magicman1978 wrote:for inflated stats - wouldn't that be highly reflected in something like PER since it's normalized to league average? And if we believe some stats were inflated due to expansion, how do we reconcile that with the "inflated" numbers of today's stars as there's obviously more talent today?
Not sure stats are inflated today, but if they are it's obviously other factors at work. I'm pretty sure if today's stars played more minutes against bench players and G-league guys their stats averaged over the season would look better, and today's talent pool is pretty deep compared to NBA-expansion times.
But yes, stat inflation would be vs what they would be without expansion, not necessarily vs. other times in NBA history where other factors also change. For instance a trend to more star-centered play/higher star usage would also inflate star stats - their stats would be scaled against peers who look statistically worse because they don't have the ball while in the expansion scenario peers would actually be worse. Statistically the effect would be similar.
Lets test the theory. Can we agree that PER is a good baseline since it's normalized to league average? I'm going to pick a random PER of 22 as the bar (rounding up). If I understand it correctly. PER is like grading on a curve. Add more bad students and the good students should stand out more. But if you add more good students, then the previous good students would not stand out as much.
2021 - 31 players (13 at 25+)
2020 - 25 players (11 at 25+)
2010 - 15 players (5 at 25+)
2000 - 12 players (6 at 25+)
1997 - 14 players (4 at 25+)
1996 - 14 players (9 at 25+) - expansion
1995 - 11 players (5 at 25+)
1994 - 12 players (3 at 25+)
1992 - 13 players (4 at 25+)
1991 - 13 players (5 at 25+)
1990 - 15 players (7 at 25+) - expansion
1989 - 11 players (4 at 25+) - expansion
1988 - 11 players (3 at 25+)
1987 - 10 players (4 at 25+)
1977 - 5 players (1 at 25+)
1976 - 5 players (2 at 25+) - expansion
1975 - 5 players (2 at 25+) - expansion
1974 - 4 players (1 at 25+)
1973 - 5 players (2 at 25+)
Based on that quick/dirty analysis, nothing jumps out to me about star stats being inflated due to expansion - maybe a small bump in an expansion year, but it goes down the very next year (Abd there's no way talent levels are normalized in just a year). The deviation is pretty consistent. There was a jump from the 70s to the 80s and was relatively consistent up until the last 5 years or so.