GAME THREAD: Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers - (Jan. 23, 2016)

Here's my thoughts on Lebron

. Some people don't use analytics to reinforce a bias. I for example create formulas all the time to help me rank players (it's a hobby of mine). I for example created one for basketball. I put all players who entered the league between 1949 and 2005 (I will eventually do all, but it's time consuming). Then I analyzed how frequently each stat led to points for both teams. Once I had a raw score, I figured out how good each player was compared to people of their era, then I began weighting each era based on how good or bad it was to the whole leagues history. I created the spreadsheet because I was trying to create an objective way to prove that LeBron James was overrated and paled in comparison to Jordan. But I needed it to be bias free so that I could convince people I was arguing that I was right. Imagine my shock when in order my spreadsheet kicked out (after weighting) in order: Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, and then Jordan. I search for errors in my logic underlying the formulas, and found none. So I started examining my findings. Here's what I ultimately concluded. Jordan is actually probably the most overrated player in history. Don't get me wrong he's great, I'm not knocking the guy. But because everyone thinks he's far and away the best of all time that makes him the most overrated. What I determined was that Jordan... Played on one of the best teams of the era. When Jordan retired to play baseball (if you actually recreate the season) you'll see that contrary to popular belief that he saved the Bulls post season hopes, the Bulls were WELL on pace to make the playoffs without him and that the reason they just made it is because when he came back he was rusty AND demanded the ball a lot which basically cost Chicago games (sacrilege to point out I know, but that's what the facts indicate). In addition, Jordan played on teams that were far better than average at rebounding the ball and in fact many of the guys Chicago picked up were basically there because of how great their rebounding was, especially Dennis Rodman. This led to a scenario where Chicago got the ball MUCH more frequently than their opponents. Which in turn led to much more shooting attempts for Chicago, which in turn led to much more shooting attempts for Jordan. Jordan also played in an era of the shortened three point line which led to his his point totals being inflated and also inflated his 3pt% as well as his overall FG% because now he didn't need to take longer threes when his team needed threes. Jordan also had boosted defensive numbers because he played in one if the worst offensive eras of basketball history ever. Which led to more turnovers which both led to more turnovers as well as increasing his defensive numbers. However contrary to popular belief that the offensive numbers were down in this era because of great defense, the steal and block percentages are not too significantly higher during this era but more significabtly pace dropped which as far as my research showed tended to occur when the offense is not as potent vs. The norm as opposed to when defense is actually better. When defense is better you tend to see drops in FG% as guys are forced into more difficult shots. When pace drops it's usually because teams are trying to slow the game down so that they take higher percentage shots because they lack the talent to get into a shooting match with the other team. Lastly Jordan is essentially a one dimensional player. He's much better at shooting than the average. But adjusted for how bad the league was at offense his defensive numbers are a little better than average for blocks and steals for his position. This essentially relegates him to be either a two or three positionaly. Jordan lacked the size to play either the four or five slits. And he's generally speaking not really going to do much to help his teammates get more looks because of how low his assist rate is compared to both LeBron and Magic. In fact when I further analyzed all the players that played both with and without Jordan in terms of their era adjusted score on my spreadsheet I found that ONLY BJ Armstrong fared better overall with Jordan than without. By comparison nearly every player that played with LeBron or Magic fared better with them than without them. Both LeBron and Magic have both size and dexterity as well as court vision which allows them to play all five positions. Additionally they both played in ERAS with a standard three point line so their scoring numbers are somewhat compressed as opposed to Jordan's. Both guys also taut HUGE inprovements when joining their respective teams. Magic for example took the Lakers to the Championship in his rookie season which included starting game one of the finals in place of Abdul-Jabbar at center and was a game that on total he played much better than veteran opponent Daryl Dawkins. But when Magic left even though there were no other significant departures the team got much worse. Same thing with Kebrin. He comes the team is instantly better and he gets them to the finals very quickly. Then he leaves they become much worse despite no other major changes to the roster. He comes back and they're instantly better. Meanwhile Wilt, at the top of my list is another beast entirely. Nearly every season he LEADS a team into the finals. He posted simply gaudy numbers. 100 pt games, games with over 30 boards, season scoring averages over 50ppg. Season where his FG% is like around 70% which is like 155% higher than league average. So after I analyzed everything I realized you can EASILY make a case that Jordan is overrated. That LeBron and Magic have very legitimate claims that they might overall be more helpful to a team than Jordan. And that you can also easily argue in favor of Wilt being better for different reasons. Once I realized all that, I realized my hypothesis that LeBron was overrated and that he could hold against Jordan was wrong. So in other words analytics really helped me see the league differently and it's expressly because analytics allowed me to peel back the biases I had and really examine things on a factual level. So I know there are people like me who definetly do NOT try to use analytics to reinforce biases.

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