My gigantic DB Project was starting to drag on – sure, it’s extremely satisfying to me to complete this, but I was jonesing to do some simulation. So, in a moment of weakness, I turned back to WhatIfSports. In another crazy scheme, I concocted a competition between the All-Decade teams from the 1950s to the 2000s. I called it the Fight of the Decade.
It was a noble pursuit, but I started to burn out writing boring, single-game simulations based on a system I wasn’t too happy about in the first place. It began to seem a little empty. I wanted to quit this thing and almost did so but, instead, decided to just forget the write ups and the stats and just quickly finish the simulations and report the results. Here we go … prepare to be underwhelmed!
|vs 1960s||vs 1970s||vs 1980s||vs 1990s||vs 2000s|
Well the 1950s squad got creamed – they were swept in every series they had except for one (oddly taking a game from Team 2000s) – and ended up 1-40 (0.02).
There’s not much to say for this one: WhatIfSports uses non-flattened stats (meaning they don’t adjust for pace or anything other noise) so the 1950s were severely hindered. They had the lowest average salary for their starting five (WhatIfSports rates production by salary) and lowest average salary across their whole team. In fact, two of their starters (Bob Cousy and Cliff Hagan) were rated as lower than any player on any other team! It wasn’t pretty for these legends … so I’ll move on quickly.
|vs 1950s||vs 1970s||vs 1980s||vs 1990s||vs 2000s|
Team 1960s surprised me in that they performed way worse than I expected. With a staring five of Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Spencer Haywood and Wilt Chamberlain I really thought they’d be competing for best in competition. Instead, they won only 3 of their 10 matchups and sank to a 22-30 (.423) win record.
I actually can’t really explain what went wrong here. The 1960′s provide a fabulous wealth of talent (bloated by non-flattened, early ABA players) and I made sure to optimize the lineup minutes (refer to my original lineup post). They easily had the most productive starting five. Again, I don’t have any idea how WhatIfSports simulates its games (and I’m not super keen on how they compile their stats), so this one will have to remain a mystery.
|vs 1950s||vs 1960s||vs 1980s||vs 1990s||vs 2000s|
The trend continues with WhatIfSports as the more recent legends of Team 1970s does better than their older counterparts. Led by the mighty Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and acrobatic Julius Erving, Team 1970s wins only 4 of their 10 matchups and scores a 29-26 (.423) win record. Strangely, this means that this powerful squad actually went out quite easily in their losses. The WhatIfSports weirdness continues!
|vs 1950s||vs 1960s||vs 1970s||vs 1990s||vs 2000s|
The much-vaunted Team 1980s is next and they performed admirably – winning 7 of their 10 matchups. Sure, the names were familiar, but the positions were slightly odd with this group (Michael Jordan at point guard, Adrian Dantley at shooting guard, Magic Johnson as backup small forward). However, that plan seems to have panned out well for the group who notch a 32-23 (.582) winning record.
|vs 1950s||vs 1960s||vs 1970s||vs 1980s||vs 2000s|
I went into the simulation of this competition slightly nervous for the 1990s squad: their offensive powerhouses (Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal) were relegated to the bench while rebounding specialist, Dennis Rodman, actually made the starting lineup.
Well, my worries were proven to be unnecessary, as the 90s crew chopped down the competition, winning 9 of their 10 matches. Their only loss was a home match against Team 2000 (perhaps proving, once again, some inherent “ageist” bias of WhatIfSports). Hakeem Olajuwon’s team earned an impressive 38-15 (.717) record.
|vs 1950s||vs 1960s||vs 1970s||vs 1980s||vs 1990s|
The youngest team in the competition, Team 2000s, had a great showing. Led by “Big Fundamental” Tim Duncan and “Big Ticket” Kevin Garnett, the whippersnappers consisted of players all at or hovering just below $10k – the salary for a dominant player. This meant that, though they weren’t as top heavy as some of the other teams, their dropoff to the bench was the smallest margin. Team 2000 won 7 of their 10 matches and earned a 34-22 (.607) record.
Congratulations to Team 1990s for winning the Fight of the Decade with an outrageous .717 winning percentage – a mark that isn’t reached by any team most seasons, much less one where the opponents are all-timers. So, yes, that little detail means that I smell something fishy with all of this. Ah, well, take it for what it is and let’s move on (to awesomer stuff).