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Saturday, February 02, 2013

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - February 2013

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: abstinence and William Howard Taft.

The District Attorney Posted: February 02, 2013 at 11:56 AM | 1151 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   301. Booey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4366742)
I'm not sure where I'd put Karl Malone here. But to me, the fact that he didn't consistently have better teams than Robinson/Olajuwon despite having John F'n Stockton is enough to know I'd rank him below both of them.


The playoff results of the 90's Jazz vs 90's Spurs seems to contradict this statement. I don't know where I'd rank Malone compared to Robinson/Olajuwon either, but the Stockton/Malone Jazz reached the WCF 5 times in 7 years and twice made the Finals, whereas the Spurs with Robinson as their #1 only made one WCF and never reached the Finals. Plus the Jazz beat them all 3 times they met in the playoffs (94, 96, 98), twice without HC. So I'd say the 90's Jazz WERE consistently better than the 90's Spurs, despite similar regular season records (and if regular season records are all that should be considered, you'd also have to conclude that LeBron's teammates his last two seasons in Cleveland were better than Wade and Bosh, or that the 2000's Mavs were on par with the Lakers and Spurs). If you'd said that without Stockton than Malone's Jazz wouldn't have been any better, then yeah, I'd agree with that. But with him I think they pretty clearly were.

90's Jazz vs 90's Rockets is a little tougher, since they split 4 playoff series against each other. And Hakeem had Drexler for 3 of those series and Barkley for 2, so it's not entirely fair to say that he was doing it all by himself whereas Malone had Stock.

   302. thok Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4366744)
Not as good a fit as Robinson's success from his rookie year though I suppose.


The 1989 Spurs added Terry Cummings, Sean Elliot, and a full season of point guard play split between Maurice Cheeks and Rod Strickland. Those guys helped the Spurs improve as well.
   303. Booey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:35 PM (#4366749)
I don't know if this has been discussed before, but what do people think about positional adjustments in ranking basketball players? Since even a great defensive guard or small forward can't anchor an entire teams defense like a center can, it seems that a disproportionate amount of the greatest players ever (say top 20) are centers or tall PF/C's - Robinson, Duncan, KG, Olajuwon, Wilt, Russell, Shaq, Kareem, Moses. Should this be adjusted for in the rankings, or is that just the way things are?

(semi-related, but from someone who doesn't follow football much, aren't a disproportionate amount of the best players/MVP's quarterbacks? Maybe I'm wrong)
   304. Spivey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4366750)
The playoff results of the 90's Jazz vs 90's Spurs seems to contradict this statement. I don't know where I'd rank Malone compared to Robinson/Olajuwon either, but the Stockton/Malone Jazz reached the WCF 5 times in 7 years and twice made the Finals, whereas the Spurs with Robinson as their #1 only made one WCF and never reached the Finals. Plus the Jazz beat them all 3 times they met in the playoffs (94, 96, 98), twice without HC. So I'd say the 90's Jazz WERE consistently better than the 90's Spurs, despite similar regular season records (and if regular season records are all that should be considered, you'd also have to conclude that LeBron's teammates his last two seasons in Cleveland were better than Wade and Bosh, or that the 2000's Mavs were on par with the Lakers and Spurs). If you'd said that without Stockton than Malone's Jazz wouldn't have been any better, then yeah, I'd agree with that. But with him I think they pretty clearly were.


Houston, San Antonio, and the Jazz were all basically equal. The Spurs were on the short end of the stick in the playoffs a lot of that time, but I would generally argue that the regular season is a much better barometer of team talent than the playoffs. I think a lot more of the playoffs is randomness that is after-the-fact turned into narrative. I'm not saying the playoffs don't matter - but I think if Robinson had Stockton and Malone had Avery Johnson, whatever minimal gap that now exists would have been much wider.

Harvey, for sure. I think of LeBron how I think my parent's generation things about Magic Johnson. LeBron can do everything. I think that if you asked him to play SG, SF, or PF he'd be the best player at the position in the NBA. At PG, the only person in the discussion would be Chris Paul. At center, I think he'd be the best with Howard hurt. He's the most versatile player I've ever seen.
   305. Booey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4366758)
I think a lot more of the playoffs is randomness that is after-the-fact turned into narrative. I'm not saying the playoffs don't matter - but I think if Robinson had Stockton and Malone had Avery Johnson, whatever minimal gap that now exists would have been much wider.


I agree to a point, but when one team consistently goes deeper in the playoffs than the other AND beats that team in head to head matchups, I don't think it can always just be a coincidence either. The Robinson with Stockton vs Malone with Avery Johnson point is probably true, but that's not what I was disputing; I was disagreeing with the assertion that even WITH Stockton Malone's Jazz weren't any better. I think that they were.

As far as regular season goes, the "If Robinson was already winning 55-60 games by himself, think of how many he'd have won WITH Stockton!" mindset makes sense on paper, but that's the same thought process that caused a lot of casual fans to predict the 2011 Heat and 2013 Lakers would win 70 games. But the truth is, it's REALLY hard to win more than 55-60 games consistently no matter who's on your team. The Duncan/Robinson Spurs didn't really win many more games than the Robinson only Spurs, but they had much better playoff success. LeBron+Wade+Bosh didn't win more regular season games than LeBron+crap did in Cleveland, but they had much better playoff success. Adding another star to a team that's already near the top of the standings seems to improve playoff performance without adding many more regular season wins. That's why I don't think regular season success is necessarily the most accurate thing to consider in these types of rankings.
   306. smileyy Posted: February 10, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4366760)
Robinson > Olajuwon > Shaq > Duncan > Garnett


I think if I were playing the game that rr proposed, of which 20-year old you'd want to built a team around, knowing their career arc, I think Shaq takes a serious hit because he'll get fat and bored. I'd put below the other 4 listed, and maybe even a bit lower, despite his clear physical/skill superiority.

Edit: and I'd still probably take LeBron over all of them. Has anyone checked out his month of February?
   307. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 10, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4366772)
I would generally argue that the regular season is a much better barometer of team talent than the playoffs. I think a lot more of the playoffs is randomness that is after-the-fact turned into narrative.

While granting that the after the fact narrative stuff does happen, I still totally disagree. Unlike baseball, the better team wins the overwhelming majority of playoff series and the best team wins the title most years (the best counters to that are the Mavs and most recent Pistons, but we've gone over both of those and there are legit arguments both were the best teams those seasons). Unless you're telling me the Bulls were better than the Heat the last 2 seasons...

---

I think if I were playing the game that rr proposed, of which 20-year old you'd want to built a team around, knowing their career arc, I think Shaq takes a serious hit because he'll get fat and bored. I'd put below the other 4 listed, and maybe even a bit lower, despite his clear physical/skill superiority.

I still take Shaq over KG, knowing all of that. But I guess I take Duncan, so I guess that means I'll take Duncan over KG.

---

DK and anyone else who'd put Dirk ahead of Kobe, what's the thought process there?

I grew up on Magic and Bird and Jordan, Shaq and Duncan and Hakeem, and I gotta think that right now Lebron James is playing the best basketball that's ever been played in the history of the NBA.

I've thought for some time now he could be GOAT, and this is still something I never thought I'd see.

Since even a great defensive guard or small forward can't anchor an entire teams defense like a center can

I'd say both Pippen and LeBron did just that from the SF spot (though LBJ does get plenty of minutes of PF these days).
   308. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:00 PM (#4366774)
I think if I were playing the game that rr proposed, of which 20-year old you'd want to built a team around, knowing their career arc, I think Shaq takes a serious hit because he'll get fat and bored. I'd put below the other 4 listed, and maybe even a bit lower, despite his clear physical/skill superiority.
We've talked a lot about how little talent surrounded KG, Duncan and Robinson, and Hakeem, but when you look at those Shaq-championship Laker teams, you get Shaq, Kobe, and then... what? One-dimensional Glen Rice, Ron Harper, AC Green, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Brian Shaw... some useful guys, but not an overwhelming group. Shaq made that team. His career post Miami-'05 has left a bad taste in everyone's mouths, but from 1992 to 2003, Shaq was unquestionably the most valuable player in basketball above Hakeem, Robinson, KG, Kobe, or whomever, and his value is limited only by his inability to keep his fat arse healthy and on the floor. I take him for his peak, because his 10-year peak is monstrous.

Edit: and I'd still probably take LeBron over all of them. Has anyone checked out his month of February?
I'll say it again: Right now Lebron James is playing the best basketball that's ever been played in the history of the NBA.
   309. bigboy1234 Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:05 PM (#4366778)
Completely random question (and I better get some opinions!) but who do you think is better right now, Westbrook or Kobe? I can see the argument going either way, so someone convince me.
   310. Spivey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:19 PM (#4366787)
While granting that the after the fact narrative stuff does happen, I still totally disagree. Unlike baseball, the better team wins the overwhelming majority of playoff series and the best team wins the title most years (the best counters to that are the Mavs and most recent Pistons, but we've gone over both of those and there are legit arguments both were the best teams those seasons). Unless you're telling me the Bulls were better than the Heat the last 2 seasons...


Well last year doesn't count because Rose got hurt in the playoffs. And that's the main reason the 2 teams didn't play an epic ECF. But, I do generally think that the Bulls and Miami are basically at a similar level when Rose is 100% healthy. LeBron is much better than 100% Rose, but I think Deng/Noah is similar to Wade/Bosh (a little worse) and then I'll take the rest of the Bulls every day by a big margin. 2 years ago, Miami won in 5 games but it was a very hard fought series.

The Mavs that won the title were actually one of the weaker Mavs models IMO, they just happened to make 50% of their 3's in the playoffs. Good for Nowitzki that he got his ring though.

I don't know I'd say the best team wins the title most years. However, what the NBA does have is one of the best 2 or 3 teams wins the title almost every year. I think people just say after the fact, oh, Miami was the best team last year. But really, people were saying 3 weeks before they won it all in this thread that they weren't balanced enough to beat the Pacers. It took LeBron playing at a level that was unsustainable, even for him, for them to win it all. And it's not like there weren't close series along the way.

Then again, I look at Boston as a better example of "playoffs randomness" than "regular season doesn't show the best teams", though in their unique case there's some of both.
   311. Spivey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4366790)
I think it's a toss up for who I'd rather have the rest of this year, but I think Kobe's been clearly better so far this year.
   312. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4366798)
I think it's a toss up for who I'd rather have the rest of this year, but I think Kobe's been clearly better so far this year.

Agree with this.
   313. Squash Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:32 PM (#4366800)
Right now Lebron James is playing the best basketball that's ever been played in the history of the NBA.

The way LeBron is getting to the rim right now is absolutely amazing. There were three or four times today when I thought there was no way he's getting there and then suddenly he's dunking or shooting a 2-foot layup. He's been a little sloppy in some of his entry passes lately but I agree this is the best basketball we've ever seen.

His career post Miami-'05 has left a bad taste in everyone's mouths, but from 1992 to 2003, Shaq was unquestionably the most valuable player in basketball above Hakeem, Robinson, KG, Kobe, or whomever, and his value is limited only by his inability to keep his fat arse healthy and on the floor. I take him for his peak, because his 10-year peak is monstrous.

I'll take prime Shaq over Robinson or Hakeem as well, simply because he was completely impossible to defend other than to Hack A Shaq him (which wasn't that effective anyway), which you couldn't do with a Hakeem or Robinson on the floor. He used to destroy other good centers because they couldn't just rack up fouls on him and put him on the line. He used to dunk all over Robinson in particular. He was probably the worst basketball player of the three in a fundamentals sense in that he depended on his physical gifts (tremendous size and insane quickness for that size) more than they did to be effective, but nonetheless he did have that size and quickness.
   314. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4366802)
Did I put dirk over Kobe? I put Duncan and kg over him but - without checking the #s - I'd probably pick kobe over nowitski
   315. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4366805)
[310] The minute distribution issue between regular and postseason makes me wary of saying regular season is a better example of the "best" team. It really depends on how you want to frame "best."
   316. Spivey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4366806)
Shaq was a very annoying player as a basketball fan in that he lived in the gray area of what's a charge, what should be allowed in backing down a huge defender (like Robinson), etc. I'm obviously ultra biased, but as a Spurs fan back then I thought he was allowed way more leeway in backing down a 275 pound defender with good position than he should have been.
   317. GregD Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4366814)
I'll take prime Shaq over Robinson or Hakeem as well, simply because he was completely impossible to defend other than to Hack A Shaq him (which wasn't that effective anyway), which you couldn't do with a Hakeem or Robinson on the floor. He used to destroy other good centers because they couldn't just rack up fouls on him and put him on the line. He used to dunk all over Robinson in particular. He was probably the worst basketball player of the three in a fundamentals sense in that he depended on his physical gifts (tremendous size and insane quickness for that size) more than they did to be effective, but nonetheless he did have that size and quickness.
Shaq's offensive moves are underrated. This dunk on Robinson--not the All-Star game one--is a fairly complex set of moves. If it finished with a fallaway bank shot, it'd be remembered for the footwork. He starts facing, puts his back to the basket, fakes to the middle, steps through. Since he ends with a dunk that makes Robinson look irrelevant, the whole move looks easy but it isn't. dunk

Even the famous brute-strength dunk over Mutombo in the Finals comes from a terrific drop step.
   318. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4366815)
But really, people were saying 3 weeks before they won it all in this thread that they weren't balanced enough to beat the Pacers.
Only because Bosh was hurt. Before that, nobody was saying Indy was going to beat the Heat.

RE Nuggets at Boston: How can a bunch of guys stare at the monitor at an obvious out-of-bounds call and still make the wrong call? Even the Boston announcers were calling it against their own team. I'm just saying.
   319. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 10, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4366817)
Shaq's offensive moves are underrated. This dunk on Robinson--not the All-Star game one--is a fairly complex set of moves. If it finished with a fallaway bank shot, it'd be remembered for the footwork.
This. There've been plenty of big strong guys in the NBA who couldn't find their way around other big strong defenders. Shaq did it with regularity, and he did it with ease.
   320. Spivey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4366822)
This. There've been plenty of big strong guys in the NBA who couldn't find their way around other big strong defenders. Shaq did it with regularity, and he did it with ease.


I don't know that they're underrated. At least not on this thread. But I'm not going to just hand wave away all the crap he got away with because he happened to also have good footwork.
   321. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 10, 2013 at 10:11 PM (#4366823)
I don't know that they're underrated. At least not on this thread. But I'm not going to just hand wave away all the crap he got away with because he happened to also have good footwork.
This goes both ways. You could have whistled Shaq to the free throw line literally every time he got the ball in the post, but we certainly handwave away the pounding he took simply because he was big and strong. Shaq detractors spend a lot of time gnashing their teeth over how Shaq bowled over guys, but they never talk about how much abuse their own team rained down on O'Neal that they never got whistled for.
   322. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4366826)
del harris, coach of the bucks for a while and long-time assistant, joked several times if the officials called all the fouls committed by milwaukee against shaq when the two teams played del would have to suit up 3 people from the stands to get 5 guys on the floor

edit

i have my wording messed up in that the quote came after he left milwaukee and he was interviewed about defending shaq by the journal-sentinel. sorry about that. i remember him saying that but got the timeline confused.
   323. Spivey Posted: February 10, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4366831)
This goes both ways. You could have whistled Shaq to the free throw line literally every time he got the ball in the post, but we certainly handwave away the pounding he took simply because he was big and strong. Shaq detractors spend a lot of time gnashing their teeth over how Shaq bowled over guys, but they never talk about how much abuse their own team rained down on O'Neal that they never got whistled for.


Sure. The reason why I hated him was how well a team was going to do in the playoffs against the Lakers mattered more on how refs were going to call the Shaq postups than on anything about how well people were playing.
   324. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4366832)
322: Others made that joke too - and for good reason.
Shaq's -skills- were underrated most, if not all, of his career.
   325. rr Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4366833)
Harris was also the Lakers' coach when Shaq got here back in the 90s.

And yes, I have never seen anybody, even Jordan, play quite like James is playing right now, although Jordan's best seasons stack up very well with James' best. People will be arguing about it 20 years from now.

This guy is perhaps the next big thing:

His genetic credentials are impeccable. Mitchell Wiggins played in the NBA for six seasons and played professionally for nearly 15. Marita Payne-Wiggins won two silver medals for Canada in the 1984 Olympics. Andrew Wiggins flashes sprinter speed in the open floor, boasts a 44-inch vertical and his dunking ability has made him a YouTube sensation. His Go-Go Gadget arms and quick feet give him the tools to become an elite-level NBA defender.


Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-basketball/news/20130207/andrew-wiggins/#ixzz2KYW2ctt5



Andrew Wiggins
   326. rr Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:05 PM (#4366836)
Shaq's -skills-


He was extremely well-coordinated, which combined with his size and unusual body shape, made him, like James, a physical anomaly even by NBA standards, and more or less unguardable at his peak.
   327. GregD Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:06 PM (#4366837)
Sure. The reason why I hated him was how well a team was going to do in the playoffs against the Lakers mattered more on how refs were going to call the Shaq postups than on anything about how well people were playing.
There's definitely truth to this. One way of thinking of it emphasizes the stuff Shaq got away with. The other is that it proves that a team simply could not beat him by playing basketball. They needed to not only do stuff--like Mutombo's ridiculous efforts to basically hog tie him--and to get away with it in order to have a chance. Which is another way of saying you couldn't beat Shaq at basketball; you could only beat him--in those good 10 years--by trying to play something else entirely. I'm not sure how many guys that has been true of. Wilt, from what people say. Mikan, I suppose, way back. The early K A-J?

On footwork, watching Shaq take his man to the middle, then snake his trailing foot around the defender's back foot, then suddenly spin to put the man on his ass, that's a move coaches have been teaching big men since the 1920s, and there aren't 15 people who could do it well in the NBA in the years I've been watching.

Shaq also became a much better passer over time.

I would totally pick Duncan over Shaq as a virtual GM for all the reasons people say--defense, maturity, team play, conditioning. But if you had a 7-game series to win starting next week? I would take Shaq.

Edited to add--obviously I don't literally mean next week, as Shaq's fat ass would get schooled Feb 17.
   328. The District Attorney Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4366838)
Speaking of Kidd, ABC just pointed out that 1994-95 co-ROYs Kidd and Hill are going head to head on the court in 2013.
Given that Glenn Robinson was the #1 pick that year, it'll be funny if next season, Glenn Robinson III, Kidd and Hill are all in the league but the Big Dog has been retired for nine years.

what do people think about positional adjustments in ranking basketball players? Since even a great defensive guard or small forward can't anchor an entire teams defense like a center can, it seems that a disproportionate amount of the greatest players ever (say top 20) are centers or tall PF/C's - Robinson, Duncan, KG, Olajuwon, Wilt, Russell, Shaq, Kareem, Moses. Should this be adjusted for in the rankings, or is that just the way things are?

(semi-related, but from someone who doesn't follow football much, aren't a disproportionate amount of the best players/MVP's quarterbacks? Maybe I'm wrong)
I think your analogy basically answers your question. I doubt anyone in history has ever made a football all-time greats list that had as many offensive linemen and kickers as quarterbacks and running backs. So...

Another intangible that could help explain why Olajuwon is generally viewed as being better than Robinson is personality. Olajuwon was viewed as regal and poised, a silent killer; Robinson was viewed as polite to a fault, dorky, and honestly a big pu$$y. Of course, it's very possible that if Robinson had won a ring without Duncan, his super-niceness would be celebrated (Stan Musial?), and if Olajuwon had never gotten a ring, people would find a personality flaw in him to explain why that happened. Not sure how to separate chicken and egg there.

As for LeBron, let's just say that he's in his 10th year and we still can't rule out the possibility that he'll be the best ever, and leave it at that.
   329. steagles Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4366840)
This guy is perhaps the next big thing:
Wiggins, a senior at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, is choosing between Florida State, Kentucky, UNC and Kansas and is said to be leaning toward Florida State.
i'm gonna go out on a limb and say that he's probably not going to florida state.
   330. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:14 PM (#4366841)
This goes both ways. You could have whistled Shaq to the free throw line literally every time he got the ball in the post, but we certainly handwave away the pounding he took simply because he was big and strong. Shaq detractors spend a lot of time gnashing their teeth over how Shaq bowled over guys, but they never talk about how much abuse their own team rained down on O'Neal that they never got whistled for.

Related, LeBron's FT rate this year is surprisingly/suspiciously low for someone who lives in the paint as much as he does.
   331. PJ Martinez Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:18 AM (#4366857)
Has anyone ever shot 55% overall and 40% from three? I tried to search BB-Ref and came up empty-handed, though I'm not great with their search tools. In any case, that's well within reach for LeBron this year (he's at 56% and 42% so far).
   332. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM (#4366858)
[331] I think Mullin did it but not on this kind of usage.
   333. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:25 AM (#4366859)
I'm going to see Wiggins play at Barclays at the Jordan Classic in April.
   334. GregD Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:26 AM (#4366860)
i'm gonna go out on a limb and say that he's probably not going to florida state.
It is interesting. On the one hand, the logic of your position is self-evident. Calipari misses about one recruit every two years and if he's going to miss it is surely going to be to UNC or Kansas, right? But both Wiggins' parents went to Florida State, and there seem to be other ties too. And he may be concerned about being just one of the guys--UK's next class is already loaded. Everyone around UK thought he was heading there until this winter, but the last month the talk has all been Florida State.
   335. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:44 AM (#4366864)
Has anyone ever shot 55% overall and 40% from three?
Minimum 100 3PA

Chris Mullin, 1996-97, 55.3% / 41.1% (202 3PA)
Detlef Schrempf, 1994-95, 52.3% / 51.4 (181 3PA)
Steve Nash, 2005-06, 51.2% / 43.9% (342 3PA)
Steve Nash, 2006-07, 53.2% / 45.5% (343 3PA)
John Stockton, 1994-95, 54.2% / 44.9% (227 3PA)
John Stockton, 1995-96, 53.8% / 42.2% (225 3PA)
John Stockton, 1996-97, 54.8% / 42.2% (180 3PA)
Larry Bird, 1984-85, 52.2% / 42.7% (131 3PA)
   336. PJ Martinez Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:48 AM (#4366865)
So, just Mullin then? Plus Stockton if we're rounding up?
   337. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4366866)
That I've found, yep. Hard to know for sure, since Mullin didn't show up in my Index search and I had to hunt him down separately.
   338. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:57 AM (#4366868)
I see the Bobcats have been going with a super-inexperienced starting lineup of Biyombo (1yr veteran), Kidd-Gilchrist (rookie), Kemba Walker (1yr veteran), Hakim Warrick (veteran) or Jeff Adrien (2yr veteran), and Gerald Henderson Jr. (3yr veteran).

I also see that apparently both Gerald Henderson and Gerald Henderson Jr. are really named "Jerome". Who ends up with "Gerald" as a nickname?
   339. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 11, 2013 at 01:07 AM (#4366872)
People named Jerome?
   340. Booey Posted: February 11, 2013 at 02:07 AM (#4366880)
Since even a great defensive guard or small forward can't anchor an entire teams defense like a center can

I'd say both Pippen and LeBron did just that from the SF spot (though LBJ does get plenty of minutes of PF these days).


Close, but I don't think it's quite the same. A great defensive wing can shut down his man, but he can't shut down a teams entire inside game the way a center can. The Defensive Player of the Year award is given to a center almost every year.
   341. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4367015)
from 1992 to 2003, Shaq was unquestionably the most valuable player in basketball above Hakeem, Robinson, KG, Kobe, or whomever,

Uh, the early part of that timeframe does overlap with someone quite notable you're overlooking... (but I get what you're saying)

I don't know I'd say the best team wins the title most years. However, what the NBA does have is one of the best 2 or 3 teams wins the title almost every year. I think people just say after the fact, oh, Miami was the best team last year. But really, people were saying 3 weeks before they won it all in this thread that they weren't balanced enough to beat the Pacers. It took LeBron playing at a level that was unsustainable, even for him, for them to win it all. And it's not like there weren't close series along the way.

I think people thought they were vulnerable to Indy once Bosh went down, and I don't remember anyone saying that the Pacers were going to beat them (and definitely not going into the series). But go back through the thread before the season, and see most people thought Miami was the best team before the season and go to the start of the playoffs, and it's the same thing. But I think that's distracting from the main point. If you have 2 teams that are pretty close, and one beats the other in the playoffs, I have no qualm saying the winning team was the better team.

Did I put dirk over Kobe? I put Duncan and kg over him but - without checking the #s - I'd probably pick kobe over nowitski

Fair enough. Someone else did, and I thought you agreed with them.

Related, LeBron's FT rate this year is surprisingly/suspiciously low for someone who lives in the paint as much as he does.

Since he's not getting called for any fouls, it just evens out, right? It was amusing to see him in "foul trouble" yesterday.

Close, but I don't think it's quite the same. A great defensive wing can shut down his man, but he can't shut down a teams entire inside game the way a center can. The Defensive Player of the Year award is given to a center almost every year.

I just meant that they were the defensive anchors of great defensive teams that won titles.
   342. andrewberg Posted: February 11, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4367048)
A great defensive wing can shut down his man, but he can't shut down a teams entire inside game the way a center can.


I think you gave the best explanation to the earlier question about the predominance of Centers on lists of all-time greats. It's not that the Centers have more natural basketball skill, it's just that the geometry of the court dictates that the team who owns the area around the rim will have a tremendous advantage. Centers are permanently the highest leverage players and basketball strategy has been built outward from that assumption. Jordan and Lebron are two unique guys who have forced their coaches and opposing teams to reevaluate that principle while they are on the court, but I don't think the presumption will ever shift altogether.
   343. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4367089)
I still take Shaq over KG, knowing all of that.


This is a good point. I want to knock Shaq, but he's like Robinson, LeBron, and others who can carry you well into the playoffs mostly by himself. You'll just have a shorter window to do it in.
   344. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4367093)
A great defensive wing can shut down his man, but he can't shut down a teams entire inside game the way a center can.


I'm not going to argue this point, but I feel like there's a lot of value in a guy like Pippen or LeBron who can be a shutdown defender at any of 4 positions. That gives you a lot of match up flexibility. IIRC, both Pippen and LeBron are pretty fearsome help-side defenders too.

   345. andrewberg Posted: February 11, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4367097)
It is incredibly hard to compare Shaq to these other guys. Viscerally, I feel like I should prefer him over anyone I have seen play basketball, including Jordan. When he was at his very best, there was nobody who dictated play like him. Then again, he got to that level so infrequently that it would be impossible to rationally take him over guys like Duncan or Olajuwon for a career. It was almost like he was guaranteed to win 3 or 4 titles with his physical skills and got EXACTLY that many.
   346. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 11, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4367114)
I'm not going to argue this point, but I feel like there's a lot of value in a guy like Pippen or LeBron who can be a shutdown defender at any of 4 positions. That gives you a lot of match up flexibility. IIRC, both Pippen and LeBron are pretty fearsome help-side defenders too.
There's tremendous value in that, especially now that the NBA is more guard-oriented than it's been since the mid-80s. A guy who can swing around to defend people on the wing, who can switch up, who can stretch to help everyone on the court? That guy's got value all over the place. Pippen and James are the obvious examples, but guys like Kirilenko or Iguodala or Tony Allen are tremendously valuable even if they're not scoring in bunches.
   347. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4367123)
Then again, he got to that level so infrequently that it would be impossible to rationally take him over guys like Duncan or Olajuwon for a career. It was almost like he was guaranteed to win 3 or 4 titles with his physical skills and got EXACTLY that many.
I wouldn't go that far. Stockton and Malone, Barkely, and Ewing combine for zero rings, so getting a pair like Hakeem did is outstanding. Shaq's got four. Can't knock four... but the fact that it's even a question tells you just how dominant Shaq was in his day.
   348. kpelton Posted: February 11, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4367173)
Really good discussion here. It made me go back and revisit a bunch of what I've written on similar topics, and I'll throw out the links in case anyone's interested. I picked Duncan barely over Garnett, and went Robinson/O'Neal/Olajuwon in 2008. I'm not sure if O'Neal's 2008-09 made up the tiny gap between him and Robinson at that point.

Best of the '90s
The Decade's Best ('00s)
Center of Discussion

I really need to get playoff numbers for these years. I'm still not sure exactly how I would incorporate them.

----

Women's basketball and fundamentals:
This is a tricky conversation because, as has been noted, what do people mean by fundamentals? Obviously also ties into NCAA/NBA comparisons. Besides dunks, another factor that correlates well with "fundamentals" tends to be assist rate and how much shots are set up by the offense rather than individual talent. Women's basketball was probably at least a decade behind the men's game in terms of letting point guards score in addition to distribute. I wrote about this in the WNBA in 2004.

In 2006, the WNBA cut the shot clock from 30 to 24, just as better athletes with the ability to create one-on-one (Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter, etc.) were coming into the league. Nowadays the offenses in the WNBA have a lot more in common with the NBA than the college game -- although, oddly, I've heard few people decry the lack of fundamentals.

Besides the fact that the talent pool drops off a lot more quickly in the college game, I don't entirely have an explanation for why women tend to turn the ball over more frequently. One theory is that more girls learn the game at camps as opposed to on the playground, so they tend not to react as well to situations that aren't patterned and deal poorly with pressure. It's a case where unstructured experience, so often decried in the development of male players, may actually be a positive.
   349. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4367181)
kpelton, et.al. - I don't watch Women's basketball at all. Are turnover-forcing styles of play (pressing) more common?
   350. kpelton Posted: February 11, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4367200)
They are, although there's a bit of a feedback loop there. If they weren't as successful as they are, they would be less common, naturally.

One random contradictory note: When Paul Westhead coached the Phoenix Mercury to a championship, his offense looked pretty much exactly like what you remember from Loyola Marymount/the Nuggets. But he had to throw out his pressure defense pretty much entirely. They ended up mostly playing a "rover" zone defense that was basically a box with the extra player (Taurasi) freelancing all over the court Kobe-style.
   351. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4367201)
Great articles Kevin. Thanks for the links!

It doesn't take advanced analysis to realize this: David Robinson struggled in the playoffs, while Hakeem Olajuwon picked up his game. Olajuwon averaged 25.9 points and 11.2 boards with a 56.9 percent True Shooting Percentage in postseason games, while Robinson averaged 18.1 points and 10.6 rebounds, his TS% slipping to 54.8 percent. What I remember from the Sonics facing the Rockets most was that Olajuwon was indefatigable in May and June, averaging a remarkable 39.6 minutes per game. Those five to eight minutes a night he spent on the bench seemed so crucial to try to take a lead. (By contrast, Robinson averaged 34.3 mpg in the playoffs.)


This is an interesting observation. Is there something about the nature of their play that lead to this gap? Did Robinson suffer from foul trouble, stamina, or horrific misuse? I'm amazed at a guy playing only 34mpg in the plaoyffs.
   352. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4367203)
But he had to throw out his pressure defense pretty much entirely.


Because...? My first reaction is "Lack of athleticism to cover the ground needed to make it successful", but I'd love to hear more.
   353. kpelton Posted: February 11, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4367234)
Olajuwon/Robinson MPG: Part of the difference is just that Robinson had more long playoff runs in the late stages of his career, whereas Olajuwon's last two Rockets teams missed the playoffs. But I think Olajuwon is the outlier as much as Robinson; Shaq, for example, was in between them in playoff MPG (37.5).

Westhead press: The offenses were too good for it. They were giving up like 112 points per 100 possessions in a league where the average was below 100. Phoenix's defense under Westhead and his successor, former LMU point guard Corey Gaines, has been uniformly bad, but not quite that awful thereafter.
   354. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 11, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4367252)
Did Robinson suffer from foul trouble, stamina, or horrific misuse? I'm amazed at a guy playing only 34mpg in the plaoyffs.

He never averaged as few as 34 minutes per game until he was 35, but roughly 1/3 of his playoff games came at age 35 or older. It's the result of having far and away his best set of teammates at the end of his career. Robinson averaged 38.5 minutes per playoff game through age 34.
   355. Booey Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4367257)
I'm not going to argue this point, but I feel like there's a lot of value in a guy like Pippen or LeBron who can be a shutdown defender at any of 4 positions.


Oh absolutely. But if you had to pick just one, would you rather have a Pippen/LeBron type defender creating havoc at the top of the key, or a Robinson/Mutumbo type center clogging the lane? I think I'd pick the latter.
   356. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 11, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4367300)
WBB: Thanks Kevin - I'm glad to see that my efforts in contacting you psychically worked - the question was as aimed at you as anyone.

One theory is that more girls learn the game at camps as opposed to on the playground, so they tend not to react as well to situations that aren't patterned and deal poorly with pressure.

Huh, I wouldn't have come up with that. Wouldn't camps spend lots of time on responding to defensive pressure?

Oh - and as little as I know about WcBB, I know even less about the WNBA ... though I did try to assess the draft chances for a college senior once upon a time (despite my protests that I was thoroughly unqualified to do so). I (correctly) ascertained that she was unlikely to be selected and had to figure out how to tell her tactfully; I wasn't wholly successful.

I also rank the centers Robinson/O'Neal/Olajuwon ... but am okay with any ordering of the three.
   357. Kurt Posted: February 11, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4367301)
I don't entirely have an explanation for why women tend to turn the ball over more frequently.

Smaller hands? I know the ball is smaller too, but I'd guess the difference in hand size exceed that of the balls. I've watched hardly any women's hoops, but it seems like not that many can palm the ball.
   358. andrewberg Posted: February 11, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4367303)
The Wiggins article linked earlier is very interesting. I think the author was trying to be fair and somewhat sympathetic to the difficult situation of being a teenager with tons of attention, but there are still tons of red flags that go up in the article. There are lots of quotes like this one:

Wiggins has struggled on the court lately, something that's been attributed to everything from a case of bronchitis to apathy to the pressure of his school choice.
"I don't believe that at all," Shulman said of the pressure. "I think it's the lack of competition that has him disinterested. He is driven by competition. When it isn't there he turns his effort off and goes through the motions."


More than any of the motivational stuff, I am left wondering whether he can shoot. There have been plenty of great athletes who dominated at that level and never made pro defenders respect their shots enough to get space to create anywhere but the fast break. The article compares him to Tracy McGrady, but I think the skills it describes him as having are more like a poor man's Luol Deng or maybe Corey Brewer.

Oh absolutely. But if you had to pick just one, would you rather have a Pippen/LeBron type defender creating havoc at the top of the key, or a Robinson/Mutumbo type center clogging the lane? I think I'd pick the latter.


It is always hard to disentangle what else we know about a player and isolate just the skill we're comparing. I think you're right that an All-Defense C does more for team defense than an All-Defense SG or SF. Mutombo or Camby certainly seemed to have a bigger effect on team defense than Iguodala or Bruce Bowen, though the latter guys did have an effect at disrupting opponents' offenses beyond just shutting down one guy. I suppose it would be easy enough to compare the effect of having an All-Def wing on team Def Eff to the effect of having an All-Def C. That's exactly the type of project I would do right now if I didn't have a job.
   359. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 06:57 PM (#4367335)
[358] Wiggins scored 57 in his last game on 24 for 28 shooting:

Wiggins, presumably in response to the article, told the Herald-Dispatch following the game, ”I just had to respond to the negative outlook that the reporter gave me,” Wiggins said. “I thought I responded well. Negative media happens to everybody. You just have to work through it and respond.”


RT @SteveNash Congrats to @22wiggins for the 'B•••• don't kill my vibe' game of the week. 57pts and missed 4 shots. Take that critic.
   360. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4367339)
Player A: 19.1 PTS, 9.1 AST, 3.5 REB, .516 TS, .465 eFG, 37.4 AST%, 16.8 TOV%, 18.1 PER, .109 WS/48, 979 GP
Player B: 18.4 PTS, 7.3 AST, 2.8 REB, .528 TS, .470 eFG, 36.1 AST%, 14.2 TOV%, 18.7 PER, .117 WS/48, 846 GP

These are career numbers. The PTS, REB and AST are per 36. Both players played the same position, one of them is a legend and one is a cautionary tale.
   361. andrewberg Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4367352)
Nash and Marbury? (WAG)
   362. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4367353)
[361] 1 for 2. I'm impressed.
   363. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4367354)
Hm. Player A is Isiah Thomas (Googled games played). Player B probably isn't Elgin Baylor.

Edit: But Player B probably is Stephon Marbury. Well, I'd say one of the two wasn't a whiny *($#%, but...

One has some legendary playoff performances?
   364. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4367356)
Yeah, A is Isiah and B is Marbury. I was too young to see Isiah play but someone at my job brought him up today and I looked at his stats and in my head I thought that it seemed a lot like Marbury's so I went to Marbury's page and was shocked at how similar the numbers were. Their OWS/DWS is basically flipped though.
   365. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4367357)
I was gonna guess Derrick Coleman for the "cautionary tale", but that's only because I switched the AST and REB in my mind. Although, outside of that goof on my part, those numbers fit almost perfectly...eerie.

17.9 PTS, 2.8 AST, 10.1 REB, .526 TS, .462 eFG, 13.0 AST%, 14.3 TOV%, 18.0 PER, .119 WS/48, 781 GP

He seems to be the first name that always pops in my head with that phrase. The guy you're talking about is 2nd or third, I think. As for your comparison, defense and attitude count for something. Also, team results - one is a Finals MVP and the other played in 18 total playoff games (not counting last season scrub time).

EDIT: took me a while to write this post, and I didn't seen 361-364 before I hit post. I swear.
   366. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4367358)
[363] Wow, had no idea Marbury's playoff numbers were that terrible.

Also surprised at how young Isiah called it quits.
   367. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:33 PM (#4367361)
WS/48 isn't surprised at how young he called it quits.
   368. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:35 PM (#4367363)
So, as someone who's only memory of Isiah _is_ the two rings (and watching him eviscerate Portland a fun Portland team at a critical moment), where's the rep come from? I don't think anyone thinks of him as "Starbury with some rings" or "A rich man's Kenny Anderson"...
   369. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4367365)
Marbury's numbers out of context aren't bad. The reason he's thought so poorly of is because of all the other stuff and all the bad teams - forcing his way out of Minnesota, the immediate reversal of fortunes after the Kidd trade, the Knicks era.

Isiah won in college and won in the pros (beating the C's surely helped the rep). So his numbers get a mental bump, while Starbury's get a mental decrease (or he's seen as a guy who just put up numbers on bad teams and never really threatened winning).

I don't think it would be crazy to think that Isiah saw a lot of himself in Marbury and that's why he wanted him in NY. He probably said as much, but NJ would know better.
   370. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:43 PM (#4367366)
I don't think it would be crazy to think that Isiah saw a lot of himself in Marbury and that's why he wanted him in NY.

Mind. Blown.

He probably said as much, but NJ would know better.

I have no idea if he said this at the time (I was, thankfully, distracted with the joys of college right at the time the Knicks were at their Isiahest) but obviously I never thought of it and now think it's such an interesting angle.
   371. andrewberg Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4367368)
I think it instantly hurt Marbury's rep that he pouted when KG got more money than him and basically forced the Wolves to trade him. Thomas pouted from time to time, but he never had that "franchise killer" tag that seems to really stick with guys. Also, who knows what Thomas's rep would be if he didn't play on really solid, balanced, deep teams that went all the way?

One thing I will never forget about Marbury- late in his rookie year when he was starting to gel with KG, there was some kind of poll. I think it was a poll of GMs asking which team would win the Western Conference in 5 years, and the Wolves received the most votes. That obviously never worked out, Marbury left town for Terrell Brandon (who was solid, but not nearly the right fit next to floor spacing, under-aggressive KG on offense), and it set back the team's developmental clock by a half decade (not that McHale helped himself much). When a team stinks and drafts a superstar player, it usually gets 1 or MAYBE 2 more high picks before that star matures to the point that the team doesn't get high picks. Marbury was that guy for the KG Wolves and he bailed just in time for them to never develop.
   372. smileyy Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:49 PM (#4367372)
Somewhere out there, there's an Onion Sports article about Stephon Marbury insisting that he's still more valuable than Kevin Garnett. "Where's Garnett's 2012 title, huh?"
   373. kpelton Posted: February 11, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4367378)
It's hard to overstate how bad Marbury's defense was. RAPM is, ahem, not a fan.

Re: 369/370 I don't think it's a coincidence Isiah's first pick in Toronto was an undersized/score-first PG (Damon Stoudamire).
   374. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 11, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4367379)
Nick Friedell ?@NickFriedell
Parker, Duncan and Manu are out tonight for the Spurs.


Geez. Noah says he's playing, but he might as well sit this one out. I think Deng should sit too, just for fun.
   375. Spivey Posted: February 11, 2013 at 08:35 PM (#4367402)
Starbury being replaced by Nash and Kidd really showed what the difference between a fake star and a real one was IMO. I also consider him a good archetype of why the US didn't win gold in Athens.
   376. rr Posted: February 11, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4367404)
Bryant, who has nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers, reprimanded a fan who tweeted "You're gay" to another fan.

In response to the insult that was posted Sunday on his own Twitter feed, Bryant tweeted: "Just letting you know@PacSmoove @pookeo9 that using "your gay" as a way to put someone down ain't ok! #notcool delete that out ur vocab."

Bryant was fined $100,000 in April for using a gay slur in a nationally televised game, an incident that NBA commissioner David Stern called "offensive and inexcusable."

After receiving a technical foul in a game against the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant yelled at referee Bennie Adams before muttering a gay slur while sitting on the bench. The episode was caught on camera during TNT's national telecast.

Bryant apologized a day later, saying that he did not mean to offend anyone.

Following his tweet Sunday, one of Bryant's followers reminded the All-Star about April's incident.

Bryant tweeted in response: "exactly! That wasn't cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others."


http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8937440/kobe-bryant-chides-twitter-follower-using-anti-gay-insult
   377. Booey Posted: February 11, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4367430)
So, as someone who's only memory of Isiah _is_ the two rings (and watching him eviscerate Portland a fun Portland team at a critical moment), where's the rep come from? I don't think anyone thinks of him as "Starbury with some rings" or "A rich man's Kenny Anderson"...


I sometimes thought it must have just been the bitter Stockton fan in me (since Isiah was always ranked higher than Stock on greatest player lists and cuz so many people thought he should've been picked for the Dream Team instead), but Thomas has always struck me as one of the most overrated players of all time. I didn't see him play much and I missed his peak almost entirely, but the numbers just don't come close to the reputation. Not only does Stock crush him by a country mile, but Nash, Kidd, and Payton look like they should be ahead as well. So what gives? Was it a Jack Morris "throw out the numbers, you just had to see him" thing? Is it "count the ringzz!!" at it's finest? Or am I just missing something else entirely?

Edit: Yes, Thomas won back to back rings as the floor leader and best player of a deep Pistons team, but Chauncey Billups barely missed doing the exact same thing and no one is talking about him as an all time great. Underrated, sure. Possible lower level Hall of Famer? Sure, why not. But top 3 or 4 PG and top 30 overall player? Not a chance.
   378. steM oG steL Posted: February 11, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4367438)
   379. rr Posted: February 11, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4367442)
I think you have to be the same age as Simmons and me, or older, to get Isiah Thomas.

Thomas won a Final Four with Bobby Knight at Indiana, beating a Dean Smith team that had Jordan on it for the title. He scored about 40 points on a bad leg in Game 6 of the 1988 Finals in LA, and then won a back-to-back with the Pistons, ending the BOS/LA/PHI stranglehold on the NBA. He was also a photogenic, charismatic guy who was buddies with Magic Johnson and kissed Mag on national TV.

Simmons made him a key figure in BTOB, introducing "The Secret" through Isiah Thomas. Guys 25-35, like most guys in this thread probably are, know Thomas more for the no-handshake sweep by the Bulls, and his bizarre and disastrous/borderline criminal exec career.

As to how good he actually was historically....I have never really thought about it. The keys to those Pistons teams were the facts that they had nine guys who were good-to-very good-to very very good, with all skills covered, they played great D, they were brilliantly coached by Chuck Daly, and they were as mean as a burlap sack full of hungry pit vipers. Thomas was a big part of that.
   380. steagles Posted: February 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4367479)
lavoy allen had 22 rebounds in the sixers last game. tonight, he has 2 in 28 minutes.


that is a pretty succinct microcosm of the inconsistency of this team this season.
   381. Spivey Posted: February 11, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4367536)
The numbers suggest that Thomas was just as likely the 4th best player on Detroit as the best. I think Thomas gets a boost because he had established himself as a star before they went on their big run. Just looking up the numbers, it looks like Laimbeer has an argument as best player on the Pistons for a lot of that dynasty, including the 2 years they won the title. That surprised me a bit. Obviously, though, they were a really balanced team of borderline all-stars.
   382. GregD Posted: February 11, 2013 at 11:29 PM (#4367550)
I always thought Dumars was the best of them by the time they got to title town, but could be convinced it was Laimbeer. They were tremendous teams to watch if you like a little basketball mixed into your hockey matches.
   383. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 11, 2013 at 11:29 PM (#4367551)
Means little, but I thought isiah was pretty overrated, back in the day.
Didn't free darko have a bit denigrating marbury in their 2nd book
I positionally adjust w all time rankings (take that revolution!) but not hold all positions equal. For example, the PER of an avg wing (and therefore opposing wings) is less than for power forwards. (Plus different replacement levels by position, centers have more impact defensively than pgs, and so on.)
Good on you, Kobe.
   384. andrewberg Posted: February 12, 2013 at 12:49 AM (#4367591)
Rubio is starting to come around after showing serious rust early in his return. Since his minute restriction was lifted, he's averaging 12.5 points, 8.3 assists, 1.9 steals, and only 2.4 turnovers in 31 minutes per game, and he's shooting 43%. That's improved shooting from last year and it would be a perfectly acceptable rate given the rest of his skills. His defense has been a little worse than it was last year, but it is going to take time to get that movement back. Part of the reason is that they don't have a real healthy 2, so he is paired with Ridnour in the backcourt who can't guard anyone, leaving Rubio with the tougher matchup all the time.
   385. King Mekong Posted: February 12, 2013 at 12:59 AM (#4367597)
Did anyone watch the spurs bulls game? Kawhi Leonard's box score is pretty impressive, and I was wondering if he passed the eye test for the game.
   386. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 12, 2013 at 01:01 AM (#4367598)
Apparently, Stan Van Gundy appeared as a panelist on a CNN current-events show tonight.

Also apparently, he was quite good.
   387. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: February 12, 2013 at 03:15 AM (#4367630)
Warriors new sleeved uniforms -- oh my.
   388. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 12, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4367647)
Bryant, who has nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers, reprimanded a fan who tweeted "You're gay" to another fan.


Good on ya, Kobe.

Thomas won a Final Four with Bobby Knight at Indiana, beating a Dean Smith team that had Jordan on it for the title.


Jordan wasn't there yet, but Worthy, Sam Perkins and future UNC coach Matt Doherty were on that team.
   389. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 12, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4367654)
Rubio is starting to come around after showing serious rust early in his return.


I admit I have semi-bailed on the wolves this year. Other things going on in life* and it has been so darn depressing. It is nice to get updates so thank you. I will jump back on the bandwagon next year (OK I plan to go to a game in the next few weeks, but you know what I mean).

* Refinancing house, cleaning and remodeling house, some non-work projects, semi-sort-of-trying to date again (Being single in one's 40s kind of sucks, oh well), and so on.
   390. AROM Posted: February 12, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4367669)
I'm pretty close to the age of Simmons and saw Isiah Thomas for his entire career.

His regular season numbers are very good, in fact HOF quality. Definitely behind Stockton, even if Stockton hadn't played an extra 10 seasons. Guys like Payton, Kidd, and Nash are better, and Billups is at least as good.

The thing about the NBA though, is that the regular season is so meaningless. The sole purpose of the regular season is to determine which ~.500 teams have the chance to get bounced in the first round by the true title contenders of the league. More than half of the league still gets into the playoffs, but when Isiah started it was even worse, 16 of 23 teams got in. Thomas had some big early statistical years, setting the assists record while scoring over 20 PPG.

Most observers believe that as the team got better, and Thomas's stats dropped, he wasn't actually a worse ballplayer. He was just stepping back a bit, letting other players get involved. I think many players who take lessor roles in the offense will gain some from tradeoffs, while usage falls, efficiency improves, and the value stats like win shares shouldn't change much. For whatever reason, that did not happen for Thomas, he still turned the ball over a lot and his shooting percentages dropped. Maybe he's just the type who needs repetition to play his best. But it's hard to fault him for the back-off approach when the results at the team level were so good. If it works, why fix it?

Anyway, when the playoffs came around Isiah took control again, and dominated. Most people will see their stats drop in the playoffs, since you are facing better opponents and tougher defensive effort. Not Thomas, his WS/48 jumped from .109 to .143.

Those are the bbref win share numbers. I use a different formula, and used that to create a list of the players who raised their games the most in the playoffs. Thomas was #2 on the list:

http://basketballwins.blogspot.com/2012_03_01_archive.html
   391. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4367675)
Really appreciate the responses on Thomas. I'm 26, so a lot of what people have pointed out is helping me to flesh out stuff I wouldn't have understood from just checking the stats. I love this thread.
   392. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4367691)
Zach Lowe on whether the Nuggets are title contenders. Really interesting quotes/insight from Karl in there.
   393. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4367740)
Did anyone watch the spurs bulls game? Kawhi Leonard's box score is pretty impressive, and I was wondering if he passed the eye test for the game.

I saw bits and pieces. He looked good. Noah is just not healthy right now, and the Bulls defense has really struggled since he's been hurt. The team also looks like it's going through the motions, just biding their time until Rose gets back*. So while that's not to take anything away from Leonard, it makes it hard to really focus on the game for me. He took it right to Deng and Gibson** and beat them and the Bulls help didn't recover.

*We haven't gotten any new updates since he started practicing and traveling, so I would still expect him sometime next week. But that's just an educated guess.
**Not surprisingly, he's dropped off a bit. Teams have figured how to guard him (let him shoot) and he hasn't adjusted yet. Defense, for the most part, is still usually strong.
   394. AROM Posted: February 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4367741)
Here's a statistical leader list that is favorable to Isiah:

Greatest WS/48, for playoffs, amond guards with at least 3000 career minutes and 5 assist/game (to get a list of PGs, though Jordan qualifies as well).

1. Jordan
2. Magic
3. West
4. Frazier
5. Billups
6. Wade
7. Oscar
8. Stockton
9. Isiah
10. Porter
11. Nash
12. Drexler
13. Rondo
14. Cheeks
15. Kidd

Billups is a surprise. As mentioned, he was the leader of a well balanced Piston championship team who played his best in the playoffs. If he's ranking above Thomas, that is not a knock on Isiah, but an indication of just how underrated Billups has been.
   395. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 12, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4367757)
Barbosa likely blew out his knee last night in the Celtics' schedule loss to the Bobcats. Looks like it's Shelvin Mack time in Boston!
   396. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 12, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4367781)
Damn, I meant Butler, not Gibson in that last post.
   397. andrewberg Posted: February 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4367811)
I will jump back on the bandwagon next year


Can't blame you for that. It has been another soul-sucking year if you get really emotionally invested in the team. The fact that they have been competitive without Love and AK over the last week shows that they aren't the same hopeless bunch they were the last few years, but that is not much consolation.

Good luck with all of that other stuff. Sounds stressful but potentially rewarding.
   398. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 12, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4367871)
Rose speaks!

"I don't have a set date," Rose told USA TODAY Sports on Monday in his first extensive interview since the 2012-13 NBA season began. "I'm not coming back until I'm 110%. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready."

How close is Rose to 110%?

"Right now, probably in the high 80s," he said. "Far away. Far away."

In the meantime, Rose continues to work and contemplates the kind of player he will be when he returns.

"I know it's going to be something good. With all this hard work I've been putting into my game, I'm doing stuff I never did before. I gained 10, 11 pounds of muscle. I don't know what type of player I'm going to be. I just know that I'm going to be very good."
   399. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: February 12, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4367906)
How'd I miss all this Jay Williams stuff? I think my take jives up with Dwyer here.
   400. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: February 12, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4367916)
[399] Agreed.
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