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Why our Players are FAR from their peaks -- Statistical Analysis and Hypothesis
Tags:  2011, 2012, basketball, blog, houston rockets, injury, league, nba, roster Tags
torocan is online now Old 12-03-2012, 06:23 PM   #1
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Ok, so there's a lot of posts flying around talking about how some of our rookies are garbage, others are at their peak, or are going to regress, or are limited.

The fact is, our team is the Youngest in the league. However, what DOES that mean?

Well, it means that they're at the earliest stages of their skills curve. Not only will nearly ALL of them improve (barring injury), but they should all improve Substantially for several more Years.

This kind gentleman was kind enough to compile the data from the 10,000 player seasons since the introduction of the 3 point line, and then crunch each player's career performance as they aged.

He then broke them down into the following 4 categories of age.


"very young" (18-21)
"young" (22-25)
"prime" (26-29)
"old" (30+)

And synthesized them into a chart on this blog page.

http://www.d3coder.com/thecity/2012/...s-for-the-nba/

A quick summary of the conclusions...

-Young players develop until the age of 26 where they typically first hit their "peak"
-Players then decline on average, and then his a SECOND peak at age 30
-Players who enter the NBA at 18 tend to peak at age 21

Here is the current age of our roster...

Aldrich - 24
Asik - 26
Cook - 25
Delfino - 30
Douglas - 26
Harden - 23
Jones - 20
Lin - 24
Machado - 22
Morris - 23
Montejunas - 22
Parsons - 24
Patterson - 23
Smith - 21
White - 21

Now, the unusual distribution of Peaks (21, 26 and 30) begs several questions. Why do players peak at different points?

My hypothesis is that it works in the following way...

1) The first peak a player undergoes directly related to experience. Players who first enter are directly gaining skills and basic understanding of the game. They are learning the rules, learning to habitualize the play sets, working on their glaring weaknesses, and becoming basically familiar with their team mates and opponents.

2) The second peak I suspect is more linked to declines in athleticism. The average NBA career lasts 5-6 seasons. A substantial number of players just simply wear out as their bodies decline. Those who can last longer either have games that reduce the amount of wear and tear on their bodies, avoid catastrophic injury, are smaller in size (easier on the joints), but more importantly are the ones who can ADJUST to their changing bodies.

In order for players to sustain a long career, at some point players must ALTER their games to be able to perform WITHOUT relying on pure athletic ability. Athletic jumpers learn to shoot and play post up. Quick and speedy guards learn to better judge angles and spacing as well as develop more of a range game. Quick on ball defenders learn to become crafty so they don't need to rely so much on lateral movement.

Here's the link in term of average career length in the NBA.

http://weaksideawareness.wordpress.c...ayers-details/

Anyway, long story short, I believe we haven't seen anywhere near the best of the Rockets. And I fully expect the vast majority of the players on this team who ARE able to make the transition to the NBA, and more specifically our Starters to develop significantly over the next 2-3 years.

We may very well grow into a very formidable team, and that's before we add another Star to the puzzle.

No matter how you cut it, it's going to be a heck of a ride.

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douglasreedy1 is offline Old 12-03-2012, 06:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torocan View Post
......
Good read. I'm intrigued by the positions in sports like center, pitcher, and goalkeeper that seem to last longer than others. With regards to asik, I'm ecstatic watching him develop at a rapid pace.
 
heypartner is online now Old 12-03-2012, 06:36 PM   #3
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Cool article. thanks for posting.

There is one flaw in your thinking, though: Some of our players won't even remain in the league to see their "peak" age of 26. They will get cut. So you can't really say all our young players will improve. Yeah, their improvement curve might go up, but not as fast as the people competing for their job.

Also, the data from that site is only based on scoring metrics. No other criteria is used, it appears.
 
lookabove is offline Old 12-03-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heypartner View Post
Cool article. thanks for posting.

There is one flaw in your thinking, though: Some of our players won't even remain in the league to see their "peak" age of 26. They will get cut. So you can't really say all our young players will improve. Yeah, their improvement curve might go up, but not as fast as the people competing for their job.

Also, the data from that site is only based on scoring metrics. No other criteria is used, it appears.
So who doesn't make the peak?

White - Can't get over his disorder.
Aldrich - bleh
Harden - Retires and create the first franchise strip club corp at 25.
TD - Already peaked yikes!
Delfino - Already in the old group.
 
torocan is online now Old 12-03-2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heypartner View Post
Cool article. thanks for posting.

There is one flaw in your thinking, though: Some of our players won't even remain in the league to see their "peak" age of 26. They will get cut. So you can't really say all our young players will improve. Yeah, their improvement curve might go up, but not as fast as the people competing for their job.

Also, the data from that site is only based on scoring metrics. No other criteria is used, it appears.
I did say that it would depend on IF they could stay in the NBA.

As for the emphasis on scoring metrics, I do agree it's a specific metric however it is also a universal metric. Using a metric like Assists would create extremely uneven results given the impact of position and role, while measuring Defense is very difficult from a statistical point of view due to the complexity of Defense.

However, as scoring improvement is heavily skill based (IE, it's hard to argue everyone's jump shot will improve because they bench press more), I'm reasonably confident there's a similar correlation to other skill based efforts such as defense, reduction of turnovers, etc.

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http://wagesofwins.com/2012/03/22/yo...games-so-what/
 
beta ticket is offline Old 12-03-2012, 06:57 PM   #6
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Wow, a good read. It's always great to read an analytical posting in a sports fan blog.
 
just a word is offline Old 12-03-2012, 07:06 PM   #7
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This is part of the reason why this Rockets team is so exciting to me even when they lose. There's only upside.

AND, it's upside on a team that Wages to Wins has recently predicted will get 7th's seed in the playoffs, taking into account strength of schedule and strength of opponent, and then adjusted for season schedule. Playoffs against the OKC?

Quote from the site: "Houston is very intriguing given their youth. This is looking to very possibly be a very good team for a very long time."

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prs325 is offline Old 12-03-2012, 07:32 PM   #8
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Or if you're Luther Head...
 
Entropy is offline Old 12-03-2012, 07:33 PM   #9
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Golden State not in the playoffs, despite the way they've been playing?
 
Mr. Clutch is offline Old 12-03-2012, 07:36 PM   #10
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Yes, this is the most intriguing aspect of our team.

A lot of our players are very good, but they haven't even peaked yet.
 
sidestep is offline Old 12-03-2012, 08:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douglasreedy1 View Post
Good read. I'm intrigued by the positions in sports like center, pitcher, and goalkeeper that seem to last longer than others.
For a brief comparison of the relationship between age and performance in baseball and bball, I'll paste from Berri's book Stumbling on Wins.
The focus of this section is on the performance peak in bball. See spoiler.


Last edited by sidestep; 12-03-2012 at 08:19 PM.
 
LCAhmed is offline Old 12-03-2012, 08:14 PM   #12
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Rockets will be Optimal Prime in 4 or 5 years
 
Ynnis888 is offline Old 12-03-2012, 08:29 PM   #13
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Interesting.

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Akim523 is offline Old 12-03-2012, 09:09 PM   #14
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Good read, as long as our young core keeps improving in content
 
IzakDavid13 is offline Old 12-03-2012, 09:33 PM   #15
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Interesting that Toney Douglas is in his Prime...scary.

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jtr is offline Old 12-03-2012, 09:56 PM   #16
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torocan, I looked at the cited article and started tracking back the articles in that post. I do not have the interest needed to put in the time to understand the math behind the cited statistical model. Given the number of assumptions in the model presented, the conclusions are probably accurate to within 1 - 2 years. I mentally assigned a large margin of error, ie a LCI and it is good enough I guess.

I do not understand your conclusions about the "mini" peaks in a players career at 21, 26 and 30 years of age. Perhaps I am not intuitive enough. I guess one statisticians "peaks" are another statisticians "small sample size - within the margin of error".

But plugging the starters into a basic excel document and applying the projections in the cited article's "Distance is the scoring metric developed in a previous post" graph it looks to me like they peak in 2014 - 2015 time frame and then hold steady until after 2018 when they start to decline. The decline will be slow until the latter half of 2019 and then will accelerate rapidly.

Last edited by jtr; 12-03-2012 at 10:21 PM.
 
dachuda86 is offline Old 12-03-2012, 10:40 PM   #17
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peaks for bigs happen later than guards... think about it and we're in even better shape.

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jocar is offline Old 12-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCAhmed View Post
Rockets will be Optimal Prime in 4 or 5 years

 
JK1 is offline Old 12-03-2012, 11:14 PM   #19
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As always, good stuff Torocan. Rockets gonna shock the world in 2015 , lol
 
Honey Bear is offline Old 12-03-2012, 11:22 PM   #20
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OK but why did jadakiss cry? Have a report on my desk by 5 pronto. This is groundbreaking analysis and I'm blessed to be a part of it.
 

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