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Which Player Attributes are the Most Important?

In the Meyers Leonard Tough Journey thread, Corwin71 asks how important it is to be 7 feet tall or taller. I've always wondered what the relative values of size, skill, athleticism, and BBIQ are for an NBA team. Which are more important? I'm no stat hound, but how tough can it be, right?! I'll get the ball rolling and then step back before I hurt myself.


My gut tells me to prioritize NBA player attributes this way:

1) BBIQ (how consistently you make the right play in a given situation)

2) Skill (how many things you do well, such as shooting, rebounding, passing, posting-up, not fouling, etc.)

3) Athleticism (how quick, fast, strong, springy, and coordinated you are)

4) Size (height, arm length, and weight, to the extent that weight is an asset)

I'm not sure whether to rate size by position or compared to all other players. You could make a case for either. I'll go with the latter for now and then switch it up later.

To compare the relative values of the categories, I'll weight them as BBIQ = 4, Athleticism = 3, Skill = 2, and Size = 1.

LeBron is probably the League MVP in this kind of evaluation, so let's use him as a benchmark. I'll just invent a few ratings for him on a scale of 1 (low) to high (10)...

BBIQ = 9

Skill = 9

Athleticism = 10

Size = 8

Meyers might rate like this:

BBIQ = 4

Skill = 4

Athleticism = 9

Size = 9

Figuring-in the 4x, 3x, 2x, and 1x multipliers, LeBron scores 36+27+20+8=102 and Meyers scores 16+12+18+9=54. That comparison passes our initial eye test. Let's look at a few other players.

Yao Ming

BBIQ = 9

Skill = 7

Athleticism = 4

Size = 10

Total = 36+21+8+10=75

Yao lands pretty much right in the middle. I would think he'd be in the 80s instead. Either my category ratings or the multipliers might need adjustment. Let's try a few more guys.


Scottie Pippen

BBIQ = 9

Skill = 9

Athleticism = 8

Size = 7

Total = 36+27+16+7=86

LaMarcus Aldridge

BBIQ = 9

Skill = 8

Athleticism = 6

Size = 9

Total = 36+24+12+9=81


Damian Lillard

BBIQ = 8

Skill = 7

Athleticism = 7

Size = 3

Total = 32+21+14+3=70

My guess about why Yao is rating below Pippen and Aldridge is that I'm not rating him highly enough in skill and athleticism, but I don't know enough about his game to provide a better guess. Would any GM choose LaMarcus over Yao? Hard to imagine. Maybe Size is more important than I thought. Let's flip the multipliers so that Size=4, Athleticism=3, Skill=2, and BBIQ=1.
LeBron = 32+30+18+9=89 Meyers = 36+27+8+4=75 Yao = 40+12+14+9=75 Scottie = 28+24+18+9=79 LaMarcus = 36+18+16+9=79 Damian = 12+21+14+8=55
The multiplier for Size has a huge impact here. If we rank it according to a player's position instead of to all players, then I would bump LeBron's Size from 8 to 9 and Damian from 3 to 7. LeBron then scores 91 and Damian scores 65. LeBron still wins, but Meyers ranks as high as Yao and way over Damian. That is so wrong! Ranking players by Size and Athleticism over BBIQ and Skill clearly does not produce as good a result.
The category ranks and multipliers, plus my evaluations of each player, are just my seat-of-the-pants guesses. Better data is out there if anyone wants to dig into it. My work is done here.
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