Too Much Talent, Not Enough Basketballs?

Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by REM08, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. REM08
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    REM08 Well-Known Member

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    I usually read this guy's stuff just to keep up on things, but in this post he passes along the results of a study that I thought some of you might find interesting. Here's the gist:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-...ketballs-th_b_5191936.html?utm_hp_ref=science

    I'm just not sure I buy this. I'm not saying I can defeat it, but something just doesn't seem right. I posted this because I've noticed some of you know probably 20x what I do about the NBA and it seems that league might be the best to use for this notion.

    So help me out here. If this theory is true, would it suggest the Heat would have gotten worse had they added Chris Paul or Kevin Love to the roster? Or, God-forbid, both! Can we apply this to the original dream-team? Is it a lazy assumption that the most talented players aren't as capable of playing selflessly? I wonder if it might be - or perhaps I'm thinking of the exceptions that prove the rule... What about the stat they used to measure "talent"? I'm familiar with WAR in baseball, but evidently (and logically I guess) baseball isn't a good example of this too-much-talent concept.

    I'm no Heat fan, but are they really a good example of this theory? They just made the finals 4 straight times! On the other hand, having watched some of the finals, were they really even more talented than the Spurs? Some of you will know better than me, but after Lebron, I'm taking a bunch of Spurs if I'm picking a team from those players combined.

    Sorry for the rambling, but I thought this has always been an interesting concept at least.
  2. corpgator
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    corpgator Well-Known Member

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    They didn't release their methods or I just didn't want to go looking for it, but I can see several problems up front. EWA is not as accurate as Win Shares. http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=1858 The biggest issue is EWA overrates offense and undervalues defense. Still, EWA can probably still be used to do this study.

    I think the biggest issue is that basketball needs spacing and two players doing the same thing, ie Lebron and Wade driving and mucking up the middle, can hurt even when two are so great. Still, I don't think there's any doubt which team has the most talent this year out of the Heat and Spurs. Just because you have two superstars, doesn't mean you have the most talent. To me, talent of the team is the overall level the team plays at.

    If you put Paul on the Heat, they'd have sliced the Spurs apart. I'd love to see James play with a decent point guard for a change. Still, spacing matters more than anything. Having guys who can do things from different spots is paramount. Wade simply can't get it done anymore and that's why they lost. James couldn't do it all.

    In the end, talent will win out if it's had enough time to work together. If talent is overwhelming, it will win no matter. That's why our teams lost for a few olympics. We didn't send A list talent. We've never lost when we sent our best players. The whole bunk about us having a system is just that. We don't need a system when every player is better than the other across from him on both ends of the floor.
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  3. themistocles
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    themistocles Well-Known Member

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    I don't know Corp. All measures are very limited, and they likely carefully researched which measure to use for which purposes. As I noted, however, all statistical measures are necessarily limited.

    You guys are making the same error that almost everyone has always made in taking a generalized finding and attempting to apply it to an individual case. That simply is not legitimate, as Robinson clearly showed in 1950 , and his findings have proven true throughout time and place since then: Robinson, W.S. (1950). Ecological correlations and the behavior of individuals. American Sociological Review, 15: 350-357. This is know in the "Lingo" as The Ecological Inference Problem, and this paper had some severe repercussions when it first came out, however, unfortunately, as with all things, people tend to forget about anything that might be a problem with what they are doing, so a HUGE number of so-called researchers constantly make the same mistake over and over and over.

    I found it a well thought out bit of research for the very simple reason that they ran extensive analysis over a very long period of time (10 years) in three different sports: Basketball, Soccer and Baseball.

    And, I don't think that anyone can question that Baseball is substantially different than the other two utterly interdependent team sports in that although the team works as a team defensively, but everyone has very specific and very localized tasks in that environment, while with hitting, this is strictly an individual sport, and baseball proved to be the only place where "more talent" improved.

    A very interesting, and not particularly surprising finding. Of course, like I said, you can't go from the general to the specific because all sorts of factors such as the personality of the STARS, the methods of the Coach(es), the environment in which a team functions, and innumerable other factors may each individual situation unique. It is the large sample and the use of three different groups, which when I was a professional gambler, I found to be the key criteria for generalizable results. If something occurs in one place, it may possibly be true. If what you found occurs in two completely different places, there is a very good chance it is "REAL," and, if it or what you expect (like in Baseball), occurs in three different situations, then you have found something that is almost surely very generalizable. It won't, as I noted, fit every case (The Robinson Phenomenon), but it will tend to hold up over an entire system.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  4. corpgator
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    corpgator Well-Known Member

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    I'd still like to see the study and look at which teams they deemed to be too talented.

    I'm trying to think of one off the top of my head that didn't win the title and I'm coming up short. OKC has probably been the most talented team the last 3 years, but you can chalk up their losses to inexperience, coaching, and injuries.

    Detroit in 2003 probably wasn't the most talented team. I bet in nearly every single instance where a team that was more talented lost, it could be explained by factors other than too much talent doesn't work well together.
  5. themistocles
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    themistocles Well-Known Member

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    Since they haven't published the full article yet, it is impossible to check that out, but I doubt seriously that you will be able to even when it is published for the simple reason that journals almost always limit authors to summary statistics. However, authors are supposed to retain their data for 7 years, so you could request from them, once it is published, a copy of the data and they you can look at that to see how they defined things. Ask for an explanation as well.

    And, of course, if you believe in the STAR theory you can find factors that influence every competition. Many factors, any of which may be attributed as the "Key" reason. That's why they used a 10-year sample in three different sports, so such factors would, so-to-speak, "even out" and not be as influential as they are in small samples.

    They didn't say that the Star-studded teams lost all games, merely that at a point, having somewhat more stars associated with a lower winning percentage than having somewhat fewer stars.

    And, of course, there will be cases, where the Stars are so team-oriented that you won't have many or any "too few basketball" situations. Recall, however, that Cali, with his incredibly star-studded Ky team this year, finally, at the end of the season, told PG Andrew Harrison to "pass the ball more" and apparently he actually listened and that really did seem to improve their play as a team in the tournaments.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  6. StrangeGator
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    StrangeGator Well-Known Member

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    It's not how much talent you have but how well you distribute talent between the starting five positions. I have yet to see a legit PG or center on a Heat squad. I don't think you can expect to win multiple championships without adequate talent at one or both of those positions. I also think that you can't win consistently if your team is evil and your coach and GM report directly to the Prince of Darkness. Our universe is basically good, so evil teams can only go so far. Teams from Miami are allowed to win every now and then just to awaken the competitiveness of the good and decent teams in professional sports.
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  7. ACmann
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    ACmann Active Member

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    How about Shabaz Nappier for point guard on Heat team.Too much,hater gonna hate.

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