If you’ve taken the time to read a good portion of what’s been published on this blog to-date, then, you are already familiar with a few simple “facts” about the game of basketball:
- it is comprised of 3 distinct main phases, i.e. Defense, Rebounding and Offense
- the 1 of these 3 phases which is the least well-understood, by “fans” and other so-called “expert observers” is Rebounding … followed by Defense … primarily, due to its “central” role and the way it influences the character of an elite level team
- basketball is, fundamentally, a “team” game … in which major success and failure [i.e. winning and losing the championship] are determined, in large part, by the highly specific strengths and weaknesses of the “individual” players and their ability to work “in concert” against a particular opponent
- while statistics, in general, are a terrific tool to help one understand how the game actually works, in isolation, they are not a wholly accurate reflection of reality and, at all times, need to be evaluated critically in the appropriate context
- an examination of highly specific anecdotal evidence is a gateway to developing an accurate understanding of the way in which a championship-winning team operates that is separate and distinct from its competition
- putting an elite level team together properly is akin to “composing a virtuoso work of art” … moreso, than simplistically “painting by the numbers”
[this is the specific comment which was just submitted by yours truly at the Wages of Wins Journal]
If someone could take the time to explain the reason the previous comment which I left in this thread was removed, it would be appreciated.
In the interim, let’s try again.
It is a mistake in basketball judgment to think that keeping the 12 players with the highest WP48 numbers is necessarily the best way to construct a championship-winning basketball “team”.
Just because Gerald Wallace’s WP48 number … which [in fact] “fails to reflect a picture of reality” [according to a respected commentor [sic] on this site like Tom Mandel] … is substantially higher than Rudy Gay’s does not mean that simply “replacing Gay with Wallace” is the better way to go, in this case, i.e. with this specific group of players, their expected opposition, and the relatively large group of [at least, somewhat redundant] PG’s still on the active roster [i.e. Curry, Billups, Rondo, Rose and Westbrook], when compared with the sheer number of wing players [i.e. combo OG/SF/PF] with good size, strength, relative quickness – at their respective positions – and the ability to: i. defend, ii. rebound, iii. shoot the ball efficiently from distance, and iv. be high volume scorers, e.g. like Iguodala, Gay and Durant].
When you dissect how a championship-winning team is actually put together, what you will find is that rarely – if ever – is it simply a conglomeration of the 12 players with the highest available WP48 numbers [e.g. Was Charles Barkley a member of the 1984 team? or, Was Isiah Thomas a member of the original Dream Team?] And, the exact reasons for this are rarely – if ever – rooted in the way these specific players performed in lead-up public scrimmage situations.
Unfortunately, numeric-based analysis of basketball which reads like this is what can create a poor image overall for “stats” gurus, in the eyes of elite level coaches the world over.
[Hopefully this comment meets with your approval.]