Move Over, Derek Jeter
I have a rule of thumb: I distrust general conclusions made by people who cannot get their facts straight. Yes, anyone can make a mistake but if you have basic information wrong then I tend to suspect that you are either very sloppy or you have such an agenda that you won't allow facts to get in the way. Ford asserts that Bryant has played more regular season and playoff minutes than Allen Iverson; in fact, coming into this season Iverson has played 34,248 combined minutes, nearly 1000 more than Bryant.I have a rule of dumb: I distrust general conclusions made by people who don't bother to figure out what someone else is trying to say, then write a reactionary blog post about it.
Ford's "'mileage'" comment was meant to point out that Kobe has played more minutes through age 28 than many players have played through age 28. Bryant played over 6000 more regular season minutes than Iverson through age 28. A man in love with an automobile reference should be able to distinguish "mileage" from "years old."
Who made the real factual error(s)? David Friedman did!
Ford's case: Ford relies largely on John Hollinger's PER and Roland Beech's adjusted plus/minus to make the argument that Bryant is not really the best player in the NBA.This is the quote Friedman is referring to:
Why Ford's case is not built Ford tough: Ford notes at the start of his piece that he talked to several "NBA sources" about Bryant and he acknowledges that Bryant is widely considered to be the best player in the NBA--then he completely disregards expert opinion in favor of relying exclusively on the verdict of some statistical systems. It should be noted that those same systems ranked two-time MVP Steve Nash lower than Bryant last season. Also, Beech says of adjusted plus/minus, "These ratings represent a player's value to a particular team and are not intended to be an accurate gauge of the ability and talent of the player away from the specific team." In other words, they are specifically not meant to be used the way that Ford is using them.
So the experts agree: David Friedman is talking out of his ass.
I spoke to a number of NBA sources who have been engaged in or are familiar with the Bryant trade negotiations. Almost all evidence from these conversations points to this conclusion:
Bryant's trade value isn't nearly as high as he or the Lakers would like to think.
Back to the factual errors: Adjusted plus/minus compensates for strength of teammates and opponents, making it a useful tool for ranking and comparing players who aren't teammates. They're even ranked right here. Roland Beech is a nice guy and all, but I wouldn't credit him with something he didn't do, even if I jinxed myself with a comment about fact checking.