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Friday, July 11, 2014

Fangraphs: Let’s Imagine a Baseball-Playing LeBron James

Fun with stats!

Obviously, the first step is figuring out James’ single-season value, and this is why we’ll have two approaches. One idea: last year, James was worth about 2.3% of all basketball WAR. Because a baseball season has 1,000 total WAR, that would give us a target of about 23. The other idea: James is projected for about 21 WAR. That’s over an 82-game season, so over a 162-game season, you’d be talking about almost 42 WAR. I don’t know which way to go, so I’ll go both.

thetailor Posted: July 11, 2014 at 04:37 PM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: lebron, nonsense

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   1. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4749104)
Actually, a pretty interesting write-up.

To have a LeBron type in MLB, you'd have to combine Bonds, Smith, Kimbrel and Kershaw.....

Yep.....
   2. Sonic Youk Posted: July 11, 2014 at 07:42 PM (#4749108)
this is a cool article, but my biggest takeaway is how much the salary cap system screws elite NBA players.
   3. Willie Mayspedester Posted: July 11, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4749112)
What about Babe Ruth? In 1916 he had 8.7 WAR in 323 IP. In 1923 he had 14.1 WAR as a hitter / OF (12.2 oWAR). Combine those and he's close to the 23 WAR part of the article. Pitching that much and still being that productive as a hitter would be a real trick.

Being 1/5 of the team and playing defense and offense all game makes each player that much more important compared to baseball.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4749127)
this is a cool article, but my biggest takeaway is how much the salary cap system screws elite NBA players.


Yep. I mentioned it in another thread somewhere...something you won't ever see uttered in regards to baseball "Signed for the league maximum"... utterly ridiculous concept.
   5. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 11, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4749128)
What about Babe Ruth? In 1916 he had 8.7 WAR in 323 IP. In 1923 he had 14.1 WAR as a hitter / OF (12.2 oWAR). Combine those and he's close to the 23 WAR part of the article. Pitching that much and still being that productive as a hitter would be a real trick.


Except in 1923, that 14 WAR was accomplished in 152 games, and that 8.7 in 40 starts. You can't simply combine them, as the season is not 192 games long.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4749134)
Not sure I agree with the concept of the article. A replacement player is still 20% of the team, so even an average player which is 2 war in baseball, would be significantly more than 2 war in basketball. He should have started with defining average and working from there, since a replacement level basketball player is more valuable than a replacement level baseball player.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: July 11, 2014 at 09:39 PM (#4749175)
Of course the premise and conclusions are silly which the author acknowledges. I don't know if I've ever put a number on the extent to which a great basketball player can influence the game compared to a great baseball player. 21 WAR in an 81 game season - is that accurate? It's certainly eye-popping.

What would James make per year with no salary caps. $70 million?
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4749184)
(5) sure you can. The idea is that Ruth plays the field the days he doesn't pitch. He's clearly going to bat when he pitches.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 11, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4749186)
MLB has already had a supremely talented front-running superstar who disappears in big playoff series, but to my knowledge LeBron has never commissioned a painting of himself as a centaur.
   10. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 11, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4749212)
(5) sure you can. The idea is that Ruth plays the field the days he doesn't pitch. He's clearly going to bat when he pitches.


OK, I guess I can see that. You still have to reduce his 1923 dWAR by 25%, but that costs him only 0.4, so that gives him 22.4 total.
   11. BDC Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4749244)
Former Pirate &c. HOVGer Al Oliver tweeted today to ask which state had the greatest trio of players in baseball football & basketball. He suggested Ohio with Pete Rose, Jim Brown, and LeBron James. Is he right? Is he even right about Pete Rose?
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4749253)
Former Pirate &c. HOVGer Al Oliver tweeted today to ask which state had the greatest trio of players in baseball football & basketball. He suggested Ohio with Pete Rose, Jim Brown, and LeBron James. Is he right? Is he even right about Pete Rose?


Pete Rose?

Chicago gets Walter Payton, Jordan and .... Thomas/Anson/Maddux?

California, Mays/Bonds, Montana, Magic/Kobe/Jabbar (and add Gretzky for the fun of it)
   13. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4749256)
Former Pirate &c. HOVGer Al Oliver tweeted today to ask which state had the greatest trio of players in baseball football & basketball. He suggested Ohio with Pete Rose, Jim Brown, and LeBron James. Is he right? Is he even right about Pete Rose?


This game confuses me on many levels, but Kareem, Bonds, and Montana blows this out of the water.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4749261)
This game confuses me on many levels, but Kareem, Bonds, and Montana blows this out of the water.


I imagine that it's going to be New York and California wiping away the rest of the competition in something like this.
   15. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:55 PM (#4749262)
I thought he meant from the state, as in born and raised there, but Jim Brown was born in GA and went to school in NY, so no.
   16. The District Attorney Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:56 PM (#4749263)
More fun to think of guys from the state, I think. (EDIT: Coke)

Then New York has Kareem, Gehrig, and, I dunno, Vinny Testaverde, I don't really follow football.
   17. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4749266)
Since it seems to be played there and not from there, Joe Morgan, Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, Johnny Bench were all better than Rose, Young was from .ohio as we'll.
   18. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4749269)
From Cali: Bonds or Williams, Elway, Russell
   19. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:06 AM (#4749271)
Pennsylvania's not bad. Kobe or Wilt, Dan Marino, and take your pick: Mathewson, Wagner, Musial, or Griffey Jr.
   20. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4749273)
He suggested Ohio with Pete Rose, Jim Brown, and LeBron James.

I'd take Cy Young or Mike Schmidt over Rose

and Jim B was born in Georgia and grew up on Long Island
   21. PreservedFish Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:09 AM (#4749274)
You should do it by what state they chose to live in as adults.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:15 AM (#4749279)
You should do it by what state they chose to live in as adults.


Awfully hard to qualify something like that though.
   23. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4749280)
You should do it by what state they chose to live in as adults.

Does time in prison count?
   24. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4749281)
#19, Montana is from PA, though choosing between him and Marino is a matter of taste I suppose.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:41 AM (#4749294)
Surprised that Texas isn't quite as great as I thought it would be. Best baseball player is probably Maddux/Speaker, best Basketball was Shaq and best football(surprisingly not strong) Michael Strahan or Sammy Baugh(other notables include Campbell and Dickerson)
   26. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:44 AM (#4749295)
This game confuses me on many levels, but Kareem, Bonds, and Montana blows this out of the water.
I'd take Rice over Montana, myself. Doing California by birth, I'd make Tony Gonzalez the footballer and keep your other 2 choices.
   27. CraigK Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:47 AM (#4749297)
Lousiana's Karl Malone, Peyton Manning and, uh, Mel Ott?
   28. McCoy Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4749301)
I would think somebody like a 1972 Steve Carlton would be the LeBron James of baseball or Pedro of 1999 to 2000.

Basically have a pitcher who starts a quarter of your games and who cuts the run environment by half or more. Steve Carlton started 41 games and completed 30 of them. His team went 29-12 in his starts and really he set them up in great shape to win 36 of his 41 starts. A pitcher like that removes 100 to 140 innings from the bullpen. A pitcher like that allows you to cut your pitching staff by at least one pitcher and allows you to expand your bench by at least one positional player.
   29. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:54 AM (#4749302)
MN by team looks to be Mikan or Garnett, Killebrew, and probably Jim Marshall. By birth it's less impressive but still respectable: Mauer (or Winfield if you rate him higher than I do), McHale, and probably Larry Fitzgerald.
   30. McCoy Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:02 AM (#4749304)
Illinois has some pretty big and important players for the sports.

Red Grange, Michael Jordan, and Cap Anson.
   31. theboyqueen Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:03 AM (#4749305)
How about high school? In terms of northern cali:

Serra has Tom Brady, Barry Bonds, and, uh, not a single NBA player...
McClymonds has Bill Russell, Frank Robinson, and Wendell Hayes
Oakland Tech has Rickey Henderson, Marshawn Lynch, and Jim Pollard

Anyone know of a high school that produced hall of famers in baseball, football, and basketball?
   32. theboyqueen Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:07 AM (#4749307)
I think associating guys with where they played professionally is kinda BS. Michael Jordan is only an Illinois guy because of a draft process. It's gotta be either birth or, like, middle school to make sense.

And Kareem was born in NYC, not Cali.
   33. Scott Ross Posted: July 12, 2014 at 02:31 AM (#4749318)
#19, Montana is from PA, though choosing between him and Marino is a matter of taste I suppose.


Yeah, it's really a choice between winning Super Bowls or not.
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: July 12, 2014 at 02:43 AM (#4749320)
I think associating guys with where they played professionally is kinda BS. Michael Jordan is only an Illinois guy because of a draft process. It's gotta be either birth or, like, middle school to make sense.


It depends on what is the discussion that you are trying to have...
If the discussion is "what city/state has seen the highest level individual play for them in the major sports." Then it's pretty obvious that the discussion is about best players relative to the leagues, to play in those cities...I think expanding it to state is a little too much personally, but limiting it to city, seems like a legitimate discussion.
   35. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: July 12, 2014 at 07:10 AM (#4749329)
Illinois has some pretty big and important players for the sports.

Red Grange, Michael Jordan, and Cap Anson.


Who were born in Pennsylvania, New York and Iowa, respectively.

Actually, I think I'd rather have Bob Feller on my all-Iowa team, along with Kurt Warner (football), and, ummmm, Kirk Hinrich? (basketball). (Hockey's easy: Scott Clemmensen is the only Iowan ever to make the NHL...)
   36. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4749355)
I think associating guys with where they played professionally is kinda BS. Michael Jordan is only an Illinois guy because of a draft process. It's gotta be either birth or, like, middle school to make sense.


Birthplace can be wildly inaccurate in a discussions of where a person is from. Is Edgar Martinez a New Yorker? Is Roger Clemens an Ohioan? Is Dominique Wilkins a Frenchman? Danny Graves Vietnamese? Is Ed Porray from the sea? You gotta dig a little deeper than place of birth. Michael Jordan is not from New York. He's from North Carolina.
   37. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 12, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4749358)
When I saw the title, I thought this was going to be a hypothetical about the actual LeBron James as a baseball player.
   38. ursus arctos Posted: July 12, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4749373)
As did I.

31, Galileo of San Francisco has Joe DiMaggio, OJ Simpson and Hank Luisetti, though DiMaggio did not graduate.
   39. GregD Posted: July 12, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4749376)
I agree that asking what state has the best combination of pro players isn't that interesting since state lines have nothing to do with pro sports. Why group Philly and Pittsburgh together but not Chicago and St. Louis? And the answer should end up California since they have so many pro teams.

The city question is more interesting but also basically resolves to NYC and Chicago and LA since they have more teams.

If the question is adult hometown, I assume--horrifying as it is to say--that it is Orlando by a mile since so many great athletes have settled there for some reason that is unknown to me.

For childhood home, state makes more sense. The issue of birth is a big one since counting Michael Jordan and Melo on the NYC team seems bizarre. But guys at that level, it's pretty easy to correct for. Jordan counts in North Carolina, Melo in Maryland.
   40. Conor Posted: July 12, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4749384)
What would James make per year with no salary caps. $70 million?


He could probably make more. If we're assuming no cap, no luxury tax; the Nets had a team salary, including the tax, of something like $190 million last year.
   41. Padraic Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4749402)
The best way to do it might be a player who BOTH grew up and spent a significant amount of time (arbitrary, yes) playing professional sports in a city.

Philly: Del Ennis, Wilt, Vince Papale(?)

It makes it real tough if you say that the person had to actually grown up in the city, not the burbs.
   42. dlf Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4749407)
I'm not tremendously interested in NFL or NBA - more power to you if that's you're thing, but I max out my silly little time wasting on baseball - but I was wondering what City has the most great players associated with it. My first thought is Mobile, Alabama with Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige plus pretty good players like Amos Otis, Tommy Agee, Juan Pierre, Jake Peavy, and a cameo from Ozzie Smith (born there but grew up in LA, right?).
   43. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4749408)
Well, Chicago gets Phil Cavaretta, Dick Butkus, and no clue. Can't find a single great, or even good NBA player from Chicago who played for the Bulls. Best choice is Johnny kerr, who never played for the Bulls, but coached them for many years.

edit: OK, coached them for 2 years, and then broadcast them for 30
   44. GregD Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4749409)
fascinating Padraic.

NY baseball would definitely be Gehrig, right?

For hoops, it is Dr. J--Roosevelt is basically the city but it was just 3 seasons with the Nets. Too bad the Knicks turned toward that trade!

If you count Melo--I really think he's a Baltimore guy--he could surpass Dr J in all time value as an NY basketball player if he re-signs.

Football, that's hard? Andy Robustelli if you count Stamford, CT as the metro area?
   45. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4749411)
I'm not tremendously interested in NFL or NBA - more power to you if that's you're thing, but I max out my silly little time wasting on baseball - but I was wondering what City has the most great players associated with it. My first thought is Mobile, Alabama with Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige plus pretty good players like Amos Otis, Tommy Agee, Juan Pierre, Jake Peavy, and a cameo from Ozzie Smith (born there but grew up in LA, right?).


Donora, PA might have the most WAR per capita.
   46. GregD Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4749413)
And San Pedro de Macoris has to be up there right?
   47. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4749415)
Miami has a top 3 who can hang with Mobile: ARod, Steve Carlton, and Andre Dawson, and a decent supporting cast with Canseco, Palmeiro, Alex Fernandez, Doug Mientkiewicz, and in about 10 years, Albert Almora. Tampa has Boggs and a whole passel of supporting cast: Gooden, McGriff, Sheffield, Garvey, Piniella, LuGo, Al Lopez.
   48. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4749416)
And San Pedro de Macoris has to be up there right?


Well, San Pedro has a population of 185,000. Donora, 4700.
   49. esseff Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4749418)
Donora population is under 5,000. San Pedro over 185,000. That's now; dunno the historic populations. With Donora, you only count Griffey Sr., right?

EDIT: You snooze, you lo . . . end up paying for soft drinks.
   50. The District Attorney Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4749420)
And San Pedro de Macoris has to be up there right?
Gotta be the overwhelming winner for total production, anyway. Sammy Sosa, Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano, Pedro Guerrero, Tony Fernandez, George Bell, Luis Castillo, Johnny Cueto, Rico Carty, Joaquin Andujar, Jose Offerman, Juan Samuel, and dozens of others (Mariano Duncan, Jose Valverde, Fernando Tatis, Salomon Torres... I could go on.)

It's never produced an inner-circle all-time great like Aaron or Satchel, so there's that aspect. It defies the odds that it's never even produced a Hall of Famer! Although of course Sosa has a HOF statline, and Cano is not out of the question.

Re: NY born and played: Testaverde's gotta be a candidate for that, no? Or Wayne Chrebet?
   51. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4749423)
MLB has already had a supremely talented front-running superstar who disappears in big playoff series, but to my knowledge LeBron has never commissioned a painting of himself as a centaur.


LeBron has led the playoffs in Win Shares the last 4 years in a row & six of the last eight. Obviously he was also MVP of this years NBA finals but they don't give that award to you if your team-mates suck.

What really sucks that NBA is a team game, and the best players can't win games all by themselves. I mean except Michael Jordan, who was so valuable that the Bulls went 55-27 and to eastern conference finals without him the year he was "retired".

I remember LeBron's first run in Cleveland, where morons ripped him for passing the ball in key spots to wide open team-mates instead of forcing up bad shots. They wanted him to be Jordan, but were too dumb to remember all the big passes Michael made when doubled to win championships.
   52. McCoy Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4749427)
Hey, very few people can be as good as John Paxson or Steve Kerr.
   53. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4749429)
Hmmmm. Arkansas ... Brooks Robinson, Sidney Moncrief & ... uh ... Lance Alworth actually came from Mississippi, didn't he (& was born in Texas, judging from Wikipedia)? Dammit. Billy Ray Smith? Also, Roy Green didn't suck.
   54. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4749431)
They wanted him to be Jordan, but were too dumb to remember all the big passes Michael made when doubled to win championships.


Not sure if this is sarcasm or not, but Jordan famously dished to Steve Kerr to take and make the winning shot in game 6 of the 1997 finals
   55. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 12, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4749434)
Hey, very few people can be as good as John Paxson or Steve Kerr.


I was going to mention Paxson as well, as I remembered Jordan feeding him, but according to Wiki, it was Horace Grant.

Trailing 98–96 and facing a Game 7 on the road if they lost that day, John Paxson took a pass from Horace Grant and buried a three pointer with 3.9 seconds left, giving the Bulls a 99–98 lead. Paxson's three-point field goal was the only score by any Bulls player other than Michael Jordan in the entire fourth quarter.
   56. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 12, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4749444)
Hey, very few people can be as good as John Paxson or Steve Kerr


Certainly not Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh, at least this year.
   57. theboyqueen Posted: July 12, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4749465)
Well, Chicago gets Phil Cavaretta, Dick Butkus, and no clue. Can't find a single great, or even good NBA player from Chicago who played for the Bulls. Best choice is Johnny kerr, who never played for the Bulls, but coached them for many years.


George Mikan played professionally in Chicago but in the NBL, not the NBA (which didnt exist). Then there is Derrick Rose, but I suppose the jury is still out. Greatest Chicago guy ever has to be Garnett, though you also have Isiah Thomas, Mikan, Tim Hardaway, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis.
   58. theboyqueen Posted: July 12, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4749466)
SF Bay Area has three guys who have arguments as GOAT in their respective sports: Bonds, Brady, and Russell. Also Rickey, who transcends all such classification.
   59. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 12, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4749476)
Indiana:

Oscar Charleston/Mordecai Brown, Larry Bird/Oscar Robertson, and probably Rod Woodson.

My favorite Indiana fact is that it gave the world Eugene Debs and the John Birch Society.
   60. GregD Posted: July 12, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4749496)
Alabama is probably Mays/Aaron, Bart Starr/Bo Jackson (career vs peak voters?), Barkley. They do well in other sports--Joe Louis, Carl Lewis (born), Jesse Owens.

Kentucky is awful--Pee Wee Reese or maybe Jim Bunning, Wes Unseld, and Paul Hornung or Dermontti Dawson

   61. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 12, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4749535)
Alabama is probably Mays/Aaron, Bart Starr/Bo Jackson (career vs peak voters?), Barkley. They do well in other sports--Joe Louis, Carl Lewis (born), Jesse Owens.


Oh, yeah -- Barkley. Forgot about him when I was trying to come up with a list for where I live now. Best I could up with off the top of my head were Chuck Person or Robert Horry (who I now see was born in Maryland, anyway).
   62. theboyqueen Posted: July 12, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4749548)
Kentucky's greatest athlete is obviously Ali though.
   63. GregD Posted: July 12, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4749569)
statewide, Pennsy is tough: Honus, Wilt, and Montana. All serious GOAT candidates.
   64. BDC Posted: July 12, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4749580)
New Jersey has Mike Trout, Franco Harris, and Bill Bradley - well, Bradley is from Missouri, but I think he's naturalized :)
   65. GregD Posted: July 12, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4749584)
New Jersey has Mike Trout, Franco Harris, and Bill Bradley - well, Bradley is from Missouri, but I think he's naturalized :)
surely it is Rick Barry in hoops, right?
   66. Ziggy Posted: July 12, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4749633)
Cincinnati does okay in baseball. They've got Pete Rose, Barry Larken and (actual, though not born) Ken Griffey Jr.
   67. BDC Posted: July 12, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4749639)
Greg, Barry was a greater pro than Bradley, but Bradley's talent was legendary. Matter of opinion, I guess.
   68. shoewizard Posted: July 12, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4749641)
Yep. I mentioned it in another thread somewhere...something you won't ever see uttered in regards to baseball "Signed for the league maximum"... utterly ridiculous concept.


It's not a ridiculous concept for the NBA.
   69. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 12, 2014 at 11:27 PM (#4749644)
Soccer has no salary cap and yet we've just seen that Luis Suarez is underpaid by at least $128 million, even after biting another player.
   70. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 12, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4749645)
Akron (my home town) has Lebron, Stephen Curry, Gus Johnson (the basketball player), Nate Thurmond, Ara Parsegian--as well as Chrissie Hynde, Devo, and Hugh Downs
(one of those last 3 is not like the others)
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: July 13, 2014 at 12:21 AM (#4749648)
It's not a ridiculous concept for the NBA.


It absolutely is ridiculous, it doesn't matter whether it was NBA, NFL or fry cook, a maximum salary concept is utterly and totally unamerican and wrong.

But in the real sports, MLB, the highest paid player makes 30mil a year, but there is no rule preventing them from paying 50, 75 or higher if the team wanted. Even assuming the soft cap in baseball was a hard cap, that still means they could pay the best player 100 mil and still have enough money to fund two Houston Astros teams.
   72. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 13, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4749650)
this is a cool article, but my biggest takeaway is how much the salary cap system screws elite NBA players.


Do elite NBA players really sign for (significantly) less than the maximum, like everyone is demanding Carmelo Anthony do? It would seem absurd for a player to do this, unless he can make up the difference in endorsements or something.

If I were Anthony I would tell the fans to go scratch, that I'm signing for the maximum, as it's not your money and it's not my job to put a team around me; it's the job of management/ownership to build a team and to coach it right.
   73. PreservedFish Posted: July 13, 2014 at 12:39 AM (#4749653)
The NBA salary rules are so byzantine. I've been lurking the NBA thread recently and I have no idea what anyone is talking about.
   74. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: July 13, 2014 at 05:45 AM (#4749677)
Soccer has no salary cap and yet we've just seen that Luis Suarez is underpaid by at least $128 million, even after biting another player.
Soccer has no salary cap, and players can force a move regardless of their contact situation. More of the overall cash spent should probably go towards wages rather than transfer fees, but the selling club deserves consideration under the current tamper-friendly system.
   75. Wahoo Sam Posted: July 13, 2014 at 06:52 AM (#4749679)
Michigan/Detroit:
Ty Cobb, Gordie Howe, Barry Sanders.
Game over
   76. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 13, 2014 at 07:36 AM (#4749681)
Do elite NBA players really sign for (significantly) less than the maximum, like everyone is demanding Carmelo Anthony do? It would seem absurd for a player to do this, unless he can make up the difference in endorsements or something.

If I were Anthony I would tell the fans to go scratch, that I'm signing for the maximum, as it's not your money
and it's not my job to put a team around me; it's the job of management/ownership to build a team and to coach it right.


Thereby reducing whatever endorsement income he might otherwise get to absolute zero. But what the hell, it's the "principle" of the thing, isn't it?
   77. Swedish Chef Posted: July 13, 2014 at 08:29 AM (#4749685)
Soccer has no salary cap and yet we've just seen that Luis Suarez is underpaid by at least $128 million, even after biting another player.

That is money that Suarez gave to Liverpool in exchange for them spending $40M to free him from Ajax and give him a nice salary instead of waiting for free agency.

Point is, players can always wait out the contract and get a nice big bonus instead of sharing the upside. But are three or four years at a measly 50K a week and not being at most glamorous club worth it?
   78. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 13, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4749798)
Michigan/Detroit:
Ty Cobb, Gordie Howe, Barry Sanders.
Game over


I didn't know Gordie Howe played basketball. And if you want to got with "3 great athletes from 3 different sports who played in the state", I don't see how the Michigan 3 get past Bonds, Magic/Kareem, and Gretzky.
   79. tshipman Posted: July 13, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4749800)
Do elite NBA players really sign for (significantly) less than the maximum, like everyone is demanding Carmelo Anthony do? It would seem absurd for a player to do this, unless he can make up the difference in endorsements or something.


Guys who have signed for less than the max (while deserving it):
(Famously) LeBron, Wade and Bosh
Duncan
Nowitzki
Pierce and Garnett took less than the max in 2010 (Pretty sure without checking)

I think there are a few more examples. Tends to be veterans, though. Some talk of Durant not taking a max when he's up in two years.
   80. Walt Davis Posted: July 13, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4749812)
I was going to mention Paxson as well, as I remembered Jordan feeding him, but according to Wiki, it was Horace Grant.

Jordan drove, dished to Grant who was about 2 feet from the basket but was Horace Grant, Grant out to Paxson.

Scared the bejesus out of me watching on TV since Paxson wasn't in the picture. Camera was focused on Jordan then Grant and all you saw was the pass heading nowehere. With me screaming "Noooo!!", the camera panned out as the pass came towards the camera. I was quite relieved when Paxson came into frame. "Ohhhh..."

Was expecting this to devolve into replacement level, etc. discussion. For MLB, replacement level is set at about a 300 winning percentage and it's rarely been achieved. But as recently as 1999-00, the Clippers had a win %age under 200 and their worst ever was 146 (12-70) in 86-87. The TWolves were under 200 just 5 years ago and also in 91-92.

So replacement level in basketball would seem to be around a 150 wp, call it a bit worse at 11 wins to make math easier. An average team would be 41 wins. So that would be 6 WAR per full slot for an average player.

Of course nobody plays every minute of every game although somebody like LeBron will come close. He's averaged nearly 40 minutes per game for his career. So an average player in 40 minutes conveniently comes to 5 WAR ... or arguably still 6 WAR if we assume the other 8 minutes are played by a replacement level player.

Anyway, point being the average NBA player is already 3-4 WAR ahead of an average MLB player due to a lower replacement level and being 1/5th of the team on the court rather than 1/9th (or whatever).

Still, LeBron being worth 20+ WAR seems maybe a bit of a stretch. For that to be true, LeBron plus an average team would have to win 56+ games. The Heat won 54 last year although -- not an NBA fan at all -- squizzing at the rest of their roster, that might be a below-average team without LeBron (a lot of the roster is 32 or older).

Oh, they have a "win shares" measure on bb-r that puts LeBron's best season at 20 WS, doing it twice. Just adjusting for 1/5 vs. 1/9 brings him down to about Trout/Mays/etc. in total WAR terms but of course in half as many games. Make the adjustment for replacement level, opportunities (offense runs through him) and that probably brings him down to the best of Ruth, Walter Johnson, Gooden, probably still a bit better than Bonds's best.
   81. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 13, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4749816)
I don't see how the Michigan 3 get past Bonds, Magic/Kareem, and Gretzky.


Or Russell/Bird, Orr and Ruth/Williams (if Wayne qualifies for LA, then Babe should in Boston).
   82. McCoy Posted: July 13, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4749821)
Jordan drove up the court, passed to Scottie who drove up the middle and might very well have had a shot but then passed to Grant, as pretty much every Sun player in the area collapsed onto Pippen. Grant took about a step forward and didn't feel like challenging West who was getting back and Danny Ainge who left his man once Pippen started driving and then shifted over to Grant once he got the ball. His man happened to Paxson who was left wide open for the three.

It was a very unique moment in Bulls history because it marked the first time that Jordan played basically no role at all in an attempt at a game winner.
   83. Swoboda is freedom Posted: July 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM (#4749841)
as well as Chrissie Hynde, Devo, and Hugh Downs
(one of those last 3 is not like the others)


Devo. Are we not men?
   84. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 13, 2014 at 11:17 PM (#4749845)
I don't see how the Michigan 3 get past Bonds, Magic/Kareem, and Gretzky.


Or Russell/Bird, Orr and Ruth/Williams (if Wayne qualifies for LA, then Babe should in Boston).

And then there's Brady to fill out Mt. Beanmore.
   85. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 13, 2014 at 11:32 PM (#4749846)

And then there's Brady to fill out Mt. Beanmore.


If Gretzky/Ruth are disqualified on grounds players can only appear for the state they did their most work, then Mass. probably wins a Big 4. If not, then California adding Rice (or Montana for the QB-obsessed) to the aforementioned trio would earn the honors.

   86. Ron J2 Posted: July 14, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4749909)
#72 When a player signs for less than the maximum it's generally not about endorsement money. It's usually to leave room for another impact player. In other words they'll take a little less money to play on a better team.

And it's relatively easy to get many athletes to do this. I mean we are talking about money at a level that is kind of an accounting fiction and most athletes are insanely competitive.

Which still doesn't mean that the very top players aren't putting a ton of money back in the pockets of ownership.
   87. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4749937)
If I were Anthony I would tell the fans to go scratch, that I'm signing for the maximum, as it's not your money and it's not my job to put a team around me; it's the job of management/ownership to build a team and to coach it right.


Thereby reducing whatever endorsement income he might otherwise get to absolute zero. But what the hell, it's the "principle" of the thing, isn't it?


Honesty is a component of being principled, yes.

And the point of my "I'm taking the max" plan was that he was getting the max and therefore not as worried about endorsements anyway.
   88. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4749952)
If I were Anthony I would tell the fans to go scratch, that I'm signing for the maximum, as it's not your money and it's not my job to put a team around me; it's the job of management/ownership to build a team and to coach it right.

Thereby reducing whatever endorsement income he might otherwise get to absolute zero. But what the hell, it's the "principle" of the thing, isn't it?

Honesty is a component of being principled, yes.


Yeah, "honesty". You love that word, don't you?

But what a crock. There's not a snowball's chance in hell that you'd follow your own advice if you were in Anthony's shoes. You'd hire a ghostwriter and give out some mealymouthed statement just like they all do when they play hardball with negotiations.

And the point of my "I'm taking the max" plan was that he was getting the max and therefore not as worried about endorsements anyway.

Except that neither you nor Anthony would embellish your decision by deliberately insulting your fan base, which is why your original statement was complete BS.
   89. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 14, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4749962)
Girls! You're both cantankerous!
   90. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: July 14, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4749965)
Another WAR per capita contender: Woonsocket, RI with 41,000 people and 168.8 WAR, mainly from HOFers Lajoie and Hartnett.
   91. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: July 14, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4749971)
Another WAR per capita contender: Woonsocket, RI with 41,000 people and 168.8 WAR, mainly from HOFers Lajoie and Hartnett.


And Rocco Baldelli!

The War per capita leaders will always be small town which produced a HOFer. For example, Sam Crawford with 75 WAR came from Wahoo, NB, a town of under 5,000 now, and just over 1,000 when he was born. Walter Johnson from Humbolt, KS, pop 2,000. Ty Cobb came from Narrows, GA, which isn't even a town.
   92. theboyqueen Posted: July 14, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4750149)
Best from from my area (Sacramento):

NBA: Kevin Johnson
MLB: Stan Hack (might be passed by Dustin Pedroia at some point)
NFL: Ted Bruschi

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