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Saturday, February 17, 2018

OT - 2017-18 NBA thread (All-Star Weekend to End of Time edition)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom can be bothered to curate their own thread to avoid detracting from what this site is really about:  eliminationist rhetoric and precognition.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: February 17, 2018 at 02:09 AM | 6537 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   5301. jmurph Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:00 PM (#5680578)
I can't see this Cavs team taking even one off the Warriors or Rockets.

LeBron 100% can beat Houston. Can, not necessarily will, but can.
   5302. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:00 PM (#5680579)
I seriously might not watch the finals if it’s cavs/Warriors. Just such an epic choke job from the entire eastern conference. Not that anyone else coming out would have had a chance but I don’t need to see an undergunned LeBron get handily beaten by Golden State again
   5303. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:01 PM (#5680580)
So what's the difference between LeBron James and the Platonic apex of a basketball player? A few more percentage points on his 3pter? 7 feet tall instead of 6'8"?


If he coached a little more like Stevens, Spoelstra or Pop and less like Lue.
   5304. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:01 PM (#5680581)
WITF can you say about LeBron James except wow. Just wow. The Cavs may not win a game in the finals, but this has been a hell of a ride.
   5305. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:02 PM (#5680583)
I lol'ed, sardonic
   5306. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:02 PM (#5680584)
from january 2018:
the celtics play defense like the 77 falcons. the league may want to crack down on that at some point.
   5307. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:03 PM (#5680585)
So what's the difference between LeBron James and the Platonic apex of a basketball player? A few more percentage points on his 3pter? 7 feet tall instead of 6'8"?

I’d say the 3 point shot a bit but a lot of his better years he was solid to good therbe. Free throw shooting for me. If he was an 85% shooter that’d be huge. Picking nits of course
   5308. JC in DC Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:03 PM (#5680586)
Man, I don't know. Maybe it's an overreaction to what he just did, but I am not counting out LBJ's chances to beat either team. GSW looks as wobbly as they have recently. And, well, LBJ. And maybe JVG's right: Tyrone Lue is a mastermind?
   5309. jmurph Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:03 PM (#5680587)
C's are choking, basically....

but wow Boston, it's hard to win the conference with both hands around your neck.

These comments are dumb.
   5310. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:04 PM (#5680589)
Just watched the replay of Morris trying to stop LeBron on the break. JFC is he strong. Morris managed to...keep him from dunking.
   5311. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:06 PM (#5680590)
Tatum is a star and the Celtics may need some time to figure out how to use Kyrie, Hayward, Tatum, and to a lesser extent Brown. They will figure it and they will be fearsome. Rozier is a good backup PG. Horford is a good player as well.

Smart is not a good player. He's a terrible offensive player in an offensive league. I know he's a fan favorite but he can be exposed in a playoff series if he plays significant minutes. He's brutal.
   5312. aberg Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:07 PM (#5680591)
The Cavs have a bad owner, an unknown (probably bad) gm, a bad coach, and one of the worst 2-15 rosters of any Finals team I can remember. And they're going to the Finals for the 4th year in a row.
   5313. JC in DC Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:08 PM (#5680592)
Well, as Spicey has implied, the East kinda sucks.
   5314. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:09 PM (#5680593)
Do we need a new stat: Series Wins Over Replacement All-Star?
   5315. jmurph Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:11 PM (#5680595)
Well, as Spicey has implied, the East kinda sucks.

This is fine and true, and also only one guy is going to the Finals for the 8th straight year. And as I said when the thread went through this earlier in the year, talking about the Finals record and the strength of the conference would be excellent points were we weighing the various guys that have gone to 8 straight Finals over the last 50 years, but we aren't doing that because there's just the one guy who has done it.
   5316. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:14 PM (#5680597)
On the one hand, the East stinks. On the other hand, the second best player on his team is Jeff Green?
   5317. JC in DC Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:18 PM (#5680599)
LBJ is great. No question. But he has also chosen to stay in the East. He knows this is his easiest road to the Finals. He ain't no fool.
   5318. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:20 PM (#5680600)
We'll see after this year. He's chosen where to play twice and one of those times he picked his hometown.
   5319. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:20 PM (#5680601)
OK, the Celtics panicked.... how’s that? Half a million unnecessary panicked 3s, for starters.
   5320. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:22 PM (#5680602)
The Celtics showed their age/playoff experience. They'll be back hungry next year. Philly+LeBron vs. Boston will be a great series.
   5321. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:37 PM (#5680604)
Many of the Celtics 3s were wide open imo, to be fair. Even the Rozier ones. For as crappy of an offense as they have (18th in basketball-ref offense), they were 2nd in 3 point percentage. They don't get much dribble penetration and they don't have plus passers anywhere besides Horford for me, but by the same token a lot of these guys that were shooting 3s were good 3 point shooters this year. Rozier was 38%, Jaylen Brown was 39%. I think both of those are over their true talent levels, but the point is if they're open they are the kind of guys that should be taking 3s.

This felt like just a make-or-miss league game, to me.
   5322. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:39 PM (#5680606)
Omg just saw this article headline on Fox Sports: "Jason Whitlock explains why LeBron’s fatigue is mental, not physical"
   5323. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:44 PM (#5680609)
The Celtics showed their age/playoff experience. They'll be back hungry next year. Philly+LeBron vs. Boston will be a great series.

Please don't say that. I want to see him stick around in Cleveland this time, and then see if either Philly or Boston can rise to the occasion.
   5324. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:44 PM (#5680610)
Have written this before, but in the 1st 40 years ('78 through '17) since the league started counting turnovers, no bottom-3 defensive team (in the regular season) had won a playoff series.

The Cavs, 29th out of 30, have now won three.


The last time LeBron James played 48:00 in a playoff game was Game 4 of the 2006 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Pistons. He was 21 years old. pic.twitter.com/B7SZXaiZrp


This is the first time in NBA history where a team has reached the Finals after a player threw soup at a coach.
   5325. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:46 PM (#5680611)
Well, as Spicey has implied, the East kinda sucks.

Not really arguing with that, but it's not as if either the Cavs or the Celtics have been at full strength for much of the season.
   5326. jmurph Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:48 PM (#5680613)
This felt like just a make-or-miss league game, to me.

They did a miss a ton of open looks, no question about it. I also thought they forced some bad ones, particularly Rozier, Smart a couple times, Morris a couple times (though the latter two played well overall, I thought). Brown, I can think of a couple what I would call bad shots, but he mostly just seemed to miss decent looks.

Man I don't know, I thought they actually had a pretty good approach on LeBron (and grading on the LeBron in game 7 scale, I'll take what he got tonight), they kept Cleveland from dominating the glass (Boston with the slight edge overall and 11-2(!!!) in offensive rebounds), and only turned the ball over 6 times, and yet...
   5327. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5680614)
and only turned the ball over 6 times, and yet...


Just two fewer times than LeBron.
   5328. NJ in NY (Now with Toddler!) Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:55 PM (#5680616)
Re: Make or Miss League

I thought both teams missed a lot of open shots. I'd be interested in seeing what the camera data says.
   5329. PJ Martinez Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:56 PM (#5680617)
Terry Rozier had a great playoff run, and a really bad game at the worst possible time. Ditto, more or less, for Jaylen Brown. That's pretty much the ballgame right there, I think.

Also, the Cavs might be better, at this point, when Love is not playing. (That was the case against Boston, anyway.) And they got two good Jeff Green games in a row. Not sure the last time that happened.

I'm happy for LeBron James, in any case. Holy cow.
   5330. jmurph Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:57 PM (#5680618)
I thought both teams missed a lot of open shots. I'd be interested in seeing what the camera data says.

Yeah the Cavs in the first quarter, especially.
   5331. Lassus Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:57 PM (#5680619)
I saw the line earlier, I would have taken the under all day on that.
   5332. sardonic Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:37 AM (#5680621)
Can you imagine the first few minutes for the Cleveland defense against Houston or GS after just having to defend the Celtics for 7 games?
   5333. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:42 AM (#5680622)
Game played just like I thought, and I am usually bad at predictions.

Lue: G7 of the 2016 Finals was pretty much like this, except that in that game, they ran some clearouts and high PnR for Irving, and this game, James just did that every time. The strategy seems to be shorten the game, milk the clock, tell the other guys on the floor to kill themselves on D. They did need a second guy to do something, and that was Green. Also Hill's layup late to ice it was a great shot.
Boston: They missed some open 3s, but I thought it was just a case of their youth and lack of talent on O catching up with them in a game in which guys were busting ass on D. This was obviously a game in which they needed Irving's ability to create O off the dribble late in the shot clock.
James: Not much to say, except I think you have to reach a bit at this point to say that he is not the GOAT.

And yes: If James actually signs with the 76ers and Irving and Hayward come back, BOS/PHI will open a third chapter after Russell/Chamberlain in the 60s and Bird/Dr. J in the early 80s.
   5334. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:16 AM (#5680624)
Maybe it's an overreaction to what he just did, but I am not counting out LBJ's chances to beat either team.


No offense, but Cleveland has no chance at all in the Finals, IMO. I think they would probably beat Houston once and Golden State will sweep them if Golden State wins tomorrow, and I think they will.
   5335. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:21 AM (#5680625)
Brown I'm less optimistic than some of y'all, but he's got good athleticism and is a nice piece.


Agreed. And yes, adding Irving and Hayward will probably get them into the Top 10 in ORTG. They will probably drop off from #1 in DRTG but are likely to be a solid 55+ win team and are probably the safest bet right now to make the 2019 Finals out of the East.
   5336. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:21 AM (#5680626)
The only shot the Cavs have at winning a title this year is if the Rockets win Game 7 somehow and Paul is less than 100% in the finals.
   5337. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:39 AM (#5680628)
Am I the only one who was reminded a bit of this other ECF game 7 watching this game?
   5338. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:44 AM (#5680629)
5337. There were some similar vibes, yes. Chicago was at home in 1998, and those teams were a lot better than these two are. The East right now is like it was from 2001-2003, in that there is not really what we think of as a Finals-caliber team in the conference. But that could change, if James signs with the 76ers and Irving and Hayward are back and healthy.
   5339. PJ Martinez Posted: May 28, 2018 at 07:16 AM (#5680632)
"After reviewing the film, the Celtics shot 3 /15 on open threes tonight, including 0/4 in the final 5 minutes of the game."
   5340. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 28, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5680642)
How much credit do the Cavs get for beating Toronto and the Celtics? The Raptors did win 59 games last year and the Celtics were a 55 win team despite Hayward being hurt in the first game of the season. Irving being out makes them worse but they were still a pretty good team.
   5341. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5680645)
5340: Well, the obvious answer is that James should get more or less unlimited credit for it. How much credit the Cavs as a group should get is another question. James has a 33.1 playoff PER and and a 3.1 VORP. Nance Jr. has a 20 PER but PER has always overrated him. Thompson is at 16.1, but the other guys who are supposed to score are all below 15, and Hood and Clarkson have vanished, with PERs of 5.8 and 3.8. Nobody else has a VORP over 0.5. Cleveland did play well against Toronto. Replace James with an average player, and I think this is about a 33-37 win team.

5339: Boston was 7/39 on 3s, so it is understandable that Boston fans would focus on that--Simmons did in one of his first post-game tweets. But Cleveland was only 9/35. I would also suggest that "Open 3" is kind of an inexact term, although I am sure there are criteria. I only remember a few 3s in the game that were "wide open"--no one near the guy, guy has time to set his feet, etc. So, my opinion is that the numbers on 3s were not 100% variance--nerves, fatigue, tighter contesting of shots, and, in Boston's case, not being a very good offensive team, and that issue showing up late. YMMV. Even Jeff Green, who ofc played quite well, was only 2/9 on 3s, and Jayson Tatum, who was excellent, was 2/6.
   5342. PJ Martinez Posted: May 28, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5680646)
5341: I didn't mean to focus on it, per se. My more general, albeit brief, take on the game is in 5329. But there was some discussion of Boston's missed shots, and how many of them were or weren't open, so I figured I'd provide some numbers. Here's another count: "The Celtics finished 5-for-35 on open or wide-open 3-pointers in Game 7, per Second Spectrum. They entered the game shooting almost twice as efficiently (37.3%) on 450 attempts in the playoffs."

I don't think all missed open shots are created equal; I don't think they're always merely bad luck (or at least I don't think we should assume that). As you note, nerves and fatigue likely play a role, and even if Rozier's hit a bunch of threes lately it's not like he's Kyle Korver. (I haven't seen Cleveland's numbers on this front; I'm sure they missed some open ones as well.)
   5343. JC in DC Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5680647)
I don't think all missed open shots are created equal; I don't think they're always merely bad luck (or at least I don't think we should assume that). As you note, nerves and fatigue likely play a role, and even if Rozier's hit a bunch of threes lately it's not like he's Kyle Korver. (I haven't seen Cleveland's numbers on this front; I'm sure they missed some open ones as well.)


This is a great point. Or couple of great points.

maccoach or other guys who know advanced stats: when you say VORP has always overrated a guy like Nance, Jr., who at least last night looked horrible, how does that impact your understanding of the value of the stat. I mean, a 20 VORP for Nance makes him sound really, really good. Which, he's not, right? So, why view VORP as reliable at all if it's that off on a guy?
   5344. CFBF Rides The Zombie Ice Dragon Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5680649)
That series is going to extend Jeff Green's career, like, five years, isn't it?
   5345. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5680652)
I think Nance's PER is 20, not his VORP. PER tends to overrate bigs who shoot a high percentage and grab a lot of rebounds.
   5346. sardonic Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5680653)
I don't think all missed open shots are created equal; I don't think they're always merely bad luck (or at least I don't think we should assume that). As you note, nerves and fatigue likely play a role, and even if Rozier's hit a bunch of threes lately it's not like he's Kyle Korver. (I haven't seen Cleveland's numbers on this front; I'm sure they missed some open ones as well.)


I think fatigue is a super underrated factor, and explains a lot of what is commonly labeled choking. I remember a study a few years back that showed that free throw rates declined as a function of fatigue (can't remember exactly how they showed it), and other studies that show that the rate of dunks declines quarter over quarter and over the course of one's career.
   5347. JC in DC Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5680654)
My bad. Yes, he said PER.
   5348. sardonic Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5680656)
Here are my keys to the game tonight:

1. Pace - Styles make fights. The Rockets were middle of the pack in pace this season and the Warriors were the fastest team in the league (possessions wise). Granted, last season without CP3 the Rockets were 3rd. It'll be interesting to see how D'Antoni sets them up to play today given that. But at least this season, the Warriors want to play fast, and the Rockets have mostly won when the keep the pace slow in two classic "CP3 Games" in Games 4 and 5. The Rockets will have a much harder time beating the Warriors in a shootout that gets towards the 110 mark than a game in the 90s.

2. Rockets 3PA and 3P% - The Rockets main path to winning is launching a lot of three and making a lot of them. They have mostly shown themselves pretty effective at getting shots up regardless of the defense, so I think it's on the Warriors to lock in, contest and make good decisions about who to help off of when Harden inevitably breaks down the defense and the ball starts to swing.

3. Warriors turnovers - In Game 5 the Warriors tried to push the pace and impose their will on the game. The Rockets transition D was on point, and generated a number of turnovers off aggressive push ahead passes. Those are the turnovers that when they happen look ridiculous, like a QB throwing into double coverage, but 95% of the time are there for the offense. In Game 6, they were able to push pace more effectively and beat the Rockets coverage, winning the turnover battle 12 to 21.

In Game 6 even when the Warriors were down at the half, losing the three point battle by 21 (IIRC) but only losing the game by 10, they were winning the other two phases of the game, and I thought that if that held up the Warriors would win eventually. Essentially, I think the Rockets need at least 2 of these 3 things to go their way to win the game (or at least it's their main path to victory -- there's always that 5% chance of major in game injury, ejection, other fluke).

Thinking about this more, this is why CP3 is so valuable to the Rockets. He's the biggest component of factor 1, and contributes a lot to the other two as well. Without him at 100% (specifically I find it hard to believe that he can impact the game on defense running up and down the court with the Warriors 4 days after a bad hamstring pull) it's just a hard row to hoe for the Rockets.

I think D'Antoni and staff will have some adjustments for some of the newer action that the Warriors ran last game (KD/Klay and Steph/Klay pick and pop). The ball is in their court right now. Even if they win that coaching skirmish/battle though, I still think there's just too big a talent disparity, and in Game 7 I don't know if the Rockets have the stamina left to stop the Warriors transition attack. If they win the adjustments, I think it'll be a close Warriors win, with the Rockets in the game with a chance to win. If they don't it'll be a blowout.
   5349. JC in DC Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5680657)
So, starting a team. Healthy, young, fully-flourished MJ and LBJ are staring back at you, their backs to the gym wall. You've got first pick, and your buddy "Red" picks second. Whom do you choose? LBJ, right?
   5350. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5680659)
And yes: If James actually signs with the 76ers and Irving and Hayward come back, BOS/PHI will open a third chapter after Russell/Chamberlain in the 60s and Bird/Dr. J in the early 80s.
i don't think this is dependent on lebron.
Philly+LeBron vs. Boston will be a great series.

it would end in 4 or 5.
   5351. sardonic Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5680660)
I've been saying this even since the Heatles days, so nothing that's happened since has changed my mind: Lebron, easily. Narratives and outcomes aside, he's always just been the more dominant, more skilled player.
   5352. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5680665)
Timelining and all, LeBron had an NBA body younger than Jordan did. "Jordan in Karl Malone's body" continues to be pretty accurate.

I'm still impressed by his shrug-off of Morris, at age 33, 47 minutes into the game, two days after playing 46 minutes.
   5353. Thok Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5680670)
Lebron already has played more games (1143 regular season + 235 playoff) than Jordan (1072+179 playoffs).

Lebron is fifth in career playoff games, and has a decent chance of getting the all-time mark next year; he needs 24 more playoff games to pass Derek Fisher.
   5354. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5680671)
I could be off here, but I think the Jordan era rules would probably help LeBron. Defenses were less sophisticated and harder to have guys playing centerfield in the lane, and maybe it's just the Cavs/Warriors Finals that has me thinking this, but defenders are given a pretty good amount of leniency to handcheck LeBron right now.

I'd take LeBron, though I think we need to be careful to not diminish Jordan's claim. Jordan is a better scorer. I'd take LeBron at passing/rebounding/defense/team versatility so I'd give him the slight nod.
   5355. sardonic Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5680672)
I could be off here, but I think the Jordan era rules would probably help LeBron. Defenses were less sophisticated and harder to have guys playing centerfield in the lane, and maybe it's just the Cavs/Warriors Finals that has me thinking this, but defenders are given a pretty good amount of leniency to handcheck LeBron right now.


I'd agree, mostly because shooting was just less of a thing in the league, and that's probably the area where Lebron is relatively not as strong. His size/speed blend and ability to get to the hoop/play the post would relatively speaking be even more valuable in that era.
   5356. NJ in NY (Now with Toddler!) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5680673)
I still think Jordan is the GOAT (it's only a matter of time until LeBron passes him), but this...

I could be off here, but I think the Jordan era rules would probably help LeBron. Defenses were less sophisticated and harder to have guys playing centerfield in the lane, and maybe it's just the Cavs/Warriors Finals that has me thinking this, but defenders are given a pretty good amount of leniency to handcheck LeBron right now.

Is something I think so many people overlook. A LeBron that you have to either play one on one or send a hard double towards is...completely unstoppable.
   5357. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5680676)
Nance Jr: Russlan is correct. I would add that Nance shoots a high % and does not turn the ball over much, and as noted is a good rebounder. This was his age-25 season, and he put up a 20.2 PER. He was at 13.4 and 15.7 his first two years. Generally a ~20 PER guy is a borderline All-Star, top 40ish guy. Bradley Beal, for example, was 20.1 last year and 18.4 this year. But Nance cannot create any O on his own at all, cannot stretch the floor, and is not an impact defender although he is pretty decent on D. So he is a rotation guy, a 9th man energy guy.

GOAT: James. I disagree, however, that he is more "skilled" or "dominant" than Jordan was. Jordan from 1987 to 1991 was putting up metrics like James at his best. The difference is longevity at or near that level. James is already well ahead of Jordan in WS and VORP, both regular season and postseason. And James, like Iron Man falling out of the sky in Avengers I, is "not slowing down." If I had to win one NBA game, though, or one game to 21 in a gym...I might well still go with Jordan.

i don't think this is dependent on lebron.


James would make the 76ers EC favorites, not an up-and-coming team, and his presence would ratchet up the narrative to epic levels, given who he is, Irving's being in Boston, and James' postseason history against the Celtics. Add that to the history between the two franchises...if James signs in Philadelphia and Irving and Hayward are back, Boston-Philadelphia will instantly become the NBA's non-Golden State eyeball/click matchup.
   5358. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5680677)
So a poll could be, LeBron or Jordan (sorry KAJ) for:

One game
Peak seasons
Career

LeBron easily takes the last, IMO. The rest?
   5359. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5680679)
One game: Jordan
One series: depends on who I am trying to beat
Peak Season: Toss-up
   5360. Chicago Joe Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5680680)
I'd take LeBron at passing/rebounding/defense/team versatility so I'd give him the slight nod.


Really?
   5361. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5680682)
Younger LeBron was a DPOY candidate and he still has a defensive gear when he wants to. Jordan was no slouch in that department either.

Jordan needs more chasedown blocks, imo
   5362. perros Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5680683)
Whatev. LBJ astutely observed Jayson Tatum is a star. The Sixers had better get James or be content to look up in the standings for the foreseeable future.
   5363. Chicago Joe Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5680684)
Jordan was a dominant defender. LBJ, sometimes.
   5364. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5680685)
Whatev. LBJ astutely observed Jayson Tatum is a star. The Sixers had better get James or be content to look up in the standings for the foreseeable future.


This is what this thread needs: BOSTIGGLES.

   5365. sardonic Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5680687)
I'm definitely too young to appreciate Jordan at his fullest -- I remember being in elementary school watching him vs. the Jazz in 98, and earlier than that being dragged around some department store by my mom and watching John Starks melt down against against him on the electronics department TVs at some even younger age.

My impression though is that Jordan is the better pure scorer, but Lebron the more gifted passer and stronger overall defender. I've always like the Jordan in Malone's body comp -- at his peak in Miami Lebron was the most fearsome defender in the league, guarding 1-4 or even 1-5 with terrifying efficacy. Remember him shutting down Derrick Rose?

Curious to hear more first hand accounts of Jordan's defense from his peak.
   5366. Tin Angel Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5680689)
Jordan was a dominant defender. LBJ, sometimes.


Everyone takes plays off, including Jordan. I do find the argument about who was a better defender between James and Jordan to be interesting. I'd go with James based on his ability to guard so many different positions.
   5367. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5680690)
Jordan was a dominant defender. LBJ, sometimes.

Late era LeBron, sure. His first run in Cleveland and then the Miami years he was insane. Those Miami teams won championships on defense.
   5368. Internet Commenter Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5680695)
So, starting a team. Healthy, young, fully-flourished MJ and LBJ are staring back at you, their backs to the gym wall. You've got first pick, and your buddy "Red" picks second. Whom do you choose? LBJ, right?

If I'm not stuck with Jordan retiring a bunch of times, then I'd pick him. In general, I think he'd be even better in today's NBA. There's the obvious stuff like him already being an outstanding perimeter defender with long arms and big hands who could switch, having less physical defenders to impede him, and prioritizing his 3P shooting (see: 83.5% career FT shooter). I feel like he'd benefit tremendously from the cultural changes as well. A competitive lunatic like that would be under more scrutiny with access to more data and better training. I don't think he'd be gambling all night in today's league or playing baseball mid-career. He'd be psychotically obsessed with proving every Twitter troll wrong. He'd be playing around smarter and better players.
   5369. Chicago Joe Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5680697)
Don't have a lot of time to engage this right now, but Jordan was 1st team all defense nine times and won DPOY. He was feared (I know, I know) as a defender in ways Lebron wasn't.

Watch this, maybe?
   5370. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5680698)
I don't think he'd be gambling all night in today's league


Because that's not part of the league culture anymore?

Those are timelining arguments that I hadn't thought about before.
   5371. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:50 PM (#5680699)
I, for one, am impressed that Michael Jordan stole the ball from Kevin McHale in a knee brace attempting to lead the fast break.

In seriousness, Jordan was also a great defender. IMO, LeBron was and is more versatile as a defender. There were also a lot of not-so-athletic scrumps playing in his era.

LeBron was also all-defense first team 5 years in a row, and was considered in the 4th quarter of a game that mattered, the best wing defender in the NBA bar none.
   5372. Chicago Joe Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:51 PM (#5680700)
I don't know that you can get away with it now to the extent you could back then, pre-social media and (basically) internet.
   5373. NJ in NY (Now with Toddler!) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:51 PM (#5680701)
Late era LeBron, sure. His first run in Cleveland and then the Miami years he was insane. Those Miami teams won championships on defense.

I think Dwight Howard deserved the '09 DPOY, but that is my favorite LeBron defensive effort to look back on. His athleticism was at his peak and that was around the beginning of the chasedown block thing. His team finished 3rd in defensive rating while giving minutes to the following guys:

Great: LBJ (15%) Varejao (12%)

Good: Delonte (11%) Ben (7%)

Average: Z (9%)

Bad: Month Williams (14%)

Terrible: Booby (9%) Wally (8%) Sasha (5%), Hickson (4%)

Very rough analysis and not sure how this compares but giving 40% of your playing time to guys who are/were either bad or terrible defenders seems like a lot for a team that is 3rd in defensive rating.
   5374. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5680702)
Jordan wasn't even the best defender on his own team during those title years.

It's a peculiar argument to take up that the hypercompetitive guy who walked away(or was secretly suspended) from the game twice while elite, and stayed out all night gambling/boozing/whatever would change his decisions because @Queef6969 told him he wasn't the GOAT.
   5375. SteveF Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5680705)
The context of the league has changed too much to really compare Jordan and LeBron. Some changes are obvious -- rules changes, floor spacing, player conditioning -- and others we don't talk about because those discussions go nowhere (i.e. pharmacology).
   5376. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5680707)
James would make the 76ers EC favorites, not an up-and-coming team, and his presence would ratchet up the narrative to epic levels, given who he is, Irving's being in Boston, and James' postseason history against the Celtics. Add that to the history between the two franchises...if James signs in Philadelphia and Irving and Hayward are back, Boston-Philadelphia will instantly become the NBA's non-Golden State eyeball/click matchup.

the ingredients to reignite the rivalry are already here.

adding lebron would push the timetable forward and raise the sixers' odds of prevailing, but BOS and PHI are already on a collision course.
Whatev. LBJ astutely observed Jayson Tatum is a star. The Sixers had better get James or be content to look up in the standings for the foreseeable future.

with or without lebron, the sixers are likely to underperform in the regular season. that's the deal you make when you build around 7'2 injury prone unicorns like shaq or embiid or yao.
   5377. Tin Angel Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5680710)
I made the mistake of clicking on the comments of a Yahoo article.

Dr. John 41 minutes ago
The Cavs have a very talented team without Lebron. You just don’t see it because Lebron is such a ball hog.
   5378. PJ Martinez Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5680712)
I agree that Boston and Philly are on a collision course either way. I also think Philly probably needs to a third big piece to pull even for the next couple of years, if all the principals on both sides stay healthy; I am skeptical that Fultz or Saric can be that guy, though it's too early to know for sure. Philly's in a very good position to add such a player, whether it's LeBron or George or Kawhi or some player no one's currently thinking of.

I am really curious to see how usage shakes out among Boston's starting five next year, if everyone can stay healthy. Tatum should make a big jump in that regard (he was only at 19.5 during the regular season, 23.3 in the playoffs), and Hayward will likely get more possessions than Morris (23) and Baynes (17) did. That means Irving (31) and possibly Brown (21) should control the ball less; maybe Horford, too, but he was only at 18.4 this year, and he's a good enough facilitator that I hope he's still getting the ball a fair amount. Ideally, there's a ton of ball movement and everyone's involved a lot.

I think really balanced teams can be a lot of fun, even if they tend to win titles less often than teams that have top-five guys. I don't expect any of Boston's starting five to be among the ten best players in the league next year, but it seems like they could plausibly have four in the top twenty-five or so. (Of course, it's also possible that Irving and Hayward aren't quite the same after their latest injuries, that Tatum and Brown don't improve as much as Celtics fans hope they will, that Horford shows his age...)

I don't imagine non-Celtics fans will be interested in this level of detail, but this is a very good write-up of the decisions they'll face in the offseason, and the salary situations they're in next year and going forward.
   5379. strong silence Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5680713)
Jordan was great from Day 1. LeBron became great. Since you stipulated young I choose Jordan.
   5380. strong silence Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5680715)
If I am a GM drafting from the pool of all players from history, then Magic is my first choice because he made teammates play better and play to a championship level. I much preferred Bird when I was a young fan, and Bird had this same quality too. Jordan and LeBron could carry teams so they didn't demonstrate this skill like Magic and Bird did.
   5381. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5680716)
LeBron put up a higher VORP and BPM than Jordan in their age 21 seasons (Jordan's first year in league). LeBron benefitted from playing in the NBA for a few years before Jordan did.
   5382. Tin Angel Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5680717)
By what measure was LeBron not great from day 1? As a 19 year old rookie surrounded by zero talent he averaged 20/5/5. At 21 James averaged 31/7/6, Jordan 28/6/5.
   5383. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5680718)
Magic couldn't dream of carrying this Cleveland team to the Finals. I'm not sure Harden, Curry or Durant could either. Jordan could I think.
   5384. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5680720)
Wow: LeBron has nearly double the BPM and more than double the VORP than the second place player (Harden) this playoffs.
   5385. Booey Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5680723)
Jordan was great from Day 1. LeBron became great. Since you stipulated young I choose Jordan.


He was also a few years older than LeBron and got to develop in college rather than the NBA.
   5386. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5680724)
Younger LeBron was a DPOY candidate and he still has a defensive gear when he wants to. Jordan was no slouch in that department either.

LeBron is still capable of excellent defense but the Cavs' inability to be decent offensively without him doing everything on offense limits the amount of energy he can spend on defense.
   5387. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:19 PM (#5680725)
Hot take: Jordan would have been better if he could have entered the NBA out of high school.
   5388. TFTIO's onanism is a process Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5680726)
Hot take: Jordan would have been even better if he'd been drafted in 2004, instead of 1984.
   5389. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5680727)
Concur. Something like a rich man's Russell Westbrook? I think his rebounding numbers would be higher due to more discretionary rebounds going his way.
   5390. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5680731)
On the other end, who would have benefitted more from being drafted in 1984 vs. more recent times? Certainly less mobile big men.
   5391. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5680736)
I agree that Boston and Philly are on a collision course either way.


Quite possibly, but there are too many variables. Cleveland and Boston did wind up on a "collision course" of sorts, but in a very different way than people expected in preseason, as I pointed out. The constant was James, so James going to PHI probably removes a lot of that variability and ratchets it up immediately in the way that only he can.
   5392. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5680737)
Hot take: Jordan would have been better if he could have entered the NBA out of high school.

I seriously doubt that he would win 6 championships in this era. You have to be lucky and awesome to win a title much less six. Jordan may very well be the GOAT (I prefer Kareem and LeBron) but he played for a great coach and also had outstanding teammates. The Bulls won 55 games without him in 1994. The Cavs crumbled when he left Cleveland.

Scottie Pippen was the perfect complement to Jordan. People tend to forget that about Jordan. Jordan was able to share the defensive responsibility as he got older.

You have to be lucky and awesome to win a title much less six.
   5393. maccoach57 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5680739)
On the other end, who would have benefitted more from being drafted in 1984 vs. more recent times?


Dwight Howard, Jahlil Okafor, Andre Drummond. Howard less so probably.

   5394. Howie Menckel Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:36 PM (#5680740)
Chuck Daly would always say Jordan was the best defender in the league, and was always perplexed why the media seemed to pay so little attention to it. but yes LeBron has the versatility to have been better. not sure I'd say that he quite achieved that, though a good argument can be made.

and also yes, Pippen was defensively dominant as well. definitely the aspect of those teams that is most underrated. two relentless midsized guys created massive headaches.
   5395. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5680742)
Ron Harper was in that mix the second time around as another lengthy wing. I don't remember what Rodman was like as a wing defender but certainly he excelled against the post players of the time. Point being those Bulls teams could run out their own "lineup if death", at least for their time.
   5396. strong silence Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5680743)
I agree that Magic could not carry this Cleveland team because he isn't the GOAT. But substitute him for Thompson or Curry and GSW would have won four or five in a row.
   5397. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5680749)
I don't imagine non-Celtics fans will be interested in this level of detail, but this is a very good write-up of the decisions they'll face in the offseason, and the salary situations they're in next year and going forward.

yeah, that's pretty on point.

my thoughts:
if KAT is available, BOS should package kyrie, brown and whatever else is necessary to make that happen.
hayward's contract lines up well for BOS. when he expires, BOS can just roll his salary over to tatum.
appeasing smart does not seem likely, so i'd let him shop around for a sign and trade.
kyrie, not rozier) should be the odd man out. you could probably trade him to CHI for dunn, #7 (wendell carter) and something interesting. that would give you cover for smart and horford.

rozier / brown / tatum / hawyard / horford
dunn, morris, carter, baynes
I agree that Magic could not carry this Cleveland team because he isn't the GOAT. But substitute him for Thompson or Curry and GSW would have won four or five in a row.
thompson, maybe. curry, nah.
   5398. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5680750)
So the selection of Magic would demand the addition of other good-to-great players for him to catalyze. He certainly dragged James Worthy to a greater perception of "greatness" than he likely deserves.
   5399. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5680751)
...
   5400. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2018 at 03:52 PM (#5680752)
Agree that Magic would probably be an upgrade over Thompson. That seems like a pretty ridiculous swap, like Magic for Kevin Love for the Cavs.
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