MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes

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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#121 » by Kiddlovesnets » Mon Apr 5, 2021 9:13 pm

McBubbles wrote:1. I'm surprised this thread is even still active, damn.

2. Kiddlovesnets, you say that pre-season odds are "very good at predicting the winners" and then go on to show from your chart that there is only a 50% chance that the pre-season favourite wins the title. In what universe is 50/50 prediction "very good"? You do understand that your method is 1% off from being, by definition, a below average predictor of success? 1% from being more incorrect than it is correct? That's like saying an E- is a very good grade when in reality it's as close to failing as you can possibly get.

You could say "There is mathematically a 3.33% chance of success for any given team at the start of the season, so a 50% chance is relatively speaking a very high probability" but that's only true in theory and not in practice. Some years they're only 2 teams in legitimate conversation for championship contention anyway, making your "very good" method as equally valid as a coin flip.

Also you keep on saying "matrix" and "methodology" like odds makers are extremely rigorous basketball heads heavily invested in the game, game tape, sabermetrics and data etc, NOT just bookies throwing out odds that get them the most money.


Why the thread cant still be alive? Just because you dont think it should be? :lol:

And yes, the 50% chance is actually quite high and reliable. I wont say there are total 30 teams, but its reasonable to expect that on average, at least 4-6 teams are in championship window. You have to consider that, some teams fell short because of injuries(2015 Cavs and 2019 Warriors), and sometimes mid-season trades happened(2004 and 2008) that significantly alter the title odds. If the pre-season favorites won in these years, the chance would bump up from 50% to 70%, which will look more respectful in your eyes?

I was using that chart to argue against sansterre's claim to use regular season records/stats. I never said that pre-season odds always yield title winners, some superstars underachieved and failed expectation. What we know for sure is, pre-season odds are much better metric than regular season odds if we want to predict the NBA champions. This tells that in playoffs, talents(ie. pre-season favorites) often beat teamwork(ie. regular season champs).

Anyway, Lebron aint the only one who performed below expectation consistently, in fact his 50% chance of winning as pre-season favorite is on par with the league average in the last 20 years. However, it looks quite bad because we are now comparing him to MJ, the latter won 100% of the time when he was in any champion window years(as preseason #1 or top 5). Lebron had such high expectation because he was projected to be as good as MJ, by failing these expectations we can tell that hes definitely not at MJ's level.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#122 » by Ainosterhaspie » Mon Apr 5, 2021 9:26 pm

Kiddlovesnets wrote:
Anyway, Lebron aint the only one who performed below expectation consistently, in fact his 50% chance of winning as pre-season favorite is on par with the league average in the last 20 years. However, it looks quite bad because we are now comparing him to MJ, the latter won 100% of the time when he was in any champion window years(as preseason #1 or top 5). Lebron had such high expectation because he was projected to be as good as MJ, by failing these expectations we can tell that hes definitely not at MJ's level.


That's some bold slight of Hand there. Take a team based prediction and team based result and use those to judge an individual performance without actually looking at the individual performance.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#123 » by Kiddlovesnets » Tue Apr 6, 2021 6:50 am

Ainosterhaspie wrote:That's some bold slight of Hand there. Take a team based prediction and team based result and use those to judge an individual performance without actually looking at the individual performance.


Except if we skip team based result and talk about individual performance, Lebron is still nowhere close to MJ's level. MJ's 1993 Finals performance was unmatched by anyone but maybe Shaq in 2000, while Lebron's so-called great 2016 performance aint better than MJ's 1998(Irving outplaying Curry was a huge reason why the Cavs won in 2016, while Pippen and Rodman both played like sh*t in 1998).

On the other hand, Lebron had 2 abysmal performances in 2007 and 2011(2013 was also quite bad until game 6/7), while MJ had only one poor performance in 1996 which aint anywhere close to disastrous as Lebron's(and MJ won the title in 1996 anyway).

So Lebron's teams only won 4 out of 10 compared to MJ's 6 out of 6, while individually MJ also had much better overall performance than Lebron.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#124 » by HeartBreakKid » Tue Apr 6, 2021 7:41 am

Kiddlovesnets wrote:
Ainosterhaspie wrote:That's some bold slight of Hand there. Take a team based prediction and team based result and use those to judge an individual performance without actually looking at the individual performance.


Except if we skip team based result and talk about individual performance, Lebron is still nowhere close to MJ's level. MJ's 1993 Finals performance was unmatched by anyone but maybe Shaq in 2000, while Lebron's so-called great 2016 performance aint better than MJ's 1998(Irving outplaying Curry was a huge reason why the Cavs won in 2016, while Pippen and Rodman both played like sh*t in 1998).

On the other hand, Lebron had 2 abysmal performances in 2007 and 2011(2013 was also quite bad until game 6/7), while MJ had only one poor performance in 1996 which aint anywhere close to disastrous as Lebron's(and MJ won the title in 1996 anyway).

So Lebron's teams only won 4 out of 10 compared to MJ's 6 out of 6, while individually MJ also had much better overall performance than Lebron.


Obviously he would need Kyrie Irving to play well to beat the 2016 Warriors - are you unaware that the Warriors were way more talented than the Cavs? The fact that Irving played incredible and still wasn't the best player on his own team would be a point in James favor...

I don't even get the 2007 thing. Lebron James didn't play well against the Spurs in 2007? Yeah...he was 22 years old and his team was awful. When Jordan was 22 he was getting knocked out in the first round. If only he had you as his consultant, he could have thrown the Eastern Conference Finals instead of upsetting the Pistons and save himself of getting floored by an all time great defense in the finals.



Stop treating finals records like it's boxing. Like these matches are only official if it takes place in the finals, everything else is exhibition or some backward logic requirement to that. Saying Jordan is "6/6" makes it seem like it's a good thing that he got eliminated before making it to the finals outside of 6 seasons.

Making the finals is an accomplishment in itself, and the vast majority of James losses in the finals were against teams that would have floored Jordan if he had taken James place. Jordan isn't better than both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry combined.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#125 » by McBubbles » Tue Apr 6, 2021 9:43 am

Kiddlovesnets wrote:
McBubbles wrote:
Why the thread cant still be alive? Just because you dont think it should be? :lol:


This is the second time this has happened now, nobody said the thread SHOULDN'T be allowed, I said I'm surprised it is.

And yes, the 50% chance is actually quite high and reliable. I wont say there are total 30 teams, but its reasonable to expect that on average, at least 4-6 teams are in championship window. You have to consider that, some teams fell short because of injuries(2015 Cavs and 2019 Warriors), and sometimes mid-season trades happened(2004 and 2008) that significantly alter the title odds.


Thank you for showing why pre-season odds are a bad metric.

If the pre-season favorites won in these years, the chance would bump up from 50% to 70%, which will look more respectful in your eyes?


No, because the method is fundamentally flawed for a ridiculous number of reasons; Thinking odds-makers are making odds on good faith analysis and not maximising their betting profits, arbitrarily deciding that the expectations of odds-makers are the expectations players should be compared to, not taking into account events that happen during the season, thinking that team results / arbitrary expectations met are synonymous with individual talent despite how unreasonable that ends up being, I.E MJ playing 18 games and winning 30 being better than LeBron playing 80 games and winning 40.

When it comes to statistics, methodology and testing, being right for the wrong reason is basically the same as being wrong.

The players in the consensus top 10-15 that have facial hair have more MVP's and championships than those in the top 10 that are clean shaven. This obviously tells us that facial hair is a good indicator of career accolades and success. However, MJ is clean shaven and yet has more MVP's and championships than the bearded LeBron. This tells us that MJ exceeded career expectations whilst LeBron underachieved :nod: that's the level of logic you're using.

What we know for sure is, pre-season odds are much better metric than regular season odds if we want to predict the NBA champions.


That's whataboutism. Being better than something else that's bad doesn't mean you're good by default, it means you're not as bad. Pre-season odds being a more accurate measure than regular season record doesn't mean it's a good measure by default, it means it's good relative to regular season record (which Sansterre didn't use btw, he used SRS)

This tells that in playoffs, talents(ie. pre-season favorites) often beat teamwork(ie. regular season champs).


That's a non-sequitur :banghead: literally none of what you just said was a logical conclusion to your previous point, it was the conclusion you wanted / worked backwards from. You've not proven that pre-season odds are primarily based on talent, you've not proven that high regular season odds are achieved primarily via teamwork, and you've not broken down film to show that talented teams with bad teamwork trump less talented teams with good teamwork. Those are all the things you'd have to do to begin to arrive at the conclusion you made. You can't use whataboutism followed by a non-sequitur and think that's a good argument man :crazy:

Also, please explain to the people your rationale for thinking that 1998 MJ is better than 2016 LeBron. What you alluded to indicates either an inability or just, unawareness of the need to distinguish between team results and individual impact.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#126 » by sansterre » Tue Apr 6, 2021 10:04 am

Kiddlovesnets wrote:Except if we skip team based result and talk about individual performance, Lebron is still nowhere close to MJ's level. MJ's 1993 Finals performance was unmatched by anyone but maybe Shaq in 2000, while Lebron's so-called great 2016 performance aint better than MJ's 1998(Irving outplaying Curry was a huge reason why the Cavs won in 2016, while Pippen and Rodman both played like sh*t in 1998).

You do realize that there is more to greatness than scoring points, right?

You also realize that the '93 Suns' defense was only around league average, which makes it unusually bad for an opposing defense in the NBA Finals?

That you think that Jordan's '93 Finals was greater than his '91 Finals (which is perhaps the greatest Finals series played in the last 40 years) suggests that you realize neither:

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29.7 / 11.3 / 8.9 on +4.2% with 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks

That first stat line has only points to recommend it.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#127 » by homecourtloss » Tue Apr 6, 2021 2:48 pm

Kiddlovesnets wrote:
Ainosterhaspie wrote:That's some bold slight of Hand there. Take a team based prediction and team based result and use those to judge an individual performance without actually looking at the individual performance.


Except if we skip team based result and talk about individual performance, Lebron is still nowhere close to MJ's level. MJ's 1993 Finals performance was unmatched by anyone but maybe Shaq in 2000, while Lebron's so-called great 2016 performance aint better than MJ's 1998(Irving outplaying Curry was a huge reason why the Cavs won in 2016, while Pippen and Rodman both played like sh*t in 1998). .


So playmaking and defense don’t count for much in your estimation I assume.

LeBron’s Finals defense:

Cavs’ DRtg with LeBron on 104.1
Cavs’ DRtg with LeBron off: 122.0

Overall: 31.6 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 47.9%, -16.3%
Threes: 29.0 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 39.6%, -10.6%
Twos: 33.3 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 53.6%, -20.3%
<6ft: 38.5 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 63.6%, -25.1%

LeBron’s defense In the finals’ last three games:

Cavs’ DRtg with LeBron on: 96.2
Cavs’ DRtg with LeBron off: 137.0

Overall: 19.4 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 47.4, -28.4%
Threes: 12.5 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 40.7%, -28.2%
Twos: 25 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 52.4%, -27.4%
<6ft: 15.4 DFG%, opponents usually shoot 60.6%, -45.2
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#128 » by Kiddlovesnets » Tue Apr 6, 2021 4:49 pm

HeartBreakKid wrote:Obviously he would need Kyrie Irving to play well to beat the 2016 Warriors - are you unaware that the Warriors were way more talented than the Cavs? The fact that Irving played incredible and still wasn't the best player on his own team would be a point in James favor...


This is a serious misconception, apparently you missed out the point I made in the very first post of my thread. The Warriors aint more talented than the Cavs in 2016, the preseason odds showed that Cavs were the most talented team and favorites to win the title. These odds imply the raw talent level of each team, since at this point no one knew how team chemistry, coaching, injuries, HCA and mid-season trades would be. Take a look at this link yourself if you didnt see it before:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2016_preseason_odds.html

So thats the problem of Lebron ball made most of his all-star teammates worse so they were unable to perform at their maximum potential, hence why Wade, Bosh and Love all looked unfit next to Lebron and the Heat/Cavs appeared weaker than they were supposed to be on paper. You may say that the Warriors were the 'better team', since they were better coached and playing in a superior ball movement offense system, but this by no means implies that the Warriors were more 'talented'. Perhaps you need to ask yourself, why the Cavs had more talented rosters and yet they looked like a weaker team compared to the Warriors? More specifically, why team basketball and ball sharing/movement were never a thing for Lebron's teams?

sansterre wrote:You do realize that there is more to greatness than scoring points, right?

You also realize that the '93 Suns' defense was only around league average, which makes it unusually bad for an opposing defense in the NBA Finals?

That you think that Jordan's '93 Finals was greater than his '91 Finals (which is perhaps the greatest Finals series played in the last 40 years) suggests that you realize neither:


Of course I realize that theres more to greatness than scoring, but MJ in 1993 had to score 40+ppg to win the series since the Suns were a much tougher team and no one else on the Bulls could score consistently. This is normal for teams trying to 3-peat, we saw already that the role players became worse and worse in 2014 Heat and 2019 Warriors which eventually became too much for the star players to carry the load all by themselves. Theres a reason why 3-peat is so rare and difficult.

MJ on the other hand, managed to put up the greatest scoring show to defy all the odds against his 3-peat case. What he did in 1993 was legendary, surpassing any finals individual performances. The 1991 Bulls however, the other players on the Bulls were capable of making their shots, and MJ had more assists. On the other hand, Pippen stepped up with his playmaking in the next 5 title runs for the Bulls so MJ could focus more on scoring/finishing. He never reached 10+ apg again, but its for the best of the team. When Pippen was good enough to handle the playmaker role, MJ decided to let him run the show. Lebron on the other hand, never managed to find the best way to coexist with Wade.

MJ could be more ball-dominant like Lebron did, he averaged 32/8/8 in one season. He just realized that this playing style aint the recipe for championship, at least not for winning in the NBA finals consistently. Lebron's ball dominant style was what made him a great player like he is now, but it also sets a limit for his ceiling as Lebron ball failed more than it worked when it comes to NBA finals.

The bottom-line is, MJ could have played a ball-dominant style when he needed to, or give the ball to Pippen and play without the ball, while Lebron has to play a ball-dominant style since he cant play without the ball in his hands. MJ is far more versatile on offense, and hence why his ceiling is significantly higher.

homecourtloss wrote:
So playmaking and defense don’t count for much in your estimation I assume.


Of course Lebron has good playmaking skills and his defense was solid, but you are saying this as if MJ cant be a playmaker nor play defense. MJ's D has always been one of the best in the entire league, he made far more all-NBA defensive teams than Lebron. And when it comes to playmaking, MJ showed what he was capable of in 1991 averaging 31ppg and 11apg, note the apg was higher than Lebron in any of his finals performance. He just didnt need to play a ball-dominant style since they had Pippen, and MJ was more efficient to focus mostly on scoring and finishing. The fact that MJ didnt average as many assists as Lebron, doesnt mean he isnt a good playmaker. No one averages a lot of assists in team USA basketball at Olympics, because the team has too many ball handlers. Lebron is too ball-dominant and cannot co-exist with another playmaker on the team, this is more of a deficiency.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#129 » by sansterre » Tue Apr 6, 2021 5:53 pm

Kiddlovesnets wrote:.

Look.

You insist that preseason predictions are tied to 'talent', but provide no support for that claim. When you're challenged you merely repeat it as though that made it true.

You insist that preseason predictions are usefully accurate without actually bringing any data to support that argument. The assertion has been pretty easily disproven, but you dismiss the evidence and continue to repeat your position.

You insist that you know there's more to playing great than scoring, but then insist that the '93 Finals performance was the best because he scored a lot of points.

You insist that the '93 Suns were better than the '93 Bulls (and certainly better than the '14 Spurs) when there is pretty much zero evidence for either position.

You insist that the '14 Spurs just weren't that good, when there is pretty much zero evidence for that position. When evidence is provided to the contrary you dismiss it and repeat your assertion.

You insist that the '15 Warriors just weren't that good, when there is pretty much zero evidence for that position. When evidence is provided to the contrary you dismiss it and repeat your assertion.

Any advocacy of Jordan's greatness (no matter how ridiculous) is considered totally valid and supported. Any evidence that the LeBron vs Jordan thing is a little more complicated than 6-0 vs 4-6 is dismissed as not evidence.

It's been fun but this is unquestionable bad faith argument (and a whole buttload of ends-driven analysis) and I'm out.

And I'm sorry for my part in keeping this going, except for the fun research it led me to.
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Re: MJ vs Lebron based on pre-season odds & finishes 

Post#130 » by Kiddlovesnets » Wed Apr 7, 2021 8:22 pm

sansterre wrote:Look.

You insist that preseason predictions are tied to 'talent', but provide no support for that claim. When you're challenged you merely repeat it as though that made it true.

You insist that preseason predictions are usefully accurate without actually bringing any data to support that argument. The assertion has been pretty easily disproven, but you dismiss the evidence and continue to repeat your position.


I already provided support for the claim. The title odds are dictated by the team's raw talent, chemistry, coaching, mid-season trades, injuries, HCA, recent forms etc. Pre-season odds are the best metric to measure the perceived talent level of each team since the effect of chemistry, coaching, and recent forms are unknown. They are accurate as long as no mid-season trade nor major injuries happen in playoffs.

I've already analyzed pre-season favorites vs regular season champion to dismiss your claim that regular season records are better measures for how good a team is. Note playoffs are very different games compared to regular season.

sansterre wrote:You insist that you know there's more to playing great than scoring, but then insist that the '93 Finals performance was the best because he scored a lot of points.


Flawed logic. Just because theres more to playing than just scoring, doesnt mean MJ's 93 finals performance cannot be the greatest. He scored 41ppg and won the FMVP, this is very different from putting up empty stats and lost. MJ also had 8rpg and 6apg, both were very good as well. He averaged 41ppg with above average level of rpg/apg, while playing superb D. The bottom-line is, the Suns were the superior team with HCA, and the Bulls needed every point from MJ to fend off such an opponent. You always underestimate the difficulty for 3-peat, and the fact that everyone was motivated to take down the Bulls and end their reign. The role players got worse and worse every year, the Bulls wouldnt have won if MJ averaged less ppg.

sansterre wrote:You insist that the '93 Suns were better than the '93 Bulls (and certainly better than the '14 Spurs) when there is pretty much zero evidence for either position.

You insist that the '14 Spurs just weren't that good, when there is pretty much zero evidence for that position. When evidence is provided to the contrary you dismiss it and repeat your assertion.


First of all, I never said the 93 Suns were better than the 14 Spurs, I said they were very similar and comparable, so they are mostly on par. The Suns had 4-5 players averaging 10+ppg, and Barkley was a superstar that won MVP that year. The 93 Bulls were slightly better than the 14 Heat, and they both were suffering from the issue of role players declining and lacking motivation. MJ led the Bulls to a 4-2 win against the Suns, while Lebron lost to the Spurs in humiliating fashion. Its not just that Lebron lost, his team was dominated. You cant just blame this on Lebron's teammates being weak and that Spurs were too good. Even the Mavs and Thunder did much better against the Spurs, something isnt right about Lebron in that series.

sansterre wrote:You insist that the '15 Warriors just weren't that good, when there is pretty much zero evidence for that position. When evidence is provided to the contrary you dismiss it and repeat your assertion.


Actually I didnt mention the 15 Warriors in the recent post, though both 15 Warriors and 16 Warriors were not as good as they were advertised, at least the talent level of their rosters on paper. Kerr and the Warriors played a type of offense that most teams had never seen in the past, it took a while for the league to get used to them. They were absolutely nowhere near dominant in the playoffs, the 15 Warriors had easy path to the title due to injuries for every opposing team they played, while the 16 Warriors struggled against Thunder and lost to Cavs. They were about as good as the Cavs and Thunder, and the talent level was worse than both of them.

sansterre wrote:Any advocacy of Jordan's greatness (no matter how ridiculous) is considered totally valid and supported. Any evidence that the LeBron vs Jordan thing is a little more complicated than 6-0 vs 4-6 is dismissed as not evidence.

It's been fun but this is unquestionable bad faith argument (and a whole buttload of ends-driven analysis) and I'm out.


Its definitely more complicated than 6-0 vs 4-6, though we have to actually consider why one player went 6-0 and the other was merely 4-6. Its not like Lebron lost only 1-2 finals, the argument would've been more intriguing if its 6-0 vs 4-1 or 4-2. Lebron lost way too many finals and at least 2-3 of them were winnable. I agree that the 2017 Warriors were special and even MJ's Bulls would have less than a 50% chance to win, but lets not act like Lebron had to face such an opponent in every year he lost in the finals. The average wins of Lebron's teams in the 6 finals losses were 1(2 x 4-0s, 2 x 4-1s and 2x 4-2s), something isnt right about this.

Now you couldnt provide any fact to back your points, and you are out. This is interesting.

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