Friday, January 07, 2005

Ball Theory

I was watching TV the other day and they had a documentary on physics and it caused me to have a basketball epiphany. Either that or a really stupid idea. Anyway, if you don't like physics, skip the next paragraph or two, cause I am gonna discuss some science junk.

The documentary was about String Theory. String Theory is an attempt by scientists to come up with basically a theory on EVERYTHING with a simple mathematical formula that explains how the physical world works. Something like E=MC2. That is the extremely simple formula Einstein figured out that explained General Relativity or the laws of gravity. Einstein's final goal was to come up with a unifying theory of the 2 major forces of the universe[General relativity and quantum mechanics]. He hoped to come up with a master equation that explained everything. The problem is that the big things of the universe[general relativity-stars] don't seem to have the same laws as the tiniest of things[quantum mechanics-sub atomic particles]. In the world smaller then an atom, things are a little crazy and simple laws of science break down. The two laws conflict. So scientists have been trying for 100 years to come up with a theory that fixes those problems in a simple mathematical formula.

This is where String Theory was born. The theory involves a possible new discovery of the smallest building block of matter. Little vibrating strings of energy that make every matter what that matter is depending on how the strings vibrate. The tiny strings inside a slab of granite rock vibrate differently then the tiny strings inside a plastic spoon. Many scientists believe these vibrating strings of energy do exist and the understanding of these strings will help them come up with that simple mathematical formula that explains and unifies everything. One of the problems with string theory is that it takes 11 dimensions to work. Not just the 4 known dimensions[height-width-length-time]. Interestingly, this doesn't seem to bother scientists too much. They think these weird dimensions exist. Soon, scientists may come up with a simple formula that explains ALL the laws of the universe.

Which gets to my "Ball Theory". Ball Theory is my attempt to explain the laws of what makes a good basketball player and to come up with a simple mathematical formula to unify all of those laws. Just as in String Theory, Ball Theory takes 11 dimensions instead of just the 4 known dimensions [scoring-defense-passing-rebounding]. What are the other dimensions that should be taken into account? Certainly attitude is something that should. Or do you just look at Ron Artest or Antoine Walkers stats and say that stats are all that matters?

Why is a unifying theory needed? Because most rating systems just look at stats. Shouldn't teams use a rating system that calculates the "real value" of a player? Take into account ALL the things that make a player help a team win. Below is a list of the dimensions I think are important and the weighted scoring values in each area. Next is the top 100 players in the NBA according to my Ball Theory with how I calculated their scores. After the top 100, I will make a few more comments.

pts 1-20 efg% 1-5 ft% 1-5 TO 1-5=scoring---4-35
Position-----0-5 Big men win, PG's a must, SG-SF are dime a dozen
Attitude------0-6 Trouble makers, drugs, T's, suspensions, loners
Quick Motion--0-2 Energy guys, Don't need ball, NOT ball pounders
Versatility---0-2 Play multiple positions on defense
Experience----0-4 Rooks don't win. Experience brings a lot, ref calls
0-3 years=0
4-8 years=1
9+ years=2
play 20+ playoff games=1
win championship=1
Clutch--------0-2 Playoff performers, gutsy, makes late shots
Fundamentals--0-2 Do little things, sets picks, takes charges, smart


1-Tim Duncan--------15-4-3-4=26--12--6--10--3--6--1--2--3--2--2--73
2-Kevin Garnett-----16-4-4-4=28--11--10--10--2--5--2--2--1--0--2-73
4-Kobe Bryant--------20-2-4-1=27--10--10--9--1--2--1--2--3--2--1--68
5-Dirk Nowitzki------19-3-5-4=31--6--5--8--3--6--2--2--2--1--1----67
6-Lebron James------17-4-3-3=27--6--10--8--0--6--2--2--0--1--1---63
7-Dewayne Wade------16-4-3-2=25--7--9--7--1--6--1--2--0--1--1----60
8-Jermaine Oneal-----15-2-3-3=23--9--3--8--3--6--1--2--2--0--1----58
9-Tracy McGrady------17-2-3-5=27--4--9--8--0--2--2--2--1--2--0----57
10-Ben Wallace--------3-2-1-4=10--12--3--10--5--6--2--2--3--1--2---56
11-Chris Webber-------14-2-3-4=23--5--9--7--2--4--1--0--3--1--1----56
12-Ray Allen-----------17-4-5-4=30--5--7--2--0--5--2--0--3--1--1----56
13-Allen Iverson-------20-2-3-1=26--8--7--3--1--2--1--2--3--2--1----56
14-Jason Kidd----------6-2-3-3=14--8--10--9--2--2--2--2-3--1--2-----55
15-Shawn Marion------12-3-3-5=23--7--2--10--1--5--2--2--2--0--1---55
16-Amare Stoudemire-19-5-3-4=30--5--3--5--5--4--1--1--0--0--0----54
17-Andre Kirilenko-----8-4-3-4=19--11--4--6--1--4--2--2--2--0--2----53
18-Steve Nash----------8-5-5-4=22--2--10--2--2--6--2--1--3--1--2----53
19-Elton Brand---------11-4-3-3=21--8--6--5--2--6--2--1--1--0--1----53
20-Grant Hill-----------12-4-4-3=23--4--8--3--0--6--2--2--3--0--2----53
21-Paul Pierce----------14-2-4-3=23--7--7--5--0--4--1--1--2--1--1----52
22-Brad Miller----------7-4-4-5=20--5--8--5--5--4--1--0--2--0--1-----51
23-Manu Ginobili-------7-4-3-3=17--8--7--6--0--6--2--0--2--1--2-----51
24-Rchard Jefferson---15-2-4-1=22--7--6--6--0--5--1--1--2--0--1----51
25-Yao Ming-----------11-4-4-3=21--8--3--4--5--5--2--0--0--0--1----49
26-Pau Gasol-----------12-4-3-3=22--3--6--7--3--5--1--1--0--0--1----49
27-Baron Davis---------12-3-3-4=22--7--6--2--2--4--1--1--2--1--1----49
28-Steve Francis-------14-2-4-2=22--6--4--8--1--2--1--2--2--1--0----49
29-Carlos Boozer-------12-4-3-3=22--5--5--8--2--4--2--0--0--0--1----49
30-Michael Finley------11-3-4-4=22--5--4--3--0--6--2--2--3--1--1----49
31-Larry Hughes-------13-2-3-4=22--7--7--6--0--4--1--1--1--0--0----49
32-Rashard Lewis------14-4-3-5=26--5--4--2--1--4--2--2--1--1--0----48 33-Stephon Marbury---15-3-3-2=23--3--9--2--2--3--0--1--3--1--1----48 34-Rip Hamilton--------13-2-4-3=22--5--6--2--0--5--2--0--3--2--1----48
35-Ron Artest----------12-3-4-3=22--11--5--3--0--1--1--2--2--0--1---48
36-Chauncey Billups----9-1-5-4=19--7--3--3--2--4--2--1--3--2--1-----47
37-Emeka Okafor-------9-2-2-4=17--6--2--9--3--6--0--2--0--1--1-----47
38-Tayshawn Prince----5-3-3-4=15--7--5--5--0--5--2--1--3--2--2-----47
39-Lamar Odom--------7-4-2-3=16--5--7--8--2--3--1--2--1--0--1-----46
40-Michael Redd--------15-3-4-4=26--3--3--3--0--6--2--0--1--1--1----46
41-Kenyon Martin------8-3-2-3=16--10--5--4--2--2--2--2--2--0--1----46 42-Tony Parker--------10-4-2-3=19--5--4--3--2--5--2--1--2--2--1-----46 43-Doug Christie--------2-2-4-4=12--8--9--3--0--5--2--1--3--1--2-----46
44-PJ Brown------------3-2-4-4=14--7--5--5--2--5--1--2--3--0--2-----46
45-Zach Randolph------13-2-4-3=22--4--3--9--2--3--0--0--1--0--1----45
46-Mike Bibby----------9-3-3-4=19--4--3--5--2--5--2--0--2--2--1-----45
47-Antawn Jamison-----13-3-4-4=24--3--3--5--1--5--2--1--1--0--0----45
48-Sam Cassell----------7-3-5-4=19--4--4--2--2--5--1--1--4--2--1-----45
49-Marcus Camby-------2-3-3-4=12--8--3--7--3--4--2--2--3--0--1-----45
50-Keith Van Horn------10-4-5-4=23--3--3--4--1--5--2--1--2--1--0----45
51-Peja Stojacovic-----14-4-5-5=28--2--3--2--0--4--2--0--2--0--1----44
52-Mike Miller----------9-4-2-4=19--4--7--3--0--5--2--1--1--1--1-----44
53-Al Harrington--------10-3-2-3=18--5--6--6--0--5--1--0--1--0--1----43
54-Kirk Hinrich---------8-1-3-4=16--6--6--3--2--6--2--1--0--0--1-----43
55-Bobby Jackson-------7-3-3-4=17--7--1--4--1--5--2--2--2--1--1-----43
56-Gary Payton---------6-3-2-4=15--6--6--2--2--3--1--2--3--1--2-----43
57-Zyd Ilgauskas--------9-2-4-3=18--6--3--3--5--5--0--0--1--0--1-----42
58-Corey Maggette-----14-2-4-2=22--3--5--5--0--4--1--1--1--0--0----42
59-Jamal Tinsley--------8-2-2-3=15--7--8--3--2--3--1--0--2--0--1-----42
60-Rasheed Wallace----7-2-2-4=15--9--3--3--2--1--2--2--3--1--1-----42
61-Cutino Mobley-------9-3-3-4=19--6--2--3--0--6--2--0--2--1--1-----42 62-Chris Bosh--------10-3-3-3=19--5--3--3--3--5--2--1--0--0--1-------42
63-Tyson Chandler------3-4-2-3=12--7--2--9--3--5--1--2--0--0--1-----42
64-Kurt Thomas---------4-3-3-4=14--5--3--7--3--4--1--1--3--0--1-----42
65-Shane Battier--------5-3-3-5=16--6--2--5--0--6--2--1--1--1--2-----42 66-Jeff Foster-----------3-4-2-3=12--6--1--7--5--5--2--0--2--0--2-----42
67-Jason Richardson---13-2-2-3=20--3--7--4--0--5--1--0--1--0--0----41
68-Andre Miller---------8-3-4-4=19--2--7--4--2--4--0--1--1--0--1-----41
69-Josh Howard---------5-2-3-4=14--7--2--8--0--5--2--2--0--0--1-----41
70-Jamal MaGloire------7-3-2-2=14--7--2--5--5--5--0--0--2--0--1-----41
71-Dwight Howard------3-4-2-3=12--5--3--8--3--6--1--2--0--0--1-----41
72-Desmond Mason-----10-3-3-3=19--4--2--4--0--6--2--1--1--1--1----41
73-Matt Harpring-------7-4-3-3=17--4--3--6--0--5--1--0--2--1--2-----41
74-Troy Murphy--------9-2-3-3=17--4--2--9--2--5--0--0--0--1--1-----41
75-Reggie Miller--------8-3-5-4=20--3--4--1--0--5--2--0--3--2--1-----41 76-James Posey---------6-3-4-4=17--6--2--5--0--5--1--2--1--1--1-----41
77-Joe Johnson----------7-2-3-4=16--4--6-4--0--5--2--1--1--0--1------40
78-Gilbert Arenas-------15-3-3-2=23--4--3--3--1--3--0--1--1--1--0----40
79-Alonzo Morning------4-2-2-1=9--8--1--6--5--5--0--0--3--1--2------40
80-Bobby Simmons------8-4-4-3=19--5--4--5--0--5--1--0--0--0--1-----40
81-Kelvin Cato-----------2-4-3-3=12--8--2--6--5--3--1--0--2--0--1-----40
82-Hydayet Turkoglu----8-2-3-3=16--5--5--2--0--5--2--1--1--1--2-----40
83-Eddie Jones----------5-1-3-5=14--5--4--4--0--5--2--1--3--1--1-----40
84-Q Richardson---------8-1-3-5=17--5--2--8--0--5--1--1--0--0--1-----40
85-Mehmet Okur--------7-3-4-3=17--2--4--4--5--5--1--0--1--1--0-----40
86-Cliff Robinson--------4-1-2-3=10--7--5--1--3--5--2--2--3--1--1-----40 87-Vince Carter---------10-2-3-4=19--5--6--3--0--1--1--1--2--1--0----39
88-Drew Gooden---------7-4-4-4=19--4--2--7--2--4--1--0--0--0--0-----39
89-Raef Lafrentz--------4-4-3-5=16--4--2--3--5--4--2--1--2--0--0-----39
90-Jeff McCinnis--------8-3-3-4=18--4--4--2--2--4--2--1--1--1--0-----39
91-Nazr Mohammed----7-4-3-3=17--4--1--7--5--4--0--0--1--0--0-----39
92-Antoine Walker------13-2-1-1=17--3--7--4--2--1--0--1--2--1--1----39
93-Andre Igoudala-------3-3-3-3=12--6--5--7--0--5--1--2--0--0--1-----39
94-Wally Z---------------9-5-5-4=23--3--2--2--0--3--2--0--2--1--1-----39
95-Bruce Bowen--------2-2-1-5--10--10--3--1--0--5--2--2--3--1--2----39
96-Carmelo Anthony----14-1-3-2=20--4--5--4--0--3--0--0--0--1--1----38 97-Jason Terry------8-4-3-3=17--4--3--3--1--6--1--1--1--0--0--------38
98-Latrell Sprewell------6-2-4-4=16--7--3--2--0--1--2--1--3--2--1-----38
99-Antonio Daniels------7-2-3-5=17--4--5--1--2--4--2--1--1--0--1-----38 100-Theo Ratliff----------1-2-2-2=7--10--2--3--5--5--1--2--2--0--1----38

A few more explanations of how I graded the players. First, they were graded in rebounding and passing based on their positions expectations. So Brad Miller gets an 8 in passing and Steve Francis only a 4 even though Francis averages more assists then Brad Miller, because for a center, Miller is an excellent passer and for a PG Francis isn't very good. Same reason Quentin Richardson gets an 8 in rebounding while Amare Stoudemire only gets a 5. Secondly, I tried to go mostly with this years stats. But if there was large drops I looked at last years stats. I also gave injured guys like Kidd some benefit of the doubt, but not guys that have been injured for a long time like Webber and Carter. If Kidd doesn't improve soon he may drop further. And finally, for those players that had limited minutes such as Memphis Grizzlie players, I tried to get about 35 minute stats for all non centers and 30 minute stats for all centers that didn't reach those minutes. I did not punish players who played more minutes however.

The first time I sat down to compose the Ball Theory formula, I had points up to only a possible 15 and scoring at a possible 30 total. I noticed that the scorers were just too low rated and the defenders were too high. So I picked up points to a possible total of 20. Still felt the defenders were too high. So I then cut defense from a possible total of 20 to just 12. I then felt very comfortable with the results and still felt the logic of the values held up.

Here are the players I expect people might feel are too low rated....

Carter Marbury
A Walker

I wasn't surprised with where any of the bottom 8 guys ended up. I think they are all over rated. I think a huge part of the Carter, McGrady and R. Wallace ratings are simply the fact they are not the players they used to be. And the attitude problem with them is obvious. Peja and Stoudemire were the biggest surprises to me. Yet when I looked deeper at them as players, I started to see many of their flaws. Stoudemire is now a GREAT offensive player. He ranks second best in scoring in the ratings. Spectacular. But the rest of his game is clearly lacking if you look closer. His defense is still very raw. Mediocre passer. And surprisingly bad rebounder. If he just rebounded like KG he would jump to the 7th best player behind only 6 superstars. In other words, I think his rating is totally accurate. And Peja? Well, other then shoot, what is he actually any good at? His teammates don't seem very fond of him. I didn't like some of his interviews. His defense is awful. As is his rebounding and passing. I love 3 point shooters who don't need the ball. However, I think we have been all fooled at how good he is. No wonder the Kings have been discussing trades.

I imagine many would not be too pleased with Carmelo Anthony ranking only 94th. But hey, he ranks where he ranks. He is simply over rated. If his 8 loss Syracuse team had not found a way to win it all, I think people would see all his warts. Here is all I know. I don't want him on my team. If you like him you can have him. But I certainly don't think his ranking proves a weakness in my theory. I think the theory might prove the weakness in Carmelo.

Here are the players people might find are over rated in my rankings....

PJ Brown
Bobby Jackson
Mike Miller

Since I have always liked these players and found them to be under rated in the past, I am happy they scored well. Maybe my bias affected the way I graded players, but I can't see where. I would love to know where my evaluations were faulty.

I am not saying this ranking system is the perfect way to rank players. I am sure I might continue to tweak it in the future adding or taking away factors and changing the weighted values. What I am saying is that every NBA team should have a formula like this. If they just rank their players based on stats and add the intangibles willy nilly when discussing players, they are sure to make major mistakes when making trades or signing or drafting players. It should be done mathematically with an updated ranking at all times so they won't ever get carried away during negotiations and forgetting some of the intangibles or ignoring them all together. Carmelo and Peja are purty and all, but its good to know exactly how over rated they are in the over all scheme of things. And to know it precisely to a specific number.


At January 9, 2005 at 5:59 PM, Blogger Justin said...

You seem like a smart person w/ a lot of time. Glad to see a basketball blog. What would you think of a fantasy basketball blog? Look out for it soon. BTW the numbers are also pretty acccurate.

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