Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Greatest of All-Time Tournament

Well, this was originally going to be a summer project, but the research alone took the entire summer, so, it looks like we're going to be doing this as a season kickoff project. Here's the plan: I have come up with the all-time greatest players for every team, put them together to assemble each team's "ultimate" roster, ranked them, and will pit them together in a tournament, NCAA style, and see who wins. How did I figure out the greatest players you ask? Well I came up with a statistical formula to determine basketball greatness. It works like this: (Win Shares) + (MVP Award Shares*25) + (NBA 1st Team Selections*15) + (NBA 2nd Team Selections*10) + (All-Star Selections*5) + (Playoff Win Shares for Championship Teams*10) + (Playoff Win Shares for Finals Losers*5) + (Playoff Win Shares for Conference Finals Losers*2.5). The formula is the same for ABA stats but are worth 25% of the NBA value. Also, in order to prevent "right time, right place" players (Robert Horry, KC Jones, etc.) from topping the lists, I put qualifying standards in place. If a player wins an MVP or is selected to an All-NBA 1st or 2nd Team, he gets 100% of his points. If a player makes 1 All-NBA 3rd Team or 2 All-Star teams, he gets 75% credit; 1 All-Star Team is worth 67%, everyone else gets 50%. Got it? Great. It seems to be a really good evaluator of both individual and team success. It's not a perfect system/formula, but I think it's going to be as close as I'm going to get it.

Okay, a couple rules for how the rosters were determined:
1) A player only gets credit for his accomplishments with each specific team. For example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Bucks stats only contribute to his Bucks score. Lakers accomplishments go toward his Lakers score. So, for the purposes of this tournament, he'll have two separate greatness ratings.
2) Players can only make one team's roster. Using Kareem as an example again, he can only be on EITHER the Bucks roster or the Lakers roster. He'll end up on whatever roster he has the highest score. (Apparently I'm okay with hypothetically time traveling to pick players from specific years, but not cloning to put them on more than one roster. I dunno why. It just feels weird to have the players on two rosters. Wilt Chamberlain would make three teams otherwise, and I just feel like nobody wants to see The Big Dipper playing with himself.)
3) If a player has a higher score with one team, but doesn't make their top 12 roster, the team that he has the next highest score with can have him. For example, Robert Horry has his highest score with the Lakers, but it's not one of the 12 best scores for a Laker. His next highest score is with the Rockets, which is one of their 12 best, so he gets to be on the Rockets squad.

Seeding for the tournament is just based on adding the 12 players on the team's scores together. Highest score gets highest seed. It'll be divided up into the current East and West conferences, and I'm going to use WhatIfSports's simulation tool to run the games. Everyone got it? Fantastic. I'll be revealing the rosters one or two every day or so and then we'll start the tourney off once they're all revealed.


  1. My money's on the Rockets to make a surprisingly deep run. That frontcourt of Hakeem, Moses, and a healthy Yao is just too much. Especially if Rudy T becomes a player/coach and finds a way to have all three on the court at the same time. That being said, if it's not Lakers vs. Celtics/Bulls in the Finals, it will be shocking.

  2. The Rockets also have a healthy Ralph Sampson as their sixth man. I don't know exactly how WhatIfSports is going to run these sims, but I know I can allocate minutes so I have to imagine those three guys will be on the court together at least some of the time.

    Also, it'll have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of any games, but that's a good idea. I should try to figure out the coaches for each team too. It'll probably just be the coach with the most wins.

  3. The most wins would probably be the best way, but maybe with championships counting as an extra 100 wins.
    I have some experience with the WhatIfSports sims, and you can adjust the playing time, but it's of the format "x player gets y minutes at z position", so you'd have to have Hakeem plugged in at SF. That bench too, with Sampson and Robert Horry there to take the last's a little scary.

  4. Just went back here for some reason...and the "no one wants to see Wilt Chamberlain playing with himself" (joke or not) was hilarious....