Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I got myself involved in a comment fest on the Wages of Wins and now I am slowly being driven insane.

I won't get into an explanation of WoW here, you can visit the page yourself if interested. Basically, it's a book and blog written by some UCal economic professors. They've devised a statistical model of the NBA that uses box score stats to predit a team's performance during a season - and they're incredibly accurate. Despite this fact, many, many people remain skeptical of WoW because some of the conclusions of their model contradict popular opinion. For instance, Allen Iverson is actually a slightly below-average player. I made the point that before Copernicus popular opinion held that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Math proved otherwise, just as here math is proving what makes a team good or bad.

After numerous posts in which I explained why Garnett is a better player than Duncan (according to WoW) to my fellow commentors, the most recent post contains these quotes:

"There's just something that Duncan possesses"

"I don't think Duncan would have ever missed the playoffs"

"I think he is a rare type of player who finds ways to win"

"I don't see Garnett as someone who does that"

(blood spurting from my eyeballs...)

I want to set myself on fire after reading this. None of these observations rest on one ounce of fact or evidence. They're just that - observations. "There's just something that Duncan possesses..." Wow, great point, that would hold up in an academic paper. "I think he is a rare type of player who finds ways to win..." Yes, given that after every game there is one winner and one loser, a player who finds ways to win must be 'rare'. I actually do agree with this statement, assuming Duncan declared his draft eligibility knowing that he'd 'find a way' to end up in the Spurs' organization.

The best is "I don't think Duncan would have ever missed the playoffs." Really? This gem directly contradicts the evidence offered by numerous papers, blog posts, and a published book written and researched by the guys (and gal) behind WoW. And what evidence is offered in defense of this statement? Literally, "I don't think..." The guy who wrote this doesn't think Duncan would have failed to reach the playoffs if his team was hamstrung with the types Garnett has been forced to play with. He just doesn't think so. Hey, I don't think gravity is for real. I'm probably right too.

If this sounds like a bitter, sarcastic, negative post to you... it is.

No comments:

Post a Comment