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Sunday, March 03, 2013

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - March 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: hunting and apostrophes.

The District Attorney Posted: March 03, 2013 at 04:37 PM | 843 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   401. smileyy Posted: March 15, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4389017)
[397] Uh, he is tough.
   402. smileyy Posted: March 15, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4389018)
[399] I was kind of wondering why nobody was talking about the Big East tournament or anything else. Does someone who does it more often and humorously want to submit a College Basketball Tournament Season thread?
   403. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 15, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4389026)
Is it fair to say that he has a reputation for exaggerating ailments to look tougher? I'm not saying he actually does it (how would anyone know?) but I'm asking whether it is a commonly held belief.


I was picking on Kobe himself in [397] because, well, it's fun to pick on Kobe. Of course Kobe is tough and plays through a ton of injuries and has a high pain threshold, etc. - I'm not disputing that, I am in no way calling Kobe "not tough". To your point, well, exactly, how *would* anyone know - not to mention differences between guys in their pain threshold, how quickly they heal, etc. Where I think the might (might!) be smoke is that Kobe very much does seem to be keenly aware of the narrative being constructed around him and also seems to play a role in constructing said narrative. In this particular case, well, again, it's just more fun to pick on Kobe.

The larger thing I was (hamfistedly/jokingly) trying to get to in [397] is that typically when you hear "severe" ankle sprain, I think grade 3. Typically, those terms go hand in hand, if you read the basic descriptions of the grades. Considering that Tony Parker is currently out four weeks (though he may be back sooner) with what was reported to be a grade 2 ankle sprain - well, Kobe's sprain was clearly not "severe" (by that definition), I'm sorry, I don't care how tough or gritty or whatever he is.

Now, whether this was just lazy reporting or the Lakers or some PR person or Kobe himself or whatever - there is clearly a disconnect in the way the injury was reported ("severe") and the apparent timetable for his return. Also, does seem like he is doubtful tonight. Oh, and if he really does have a grade 3 ankle sprain and was trying to play tonight? Well, ####, that's not human.


   404. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 15, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4389042)
I was picking on Kobe himself in [397] because, well, it's fun to pick on Kobe.

Now, whether this was just lazy reporting or the Lakers or some PR person or Kobe himself or whatever - there is clearly a disconnect in the way the injury was reported ("severe") and the apparent timetable for his return. Also, does seem like he is doubtful tonight. Oh, and if he really does have a grade 3 ankle sprain and was trying to play tonight? Well, ####, that's not human.[/quote

I think many (at least on this board) Lakers fans are ok at this point with the "Kobe as villain" angle that everyone plays up. There was a time when Simmons, Abbot and others bothered me, but its old hat. People love giving Kobe ####, so enjoy the party.

On the ankle point, I'd just refer you to his 2010 broken finger on his shooting hand that was quoted as being the finger of an "83 year old man". I know its easy to be cynical with Kobe injuries but he's proven that he has a pretty superhuman tolerance for pain. The man's knees were bone on bone basically, and he's played about 3 years post that (with a little help from the Germans). Tony Parker, while I like him, Kobe ain't.
   405. Booey Posted: March 15, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4389044)
#403 - Yeah, it's one thing to play through pain. But it's another thing entirely to try to play through major injuries when your body simply can't do what you need it to. A tough player (like Kobe) may be able to play through a mild ankle sprain, but having had a few myself, I'd have a hard time believing anyone could play effectively on a severe ankle sprain.
   406. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 15, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4389046)
I know its easy to be cynical with Kobe injuries


Again, just to reiterate, I'm not even necessarily being cynical WRT Kobe himself. More the narrative that gets created around him and his percieved/actual toughness - some of which is the fact that Kobe really is one tough ############ who plays through things you and I and even many professional athletes wouldn't dream of, and some of which is almost certainly PR-driven BS. Both of those things.

   407. smileyy Posted: March 15, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4389054)
Looking through the news stories about the sprain, it looks like the "severe" interpretation came from Kobe saying it was the worst ankle injury he's had since the 2000 playoffs. This was right after the game where he sprained it. My interpretation of that is he's making a purely subjective judgement about how it felt at the time he sprained it and after (I'm guessing he has a generally good judgement of his own injuries on the level of "a tweak I can play through" to "might miss a game" to "yikes! this concerns me"), but nothing near a reliable medical diagnosis.
   408. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 15, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4389059)
Looking through the news stories about the sprain, it looks like the "severe" interpretation came from Kobe saying it was the worst ankle injury he's had since the 2000 playoffs. This was right after the game where he sprained it. My interpretation of that is he's making a purely subjective judgement about how it felt at the time he sprained it and after (I'm guessing he has a generally good judgement of his own injuries on the level of "a tweak I can play through" to "might miss a game" to "yikes! this concerns me"), but nothing near a reliable medical diagnosis.


That seems to be my impression as well, after researching it a bit. Sounds like he talked to some Lakers beat writer who turned around and reported that, followed by everyone else running with it.
   409. Publius Publicola Posted: March 15, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4389069)
Has anybody seen this? Scalabrine got sick and tired of hearing trash talk from would-be challengers, claiming they could kick his butt one-on-one so he challenged them to play. One guy was a bench guy from Syracuse last year. He kicked their collective butts 44-6. You can watch in its entirety here:

Toucher & Rich’s ‘Scallenge’ No Challenge For Brian Scalabrine
   410. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 15, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4389071)
Has anybody seen this? Scalabrine got sick and tired of hearing trash talk from would-be challengers, claiming they could kick his butt one-on-one so he challenged them to play. One guy was a bench guy from Syracuse last year. He kicked their collective butts 44-6. You can watch in its entirety here:

Toucher & Rich’s ‘Scallenge’ No Challenge For Brian Scalabrine


I saw the Syracuse guy. It was incredible the ease with which he backed this guy down (who I believe was 6-7/8 himself) to get easy baskets. Just a massive difference in quickness/strength - and this is a retired Brian Scalabrine playing an NCAA D-1 guy. Worth watching.
   411. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 15, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4389080)
Scalabrine was a pretty good college basketball player, making the All-Pac Ten team. People forget how good these guys like Scalabrine are because the level of competition is so high.
   412. rr Posted: March 15, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4389131)
smileyy,

There is a college hoops thread now, in case you don't know.
   413. rr Posted: March 15, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4389134)
I'm asking whether it is a commonly held belief.


I think it is among people who don't like him and are bothered by all the praise he gets in the MSM, yes. There are a couple of guys on the Lakers' board I go to who are odd combos of LakersFans (or so they say)/KobeHaters, and they both immediately accused him of exaggerating the severity of the injury for dramatic effect.

As to his fingers, I have talked about that many times. Several players have talked about it; Metta once said that he "can't believe how f'd up" Bryant's fingers are, and it is a simple enough thing to Google, either through search or images. I have no idea how f'd up they are medically, but just looking at them, there are a couple of them that appear to be permanently damaged, and he supposedly added basic dribbling drills to hos workout regimen as way to try to deal with it.
   414. Maxwn Posted: March 15, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4389234)
This DEN-MEM game looking like a dogfight early. Check it out if you have league pass.
   415. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 15, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4389239)
That's a big win for the Lakers.
   416. Spivey Posted: March 15, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4389242)
As one of the people who was saying that Kendall Marshall would suck in the NBA at this time last year, I'd like to point out he has negative Win Shares, a 7.1 PER, and a -11.6 simple rating.
   417. andrewberg Posted: March 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4389252)
-11.6 simple rating is only bad if you are trying to be an NBA player. It's perfectly alright for a guy off the street trying to play.

Also, I told you the Lakers would go 2/3 on that trip. Good Rox-Wolves game, but I don't think these guys will redeem Gtown and Team USA today.
   418. RollingWave Posted: March 15, 2013 at 10:30 PM (#4389274)
Very weird game for the Rockets.

They score 39 points in the first half, and score 35/ 34 in the 3rd 4th respectively.

Lin and Harden was playing like Lebron and Wade in the 2nd half though.

   419. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 15, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4389309)
That's a big win for the Lakers.
It's a monster win. With Bryant down, Blake and Jamison really stepped up. Not a game the Lakers should have won, but they found a way.
   420. Maxwn Posted: March 15, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4389312)
Nuggets-Grizzlies is going to give me a heart attack.
   421. Kurt Posted: March 15, 2013 at 11:15 PM (#4389314)
Wall 12-15 from the floor tonight, 3-3 from down town (3-20 on 3's prior to tonight, 3-42 last year).
   422. Maxwn Posted: March 15, 2013 at 11:23 PM (#4389323)
Oh, well. It was a little much to expect the Grizz to win out this entire road trip.
   423. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:03 AM (#4389361)
.
   424. Into the Void Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:08 AM (#4389365)
I like how Kobe gets credit for the win even if he barely plays. Every story tonight is leading off with a variant of yahoo's: "When Kobe Bryant couldn't be the tough guy on the court Friday night, he resorted to being an MVP coach."
   425. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: March 16, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4389404)
Man, the Warriors are in bad shape. Bulls crushed them in Oakland last night. This about sums it up:

Marcus Thompson ?@gswscribe
Warriors are down 29. At home. In a game they need. Against a team depleted by injuries. On national TV. In sleeved jerseys
   426. Booey Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4389410)
Marcus Thompson ?@gswscribe
Warriors are down 29. At home. In a game they need. Against a team depleted by injuries. On national TV. In sleeved jerseys


The last part is still the worst.
   427. RollingWave Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4389436)
And now they get to play in Houston, a team that beaten them 3 times already, the last time they were in Houston, they had to foul non stop for the last 3 minutes to avoid getting their name into the wrong end of the record books.

Of course that means they'll crush Houston 150-50 or something.
   428. tshipman Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4389523)
I like how Kobe gets credit for the win even if he barely plays. Every story tonight is leading off with a variant of yahoo's: "When Kobe Bryant couldn't be the tough guy on the court Friday night, he resorted to being an MVP coach."


That's the AP wire, you know. Every story on any night leads with the AP wire's copy.

Man, the Warriors are in bad shape. Bulls crushed them in Oakland last night. This about sums it up:


The Dubs are built to break your heart.
   429. smileyy Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4389555)
   430. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: March 16, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4389679)
the sixers are still awful, but they got a hell of a performance from spencer olajuwon tonight against the pacers. 18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 blocks.
   431. Booey Posted: March 17, 2013 at 01:24 AM (#4389724)
Weird play in the Jazz/Grizzlies game; Gasol loses his shoe running the court when Favors gives him a flat tire, and then he uses it to foul Favors on the other end as the latter drove to the hoop. It wasn't a hard or dirty swipe or anything, just...weird. (In Austin Powers voice) C'mon, Marc! Who fouls with their shoe? Honestly!

Not gonna pretend that the Jazz weren't a bit fortunate the Grizz were playing the second night of a tough back-to-back, but I'll take it. Much needed win for my boys in green (wearing road uniforms for some reason).
   432. thok Posted: March 17, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4389990)
So 22 down, 11 to go? Actually, of the Heat's remaining schedule, the two toughest remaining games are probably March 31 at the Spurs (which would potentially be game 30 in the streak) and tomorrow game at Boston as the second part of a twofer.
   433. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 17, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4389997)
The Raptors outrebounded the Heat 51-26 today and still lost by 17 points. Amir Johnson nearly outrebounded the Heat by himself. That's kind of weird. Chris Bosh's rebounding has really dropped since the All-Star break. He only got two rebounds today and is now averaging fewer than 5 rebounds since the break.
   434. PJ Martinez Posted: March 17, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4390009)
I know almost everybody palms the ball to one degree or another, but Raymond Felton's technique seems particularly egregious.
   435. VoodooR Posted: March 17, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4390052)
Why is the college basketball thread closed????
   436. RollingWave Posted: March 17, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4390175)
 RollingWave Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4389436)
And now they get to play in Houston, a team that beaten them 3 times already, the last time they were in Houston, they had to foul non stop for the last 3 minutes to avoid getting their name into the wrong end of the record books.

Of course that means they'll crush Houston 150-50 or something.


Guess the reverse jinx didn't work here... 107-77 Warrior win. the Rockets outside of Lin / Harden couldn't hit a shot to save their lives , the two of them had like 50 of that 77 . (efficiently too , especially in Lin's case.)

Also , Andrew Bogut apparently finally turned on the internet and saw people's reaction to his Fu Manchu.



   437. PJ Martinez Posted: March 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM (#4390189)
What happened to Brooklyn in the fourth quarter tonight?
   438. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: March 17, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4390207)
Just looked at the BKN box score, is Humphries just benched now? He's listed as a DNP-CD tonight, hasn't played at all in the last 5 games, and only played 2min the game before that.
   439. rr Posted: March 18, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4390261)
Miami plays in Boston tomorrow. Garnett is "50/50 at best", says Rivers.
   440. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4390265)
beats me voodoo, it's been closed for days...
   441. PJ Martinez Posted: March 18, 2013 at 12:28 AM (#4390297)
The Boston-Miami game will probably be a lot less interesting if Garnett sits. Oh well. But Rivers says it isn't serious, at least. (Knocks on wood.)

There are 3 and a 1/2 games between seeds 2 though 7 in the East. In the West, there are 14 games between those seeds.
   442. rr Posted: March 18, 2013 at 12:41 AM (#4390314)
Factoids: Houston's 22-game streak ended on March 18, in Boston, five years ago. Shane Battier was on that team as well.
   443. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 18, 2013 at 01:01 AM (#4390329)
I've often wondered just how good that Rockets team would have been had Yao not gotten hurt that season. It's kind of like wondering about the 1978 Blazers and Bill Walton. Ah, big men and their fragile feet.
   444. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 02:55 AM (#4390344)
Yao's career WS/48 is about the same as Shaq, FWIW. granted, thats because Shaq's score got pulled down towards the end of his career by quite a bit.


   445. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:05 AM (#4390372)
Why do NBA teams use improper grammar on Noche Latina? It drives me crazy every year.....the Bulls should be Los Toros, for instance. My spanish is awful, but teams like the Bulls, Suns, and Heat are easy translations.
   446. VoodooR Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4390443)
beats me voodoo, it's been closed for days...


Great timing.
   447. nick swisher hygiene Posted: March 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4390538)
I always felt like we were unfairly deprived of a good 7-game Shaq v Yao confrontation......
   448. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 18, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4390567)
swisher

is it the lenth of your handle that is causing the front page to be squished on my laptopp?
   449. GregD Posted: March 18, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4390606)
I always felt like we were unfairly deprived of a good 7-game Shaq v Yao confrontation......
I love Yao and he would have made more of that than Dikembe did but good Lord would there have been some posterizing going on.
   450. tshipman Posted: March 18, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4390610)
Yao's career WS/48 is about the same as Shaq, FWIW. granted, thats because Shaq's score got pulled down towards the end of his career by quite a bit.


I'm sorry, but Yao was nowhere near the player Shaq was at his peak. If you want to us WS/48, Shaq has 8 seasons better than Yao's best season. In my opinion, that overrates Yao, as Shaq played more minutes at their respective peaks (Yao's career high was 37 MPG in a partial season, Shaq had 6 seasons with more MPG than that)

This board has, to my mind, weirdly underrated Shaq. A few pages ago, people were talking about how if he had applied himself, he could have been a top 10 all time player. Shaq in my view is closer to #1 all time than #10.

   451. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 18, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4390615)
Shaq was just a poor man's Sim Bhullar.
   452. GregD Posted: March 18, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4390621)
by bbref.

13 regular season games (Yao won 7 Shaq 6:
Shaq 22.9/9.6 .554
Yao 18.6/10.5 .473

5 playoffs
Shaq 16.2/11.2 .515
Yao 15./7.4 .456

   453. andrewberg Posted: March 18, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4390629)
Yao came into the league at the tail end of Shaq's prime. Shipman is right that this conversation is oddly ignoring the fact that Shaq was WAY better than Yao, who was great in his own right.
   454. smileyy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4390636)
An in-shape and motivated Shaq was an unstoppable force the likes of which we've only really seen with Jordan and LeBron. Its unfortunate that he would get fat and lazy and wear out his welcome with teams. Trying to balance the former with the latter is where disagreements on #1 vs. #10 come in.
   455. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 18, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4390642)
First time I saw Shaq was in the NCAA, damn it was impressive. Of course then he got to the NBA and it was still man vs. boys. Fun and great player, amazing to watch, but not good basketball to watch.
   456. tshipman Posted: March 18, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4390645)
First time I saw Shaq was in the NCAA, damn it was impressive. Of course then he got to the NBA and it was still man vs. boys. Fun and great player, amazing to watch, but not good basketball to watch.


Man, I disagree (of course!) with the previous. Shaq's drop step was a thing of beauty, and his game in and around the basket was excellent. Especially in the early 2000's, Shaq was more athletic and larger than any other guy on the court. He had great post moves beyond just the power back down, and he used them intelligently.
   457. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 18, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4390655)
An in-shape and motivated Shaq was an unstoppable force the likes of which we've only really seen with Jordan and LeBron.

I did hear tell of some guy named Wilmer Chambermaid or something like that who posted video game numbers in his youth ...

Seriously, Chamberlain and Shaq, nucular combat, toe-to-toe. That would have been something.
   458. nick swisher hygiene Posted: March 18, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4390658)
sorry if i cramped yr style, harveys--I needed every letter the site allowed me...
   459. smileyy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4390668)
[457] I should have added a "modern era" disclaimer to that.
   460. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 18, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4390674)
Shaq in my view is closer to #1 all time than #10.


Seriously? I think he's an obvious tick below the top six or so. Can you make an objective case for him to be closer to Michael and Kareem than to, say, Hakeem?
   461. tshipman Posted: March 18, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4390694)
Seriously? I think he's an obvious tick below the top six or so. Can you make an objective case for him to be closer to Michael and Kareem than to, say, Hakeem?


The easiest one is that I think he's better than Kareem.

So what is our ranking of top 10 all time?

In some order, most people have:
Jordan
Wilt
Russell
Magic
Bird

Things get weird in the next ten, but people will generally put in guys like Kareem, Duncan, Jerry West, etc.

I think that Wilt/Russell are too difficult to compare to, mostly due to time-lining issues. I also sort of disagree on principle with people who say Russell should be top 5 all time.

Let's take Kareem:
They both had long careers. The biggest difficulty of comparing Kareem to anyone is that if you go strictly by the stats, Kareem is probably the best player of all time, as he played with a huge amount of peak and stuck around forever. However, Kareem played pre-merger, and all of his best seasons are pre-merger, pre-3pt shot. By age 32, both of them had put up their best seasons.

Kareem from '71-'75 was a dominant force, but in a lot of ways, it was still a pre-modern era. I guess what it breaks down to is how you timeline Kareem. I timeline his earlier years pretty heavily, as the league was pretty demonstrably of worse quality. Kareem from '78 or so onward is a different player. I tend to think that is the player that Kareem was, and adjust his earlier stats downwards.

I guess what I'm getting at, is that I don't really know how to deal with Kareem, and I don't think other people do either. I think Shaq was better, but it's really hard to say with any certainty given the huge differences in league quality.
   462. andrewberg Posted: March 18, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4390698)
There is a kind of weird self-fulfilling prophecy about greatness and popularity. It was discussed a few posts ago how a lot of people find dumping it into the low post and letting the dominant big man grind away to be a less entertaining form of the sport. I think that is a pretty popular opinion, and it tracks with the league's peak popularity in the Bird/Magic years, then the Jordan years, and now the Lebron years.

At the same time, all four of those era figureheads are rated very highly when it comes to all-time ranks (the Lebron stuff is still embryonic, but we're already talking about him as a top 10 or top 5 player). Do they really deserve to be definitively rated higher than these big men who piled up championships and MVPs in less appealing styles? If not, are they elevated because their styles are more entertaining to more people? Is it possible that it's another step divorced from that and their styles made the league more popular, so they seem greater because they dominated more popular eras?

I really don't know the answers to those questions, but it seems that there is an interesting discussion to be had about the epistemology of player rating.
   463. kpelton Posted: March 18, 2013 at 05:59 PM (#4390721)
I think the only center I would put ahead of Kareem is potentially Russell. (I'm not much of a timeline guy.)

I mean, yeah, Kareem wasn't quite the same after his merger, but that's to be expected for a player in their 30s. He still put up 20-plus PERs through age 38. And that's not factoring in durability at all. I only have WARP from '80 onward, but in 79-80 Abdul-Jabbar had a league-leading 20.9 WARP. The next year was 18.5 (3rd). And these are when he was 32 and 33.

In total, during the time I have numbers, Abdul-Jabbar put up 109.4 WARP. If you add up O'Neal's WARP from the same age onward, you only get 44.9.
   464. VoodooR Posted: March 18, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4390739)
Is Bird really a top ten player? What exactly makes him a better player than, say, Dirk?
   465. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: March 18, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4390743)
Seriously, Chamberlain and Shaq, nucular combat, toe-to-toe. That would have been something.
not really. shaq is too strong for wilt to guard so i think any matchup would be more likely to evoke shaq v. mutombo than chamberlain v. russell.
   466. bigboy1234 Posted: March 18, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4390744)
For some reason it looks like the NCAA thread is closed, so I'll just put this here.

Gonzaga would have to go through in order to win the championship. Starting in the 2nd round they would have to beat Pitt, then Wisconsin, then Ohio State, then Louisville/Duke, then IND/UF. Every single one of those teams is a top 10 team according to Pomeroy. Maybe the most impressive tourney run ever if they can pull it off?

Meanwhile the East bracket outside of Indiana looks quite bad.

Minnesota over UCLA and St. Mary's over Memphis look to be the most likely 1st round "upsets."
   467. Booey Posted: March 18, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4390746)
Somehow I agree with pretty much all the opinions of Shaq here, even the ones that contradict each other! :-)

I think he'd rank in my top 10, ahead of the defensive bigs like Duncan, Robinson, Olajuwon, and KG. At his peak he was simply an unstoppable offensive force, probably second only to Jordan during my time as an NBA fan. Watching him tear apart teams like Portland, Sacto, Indiana, Philly, and New Jersey in the playoffs as they sometimes threw two or even three guys on him at once was just ridiculous. Seemed he could put up a 35-15 pretty much at will back then.

But I also agree with those who think he loses some points cuz of his defense and lack of conditioning. He wasn't a bad defender, but he was sporadic. He didn't seem fully committed to it on every play the way the Duncan types were. If he was, I'd agree with shipman that he'd probably be top 5 all time.

Lastly, I also agree with Bitter Mouse that Shaq's game was UGLY to watch. Yeah, he had good footwork and some great hops for a guy who was probably well over 300 for most of his career, but there was just nothing entertaining IMO about watching a guy knock players who were usually 50-75 pounds lighter out of his way and dunk it. From my POV, the same overpowering physical dominance that made him so good also made his game anti-climactic and boring. It just seemed unfair to his defenders that there wasn't more they were allowed to do to stop him. And again, that's a major point in Shaq's favor when it comes to rankings, but much less so when it comes to entertainment. I'd actually probably rank him as the least fun superstar to watch of my lifetime (and I watched probably 50 games a year of Stockton and Malone for two decades).
   468. smileyy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4390748)
What could the league do to optimize entertainment value of a player like Shaq?

I agree -- my first reaction to some of the aesthetics of his game is negative, but that's tempered by Shaq's (admittedly self-serving) comments about the abuse he took in the post because he was able to take it.

On a more cerebral level, one of the things I like is dominant athletes getting to display their dominance, so I can appreciate it on that level. I shouldn't knock the guy for the competition not being able to keep up.
   469. Booey Posted: March 18, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4390749)
Is Bird really a top ten player? What exactly makes him a better player than, say, Dirk?


More ringzzz. :-p

Seriously though, I've wondered this too. His numbers aren't better than several guys who are universally ranked below him - Olajuwon, Robinson, Malone (either one), Barkley, KG, Dirk. The typical answer is that he made his teammates better, and that very well may be true, it's just kinda hard to verify.

I've always thought that great players on stacked teams tend to be ranked a bit too high on many lists. Russell was another. Was he really better than Wilt/Kareem/Shaq/Olajuwon/Robinson/Duncan? I don't know.
   470. smileyy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4390751)
Bird scores well on Mythology Above Replacement Level.

Great players on stacked teams have a ringzzz factor in there (unless they didn't win any), but I would assume that they also have their (offensive) stats suppressed a bit due to lower USG, right?

Edit: Also interesting is that the 3 guys that I'd put at the top of the early 80's mythology -- Bird, Magic, Zeke...all had their careers cut short.
   471. PJ Martinez Posted: March 18, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4390753)
Is Bird really a top ten player? What exactly makes him a better player than, say, Dirk?

Defense, rebounding, and passing. Other than that, though, they're pretty similar.
   472. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 18, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4390758)
Defense, rebounding, and passing. Other than that, though, they're pretty similar.
Wow, that's incredibly dismissive of Dirk. Though I'd also rate Bird as the greater player, I think it's close, and certainly a lot closer than most people would think. Peak Dirk was an incredible player.
   473. PJ Martinez Posted: March 18, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4390760)
Yes, peak Dirk was incredible, and is probably underrated. But Bird was, quite simply, a better rebounder by the numbers and a far, far better passer by every possible measure. (I mean, LeBron James is probably the only forward who is a better passer than Bird, right?)

Bird led the league in defensive win shares four times and was on the All-Defensive 2nd team three times. Has Nowitzki ever gotten a vote for the All-Defensive team?

Dirk is so good on offense that some advanced stats suggest that he and Bird are pretty equivalent players. I don't really buy that, but it's obviously possible and I am super biased.

Still, people who think they'r really all that similar seem to me a little blinded by hair and skin color. Dirk is an unguardable beast. Bird was a great all-around player.
   474. cmd600 Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:01 PM (#4390771)
But Bird was, quite simply, a better rebounder by the numbers and a far, far better passer by every possible measure.


But doesn't Bird's teams running an extra 5-10 possessions (eyeballing from basketball reference) a night exaggerate these differences?

And while Bird was the better defender, basketball reference has Dirk as 41st all time in DWS. I think looking at voting for a B-level award is highly unfair to Dirk.

Edit: And I don't think anyone has said they're similar other than in total career value.
   475. PJ Martinez Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4390772)
I'm talking advanced rate stats when it comes to passing and rebounding (i.e., TRB% and AST%), so pace shouldn't be an issue, I don't think. Edit: Also, Bird just *was* a better passer. I assume anyone who's watched both players sees that pretty much right away.

Dirk might be better defensively than I give him credit for. My sense is that he's never been a defensive asset but perhaps I'm way off on that.
   476. thok Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4390784)
What could the league do to optimize entertainment value of a player like Shaq?


Invent Twitter in 1993?

(I'd sort of be curious how the inevitable late 90's Twitter war between Kobe and Shaq would have played out.)
   477. tshipman Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:21 PM (#4390790)
I think the only center I would put ahead of Kareem is potentially Russell. (I'm not much of a timeline guy.)


If you don't timeline, how is Kareem over Wilt? Seems literally unpossible.


Is Bird really a top ten player? What exactly makes him a better player than, say, Dirk?


More ringzzz. :-p

Seriously though, I've wondered this too. His numbers aren't better than several guys who are universally ranked below him - Olajuwon, Robinson, Malone (either one), Barkley, KG, Dirk. The typical answer is that he made his teammates better, and that very well may be true, it's just kinda hard to verify.

I've always thought that great players on stacked teams tend to be ranked a bit too high on many lists. Russell was another. Was he really better than Wilt/Kareem/Shaq/Olajuwon/Robinson/Duncan? I don't know.


If you really want to get into heresy, try to make a case for Michael over Kareem--just on the stats, no championships.
   478. cmd600 Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4390791)
I'm talking advanced rate stats when it comes to passing and rebounding (i.e., TRB% and AST%), so pace shouldn't be an issue, I don't think. Edit: Also, Bird just *was* a better passer. I assume anyone who's watched both players sees that pretty much right away.


I'll absolutely say Bird was a better passer, but I don't think the rebounding difference (same as the defense) is as big as you're treating it.

And not that I think we can just wipe it away, but Dirk's first two years, learning the NBA at 20 and 21, take a decent knock off his rate stats.
   479. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4390792)
And while Bird was the better defender, basketball reference has Dirk as 41st all time in DWS.
I wonder how much of a bump Bird's defense got playing along side Parrish, McHale, and DJ, three exceptional defenders. Peak Dirk had nothing like that around him.

From what I can remember, Bird was never the guy who you could put on someone out in space and stop them. Having great help behind him does a long way towards hiding those flaws. This isn't to say that Bird was a terrible defender (and again, I would take Bird over Dirk), just that any argument for his greatness shouldn't list his defensive prowess among the primary reasons.
   480. JJ1986 Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4390800)
Jeff Green is going off. He has 19 points; the Heat have 21.

edit: now 22 to 24.
   481. It's a shame about Athletic Supporter Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4390809)
It's official: the poster boy for this thread is out for the season.
   482. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4390811)
This guy on the Blazers gives new meaning to the term "Shooty Babbitt". On the other hand he only seems to shoot from 24 feet or more.

Good game between the Sixers and Blazers. Our announcers can't praise Damien Wilkins enough. As Jason Richardson rehabs, we get equally good performance from another shaved-headed 33-year-old.
   483. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4390813)
LaMarcus Aldridge hits a 3 to make it a 2-point game with twenty seconds left.
   484. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:20 PM (#4390822)
(I'd sort of be curious how the inevitable late 90's Twitter war between Kobe and Shaq would have played out.)


Twitter is much the perfect medium for vintage Shaq, isn't it? He could toss off insulting one-liners like a seasoned lounge comedian.

As for Kobe, I'm not sure how well "hateful stare" really translates to the Twitter medium.
   485. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4390831)
Yeah, I am well aware that peak Shaq is better than Yao by a lot, I just point out the interesting similarity in career WS/48, the reason is really that

1. Shaq was kinda raw when he entered the league, Yao was more polished

2. Shaq played a long time as a shadow of himself. Yao basically never did.

   486. smileyy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4390845)
Shaq would have benefitted from getting to the NBA earlier. There's only so much you can learn from playing against even-more overmatched college guys triple-teaming you.
   487. smileyy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:04 PM (#4390854)
If you really want to get into heresy, try to make a case for Michael over Kareem--just on the stats, no championships.


Well, a portion of Jordan's value comes from playoff stat lines that you can't help winning titles with. I assume part of the argument is the pre-merger talent pool. Another part might be how much you weight Jordan's missed time due to retirement.
   488. tshipman Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM (#4390857)
Well, a portion of Jordan's value comes from playoff stat lines that you can't help winning titles with. I assume part of the argument is the pre-merger talent pool. Another part might be how much you weight Jordan's missed time due to retirement.


Kareem in '74: 47 MPG (!!!), 32 ppg, 15.8 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.4 blocks
Kareem in '77: 42.5 MPG, 34.6 ppg, 17.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, 3.5 blocks

Kareem's early career, he really was a force of nature. I think Kareem's playoff numbers are pretty comparable, tbh.
   489. Maxwn Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:14 PM (#4390859)
Please to be winning this game, Chicago.
   490. Maxwn Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM (#4390865)
Nate Robinson is a boss.
   491. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4390868)
holy #### Jeff Green with 43 already?
   492. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4390870)
Oh, that's nothing special. LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE HIT A 3.
   493. rr Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4390875)
Twitter is much the perfect medium for vintage Shaq, isn't it? He could toss off insulting one-liners like a seasoned lounge comedian


Nah. The "how my ass taste" line was good, and that is what people remember since it was directed at Satan; although it doesn't work anymore, since, as Kobe graciously pointed out in 2010, the ring count now permanently favors the Mamba. But Shaq mostly just gave himself "The Big" nicknames, complained about stuff, and said silly shitt that was kind of funny. Barkley is a lot sharper at that sort of thing than Shaq is IMO.

The Big Nomad will have another chance, soon, though: his jersey number goes up in the rafters at Staples on April 2.
   494. rr Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4390879)
Quite a game going on in Boston.
   495. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4390880)
Huge block by Green on LBJ ... this might do it if Boston scores here
   496. Maxwn Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4390889)
Damn. Nice try, Bulls.
   497. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4390901)
Lebron is kidna just trolling all of us isn't he?
   498. rr Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:06 PM (#4390905)
James and the Heat own the league right now. Will be interested to see if the Spurs beat them.
   499. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4390908)
Damn. Nice try, Celtics, especially without Garnett.

The Bird/Dirk thing is an interesting exercise, but let's not get carried away with it.
   500. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4390912)
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