Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Karl Malone vs. Kevin Garnett?

There is nothing greater to a blogger than to get a response via email. It means that someone out there is actually reading. Writing a blog is a solitary act. It’s very different from responding to a message board, or talking basketball with the person that happens to sit next to you at the bar. I don’t have to validate my work to anyone when I write my blog. For all intents & purposes, I write in a vacuum.

Getting an email is joyous to a blogger. It means that someone out there is not just giving you a ‘hit’ by quickly scanning the page for something of interest. Not only did they actually read my entire blog (so I hope), but the fact that something inside of the blog made them yearn for more. They wished to contact you. And although it seems easy to scan the page for the email me link, few people exercise that right. Whether it’s from a lack of a following, or a lack of desire for my readers to actually care about anything I write is up in the air. By receiving an email, I know that I may be writing alone, but I’m not alone in my thoughts.

So I was thrilled tonight to check my email and see one from:

From: May Sorensen
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 6:25 PM
To: knickerblogger@kurylo.com
Subject: University Certificates, No Classes Needed, ID: T8618U75

ID: m421OO14

Academic-Qualifications from NON??–ACCR. Universities.

No exams. No classes. No books.

Call to register and get yours in days – 1.203.286.2403

No more ads: deloresaber@1net.gr
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I’d be interested in putting a university certificate right next to my university diploma. However right now I’m too busy getting my penis enlarged (sfw), and helping that poor Nigerian banker get his money out of the country. Some people might say that the random words inserted at the bottom are to fool spam blockers, but if you went to their University, you would know exactly what they are trying to say in that sentence.

I’d put May in the category of readers that just glanced over my blog. I also got another email, and I’m pretty sure that this guy might have read a few of the sentences:

From: BChaikin
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 10:38 AM
To: KnickerBlogger@kurylo.com
Subject: KnickerBlogger

In addition Malone was never the defensive player that Garnett is.

kevin garnet may be a great defender now, but karl malone was 1st-team all-D for three straight seasons, from 96-97 to 98-99, during which time some other great defending forwards were scottie pippen, p.j. brown, charles oakley, tim duncan, and others. while some may write off one 1st-team all-D nomination as a popularity contest, i doubt they would 3 straight…

i saw karl malone play alot, and there’s no question in my mind that he was an excellent defender for a long time. for that matter his 1st team all-D nominations didn’t come until his 12th-14th seasons in the league – he was an awfully good defender pnrior to these seasons also…

bob chaikin

Now as much as I appreciate May Sorensen’s input, she will never have the understanding that Bob Chaikin does about basketball, and neither will I. Bob is a contributing member of the APBR. He’s created various computer simulation modeling programs that have been used by a few NBA teams. If you didn’t know all that, then you might recognize Bob as a regular poster in the APBR_Analysis group. Needless to say Bob knows basketball.

At first glance I thought Mr. Chaikin was disagreeing with me. All the normal clues are there. He’s begun by using my quote, and stating some facts. But nowhere in his email does he say that Malone at any time was as good a defender as Garnett is now, which was my claim. Instead he notes that Malone was a very good defender using both observational and statistical data.

I agree. Malone was a three time 1st team all-defensive team member. Garnett has already been honored in that fashion for 4 consecutive years, and he’s only been in the league for 9 years. In no way shape or form is that the only way to measure a player’s defensive abilities. However beyond that, I don’t have evidence to the contrary. Maybe Malone was a better defender but his contemporaries were better defenders than Garnett, which is why he won less awards. Maybe the voters had something against Karl. It could be that Malone’s defensive abilities were such that he held opponents to a lower FG% than Garnett would have. It’s possible that Garnett’s higher shot blocking statistics is due to his teammates letting their defenders beat them more often that Malone’s.

That’s an argument for another time, when we have the tools and understanding to better gauge a defender’s effectiveness. Right now I’ll be happy to take back any implications that Malone wasn’t a great defensive player in my statement, but stand by it as well by believing that Garnett is the better defender of the two.

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