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#1941 » by scrabbarista » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:40 pm

SideshowBob wrote:
ThaRegul8r wrote:
SideshowBob wrote:
Spoiler:
Image

Lebron can potentially top Kareem's raw career value with his 2018 season included, as he is at 2.79 through 2017 and 16/17 average out to 0.26. However, ElGee has already clarified that most likely Lebron moves into the #2 spot after this current year is included, which means that Kareem's "era-adjustment" is enough to make up the raw value difference.


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'm just throwing this out there as I read through the thread, but maybe Kareem's being a cultured California transplant had something to do with his longevity. California was decades ahead of the rest of the U.S. on the availability and prevalence of nutritional information and options. Kareem may have been open-minded and educated enough to take advantage of this in ways some of his Lakers teammates wouldn't - and his opponents, however cultured, simply couldn't.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1942 » by scrabbarista » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:03 pm

WarriorGM wrote:
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.


I was trying to finish the thread without responding, but I'll jump in.

On one hand, I agree with those who say every minute of a game has equal value in determining the outcome. It would certainly appear logical (without the necessary analysis to determine whether one quarter has greater weight in determining final outcomes) that a +5 in the first quarter is just as good as a +5 in fourth quarter.

On the other hand, few to no players experience the game in this way. When players hit a "game-winning" shot, they flip the f--k out; but if they'd hit the same shot on the first play of the game and reacted by pumping their fists, mean-mugging for the camera, streaking down the court with airplane arms, and then chest-bumping the entire bench, everyone, including the most hardened statheads, would laugh at them. The difference in this reaction is a key to what the "clutch" people (I'm one of them, to put it crudely) are trying to communicate: if players are reacting like that after "clutch" moments, you can sure as heck assume (and experienced athletes will know) that they're reacting internally before those moments - and, in some cases, this reaction will affect performance. The statistical sample-sizes are always necessarily small, but otoh, once is enough to see a guy with wobbly knees and eyes popping open on the free-throw line near the end of the game to know: this is not random.

Elgee's list is phenomenal. I've only read the methodology and a couple entries so far, but it's clearly amazing. Where I think it goes wrong is in ignoring the simple idea that the playoffs are more, not less, important than the regular season. This is true because everyone - fans, players (the only relevant group, tbh), coaches, advertising execs, etc. - arbitrarily decides it is. This arbitrary decision warps the way the game is played in the playoffs (a similar effect occurs at the end of all games, RS or PS).

The upshot is that while the statistics used in different contexts - RS vs. PS, or first 43 minutes vs. last 5 minutes - are the same, the actual context is not. Thus, the statistics are misleading.

I remember Henry Abbott, during his years of criticizing "hero ball" would often slam Kobe Bryant, but then woefully admit that more or less all teams for all time have moved the ball less, on average, in the most clutch moments. He thought this was the wrong approach, but he had to grapple with the fact that Kobe (he also criticized Harden/Houston) wasn't as much of an outlier as he wanted to make him out to be. He believed that the approach that was best during the first 45 minutes should be the best during the last 3 minutes. I agree with him - all else being equal - on this last point, but with the minor caveat that players don't actually play that way. Never have and, on the whole, never will.

MJ was famous for his slow starts. He liked to get his teammates involved and observe the defense. In the fourth, he would become a very different player. Which was the real MJ? The sum of both? If so, which was the better MJ? Which MJ approached the game in a more impactful way? You either have to pick one, or you have to admit that the first quarter is qualitatively (and, in some sense, therefore, quantitatively) different than the fourth quarter. The same applies to RS vs. PS.

It's not a coincidence that someone with MJ's physical advantages should develop a reputation for clutch performance. When all players are trying their hardest, that extra hang time or length or quickness can suddenly become the deciding factor in winning or losing. (The same could be said for the ability to concentrate, to react aggressively with composure, and other mental attributes, but those are obviously more difficult to observe.) If I, a regular guy, am playing Kawhi Leonard in one-on-one, I might be able to score a basket or two, maybe even more, depending on how seriously he takes it. But if the championship or his next contract or our lives are on the line, it's a lot less likely I'll even get a shot off. I only use this illustration to exaggerate a point, but it can explain why someone like a John Stockton or a Steve Nash can be great in the regular season, but then be outmatched by an "inferior" player like a Gary Payton or a Manu Ginobili in the playoffs. Often, this may not result in a player being outplayed, but rather in the gap between the two players being shrunk, which can be the difference between winning and losing.

To me, this is intuitively a first principle: the arbitrary (but priceless) importance placed on the playoffs and certain moments will always mean that players' psychological make-ups and approaches to basketball are crucial in evaluations.

In summary, Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett should have shot the ball more.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul Jabbar 

Post#1943 » by magicmerl » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:35 am

scrabbarista wrote:I'm just throwing this out there as I read through the thread, but maybe Kareem's being a cultured California transplant had something to do with his longevity. California was decades ahead of the rest of the U.S. on the availability and prevalence of nutritional information and options. Kareem may have been open-minded and educated enough to take advantage of this in ways some of his Lakers teammates wouldn't - and his opponents, however cultured, simply couldn't.

I think most of the reason he kept playing is because his agent mismanaged his money so badly he was broke. He kept playing because he needed the money.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1944 » by Owly » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:00 pm

scrabbarista wrote:
WarriorGM wrote:
Reservoirdawgs wrote:
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.


I was trying to finish the thread without responding, but I'll jump in.

On one hand, I agree with those who say every minute of a game has equal value in determining the outcome. It would certainly appear logical (without the necessary analysis to determine whether one quarter has greater weight in determining final outcomes) that a +5 in the first quarter is just as good as a +5 in fourth quarter.

On the other hand, few to no players experience the game in this way. When players hit a "game-winning" shot, they flip the f--k out; but if they'd hit the same shot on the first play of the game and reacted by pumping their fists, mean-mugging for the camera, streaking down the court with airplane arms, and then chest-bumping the entire bench, everyone, including the most hardened statheads, would laugh at them. The difference in this reaction is a key to what the "clutch" people (I'm one of them, to put it crudely) are trying to communicate: if players are reacting like that after "clutch" moments, you can sure as heck assume (and experienced athletes will know) that they're reacting internally before those moments - and, in some cases, this reaction will affect performance. The statistical sample-sizes are always necessarily small, but otoh, once is enough to see a guy with wobbly knees and eyes popping open on the free-throw line near the end of the game to know: this is not random.

Elgee's list is phenomenal. I've only read the methodology and a couple entries so far, but it's clearly amazing. Where I think it goes wrong is in ignoring the simple idea that the playoffs are more, not less, important than the regular season. This is true because everyone - fans, players (the only relevant group, tbh), coaches, advertising execs, etc. - arbitrarily decides it is. This arbitrary decision warps the way the game is played in the playoffs (a similar effect occurs at the end of all games, RS or PS).

The upshot is that while the statistics used in different contexts - RS vs. PS, or first 43 minutes vs. last 5 minutes - are the same, the actual context is not. Thus, the statistics are misleading.

I remember Henry Abbott, during his years of criticizing "hero ball" would often slam Kobe Bryant, but then woefully admit that more or less all teams for all time have moved the ball less, on average, in the most clutch moments. He thought this was the wrong approach, but he had to grapple with the fact that Kobe (he also criticized Harden/Houston) wasn't as much of an outlier as he wanted to make him out to be. He believed that the approach that was best during the first 45 minutes should be the best during the last 3 minutes. I agree with him - all else being equal - on this last point, but with the minor caveat that players don't actually play that way. Never have and, on the whole, never will.

MJ was famous for his slow starts. He liked to get his teammates involved and observe the defense. In the fourth, he would become a very different player. Which was the real MJ? The sum of both? If so, which was the better MJ? Which MJ approached the game in a more impactful way? You either have to pick one, or you have to admit that the first quarter is qualitatively (and, in some sense, therefore, quantitatively) different than the fourth quarter. The same applies to RS vs. PS.

It's not a coincidence that someone with MJ's physical advantages should develop a reputation for clutch performance. When all players are trying their hardest, that extra hang time or length or quickness can suddenly become the deciding factor in winning or losing. (The same could be said for the ability to concentrate, to react aggressively with composure, and other mental attributes, but those are obviously more difficult to observe.) If I, a regular guy, am playing Kawhi Leonard in one-on-one, I might be able to score a basket or two, maybe even more, depending on how seriously he takes it. But if the championship or his next contract or our lives are on the line, it's a lot less likely I'll even get a shot off. I only use this illustration to exaggerate a point, but it can explain why someone like a John Stockton or a Steve Nash can be great in the regular season, but then be outmatched by an "inferior" player like a Gary Payton or a Manu Ginobili in the playoffs. Often, this may not result in a player being outplayed, but rather in the gap between the two players being shrunk, which can be the difference between winning and losing.

To me, this is intuitively a first principle: the arbitrary (but priceless) importance placed on the playoffs and certain moments will always mean that players' psychological make-ups and approaches to basketball are crucial in evaluations.

In summary, Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett should have shot the ball more.

There's stuff in here that I think I'm inclined to disagree with but I mightn't be understanding it all properly so I'll give some responses either arguing against or seeking clarification.

Regarding responses to "game-winners". The difference isn't the time in the game. It's the game win probability after the shot and the opportunity to flip out (i.e. if you're there dancing, gurning, mugging or whatever and the opponent throws a quick outlet, you look pretty dumb). You'd be equally mad to flip out after making a late shot up or down 20. A late-game basket isn't of more or less value (maybe less if both sides have rightly concluded that the outcome is dead), it's just that in a close game you know that every play has mattered and that this last one will too (but no more so than previous ones).

There are differences in end of tight game scenarios. Specifically one is a defensive advantage in knowing when you want to shoot (to early and you give back possession, too late and it doesn't count), which allows them to defend differently than they would otherwise. This wouldn't affect any balance of importance of different plays or periods of play though.

So far as "nerves exist and different people react differently to them" that much would I think be uncontroversial. The question is where one goes from there. E.g. how much people who got to the level of the NBA are affected by such, is there any good measure of where such nerves would kick in, do we have the right tools to measure it, can/do we measure it at both ends ("clutch" tends to be about offense) etc

On "playoffs are more important" ... to what? To deciding the champions in a given year? Beyond a certain threshold (you need to make the playoffs), yes, of course. To accurately, holistically measuring what you can expect of a player in hypothetical other scenarios, or even predicting future performance ... for this, with it's variety of opponents and superior sample size, the regular season is better. And so it depends on what you want to measure. Someone rating careers, let's say without a deep dive into context, because maybe in some cases contextual factors about opponents, sample-size etc, whose criteria looked at the numbers and valued highly the playoffs (whether, because that's what they actually did - luck doesn't come into it or doesn't matter / that's what matters most, or they believe their playoff performance is replicable or whatever) will be higher on Terry Furlow, Jerome James, Baron Davis, Roy Hinson, Bernard King, Tim Thomas, Johnny Moore, Darnell Valentine, Jeff Foster, Bob Harris, Derrek Dickey, Derrick Coleman, Isiah Thomas, Gus Williams, Jamaal Magloire, Elvin Hayes, Rajon Rondo, Penny Hardaway, Hakeem Olajuwon, Frank Ramsey and Ben Wallace and lower on Stephon Marbury, Drazen Petrovic, Jim Price, Neil Johnston, Robert Pack, Clifford Robinson (and for bigger names, to lesser degrees Chamberlain, Payton, Cassell, Sabonis, D Robinson, Moncrief, Tim Hardaway, Wilkins, Karl Malone, Parish) than will be someone who views the playoffs primarily with skepticism.

Some of this is preference. Some could be debated at the margins (the degree to which RS/playoffs predict future performance and future playoff performance - the chance, in light of sample sizes, that a raise or fall in the playoffs is luck). In either case at the preliminary stage of discussions it's probably fairer to talk about where you differ than to say where someone "goes wrong". And it's best to get differences in what you are measuring and methodology out of the way up front to avoid talking past one another.

I'm not sure on the analogy between late game "clutch" and playoffs "clutch". The former, I have argued, is no more important, though at the very end of games marginally different. The latter is more important to titles, is somewhat different in mostly different ways (tighter rotations, greater game-planning e.g. can limit unipolar offenses, more open than RS to the influence of luck, injury, matchups). I think any idea of tying these two things together needs to explain why and give evidence for doing so.

Not quite sure what you're saying re: Abbott-Bryant-HeroBall (so far as I can tell - agree with Abbott but say players never will, play "team ball" - why not if it's possible, if not then why not needs teasing about). I would re-raise the point that very end of game plays are distinct for shot-timing reasons.

On MJ
1) I'd want data on "slow starts" and I'd suggest there is an onus on you prove this assertion given you're telling people they must pick one.
2) Even given that premise ... why "different MJs" in different quarters force one to pick one version as more "real"? Wouldn't one be contingent on the other. Wouldn't the premise be getting other players confident to create space for MJ later, then hope he doesn't need them but be okay if he does. Even assuming different play styles, so far as I can see, there's little reason to say that they could or should be separable and separated.

The effort thing is probably the most important one raised. And in can be taken two ways "extra gear" versus "RS loafers" (see Tim Thomas, Derrick Coleman, Jerome James). Effort is certainly another aspect aside from mental composure that could lead to . One would have to consider ones own preferences and think about different perspectives (does a "lazy" RS player become an asset to a contender that can get them cheap - if they can be confident that playoff performance isn't a fluke, in what circumstances is playoff upside more valuable and in what circumstances do you want the player to be at max capacity all year - which calibre teams and which cultures fit which style best).

Okay, don't have time to proofread this now (there'll probably be an incomplete thought somewhere). Let me know if I misunderstood anything, or any thoughts.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul Jabbar 

Post#1945 » by dhsilv2 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:04 pm

magicmerl wrote:
scrabbarista wrote:I'm just throwing this out there as I read through the thread, but maybe Kareem's being a cultured California transplant had something to do with his longevity. California was decades ahead of the rest of the U.S. on the availability and prevalence of nutritional information and options. Kareem may have been open-minded and educated enough to take advantage of this in ways some of his Lakers teammates wouldn't - and his opponents, however cultured, simply couldn't.

I think most of the reason he kept playing is because his agent mismanaged his money so badly he was broke. He kept playing because he needed the money.


Didn't he keep playing well past his NBA days over seas?
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/12 - #1 Kareem Abdul Jabbar 

Post#1946 » by Owly » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:52 pm

dhsilv2 wrote:
magicmerl wrote:
scrabbarista wrote:I'm just throwing this out there as I read through the thread, but maybe Kareem's being a cultured California transplant had something to do with his longevity. California was decades ahead of the rest of the U.S. on the availability and prevalence of nutritional information and options. Kareem may have been open-minded and educated enough to take advantage of this in ways some of his Lakers teammates wouldn't - and his opponents, however cultured, simply couldn't.

I think most of the reason he kept playing is because his agent mismanaged his money so badly he was broke. He kept playing because he needed the money.


Didn't he keep playing well past his NBA days over seas?

Not regularly, not like joining an Italian team (like McAdoo, English, Dantley, Roundfield, Gilmore or sort of Haywood earlier - though he came back to the NBA after a year) as many did around that time (not just old guys Ferry as a rookie, Brian Shaw and Vinnie Del Negro as young players).

But he did do touring with "All-Star" american teams, often bearing his name. For instance http://articles.latimes.com/1989-05-03/sports/sp-2550_1_hong-kong-australian-national-team-all-stars . I don't know if this was a money thing.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1947 » by scrabbarista » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:31 pm

Owly wrote:
scrabbarista wrote:
WarriorGM wrote:
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.


I was trying to finish the thread without responding, but I'll jump in.

On one hand, I agree with those who say every minute of a game has equal value in determining the outcome. It would certainly appear logical (without the necessary analysis to determine whether one quarter has greater weight in determining final outcomes) that a +5 in the first quarter is just as good as a +5 in fourth quarter.

On the other hand, few to no players experience the game in this way. When players hit a "game-winning" shot, they flip the f--k out; but if they'd hit the same shot on the first play of the game and reacted by pumping their fists, mean-mugging for the camera, streaking down the court with airplane arms, and then chest-bumping the entire bench, everyone, including the most hardened statheads, would laugh at them. The difference in this reaction is a key to what the "clutch" people (I'm one of them, to put it crudely) are trying to communicate: if players are reacting like that after "clutch" moments, you can sure as heck assume (and experienced athletes will know) that they're reacting internally before those moments - and, in some cases, this reaction will affect performance. The statistical sample-sizes are always necessarily small, but otoh, once is enough to see a guy with wobbly knees and eyes popping open on the free-throw line near the end of the game to know: this is not random.
.


There's stuff in here that I think I'm inclined to disagree with but I mightn't be understanding it all properly so I'll give some responses either arguing against or seeking clarification.

Regarding responses to "game-winners". The difference isn't the time in the game. It's the game win probability after the shot and the opportunity to flip out (i.e. if you're there dancing, gurning, mugging or whatever and the opponent throws a quick outlet, you look pretty dumb). You'd be equally mad to flip out after making a late shot up or down 20. A late-game basket isn't of more or less value (maybe less if both sides have rightly concluded that the outcome is dead), it's just that in a close game you know that every play has mattered and that this last one will too (but no more so than previous ones).

There are differences in end of tight game scenarios. Specifically one is a defensive advantage in knowing when you want to shoot (to early and you give back possession, too late and it doesn't count), which allows them to defend differently than they would otherwise. This wouldn't affect any balance of importance of different plays or periods of play though.

So far as "nerves exist and different people react differently to them" that much would I think be uncontroversial. The question is where one goes from there. E.g. how much people who got to the level of the NBA are affected by such, is there any good measure of where such nerves would kick in, do we have the right tools to measure it, can/do we measure it at both ends ("clutch" tends to be about offense) etc



Good point about win probability. I didn't mean to imply that it was merely a question of time. To take your comment a little further, it is probably a question of the difference in perceived win probability before and after the shot. That is, the players are aware of the difference in the moment. If we went back in time in a game decided by a buzzer-beater, every shot was the difference, every shot tipped the balance from 0/100 to 100/0, but players were not aware of it at the time, and so did not experience it as "the difference." When a moment comes at which everyone on the floor is aware of that difference, and aware that everyone else on the court and everyone watching is also aware of that difference, then that's from whence the concept of "clutchness" arises.

I think the question about NBA players being or not being affected by nerves is a red herring. A player with enough talent is going to have to be Royce-White-level (i.e., afraid and unwilling to get on a plane) "nervous" before it keeps him out of the league (and, although I'm not a contract expert, I'm pretty sure that even he made millions). The NBA Draft does not screen for nerves, except at the outer-most margins, if at all.

The question, if that is your domain, can indeed be where do we go from there. I'll (hopefully) reply to this and more of your comment in more depth at some point, but just know that I'm not really coming at this from the perspective of drafting unknown NBA quantities. I.e., although the idea of "clutchness" can to some extent be used predictively (what would you trade for Marquelle Fultz right now vs. how confident did MJ's stroke look when he hit that shot for North Carolina), I'm generally more interested in the conversation around what players have already done (even if only because it feels like more solid ground) than I am in what they will do in the future or what they might do in some alternate reality. Point taken, though. All good questions.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1948 » by Owly » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:31 pm

scrabbarista wrote:
Owly wrote:
scrabbarista wrote:
I was trying to finish the thread without responding, but I'll jump in.

On one hand, I agree with those who say every minute of a game has equal value in determining the outcome. It would certainly appear logical (without the necessary analysis to determine whether one quarter has greater weight in determining final outcomes) that a +5 in the first quarter is just as good as a +5 in fourth quarter.

On the other hand, few to no players experience the game in this way. When players hit a "game-winning" shot, they flip the f--k out; but if they'd hit the same shot on the first play of the game and reacted by pumping their fists, mean-mugging for the camera, streaking down the court with airplane arms, and then chest-bumping the entire bench, everyone, including the most hardened statheads, would laugh at them. The difference in this reaction is a key to what the "clutch" people (I'm one of them, to put it crudely) are trying to communicate: if players are reacting like that after "clutch" moments, you can sure as heck assume (and experienced athletes will know) that they're reacting internally before those moments - and, in some cases, this reaction will affect performance. The statistical sample-sizes are always necessarily small, but otoh, once is enough to see a guy with wobbly knees and eyes popping open on the free-throw line near the end of the game to know: this is not random.
.


There's stuff in here that I think I'm inclined to disagree with but I mightn't be understanding it all properly so I'll give some responses either arguing against or seeking clarification.

Regarding responses to "game-winners". The difference isn't the time in the game. It's the game win probability after the shot and the opportunity to flip out (i.e. if you're there dancing, gurning, mugging or whatever and the opponent throws a quick outlet, you look pretty dumb). You'd be equally mad to flip out after making a late shot up or down 20. A late-game basket isn't of more or less value (maybe less if both sides have rightly concluded that the outcome is dead), it's just that in a close game you know that every play has mattered and that this last one will too (but no more so than previous ones).

There are differences in end of tight game scenarios. Specifically one is a defensive advantage in knowing when you want to shoot (to early and you give back possession, too late and it doesn't count), which allows them to defend differently than they would otherwise. This wouldn't affect any balance of importance of different plays or periods of play though.

So far as "nerves exist and different people react differently to them" that much would I think be uncontroversial. The question is where one goes from there. E.g. how much people who got to the level of the NBA are affected by such, is there any good measure of where such nerves would kick in, do we have the right tools to measure it, can/do we measure it at both ends ("clutch" tends to be about offense) etc



Good point about win probability. I didn't mean to imply that it was merely a question of time. To take your comment a little further, it is probably a question of the difference in perceived win probability before and after the shot. That is, the players are aware of the difference in the moment. If we went back in time in a game decided by a buzzer-beater, every shot was the difference, every shot tipped the balance from 0/100 to 100/0, but players were not aware of it at the time, and so did not experience it as "the difference." When a moment comes at which everyone on the floor is aware of that difference, and aware that everyone else on the court and everyone watching is also aware of that difference, then that's from whence the concept of "clutchness" arises.

I think the question about NBA players being or not being affected by nerves is a red herring. A player with enough talent is going to have to be Royce-White-level (i.e., afraid and unwilling to get on a plane) "nervous" before it keeps him out of the league (and, although I'm not a contract expert, I'm pretty sure that even he made millions). The NBA Draft does not screen for nerves, except at the outer-most margins, if at all.

The question, if that is your domain, can indeed be where do we go from there. I'll (hopefully) reply to this and more of your comment in more depth at some point, but just know that I'm not really coming at this from the perspective of drafting unknown NBA quantities. I.e., although the idea of "clutchness" can to some extent be used predictively (what would you trade for Marquelle Fultz right now vs. how confident did MJ's stroke look when he hit that shot for North Carolina), I'm generally more interested in the conversation around what players have already done (even if only because it feels like more solid ground) than I am in what they will do in the future or what they might do in some alternate reality. Point taken, though. All good questions.

On nerves, that was a tangent ... but ... aside from specific issues (free throws come to mind), doesn't actually playing the game screen for nerves to a fair degree. I don't know how it is now but my understanding was NCAA crowds were more intense than NBA ones. You have to have played well in hostile arenas to get to the NBA. So I think White is more the red herring (his nerves not relating to basketball but, iirc, transport - hence him playing being able to play pro basketball - e.g. in Canada), and getting to the NBA whilst not making a player impervious to psychological frailties, does provide a sort of screening for nerves.

And whilst "an alternate reality" may sound insignificant - especially where people are choosing to weight the playoffs heavily, what a player might have done, based on their skillset and their production and impact within specific scenarios is just one way of trying to figure out ... "how good was this guy at playing basketball?"
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1949 » by scrabbarista » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:43 am

Owly wrote:
scrabbarista wrote:
Owly wrote:
There's stuff in here that I think I'm inclined to disagree with but I mightn't be understanding it all properly so I'll give some responses either arguing against or seeking clarification.

Regarding responses to "game-winners". The difference isn't the time in the game. It's the game win probability after the shot and the opportunity to flip out (i.e. if you're there dancing, gurning, mugging or whatever and the opponent throws a quick outlet, you look pretty dumb). You'd be equally mad to flip out after making a late shot up or down 20. A late-game basket isn't of more or less value (maybe less if both sides have rightly concluded that the outcome is dead), it's just that in a close game you know that every play has mattered and that this last one will too (but no more so than previous ones).

There are differences in end of tight game scenarios. Specifically one is a defensive advantage in knowing when you want to shoot (to early and you give back possession, too late and it doesn't count), which allows them to defend differently than they would otherwise. This wouldn't affect any balance of importance of different plays or periods of play though.

So far as "nerves exist and different people react differently to them" that much would I think be uncontroversial. The question is where one goes from there. E.g. how much people who got to the level of the NBA are affected by such, is there any good measure of where such nerves would kick in, do we have the right tools to measure it, can/do we measure it at both ends ("clutch" tends to be about offense) etc



Good point about win probability. I didn't mean to imply that it was merely a question of time. To take your comment a little further, it is probably a question of the difference in perceived win probability before and after the shot. That is, the players are aware of the difference in the moment. If we went back in time in a game decided by a buzzer-beater, every shot was the difference, every shot tipped the balance from 0/100 to 100/0, but players were not aware of it at the time, and so did not experience it as "the difference." When a moment comes at which everyone on the floor is aware of that difference, and aware that everyone else on the court and everyone watching is also aware of that difference, then that's from whence the concept of "clutchness" arises.

I think the question about NBA players being or not being affected by nerves is a red herring. A player with enough talent is going to have to be Royce-White-level (i.e., afraid and unwilling to get on a plane) "nervous" before it keeps him out of the league (and, although I'm not a contract expert, I'm pretty sure that even he made millions). The NBA Draft does not screen for nerves, except at the outer-most margins, if at all.

The question, if that is your domain, can indeed be where do we go from there. I'll (hopefully) reply to this and more of your comment in more depth at some point, but just know that I'm not really coming at this from the perspective of drafting unknown NBA quantities. I.e., although the idea of "clutchness" can to some extent be used predictively (what would you trade for Marquelle Fultz right now vs. how confident did MJ's stroke look when he hit that shot for North Carolina), I'm generally more interested in the conversation around what players have already done (even if only because it feels like more solid ground) than I am in what they will do in the future or what they might do in some alternate reality. Point taken, though. All good questions.

On nerves, that was a tangent ... but ... aside from specific issues (free throws come to mind), doesn't actually playing the game screen for nerves to a fair degree. I don't know how it is now but my understanding was NCAA crowds were more intense than NBA ones. You have to have played well in hostile arenas to get to the NBA. So I think White is more the red herring (his nerves not relating to basketball but, iirc, transport - hence him playing being able to play pro basketball - e.g. in Canada), and getting to the NBA whilst not making a player impervious to psychological frailties, does provide a sort of screening for nerves.

And whilst "an alternate reality" may sound insignificant - especially where people are choosing to weight the playoffs heavily, what a player might have done, based on their skillset and their production and impact within specific scenarios is just one way of trying to figure out ... "how good was this guy at playing basketball?"


I did put "nervous" in quotes when referring to Royce White. Perhaps it might be more accurate to include "nerves" and "clutchness" under a rubric of "stability" or "dependability" or what Hemingway called "grace under pressure" (when referring to bull fighters) or any number of other not-easily-quantifiable qualities that nevertheless exist and are certainly interrelated. Before last season, I only looked at two prospects: Lonzo and Markelle, because I'd heard they were the only two in the running for #1. In the end, after agonizing over it, I put Markelle #1, but I am on the record (on RGM) saying at the time that I wish I'd had access to his personal side (I don't do social media, so that wasn't an option), as I felt something was off about him and that if I could confirm my hunch, I would move Lonzo ahead of him. I even asked on the board whether he was "stable," because I felt there were clues (based on tweets that came out, his interview answers, and his public demeanor) that he might not be. I know the story is that some sort of terrible betrayal occurred that threw him into personal turmoil between summer league and the regular season which threw off his shot, and I'm not trying to judge him personally. I'm just saying, if you want to talk about "nerves," Fultz and White are on an extreme end of the spectrum. Label it what you want. In the end, it is a psychological trait (albeit a fairly malleable one) that keeps talent from performing.
Crowds and arenas are not relevant here. I'm not talking about stage fright. I'm not talking about being scared to even go out there, or scared to move once you're out there. I'm talking about those moments when the magnifying glass becomes intense enough to focus on you. Maybe it's not the crowds and the arenas that get to you. Maybe it's your two best friends on the team. What will they think if you miss the shot? What will the team leader, who doesn't (so you think) have a high an opinion of you anyway, think? How about the coach who has critiqued your mechanics? These things can flash through your mind at an almost subconscious level when you stand at the stripe, or you've got an open three in the final minute of a big playoff game. If you are Sam Cassell, you hit that shot. If you are Quinn Cook, I guess you miss it. It is not just free throws, but rather any situation in which a player allows his awareness of the expectations of others to interfere with his focus. It could be a FT, a 3PA, a wide open layup or dunk, or even a defensive isolation. It could even be any jumpshot ever. Ben Simmons has yet to attempt a three-pointer that didn't occur at the buzzer, i.e., the shots that carry no burden of expectation. Now, it goes without saying that if you can get a sample size of 300 3PA's for those two guys (Cassell and Cook), then that matters more in general evaluations than this shot one does. I'm just saying that this shot is, if the player allows it to be, degrees of magnitude different than most or all of those other shots. Same goes for George Hill on the line at the end of a Finals game. What's his FT%? Is that the actual likelihood that he makes this shot? Or is there an unseen thought that flashes through his mind and all but precludes the possibility of his making the shot? Does he say to himself, "Wow, I almost missed the first one long. I better put this one short." And he overthinks and misses badly, whereas in the first quarter, he wouldn't have thought anything other than, "Just another free throw." Obviously, George Hill is not prone to "nerves" in the sense that you were insinuating. But that wasn't the sense that I meant, either. It has nothing to do with crowds and everything to do with a player's cognitive habits and neurological responses. (Also, the better free throw shooter you are, the more likely that your muscle memory will override any potentially derailing thoughts.) Anyway, I 100% disagree that getting to the NBA provides a screening for nerves. No more than going to a public HS in 2018 does. Any HS kid these days is liable to be bullied, ribbed, criticized, ostracized, put under a microscope, ripped into, made fun of, and many more things - whether in person or online. It has nothing to do with crowds. If that kid is bright enough to be in HS and doesn't give up, he'll get by, get through, and hopefully mature. Same goes for NBA players, if we substitute talent for brightness. It doesn't preclude the player from ever getting nervous any more than it precludes the kid from getting nervous and saying an awkward word to a girl at his first college party. An NBA player can play basketball for 10,15, 20 years without ever having to take a game-winning shot. Far fewer of them ever take enough such shots to actually become emotionally habituated to those contexts. Thus, for the most part, you will prefer to put a player into those situations who has evinced an overall pattern of poise in unfamiliar situations. This is a psychological trait. I completely disagree that getting to the NBA screens for nerves, particularly not in the sense of it being meaningful in regard to "clutchness."

I never said alternate realities are insignificant. I dabble in them all the time when considering players' values. The reason I even mentioned them is that I understand they're an inevitable necessity in player evaluations. I just meant to say that I prefer to limit my reliance on them when I make my ATG Lists. I'm one of those who is far more interested, when I make an ATG List, in what a player did in the context in which he found himself rather than what he might have done in a different context. Of course the latter is unavoidable, but, generally speaking, I do avoid it when I can. I meant to highlight the difference to imply that I prefer to think more like a traditional sports journalist (think Bill Simmons) than in the way that say, a GM is forced to think (this is what I was thinking of when I said, "if that is your domain") - although of course many RGMers make it their domain when they form their all-time lists, which is fine. I'm just not one of them. Every actual NBA GM has to take every player not on his team and imagine him into the "alternate reality" of his own team. I fully recognize this is not an insignificant task. It's just one that I prefer to avoid when I can.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1950 » by Owly » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:57 pm

scrabbarista wrote:
Owly wrote:
scrabbarista wrote:
Good point about win probability. I didn't mean to imply that it was merely a question of time. To take your comment a little further, it is probably a question of the difference in perceived win probability before and after the shot. That is, the players are aware of the difference in the moment. If we went back in time in a game decided by a buzzer-beater, every shot was the difference, every shot tipped the balance from 0/100 to 100/0, but players were not aware of it at the time, and so did not experience it as "the difference." When a moment comes at which everyone on the floor is aware of that difference, and aware that everyone else on the court and everyone watching is also aware of that difference, then that's from whence the concept of "clutchness" arises.

I think the question about NBA players being or not being affected by nerves is a red herring. A player with enough talent is going to have to be Royce-White-level (i.e., afraid and unwilling to get on a plane) "nervous" before it keeps him out of the league (and, although I'm not a contract expert, I'm pretty sure that even he made millions). The NBA Draft does not screen for nerves, except at the outer-most margins, if at all.

The question, if that is your domain, can indeed be where do we go from there. I'll (hopefully) reply to this and more of your comment in more depth at some point, but just know that I'm not really coming at this from the perspective of drafting unknown NBA quantities. I.e., although the idea of "clutchness" can to some extent be used predictively (what would you trade for Marquelle Fultz right now vs. how confident did MJ's stroke look when he hit that shot for North Carolina), I'm generally more interested in the conversation around what players have already done (even if only because it feels like more solid ground) than I am in what they will do in the future or what they might do in some alternate reality. Point taken, though. All good questions.

On nerves, that was a tangent ... but ... aside from specific issues (free throws come to mind), doesn't actually playing the game screen for nerves to a fair degree. I don't know how it is now but my understanding was NCAA crowds were more intense than NBA ones. You have to have played well in hostile arenas to get to the NBA. So I think White is more the red herring (his nerves not relating to basketball but, iirc, transport - hence him playing being able to play pro basketball - e.g. in Canada), and getting to the NBA whilst not making a player impervious to psychological frailties, does provide a sort of screening for nerves.

And whilst "an alternate reality" may sound insignificant - especially where people are choosing to weight the playoffs heavily, what a player might have done, based on their skillset and their production and impact within specific scenarios is just one way of trying to figure out ... "how good was this guy at playing basketball?"


I did put "nervous" in quotes when referring to Royce White. Perhaps it might be more accurate to include "nerves" and "clutchness" under a rubric of "stability" or "dependability" or what Hemingway called "grace under pressure" (when referring to bull fighters) or any number of other not-easily-quantifiable qualities that nevertheless exist and are certainly interrelated. Before last season, I only looked at two prospects: Lonzo and Markelle, because I'd heard they were the only two in the running for #1. In the end, after agonizing over it, I put Markelle #1, but I am on the record (on RGM) saying at the time that I wish I'd had access to his personal side (I don't do social media, so that wasn't an option), as I felt something was off about him and that if I could confirm my hunch, I would move Lonzo ahead of him. I even asked on the board whether he was "stable," because I felt there were clues (based on tweets that came out, his interview answers, and his public demeanor) that he might not be. I know the story is that some sort of terrible betrayal occurred that threw him into personal turmoil between summer league and the regular season which threw off his shot, and I'm not trying to judge him personally. I'm just saying, if you want to talk about "nerves," Fultz and White are on an extreme end of the spectrum. Label it what you want. In the end, it is a psychological trait (albeit a fairly malleable one) that keeps talent from performing.
Crowds and arenas are not relevant here. I'm not talking about stage fright. I'm not talking about being scared to even go out there, or scared to move once you're out there. I'm talking about those moments when the magnifying glass becomes intense enough to focus on you. Maybe it's not the crowds and the arenas that get to you. Maybe it's your two best friends on the team. What will they think if you miss the shot? What will the team leader, who doesn't (so you think) have a high an opinion of you anyway, think? How about the coach who has critiqued your mechanics? These things can flash through your mind at an almost subconscious level when you stand at the stripe, or you've got an open three in the final minute of a big playoff game. If you are Sam Cassell, you hit that shot. If you are Quinn Cook, I guess you miss it. It is not just free throws, but rather any situation in which a player allows his awareness of the expectations of others to interfere with his focus. It could be a FT, a 3PA, a wide open layup or dunk, or even a defensive isolation. It could even be any jumpshot ever. Ben Simmons has yet to attempt a three-pointer that didn't occur at the buzzer, i.e., the shots that carry no burden of expectation. Now, it goes without saying that if you can get a sample size of 300 3PA's for those two guys (Cassell and Cook), then that matters more in general evaluations than this shot one does. I'm just saying that this shot is, if the player allows it to be, degrees of magnitude different than most or all of those other shots. Same goes for George Hill on the line at the end of a Finals game. What's his FT%? Is that the actual likelihood that he makes this shot? Or is there an unseen thought that flashes through his mind and all but precludes the possibility of his making the shot? Does he say to himself, "Wow, I almost missed the first one long. I better put this one short." And he overthinks and misses badly, whereas in the first quarter, he wouldn't have thought anything other than, "Just another free throw." Obviously, George Hill is not prone to "nerves" in the sense that you were insinuating. But that wasn't the sense that I meant, either. It has nothing to do with crowds and everything to do with a player's cognitive habits and neurological responses. (Also, the better free throw shooter you are, the more likely that your muscle memory will override any potentially derailing thoughts.) Anyway, I 100% disagree that getting to the NBA provides a screening for nerves. No more than going to a public HS in 2018 does. Any HS kid these days is liable to be bullied, ribbed, criticized, ostracized, put under a microscope, ripped into, made fun of, and many more things - whether in person or online. It has nothing to do with crowds. If that kid is bright enough to be in HS and doesn't give up, he'll get by, get through, and hopefully mature. Same goes for NBA players, if we substitute talent for brightness. It doesn't preclude the player from ever getting nervous any more than it precludes the kid from getting nervous and saying an awkward word to a girl at his first college party. An NBA player can play basketball for 10,15, 20 years without ever having to take a game-winning shot. Far fewer of them ever take enough such shots to actually become emotionally habituated to those contexts. Thus, for the most part, you will prefer to put a player into those situations who has evinced an overall pattern of poise in unfamiliar situations. This is a psychological trait. I completely disagree that getting to the NBA screens for nerves, particularly not in the sense of it being meaningful in regard to "clutchness."

I never said alternate realities are insignificant. I dabble in them all the time when considering players' values. The reason I even mentioned them is that I understand they're an inevitable necessity in player evaluations. I just meant to say that I prefer to limit my reliance on them when I make my ATG Lists. I'm one of those who is far more interested, when I make an ATG List, in what a player did in the context in which he found himself rather than what he might have done in a different context. Of course the latter is unavoidable, but, generally speaking, I do avoid it when I can. I meant to highlight the difference to imply that I prefer to think more like a traditional sports journalist (think Bill Simmons) than in the way that say, a GM is forced to think (this is what I was thinking of when I said, "if that is your domain") - although of course many RGMers make it their domain when they form their all-time lists, which is fine. I'm just not one of them. Every actual NBA GM has to take every player not on his team and imagine him into the "alternate reality" of his own team. I fully recognize this is not an insignificant task. It's just one that I prefer to avoid when I can.

I'm inclined to say agree to disagree on clutchness/nerves. I can't understand an interpretation of it that doesn't think playing in front of baying crowds gives you some information on composure (not sure if this is your stance I see "maybe it's not the crowds ..." but then "not relevant" "100% disagree") likely somewhat positive - but that travel anxiety is part much more closely related to (to put it in the simplest terms, Dennis Bergkamp wasn't bad at football for certain minutes of a game or games because he didn't like flying).

On what you do for your own list, obviously each to their own. Just trying to be clear on the framing of informed use of hypotheticals in gaining a holistic view of a player as something beyond "what if ..." As I say, I think this becomes more important if people want to weight playoffs heavily because a lot of droppers played on flawed uni-polar teams (Chamberlain, Robinson, K Malone) and I think a big part of that is playoffs afford coaches a chance to game-plan against flawed teams and individuals take the flack.

Tangent/back to my initial response. You posit Cassell as your example of "clutch". Purely by the boxscore (and obvious methodological issues come up in terms of different sample sizes of playoff run at different points of peoples' careers) Cassell, as I noted is one of the big droppers. Which also leads us back to any reason to think of end-game "clutchness" and playoff "clutchness" as the same or closely related things.

And a final thought, if "An NBA player can play basketball for 10,15, 20 years without ever having to take a game-winning shot. Far fewer of them ever take enough such shots to actually become emotionally habituated to those contexts." ... if they are so rare ...why bother spending any time discussing it. They make up a very small amount of the basketball played (and as already covered, they aren't more important, albeit they are slightly different). And you'll never get a meaningful sample of comparable shots to evaluate it, even retrospectively at the end of a career (and we don't have the shot data for most of history, only narratives around big makes).
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/8 - #2 Michael Jordan 

Post#1951 » by scrabbarista » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:10 pm

Owly wrote:
I'm inclined to say agree to disagree on clutchness/nerves. I can't understand an interpretation of it that doesn't think playing in front of baying crowds gives you some information on composure (not sure if this is your stance I see "maybe it's not the crowds ..." but then "not relevant" "100% disagree") likely somewhat positive - but that travel anxiety is part much more closely related to (to put it in the simplest terms, Dennis Bergkamp wasn't bad at football for certain minutes of a game or games because he didn't like flying).

On what you do for your own list, obviously each to their own. Just trying to be clear on the framing of informed use of hypotheticals in gaining a holistic view of a player as something beyond "what if ..." As I say, I think this becomes more important if people want to weight playoffs heavily because a lot of droppers played on flawed uni-polar teams (Chamberlain, Robinson, K Malone) and I think a big part of that is playoffs afford coaches a chance to game-plan against flawed teams and individuals take the flack.

Tangent/back to my initial response. You posit Cassell as your example of "clutch". Purely by the boxscore (and obvious methodological issues come up in terms of different sample sizes of playoff run at different points of peoples' careers) Cassell, as I noted is one of the big droppers. Which also leads us back to any reason to think of end-game "clutchness" and playoff "clutchness" as the same or closely related things.

And a final thought, if "An NBA player can play basketball for 10,15, 20 years without ever having to take a game-winning shot. Far fewer of them ever take enough such shots to actually become emotionally habituated to those contexts." ... if they are so rare ...why bother spending any time discussing it. They make up a very small amount of the basketball played (and as already covered, they aren't more important, albeit they are slightly different). And you'll never get a meaningful sample of comparable shots to evaluate it, even retrospectively at the end of a career (and we don't have the shot data for most of history, only narratives around big makes).


It does seem like this conversational strand is near having run its course. In your first paragraph, you've somewhat misinterpreted me - likely my fault as much as yours: playing with composure in front of crowds is relevant information, and it is positive and useful. However, imo, probably not as useful as understanding travel anxiety, seeing as one kept a guy from playing - in spite of his many hours in front of baying crowds - and the other isn't really likely to come up in differentiating two prospects or players from each other, because most players have had similar experiences. (It may be relevant in the cases of guys like Patrick Beverley and P.J. Tucker who've played in environments that were almost physically threatening, but that is opening a whole 'nother can of worms.) By "maybe" I just meant that in different cases, the "source" of the anxiety (or "nerves" or "stress" or "psychological discomfort" - sometimes I may use words a little too loosely) will be different. One of those sources, could of course be the crowds, but I think other sources are at least as likely. And I put "source" in quotes here, because ultimately the source is always the player's own mind.

I don't know who Bergkamp is, but assuming he's a direct parallel to Royce White, I'll put it this way: White's fear of flying effectively limited his NBA production to zero, meaning he was a terrible, abysmal, catastrophically bad NBA player. This is where we seem to have a disconnect, which I'm sure is a point of agreeing to disagree. For me, I am fundamentally uninterested in White's basketball ability in a vacuum and prefer to evaluate or rank him according to what he accomplished within the actual historical context in which he existed. This is my personal version of "holistic" evaluation. This principle extends through most of my player evaluations. Just as I'm not interested in how good White would have been in the era before teams traveled by plane, I'm equally uninterested in the question of how Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant's (or any two players you like) careers would have turned out if they'd swapped situations. Actually... it isn't accurate to say I'm uninterested. It can be fascinating to speculate on (and, as I mentioned, if you're an NBA GM, it's literally your job). Rather, I prefer to avoid it in my historical rankings and evaluations, because I believe the variables at play are always too multifarious for us to be capable of accurately predicting, even with any degree of certainty, what would have happened. I think I feel this way intuitively, but I've probably also been heavily influenced by the book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. For me personally, I find that when I begin to ask "what if" in historical rankings and evaluations, it usually ends up being too tempting to slant things towards my own preferences/favorites: as long as the alternate reality I've imagined isn't actually going to happen, I can bend and stretch it in the directions that please me most. I'm not accusing anyone else of doing this, and I understand that there is value in the use of informed hypotheticals. Your point about flawed uni-polar teams is astute and well-put. It is exactly the kind of thinking I might do if I were an NBA GM. However, for the reasons stated above, I prefer to avoid it in my historical rankings.

To your last paragraph, we are disconnecting again. There are times when 1 is a "meaningful sample." Back to my first post, if Houston had taken Michael Jordan over Akeem Olajuwon based on his body language as he took the title-winning shot, things would likely have gone well for them. Obviously, this is a flawed statement for millions of reasons, but it's also almost certainly a true one. Conversely, if Michael Jordan had hesitated or looked to pass or been in any way unfocused or uncomposed in that moment, it's my contention that he simply wouldn't have been Michael Jordan. It's not really about the fact that the shot went in. I know this probably sounds like madness, and I get it. I may not be expressing the idea clearly. Another way of putting it: as mentioned before, if a guy is at the line at the end of a game and his knees or hands are shaking and his eyes are clearly fearful or wild and unfocused, you have another case where 1 is a meaningful sample size. Meaningful to what end? That is another way of rephrasing your question about how infrequently these situations occur. Several parts to the answer: First, for the guys are who are great enough to be the best player on a contending NBA team, these situations are going to appear far more often. Without taking a stand on the issue, this is why you see so many people discussing the differing mentalities of MJ and LeBron: because they are so talented that they end up in "pressure" situations over and over and over again throughout the course of their careers. However, it also applies to lesser talents. Whenever Horry has been asked about his uncanny ability to produce at key moments, he's usually responded with some variation of, "I just relax." Which brings me to the second part, though these situations occur infrequently, they are by their nature high-leverage. (Again, we may have to agree to disagree on that one; as I've stated, they are important simply because that's the arbitrary consensus among fans, players, coaches, advertising executives, historians, etc.; if you disagree, that's fine, but then my entire point of view will be meaningless to you.) Thus, a championship can weigh in the balance of how a player is going to psychologically react to a situation that he will only encounter once in his entire career. I understand that the natural response to this statement is some variation on the size of the sample, but at that point we'll be going in circles again. The point is not that I assume this sample size of one to be representative of what would have happened if the scenario had played out a thousand times. Rather, it is that I value (in an emotional sense!) this one instance more than a thousand preseason games, a hundred regular season games, or an infinite number of alternate realities.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1952 » by isaacz321 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:03 pm

i just have to say even though this thread became downright nasty at times, this discussion thread was still fantastic. I could see why some think the board has gotten worse(i've lurked here for around 4-5 years) but it's still the best on the internet I've seen. I have not learned more about basketball anywhere else.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1953 » by bondom34 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:41 pm

Read on Twitter
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FoundANewSlant wrote:it's really fundamental defensive flaws exhibited here by Westbrook, PG, and Adams that put Melo into vulnerable positions here yet you can't recognize or explain it.

So Paul George is the reason Carmelo Anthony struggled on defense all these years...
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1954 » by SideshowBob » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:33 pm

ElGee wrote:


Would love to hear thoughts on the 2018 season, especially Lebron's continued progression on the offensive end. I believe you have 16 and 17 about equal, but I think 17 is clearly superior to 16 on offense (drastic improvement in shooting ability and better quickness so better rim pressure) and now 18 might have been better (slight dip in athleticism but outweighed by skill increase/refinement). I think he's in true rarefied territory on offense right now (Magic/Curry tier).
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 | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1955 » by mischievous » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:00 pm

bondom34 wrote:
Read on Twitter
?s=19

Cp3 moving up a spot from this season is ridiculous. Paul seems like the only guy who he ignores all the injuries for.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1956 » by dhsilv2 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:01 pm

mischievous wrote:Cp3 moving up a spot from this season is ridiculous. Paul seems like the only guy who he ignores all the injuries for.


If I recall where he had CP and chuck CP was like 1 good game from passing based on his write up, so I don't think he's doing that much for him. He also was REALLY negative on Paul's defense imo
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1957 » by therealbig3 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:39 pm

Did he switch Kobe and Karl's spots? IIRC correctly, Karl was #13 and Kobe was #14, but in his updated list, they're reversed.

Is that just a sign of constant re-evaluation, or that they're essentially tied and the order between them doesn't even matter? Because obviously neither one of them added anything to their careers this year lol.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1958 » by therealbig3 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:47 pm

I'm appreciating KD more and more btw...I've been one of his harshest critics, but there's no denying that his style of play is wickedly effective. He has led better PS offenses with Westbrook as his running mate than Curry did with Klay and Green as his running mates, in a system that was far more maligned than GS's. This year, I believe GS's offense with him on the court was better than GS's offense with Curry on the court in the playoffs.

Not to say that he's better than Curry offensively, because a lot of different factors can influence that, but Curry is a guy that's routinely put in offensive GOAT territory (which the PS results just don't support imo, but that's a different discussion), so it's interesting to see how good Durant looks in that regard.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1959 » by mischievous » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:51 pm

therealbig3 wrote:I'm appreciating KD more and more btw...I've been one of his harshest critics, but there's no denying that his style of play is wickedly effective. He has led better PS offenses with Westbrook as his running mate than Curry did with Klay and Green as his running mates, in a system that was far more maligned than GS's. This year, I believe GS's offense with him on the court was better than GS's offense with Curry on the court in the playoffs.

Not to say that he's better than Curry offensively, because a lot of different factors can influence that, but Curry is a guy that's routinely put in offensive GOAT territory (which the PS results just don't support imo, but that's a different discussion), so it's interesting to see how good Durant looks in that regard.

What exactly has changed about him since the conference finals though? Because if i recall correctly you were pretty harsh on him during that series even though he was the exact same player.
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Re: Backpicks GOAT: The 40 Best Careers in NBA History | 4/13 - The Value of Longevity & Defense 

Post#1960 » by Senior » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:51 pm

therealbig3 wrote:Did he switch Kobe and Karl's spots? IIRC correctly, Karl was #13 and Kobe was #14, but in his updated list, they're reversed.

Is that just a sign of constant re-evaluation, or that they're essentially tied and the order between them doesn't even matter? Because obviously neither one of them added anything to their careers this year lol.

hey now, Kobe added an Oscar and Sports Emmy to his resume

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