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Monday, June 02, 2014

OT: Monthly NBA Thread- June 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: Vladimir Putin’s draft strategy, Stephen Drew’s breakfast, and whether Kevin has taken a material step toward harming Russell Westbrook.

andrewberg Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:57 PM | 2043 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nba, off-topic

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   801. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4727148)
The financial model of a "Big Three" wasn't the problem*, the problem was that Wade doesn't seem to be very good any more

This.

There was a funny tweet last night about who would have thought, during the summer of 2010, that the Joe Johnson contract might end up looking better than the Wade deal. Obviously, there are issues with that statement, but it's still incredible to realize how quickly Wade has fallen off the last 2 years. That's what is going to be fascinating about this situation. Wade is the guy with the tenure/organizational stature, but he's the problem right now.

Another good point I saw someone make on Twitter was that early on the Big 3 model worked because despite the Heat's lack of traditional presence in the middle, Wade and LeBron were athletic enough to play big and protect the rim. Neither guy can do that at the same level at this point.
   802. GregD Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4727154)
I feel sorry for LeBron. Watching him come into the huddle mid-game after a defensive breakdown that seemed only marginally related to anything he did but more to scrambling to cover for his teammates, he was saying over and over, "I'm sorry. My fault. My fault." He's the best player I've ever seen--sorry Chicagoans--but no one can bear that level of responsibility for every play of every game.

I hope for his sake that he leaves. It would be pathetic to watch him play better and better and still find the gravity of Wade's game and contract pulling him down.
   803. jmurph Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4727156)
Another good point I saw someone make on Twitter was that early on the Big 3 model worked because despite the Heat's lack of traditional presence in the middle, Wade and LeBron were athletic enough to play big and protect the rim. Neither guy can do that at the same level at this point.


This was demonstrated by everyone and their mother (i.e. Splitter) getting to the rim last night.

I agree with Kurt- if you've built a team good enough to get you to the Finals 4 straight years, you've done your job and then some. No one in the East is really poised to make a leap next year, other than theoretically the Bulls, if they can add a top scorer and, you know, the other thing. So I can absolutely see the three of them opting in for one more year, hoping Riley can build a better supporting cast, and hoping that someone will knock off the Spurs or that they'll finally get old.

   804. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4727158)
I still don't see LeBron leaving Miami. Bosh is on record as willing to stay for a less-than-max rate; those two guys + roster fodder is probably better than 50/50 to reach the Finals.
   805. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4727163)
It is utterly hilarious to me that people think a team that won 54 games and outscored its opponents by 4.8 ppg, and then blew threw three rounds of playoffs (12-3) before getting blitzkrieged by the best team in the league sucks except for one player and needs to be disbanded.
   806. jmurph Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4727164)
That would be hilarious if literally anyone on earth thought that.
   807. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4727165)
Oh, please. That is the general sentiment being expressed here and everywhere else.
   808. yo la tengo Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4727167)
Ray - it's pretty clear that what people think is that this team is not put together to win championships consistently, not that the team sucks. Compare to the Spurs - this week at least - they did kinda suck, but that is an awfully high bar
   809. jmurph Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4727169)
No it's really not. I'm fairly certain everyone thinks Bosh is an All Star level player, and while there is likely some disagreement on Wade, I'm fairly certain everyone thinks he's still a good to very good player. What he is not any longer is an elite player who can give you 75 games and carry the scoring load multiple times in a tough playoff series, which is what he is paid like.

Perhaps you don't understand that there is a salary cap?
   810. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4727171)
How much do the Heat depend on LeBron being an absolutely transcendent force, instead of "just" in that "probably the best player in the league, but not quite as good as Kevin Durant this particular season" level he seemed to occupy this year? It seemed, to my utterly untrained eye, that the Heat basically relied on LeBron to answer every question and address every match-up issue.

Who gives the other team's big guy fits on the block when Miami doesn't have a traditional big? LeBron. Who guards the ultra-quick point guard who Chalmers and Cole can't check? LeBron. Who does enough by himself to make a collection of unathletic spot-up shooters valuable? LeBron.

If the Heat need the LeBron who was faster than the "ideal" defender in the Raptors' tracking system, are they kind of boned, at least in terms of winning titles?
   811. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4727176)
Ray - it's pretty clear that what people think is that this team is not put together to win championships consistently, not that the team sucks.


I didn't say people think "the team" sucks. I said people think the team sucks except for LeBron.

And that is exactly what they all of a sudden think, after watching the most recent THREE GAMES.

Note the sudden comparisons to the 2010 Cavaliers.

And how could the team not be "put together to win championships consistently"? They just went to four Finals in a row, winning two of them. How the hell else could the team possibly be described?

If people think Wade is shot now, fine, but the rest of the players are same as they ever were, even Allen, who is the same player he was last year.

And even Wade average 17.8 ppg during the playoffs, shooting 50% from the floor. He shot 54% during the regular season, and average 19 ppg. Yes, the 19 point average is down, as are his games played as he's been given more time off to deal with nagging injuries, but his essential skills are intact to help a good team.

   812. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4727186)
Who gives the other team's big guy fits on the block when Miami doesn't have a traditional big? LeBron. Who guards the ultra-quick point guard who Chalmers and Cole can't check? LeBron. Who does enough by himself to make a collection of unathletic spot-up shooters valuable? LeBron.


Valiant attempt to match the "Shaft" lyrics, but ultimately you fell waaay short.
   813. Howie Menckel Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4727188)

"probably the best player in the league, but not quite as good as Kevin Durant this particular season" level he seemed to occupy this year?"

he was better than Durant this year, too, imo
   814. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4727191)
It is utterly hilarious to me that people think a team that won 54 games and outscored its opponents by 4.8 ppg, and then blew threw three rounds of playoffs (12-3) before getting blitzkrieged by the best team in the league sucks except for one player and needs to be disbanded.

Obviously the Heat were just beaten by a better team that put it all together and played its best game, and there's no particular embarrassment in that. But I do think that they might be compared to the Celtics of a few years ago when their core started to age. They were still capable of contending and even gave the Lakers a hell of a fight in the 2010 finals, but when your standard is set so high, even normal aging and slippage stands out. Bottom line is that the Heat don't have to be broken up, but they're definitely going to need some fresh blood going forward.
   815. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4727193)
Just out of curiosity, for someone who's never knowingly laid eyes on Chris Bosh in action & whose pro basketball reference is pretty much confined to the '70s, who from that era is he comparable to?
   816. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4727196)
(Andy -- just in case you don't otherwise see it, just asked you a book-related question in the "Is it time to worry about Derek Jeter" thread.)
   817. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4727198)
Valiant attempt to match the "Shaft" lyrics, but ultimately you fell waaay short.


So I should shut my mouth?
   818. bunyon Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4727208)
I can't remember if I posted this or not but the Heat definitely don't suck. They're also quite likely to reach the Finals next year if they stay together.

To have a better chance of winning that Finals: they need to be younger and they need to be fitter/better rested.

I think they should make a point of picking up young guys - big, small, whatever, make 'em young. Then do what the Spurs did this year and be sure the Big 3, certainly Wade, get plenty of rest. Screw seeding. The Heat can play LeBron and Wade every other game and make the playoffs from the East. Focus on being ready of that. Make May and June their March. That doesn't guarantee anything, of course, but IMO it will help.

FWIW, the only reason people are slagging on the Heat for losing in their 4th consecutive finals, is that their presantation 4 years ago didn't set 2 titles in 4 years as the goal. IF they had simply signed the contracts and said they'd fight hard to be their best, they'd be being celebrated for 2 titles in 4 years and reaching the finals in those 4 years. So, they have themselves to blame.
   819. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4727214)
Certainly Riley and Spoelstra might want to consider following Popovich's lead and trying to sell their stars on playing 28 minutes a game and keeping fresh. None of Miami's stars are young.

But I honestly don't think there's much chance LeBron can be talked into that.
   820. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4727215)
Just out of curiosity, for someone who's never knowingly laid eyes on Chris Bosh in action & whose pro basketball reference is pretty much confined to the '70s, who from that era is he comparable to?


No one, the three point shot has been a real game changer.

If people think Wade is shot now, fine, but the rest of the players are same as they ever were, even Allen, who is the same player he was last year.

And even Wade average 17.8 ppg during the playoffs, shooting 50% from the floor. He shot 54% during the regular season, and average 19 ppg. Yes, the 19 point average is down, as are his games played as he's been given more time off to deal with nagging injuries, but his essential skills are intact to help a good team.


I sort of agree with Ray. Wade is not a dead horse. He has some skills. His game doesn't mesh great with LeBron's because he's not a shooter, and he's probably not worth the max, but he's still a good player, just not the second best guy in the league anymore.
   821. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4727238)
I sort of agree with Ray. Wade is not a dead horse. He has some skills. His game doesn't mesh great with LeBron's because he's not a shooter, and he's probably not worth the max, but he's still a good player, just not the second best guy in the league anymore.


Yeah. Wade had an awful series both by the stat sheet and the eye test, but he did great in both departments against Indiana. I don't think he's done.

I think they should make a point of picking up young guys - big, small, whatever, make 'em young. Then do what the Spurs did this year and be sure the Big 3, certainly Wade, get plenty of rest. Screw seeding. The Heat can play LeBron and Wade every other game and make the playoffs from the East. Focus on being ready of that. Make May and June their March. That doesn't guarantee anything, of course, but IMO it will help.


I think this overestimates the difficulty of picking up young guys above replacement level. The problem isn't that the supporting cast was old, the problem is that they sucked. You can't just decide to get decent young players, those guys are under other teams' control. And the Heat don't have tradable assets or salary cap room. The ring-chasing veteran is the highest quality role player that the Heat are going to get.
   822. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4727276)


I didn't say people think "the team" sucks. I said people think the team sucks except for LeBron.

And that is exactly what they all of a sudden think, after watching the most recent THREE GAMES.

Note the sudden comparisons to the 2010 Cavaliers.


I think the issue people are pointing to is that the Heat appear to be getting worse every year. They cruised in the 2012 finals, they weren't much better than (and probably about even with) the Spurs in 2013, and this year they got worse and the Spurs got better. The trend does not bode well for the Heat.
   823. jmurph Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4727289)
I think the issue people are pointing to is that the Heat appear to be getting worse every year.


Right, I think they definitely got the wrong mix of supporting cast this year, but as others have mentioned, that's the hard part. I'm not at all counting them out from being able to get the right mix next year and beyond, but I think it's objectively a little bit tougher each year.

And getting out of the East 4 years in a row is both A. Extremely, historically impressive, regardless of the strength of the conference, and B. not the metric they're measuring themselves against. They want to win more titles.
   824. Manny Coon Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4727295)
Wade is I think at similar point in his career to Ginobili, where he's just banged up so often it's impossible for him to be consistent, but he's still very good when he's at the top his game. Just last year Ginobili looked cooked in the finals, but this year he was the healthiest he's been in a long and played like it. Ginobili is only paid $7.5 a year though, which helps the Spurs have more flexibility to cover for him.
   825. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4727303)
No one, the three point shot has been a real game changer.


No doubt. I need to go looking to see what's been written about the explosion of shot-taking from beyond the arc. Years ago I totaled up all the 3-point shots taken in the old American Basketball League (which instituted the 3-pointer), & of course the numbers for the ABA were easier to put my hands on, & my impression is that given big men (much less shooting guards) today put up more long shots in a season than entire teams used to, with the possible exception of the Kentucky Colonels of Louie Dampier & Darel Carrier. (Tolja my frame of reference is the '70s!)
   826. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4727318)
The early days of the NBA with the 3 also saw low volume and poor percentages. The big difference of course is that now people practice 3s and have offenses designed to get 3's. Given that the 3 when it was first introduced had previously just been a low percentage 2, it's not too surprising that players hadn't practiced them, sucked at them, and didn't know how to get higher percentage looks from what had previously been completely sucker's territory. We are probably finally at peak 3, as these things take a whole generation to filter through analytics/personnel/coaching/practice habits/children.
   827. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4727323)
They're also quite likely to reach the Finals next year if they stay together.

Summing up the problem with the NBA.
   828. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4727327)
The early days of the NBA with the 3 also saw low volume and poor percentages.


Oh, definitely. Memory tells me that some teams' season totals were pretty much barely in double digits early on, & those probably stemmed mostly from last-second half-court heaves with the buzzer sounding.
   829. Eddo Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4727329)
Summing up the problem with the NBA.

Is the Eastern Conference being significantly weaker really that big a problem?
   830. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4727342)
The Eastern Conference in the NHL is far weaker and has been for a few years now, too. I wonder what it is, or if it's really just random?
   831. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4727348)
Is the Eastern Conference being significantly weaker really that big a problem?

The problem is that only a handful of teams are really in contention for the championship every year.
   832. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4727358)
That's always true in the NBA. You don't win a title without, at minimum, a top five player on your team, with extremely few exceptions (the Pistons of 1989-90 and 2004 being the only exceptions in my lifetime, I believe, and even then if Isiah wasn't a top five player he was damn close). So every year only a small handful of teams really have any realistic chance at winning a title--which I think is a reason why tanking is much more visible in the NBA than in other sports.
   833. JJ1986 Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4727360)
(the Pistons of 1989-90 and 2004 being the only exceptions in my lifetime, I believe)


I think you have to include the 2010-11 Mavericks. And definitely this year's Spurs.
   834. Eddo Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4727367)
I think you have to include the 2010-11 Mavericks. And definitely this year's Spurs.

You could certainly make the case that Dirk was a top-five player in 2010-11.

This year's Spurs, you're right about, though. And they have probably a top-ten player all-time, along with arguably the top-one coach of all time.
   835. GordonShumway Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4727369)
The Eastern Conference in the NHL is far weaker and has been for a few years now, too. I wonder what it is, or if it's really just random?


I was wondering the same thing.

My first guess was that a lot of the imbalance had to do with the general population and economic decline of the major industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast - which mostly have teams in Eastern divisions/conferences, and the remarkable growth of cities/metro areas in the West Coast, Rocky Mountain states, and the Southwest - which mostly have teams in Western divisions/conferences.

In terms of revenues it probably doesn't mean too much in an era of salary caps and national TV deals, but I'm guessing most players/coaches/scouts/GMs/owners would rather live in growing, thriving areas of the country over declining ones.
   836. yo la tengo Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4727371)
In the last 21 years for the NBA, here are the championships by team

Houston 2 in a row
Bulls 3 in row
Spurs 5 (out of 6 appearances)
Lakers 5 (out of 7 appearances)
Pistons 1 (2 appearances)
Heat 3 (6 appearances)
Mavs 1 (2 appearances)
Celtics 1 (2 appearances)

Only 8 winners in 21 years. Not too many franchises have real opportunities in this sport yet baseball gets the bad rep about parity
   837. Booey Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4727379)
Certainly Riley and Spoelstra might want to consider following Popovich's lead and trying to sell their stars on playing 28 minutes a game and keeping fresh. None of Miami's stars are young.


The Spurs can get away with it though cuz they have one of the best benches in the league. Miami...not so much.

Is the Eastern Conference being significantly weaker really that big a problem?


Kinda, yeah. It's a bit annoying that teams in serious turmoil like the Pacers can make the ECF by default (the two teams they had to beat to get there averaged exactly a .500 record, and neither would have been even close to making the playoffs in the West), while better teams like the Rockets, Warriors, and Grizz are losing in the first round out West. We've also seen some horribly mismatched Finals in the last 15 years where a dominant Western team faced off against an Eastern team that had no business being there and the result was predictable and anti-climactic (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007). The Finals should be the best series of the playoffs, not another first round matchup between a top seed vs an 8th seed.*

* Not that the current Heat fit this description (though you couldn't tell by watching this series)
   838. jmurph Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4727384)
I'm in favor of at least looking at realignment, but I think it's very tough. The only Eastern teams that could possibly be moved to the West would be Chicago, Indiana, and Milwaukee, and 2 of those are high quality organizations, so you're not necessarily solving any perceived problem by swapping them out with the Wolves, Houston, Memphis, and/or New Orleans.
   839. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4727387)
Expanding the thought further... it's easy to see why superstars are inordinately important in basketball, comparing it to other sports. In a given game, how much of the game can one player impact?

In baseball, only 50% for a pitcher (though he gets a very strong impact on that 50%).
In football, exactly the same for a quarterback.
In hockey, only about 45% for a defenseman, about 35% for a forward.
In basketball, a star in a must-win game will play 85% of the game and be constantly involved on both ends.

Approaching it another way: If you had to choose to win one game against an unknown opponent with your family's lives on the line, and you had these options:

A baseball game with peak Pedro Martinez;
A football game with peak Joe Montana (or Peyton Manning, if you prefer);
A hockey game with peak Wayne Gretzky; or
A basketball game with peak Michael Jordan,

You would be absolutely stupid to pick anything but a basketball game with Jordan. He gets to exert far more influence over the game than any of the other guys.
   840. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4727396)
There was a funny tweet last night about who would have thought, during the summer of 2010, that the Joe Johnson contract might end up looking better than the Wade deal. Obviously, there are issues with that statement, but it's still incredible to realize how quickly Wade has fallen off the last 2 years. That's what is going to be fascinating about this situation. Wade is the guy with the tenure/organizational stature, but he's the problem right now.

Please don't make me feel bad for Dwyane Wade. He's probably my least favorite player in the league, at least among starters. But it continually amazes me how LeBron fans blame Wade for everything bad that happens despite the fact that Wade has done more for LeBron than anyone.

In the first year of the Big 3, Dirk Nowitzki had an amazing playoffs, but the best player in the Finals was Wade. Wade averaged an efficient 27/7/5 with very active D to Dirk's less efficient 26 & 10. All Miami needed to win that series was for LeBron to play like he was clearly one of the best 3 players on the court, and instead he was a tier below with Tyson Chandler, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, and Bosh. Yet looking back the narrative is that Dirk was simply unstoppable and the Mavs role players got hot. This narrative probably took hold because (a) the Heat won the next two years so they were retroactively viewed in a more favorable light and (b) Wade started missing games with knee problems, and he was never the best player on the Heat again, so everyone forgot how good he was in those Finals.

Since then Wade has willingly ceded control of the team to LeBron on and off the court despite having led them to one title pre-LeBron and very nearly to another in the Big 3 era. His inconsistency is blamed for their losses, and his contribution is overlooked when they win. In the 2013 Finals, Wade wasn't totally healthy and had an uneven series, and his strong performance in game 7 was clearly overshadowed by a vastly superior game from LeBron. But when LeBron seemed to have given up and lost the series in game 6 with three turnovers followed by a missed 3, Wade outjumped and outmaneuvered Kawhi for the rebound to keep the game alive and save LeBron from being the goat of the Finals for the 2nd time in 3 years.

Now, after a series in which the Heat were thoroughly outplayed at every level, the discussion is centered around whether Wade is such an anchor that LeBron needs to leave Miami. To be clear, Wade played poorly in the Finals and was a big part of the team's lack of competitiveness. However, the media and fans are acting like the Finals was a replay of the 2009 ECF, when LeBron flat-out dominated, his teammates didn't show up, and his superhuman effort couldn't single-handedly overcome an elite big man and shooters who briefly couldn't miss. That's not what happened. The Spurs executed a game plan in which they had Kawhi crowd LeBron and play him on an island to take away his passing lanes, daring him to lead as a scorer rather than as a playmaker. LeBron clearly wasn't comfortable with that, and rather than driving to the hoop, getting to the free throw line, and putting up 25 shots a game, he stuck with his preferred 15-20 shots, moving around the perimeter, and looking for his improved jumper rather than getting to the rim. LeBron uncharacteristically wasn't able to find good passing angles, and as a result he averaged just 4 assists a game and had at least as many turnovers as assists in every game but the last one. Would the Heat have won the series if LeBron played more aggressively? It sure doesn't seem like it, but acting as if LeBron did everything right and his teammates let him down is as bad as saying that MJ or Kobe would've willed his teammates to be better.

Last night it looked like LeBron was poised to put up a spectacular, iconic game when he had 17 points in the first 10 minutes. Then he disappeared for half the game, deferring to others and settling for jumpers in scoring 5 points over the next 24 minutes, while the Spurs took over with a 30-point swing. His final line was quite good due to that initial 10-minute burst, but he didn't take control of the game (or even try to) like many of us expected. Meanwhile, failing to run the court, close out on shooters, and play sound defense was an epidemic for the Heat to which no one was immune. The Heat getting blown off the court was a team effort, not a result of LeBron playing brilliantly and his teammates collectively being useless.
   841. Booey Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4727407)
#836 - You could actually extend it out further than 21 years. If you extend it to 30 years, you're still left with the same 8 teams. If you extend it to 35 years (so 1980, which is when some consider the start of the modern era of the NBA), your list of champs only increases to 9 (adds Philly)

Titles since 1980:

Lakers - 10
Bulls - 6
Spurs - 5
Celtics - 4
Pistons - 3
Heat - 3
Rockets - 2
Sixers - 1
Mavs - 1
   842. villageidiom Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4727412)
Summing up the problem with the NBA.
To me the problem is the proliferation of "stop the dribble at the top of the key, grab the ball with both hands, take 3 or 4 steps to the basket" not being a traveling call. I can understand the degree of judgment allowing wide latitude on when a player has actually given up the dribble. When he has both hands on the ball, there is no latitude, no judgment; he has given up the dribble.

What I describe above is part of the reason the Heat will win the East next year, so perhaps we're saying the same thing.
   843. villageidiom Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4727420)
A baseball game with peak Pedro Martinez;
A football game with peak Joe Montana (or Peyton Manning, if you prefer);
A hockey game with peak Wayne Gretzky; or
A basketball game with peak Michael Jordan,
This seems like one of those things where you wish for something but it's not a specific enough wish to help and it comes back to bite you. Like I pick the basketball game with peak Michael Jordan, but the rest of the basketball team is Pedro, Gretzky, Montana, and me.

If I had to pick one of those options with my family's life on the line, I'm making funeral arrangements.
   844. andrewberg Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4727422)
i like what the announcer said "not a headbutt that's going to hurt anyoen but a headbutt all the same"


Another fun parity stat: The West has been represented by one of SA (6 times), LA (7 times), Dallas (2), OKC (1) for the last 16 years.
   845. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4727424)
Just out of curiosity, for someone who's never knowingly laid eyes on Chris Bosh in action & whose pro basketball reference is pretty much confined to the '70s, who from that era is he comparable to?


A left-handed Bob McAdoo is kind of close.
   846. bunyon Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4727425)
I think this overestimates the difficulty of picking up young guys above replacement level. The problem isn't that the supporting cast was old, the problem is that they sucked. You can't just decide to get decent young players, those guys are under other teams' control. And the Heat don't have tradable assets or salary cap room. The ring-chasing veteran is the highest quality role player that the Heat are going to get.

No doubt. I'm not saying it's easy. If I had a plan to do it, I'd go be GM of the Heat. I'm just saying that the way to bolster aging superstars is not with aging middle tier players. I get why it works out that way.

As for my plan to have the Heat copy the Spurs, I agree, their bench wouldn't let them be a high seed, even in the east, on that plan. My idea is that they don't need to be a high seed. Had the Spurs not won the title this year, their having the regular season's best record would have meant little. The Heat need to get in the tournament, that's all.
   847. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4727430)
Why are people (Mike Breen) shocked that the Spurs came back from a 16 point early deficit? Have they watched NBA basketball? Have they watched this series?

He's the Knicks TV announcer. He doesn't see things like that regularly...
   848. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4727432)
but he's still a good player, just not the second best guy in the league anymore.


Anymore? Who ever considered Wade the second best player in the league?
   849. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4727436)
He's the Knicks TV announcer. He doesn't see things like that regularly...


Sure he does. It's just that he mentally blocks it out because it isn't pleasant for his listeners to listen to.
   850. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4727438)
Sure he does. It's just that he mentally blocks it out because it isn't pleasant for his listeners to listen to.

:: Sigh ::
   851. RollingWave Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4727445)
In the last 21 years for the NBA, here are the championships by team

Houston 2 in a row
Bulls 3 in row
Spurs 5 (out of 6 appearances)
Lakers 5 (out of 7 appearances)
Pistons 1 (2 appearances)
Heat 3 (6 appearances)
Mavs 1 (2 appearances)
Celtics 1 (2 appearances)

Only 8 winners in 21 years. Not too many franchises have real opportunities in this sport yet baseball gets the bad rep about parit


However, in that spane, the Thunders / Knicks / Nets/ Magic / Cav / Sixer / Pacers / Jazz / SuperSonics have also all made at least one finals.
   852. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4727453)
A left-handed Bob McAdoo is kind of close.


Thanks. Now I have at least a vague idea of his game.
   853. rr Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4727503)
Off topic, but RIP Tony Gwynn. And he played basketball:

pedrogomezESPN Pedro Gomez
Let's not forget Tony Gwynn was a standout point guard at SDSU. Played with Michael Cage, played four years and was an assist machine.
   854. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4727522)
So I should shut my mouth?

But you're talkin' 'bout Shaft!
   855. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4727523)
I'm having a "LeBron's missing the X factor" day, today.

Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?
   856. rr Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4727532)
There are a lot of very good points in 840, but, still, some basic facts going forward are:

1. Wade has a player option for 21.6M.
2. Wade only played 54 games this year, mostly so he would be ready for the Finals. The Finals came,they really needed him,and he played very poorly.
3. Wade has a lot of mileage, a thick body, plays a punishing style, and people have thought for years that he might age poorly. Sure, he could lose a little weight, and play in the Ginobili role--for Ginobili money. But that is no guarantee that he will be able to do what Ginobili has done, even assuming that he is willing to do the rest.
4. James is still the best player in the league, and probably will be for another two years, maybe three.

So it is, as I said, tricky. But yes, Wade may be taking more crap than he should, perhaps in part because nobody except Heat fans likes him. He was still a very good player overall this year; the issue will be how much of that he can maintain and how much money he wants.

The point about James' seemingly preferred playmaker approach and the SA game plan thereof was something that I noted prior to Game 5, and I think that is why people sometimes get the impression James is "going quietly." I think a good argument can be made that James is a little better all-around player than Jordan was, but Jordan is still the best I have seen at taking over a game in terms of getting buckets on his own when nothing else is working.

---

As to DiPerna letting us know how "hilarious" some of the Heat-related posts are, my advice is for Ray to check out Bask Ref a little more carefully. PER is a thumbnail stat, but a useful one. Here are some season/playoff PERs for Miami role players:

Cole 8.8/7.2
Chalmers 14.0/10.2
Battier 8.7/5.6
Allen 12.8/13.0
Andersen 18.5/17.7
Haslem 10.5/9.8

Having seen Lakers teams with bench guys like this, I know that it's tough to win at the highest level when you are playing guys with PERs around 10 or lower, no matter how good your top 2-3 guys are. For a guy to be a plus contributor at that level, he has to be really awesome on D. It can work if the top guys are good enough--but Bosh and Wade were not in the Finals.

As to bunyon's point, Miami did take flyers on Oden and Beasley, trying to bolster the bench. It didn't work. But I think they can probably find a couple of guys in their 20s who will play there and can help, if they are smart about it.


   857. bunyon Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4727536)
I guess Oden is young, isn't he? Okay, young and healthy.
   858. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4727541)
I guess Oden is young, isn't he?


Yeah, but of course he looked 50 when he was 18. As did LeBron.
   859. AROM Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4727546)
Certainly Riley and Spoelstra might want to consider following Popovich's lead and trying to sell their stars on playing 28 minutes a game and keeping fresh. None of Miami's stars are young.


That might work if they had an endless collection of guys who can come off the bench, get to the rim, shoot the 3, and play effective team defense. It would also help if the big 3 facilitated this by having Lebron and Bosh sign for Duncan dollars, and Wade sign for Ginobili money.

As it is, they took less money than the full max to sign with Miami, and the max salary in particular hurts Lebron as he could otherwise be making over 50 million. But if they want to keep up with the top team in the league, more sacrifices will be needed.
   860. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4727568)
The point about James' seemingly preferred playmaker approach and the SA game plan thereof was something that I noted prior to Game 5, and I think that is why people sometimes get the impression James is "going quietly." I think a good argument can be made that James is a little better all-around player than Jordan was, but Jordan is still the best I have seen at taking over a game in terms of getting buckets on his own when nothing else is working.


This will get me in trouble but I'm going to say it anyway: LeBron just doesn't have the insane, anti-social, maladjusted *need* to win of a Kobe, or an Isiah, or a Jordan. He just doesn't. He does indeed "go quietly."

Whether or not there's been an actual cost to that is another question.
   861. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4727574)
This will get me in trouble but I'm going to say it anyway: LeBron just doesn't have the insane, anti-social, maladjusted *need* to win of a Kobe, or an Isiah, or a Jordan. He just doesn't.
That's a strange thing to say about a guy wearing two championship rings.
   862. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4727581)
So what will the Heat do this offseason? I'm guessing that the Big 3 take massive paycuts down to $10-$11M, then they sign Lowry and Gortat for identical amounts, thereby adding the best free agents in the East at their positions of need and roughly eliminating the Raptors and Wizards as competitors. Sure it sounds crazy, but crazy like the Heat, right?
   863. Into the Void Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4727585)
They should force James to take a pay cut then trade him. He just doesn't want to win enough, it's his fault!! Jordan clearly would've swept the Spurs with LeBron's same teammates!
   864. andrewberg Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4727594)
So what will the Heat do this offseason? I'm guessing that the Big 3 take massive paycuts down to $10-$11M, then they sign Lowry and Gortat for identical amounts, thereby adding the best free agents in the East at their positions of need and roughly eliminating the Raptors and Wizards as competitors. Sure it sounds crazy, but crazy like the Heat, right?


Even if they somehow found a way to just add Lowry, that would a huge upgrade for them at a very weak position.
   865. rr Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4727602)
I'm guessing that the Big 3 take massive paycuts down to $10-$11M, then they sign Lowry and Gortat for identical amounts, thereby adding the best free agents in the East at their positions of need and roughly eliminating the Raptors and Wizards as competitors.


If something like that actually happens, look for a franchise player tag and a hard cap in the owners' next CBA proposal. And those things may be coming even if Miami doesn't make a big add.
   866. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4727604)
I think Gortat would be in many ways equally huge. A two-way center is something the Heat really haven't had at any point in the Big 3 era. Birdman is a fine player, but he's a better backup than starter, and who's the second-best center they've had? Joel Anthony? Haslem playing out of positon? Turiaf? A rim protector who can score some would be an enormous addition.
   867. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4727606)
If something like that actually happens, look for a franchise player tag and a hard cap in the owners' next CBA proposal. And those things may be coming even if Miami doesn't make a big add.

How would that prevent great players taking pay cuts to play together?

If you want to solve the problem, you need to get rid of the max salary.
   868. madvillain Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4727620)
This will get me in trouble but I'm going to say it anyway: LeBron just doesn't have the insane, anti-social, maladjusted *need* to win of a Kobe, or an Isiah, or a Jordan. He just doesn't. He does indeed "go quietly."


You should go watch some of his early work with Cleveland in the playoffs. For a guy not that hell bent on winning, he sure contributes a lot. Someone mentioned it upthread: maybe he doesn't have same auro around him like Kobe and Jordan that somehow scares/motivates his team, but you cannot tell me this guy doesn't burn to win.

His greatness is prima facie evidence for an incredible will to win. Ditto Tim Duncan. Not everyone has to be a Jordan/Kobe/Bird crazed eyes type winner. The cool cucumber types like Duncan and Lebron work just as well.

_______________________________

Moses, did you see the Cowley tweets? Word is GarPax are going "all in" this summer and are hell bent on acquiring one of Melo/Love. We'll certainly no more wrt to their plans after draft night. If they keep the picks that's a couple new salaries to take on. I'm guessing Dunleavy + picks to possibly move up into the top 8 to grab Randle, or they trade out completely. I won't be happy if they stand pat where they are. I don't think the caliber of player available outside the lotto, even in this deep draft, does much for them.
   869. rr Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4727622)
If you want to solve the problem


It is only a "problem" for LeBron James' agent. I am sure some media guy will point out that no one seems to be complaining about Spurs' core guys taking lower pay to help keep the dynasty going, but if The Heatles do it to get Carmelo Anthony, the internet will explode, since the Spurs do everything "the right way."

I seriously doubt that many or any of the owners want to get rid of the max salary. What they want is "cost certainty", as we used to hear during baseball play stoppages, more profit, and additional control over where star players can play. If Anthony goes to Miami for 10M, that will give them a pretext to say, "The system is still broken."
   870. madvillain Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4727628)
I seriously doubt that many or any of the owners want to get rid of the max salary


Heck no, it has the added benefit of union disharmony. I'd be pissed as heck if I was Lebron or Love or any other superstar about the max salary. Pay me what I'm worth.
   871. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4727631)
I am sure some media guy will point out that no one seems to be complaining about Spurs' core guys taking lower pay to help keep the dynasty going, but if The Heatles do it to get Carmelo Anthony, the internet will explode, since the Spurs do everything "the right way."


The fact that the big three on the Spurs have played for the team their entire careers and thus aren't perceived as mercenaries makes a huge difference.
   872. rr Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4727633)
And, of course, you could have a franchise tag that excluded a portion of the tagged guy's salary from the cap, thus creating further incentive for drafted stars to stay put. So, if for example, Minnesota could franchise Love, and offer him 25M a year, but have only 15M of that count on the cap, giving them more flexibility to add talent, that would be a reason for him to stay there.
   873. rr Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4727637)
The fact that the big three on the Spurs have played for the team their entire careers and thus aren't perceived as mercenaries makes a huge difference.


Yes, I know. But If James decides to play for about what Duncan is getting (10-12M) so that Miami can add talent, the motivations of the two guys are pretty much the same, IMO: winning>salary.
   874. Booey Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4727639)
His greatness is prima facie evidence for an incredible will to win. Ditto Tim Duncan. Not everyone has to be a Jordan/Kobe/Bird crazed eyes type winner. The cool cucumber types like Duncan and Lebron work just as well.


Agreed. The psychotic approach worked well for some of the greats, but it's not the ONLY way to be successful. Timmy now has as many rings as Kobe and only one fewer than Jordan. Kinda crazy to think that if that one famous rebound from last year had bounced a little differently, Duncan and the Spurs would've matched Jordan and the Bulls with a perfect 6 for 6 Finals record. I'm not sure I would've believed that was possible again.
   875. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4727645)
I don't think it's incongruous to suggest that a player who doesn't regard dominating at all costs as the only important thing can still win titles by virtue of being awesome.

Further, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that "Have fun with my teammates, play the game the right way and win as much as we can" appears to be closer to LeBron's worldview than "assert my own dominance over everyone on the court at all times."

Further still, I don't think it's easily demonstrable that this is a bad thing.

The real treat about these past two Finals is that there are very few players in history that would be as enjoyable to be teammates with than Tim Duncan and LeBron James. Bird and Magic, maybe Isiah, maybe Steve Nash... who else?
   876. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4727649)
This year's Spurs, you're right about, though. And they have probably a top-ten player all-time, along with arguably the top-one coach of all time.


I don't think Pop has an argument for best coach of all time. I have a ton of respect for Pop, a ton. But you're looking at either Auerbach or Phil Jackson, and Pop just isn't really even close.

Phil coached for 20 years. In 11 out of those 20 years, he won the championship. In 13 out of 20, he made the finals.

Pop coached for 18 years. He made the finals six times.

To put it another way, Pop made the finals about a third of his coaching career, an amazing mark. Phil made the finals more than twice as often.

Edit: obv there are timeline issues for Auerbach, which is why I didn't include him.
   877. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4727654)
Thought exercise: What three current players, if you could pick any three, would you put together on the same team as a Big Three and feel most confident that this team is utterly unbeatable with even semirespectable role players around them? Right now I'd be inclined to say LeBron, Durant, Duncan, but obviously Duncan is near the end of the line. LeBron, Durant and a really good big that can protect the rim... yeeeow.
   878. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4727657)
LeBron, Durant and a really good big that can protect the rim... yeeeow.

I would love to see what LeBron and Marc Gasol could do playing together, on both ends of the court.
   879. madvillain Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4727664)
What three current players, if you could pick any three, would you put together on the same team as a Big Three and feel most confident that this team is utterly unbeatable with even semirespectable role players around them?


Give me Lebron, Durant, and Anthony Davis. This is for both 2014-15 and the future. I don't like the vibes Howard gives off and I suspect his back is going to start limiting him very soon.
   880. GregD Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4727666)
Give me Lebron, Durant, and Anthony Davis
beat me to it.
   881. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4727667)
Good lord, I forgot about the Brow. Yeah, that Big 3 would be a wrecking crew, leaving destruction in its wake.
   882. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4727668)
What three current players, if you could pick any three, would you put together on the same team as a Big Three and feel most confident that this team is utterly unbeatable with even semi-respectable role players around them?
Lebron, Curry, Anthony Davis. I seem to be more concerned with defensive match-ups than most.
   883. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4727673)
I think Dwight Howard's back started limiting him last year. On your general point I expect you'll be proven correct and Howard will decline steeply. There again even barely able to move he might be useful enough as a seven-footer standing under the net on defense that he may play until he's 40 if he wants to, a la Dikembe Mutombo.
   884. madvillain Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4727678)
I almost went with Curry instead of Durant as well Los Angeles. Curry can run point when Lebron is resting and vice a verse. But then again Durant is Durant.
   885. GordonShumway Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4727688)
This won't happen, but it's fun to dream:

Let's say Lebron wants out of Miami, and so Riley conducts a sign-and-trade to get something before he walks:

1. Lebron, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan (Lebron traded to LAC for either Griffin or Jordan and whatever spare parts that'll make the trade work)

2. Lebron, Durant, Ibaka (Lebron traded to OKC for Westbrook and whatever spare parts that'll make the trade work)

Both LAC and OKC would jump at the trades. Miami would be on the losing end of both trades, but would do either if the alternative is letting Lebron walk for nothing.
   886. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4727691)

To put it another way, Pop made the finals about a third of his coaching career, an amazing mark. Phil made the finals more than twice as often.


San Antonio vs. Chicago and Los Angeles, though...

   887. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4727703)
I almost went with Curry instead of Durant as well Los Angeles. Curry can run point when Lebron is resting and vice a verse. But then again Durant is Durant.
I went with Curry over Durant not because I think Curry's BETTER than Durant, but from a team POV I want to be able to match up against both a big man and a small man, I want both outside shooting and rim protection, I want multiple playmakers. KD would be an awesome redundancy plan coupled with James, but don't want to be trapped with James having to be the playmaker all the time. Curry frees James up from a lot of those responsibilities while still providing that dangerous outside shooting that Durant gives.

James, Brow, and Durant as opposed to Curry isn't exactly weak. Like I said, I just believe defensive match-ups are more important than most other people.
   888. theboyqueen Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4727706)
Lebron, Curry, Anthony Davis. I seem to be more concerned with defensive match-ups than most.


Why would you go with Curry over Chris Paul?

Also, as amazing as Ginobili is, I think Rodman is clearly the best second round pick ever.
   889. theboyqueen Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4727708)
How about Lebron, Westbrook, and Ibaka?
   890. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4727714)
Why would you go with Curry over Chris Paul?
Because I want Curry's long-range scoring over Paul's playmaking. On a team with James, I think the shooting is more valuable than the gap in playmaking. (And really, Curry isn't a slouch in that area....)
   891. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 16, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4728045)
Choosing Curry over Durant for defensive matchup reasons seems a little curious. I am not sure there is a basketball player that Curry would defend better than Durant.

For one season, I like the Marc Gasol, LeBron, Durant idea.

I think this becomes more interesting with Durant and LeBron off the board. Noah, Paul, and Finals-version Kawhi Leonard would be a hell of a team.
   892. steagles Posted: June 16, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4728068)
I think this becomes more interesting with Durant and LeBron off the board. Noah, Paul, and Finals-version Kawhi Leonard would be a hell of a team.
how about paul/dirk/noah?
   893. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: June 16, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4728076)
Paul, Davis, Iguodala and a bunch of shooters would scare the bejeezus out of me.
   894. RollingWave Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4728157)
The financial model of the Heat is actually the most ideal model in the capped league, because with both a player and max cap the best player will be undervalued even at max, and obviously most player on min contract who can play are also undervalued.

The problem is that obviously, Wade. and they don't have enough of those low contract player that can actually play right now.

I think watching these teams another thing I realize is how hard it is for players to actually know their system well, that's why both the Heat and Spurs prefer to play players who have been around their team for a long time, or in the case where both player haven't, then they play older player who have been around and can adjust into the system faster.

The problem of course, is that older player who's been around the team a long time are also prone to hit the point of no return physically . See Battier and Anderson and Wade this year, and to some extend Manu last year.

So yeah, what I'm saying is that if you have a young team with high personnel turnover rates your almost surely going to play way under your talent potential. Unless you play a very single high pace style like the Suns or Rockets, but there is a fairly low ceiling for that in terms of playoff, and as you can see with the Rockets this year, when they try to make things a bit more complicated with that mostly young team it ended up pretty poorly.
   895. Publius Publicola Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:07 AM (#4728180)
That block of Wade by Splitter in the finale was pretty awesome but also underscored how far Wade has fallen athletically.
   896. Scott Lange Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:19 AM (#4728182)
I don't think Pop has an argument for best coach of all time. I have a ton of respect for Pop, a ton. But you're looking at either Auerbach or Phil Jackson, and Pop just isn't really even close.

If you're only counting rings/finals, I guess, but don't you have to look at what players the coaches were working with, at least a bit? And if you do, isn't it obvious that every one of Jackson's championships has come with a #2 player who was a top-20ish-all-time player in his prime, while Pop won 1 with a #2 player who was a top-30ish player about to retire, and 3 more with a #2 who was a top-100ish or 150ish player? I would also think you would give more credit to a guy who showed an ability to succeed with more than one system (advantage: Pop) and give more credit to a guy who consistently turned late draft picks and castoffs into valuable players (advantage: Pop). Actually, I don't see any argument for Jackson other than "count the rings," which isn't terribly compelling to me.
   897. Arva Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:11 AM (#4728193)
Nice little article on Boris Diaw at Grantland:

Mon Frere Boris
   898. Spivey Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4728235)
Ridiculous stat of the day: Indiana's had 4 of the top 6 guys in Defensive Win Shares this year. Their 5th starter, George Hill, was 20. Their starters alone had 25.2 Defensive Win Shares.
   899. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4728287)
If you're only counting rings/finals, I guess, but don't you have to look at what players the coaches were working with, at least a bit? And if you do, isn't it obvious that every one of Jackson's championships has come with a #2 player who was a top-20ish-all-time player in his prime, while Pop won 1 with a #2 player who was a top-30ish player about to retire, and 3 more with a #2 who was a top-100ish or 150ish player? I would also think you would give more credit to a guy who showed an ability to succeed with more than one system (advantage: Pop) and give more credit to a guy who consistently turned late draft picks and castoffs into valuable players (advantage: Pop). Actually, I don't see any argument for Jackson other than "count the rings," which isn't terribly compelling to me.


I would say it like this. There are two people in the conversation for best combined organizational leaders/coaches: Red and Pop. The argument probably depends on timelining and how much of the Celtics' success was Red's dealing and how much was just having Bill Russell. Even if you discount Red's 1950s/1960s deals, his 1978-1980 work has to be the best ever.

If I got 50 billion dollars and bought a moribund franchise, and had a time machine to pull anyone from history, I still think I'd hire Pop.

But if the question is who has the most-impressive coaching record of all time, I don't see how you get beyond Red and Phil. All the caveats about Phil are true, but still look what he did with what he had. Babe Ruth had some advantages too but when you dominate in that style, no tinkering is going to lift somebody above him.
   900. AROM Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4728289)
The real treat about these past two Finals is that there are very few players in history that would be as enjoyable to be teammates with than Tim Duncan and LeBron James. Bird and Magic, maybe Isiah, maybe Steve Nash... who else?


Isiah doesn't seem to fit. He seems like the kind of teammate where you better make sure to stay on his good side. Adrian Dantley sure didn't enjoy playing with him. I don't know who is to blame for whatever bad blood is there, but I don't think you could find a star teammate of Magic, Bird, or Nash for example, who would ever say a bad word about them.
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