making mistakes or being off for a point and that's enough to seal their doom.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1919 » by Reservoirdawgs » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:59 pm

SideshowBob wrote:Closing post.

The Value of Longevity and Defense


"It also demonstrated how painfully close many of these careers were; it’s more fun (and satisfying) to draw a clear line in the sand, but the differences in impact rarely seem to warrant it. Emphasizing order — who is 12th versus 14th — now feels hollow to me, and I’ve come away largely GOAT-agnostic. Plus, different criteria will produce radically different lists.

I give Jordan the best peak, but it’s not by a lot. LeBron has the best consecutive eight-season stretch ever. Kareem has the most valuable career relative to his era. And even Russell has a backdoor claim as the most valuable player of all time. Any of those four are great GOAT choices. I think (hope) that the career ranges that players fell into on this list are a good starting point for any all-time discussion or best player list moving forward."

I agree wholeheartedly with this.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1920 » by 70sFan » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:49 pm

It's probably the first list which is focused just as much on defense as on offense and I love it. People say all the time that "individual offense is more important than individual defense" but they don't say why. He also broke down every single player in top 30 in terms of defense which is also huge task. Offense is easier to appreciate but it's not more important.

This is something amazing, I'm proud (not sure if it's good word, I'm not native) that I can read every single one of his articles on line. Although I still can't agree with everything he wrote, he changed my mind about some things. I learned something new during his project and that's the best thing for me. It's unlikely that I'll ever know as much about basketball as ElGee and it's amazing that he shared his knowledge for everyone.

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