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Straight Outta CPT

Greatest Fantasy Seasons in the 3-Point Era

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Interesting, this thread has popped up a number of times of the last few years, but it's always been a subjective analysis. Nobody has ever actually done the calculations. I always had thought some of Hakeem's mid 90's seasons would have topped out the rankings and I'm fairly shocked that he is not even the top 5.

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You are amazing for doing this, I'm surprised this thread isn't more popular. Recently I've actually been thinking about how historic seasons would look from a fantasy perspective, and I was wishing there was a way to take what Basketball Monster does and extend it to past seasons. You practically did that and it's so interesting to see, your work should be more appreciated.

By the way, is there a way you could easily weigh all of these past seasons as if they occurred this season (like how you said MJ's 1988 season would be more valuable today)? I'd like to see exactly how these seasons would match up against Durant's in today's NBA.

Again, very cool, thank you for compiling all of this.

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there's really only two reasons why bird's seasons aren't better than jordan's irl, and it's because irl, threes aren't as important to a real basketball player as they are to a fantasy player and then there's defense. but bird does legitimately have some of the best seasons since 1980

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this is really interesting with the normalization to each season, which shows how bird was hitting 3s at an extraordinary rate in the late 1980's vs durant in 2013.

even though bird was only hitting in the low 1.0, 1.2, 1.3 threes a game, he had incredible value there; whereas, durant is hitting 2.0 threes a game in 2013 and isn't nearly as close.

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By the way, is there a way you could easily weigh all of these past seasons as if they occurred this season (like how you said MJ's 1988 season would be more valuable today)? I'd like to see exactly how these seasons would match up against Durant's in today's NBA.

Again, very cool, thank you for compiling all of this.

I'm pretty busy right now, but the MU and SD parameters are available for each season. If you wanted to compare Jordan's 1988 season, you could calculate it if you're reasonably comfortable with Excel. For instance, his ptsV would be (34.98 - 14.04)/4.23 = +4.95. Do that for all the categories, except use a negative sign for turnovers. Percentages are a bit tricky, but the way they're written out you take (player_FG% - league_mean_FG%)/league_sd_FG% * player_FGA; so for Jordan's fgpV: (0.535 - 0.457)/0.567 * 24.37 = +3.34.

I'm almost certain that Jordan would come out on top. When I get a chance, I'll reset my script to do something similar, but that's actually a little bit easier than normalizing for each season, so I didn't set that up.

Also, I went ahead and calculated the following:

- 5 category (PTS, REB, AST, FG%, FT%) from 1955 (beginning of shotclock era) to 1973.

- 7 category (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%) from 1974 to 1977.

- 8 category (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, TO, FG%, FT%) from 1978 to 1979.

The results are really hard to compare, especially in the early eras where the league size was super small, but essentially, Oscar Robertson dominated the 1960s and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dominated the 1970s.

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For me, Jordan's steal #'s easily put him above Bird or anyone else. I still think that is the hardest cat to get consistently.

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shocked to see lebron is not on the list even though he is a beast irl. those ft% must have hurt real bad.

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For me, Jordan's steal #'s easily put him above Bird or anyone else. I still think that is the hardest cat to get consistently.

This. I'm really surprised Jordan's 88' season isn't #1.

Great work with the list, though, CPT.

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While seeing the amazement of Kevin Durant this year and watching him completely own this year I started to question if he is having the best fantasy season of all time. According to basketballmonster he has not had 1 game where he produced negatively. Is he having the best fantasy season of all time? If not, which player has had the best fantasy season of all time?

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foreal?? durant is having a great season, but u realize what kind of seasons other players have had in the past? wilt, kareem, hakeem, mj+kobe in their 35+ ppg seasons, oscar robertson, etc....kevin durant woulda been a 2nd rounder in certain eras.

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this season Lebron is having his highest FG%: 54.7% and lowest TOs: 2.8

and still putting in 26.6 pts, 8 rebs, 7 asts, 1.7 stls, 0.9 blk

Best his best overall season was probably 2009-10.

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it's not just the fact that he's putting up such a good season but also because even second place is nowhere near him in terms of overall value...

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93-94 david robinson was a great season not too many people talk about. 29.8 ppg. 10.7 reb. 4.8 assists. 3.3 blocks with over 50% FG and 75% FTs

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I love how, in Bird's Day, 1.2 3pm could earn him a 3.31 weight in the category. But, present day, Durant's 2.0 3pm per game lands him a 1.2, lol.

how the game has changed.

edit: also, how Durant and Bird have basically the same FT%...yet it earns Bird a 2.76 weight...and Durant a 4.19.

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I love how, in Bird's Day, 1.2 3pm could earn him a 3.31 weight in the category. But, present day, Durant's 2.0 3pm per game lands him a 1.2, lol.

how the game has changed.

edit: also, how Durant and Bird have basically the same FT%...yet it earns Bird a 2.76 weight...and Durant a 4.19.

That's cause Durant shoots a ridiculous amount of FT's, almost 10 per game, while Larry only shot 6 per game at the most during his career, usually closer to 5. Durant's January FT is 9.8 per game at 93% - a 4 game week of that and you could even get away with Dwight.

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nba rules, zone defense, inner circle and 3ptm distance... has changed things quite a bit. Hard to compare eras and dominance.

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Bump!

I went ahead and did some more calculations on everything since the shot clock era began in 1956! This includes 58 NBA seasons (including this current one*) and 9 ABA seasons.

* Stats as of last week. I can recalculate this at the end of the regular season.

Some things to note:

- For the seasons from 1956-1973, the NBA did not keep track of steals, blocks, or turnovers. There was no three-point line. Therefore, I calculated "5-cat" (no STL, BLK, 3PM, or TO) for these years.

- For the seasons from 1974-1977, the NBA did not keep track of turnovers and there was no NBA three-point line. Therefore, I calculated "7-cat" (no 3PM or TO) for these years.

- For the seasons from 1978-1979, there was no NBA three-point line. Therefore, I calculated "8-cat" (no 3PM) for these years.

- For the seasons from 1968-1973, the ABA did not keep track of steals or blocks. Therefore, I calculated "7-cat" (no STL or BLK) for these years. Note that this is a different 7-cat than NBA 1974-1977.

The calculations I use assumes 156 players for caclulation purposes, but the NBA did not exceed 156 players until 1969. The ABA actually began with 160 players but trended downward until the merger. For leagues with fewer than 156 players, I took the entire league for calculating mean and standard deviation. Note that this is a bit unfair since the top players in the early NBA or the late ABA will stand out more, so keep that in mind when comparing z-values.

With that being said, I compiled all the 9-cat fantasy seasons from 1974-1976 ABA and 1980-current NBA and I'm showing the top 50. Julius Erving is the champ! Unfortunately, this earns a bit of an asterisk because of the smaller roster sizes I alluded to above.

bgo42zR.png

I previously noted that the statistical value of each category changes across different seasons (for instance, triples were worth so much more in the early 1980s). Someone requested that I also do a calculation in which I use statistical parameters from the current season, rather than renormalizing for each season. In this case, M.J. is our undisputed champion with the top 4 seasons (and 5 of the top 6, with draft classmate Hakeem Olajuwon taking the #5 spot)!

ZbnrLgU.png

It's a slightly unfair comparison though, due partially to the higher pace of the 1980s, but also due to the combination of de-emphasized 3-point shooting and rules which less handicapped defensive players allowing for the accumulation of prodigious steal and block totals.

As for the rest of the eras?

- Kareem was the undisputed best player in the NBA in the 1970s, and this applied to both the 7-cat and 8-cat scoring, and was the top fantasy player from 1971-1972, 1975-1979 as well as 1980 (when treys were introduced). But Bob McAdoo was the NBA fantasy champion in 1974, when defensive stats were first tracked, and Tiny Archibald was champ in 1973 (5-cat) when he won the scoring and assist crowns.

- Oscar Robertson almost swept the entire 1960s, starting from his rookie year in 1961. (Wilt's free throws were too much of a drag, but he finished 2nd several times). Jerry West took the crown in 1970.

- Rick Barry topped the early ABA, winning the crown in 3 of his 4 years in that league. Was the ABA weak? Well, Barry also finished 5th as a rookie in the NBA and 3rd as a sophomore before he attempted to jump into the other league.

- Julius Erving was the undisputed king of the late ABA.

- The usual suspects dominate the list. Bird and Jordan for the 1980s and the 1990s, with occasional appearances by other greats such as Magic Johnson and David Robinson. However, in the last 15 years, the fantasy crown has been won by players who few would recognize as the best player in the league: Jason Kidd (1999), Ray Allen (2001), Dirk Nowitzki (2002 and 2003), and Shawn Marion (2005-2007). Fantasy old-timers may recognize the sneaky value of these guys. But few will guess the guy who won in 2000. None other than Eddie Jones, who absolutely stuffed the stat sheet with defensive numbers and triples!

If anyone wants to access the full data, refer to the spreadsheets below:

http://bit.ly/XU7EHZ (normalized for each season, beginning in 1956)

http://bit.ly/YFT3Ge (normalized to current season, ABA 1974-1976 and NBA 1980-present only)

Edit: Incidentally, if someone has a place where I can host these spreadsheets and update them in the future, I would really appreciate it!

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I love how, in Bird's Day, 1.2 3pm could earn him a 3.31 weight in the category. But, present day, Durant's 2.0 3pm per game lands him a 1.2, lol.

how the game has changed.

edit: also, how Durant and Bird have basically the same FT%...yet it earns Bird a 2.76 weight...and Durant a 4.19.

That's cause Durant shoots a ridiculous amount of FT's, almost 10 per game, while Larry only shot 6 per game at the most during his career, usually closer to 5. Durant's January FT is 9.8 per game at 93% - a 4 game week of that and you could even get away with Dwight.

Lol no way on earth you could get away with Dwight Howard. You would need K Mart, Harden, CP3, Nash and Durant all in one team just to stay competitive let alone win in FT% in any given week.

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