- The NBA's evolutionary debate
Is it a basketball blasphemy to think that Kobe Bryant or LeBron James are better than Michael Jordan? Then again, what makes it so that Jordan is untouchable? Of course one cannot doubt his undeniable athletic ability and unparalleled knowledge of the game of basketball. Certainly the era he played in had something to do with Jordan’s dominance. However, would the same tenet hold true if James or Bryant played in the same era as Jordan, or vice versa? Comparisons such as these always seem to arise when discussing the NBA, where the emergence of today’s elite players evokes constant comparison to players of different eras. With that being said, are these comparisons ever truly objective? Most would say that they are, citing statistics and statistical analysis to aid in their judgment. However, the game of basketball has changed. From the rules, to the strategy, to they types of players, the NBA has evolved from a very static slow game to one of dynamic, multifaceted offenses.
[...] "Who Is 'Most Valuable'? Measuring the Player's Production of Wins in the National Basketball Association." Managerial and Decision Economics 20(1999): 411-427. This source is one of the statistical analysis papers that I have studied, which will help to bolster my argument that statistical comparison is extremely complex. The formula used in this paper is one of the formulas I will use to compare eras. Chatterjee, Sangit, and Mustafa R. Yilmaz. "The NBA as an Evolving Multivariate System." The American Statistician 53(1999): 257-262. [...]
[...] According to David J. Berri in his article “Who is ‘Most Valuable’? Measuring the Player’s Production of Wins in the National Basketball Association”, production can be measured through a conglomeration of statistics, no matter what the era. He compared the production of MVP Michael Jordan and his runner up, Karl Malone during the 1997-1998 NBA season and playoffs, to ultimately determine that Malone was the more productive of the two, and more integral to his team’s wins than Jordan: Overall, Malone produced an estimate 18.8 wins for Utah, while Jordan provided the Bulls with approximately 16.4 regular season victories. [...]
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