An open letter to John R.:
In the comments section of your recent FanPost about the below-average shooting guard who is somehow on the verge of faking his way onto our national team, you asserted that a player's teammates have no bearing on his stats (though you did at one point admit that this is an "unexpected result"). A number of us called you on this assertion. I made the point that Chris Kaman's rebounding numbers were considerably higher during the '07-'08 season, which was the year Brand shredded his Achilles' tendon and was thus the only year in Kaman's career in which he wasn't playing alongside a PF who ranked among the league's Top 10 rebounders -- the implication of this clearly being that, in a year in which his teammates were inferior rebounders, Kaman's rebounding numbers increased because there were more opportunities available to him.
Your response to this line of inquiry was to accuse me of being unclear in my point and using circular logic. When others came to my defense and attempted to get you to back up your position rather than simply attacking me, you at first attempted to argue around the periphery of the matter at hand, and then simply disappeared without providing a legitimate counter or even answering the very simple, straightforward question I put to you in an attempt to get you to quit dodging the issue, which I will again put to you here: Do you think it’s pure coincidence that the one year Kaman’s rebounding numbers picked up happens to be the one year in which he didn’t share the floor with a PF who was one of the league’s Top 10 rebounders?
It's easy to be a bully who clings to a particular dogma and uses it to belittle those who disagree with him. It's much harder to admit that the world isn't so black-and-white, that we may not yet have all the answers, and that sometimes, even the most logical and empirically minded among us can be wrong. By the logic of the very dogma you cling to, statistics, it is highly unlikely that any one person can be right 100 percent of the time. And yet, to judge by the thousands of posts you've left on this site, you seem to believe that you are never wrong, and that nobody who opposes you ever has a valid point worthy of consideration. Time and again, when a point is made that you can't easily refute, you go off on a tangent, or attack the other person's intelligence, or simply move on to another thread to stir things up over there.
So please, show us that you are indeed as intellectually rigorous as you claim to be by not dodging this debate. Tell us why advanced metrics should be used as irrefutable proof of players' relative talents without any consideration given to the team context. Tell us why you would expect a shooter to perform exactly the same whether his point guard is Steve Nash or Monta Ellis. Or why a defender on a squad like the Celtics that plays great team defense wouldn't have better numbers in his individual matchups than would the self-same defender if he were placed on a woeful defensive team like last year's Clippers. I'll stipulate right off the bat that I'm a know-nothing moron with an addled brain, so you need not waste time making those points and can go straight to the heart of the matter. The floor is yours.