Top 45 Players of '94

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Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#1 » by trex_8063 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:12 am

Here's my rough draft for this season (complete with one noted indecision). As I've mentioned multiple times before as we (mostly Joe Malburg and I) have gone thru these seasons, for me it's as much a question of "who had the best season" as it is "who's the best player". And missed games do matter to me....

1a. Hakeem Olajuwon
1b. David Robinson
3. Shaquille O’Neal
4. Karl Malone
5. Patrick Ewing
6. Scottie Pippen
7. John Stockton
8. Shawn Kemp
9. Charles Barkley
10. Reggie Miller
11. Mookie Blaylock
12. Derrick Coleman
13. Mark Price
14. Horace Grant
15. Dikembe Mutombo
16. Kevin Johnson
17. Chris Webber
18. Glen Rice
19. Kevin Willis
20. Charles Oakley
21. Dominique Wilkins
22. Gary Payton
23. Rod Strickland
24. Alonzo Mourning
25. Stacey Augmon
26. Otis Thorpe
27. Anfernee Hardaway
28. Rik Smits
29. Vlade Divac
30. Latrell Sprewell
31. Kenny Anderson
32. Clyde Drexler
33. Steve Smith
34. Nick Anderson
35. Dennis Rodman
36. Eric Murdock
37. LaPhonso Ellis
38. Detlef Schrempf
39. A.C. Green
40. John Starks
41. Nate McMillan
42. Jeff Hornacek
43. Hot Rod Williams
44. Cedric Ceballos
45. Dale Ellis

Top HM’s [in no particular order other than to note that probably the first 8-9 listed are the ones I feel have the strongest cases to be included] include: Clarence Weatherspoon, Rony Seikaly, Kendall Gill, Dale Davis, Brad Daugherty, Oliver Miller, Sam Perkins, Dan Majerle, Hersey Hawkins, Gerald Wilkins, Armen Gilliam, Dee Brown, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Buck Williams, Robert Horry, Terry Porter, Terry Mills, Reggie Williams, Christian Laettner, BJ Armstrong, Chris Mullin.


on Hakeem v DRob
This is a difficult decision for me. I mean, if you simply asked me who I think was the better basketball player, I feel it's Hakeem; no question. Not a big gap, but a clear one. However, I've stated multiple times [including above] that I've approached this project by way of asking "who had the better season" as much as "who's better". Additionally, I'm on record over multiple threads implying or stating outright that I value the rs quite a fair bit (more than the average poster, probably), and don't just narrow focus to playoffs only.
I want to be consisent, and I almost feel like I would be corrupting my principles and methodology to NOT go with David Robinson for #1 in this season.......but that's kinda what my gut wants to do in going for Hakeem (because inside I simply feel he was fundamentally a better basketball player). So idk what to do.
Robinson clearly had the better rs (and actually probably by a decent margin). I know they were sort of shamelessly feeding him the rock so he could get the scoring title that year; but he was good enough to actually lead the league (29.8 ppg) at nearly +5% rTS, as well as 4.8 apg with a very respectable turnover rate, too; and while still managing to block 3.3 shots a game and anchoring a -1.7 rDRTG.
He didn't just lead the league in most box-aggregate rate metrics, he led by sizable margins: was +2.13 over the 2nd-place player in PER (more than +5 over 3rd place), +0.044 over 2nd-place in WS/48 (+0.080 over 3rd), +2.58 over 2nd-place in BPM (nearly +4 over 3rd).......and all this while playing a monster 40.5 mpg. Further, one can't claim these were "empty stats" in the rs: we have rs-only APM data for this season; Robinson leads the league in that as well, by nearly one full standard deviation (0.81*Std, to be precise) over the 2nd-place guy.
He almost appears to be on tier unto himself during the rs that year.
But then he kinda flubs the post-season, meanwhile Hakeem did his thing; so....it's a toughy for me.

I'll leave further discussion pending comments.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#2 » by Colbinii » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:21 am

Put Robinson over Hakeem and face the consequences.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#3 » by SpreeS » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:15 am

Sprewell only 34th? With All-NBA and All-D teams!!!
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#4 » by Owly » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:41 am

trex_8063 wrote:Robinson clearly had the better rs (and actually probably by a decent margin). I know they were sort of shamelessly feeding him the rock so he could get the scoring title that year

Do you know this? When you say they "were [do]ing" doing this is this meant to imply over an extended period versus just that last game.

Even if referring to that last game, Robinson's last day has become a "thing". A "bad thing".

But at least consider the following
1) Wasn't Robinson their best, most effective point of attack on that night?
2) Wasn't Robinson versus Spencer, Martin, Hot Plate or Vaught (especially if mostly single coverage) a natural matchup point of attack? Less so Outlaw but then he's young here and was never respected in line with what impact metrics might suggest.
3) Robinson could have won the scoring title with 36 points. Even if 71 is somehow wrong or silly or unrepresentative ... is 36? (Those last 35 points didn't claim the scoring title)
4) Do we know whether Shaq's 53 in game 80 vs Minnesota (giving him the lead) is above reproach? It probably is but when you only look at the winner ...

Your mileage may vary. Scoring title shouldn't be important either way,
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#5 » by Senior » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:53 pm

trex_8063 wrote:on Hakeem v DRob
This is a difficult decision for me. I mean, if you simply asked me who I think was the better basketball player, I feel it's Hakeem; no question. Not a big gap, but a clear one. However, I've stated multiple times [including above] that I've approached this project by way of asking "who had the better season" as much as "who's better". Additionally, I'm on record over multiple threads implying or stating outright that I value the rs quite a fair bit (more than the average poster, probably), and don't just narrow focus to playoffs only.
I want to be consisent, and I almost feel like I would be corrupting my principles and methodology to NOT go with David Robinson for #1 in this season.......but that's kinda what my gut wants to do in going for Hakeem (because inside I simply feel he was fundamentally a better basketball player). So idk what to do.
Robinson clearly had the better rs (and actually probably by a decent margin). I know they were sort of shamelessly feeding him the rock so he could get the scoring title that year; but he was good enough to actually lead the league (29.8 ppg) at nearly +5% rTS, as well as 4.8 apg with a very respectable turnover rate, too; and while still managing to block 3.3 shots a game and anchoring a -1.7 rDRTG.
He didn't just lead the league in most box-aggregate rate metrics, he led by sizable margins: was +2.13 over the 2nd-place player in PER (more than +5 over 3rd place), +0.044 over 2nd-place in WS/48 (+0.080 over 3rd), +2.58 over 2nd-place in BPM (nearly +4 over 3rd).......and all this while playing a monster 40.5 mpg. Further, one can't claim these were "empty stats" in the rs: we have rs-only APM data for this season; Robinson leads the league in that as well, by nearly one full standard deviation (0.81*Std, to be precise) over the 2nd-place guy.
He almost appears to be on tier unto himself during the rs that year.
But then he kinda flubs the post-season, meanwhile Hakeem did his thing; so....it's a toughy for me.

I'll leave further discussion pending comments.

to me d-rob's "better season" falls completely flat if you approach his failings in the postseason as an extension of flaws that weren't exposed in the RS instead of as a completely disconnected 4 game sample. hakeem may not have superior counting stats but he also doesn't have nearly the same amount of flaws invisible to the numbers. and it's not as if d-rob's flameouts are just this one season, either. whereas hakeem "doing his thing" is pulling off one of the most amazing playoff runs in history.

re: bolded. maybe a difficult case like d-rob would compel you to lower your valuation of the RS? you are pretty certain hakeem is simply the better player despite d-rob's clearly superior numbers. none of the numbers mattered in the playoffs.

why do you value the RS the way you do?
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#6 » by eminence » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:12 pm

Hakeem should wake up every morning and thank Dikembe for the greatest defensive series since Russell.

And on that note, Mutombo way too low.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#7 » by trex_8063 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:06 pm

Owly wrote:
trex_8063 wrote:Robinson clearly had the better rs (and actually probably by a decent margin). I know they were sort of shamelessly feeding him the rock so he could get the scoring title that year

Do you know this? When you say they "were [do]ing" doing this is this meant to imply over an extended period versus just that last game.

Even if referring to that last game, Robinson's last day has become a "thing". A "bad thing".

But at least consider the following
1) Wasn't Robinson their best, most effective point of attack on that night?
2) Wasn't Robinson versus Spencer, Martin, Hot Plate or Vaught (especially if mostly single coverage) a natural matchup point of attack? Less so Outlaw but then he's young here and was never respected in line with what impact metrics might suggest.
3) Robinson could have won the scoring title with 36 points. Even if 71 is somehow wrong or silly or unrepresentative ... is 36? (Those last 35 points didn't claim the scoring title)
4) Do we know whether Shaq's 53 in game 80 vs Minnesota (giving him the lead) is above reproach? It probably is but when you only look at the winner ...

Your mileage may vary. Scoring title shouldn't be important either way,


Some good points. No doubt he was the most effective point of attack from night-to-night. That was more or less true in the years surrounding this one, though, wouldn't you agree?

As to the actual obtaining of a scoring title, it matters not at all to me. I merely suggested that the obtaining of it may have been a [somewhat "bad faith"] motivation to essentially inflate his individual stats for that year (which, *if true, should be taken into consideration when performing a statistical evaluation).

*Is is true? Do I know they were doing this the whole year (and not just that last game)?
No, I guess I can't prove it. Although I do seem to recall some narrative during or just after that season suggesting that was the case. Additionally, there is some suggestion in the numbers:

*Not counting the 6-game [of limited minutes] sample of '97, this season represents the highest USG% of his career.....by a full 2.1% over the 2nd-place season [his MVP year] (and 3.2% over his 4th-highest season, 5.4% over 5th). Although the line-up of supporting cast players was a little different in both '93 and '95 [relative to '94], there are a lot of the same faces in both surrounding years (and one or two replacements that seem to fill similar roles as those that may have left). There is a new coach in '95, but the coach in '94 was the same as the guy who [mostly] was head coach in '93. So I don't see a clear reason in the rosters as to why his usage should be notably higher than any other season of his career.
I also note that this high usage came while playing a career-high in minutes, +1.3 mpg to his 2nd-highest season (+2.5 mpg to the 3rd-highest). So it seems like [potentially] they were doing multiple things to ensure that his counting stats were really big this year.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#8 » by henshao » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:22 pm

IMO, during much if not most of Jordan's career, the second-best player in the league was Hakeem and therefore obviously in his absence Hakeem was #1
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#9 » by trex_8063 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:31 pm

Senior wrote:why do you value the RS the way you do?


Few reasons....

Sample size is a big one. Even with a large playoff sample-size [let's say something like 20-23 games], it's difficult for me to make the mental adjustment to weight them so heavily that they clearly outweigh the importance of an 82-game sample. And that's with the largest possible playoff sample sizes (samples that weren't even possible a few decades ago).
I certainly cannot take, for example, a 9-game sample [or in case of '94 Robinson: a 4-game sample] and place a tremendous amount of stock in it. That's so tiny, a lot of fluky things, good/bad match-ups, successful/unsuccessful coaching schemes, or simply "slumps"/"heat-check games" etc can happen to skew such a small sample. Looking at the difference between '08 and '09 Chris Paul in the playoffs is perhaps a fine example of the kind of wild variation/disparity we can see with such small samples.

Certainly if patterns emerge over a player's full career [as one could argue is the case with Robinson], it lends more credence to a single-year observation. But in a general sense, that's kind of why sample size is important.


The other major reason is that player comparisons, for me, is about comparing players to ALL of their professional peers......not just a select handful of them.
Thus, how a player performs against the entire field [not merely a very small segment of it] is very relevant to me.

Sort of related to this, I kind of feel like an over-emphasis or tunnel-vision on the playoffs implies that certain teams [and their players] simply don't matter. i.e. you didn't make the playoffs, therefore your season is irrelevant.


I also feel there can be an over-emphasis on titles. I realize it's the ultimate team goal, and nearly every player states or at least implies that it's his personal goal........but [and maybe I'm just cynical] I certainly get the feeling that many of them are not at all being entirely honest when saying those things. I think getting their numbers, their accolades/honors, or other forms of public recognition that "hey, I'm pretty damn good" is just as important to some of them. So.....as a championship is not, in actuality, the sole ambition of all the league's players, maybe I DON'T boil my evaluation down to how well they can mesh on a contender, or how well they can contribute specifically to improving the pt-differential ONLY on a good team, etc.

I also note that contending for a title is something that roughly 80-85% of the teams (and thus 80-85% of the players) realistically have NO chance to do in a given year. No matter how well [within his realistic capabilities] a given player on one of these teams plays, his team will NOT contend......because they're just not good enough. Tunnel-vision on titles as the ONLY measure of success undermines the smaller victories that I still feel are relevant:

*for some teams merely having a winning record is an achievement.
**making the playoffs at all is a good achievement for some
***taking a single game off a clearly superior opponent in the playoffs could be a notable achievement

....or any other number of small "over-achieving" based on your cast type of achievements. Those carry value to me, which is part of why I won't adopt a "didn't lead a contender? then don't really matter to me" mentality.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#10 » by Dr Positivity » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:34 pm

I think Hakeem is the better player, he proved it over his playoff career that his offensive game was more resilient. He won the MVP so it's not like he mailed in the regular season, clearly a lot of people thought he was better even after the regular season. 95 is harder for Hakeem vs Robinson cause I believe Hakeem's regular season impact drops especially on defense
1. Using a team's play in games their star is injured should send you to SSS jail
2. ORTG/DRTG ranks are connected in back and forth play and energy expenditure
3. RAPM/RPM is proven measuring regular season value, but not postseason
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#11 » by trex_8063 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:37 pm

eminence wrote:Hakeem should wake up every morning and thank Dikembe for the greatest defensive series since Russell.


Hakeem should thank a lot of folks: he should thank John Starks every day for choosing G7 of the '94 Finals to have one of the worst shooting nights of his entire career (because if he doesn't, realistically, it's most likely Patrick Ewing who goes home with a title that night).
He should perhaps thank Dennis Rodman for imploding in the '95 WCF, too.

Hakeem was great in these years, but he wasn't invincible. He had more than his share of good luck to walk away with two rings.


eminence wrote:And on that note, Mutombo way too low.


Make the case. Personally, I could see moving him ahead of Grant and maybe Price, but that's about as far as I can see going with him, unless I'm missing something.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#12 » by Clyde Frazier » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:03 pm

trex_8063 wrote: --


Gary Payton has a bone to pick with you :lol:
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#13 » by Senior » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:24 pm

trex_8063 wrote:Few reasons....

Sample size is a big one. Even with a large playoff sample-size [let's say something like 20-23 games], it's difficult for me to make the mental adjustment to weight them so heavily that they clearly outweigh the importance of an 82-game sample. And that's with the largest possible playoff sample sizes (samples that weren't even possible a few decades ago).
I certainly cannot take, for example, a 9-game sample [or in case of '94 Robinson: a 4-game sample] and place a tremendous amount of stock in it. That's so tiny, a lot of fluky things, good/bad match-ups, successful/unsuccessful coaching schemes, or simply "slumps"/"heat-check games" etc can happen to skew such a small sample. Looking at the difference between '08 and '09 Chris Paul in the playoffs is perhaps a fine example of the kind of wild variation/disparity we can see with such small samples.

Certainly if patterns emerge over a player's full career [as one could argue is the case with Robinson], it lends more credence to a single-year observation. But in a general sense, that's kind of why sample size is important.

i'd agree more with this if a player evaluation was based more on the outcome of playoff series vs a scouting/video based report. like you said weird things happen all the time, especially in bo5 series such as in 94.

but don't think you think a lot of "fluky" things can be attributed to the player in question? for example the jazz put malone on d-rob for a number of plays in their series and it worked out well for the jazz. isn't that something that should be considered in an evaluation? better yet, the jazz would be considered a "bad matchup" for the spurs...in part because d-rob couldn't just run over them like he could to 25 other teams.

The other major reason is that player comparisons, for me, is about comparing players to ALL of their professional peers......not just a select handful of them.
Thus, how a player performs against the entire field [not merely a very small segment of it] is very relevant to me.


how do you know that d-rob IS playing "better" over the larger sample of the RS? his basic counting stats are higher. the advanced stats based on those numbers are higher. the APM/"impact" is higher for d-rob which is all well and good. but as you said yourself, hakeem is a better player. by a clear gap, too. would that not make up for these differences over their respective seasons? if not, why not? if he's a better player then his baseline should be higher for those 82 games to begin with, right?

maybe it's not so much that "d-rob 'played better' than hakeem over these 82 games", it's more that "hakeem played better in his 103 games than d-rob did in his 84".

Sort of related to this, I kind of feel like an over-emphasis or tunnel-vision on the playoffs implies that certain teams [and their players] simply don't matter. i.e. you didn't make the playoffs, therefore your season is irrelevant.

I also feel there can be an over-emphasis on titles. I realize it's the ultimate team goal, and nearly every player states or at least implies that it's his personal goal........but [and maybe I'm just cynical] I certainly get the feeling that many of them are not at all being entirely honest when saying those things. I think getting their numbers, their accolades/honors, or other forms of public recognition that "hey, I'm pretty damn good" is just as important to some of them. So.....as a championship is not, in actuality, the sole ambition of all the league's players, maybe I DON'T boil my evaluation down to how well they can mesh on a contender, or how well they can contribute specifically to improving the pt-differential ONLY on a good team, etc.

I also note that contending for a title is something that roughly 80-85% of the teams (and thus 80-85% of the players) realistically have NO chance to do in a given year. No matter how well [within his realistic capabilities] a given player on one of these teams plays, his team will NOT contend......because they're just not good enough. Tunnel-vision on titles as the ONLY measure of success undermines the smaller victories that I still feel are relevant:

*for some teams merely having a winning record is an achievement.
**making the playoffs at all is a good achievement for some
***taking a single game off a clearly superior opponent in the playoffs could be a notable achievement

....or any other number of small "over-achieving" based on your cast type of achievements. Those carry value to me, which is part of why I won't adopt a "didn't lead a contender? then don't really matter to me" mentality.

i'd agree more with this if d-rob was being compared to someone like vlade divac instead of hakeem olajuwon. small victories do matter but most of the all-timers or otherwise best players in the season are going to accomplish many of the same things. 99% of the time they're going to make the playoffs, have a winning record, whatever. what eventually separates them is what they do in the playoffs and how they do it. i mean i'm all for not forgetting about guys in certain years/giving credit where it's due, but they're not the ones being compared against d-rob.

side note: it's interesting that you would bring up those particular aspects of an evaluation because d-rob would actually be amazing at both of those, but that's besides the point.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#14 » by trex_8063 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:57 pm

Clyde Frazier wrote:
trex_8063 wrote: --


Gary Payton has a bone to pick with you :lol:


Holy moley, thanks for pointing that out. That was a complete oversight on my part. Have edited him in above (only at #22, as I don't think he'd yet reached the pinnacle of his abilities yet), which nudges Weatherspoon out into the HM's. Also bumped Sprewell up just a couple places.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#15 » by eminence » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:15 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
eminence wrote:And on that note, Mutombo way too low.


Make the case. Personally, I could see moving him ahead of Grant and maybe Price, but that's about as far as I can see going with him, unless I'm missing something.


A rough case touching on some areas without getting into the nitty-gritty.

Pretty clearly a great defender by eye, quite arguably the best in the league (one of the tightest DPOY races ever with Hakeem/Robinson), led a pretty solid D (5th in the league, -4 relative) without (imo) a ton of defensive help. Box-score stats like him a fair amount (top 15-20 type guy by stuff like WS/VORP), low-medium volume high efficiency scorer, elite rebounder and alltime rim-protector. The rough impact measures we have love him (5th in the league by on/off by estimates from Pollack/ElGee), Reggie Williams the only teammate in the same area-code as him there, so very likely the main driver and not an issue with lineups - is 7th alltime in ElGee's prime WOWYR for a larger sample impact study ('92-'02 for Mutombo).

Then the playoffs come and he leads one of the all-time upsets over the Sonics and then goes toe to toe with the Jazz.

Arguably the best overall season from guys thought of as strictly rim protectors (Mutombo/Gobert/Chandler/Hibbert/Eaton types), a traditionally underrated archetype.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#16 » by Owly » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:08 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
Owly wrote:
trex_8063 wrote:Robinson clearly had the better rs (and actually probably by a decent margin). I know they were sort of shamelessly feeding him the rock so he could get the scoring title that year

Do you know this? When you say they "were [do]ing" doing this is this meant to imply over an extended period versus just that last game.

Even if referring to that last game, Robinson's last day has become a "thing". A "bad thing".

But at least consider the following
1) Wasn't Robinson their best, most effective point of attack on that night?
2) Wasn't Robinson versus Spencer, Martin, Hot Plate or Vaught (especially if mostly single coverage) a natural matchup point of attack? Less so Outlaw but then he's young here and was never respected in line with what impact metrics might suggest.
3) Robinson could have won the scoring title with 36 points. Even if 71 is somehow wrong or silly or unrepresentative ... is 36? (Those last 35 points didn't claim the scoring title)
4) Do we know whether Shaq's 53 in game 80 vs Minnesota (giving him the lead) is above reproach? It probably is but when you only look at the winner ...

Your mileage may vary. Scoring title shouldn't be important either way,


Some good points. No doubt he was the most effective point of attack from night-to-night. That was more or less true in the years surrounding this one, though, wouldn't you agree?

As to the actual obtaining of a scoring title, it matters not at all to me. I merely suggested that the obtaining of it may have been a [somewhat "bad faith"] motivation to essentially inflate his individual stats for that year (which, *if true, should be taken into consideration when performing a statistical evaluation).

*Is is true? Do I know they were doing this the whole year (and not just that last game)?
No, I guess I can't prove it. Although I do seem to recall some narrative during or just after that season suggesting that was the case. Additionally, there is some suggestion in the numbers:

*Not counting the 6-game [of limited minutes] sample of '97, this season represents the highest USG% of his career.....by a full 2.1% over the 2nd-place season [his MVP year] (and 3.2% over his 4th-highest season, 5.4% over 5th). Although the line-up of supporting cast players was a little different in both '93 and '95 [relative to '94], there are a lot of the same faces in both surrounding years (and one or two replacements that seem to fill similar roles as those that may have left). There is a new coach in '95, but the coach in '94 was the same as the guy who [mostly] was head coach in '93. So I don't see a clear reason in the rosters as to why his usage should be notably higher than any other season of his career.
I also note that this high usage came while playing a career-high in minutes, +1.3 mpg to his 2nd-highest season (+2.5 mpg to the 3rd-highest). So it seems like [potentially] they were doing multiple things to ensure that his counting stats were really big this year.

Non-sinister reasons for Robinson's up in usage.

- he got better
- his new 2nd place minutes guy is at 7.1% usage (Rodman)
- his old 2nd place minutes guy - who was above average usage (Ellis) - has his minutes slightly down
- his old 3rd place minutes guy - who was above average usage (Elliott) - has gone
- his old 5th place minutes guy - who was above average usage (Carr) - is injured and has slipped down the rotation
- his old 4th place minutes guy (Johnson) whilst low usage could at least create some offense for others a little either by running an offense or pushing the pace ('94 Spurs slow way down - incidentally probably a bad idea for getting a scoring title, especially when the guy is an elite athlete, strong in transition - albeit it could also be a symptom of forcing offense through one man, especially one with a high load at the other end). He's gone and the new points (Knight and Del Negro now playing more minutes at 1) won't create for others, so burden is pushed to the star
- his old 2nd place usage guy - who was 7th in minutes (Daniels) - has had his minutes cut.

I think you might over-estimate the continuity.

Maybe Rodman's super low usage was schemed. Maybe it was Rodman. I'm inclined to think the latter (with Lucas not really caring, very laissez faire), and thence that put a higher than otherwise burden on all others. I think he's the main key. Then next year his usage is back within sane territory (10.9%, or to put in perspective how low it was before, more than 1.5x the previous year's) and he plays much less (partly due to injury).

Neither Hollander nor Barry notes the league leading as suspicious, dubious or schemed (Barry focuses on an improved offensive game and freedom to play more faceup (stepping out partly enabled by Rodman's offensive rebounding).

Not arguing for Lucas as a good coach or the minutes load as sensible (and cutting this would have taken the scoring title away).

Anyhow that's my take. I'll leave it there because, as before, the scoring title doesn't matter.
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#17 » by trex_8063 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:53 pm

Just noting that I've elevated Latrell Sprewell a few places further (still think his quality is WAY oversold by the accolades he received that year), and dropped Dale Ellis a handful of places to the tail-end of the list.
All-Time NE Fantasy Team
PG-Chauncey Billups (06-08)/Terry Porter (91-93)
SG-George Gervin (78-80)/Danny Green
SF-R. Barry (67-70)/Bruce Bowen (04-06)
PF-Ho Grant (92-94)/D. Cowens (74-76)
C-D. Robinson (94-96)/Kevin Willis (92-94)
Bill Sharman (coach)
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#18 » by trex_8063 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:28 pm

eminence wrote:
trex_8063 wrote:
eminence wrote:And on that note, Mutombo way too low.


Make the case. Personally, I could see moving him ahead of Grant and maybe Price, but that's about as far as I can see going with him, unless I'm missing something.


A rough case touching on some areas without getting into the nitty-gritty.

Pretty clearly a great defender by eye, quite arguably the best in the league (one of the tightest DPOY races ever with Hakeem/Robinson), led a pretty solid D (5th in the league, -4 relative) without (imo) a ton of defensive help. Box-score stats like him a fair amount (top 15-20 type guy by stuff like WS/VORP), low-medium volume high efficiency scorer, elite rebounder and alltime rim-protector. The rough impact measures we have love him (5th in the league by on/off by estimates from Pollack/ElGee), Reggie Williams the only teammate in the same area-code as him there, so very likely the main driver and not an issue with lineups - is 7th alltime in ElGee's prime WOWYR for a larger sample impact study ('92-'02 for Mutombo).

Then the playoffs come and he leads one of the all-time upsets over the Sonics and then goes toe to toe with the Jazz.

Arguably the best overall season from guys thought of as strictly rim protectors (Mutombo/Gobert/Chandler/Hibbert/Eaton types), a traditionally underrated archetype.


I certainly won't argue with any of the comments wrt his defense. Monstrous, nothing less. Couple comments regarding a few other things mentioned....

"high efficiency scorer"
This is somewhat semantics, but.....
His shooting efficiency is very very good (+6.3% rTS), but he's a non-factor as a playmaker and his turnover economy borders on hideous. His Modified TOV% for the season is 14.97%, which even for a big man is awful. To put it into perspective lets look at career Dwight Howard, Alonzo Mourning, and Shawn Kemp (three bigs one might think of as a bit "turnover-prone")........Dwight's career rs mTOV% is 13.72%, Kemp's is 13.22%, Mourning's is 13.01%. Deke has trumped them all by a significant margin in this particular season. Or for another way to put it, let's look at Horace Grant's mTOV% in the '94 rs: 6.53%.

Admittedly Grant is near GOAT-tier among big men for his turnover economy; I merely bring him up to show the other end of the spectrum (and just how far from it Mutombo is). So overall, I would label Mutombo's all-around efficiency [on his smallish volume] as "OK/decent(ish)"; his individual ORtg of 108 (barely above average) is probably a pretty fair assessment.

To augment on/off impressions of '94 Mutombo, you've stated Pollack/Elgee estimate him at 5th; fwiw, the rs-only APM I have ranks him "only" tied for 10th in the league.
Things like WS and VORP put him somewhere in the 11-19 range in the league (and those things will factor in [arguably even apply near-fair(ish) value to his defensive box stats like blocks]). PER (which does NOT assign fair value to defensive stats [at least not blocks] and over-values scoring) places him well-outside the top 30.

So the fair placement of Dikembe.......:dontknow:

Like I say, I may well move him ahead of Grant. How about his case specifically against Mark Price [who has a really fine year in his own right, and keeps Cleveland respectable despite all kinds of injury woes to their frontcourt]?
Or against Derrick Coleman, who had a pretty big year (both rs and in their short playoff run)?
Or Mookie (who's kind of a titan of box-invisible impact, too)?
Or Reggie?

It's certainly not an open-and-shut case against any of these guys, imo.
All-Time NE Fantasy Team
PG-Chauncey Billups (06-08)/Terry Porter (91-93)
SG-George Gervin (78-80)/Danny Green
SF-R. Barry (67-70)/Bruce Bowen (04-06)
PF-Ho Grant (92-94)/D. Cowens (74-76)
C-D. Robinson (94-96)/Kevin Willis (92-94)
Bill Sharman (coach)
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Re: Top 45 Players of '94 

Post#19 » by eminence » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:05 pm

I like you trex.

trex_8063 wrote:I certainly won't argue with any of the comments wrt his defense. Monstrous, nothing less. Couple comments regarding a few other things mentioned....

"high efficiency scorer"
This is somewhat semantics, but.....
His shooting efficiency is very very good (+6.3% rTS), but he's a non-factor as a playmaker and his turnover economy borders on hideous. His Modified TOV% for the season is 14.97%, which even for a big man is awful. To put it into perspective lets look at career Dwight Howard, Alonzo Mourning, and Shawn Kemp (three bigs one might think of as a bit "turnover-prone")........Dwight's career rs mTOV% is 13.72%, Kemp's is 13.22%, Mourning's is 13.01%. Deke has trumped them all by a significant margin in this particular season. Or for another way to put it, let's look at Horace Grant's mTOV% in the '94 rs: 6.53%.

Admittedly Grant is near GOAT-tier among big men for his turnover economy; I merely bring him up to show the other end of the spectrum (and just how far from it Mutombo is). So overall, I would label Mutombo's all-around efficiency [on his smallish volume] as "OK/decent(ish)"; his individual ORtg of 108 (barely above average) is probably a pretty fair assessment.


No quibbles here at all, I was thinking of his scoring in a fairly isolated sense. Offense all told he was right around average

trex_8063 wrote:To augment on/off impressions of '94 Mutombo, you've stated Pollack/Elgee estimate him at 5th; fwiw, the rs-only APM I have ranks him "only" tied for 10th in the league.
Things like WS and VORP put him somewhere in the 11-19 range in the league (and those things will factor in [arguably even apply near-fair(ish) value to his defensive box stats like blocks]). PER (which does NOT assign fair value to defensive stats [at least not blocks] and over-values scoring) places him well-outside the top 30.

So the fair placement of Dikembe.......:dontknow:


Are you using Colts estimate here (2.87 or something like that between Ewing/Reggie)? I'm not sure of anything else available and would certainly like to see it if there is. If Colts though, that's not a real APM (I don't think we have play by play), it's a regression estimate using on/off and a couple of box-score stats (not that it's not a useful estimate). I was just referencing raw on/off (Deke 5.5 on and -8.8 off) - the estimate part by ElGee was using team pace for all the players since we don't know individuals (probably a slight benefit to Mutombo, but not sure).

trex_8063 wrote:Like I say, I may well move him ahead of Grant. How about his case specifically against Mark Price [who has a really fine year in his own right, and keeps Cleveland respectable despite all kinds of injury woes to their frontcourt]?
Or against Derrick Coleman, who had a pretty big year (both rs and in their short playoff run)?
Or Mookie (who's kind of a titan of box-invisible impact, too)?
Or Reggie?

It's certainly not an open-and-shut case against any of these guys, imo.


I think I'd put him above all those guys (Reggie the toughest call). Largely on the backs of PS play after what I feel were fairly similar level RSs (low end All-NBA). Reggie himself was a huge playoff performer and a very tough call here but I think I'd sneak Deke over him (Reggie had a lot of help on the defensive end).

Eg Price - Tough to evaluate due to the degree that the Cavs had succumbed to injury by the time the playoffs came around. But I don't think it's too crazy to say he had a similar amount of help to Mutumbo during the RS in spite of the injuries. Where did they each lead their team (as the key offensive/defensive player respectfully) - 47 wins/3.6 SRS v 42 wins/1.5 SRS, a clear win for the Cavs, but I"m hesitant to say it's much of a gap individually due to where the differences lay. The Cavs had the #6 O and #11 D, while the Nuggets had the #20 O and the #5 D. Personally I don't value Price's D or Deke's O in any meaningful way (don't think either were large negatives either), so I think the gap in RS team performance was largely down to other players. So I have them in a near dead heat going into the playoffs, where Deke and the Nuggets play way over their heads while the Cavs (understandably) collapse and Price himself doesn't look great by any means. I'm not an all or nothing playoffs guy, but here the disparity seems more than enough to bridge a small at best RS gap.

Overall I think I'd wind up with Mutombo... #5 (Hakeem/Robinson/Ewing/Malone in some order above - I'm very very surprised at how high Shaq is on your list).
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Post#20 » by trex_8063 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:12 pm

eminence wrote:
Overall I think I'd wind up with Mutombo... #5 (Hakeem/Robinson/Ewing/Malone in some order above - I'm very very surprised at how high Shaq is on your list).


I don't see why that should be all that surprising.
Shaq was a beast right out of the gate and made clear improvements in his second season. Per colts18's pseudo-APM model (you're right, btw, as far as it being more of an APM estimate based on raw on/off totals) he's 8th in the league that rs, while also being 4th in VORP, 2nd in WS, and 2nd in PER (by a fair margin over 3rd place in those latter two), and while playing 39.8 mpg [as that pertains to the rate metrics: PER and pseudo-APM] and missing just one game all year.
That's the broad strokes.

He averaged 29.3 ppg (2nd in league) on +7.8% rTS with a respectable big-man turnover rate (compared to Mutombo fwiw: he produced +17.3 more pts and +0.9 more ast while committing just +0.2 more tov :o ).
For a supporting cast he certainly had better than Mutombo, but it was far from any kind of "super-team" (God, I hate that term):
they don't really have a legit second star (I'd rate rookie Penny probably the 2nd-best player, and he's merely a fringe All-Star at this point, imo), though they're at least decent/"pretty good" from #2-5. But then they sort of have a crap bench (Donald Royal probably the best bench player----decent, but far from 6MOY candidate----and utterly meh after that). He leads a 50-win/+3.68 SRS with that squad.
They were a +4.5 rORTG (3rd/27); they were #1 in the league in eFG% [at 51.4%]. If you replace all of Shaq's FGAs with league-average eFG%, they fall to 12th in the league in the eFG%. Their second best offensive FF was OREB% (10th in league)--->Shaq had a fairly monster OREB% and leads the team by double the total ORebs of the 2nd-place teammate; if he's replaced with an "average" offensive rebounding center, they likely fall at least 1-3 places here, too.
If you replace Shaq with someone of league avg FTAr, their team FTAr falls from 15th to basically last in the league.

He's basically the reason they're the 3rd-rated offense. Could perhaps also point to how Orlando in '91 and '92 (with three of the same five starters---Anderson, Skiles, Scott---as well as some of the same bench players such as Bowie and Turner) never topped a -2.0 rORTG (were in fact -4.7 in '92 with Dennis Scott missing much of the year); but improved immediately to +0.5 in '93 with rookie Shaq. The addition of rookie Penny and Shaq's improvement resulted in leaping forward another +4 [would make another jump forward the following year with Penny's [+/- Shaq's??] improvement].

And from what we see in later years with actual "reliable" [semi] impact metrics to go by (to sort of confirm what we already have ample reason to suspect), we have every reason to believe Shaq is a MONSTROUS offensive force already.

And defensively he doesn't look irrelevant or average. He's blocking 2.9 shots per game, the Magic's best defensive FF is opp eFG%. The Magic had been a +2.3 rDRTG in '92 [to show it wasn't fluky bad: they were +2.0 in '91, and MUCH worse in '90], jumped to -0.9 in his rookie year, still hovering around average in '94 at +0.4.
In short I might suggest he looks more valuable defensively than Mutombo is offensively.
All-Time NE Fantasy Team
PG-Chauncey Billups (06-08)/Terry Porter (91-93)
SG-George Gervin (78-80)/Danny Green
SF-R. Barry (67-70)/Bruce Bowen (04-06)
PF-Ho Grant (92-94)/D. Cowens (74-76)
C-D. Robinson (94-96)/Kevin Willis (92-94)
Bill Sharman (coach)

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