A new way to rank players – the LDS

This serves as more of a brainstorm/informational post that anything.

As a basketball fan, I love making lists. It’s probably one of the most simple, but entertaining things for me to do. If some people find kneading bread therapeutic, then I find making basketball lists therapeutic.

I sit down, think of all the players in the NBA, and just rank them. There are lots of other people that love ranking players too, and for whatever reason people just love to share their lists on the internet. Of course there is a problem with this. How do you define better? Individual skill? Ability to carry a team to wins? How do you account for slumps and injuries? The inability to agree on a certain metric of measuring players is often the point of controversy.

ESPN’s NBA Rank has perhaps been the most ambitious attempt by anyone to create a reliable NBA ranking list. How does NBA Rank work? A large group of sportswriters assign an NBA player a score out of 10. ESPN then takes the average of all these players and ranks all players by the mean score. Which kind of works, but then you have Carmelo Anthony being ranked the 17th best player in the NBA heading into this season, a product of ranking your player based on taking the mean average of an arbitrary score given by different writers.

So I have a new way of ranking players. It’s called the Leung Desirability Score, or LDS. it is a bit time exhausting, but with so many NBA fans on the internet, it is completely possible to do.

Here is how it works. We only use one simple piece of logic to rank players. Let’s use Kawhi Leonard as an example. Without taking salary in account, would it be in your team’s best interest to have Kawhi Leonard over whoever they have right now at small forward? This works for a variety of reasons. I hope you can understand the logic for now though, and I will elaborate more on this in the future.

There are three possible outcomes for this answer. We keep track of these answers, and keep a score for each one.

The there possible answers are

Yes – This team would gladly Kawhi Leonard in the place of whoever they have at small forward right now. For example, the Lakers would take Kawhi instead of Metta World Peace. For every team that votes ‘yes’ we give a +1 score.

Maybe – In the event of ties. A few examples… If we did the Rockets, we may have around a 50/50 spread of voters that would take Kawhi Leonard over Chandler Parsons. For every team that votes ‘maybe’ we give a +0.5 score.

No – A resounding no. Obviously the Heat do not take Kawhi Leonard when they have LeBron James. We add a +0 score because nothing happened.

How voting works

We will form voting panels for each team. A panel of Warriors fans, Bucks fans, etc., A few players get assigned to be ranked, and these panels conduct a vote, and give either a Yes, Maybe, or No. Since all 30 teams are represented, it should balance out all the homer-ism.

Since this is a lot of discussion and voting, it will be held in a separate forum, probably a subreddit. I hope that this idea spreads to enough different forums, because I know a lot of forums hold different opinions on players. Application process will be fairly simple and lax, and is mainly just used as a screen for any potential trolls or severe homers.

Back to the voting. Once all the results are tallied, we calculate the overall score. The highest possible score is a 30, which means every team wants you over whoever they have right now. The lowest possible score is 0. Since everything so far has essentially being comparing starters to starters, if a player gets a 0, he is bumped down to the bench tier, where the same process is repeated, except by comparing this player to your team’s top back up.

I hope the idea was easy to understand. I hope to organize this on a separate subreddit, maybe with restricted permissions or something for now. The benefits of using subreddit is that upvoted discussions will make it to your frontpage somehow, so you will constantly be reminded to vote and chime in. I just need to figure out if there is a good privacy setting. Worst case scenario we can keep discussion in a separate forum.

If you are interested, please send an email to smokerafer(at)gmail.com with following information:

Name/Alias –

Affiliation, if any (r/nba, RealGM, ESPN boards, other sources/blogs etc.,) –

What team(s) you feel comfortable voting for, and what qualifies you (something brief, just to make sure you’re serious about this) –

Once we have enough people to start a small team of voters going, we’ll construct some preliminary rankings to publish, and hopefully generate more interest.

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