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A very interesting article in The New Yorker

This post is a bit outside of the norm here, but I found it interesting. I suspect few of the readers here at have managed to stumble this article. I have greatly enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's writing, and found this article through his blog. The article discusses a book called “The Wages of Wins” (Stanford; $29.95) written by economists David J. Berri, Martin B. Schmidt, and Stacey L. Brook. They have created an algorithm that yields what they call a Win Score, because it expresses a player’s worth as the number of wins that his contributions bring to his team. An interesting related article is written on David Berri's blog where he examines Kevin Garnett, and comes to the conclusion that KG has been the most valuable player in the NBA for the past 4 seasons.

Quoting Malcolm Gladwell from his blog:

the Wages of Wins algorithm tells us that over the course of his career Ray Allen has been “worth” nearly as much to the teams he has played for as Kobe Bryant. Does that mean Allen is as good as Bryant? Of course not. Bryant is one of the greatest on-the-ball defenders of his generation and Allen is, well (let’s be nice here) not. Perhaps the best part of Kobe's game doesn't—and probably can't—show up in any kind of statistical analysis.

But the Wages of Wins guys aren’t arguing that their formulas are the only and best way to rate players. They are making a more sophisticated—and limited—claim: for those aspects of basketball performance that are quantifiable (steals, turnovers, rebounds, shots made and missed, free throws etc) are the existing statistical measures we use to rate players any good? And if not, is there a better way to quantify the quantifiable?


Most under-rated, in order:

1. Josh Childress
2. Tyson Chandler
3. Eddie Jones
4. Chris Duhon
5. Mike Miller
6. Delonte West
7. Antonio Daniels
8. Shane Battier
9. Luther Head
10. Drew Gooden

Here are the ten most over-rated.

1. Al Harrington
2. Carmelo Anthony
3. Zach Randolph
4. Richard Hamilton
5. Chris Webber
6. Nenad Krstic
7. Allen Iverson
8. Mike Bibby
9. Antwawn Jamison
10. Ricky Davis

Anyone read this book? What do you think of the system? What other thought do you have on this?