Sunday, July 24, 2011

Player Peak Performance Equation (Initial Results) - Updated with Stats

Here's the initial results with the Peak Performance Equation and the first 12 (okay, technically 13) players I've tested it with. I still have a bunch of other guys to throw in to the mix to fine tune it (pretty much everyone listed in the comments) but I wanted to get some initial reactions and feedback from my readers first.

First, an explanation of the formula. It's basically the same as the Greatness Equation, with a few tweaks here and there, and I'll highlight the changes in bold. It ends up being (Win Shares + MVP Award Shares*25 + All-NBA 1st AND 2nd Team Selections*12.5 + All-Star Selections*5 + Championship Win Shares*4 + Finals Win Shares*2 + Conference Finals Win Shares)

I ran this formula for every player for each one of their seasons, added together the values for each three year stretch, and identified the highest three year stretch as that player's "peak." I decided on three years because I really felt like a player definitely has more than two years in their "peak" or "prime," but I started to see some really drop off for some players (but not others) once you started going to four and five year stretches.

As for the changes, I dialed down the playoff performances quite a bit compared to career assessments (it's 10/5/2.5 for the Greatness Equation) mostly because it seems like a lot of players spend their primes on bad teams, and that shouldn't necessarily be used against them when trying to determine their individual skill level. Plus, if the values stayed that high, winning a title for two or three years catapults a player to the top of the list almost by default. But I felt like playoff performances should still count for something, so I settled on those values after playing with it for a while.

The other change is for the All-NBA team selections. I changed it from 15 for a 1st Team and 10 for a 2nd Team to 12.5 for making either team. Chamberlain and Russell (or Olajuwon and Robinson for that matter) are a good example of why I changed it. Their peaks were pretty much concurrent, and it felt weird to penalize one of them when they were clearly the best two centers in the league, simply because their peaks happened to coincide.

Okay, on to the results of the first 12 guys I proposed. (Along with Michael Jordan. It's convenient for me to use Jordan as a control, because I know if he doesn't come out on top - or at the very least, extremely close to it - then I definitely need to rework some things.)

Michael Jordan (1996-1998) - 229.4
54.5 WS, 2.752 MVP (2), 3 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 13.4 CWS
Shaquille O'Neal (2000-2002) - 198.4
46.7 WS, 2.016 MVP (1), 3 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 12.2 CWS
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971-1973) - 187.1
69.6 WS, 2.008 MVP (2), 3 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 3.3 CWS, 1.6 CFWS
Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968) - 184.9
63.7 WS, 2.000 MVP (3), 3 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 3.8 CWS, 3.5 CFWS
Bill Russell (1961-1963) - 176.1
42.0 WS, 1.985 MVP (3), 3 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 8.0 CWS
Moses Malone (1981-1983) - 163.8
44.2 WS, 1.956 MVP (2), 3 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 2.8 CWS, 3.5 FWS
David Robinson (1994-1996) - 162.8
55.8 WS, 2.089 MVP (1), 3 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 2.3 CFWS
Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-1995) - 151.2
40.8 WS, 1.680 MVP (1), 2 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 7.1 CWS
George Mikan (1949-1951) - 140.6
65.4 WS, 0.000 MVP (the MVP wasn't awarded until 1956), 3 All-NBA, 1 All-Star (the All-Star game didn't start until 1951), 7.9 CWS, 1.1 CFWS
Patrick Ewing (1992-1994) - 103.1
36.7 WS, 0.722 MVP (0), 2 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 3.2 FWS, 1.9 CFWS
Bill Walton (1976-1978) - 80.4
22.4 WS, 0.522 MVP (1), 2 All-NBA, 2 All-Star, 2.5 CWS
Robert Parish (1981-1983) - 73.0
31.7 WS, 0.267 MVP (0), 1 All-NBA, 3 All-Star, 1.4 CWS, 1.5 CFWS
Yao Ming (2007-2009) - 66.3
26.3 WS, 0.001 MVP (0), 2 All-NBA, 3 All-Star

I have a couple thoughts I'll elaborate on about this in my next post, but I want to get some initial feedback from you guys first.

So, thoughts?


  1. I'm a little weary of this:

    Those are Jordan's best years?

    Shaq is better than Chamberlain, Kareem AND Russell (not to mention Moses, and Olajuwon...)

    ....Just by looking at the rankings, it seems a little flawed. What is Jordan's 1991-93 rating?

  2. I should've put up their numbers with it for comparison, I'll update that.

    And Jordan's 1991-1993 was 224.5 (his 2nd best three year stretch).

  3. Oh...the 72 win season probably helped :). I guess the Finals wins helped Shaq. I see where the numbers go...

    I wish there was some way to penalize them because they had little competition.....Cause I don't think Shaq is the best center at his peak....

  4. I agree. The formula needs some work, but I've only been messing with this for about a week, so I'm not expecting to iron it out for at least a couple months. This was just a preliminary test to see how it worked.

    But I do think Shaq is right up there with Wilt, Kareem, and Russell for absolute dominance at his peak. If he had had the work ethic that a former teammate of his had had (or has, I guess), I really think he could've been the best center of all time. Hell, he's top 5 as it is, and he started every season fat and out of shape and spent his offseasons rapping, making awful movies, and doing reality TV.

  5. Yes, definitely top 5, but I wouldn't say he's the best center of all time at his peak....

    But with the "absolute dominance" idea, he didn't really have a whole bunch of competition during his peak, whereas Russell had Chamberlain, and Kareem had (to a lesser extent) Willis and (end of the line) Wilt.

    Cool idea....hope to see more on it (along with List of Greatness :)