Friday, 10 February 2017

GOAT Simulator

In the wake of Michael van Gerwen's two nine darters in the same match today at Wigan, you do have to wonder whether he is the greatest of all time. For me it's no question - it's yes. Sure, Phil may have won sixteen world titles, but the level of competition must have been lower. A lot lower. Taylor certainly played at an elite level, but in my eyes he's effectively a flat track bully. Start van Gerwen's career in 1985 and he's already on 20 world titles, and he'd still be the right side of 50.

Fortunately, the type of stats I use aren't concerned with level of opponent. I'm pretty tempted to go look back at some of the peak Taylor finals in terms of averages (probably would consider the 6-0 vs Priestley in 98, 7-0 vs Part in 01, 7-0 vs Manley in 06 and the 7-1 vs Barney in 09, to give a spread throughout his career - may also chuck in the 6-1 vs Bristow in 90 from the unified days), of which I know at least the Manley final is on Youtube allowing us to pull the stats. Picking these games would be representative of the best of Taylor on the most important stage where we know he's giving it everything, and to see what he did will be hugely enlightening.

Naturally, there is the accusation that improvements in technology make the more recent player better, but there's been tungsten darts since Taylor was a kid, and while the boards nowadays have thinner wires and no staples, looking back at that 1990 final, it's not like the staples would reject any high scoring darts, and in general I don't recall masses of bounceouts.

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