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About the Similarity Scores

Similarity scores were developed by Bill James for baseball about 15 years ago in his book The Politics of Glory. The score is calculated by starting at 1000 and then subtracting off the statistical differences between the players. I haven't seen one for basketball, so I just based this one off of baseball and took a guess. If someone has a better formula out there, let me know.

  • One point for each difference of 8 games played
  • One point for each difference of 300 minutes
  • One point for each difference of .18 in ppg
  • One point for each difference of 140 fgm
  • One point for each difference of 320 fga
  • One point for each difference of 60 ftm
  • One point for each difference of 100 fta
  • One point for each difference of 20 3ptm
  • One point for each difference of 50 3pta
  • One point for each difference of 260 reb
  • One point for each difference of 80 asts
  • One point for each difference of 20 stl
  • One point for each difference of 10 blk
  • One point for each difference of 40 to

    A position factor should also be subtracted off of the 1000 points but at this time I don't do not have that incorporated into the formula.

    Similar Players By Age

    Now that I have birth dates for all players I was able to compare players based on age. I used the same formula as above but with the age restrictions. The result is a list of players who were the most similar at that age of the player's career.

    There are a few things that should be noted while looking at these similarity scores. The first is that the NBA did not begin to record steals and blocks as official stats until the 1973-74 season. This makes it very difficult to compare players from before that season with players after that season. Another thing that makes comparisons difficult was the introduction of the three point shot in the 1979-80 season. Because of these scoring and rules changes, players usually end up being most similar to other players in their era.

    There isn't anything scientific about these numbers or how I came up with them. I basically just played around with them until the similarity lists looked pretty good. In any case, its a fun list to have on the player pages.

    About statistical abbreviations

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