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Saturday, March 01, 2014

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - March 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: whether civilization peaked during the reign of Queen Victoria, or the reign of Jimmy Carter.

Sadly, LeBron will have to get used to disappointment.

The District Attorney Posted: March 01, 2014 at 09:03 PM | 789 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   401. Publius Publicola Posted: March 17, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4673064)
STEAGLES loves the underdog.
   402. steagles Posted: March 17, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4673117)
STEAGLES loves the underdog.
but is it really that much of a limb to climb out on? wichita state is a 1, villanova is a 2 and creighton is a 3. VCU is only a 5 seed and they're not that far removed from a final four appearance. villanova isn't that far removed from a final four appearance.
   403. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: March 17, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4673130)
Durant is good at basketball and enjoyable to watch play basketball.
   404. Publius Publicola Posted: March 17, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4673135)
With you on Wichita State. Don't have a good read on Villanova as I haven't seem much of them. Creighton OK as long as McDermott doesn't have a bad game. While VCU is extremely well-coached, they are certainly a sleeper pick.
   405. Publius Publicola Posted: March 17, 2014 at 10:06 PM (#4673136)
RIP, Sam Lacey.
   406. Howling John Shade Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4673156)
FiveThirtyEight's prediction system loves Louisville in the Midwest bracket.
   407. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 07:38 AM (#4673180)
I am merely interested in why Kobe is SO highly regarded by other basketball players, seemingly out of proportion to his actual performance.


Because he is ####### crazy and he works harder than all but a handful of players. And everyone KNOWS he works harder than them.
   408. AROM Posted: March 18, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4673222)
Kobe is 35 - a substantial portion of the NBA watched him while growing up. His performance this year hasn't been so hot in the few games he was able to play, but he was great last year, especially at the end of their playoff run.

Lifetime accomplishments include 17th all time in win shares, 4th among actives (Tim, KG, Dirk ahead). #8 alltime in playoff win shares, #3 among actives (Tim, Lebron).

A high regard for Kobe is more about what he has done, than whether he'd like the answer to a very legitimate question of whether he has more value going forward than say, Kent Bazemore.
   409. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: March 18, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4673327)
So, this Phil Jackson thing is a hopeless PR stunt, right?
   410. rr Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4673339)
So, this Phil Jackson thing is a hopeless PR stunt, right?


I guess you didn't read page 4.

My answer is "No, it might actually work" if

a) Phil's name/status keep Dolan out of the way for awhile.
b) Phil hires some guys who share his philosophy to work day-to-day with some good analytics guys (who, according to Lowe, the Knicks already have on the payroll) and involves himself with being the face and voice of the franchise, with big decisions, and with FA recruitment.

Plusses for Phil in this situation are how big of a name he is and how good he is at media manipulation. If Phil does an interview criticizing Dolan for interfering that will make Dolan look bad, and Phil might actually be able to get away with stuff like that. The other obvious plus is that while many people may not like Phil, most people respect his track record and think he is smart. Dolan OTOH is a punchline, so Phil will have that perceptual edge in any possible conflict.

We will see. But I don't think it is a dumb move by the Knicks, and they needed to do something major to change perception and direction.

   411. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4673347)
So the key to this is that Dolan's ego is actually not infinite and he is capable of some degree of microscopic shame?

There's no doubting Jackson's brilliance, but I wonder if he still has the hunger for a project like this. If Dolan really wants to get out of the way he'd be better off hiring a rising star gm/coach combination and then spend the rest of his time rocking out and doing jello shots or something. Which, using my own brand of circular reasoning, is my way accusing Dolan of simply being up to his old tricks of collecting famous people and I don't see that as a strong indicator anything will change in New York. Ah well, I'm not a Knicks fan and maybe this will work. It will be interesting to see Jackson attempt to build a team without a transcendent star already on board.

Sorry for not reading page 4! I'm just waiting for the playoffs to start.
   412. Manny Coon Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4673353)
I would also argue that Larry Bird is very highly regarded by other basketball players, seemingly out of proportion to his actual performance, with many of the same factors at play.


Like with Kobe, I think it mainly comes to down to skill being more impressive to fellow players than physical domination. Both Bird and Kobe weren't nearly as impressive physically as Wilt, Shaq, Lebron, Jordan, Garnett, Robinson but they were still among the best of the best by being more skilled. I think skilled players more inspirational, because no matter how hard you work you're never going to big as Wilt or Shaq or the combination of size, speed, power and fitness guys like Lebron and Jordan, but skills are something you can at least try to emulate.

Being a fierce in game competitor also helps the case of guys like Bird and Kobe. For an even more extreme case, Allen Iverson was not a great player, but he always seemed very well respected for his combination of fancy ball skills and on the court competitiveness; Pete Maravich is fairly similar as well.
   413. rr Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4673363)
There's no doubting Jackson's brilliance, but I wonder if he still has the hunger for a project like this.
--

Well, I think that he can and should leave a lot of the hard, grimy day-to-day stuff--scouting college players, running video analysis, breaking down tendencies, figuring out who the 6-9 guys on the roster should be--to other guys. Like I said, I think he should bring in a coach/GM combo who buy into the Triangle etc.--Steve Kerr has been mentioned--and let them work with stats guys.

Phil's job IMO should be to make it so when people (especially players and agents) think "Knicks" they think "Phil Jackson" instead of "James Dolan" and to sit down with Kevin Love or whoever and his agent with a ring on the table and say, "Let's talk about your playing in New York."

Sure, there is a parallel between this and other Knicks' moves: Phil is old, famous, and arguably overpaid. But he is also a unique figure on the NBA scene, so I wouldn't count him out in this scenario.
   414. AROM Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4673374)
Both Bird and Kobe weren't nearly as impressive physically as Wilt, Shaq, Lebron, Jordan, Garnett, Robinson but they were still among the best of the best by being more skilled.


I get the others, but physically Kobe and Jordan are pretty good matches for each other.
   415. GregD Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4673377)
I'm not sure a PR stunt is bad news, in the first place.

The key thing the Knicks have to do next year is not tie up money in a quest for mediocrity or God forbid trade away whatever picks they have left in 2023

Figuring out ways to distract fans while stinking next year is important.

If that is all Jackson accomplishes, it will be the best move since Walsh left.

Multiply that times 10 if they use the PR to walk away from Melo's demands and then really stink next year.

Beyond that, Phil seems likely to have a plan of some sort. That will put him ahead of most Knicks' eras. We assume that he can implement it without Dolan sabotaging. We also assuming no smart young GM could implement it without Dolan sabotaging. Hard to know for sure but I wouldn't bet against it.

I do expect that Phil will find ways to capture control of the organization. That might mean simply downplaying the CAA backdoor and the CAA guys undermining coach after coach. If it's clear that Phil is the man you have to please, that's a small step forward from the chaos they have now.

Of course all of this could work out exactly how they hope and the Knicks still be fighting for a 6 seed.
   416. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4673379)
I get the others, but physically Kobe and Jordan are pretty good matches for each other.

Jordan has a clear advantage in athleticism and was also at least an inch taller to my untrained eye.
   417. rr Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4673382)
I have said this before, but one of Jordan's biggest physical advantages over Bryant is the size of his hands and length of his fingers, both which are much bigger than Bryant's. To me, one of Bryant's more impressive achievements over the last few years was how effective he had been on O with the damage to his hands. 2 or 3 of his fingers are permanently bent and damaged, and his hands are not all that large for a basketball player of his size.
   418. Manny Coon Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4673389)
I get the others, but physically Kobe and Jordan are pretty good matches for each other.


In addition to stuff just mentioned about his hands, I think Jordan was a lot stronger than Kobe, which in turn helped him finish better at the basket, be more versatile on defense and rebound better.
   419. GregD Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4673395)
On what impresses players, a reporter I know told me that older guys would say Adrian Dantley was the single-most-amazing player to them. For the reason stated above. Guys who were big or fast or whatever didn't impress them as much as a guy who was shorter, slower, and seemingly less athletic than them scoring at will. Maybe it's like chefs being impressed by cooks who throw something together with crap ingredients. Anyone can figure how not to f- up perfect ingredients. Show me a guy who can maximize spam and that's a talent.

Or singers who love watching great singers do terrible songs.
   420. theboyqueen Posted: March 18, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4673434)
I think Dominique Wilkins said on a recent interview with Simmons something similar about Bernard King; there was just nothing you could do to stop him from scoring but when you watch him it's certainly got nothing to do with the typical physical skills associated with dominant basketball.

Jordan's strength is legendary; Artest has said Jordan and Lebron are equally strong. Jordan has pretty much all of the physical gifts that would add up to a transcendent basketball player. Jordan, Wilt, and Russell are the three people who fit in this category for me.
   421. theboyqueen Posted: March 18, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4673436)
And Lebron, to make it 4.
   422. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 18, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4673462)
Really, how is Kobe going to stop Bird from scoring? Assuming they were both playing in their prime, Bird would be bigger, stronger, and a better shooter. He could take Kobe inside, outside and mid-range.

Bird was impossible to stop in his prime.

EDIT: And a better all-around player than Kobe. If I had to choose one to start a team, it'd be Bird without question. Kobe's skills are replaceable at 98 cents on the dollar, Bird's aren't.
   423. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 18, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4673467)
Dolan says he's willingly and gratefully ceding control and that he isn't an expert in basketball.

Color me surprised, but it actually could work.

The key will be how Dolan reacts to the upcoming freeze-out of Mills (or, I guess, if there is no freeze-out of Mills.)

   424. andrewberg Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4673475)
Jordan's strength is legendary; Artest has said Jordan and Lebron are equally strong. Jordan has pretty much all of the physical gifts that would add up to a transcendent basketball player. Jordan, Wilt, and Russell are the three people who fit in this category for me.


I think the thing that makes Jordan so unique in many people's eyes is that he is in that super-elite class of physically gifted players AND in the super-elite class of dedicated, hard-working, psychopathically competitive players. You get so few from category 1 that the odds that they would be temperamentally inclined to also be in category 2 are low. The fact that Lebron might count is pretty unreal.
   425. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4673476)
In reading the Lowe article on THE WHEEL I clicked on the link to the Mark Madsen '3' game. I then clicked on the player link for Madsen (and Brian Cardinal, because I had forgotten the glory of Brian Cardinal), only to discover that apparently the league would prefer if you forgot all about Madsen and Cardinal. Their player pages redirect to Gallinari and Sasha Kaun. Fantastic.

Actually this is all on ESPN. Way to use 4-digit player ID #'s, cheap bastards. Get a bigger database system. If some random baseball team can buy a $500,000 computer The Worldwide Leader shouldn't be slacking...
   426. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4673480)
I think the thing that makes Jordan so unique in many people's eyes is that he is in that super-elite class of physically gifted players AND in the super-elite class of dedicated, hard-working, psychopathically competitive players. You get so few from category 1 that the odds that they would be temperamentally inclined to also be in category 2 are low. The fact that Lebron might count is pretty unreal.


I don't think Lebron has the psychopathic part down yet. People still LIKE him. Bryant has embraced the hate, Garnett is crazy, Jordan brings up perceived slights in his HoF speech, but Lebron does seem to care what others think.
   427. AROM Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4673493)
Yeah. Lebron seems to actually enjoy the sport.

He's competitive enough, but most of his success is due to extreme talent (both physical and mental). He's got the ability to do whatever he wants on the floor, and the court awareness and understanding of the game to know what he should do.

I get the feeling his drive comes from realizing how gifted he is, and not wanting to squander that gift, as opposed to the obsessions that drove Jordan. But I could be wrong. I don't know him, just watch him on TV.
   428. AROM Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4673505)
Jordan's strength is legendary; Artest has said Jordan and Lebron are equally strong.


Jordan didn't really start weight training until the middle of his career. I remember a story in the early 90s about him setting a personal record benching 265 - good, but nothing elite about that. Not sure what the best way to measure strength is but I'm very skeptical that he could have matched Lebron in anything measurable by lifting heavy things.

Jordan playing baseball did not have the hand/wrist strength that comes from playing ball and swinging the bat over and over again. His leg strength was obviously great - you don't jump that high without it. But Lebron is stronger, he gets just as high in the air despite having more pounds to carry up there.

Not that it really matters to what he did on the court.
   429. andrewberg Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4673513)
I remember a story in the early 90s about him setting a personal record benching 265 - good, but nothing elite about that.


Wow, that's surprising. Part of it is that he has very long arms, and the longer levers make benching really tough. Even so, I'm maybe 2" shorter than him and have pretty long arms, and I can definitely bench more than that. I guess weight training has come a long way, even for average people.

In reading the Lowe article on THE WHEEL


One WHEEL element I have not heard discussed it what it does for trades. It would seem to complicate the idea of trading draft picks because you would have to target the appropriate "band" of picks for the player you want to trade, so you naturally weed out a healthy number of teams. That exists to some extent now. I think it would be much more complicated under that system.
   430. AROM Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4673521)
Wow, that's surprising. Part of it is that he has very long arms, and the longer levers make benching really tough.


Yeah, Durant had trouble benching 185 when he came into the league. He's not built for the bench press, but he sure is built for basketball.
   431. JJ1986 Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4673523)
I really don't get the WHEEL. It seems like knocking down your house because one room is painted the wrong color. If tanking is this huge problem, just make the lottery odds more even (or totally even.)
   432. andrewberg Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4673536)
I'm adding WHEEL to Horcats as a BBTF NBA thread official word.
   433. jmurph Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4673537)
I guess weight training has come a long way, even for average people.


Yeah I'm skeptical of any claim that someone who played a decade or more ago would be stronger than someone playing today. I quite literally LOLd at Kevin's claim that Bird would have a strength advantage on Kobe.
   434. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4673553)
I quite literally LOLd at Kevin's claim that Bird would have a strength advantage on Kobe.


You mean all those other times you weren't actually LOL'ing? I feel...cheated...
   435. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4673555)
Yeah I'm skeptical of any claim that someone who played a decade or more ago would be stronger than someone playing today.


I heard early on in Dwight Howard's career there was a certain lack of emphasis on his upper body - he has such broad shoulders he has the frame to pack on a lot of muscle and there was concern he would limit his arm mobility. Brings to mind the early days of weight training in MLB. I would hope this was researched a bit more than it was in the 80's though.

I have also heard Dwight is a bit of a softy though, so who knows, maybe that was just a PR rumor for why he didn't work out as hard.
   436. andrewberg Posted: March 18, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4673557)
I heard early on in Dwight Howard's career there was a certain lack of emphasis on his upper body - he has such broad shoulders he has the frame to pack on a lot of muscle and there was concern he would limit his arm mobility. Brings to mind the early days of weight training in MLB. I would hope this was researched a bit more than it was in the 80's though.


I don't know. I saw a video clip in some old NBA commercial when Dwight was in Orlando that showed him lifting weights. He was repping neutral grip incline dumbbell presses with what appeared to be 90 lb dumbbells. That's not something that comes easily without training, and if it is then he probably doesn't need to train much on top of it anyway.
   437. Manny Coon Posted: March 18, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4673560)
Yeah I'm skeptical of any claim that someone who played a decade or more ago would be stronger than someone playing today.


Modern players are obviously training better, which means these head of head comparisons will always favor the modern players, however Bird compared to the average player of 1982 and Jordan compared average player of 1992 are definitely stronger that Kobe compared to the average player of 2006. I could easily see Jordan's strength relative to the 90's, being similar to Lebron's relative strength now.
   438. AROM Posted: March 18, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4673566)
Michael Cage, Charles Oakley, Kevin Willis, Karl Malone - I don't think the power forwards of today have gotten much stronger than those guys.
   439. Jon T. Posted: March 18, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4673570)
I remember reading an interview with a personal trainer for NBA players that Oakley could Bench 315 for 2 reps. The trainer considered him the strongest player in the NBA.
   440. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4673573)
I remember reading an interview with a personal trainer for NBA players that Oakley could Bench 315 for 2 reps. The trainer considered him the strongest player in the NBA.


I love how he has become Jordan's bodyguard.
   441. Publius Publicola Posted: March 18, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4673613)
I quite literally LOLd at Kevin's claim that Bird would have a strength advantage on Kobe.


Bird is listed at 6:9, 220 and a power forward. Kobe 6:6, 205 and a shooting guard. But sure, the smaller, lighter, slender guy is certainly going to be stronger. (rolls eyes)

Some of the clueless things people say here with complete conviction, it never gets old.

   442. theboyqueen Posted: March 18, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4673622)
By those numbers Bird would be the more slender one. I have no doubt, however, that one-one-one in a fight Bird would kick Kobe's ass, if he could find him.
   443. theboyqueen Posted: March 18, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4673624)
Also, quite obviously, being basketball strong and being able to bench press a bunch of weight have little to do with one another. Much would depend on balance, leverage, and intention.
   444. Publius Publicola Posted: March 18, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4673633)
Yeah I'm skeptical of any claim that someone who played a decade or more ago would be stronger than someone playing today.


Could someone tell jmurph that weight training for basketball players has been around since before he was born?
   445. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 08:27 PM (#4673657)
Publius Publicola, I think the post you responded to was directed at kevin. He's not around much anymore though.

Not sure if anyone else here is a Chopped fan, but Oak was on recently?. Still have the episode saved on my DVR. Like anything involving the '90s Knicks he was robbed.
   446. puck Posted: March 18, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4673661)
Strength in basketball can be an odd thing. I remember thinking Bob Lanier (I remember him from his Bucks days) was ginormous, so him saying that Chamberlain lifted him up and moved him like a coffee cup to get a better position sort of blew my mind.
   447. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 18, 2014 at 09:58 PM (#4673673)
Modern players are obviously training better, which means these head of head comparisons will always favor the modern players, however Bird compared to the average player of 1982 and Jordan compared average player of 1992 are definitely stronger that Kobe compared to the average player of 2006. I could easily see Jordan's strength relative to the 90's, being similar to Lebron's relative strength now.


To the earlier point about Kobe's regard amongst players and the Jordan physical comparison. Jordan's seems more similar in athletic difference to his peers to Lebron, than he is to Kobe. Kobe came into the league at the same time as Vince Carter, and he was at a clear disadvantage in just about every way physically to him. And you had other guys like JRich, Stackhouse, Marion, who were in the same category of athleticism. Other than Clyde, Jordan just didn't have an athletic rival in the 6-5 to 6-7 range during his peek.
   448. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4673677)
Some of the clueless things people say here with complete conviction, it never gets old.
Oftentimes, they're not even true. Just outright lies. Dunno why people do it. I guess they just want to feel smart or important. It's pathetic, really.
   449. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4673678)
Jordan just didn't have an athletic rival in the 6-5 to 6-7 range during his peek.


Doesn't help that he disappeared mid-career.
   450. AROM Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4673682)
Ron Harper was a good Jordan athletic rival, up until his knee injury. Even had the huge hands. Just wasn't anywhere ner as good. Dominique? If Marion counts for Kobe then Nique counts for Jordan.
   451. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:31 PM (#4673684)
Penny Hardway and Grant Hill both went down with injuries. Both could have filled that rival role for late-career Jordan.
   452. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:40 PM (#4673687)
Hombre, both better examples than mine. Petrovic is another guy who is in range of Jordan sizewise whose career was snuffed out.

Also, none of these guys played with a teammate as good as Pippen, except Penny (whose team, incidentally, did beat Jordan's Bulls in 1995).
   453. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:58 PM (#4673690)
Hombre, both better examples than mine. Petrovic is another guy who is in range of Jordan sizewise whose career was snuffed out.
All of Jordan's rivals, broken or rubbed out. Someone needs to take a closer look at Michael Jordan....
   454. rr Posted: March 18, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4673691)
It occurred to me today that there is a good chance that Greg Oden will get a ring before Kevin Durant gets one.

I also kind of like the aesthetic symmetry/arms race aspect of Miami's adding Oden and Indiana's adding Bynum. I could actually see one of them swinging a game in that series, assuming, of course, that they can get out there on the floor.
   455. Quaker Posted: March 18, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4673692)
Dont think theres any chance Bird would out-bench/squat/power clean Kobe. And according to BBRef, Kobe weighs 220, which means he's neither lighter nor more slender than Bird.
   456. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 18, 2014 at 11:45 PM (#4673705)
Kobe came into the league at the same time as Vince Carter, and he was at a clear disadvantage in just about every way physically to him. And you had other guys like JRich, Stackhouse, Marion, who were in the same category of athleticism.
What set Bryant apart from those guys is amazing footwork on both ends of the floor and the total breadth of his offensive game. He's not as strong as some of those guys, but he was his team's go-to post scorer ever since Shaq left. He's not as fast as some of those guys, but he's plenty fast enough to get to the rim almost at will. He's not the greatest shooter from mid- or long-range, but he's more than good enough to demand constant attention. He's not the greatest passer or lead ball handler, but he was good enough to be the de facto point guard on two championship teams.

Using Play Index, I did a search for guards and swingmen who bettered 15 P/G, 20 Assist%, and 7 TRB% per season, and sorted by Win Shares. Of the top 100 seasons since 1980 that qualified, Jordan, Magic, and Lebron did it 10 times, Drexler seven times, Pippen and Wade did it six, Manu five times, Gary Payton four times...

Kobe has 13 of the top 100 seasons by those measures. I'm not saying he had the best 13 (he clearly doesn't) because Jordan, James and Magic own the top of the list, but he has 3 of the top ten seasons if you exclude those three, and his seasons pepper the top 100. No, he's probably not the best player in any given season, he was just one of the best in every given season for 15 straight seasons, and Bryant has more than twice the number of these seasons than the second-most guy (Manu). Guys rose and fell, and Kobe just machined out elite season after elite season.

Now, I'm not arguing that Kobe Bryant's career is better than Larry Bird's — Bird's peak is obviously higher and he had some impressive broad-based skills himself, but even Larry Legend broke down after a decade. Could a Prime Kobe Bryant beat Prime Larry Bird 1-on-1? Hell yeah. All the major criticisms of Bryant — refusal to pass, not running the offense — goes out the window in 1-on-1, while his singular skill — finding his shot — gets featured. A lot of what made Bird great — his court awareness, passing skills, moving without the ball — get flushed in this context, while his one weakness, his foot speed, gets the spot light. Bird was the better shooter (the best shooter?), but Bryant would have speed and leaping ability to go with his usual bag of tricks. Wouldn't be a blow-out either way, but the idea that one of these guys gets dominated is hilariously wrong.
   457. theboyqueen Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:02 AM (#4673711)
I agree with every word of that, except that Kobe's career is definitely better than Larry Bird's (not peak though, not close).
   458. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4673714)
Joe C. - when I was writing that comment, Reggie came to mind. While I can't stand Bill Simmons' penchant for alternative history for only his teams, I can feel him on Reggie Lewis. I think we would have seen a Lebron/KD dynamic for him and Jordan after a few years if things had played out differently, but obviously with a lot more hate and venom.

What set Bryant apart from those guys is amazing footwork on both ends of the floor and the total breadth of his offensive game.

Completely agree on pretty much every thing you said. Few things in sports have given me more joy than Kobe's ascendance over Vince. I was in college during those early Kobe years, and the consensus was so far in Vince's court during the Vinsanity period. Watching Kobe add a mid-range jumper, then a drop step, then a turn-around, etc., etc. year after year was an amazing thing to watch. It won't be easy to find someone who so dramatically improved so many aspects of their game over a career.
   459. Maxwn Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:28 AM (#4673715)
Sometimes I think an internet basketball message board has got to argue about Kobe every couple months just to know it really exists. Something to that effect should go on his HOF plaque.
   460. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 05:52 AM (#4673739)
Joe C. - when I was writing that comment, Reggie came to mind. While I can't stand Bill Simmons' penchant for alternative history for only his teams, I can feel him on Reggie Lewis. I think we would have seen a Lebron/KD dynamic for him and Jordan after a few years if things had played out differently, but obviously with a lot more hate and venom.

I thought this was absurd when Simmons said it. I'm too young to have seen Lewis play, but looking at the numebers, 3 of the 4 guys you mentioned are: the greatest player of all time, the top candidate for the second/third greatest player of all time, and a likely Top 15 guy. Nothing about Reggie Lewis' NBA performance suggested he belongs anywhere near that. If this is purely based off of athleticism then we might as well toss in guys like Gerald Green when discussing present stars.
   461. jmurph Posted: March 19, 2014 at 08:27 AM (#4673765)
Careful NJ, Kevin will be here in a minute to explain to you why Reggie Lewis was the best wing player since Jerry West and physically stronger than Lebron.
   462. JC in DC Posted: March 19, 2014 at 08:35 AM (#4673773)
Let's stop trolling Kevin, ok? When you're basing strength on purported bench presses, you're really off the mark. As someone above suggested, there's very little correlation between strength and bench pressing. The latter is just a skill learned by repetition. Lots of guys who never benched are quite strong, and lots of guys who can bench a bit are not really strong at much else than benching.

All that said, I'm not sure how one would know who's stronger than whom. And, I'm not sure why, after all of our passionate enjoyment of basketball and new scientific understanding of the sport, comparisons of players still devolve into cliches about "foot speed" and "athleticism" and blah blah blah. There have been some very unathletic seeming basketball players who are incredible (someone mentioned Bernard King; that's a great one). There are some athletic seeming players who suck (the examples abound). And, too often the assumptions about who's athletic or not just tracks into racial categories. I'm always amazed when people say Bird was unathletic. He wasn't. Go watch tape of him at State, or early in his career. He would've been the best athlete most of us ever played any sport with. He was a great athlete who hurt his back (compare him to Larry Johnson as a comp; very similar careers pre- and post-injury).
   463. jmurph Posted: March 19, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4673778)
I'm always amazed when people say Bird was unathletic.


Who did this, again? Also, before you start scolding people you should maybe read the thread, because pretty much no one is doing those things you just complained about.

Incidentally, Larry Bird is basically a deity to me, and in my house growing up.
   464. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:46 AM (#4673826)
Penny Hardway and Grant Hill both went down with injuries. Both could have filled that rival role for late-career Jordan.


Could have? Actually they did. Hill was playing 3000+ minutes per year during Jordan's second title run. Season of 21 PPG and regular triple doubles. His injuries happened after Jordan was done with the Bulls anyway.

Hardaway's injuries were a bit earlier, but he was at his best in 94-95 when the Magic beat the Bulls, and 95-96 when the Bulls took their revenge.
   465. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4673830)
kpelton, any thoughts on Elfrid Payton?
   466. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4673835)
Dont think theres any chance Bird would out-bench/squat/power clean Kobe. And according to BBRef, Kobe weighs 220, which means he's neither lighter nor more slender than Bird.


Bird's 220 is probably his college or rookie weight. He almost certainly was heavier as his career progressed. Sean Forman's sites have started to update weights more recently, but it's still hit and miss and for a long time nobody ever bothered to update those in the record books.

Bird almost certainly would not outlift Kobe, but I'm not sure that means much to functional strength. Kobe has a regular workout program, I am not aware of Bird being a lifter. If memory serves, Bird's workout was basically all done in the basketball gym, where he would shoot for hours and hours and hours. Also, Bird being bigger likely had longer arms, which as mentioned earlier is a disadvantage to the bench press. In a bench press competition, I would put my money on a guy like Derek Fisher over a big man like Dwight Howard.

Bird vs. Kobe 1 on 1, in their primes - I don't think either one stops the other very often, or has a clear advantage in a series of games. It would be fun to watch though.
   467. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4673840)
Perhaps the best suited player who could have been a Jordan athletic rival was the one he was fortunate to have as a teammate.
   468. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4673842)
NYT goes in-depth on the Phil courtship:
Over the coming weeks, the three men continued to communicate over the phone and by email. It was clear, Mr. Dolan said, that a deal was imminent. Mr. Jackson was already becoming involved in the team’s decision-making process. Mr. Dolan said he sought Mr. Jackson’s approval on several deals the team tried to make as the Feb. 20 trade deadline loomed. Mr. Dolan, declining to elaborate on the deals, said he was reluctant to make a move that would hinder Mr. Jackson’s long-term strategy.

“If it was a trade that didn’t fit what he was thinking — and I couldn’t tell you the specifics of what he was thinking, but I knew he had a plan,” Mr. Dolan said. “I believed he was coming on board, and I felt I should consult him.”
   469. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4673844)
Watched Utah lose last night because I was interested in seeing Delon Wright, who my statistical scouting tools rank very highly this year. A 6'5, 180 pound point guard, he fills up the stat sheet with rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, while shooting 56% from the field. As for the blocks, he has 43 in 33 games. Don't think I've seen a shot blocker his size since Dwyane Wade.

Not a very good game for him despite 8 rebounds and 7 assists. He can't really shoot (22% 3 point land) and didn't look dynamic enough in driving the lane to think he could make a living doing that in the NBA. Also 6 turnovers. Maybe a second rounder* who can be a backup PG and defensive specialist.

*Which means, I guess, he's headed to Philly.
   470. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4673900)
Bird got to 240, right?

I like Delon (interesting that he's the younger brother of an outside shooting specialist (Dorell)) - he's not super athletic but knows the game. Has another year of eligibility, iirc.
   471. andrewberg Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4673958)
JC- To be clear, I did not intend to conflate bench press with functional NBA strength. I meant to treat it as one indicator of strength, and given the physical capabilities of many of these guys, there is naturally some overlap.

AROM- It is hard to imagine what Pippen's game would have looked like if he never played with Jordan. We can obviously look at the interim period where he was the best player on a very successful Bulls team without a ton of other star power, but even that was after the team gelled around Jordan. I think it is clear that he would have been a terrific defender no matter what, but in current terms, would he have been more like an Andre Iguodala? Paul George? Ron Artest? It is a very interesting hypothetical.
   472. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 19, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4674011)
It is a very interesting hypothetical.


For me it is the mental side. What did playing for so long with alpha dog crazy competitor Jordan do for (to) Pippen? Did it help his dedication and mental toughness, making him a better player, or did it stunt his growth? heck maybe people are what they are and it affected him not at all.
   473. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4674023)
Another college player with some funny stats - Doug McDermott. Great shooter, leading scorer in the nation. A 6'8 forward. But he had only 8 steals, and 4 blocks all year - over 1100 minutes. I thought there was a misprint, but he's a senior, has played 1100+ minutes each year, and his season steal totals range from 7-11, and blocks from 2-4.

If there has been any player with as few steals + blocks in similar minutes, I am not aware of him. Let me try a play index search. Minutes only go back to 2009-10, so since then, 1000+ minutes, 10 or fewer blocks and steals.

Returns 3 Doug McDermott seasons and nothing else.
   474. Spivey Posted: March 19, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4674033)
McDermott is a better shooter than Adam Morrison, but I don't see any way he has the athleticism to play long term in the NBA.
   475. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4674034)
I don't know what to do with McDermott. I'd be real wary of taking him at #10, where DraftExpress has him.
Even if the steals and blocks mischaracterize his athleticism (as I think they do), he still looks like a liability on D and the boards at the next level ... basically, he's a higher usage, a bit more versatile Steve Novak or a much more useful Adam Morrison. That's better than it sounds, but still less valuable than, say, a Ryan Anderson type (who can rebound and is bigger than McD).

I do think he's an NBA player, though. Would you rather have McDermott or, say, Anthony Tolliver? (I like Tolliver, seems like a good dude and he's a hard worker who can shoot, but...)
   476. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4674042)
Even if the steals and blocks mischaracterize his athleticism (as I think they do), he still looks like a liability on D and the boards at the next level ... basically, he's a higher usage, a bit more versatile Steve Novak or a much more useful Adam Morrison. That's better than it sounds, but still less valuable than, say, a Ryan Anderson type (who can rebound and is bigger than McD).


Or he could be Kyle Korver 2.0. Korver even played at Creighton!
   477. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4674049)
AROM, what do your numbers say about Elfrid Payton?
   478. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4674051)
I would think you'd get more steals than blocks like that just by accident. He must be trying to play a very conservative type of defense where he never gambles or leaves his feet, or else he's the worst defender ever.

I also thought of Novak. He didn't block any (9 total) shots in college, but at least got a few steals, about twice as many as McDermott.
   479. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4674121)
Korver plays the three and some two - he's quite a bit quicker than McDermott. My understanding is that McDermott is likely to mostly play PF. If he can quicken up enough to help out at the three, that would go a long way.
   480. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4674125)
AROM, where are you running your searches?
   481. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4674129)
College basketball reference, play index

AROM, what do your numbers say about Elfrid Payton?


Not sure, I'll look it up later tonight.

Compared to McDermott, Korver looks like a Dwyane Wade. He had 50 steals and 23 blocks his senior year.
   482. kpelton Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4674131)
I'm pro-Elfrid Payton and any other Paytons. Some stats guys (most notably the one who's been posting his work on Canis Hoopus) are high on him, but the strength of schedule takes a pretty big chunk out of his numbers for me. I think he's probably more of a second-round guy. Helps that he's extraordinarily young for his class.

Here's the question I've been pondering: If I could guarantee that McDermott was going to be Novak with more ability to create his own offense, where would you take him?
   483. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4674132)
On Payton, just as a guess I'd say he's substantially lower than Wright. They are similar in being point guards who can rebound, shoot high percentage shots, and not do much from long range. The difference in the system I'm using would downgrade Payton's numbers for 1) being on a higher pace team and 2) strength of schedule rating on cbb-ref favors Utah.
   484. jmurph Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4674133)
Here's the question I've been pondering: If I could guarantee that McDermott was going to be Novak with more ability to create his own offense, where would you take him?


Late-ish first round? That's a rotation guy on even a decent team, right?
   485. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4674136)
If I could guarantee that McDermott was going to be Novak with more ability to create his own offense, where would you take him?


Probably 20-25.
   486. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4674137)
That's my thought too, jmurph and AROM (and kpelton on Payton).
   487. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4674141)
Late-ish first round? That's a rotation guy on even a decent team, right?


I think a guy like that looks great on a good team (think of how many 3's he hits for the Spurs) but on a bad team, there aren't enough offensive options to distract. So the defense shuts him down, and his weaknesses are exposed. 2 years later he's declared a bust, released, and ends up signing with the Spurs and being a contributor.
   488. jmurph Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4674148)
I'm pretty far out of the loop on college hoops- how is the draft looking now, now that the season is nearly complete? I get the sense most people are not nearly as high on this crop of freshman as they were prior to the season.
   489. steagles Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4674155)
I don't know what to do with McDermott. I'd be real wary of taking him at #10, where DraftExpress has him.
Even if the steals and blocks mischaracterize his athleticism (as I think they do), he still looks like a liability on D and the boards at the next level ... basically, he's a higher usage, a bit more versatile Steve Novak or a much more useful Adam Morrison. That's better than it sounds, but still less valuable than, say, a Ryan Anderson type (who can rebound and is bigger than McD).

I do think he's an NBA player, though. Would you rather have McDermott or, say, Anthony Tolliver? (I like Tolliver, seems like a good dude and he's a hard worker who can shoot, but...)
in a world where josh mcboberts exists, i think doug mcdermott will be just fine.

   490. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4674156)
Using Win Shares, because that's the first/only thing I can think of here, Novak had 5 WS in '12 (about 2/3s of a season) and 4 in '13 (full season). So averaged between those two he was a 5.5-6 WS player when used regularly. Of course those are Novak's best seasons, but with him it's hard to judge because of how his playing time gets jerked around. Let's assume that McDermott's superior non shooting offensive skill means that to whatever extent those Novak years were flukey he would make them up. So now McDermott's a 6WS player. I have no idea how long the average NBA career is but I think teams more or less have control of players rights for their first 6 seasons before they achieve true free agency. If he averages 6 WS per year that gets him to 36. Looking at the '96 draft to '07 draft 36 win shares would rank:

16
9
13
16
6
15
10
12
11
8
6
6

Looks like a late lotto pick. This was quick and dirty and there's a good chance it made no sense.
   491. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4674170)
McRoberts is athletic (both by inspection and by the stats where McDermott is remarkably deficient) and one of the best passing big men in the world. (Yeah, I said it.) OTOH, McDermott might be able to score 18-20 a game if you let him. (Hmmm, maybe I rated him too low.)
They're incredibly different players.
   492. cmd600 Posted: March 19, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4674174)
Corollary to McDermott - where are people taking Stauskas (assuming he comes out)? 21 months younger, has a few more (but still very few) blocks and steals. I'd say just as good from 3pt range, but not the shot creator that McDermott is. Isn't he Korver?
   493. Spivey Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4674252)
Stauskas is more athletic, younger, and fits a position well in the NBA. He strikes me as a very good backup guard in that he can play both positions ok from a skill and size perspective.

I'm not crazy about McDermott's future but he really is the legit best player in college this year, and it's unusual those guys are unusable in the NBA. He seems like he'd be a total sieve at PF though.

I'd probably take both late first or early second. If I knew McDermott would be Novak good, I'd still probably take him in about that same spot. This is a deeper draft than normal and the fact you know your ceiling is limited to a good player, but ultimately a role player.
   494. Publius Publicola Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4674258)
If you're saying McDermott will be able to score off the dribble, I think it's just a matter of time before he learns to assist off the dribble too. That would make him a totally different player than Novak.
   495. kpelton Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:46 PM (#4674259)
NJ gets at my thinking. As excited as we get about upside, the average value of a pick drops pretty quickly. I think Novak-plus is probably a late lottery pick to the right team (Memphis yes, Minnesota probably no unless he only plays next to Gorgui Dieng).
   496. Publius Publicola Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4674262)
Rondo putting on a show against the Heat. One point short of a triple double. He hit two beautiful floaters to ice the game and even outleaped Haslem on a jump ball in the last minute.
   497. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM (#4674268)
Jazz in Memphis. They had 32 po?nts at half and were down 16. It's now a tie game at 84 with under 6 minutes to play.
   498. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4674284)
Elfrid Payton ranks 65th among guards in my ratings.

Others:
1. Delon Wright
2. Russ Smith
3. Jordan Adams
4. Marcus Smart
5. Fred VanVleet
6. Xavier Thames
7. Andrew Wiggins
14. Nik Stauskas
16. Tyler Ennis

I am definitely not an expert on this and consider my ratings a work in progress. I'll post a few for the curious, but I don't put too much faith in these.

For Forwards:
1. Jabari Parker
2. Montrezl Harrell
3. McDermott
4. Frank Kaminsky
5. Jarnell Stokes
6. Kyle Anderson
7. Julius Randle

Center:
1. Joel Embiid (top rating overall)
2. Alan Williams
3. Sam Dower
4. Moses Kingsley
5. Willie Cauley-Stein
   499. AROM Posted: March 19, 2014 at 11:26 PM (#4674287)
On the center list:

Looking them up, 2 and 3 are not NBA center sized, they'll be forwards if they can play. Moses Kingsley is only playing 11 minutes per game. This is a rate stat. At 6'10 230 he's got legit size, and has 47 blocks in only 352 minutes. Plus a grade A name. I assume he'll be back in school next year.
   500. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4674397)
It is too little too late, but R. Rubio had a nice night last evening.
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