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Old 01-08-2014, 11:39 AM #1
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A puerile analysis of the PSP professional division

My working hypothesis is that you can break down the pro division into four categories: Contenders (teams that are in the top 4 more often than not, never worry about relegation), Pretenders (may compete at individual events, but not for the series title, if they worry about relegation, its only once and then they wake up), Churn (the teams who are moving up and down, not really competing to win) and Chum (the teams at the bottom that the real sharks eat).

In 2013, there were 4 Contenders (Heat, Impact, Dynasty and Damage, although the Men can make a case for it) and 3 Pretenders (X-Factor, Infamous and I'm counting Men). I count 6 teams as Churn (187, Vicious, Legion, Shock, Top Gun and Storm. Storm was promoted at the end of the year and only saw a promotion match one other time last year, but they ended strong, so I’ll give it to them). The rest, Chum. That’s 8 teams.

There were 16 promotions and relegations (8 of each - I’m not counting teams that moved down after event 1) last year. Those were split between 8 teams. 187 moved every event. Vicious and Legion moved three out of four times. Top Gun twice and CEP, Shock and Storm once each. However, CEP went down to Challenger and then just got worse (ranking wise), so that’s why I don’t put them in the Churn category.

I’d like to figure out how to consider trajectory. CEP had an overall downwards trajectory while Shock had an upwards one, ending the season managing to stay in Champions. Shock and XSV were the only teams to improve (positionally) each event (after the first).

I’m not counting event 1 because there was just the one pro division of 15 teams with 5 being demoted and then teams being added to the newly formed Challengers division from D1. Working that into the analysis muddies the water.

How much value should be put on staying in Champions? I think 187 was a better overall team than Shock in 2013, and they had a better season, but Shock managed to stay in Champions at Cup. 187 has never avoided relegation (nor ever failed at promotion). Should that be worth something extra?

What happens in 2014? Heat lost their Russians, but picked up some impact players (pun intended). And who knows if they are done – it’s been a vicious off season. Impact replaced their lost bodies with players from three different teams. (BTW, the definitive, authoritative breakdown of these moves can be found on VFTD’s Musical Chairs post, where Baca Loco explains the short term expectations for all three teams involved). (The only thing I’ll add here is that players, even pro players, can fly under the radar. Just because people in other parts of the country don’t know Nick Leival’s name doesn’t mean they shouldn't, and by the end of the year, they will.) Plus we now introduce AC as, at least, a Pretender and very possibly a Contender. Infamous made moves to improve (and in 2012 they were top four twice – winning Chicago and coming in 2nd at MAO). Will they transcend to become Contenders? Will all of this push the ‘Men down to Pretenders? Either way, the top seems to be solidifying. What does that do to the rest of the field? By which I mean, if you have 8 teams that are Contenders (or even Pretenders), that locks the pro division. Numbers 9, 10, 11 and 12 will just rotate up and down. The point of the Challengers division was to grade the slope between D1 and Pro, but all it may end up doing is creating a semi-pro buffer division of teams that are too good for D1 but not good enough for Pro. Not saying that would be a bad thing, mind you. Just may be the direction we are tracking.

Aspirationally, I’d like to figure out a value-performance (or a value-for-resources) ranking. Impact did well, but they should with the resources at their disposal. 187 outperformed their budget. Vicious probably underperformed theirs (I don’t really know Vicious’ budget. I know they have two coaches and fly some players in, so that means they have more money than, say, 187).
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:00 PM #2
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In terms of a trajectory ranking, I'd like to throw this out there as a point-based system on a per-event basis:

Champions
Top 4 - 5 pts
Stayed in Champions - 4 pts
Avoided relegation - 3 pts
Relegated to Challengers - 2 pts

Challengers
Promoted to Champions - 3 pts
Top 4 Challengers/Fought for Promotion - 2 pts
Stayed in Challengers - 1 pt

I think maybe the Top 4 bracket in Champions could be broken out in finer detail. A team that places first ought to get more points. There's always more value in winning an event. We could play around with the numbers and see what weighting makes sense for that.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:00 AM #3
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I gridded that out, Gabe. It looks like this:


MAO Chi WCO Cup Total Rank PSP Rank
Impact 5 5 5 5 20 1 2
Heat 4 5 5 5 19 2 4
Dynasty 5 5 4 4 18 3 1
TBD 5 4 5 4 18 4 3
Men 5 4 3 5 17 5 5
X-Factor 4 3 4 5 16 6 6
Vicious 3 5 2 3 13 7 9
Infamous 3 3 3 3 12 8 7
Legion 2 3 5 2 12 9 8
187 3 2 3 2 10 10 10
TopGun 1 3 2 2 8 11 11
Shock 1 1 3 3 8 12 14
Storm 2 1 1 3 7 13 16
TonTons 3 3 6 14 13
CEP 2 2 1 1 6 15 12
Royalty 1 2 2 1 6 16 15
XSV 1 1 2 2 6 17 17
Thunder 2 1 1 1 5 18 18
DMG 1 1 1 1 4 19 19
Jesters 1 1 1 1 4 20 20


That formatted well...
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:31 AM #4
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Despite the anorexic number of views and non-existent replies, apparently some people have read this because a few people who didn't like what I wrote contacted me.

This is nothing more than the opinion of a has been former pro team travel agent. I don't care if I'm being nice (clearly, any popularity contest I end up in, I default to losing). I care if I'm being accurate. Let's debate the facts, not the emotions, behind this.

This is just a snapshot. A point in time analysis. This doesn't take into account trajectory, and that matters more, in many cases, than actual ranking. Not every team is really competing to win. It's a nice thought, but its a bit of a fantasy. A team that was playing D1 last year and is now middle of the road Challenger has accomplished a lot. They've "won", at least against the realistic expectations for them. Calling a team a third tier pro team isn't an insult, unless that team really shouldn't be 3rd tier.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:07 PM #5
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Thinking about the trajectory thing some more... The trajectory can go up or down. My numbers only go up. How about this instead?

Champions
Top 4: +3 pts
Stayed in Champions: +2 pts
Avoided relegation: +1 pts
Relegated to Challengers: -2 pts

Challengers
Promoted to Champions: +2 pts
Top 4 Challengers/Fought for Promotion: -1 pts
Stayed in Challengers: -2 pt


These groupings also basically break down the PSP event rank like so:

Contenders 1 - 4
Pretenders 5 - 8
Churn 9 - 12
Chum 13 - 20

You could also track the difference in placing from event to event to see their trajectory. This just generalizes it into the four groups.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:52 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stein View Post
Despite the anorexic number of views and non-existent replies, apparently some people have read this because a few people who didn't like what I wrote contacted me.

This is nothing more than the opinion of a has been/never really was former pro team travel agent. I don't care if I'm being nice (clearly, any popularity contest I end up in, I default to losing). I care if I'm being accurate. Let's debate the facts, not the emotions, behind this.

This is just a snapshot. A point in time analysis. This doesn't take into account trajectory, and that matters more, in many cases, than actual ranking. Not every team is really competing to win. It's a nice thought, but its a bit of a fantasy. A team that was playing D1 last year and is now middle of the road Challenger has accomplished a lot. They've "won", at least against the realistic expectations for them. Calling a team a third tier pro team isn't an insult, unless that team really shouldn't be 3rd tier.
So you are telling me a historically bottom 10 team doesn't like to be called a bottom 10 team. Cool

Gabe I like your whole points thing, pretty cool. You so smaaart. (in a boston accent)
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:44 PM #7
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(clearly, any popularity contest I end up in, I default to losing)
im not really understanding. can you give me some solid numbers on how you do in populatiry contests. would you say you are chum? churn? pretender?
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:50 PM #8
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More than 2 "Pro" levels? Something like Soccer maybe?
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:52 PM #9
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Despite the anorexic number of views and non-existent replies, apparently some people have read this because a few people who didn't like what I wrote contacted me.
Looks like Admin put you on the homepage, so I'm sure views will go up.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:35 PM #10
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I dont necessarily like your comments on pro teams being "pretenders" im sure that isnt too uplifting to hear for some of these teams.. especially putting xfactor in that category coming off of a world cup victory. Me personally I feel some of these teams might not have a shot at ever winning an event but I think we can all honestly say that all of those teams in either the champions or challengers divisions are "pros" with talent and skill exceding great levels. Paintball is one of those sports that if your not good it will show and the score will prove that.. these teams all have the skill and talent exceding divisional level teams and thats why they made the step up to pro. In all professional sports there are the top tier teams and the bottom tier teams and a teams financial power to buy the talented rosters is what seperates these teams. There are 20 pro teams in the PSP, the most in that division for atleast the past 5 to 6 years.. Give them some time to grow into their roles and to develop before making these judgements. I get your point and your opinions are relevant but it could take 5 years before one of these bottom teams to show life and rise in the ranks. I believe you could seperate the PSP into three categories NE Patriots, Miami dolphins, and Buffalo Bills. Patriots always make playoffs, Miami sucked and almost made it this year and buffalo is always bad... But all three teams are Professional teams wouldn't call any of the three pretenders? Would you agree Jeff? Just shooting back I usually like hearing your responses in threads.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:44 PM #11
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you make a really good point about how the pro division has broken down the past few years even before the challengers division was established, look at vicious, they are a prime example of how a team can really dominate the challengers division but put them into a tough bracket with two of contenders and two pretender teams and they will most likely go 2-2 with a normal point spread.

the top teams have the talent and experience which plays a critical role in the pro division. Vicious has some good talent but lacks in experience when it comes to placing in the top 4 or winning events, which holds them back IMHO.

I think a pro-am and pro division would work.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:53 PM #12
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I would most certainly call the Dolphins and Bills pretenders! I might call them something considerably worse.

Its a given these are all talented teams. If they weren't, they wouldn't be playing pro. D1 teams are very talented. But this is the pro division, a certain baseline of talent are just the table stakes. This is my analysis of the field, after that initial ante is met.

Five years. That's a very long time in paintball. Its a lifetime. I actually had something written about the 'circle of life' for pro teams, evolving to the uppermost echelons of the uppermost echelon. The problem is that too much happens in paintball. The All A's were one of the top two teams in 2009 and then ceased to exist in 2010. Granted, there were external factors, but there are always some external factors.

Here's what bothers me about a 5 year view: it assumes a natural progression of teams. And we simply don't always see that in paintball. Heat didn't exist in 2011. Then they won everything in 2012. When was the last time we saw a team EVOLVE into that?
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:57 PM #13
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Interesting
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:08 PM #14
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I think it is a pretty fair system with all emotion taken out.

He specifically said the basis was on a point in time not trajectory, which is the whole point of this, to find a system to measure and report a teams trajectory since that can be as much as if not more important than the current position of a team.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:12 PM #15
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There is a lot more going into pro teams that have an effect on their overall performance than ANYONE including pro's realizes.
Money Man---This guy handles the money and organizes it
Support Staff--These are the people at practice and events filling pods, fixing guns, making sure everyone has a water, etc
Team manager--the guy who makes the calls, books flights, makes hotel arrangements, etc
Coach--If you can foot the bill, a paid coach will typically get you further than one of the players dads or friends.
Spotter--This guy knows the insides and outs of every team you play, knows how their guns and paint are shooting, and know their breakouts. A good one would be willing to bet a $50 bill on which play is coming based on score and time.

The "POWERHOUSE PRO TEAMS"
Have a complete STAFF and HUGE BUDGET behind them
Dynasty
Ironmen
Infamous
Damage
Heat
Impact
Russians

I'm not saying these are the only teams that have all of their ducks in a row, but I personally know that these teams have people assigned to the above positions, and they generally speaking, do better overall than teams that have limited budget, or are paying out of their own pockets, and more times than not the teams they out perform, have team members fill the above positions

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Old 01-09-2014, 08:20 PM #16
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:21 PM #17
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Interesting
Very
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:40 PM #18
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I just generally don't see the point of any of this. Modern professional paintball is a yearly migration of the top players from team A to B. One year, the big dogs may stay in their spots, but the next year they predictably move to another team. The only static roster in modern paintball has been Dynasty, and even then there was a 6(or more?) year span where there was no opie, Ollie or SK.

If you don't like your "team"....wait till next year.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:42 PM #19
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Why can't we all just be called players?
I mean unless your playing in the PSP Pro division I don't imagine you have to worry about your team being ranked as a contender or pretender. Further the hate is misplaced, he's not judging teams for there play/performance. In a few cases he puts a little judgement on teams with great players and huge expense accounts that underperformed a bit (one could argue Ironman, I feel he was fair considering their play).

Really the only teams who might feel rightly dissed are the powerhouse teams with the cash/staff outside of the contenders ranking. Everyone else should be proud just to be playing pro.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:50 PM #20
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Coach--If you can foot the bill, a paid coach will typically get you further than one of the players dads or friends.
Now, I agree with most of what you said. But how do you explain this when Dave Painter coached 187 to rise through the ranks into the pro division? Just a thought.



I also have a difficult time understanding why some underperforming teams have such deep pockets to fund. When some pro teams are making a lot of progress but sponsors haven't gave them the funding they believe. Im not speaking as a expert but as a player who has noticed a trend.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:51 PM #21
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i do agree on what you are saying with the points and what you say about tenders, pre-tenders, and chum. but that is not to say this: they are all pro teams for a reason and hypothetically on any given day you could have people you have placed in chum play and beat teams you have in the tenders. it all depends on whos on, whos playing today and also penalty's play a huge factor in deciding the outcome. but i do agree that there are teams out there that are just out there to compete and not necessarily to win.

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