I love basketball, and I love those "Who is the Greatest (fill in the blank)?" conversations. I recently had a conversation about the greatest or most valuable Chicago Bulls in franchise history.
It inspired me to create a formula to determine or at least direct fans in gauging the value of a player's career with each team they've played for.
I call it the Franchise Player Value Rating (FPVR). There are several formulas that gauge the overall greatness of a player, but I hadn't seen one that individualized it according to organization.
The FPVR not only takes into consideration a player's individual statistics, it awards team success and tenure.
To give an example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for two teams, the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. The formula gauges his franchise value to the Bucks organization and then his value to the Lakers franchise.
Here is another bit of clarification with an example. Dennis Rodman played three seasons with the Bulls, won three championships, had great rebounding numbers, etc. Horace Grant played seven seasons, won three rings, had good rebounding stats, etc.
Who would have the highest FPVR? Without giving away the totals to be revealed in the body of this piece, it would be Grant.
Why? Grant had four years more tenure and won the same amount of rings, and the rebounding advantage is not significant enough to overtake the scoring edge and extra points Grant gains for being a Bull four years longer.
In this formula, there really is no opinion involved beyond how efficient you believe the rating system is. The numbers are what they are. There are some weaknesses, though.
It especially affects players from the era of the NBA and ABA (pre-1973), when blocks and steals weren't kept.
Also, a few awards that the FPVR gives points for weren't given until 1982 (sixth man, etc).
This is somewhat balanced by the smaller leagues of the previous era that allowed more playoff appearances, which also gains FPVR points. It seems things balance out, as I feel good about the top-10 rankings for each franchise.
Here is how the formula breaks down:
• All stats have to be accumulated with the team in question
• Years of Service: 3 points
• Scoring Average: Face value (31 points per game equals 31 points)
• Rebounding Average: Face value
• Assists Average: Face value
• Steals Average: Face value (Stats for steals not kept until 1973-1974 season)
• Blocks Average: Face value (Stats for blocks not kept until 1972-1974 season)
• Championship Rings: 3 points
• Playoff Appearances: 1 point
• Conference Finals Appearances: 1.5 points
• NBA Finals Appearances: 2 points
• NBA All-Star Appearances: 5 points
• NBA All-Star Game MVP: 0.5 points
• NBA MVP Awards: 10 points
• NBA Finals MVP: 10 points
• All-NBA 1st Team: 8 points; 2nd Team: 5 points; 3rd Team: 3 points
• Rookie of the Year: 3 points
• Defensive Player of the Year: 3 points (Award not created until 1982-83 season)
• Sixth Man of the Year: 3 points (Award not created until 1982-83 season)
• All-Defensive 1st Team: 2 points; 2nd Team: 1 point; 3rd Team: 0.5 points
NBA players whose career spanned pre-1972 were given an automatic one point for steals and one point for blocks. It isn't precise, but it is the most fair way to approach the category.