I was set to write about Anthony Gill’s statistical doppelgängers, and then…I saw the list. Yikes. It’s not so much that the players were terrible in the NBA — a few ate some minutes at least the level of not totally awful on bad teams when they were younger. By the time they were similar to Gill, they were generally in decline from even that.
Here’s the list, without further commentary, according to the Statistical Doppelgänger Machine:
- Pete Chilcutt, Houston Rockets, 1995-96
- Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics, 2014-15
- Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons, 2013-14
- Scott Padgett, Houston Rockets, 2003-04
- Craig Smith, Portland Trail Blazers, 2011-12
- Austin Croshere, Golden State Warriors, 2007-08
- Pete Chilcutt, Vancouver Grizzlies, 1996-97
- Scott Padgett, New Jersey Nets, 2005-06
- Mark Strickland, Miami Heat, 1998-99
- Scott Padgett, Houston Rockets, 2004-05
As I previously wrote, the point of all these statistical similarity comparisons was to have some fun in the runup to the season while considering the current players through a different lens. Player types repeat through league history, and comparing relative quality of play and style of production may help some think about current players with more objectivity.
For example, fans and the Wizards’ front office are excited about the futures of Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija — the 9th overall picks in the 2019 and 2020 drafts. There was surely similar hope in Seattle when the Supersonics selected Vladimir Radmanovic 12th overall, in Sacramento when the Kings chose Ben McLemore 7th, Phoenix when the Suns took Dragan Bender 4th, and so on.
Fans of every team are often guilty of overrating players on their favorite squad. It’s natural and normal, and front offices do it too. It’s kinda how our brains work. And, the nature of being a fan is to bring bias.
Below, I present this year’s All-Doppelgänger Wizards. This “roster” is constructed using each player’s closest comp, as generated by my Statistical Doppelgänger Machine. Reminder: The Statistical Doppelgänger Machine works by comparing a player’s performance across 14 different categories that include age, playing time, pace-neutral box score stats and scores from my PPA metric. All that’s rolled up into a single score that (in theory) provides a list of NBA players since 1977-78 with similar production at a similar age.
What would you guess for a team’s record if they started Reggie Jackson, DeMar DeRozan, Vladimir Radmanovic, Wesley Person and Mike Gminski while bringing in a reserve unit led by Steve Kerr, Mitch Kupchak and Ben McLemore? Would they make the playoffs? What seed?