Sunday, August 10, 2008

Top 20% of NBA Players Scored 80% of Total Points

In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto made the famous observation that 20% of the population owned 80% of the property in Italy, later generalised by Joseph M. Juran and others into the so-called Pareto principle (also termed the 80-20 rule) and generalised further to the concept of a Pareto distribution (see graphs below).
Exhibit A: For the 2007-2008 NBA season, there were a total of 245,811 points scored by 450 players (data here). The top 20% of scorers (led by #1 Kobe Bryant with 2,323 points) had 195,420 points, or 79.50% of the total points, an almost perfect example of a Pareto outcome and Pareto distribution (see chart below).
Bottom Line: Just like income or wealth, points in the NBA are distributed unequally, and it's a natural outcome (Pareto distribution) that 20% of the players get 80% of the points. Does anybody advocate "point redistribution" to achieve a more "fair" outcome of NBA points?


At 8/10/2008 8:42 PM, Blogger thewitlessknower said...

Damn dude... nicely done.

There definitely should be point redistribution... I mean, the less talented players can't help it and need to be equal! haha

At 8/10/2008 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish professional skills and compensation were as highly correlated as in sports.

In most professions wealth is largely assigned based on human relationships and knowledge barriers, then merit.

While in sports you have organized leagues, numbers and other objective criteria to track results, employees performances judgment is left to human discretion. Besides, visibility of such performances is usually limited to the local work environment.

At 8/11/2008 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I continue to say that the only way to make things "fair" in the U.S. is to pay everyone the same thing - from the paperboy to the brain surgeon.

No extra credit for good grades or years of service. Fair is fair. The guy/gal next to me shouldn't be making more than me.

So it all boils down to picking a number.

Where should we start the bidding?


At 8/12/2008 12:17 PM, Blogger lethalox said...

This is very interesting, but I wonder if it really representative. My guess that is that points are related to minutes of game time. Less game time equates to less points. So it would be nice to know difference in the rate points production compared between low and high scoring players.

At 8/13/2008 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good case for affirmative scoring. Give some of the other 80% extra points for each basket they make to even things out.

At 9/18/2008 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be true, but yo have to admit that all three major sports are pretty equal. The terrible tams are always bad and the middle to high grade teams all get a shot to win or at least be successfull. I like the diversity.


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