Toronto Star: Statistics do a number on Raptors
Old 10-25-2009, 02:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Toronto Raptors will finish lower than sixth place in the NBA's Eastern Conference but remain in the hunt for a final playoff spot, says a leading sports mathematician who analyzed the team's prospects for the Star
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Winston's prognostications are based on a mathematical evaluation system that factors in the performance of each player every moment of every game. Based on league data, he and Jeff Sagarin of USA Today developed a point system that measures the degree to which a player influences his team's success or lack thereof on the court.
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Andrea Bargnani, the club's former first-round pick, has been a statistical disappointment.

The first overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft played six points worse than an average player last year, proving a mathematical liability on both offence and defence.

An illustration: when Parker, Bosh and Jose Calderon were on the court together without Bargnani last year, they played nine points above average. With Bargnani thrown into the mix, they dropped to four points below average.

"I can't explain why that is, but it is a dramatic swing," Winston says. "This is concrete evidence that he isn't helping the team. It's important that they know that if he plays a lot of minutes and does not improve, they'll win fewer games."
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Doug Smith responded.

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Happily for Raptors fans, statistics don't dunk

If only it was so cut and dried. So black and white. So definitive.

We wouldn't have to go to all the trouble of actually playing the games, would we?

We could look at numbers, assign values and determine outcomes.

No messy things like arenas and fans and officials to get in the way.
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Stats cannot determine intangibles like player motivation. leadership and even player injuries. All it can do is look at what happened in the past and attempt to predict trends of what will happen this year. And of course we didn't do very well last year, so I don't take much stock in such bold statements based on stats alone.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Did anybody read freakonomics? Whenever I read things like this I remember his example about closing prisons.

Some statistician noticed that crime rates were high in areas that had lots of prisons, so he suggested that the prisons should be closed in order to reduce the crime. Of course, he had it reversed: there was a lot of crime in those areas, which was why they built the prisons. He confused cause and effect.

Is Bargnani really a negative impact, or is that similarly confusing cause and effect? For instance, maybe he's on the floor when other teams have their starting lineups in the game, and is subbed out against the second unit.

I would be interested to see this guy's statistical analysis of players like Bruce Bowen or Ron Artest. I suspect that they both have negative ratings.

Last edited by bogus; 10-25-2009 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Stats are only important when Bosh has negative numbers, never Bargnani, never.

Bargnani is awesome. Let's trade Chris Bosh for a defensive big. This will allow Bargnani to open up and be even more awesome then he is.

Bargnani can do no wrong. Triano should also be fired. Bargnani should be the coach. Bargnani should be the coach/captain and set up all offensive sets and defensive schemes and just run the whole show.

Bargnani for all-star, MVP considerations maybe?

Last edited by Bmats7; 10-25-2009 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Torontosaurus View Post
Stats cannot determine intangibles like player motivation. leadership and even player injuries.
Unfortunately, Andrea has often lacked motivation, definitely lacks leadership and hasn't often been injured. I'll buy that argument with guys like Garbo, not not Andrea.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bmats7 View Post
Stats are only important when Bosh has negative numbers, never Bargnani, never.

Bargnani is awesome. Let's trade Chris Bosh for a defensive big. This will allow Bargnani to open up and be even more awesome then he is.

Bargnani can do no wrong. Triano should also be fired. Bargnani should be the coach. Bargnani should be the coach/captain and set up all offensive sets and defensive schemes and just run the whole show.

Bargnani for all-star, MVP considerations maybe?
Quit being a douche. No one is saying any of these things in this thread.

Secondly, has anyone ever considered that this negative impact is a result of chemistry issues? If anything that's what I'd chalk it up to.

Thirdly, AB has shown that he's a capable defender.

Maybe if this team actually played anything resembling team defense together, these numbers would improve. Fuck it, the entire team last season was terrible, both offensively and defensively. Right now, no one on this team is worth shit. Make the playoffs, prove to me that you're actually good.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quit being a douche. No one is saying any of these things in this thread.

Secondly, has anyone ever considered that this negative impact is a result of chemistry issues? If anything that's what I'd chalk it up to.

Thirdly, AB has shown that he's a capable defender.

Maybe if this team actually played anything resembling team defense together, these numbers would improve. Fuck it, the entire team last season was terrible, both offensively and defensively. Right now, no one on this team is worth shit. Make the playoffs, prove to me that you're actually good.
The whole team sucks at offence and defence. That's why Bosh/Calderon/Parker on the court without Bargs was a + and why with Bargs we're a negative.

that makes a lot of sense. And although no1 has said those things in this post... they have posted that all over every other thread.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bmats7 View Post
The whole team sucks at offence and defence. That's why Bosh/Calderon/Parker on the court without Bargs was a + and why with Bargs we're a negative.

that makes a lot of sense. And although no1 has said those things in this post... they have posted that all over every other thread.
Maybe I'm just not smart enough to get it, but... what? I tried to figure it out, but I'm straight-up confused by your post.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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From the article:

"An illustration: when Parker, Bosh and Jose Calderon were on the court together without Bargnani last year, they played nine points above average. With Bargnani thrown into the mix, they dropped to four points below average. "
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:45 PM   #11 (permalink)
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there was a similar discussion a couple of weeks ago, where this similar statistic showed that durant was the worst player for OKC ...

Since durant is their worst player, we should probably trade amir's expiring contract for him, I'm sure OKC wouldn't mind getting rid of their worst player
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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there was a similar discussion a couple of weeks ago, where this similar statistic showed that durant was the worst player for OKC ...

Since durant is their worst player, we should probably trade amir's expiring contract for him, I'm sure OKC wouldn't mind getting rid of their worst player

could you show me to this thread and/or article?
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Torontosaurus View Post
Stats cannot determine intangibles like player motivation. leadership and even player injuries. All it can do is look at what happened in the past and attempt to predict trends of what will happen this year. And of course we didn't do very well last year, so I don't take much stock in such bold statements based on stats alone.
True, but it's more reliable than having some sports commentator guessing where the Raps will end up.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
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True, but it's more reliable than having some sports commentator guessing where the Raps will end up.
That's not necessarily true. A holistic assessment of a team is often more reliable than a statistical determination, because the statistical method doesn't reflect on the situation, it just absorbs inputs and expels outputs. Thus, an erroneous input or a relatively insignificant variable can meaningfully influence the result, whereas a human pundit knows not to pay it too much regard. For proof of the fallibility of statistics, take a look at Hollinger's ESPN Power Rankings, which for much of last year had the Bucks ahead of the Rockets. Or the FIFA World Rankings, which a few years ago had the US as the fourth-best soccer nation in the world, ahead of major soccer powers, although they've never even sniffed the semifinals of the World Cup. I'm not making a case against the use of statistics, but this should be enough evidence to realize that they can be seriously mistaken (so can a commentator, but he's less likely to make such an unreasonable assertion).
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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could you show me to this thread and/or article?
I don't know about the thread, but here's an article on this statistical revelation:

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The Thunder have, over the last two years, consistently performed worse than normal when Durant is on the floor. Any way you slice the +/- numbers, he's one of the Thunder's worst players.
The Kevin Durant Conundrum - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN

I've always preferred Nick Collison to Durant anyway.

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Old 10-25-2009, 10:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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That's not necessarily true. A holistic assessment of a team is often more reliable than a statistical determination, because the statistical method doesn't reflect on the situation, it just absorbs inputs and expels outputs. Thus, an erroneous input or a relatively insignificant variable can meaningfully influence the result, whereas a human pundit knows not to pay it too much regard. For proof of the fallibility of statistics, take a look at Hollinger's ESPN Power Rankings, which for much of last year had the Bucks ahead of the Rockets. Or the FIFA World Rankings, which a few years ago had the US as the fourth-best soccer nation in the world, ahead of major soccer powers, although they've never even sniffed the semifinals of the World Cup. I'm not making a case against the use of statistics, but this should be enough evidence to realize that they can be seriously mistaken (so can a commentator, but he's less likely to make such an unreasonable assertion).
I would say using both is ideal. In fact, the calculations made should actually include every possible variable such as the H1N1 pandemic and the probability of players getting it, relationships between players and coach, relationships with significant others and impact on game, etc... but of course quantifying such variables can be a hassle. So yeah, there is merit in using an expert opinion AND data to give a better assessment.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:56 AM   #17 (permalink)
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"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:12 AM   #18 (permalink)
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From the article:

"An illustration: when Parker, Bosh and Jose Calderon were on the court together without Bargnani last year, they played nine points above average. With Bargnani thrown into the mix, they dropped to four points below average. "
They should really have done this statistic twice - one for the first two full months of the season of the season, until new year's, and one for January to the rest of the season.

Bargs was a total tit in 2008, and it's no wonder his numbers dragged down the team. After January, the lightbulb went off and he was much more effective all over the court.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:33 AM   #19 (permalink)
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They should really have done this statistic twice - one for the first two full months of the season of the season, until new year's, and one for January to the rest of the season.

Bargs was a total tit in 2008, and it's no wonder his numbers dragged down the team. After January, the lightbulb went off and he was much more effective all over the court.
Yeah sure, his numbers went up but did the team do any better?
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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could you show me to this thread and/or article?

SonicsCentral.com - Massive Monkeys Representing Blog Archive AK1984’s dream thread - AKA Kevin Durant’s +/-

SLAM ONLINE | Is Durant The Anti-Battier?

NewsOK
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