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Friday, February 03, 2012

OT: NBA Monthly Thread, February 2012

I estimate that there may be more than 10-12 Primates who want to talk about the inevitable dominance of the Philadelphia 76ers, and with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the pharmaceutical industry, allergies, and obscure movies.

Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: February 03, 2012 at 04:46 AM | 1392 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies, twins

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   1201. andrewberg Posted: March 01, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4071904)
I don't think the Wolves need more garbage picks. The roster has plenty of projects and fringe contributors. I would rather package Beasley with someone else or a combination of players like Ridnour, Johnson, Randolph, or possibly even Williams in the right deal. If the deal was Beasley for 2 first rounders, I guess those have plenty of value in being flipped for a starting caliber SG, but then why would LA so readily deal them? I am skeptical of that deal beyond the money component.

Oh, and the Lakers thumped the wolves last night. Bynum looked really tough early on and the Wolves offense was totally stagnant. I would like to think that having Love out there would have changed things, but even then, the legs looked weak on the b2b and LA was fired up.
   1202. andrewberg Posted: March 01, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4071907)
Yeah, I think it is totally reasonable for them to say that he (Clipper Darrell) cannot profit off of the name without at least running the appearances by the team first.
   1203. Jimmy P Posted: March 01, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4071955)
If the deal was Beasley for 2 first rounders, I guess those have plenty of value in being flipped for a starting caliber SG, but then why would LA so readily deal them?

The Wolves need to deal Beasley. Actually, they need to decide first off if they want him. He's unrestricted, so if they aren't going to resign him (and really, why would they), they should get something. If that something is 1 first rounder, that will be more use to them next year than nothing.
   1204. andrewberg Posted: March 01, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4071965)
Yes, I agree. They absolutely need to trade him because they're not going to pay the $7m qo or however much it is. If they trade him for picks, I thnk those picks would be better used by being flipped, but he needs to be traded either way. They might even be better off now by getting rid of him because they have more efficient players who can actually play defense for those minutes.
   1205. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 01, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4072027)
Now that the whole story's come out about how Clipper Darrell's been making money off the Clipper franchise name, he's not getting much support from the fan base. Everyone appreciates a diehard fan, but nobody likes a moocher.
   1206. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 01, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4072029)
Simmons has made the big time. Podcast with President Obama.
   1207. steagles Posted: March 01, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4072042)
another selection from the sixers blogosphere:

This is a rant. Nothing more, nothing less. I am posting these words to you let you know that I am “out” as they say. I am off the band wagon. I am removing my face paint. I have officially put down the pitcher of Kool-Aid. Because in the words of former NFL coach Dennis Green, the Sixers “…Are who we thought they were.”



there is not a single sixers blog anywhere on the internet that is readable. they are all absolutely awful.
   1208. Jimmy P Posted: March 01, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4072046)
there is not a single sixers blog anywhere on the internet that is readable. they are all absolutely awful.


Zach Lowe has a nice post up about their struggles in crunch time.
   1209. rr Posted: March 01, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4072062)
ESPN 5/5 compares James to:

Magic
Bird
Robertson
Chamberlain
Jordan

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/5-on-5-120301/nba-lebron-james-all-time-greats
   1210. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4072082)
ESPN 5/5 compares James to:

Magic
Bird
Robertson
Chamberlain
Jordan


Final score: LeBron 7, Other guys 18. Seems like a weird exercise.
   1211. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 01, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4072090)
5 guys took MJ, 5 took Magic, 4 took Bird, 3 took Wilt, 1 took Oscar.
Bit surprised that Magic was a unanimous choice and that Bird out-polled Wilt (as I rank Wilt over Bird for both career and peak, which is a somewhat different way of conceptualizing this than they are using). Also think that they didn't talk defense enough.
   1212. rr Posted: March 01, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4072096)
James is a significantly better D player than Bird or Magic, but while it may simply be generational bias, I get where they are coming from. If I were starting a team, and could pick among Bird, Magic, and James, all at age 20, I would have a very hard time passing up Earvin or Larry Legend even with James' superior athleticism. I am in Abbott's age group, so, like him, I "grew up on" those guys.

James with Magic Johnson's job on the Showtime teams would have been quite a spectacle, to say the least.
   1213. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 01, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4072127)
This ignores the playoffs and timelining, among other things. So, big, important stuff. That said, here's how those 6 guys do in terms of bb-ref ELO rank, top 10 WS seasons, and top 10 seasons by PER.

Dude/Rnk _______win shares____________ __player efficiency rating___
MikeJ
/01 21 20 20 20 19 18 18 17 17 16 32 32 31 31 30 30 29 28 28 26
LBird
/02 16 16 15 15 14 14 12 11 11 09 28 26 26 26 24 24 23 22 21 21 
Magic
/04 17 16 16 15 13 13 12 12 11 11 27 27 27 26 25 24 23 23 23 23
Oscar
/05 21 17 17 17 17 16 13 13 12 12 28 27 26 26 26 25 25 25 22 22
LBron
/09 21 19 16 16 15 14 14 05 -- -- | 32 31 29 28 27 26 25 18 -- --  
WiltC/19 25 23 22 21 21 20 19 18 17 16 32 32 32 29 28 28 28 27 25 22 

This year, LBJ has a PER of 32 and would be on a pace for a 21 WS season, given an 82 game schedule.

Wilt and Oscar were playing nearly the entire game at their peak (heck, Wilt averaged 45.8 mpg for his career) and we need to account for that when we look at their WS ("counting stat"; PER is a rate metric).

From this (and just from this), I find it very hard to rank Bird or Magic over LeBron (who would have to earn the nod as the best defender of the bunch).

Anybody else inclined to think that bb-ref's ELO rank is pretty much garbage?
   1214. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 01, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4072133)
Anybody else inclined to think that bb-ref's ELO rank is pretty much garbage?


It measures popular opinion. So, yes.
   1215. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4072138)
James is a significantly better D player than Bird or Magic, but while it may simply be generational bias, I get where they are coming from. If I were starting a team, and could pick among Bird, Magic, and James, all at age 20, I would have a very hard time passing up Earvin or Larry Legend even with James' superior athleticism. I am in Abbott's age group, so, like him, I "grew up on" those guys.

I get it too (I'm 38), but I think they're wrong. Note: I'm not trying to wave away differences in "killer instinct" stuff either - I think it can be (and, here, is) real - it's just not enough. I also am not saying that they're crazy or anything, just mistaken.

I think know Larry Bird was awesome. I also think he's overrated historically, if people think he's the #2 player of all time.
Magic probably is overrated as well - how much better do people think he was than, say, Jerry West?
   1216. madvillain Posted: March 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4072139)
I didn't think I'd ever see a player that would challenge Jordan for "greatest [non Wilt] season ever".

Well, Lebron is getting close.
   1217. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 01, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4072227)
Yeah, I just came here after reading the 5 on 5 piece and feeling like I was on crazy pills. I don't understand why no one ever mentions that Bird and Magic (allegedly) were not good defenders whenever people attempt to put them in historical perspective. The idea that anyone puts them in the same sentence as Jordan or picks them over LeBron is absolutely ####### ridiculous to me. And I know they have a ton of rings and you may want to question LeBron's killer instinct but it's really not that hard to play with a team filled with complementary HOFers/ASs.
   1218. steagles Posted: March 01, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4072232)
Zach Lowe has a nice post up about their struggles in crunch time.

from the post:
So is it bad luck or something endemic to this collection of players? I suspect it’s a little of both. But don’t be surprised if the Sixers lose a key playoff game or two because they can’t score enough in the last couple of minutes against a great defense.

i think it's a combination of things.

when the intensity level gets ramped up late in games, the sixers don't have another gear they can go to. they play all-out all-game, and if a team is within spitting distance in the last few minutes, the sixers will almost always be at a disadvantage because when their opponents are able to match the sixers intensity, the team's deficiencies are magnified. they have issues rebounding and they have issues at the FT line, and those are two absolutely crucial deficiencies to have late in games.


at this point, i'm still not much of a fan of acquiring someone at the daedline, so i guess my plan for improvement in this area would be four-fold. 1) give ET more minutes and hope he takes a step forward. 2) give thaddeus young more minutes, and hope he becomes a more assertive offensive factor. 3) do something with jrue holiday. not like a trade or anything, but he really needs to be better. and 4) pray like the ####### pope that spencer hawes comes back healthy and productive and stays that way through the end of the season.


i still think this team can do some damage. and though they've lost 8 of the last 11, one slim piece of hope to cling to is that only 1 of those losses was to a team in the eastern conference.
   1219. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 01, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4072243)
Dude/Rnk _______win shares____________ | __player efficiency rating___
MikeJ/01 21 20 20 20 19 18 18 17 17 16 | 32 32 31 31 30 30 29 28 28 26
LBird/02 16 16 15 15 14 14 12 11 11 09 | 28 26 26 26 24 24 23 22 21 21 
Magic/04 17 16 16 15 13 13 12 12 11 11 | 27 27 27 26 25 24 23 23 23 23
Oscar/05 21 17 17 17 17 16 13 13 12 12 | 28 27 26 26 26 25 25 25 22 22
LBron/09 21 19 16 16 15 14 14 05 -- -- | 32 31 29 28 27 26 25 18 -- --  
WiltC/19 25 23 22 21 21 20 19 18 17 16 | 32 32 32 29 28 28 28 27 25 22  


For comparison:
Kareem A-J PER:

30 29 29 29 28 27 26 26 26 25
   1220. Jimmy P Posted: March 01, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4072245)
when the intensity level gets ramped up late in games, the sixers don't have another gear they can go to. they play all-out all-game

They remind me a lot of the Bulls of the mid 00s. The team that really struggled to put up points but was a monster on D. They just didn't have one person that could consistently get them buckets. And they had the hard driving coach. It's a great regular season team, they can beat the crap, put up a fight against good teams and win those. Once the competition ramps up and they have to play a good team night in, night out, they get exposed.
   1221. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4072266)
Sad Steagles is much harder to read than Happy Steagles.
   1222. rr Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4072288)
The idea that anyone puts them in the same sentence as Jordan or picks them over LeBron is absolutely ####### ridiculous to me. And I know they have a ton of rings and you may want to question LeBron's killer instinct but it's really not that hard to play with a team filled with complementary HOFers/ASs.


Young LeBron fan on a rant.

It's not just the intangible stuff. Bird was a much better three-point shooter than James will ever be. Magic had several AST rates that were much higher than James' career high. He had a higher TOV as well, but the pace was different in those days.

PEAK SEASONS, ORTG/DRTG

JAMES 122/99
BIRD 117/99
JOHNSON 126/106

Bird was actually pretty decent on D early in his career; Magic was very slow to cover 1s, of course, after the knee injuries, but some people say that his D was not as bad as it has been made out to be, due to his size. I watched him all the time and I am not sure I agree with that, but he wasn't totally useless on D.

The other side of playing with great players is that it hits the USG. Bird's USG hit 30 once; Magic's never even reached 27. James, OTOH, has been at 32-34 almost his entire career.

Looking at the issue in terms of statistically measurable value, James is better than either of them. So was Jordan. But it's not "absolutely fuc king ridiculous" to put them in the same context with Jordan and James. My guess is that you didn't really see them play from 80-87, and that is when they were who they were.
   1223. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4072289)
I don't understand why no one ever mentions that Bird and Magic (allegedly) were not good defenders whenever people attempt to put them in historical perspective. The idea that anyone puts them in the same sentence as Jordan or picks them over LeBron is absolutely ####### ridiculous to me.
I would pick Magic Johnson over Lebron. Depending on the day, I might pick him over Jordan. I've clearly got a bias for the man, but I believe to this day that Johnson's 1990-91 campaign (19.4/12.5/7 on 25th slowest placed team out of 27) was the most dominant season by a single player since the merger. He took a Laker team of middling talent and dragged them to 58 wins and into the NBA Finals seemingly by himself.

(It was also what made that off-season so devastating. He was at the height of his powers, and then abruptly retired with a disease that everyone at the time expected would kill him.)
   1224. Jimmy P Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4072293)
disease that everyone at the time expected would kill him

It's still going to. Everyone just thought it'd be a lot sooner.
   1225. madvillain Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4072298)
Picking Magic Johnson over Jordan is just insane. Picking him over Lebron is arguable.
   1226. rr Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4072301)
It's still going to. Everyone just thought it'd be a lot sooner.


Thanks, Eeyore.
   1227. Tripon Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4072306)
1225. Matt H. Posted: March 01, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4072298)
Picking Magic Johnson over Jordan is just insane. Picking him over Lebron is arguable.


Why it that? The talent in the 80's were probably better than the talent in the 90's.
   1228. madvillain Posted: March 01, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4072318)
Why it that? The talent in the 80's were probably better than the talent in the 90's.


The chart above that Slivers posted says it all. Yea, PER and WS aren't perfect, not even close, but they are good enough to compare players and the gap between Jordan and Magic is cavernous.

Jordan is the GOAT, Magic is arguably a top 3 player.
   1229. steagles Posted: March 01, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4072326)
Sad Steagles is much harder to read than Happy Steagles.
i'm still pretty damn optimistic about the team. if i was freaking out with insecurity, i'd probably be talking up a trade for chris kaman or kwame brown or al jefferson or sam dalembert, but as of right now, i just think there's no room in the rotation to bring in someone with limited long term upside. i'd rather eurogoon get the minutes, or thad or ET or lavoy allen, because those are the guys that the team is going to depend on to produce for the next half-decade, and it's more important to me that they play than it is that the sixers win an extra 2 games this season.
   1230. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 01, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4072332)
1227 - please elaborate.
   1231. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 01, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4072344)
I would pick Magic Johnson over Lebron. Depending on the day, I might pick him over Jordan. I've clearly got a bias for the man, but I believe to this day that Johnson's 1990-91 campaign (19.4/12.5/7 on 25th slowest placed team out of 27) was the most dominant season by a single player since the merger. He took a Laker team of middling talent and dragged them to 58 wins and into the NBA Finals seemingly by himself.


I'm in the same category about Magic and Bird. I grew up in the era, so my opinion might be a little slanted, but the competition at that time was so much better than most of Jordan's career and even LBJ's that I can't reconcile completelysome of the PER statistics that I've seen over eras. For instance, you have an early 80's Milwaukee Bucks team with Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncreif, Junior Bridgeman, Bob Lanier, Dave Cowens and Paul Pressy, while not being able to sniff the finals because of the ridiculous nature of the competition in the 80s. I obviously think Lebron is historically great, but he's such a physical anomoly in the same way as Wilt and such high usage, that I just don't see him at that level.
   1232. Tripon Posted: March 01, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4072370)
1228. Matt H. Posted: March 01, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4072318)

Why it that? The talent in the 80's were probably better than the talent in the 90's.



The chart above that Slivers posted says it all. Yea, PER and WS aren't perfect, not even close, but they are good enough to compare players and the gap between Jordan and Magic is cavernous.

Jordan is the GOAT, Magic is arguably a top 3 player.


Jordan started out his career in the later half of the 80's and he couldn't sniff the finals until 91, when the Celtics, Pistons, and Lakers were at the end of their runs. We give a lot of crap to LeBron for not winning a championship early in his career, but we don't to Jordan. He only went on his insane run when his best competition was Karl Malone and Gary Payton, not Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Jordan did beat the 91 Lakers, but looking back, he beat a Lakers team that was severely compromised by Magic Johnson health.

   1233. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 01, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4072398)
RE: 1231

I was thinking along the same lines, except that my examples was going to be the Mavericks. Mark Aguirre, Rolondo Blackman, Derek Harper, Sam Perkins, James Donaldson, Roy Tarpley, Detlef Schrempf. They were a terrific team every year, then they'd get into the playoffs and there would be Magic's Lakers, waiting to tear their hearts out and eat them at center court. Or how about the late 80's Suns? Kevin and Eddie Johnson, Tom Chambers, Armen Gilliam, Jeff Hornacek? Portland and Utah, too. A lot of teams had to wait until Magic retired before they got their shot.

Jordan did beat the 91 Lakers, but looking back, he beat a Lakers team that was severely compromised by Magic Johnson health.
Magic's health wasn't a factor in that series as far as I can remember. Worthy and Scott both got hurt towards the end of that series, though, and I remember Magic churning out 20 assists in that last game in a losing effort (Looking it up, 16 pts, 11 rbs, 20 assists) while Jordan and Pippen ran wild. The Lakers didn't have anything close to the talent the Bulls had, yet they still managed to win Game 1, and were close in two others.

The reason I hold that season up so highly is because literally everything the Lakers did that season centered around Magic. The team went from around 10th in the league in pace to nearly dead last, and Magic basically took over nearly every facet of the Laker gameplan. He'd dribble above the key, looking over whomever was guarding him, pointing fingers and directing traffic and running down the clock on ever possession before somehow grinding out a bucket. He meant everything to the Lakers, and I've never seen one single player carry a team like he did that season with so much success. I'm biased for the guy, but damn, he was something amazing.
   1234. Manny Coon Posted: March 01, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4072407)
Jordan started out his career in the later half of the 80's and he couldn't sniff the finals until 91, when the Celtics, Pistons, and Lakers were at the end of their runs. We give a lot of crap to LeBron for not winning a championship early in his career, but we don't to Jordan. He only went on his insane run when his best competition was Karl Malone and Gary Payton, not Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Jordan did beat the 91 Lakers, but looking back, he beat a Lakers team that was severely compromised by Magic Johnson health.


When guys like Barkley, Ewing, Stockton and Malone retire without rings and guys like David Robinson and Clyde Drexler don't win any until late in their careers as second options, it sounds like they were playing in a decade of pretty tough competition. Its not like Shaq came into the league and starting whipping Jordan right away either. I think part of Jordan's problem is that because the West was so stacked he never developed a real rival in the finals because Barkley, Malone, Robinson, Olajuwon, Payton all took turn beating each other, depending on whoever had a better supporting cast at the time and the East wasn't as quite as strong (can only whip Patrick Ewing so many times before it gets old).

I think if talent seemed down in the 90's it is largely because Jordan was so good at consistently beating the other stars and after the success of the Pistons teams started to defense and star defensive players like Rodman much more seriously, leading to much uglier, lower scoring games.

To me saying talent was weaker than in the 80's is like saying modern baseball players like Bonds or ARod can't compare to Mantle, Aaron and Mays.
   1235. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: March 01, 2012 at 11:24 PM (#4072430)
Why it that? The talent in the 80's were probably better than the talent in the 90's.


Magic Johnson is three and a half years older than Michael Jordan. This is like arguing that you can't compare the stats of LeBron James against the stats of Derrick Rose without a major era adjustment. Jordan, Bird, and Magic had mostly overlapping careers, and Jordan's best years by individual stats were from the 1985-86 season to 1990-91, when Bird and especially Magic were still in their primes and winning MVPs.

I'm in the same category about Magic and Bird. I grew up in the era, so my opinion might be a little slanted, but the competition at that time was so much better than most of Jordan's career and even LBJ's that I can't reconcile completely some of the PER statistics that I've seen over eras. For instance, you have an early 80's Milwaukee Bucks team with Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncreif, Junior Bridgeman, Bob Lanier, Dave Cowens and Paul Pressy, while not being able to sniff the finals because of the ridiculous nature of the competition in the 80s the league switched the Bucks from the West to the East in 1980, creating a stacked Eastern Conference and allowing the Lakers to dominate a much weaker West.


Please know that this is by no means a conspiracy theory. It made geographic sense to realign the conferences, but the result was that the East was the stronger conference every year from 1980-81 to 1988-89 (at least according to the SRS numbers at Bask Ref). The disparity wasn't quite as extreme as the West's edge from 2000-08, though it typically meant that the teams in the East, like the Bucks and Celtics, had a significantly tougher road to the Finals than the Lakers. The fact that the Bucks frequently lost in the second round says more about the conference disparity than the overall league strength.
   1236. RJames Posted: March 01, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4072436)
Picking Magic Johnson over Jordan is just insane. Picking him over Lebron is arguable.


I don't think that's insane. I think you can make a case that peak Bird and Magic could rate higher than peak Jordan.

Not that I would make that case but I think you can make one. Both were better passers than Jordan, so they had the effect of making their teammates better.

Also disagree that Bird and Magic weren't good defensive players. Bird made all-defense 3 times. Magic was probably best rebounding guard ever, certainly best rebounding 1.
   1237. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4072446)
I'm inclined to agree wih 1234-5. The strongest argument for the 80s being better would be expansion, but I think that's counteracted by the influx of international talent and greater general interest in basketball in the states (improving the domestic talent pool).
This is a testable assumption - who's gonna tackle it?

I think you can make a case that peak Bird and Magic could rate higher than peak Jordan.

No.

Also disagree that Bird and Magic weren't good defensive players. Bird made all-defense 3 times. Magic was probably best rebounding guard ever, certainly best rebounding 1.

My understanding is that Bird was above average at peak and that the All-D nods were a function of fame and steal totals (had great instincts). Johnson's lack of lateral quickness rendered him average on that end. Jordan (and James), otoh, had legitimate claims at being the best wing defenders in the league - that difference is meaningful.
I consider defensive rebounding as distinct from defense (we already include it in our uber-stats + the discretionary nature of it complicates things.)
   1238. RJames Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:12 AM (#4072452)
The strongest argument for the 80s being better would be expansion


No. The strongest argument is the salary cap had the effect of leveling the competition. Jordan's Bulls never had to beat a team anywhere near as good as the Lakers, Celtics and Sixers in their 80's prime.
   1239. smileyy Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4072453)
Every time I watch old NBA, I'm amazed by how skinny they all are, and how lackluster the D is.
   1240. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4072460)
but I believe to this day that Johnson's 1990-91 campaign (19.4/12.5/7 on 25th slowest placed team out of 27) was the most dominant season by a single player since the merger. He took a Laker team of middling talent and dragged them to 58 wins and into the NBA Finals seemingly by himself.


But I believe to this day that Lebron's 2006-2007 campaign (27/6/6.7 on a team that had a pace of 90.8 [compared to 94.8 for the 91 Lakers]) was the most dominant season by a single player since the merger. He took a team that featured [in order of mins played] Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Zydrunus Ilgauskus, Anderson Varejo, Eric Snow and Donyell Marshall, and dragged them to 50 wins and into the NBA finals ENTIRELY by himself.

FTFY
   1241. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4072469)
RJames: So, your argument isn't that the players were better in the 80s, but that talent was more concentrated?
   1242. Manny Coon Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4072471)
He took a Laker team of middling talent and dragged them to 58 wins and into the NBA Finals seemingly by himself.


By himself with on a team with James Worthy, Byron Scott, AC Green, Vlade Divac and Sam Perkins. Basically they replaced Kareem with Vlade and obviously that is a downgrade, but Vlade was still very good. Magic never did win without Kareem.
   1243. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:06 AM (#4072473)
Also, none of those guys (besides Magic) was 30 yet. Worthy made the All-Star team (and ultimately HOF). OTOH, Z (limited by his body, coach, and fouls to 27 mpg) was the second best player on that Cavs team (you could make a devil's advocate style argument for Varejao, I guess). That's an enormous gap. [Not that that's my pick for LBJ's best season anyway.]
Now, if you wanted to argue that Magic's season was the most dominant by a player for a team you follow and root for, I suppose that's okay.

Vlade for Kareem probably wasn't a downgrade by then, right? Kareem was 107 years old.

BTW, I wish I could argue for the dominance of Dominique Wilkins or somebody. Joe Johnson. Ugh.
   1244. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4072476)
By himself with on a team with James Worthy, Byron Scott, AC Green, Vlade Divac and Sam Perkins. Basically they replaced Kareem with Vlade and obviously that is a downgrade, but Vlade was still very good.


90-91: 58-24, Finals loss
91-92: 43-39, first round loss

Magic was replaced by Sedale Threatt, and the Lakers had 8 guys with PERs between 13.3 (Elden Campbell) and 17.6 Sam Perkins). Threatt was actually a decent player--a score-first PG with a 16.6 PER that year. Also, 87-88 Kareem had a 15.8 PER. He was OK, but not really any better than Mychal Thompson, who more or less split the job with him.
   1245. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:21 AM (#4072477)
There's a lot of reasons why you shouldn't take the following too seriously*, but: career playoff PER and WS/48 for the six dudes from above:
Jordan 28.6 .255
James 26.3 .222
Magic 22.9 .208
Wilt 22.8 .200
Bird 21.4 .173
Oscar 21.0 .178

* Among them - when they played in the playoffs may or may not have been at their peak.
   1246. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:24 AM (#4072478)
Threatt was a pretty good defender too as I recall. (Interestingly, a big part of their dip in 91-92 came on the defensive end.)
   1247. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:24 AM (#4072480)
That's an enormous gap.


Nope. Z's PER was 18; Worthy's was 18.1. Gooden, Varejao, and Marshall, were, by PER, roughly as good as the guys the Lakers were putting out there those years. The Lakers had a few more of them, so they were a better team. Magic's PER FWIW was higher in 1991 than James' was in 2007.

Worthy is an all-time favorite of mine, and he was a hell of a player, but there is a case to be made that he is overrated historically and I have seen it made.
   1248. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:28 AM (#4072483)
he was a hell of a player, but there is a case to be made that he is overrated historically and I have seen it made.

I think that's very true.

However, Worthy was a better defender than Z and played a lot more minutes. Gooden and Marshall were considered below average or worse defenders and Varejao's minutes were also limited.
I saw that Magic had a higher PER (and looked better by other metrics too). I'm criticizing the choice of Magic's season - not saying that LBJ's season was the most dominant ever.

(As for Marshall, he was a backup - played 16.8 mpg.)
   1249. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:30 AM (#4072486)
Semi-related: Chasing 23 has a comparison of Kobe vs Lebron in the Clutch. This is from January, made more relevant by the ASG.
   1250. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:32 AM (#4072488)
PLAYOFF PER, PEAK:

MAGIC 26.2
BIRD 26.3
JORDAN 32.0 (over 30 three times)
JAMES 37.4 (2009)

PER of course favors high-usage guys some.

Like I said, I am not here to make a case that Bird and Magic were better than James is, much less Jordan. But I disagree with the idea that grouping them with James, or preferring them over James, is crazy/dumb/ridiculous, etc.
   1251. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:34 AM (#4072490)
But I disagree with the idea that grouping them with James, or preferring them over James, is crazy/dumb/ridiculous, etc.

I hope I was clear about this earlier - I don't think it's ridiculous either. Though I do think James' peak is higher.

***

BTW, in my ELO complaint before, I looked up Kobe's ranking. It was #117 (now up to 101); that's ######' ridiculous.

***

I await robinred's reading of 1249.
   1252. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:36 AM (#4072493)
Nope. Z's PER was 18; Worthy's was 18.1. Gooden, Varejao, and Marshall, were, by PER, roughly as good as the guys the Lakers were putting out there those years. The Lakers had a few more of them, so they were a better team. Magic's PER FWIW was higher in 1991 than James' was in 2007.

Worthy is an all-time favorite of mine, and he was a hell of a player, but there is a case to be made that he is overrated historically and I have seen it made.


By WS - the 91 Magic Johnson's had 5 teammates with 4 or higher WS (Worthy 9.0, Vlade 8.3, Perkins 8.0, Byron Scott 6.6, AC Green 6.1) while the 07 Lebron's had 3 (Z - 6.6, Varejo 6.6 and Gooden 6.5).
   1253. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:38 AM (#4072494)
However, Worthy was a better defender than Z and played a lot more minutes. Gooden and Marshall were considered below average or worse defenders and Varejao's minutes were also limited.


Perhaps, but that doesn't really change the focus of the case, because the Lakers were better than the Cavs in general. Both teams made the Finals, but the 2007 Cavs were not, even with James, what we think of as a Finals-level team. They may well have been the worst Finals team in my lifetime as a fan, except perhaps for the 1981 Rockets. And of course, once the competition in the East got tougher, Cleveland with James never made it to the Finals again, paving the way for James' departure.
   1254. tshipman Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4072496)
What about the idea that Magic and Bird were both on very good teams from the get-go, so they never had the space for the kind of usage/game that Michael and LeBron developed?

The Bulls in 87 finished at 40 wins. In 88, they finished at 50. Michael's last year above a 30 PER (just for shorthand) was also the first year the Bulls were really good.

I don't think it's an insane, given how usage dependent the uber-metrics are, to say that comparisons of PER and win shares aren't really persuasive at the very highest echelons of the sport.
   1255. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:46 AM (#4072498)
By WS - the 91 Magic Johnson's had 5 teammates with 4 or higher WS (Worthy 9.0, Vlade 8.3, Perkins 8.0, Byron Scott 6.6, AC Green 6.1) while the 07 Lebron's had 3 (Z - 6.6, Varejo 6.6 and Gooden 6.5).


1253 addresses this as well. The fact that the 2007 Cavs were in the Finals is just an historical anomaly and in and of itself has little to do with a case for James being a particularly dominant player. The fact that they won 50 games does, however.

And if you want to focus on Cleveland being in the 2007 Finals, you need to give equal time to Orlando and Boston not even needing seven games to take them down in 2009 and 2010.

James' most impressive playoff performance for me personally was in 2008 against Boston. Getting Cleveland to 7 games at all and forcing a tight 7th game on the road against a vastly superior Boston team was remarkable.
   1256. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:47 AM (#4072499)
I hope I was clear about this earlier - I don't think it's ridiculous either. Though I do think James' peak is higher.


He just turned 27.

BTW, in my ELO complaint before, I looked up Kobe's ranking. It was #117 (now up to 101); that's ######' ridiculous.


As much as I think Kobe gets overrated by most and the media, this is ridiculous. Is Henry Abbott paying people to vote Kobe down?
   1257. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:51 AM (#4072501)
1253 addresses this as well. The fact that the 2007 Cavs were in the Finals is just an historical anomaly and in and of itself has little to do with a case for James being a particularly dominant player. The fact that they won 50 games does, however.


The dominance of the Pistons in the ECF is how the Cavs made the finals. Game 5 is the definition of single game dominance.
   1258. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:52 AM (#4072502)
1253: I think the issue is that it was suggested that Magic's season was so dominant because of how he carried a relatively weak LA team on his back to the finals. LeBron (who had a similar year) had a weaker team around him (and won less games accordingly) and also reached the finals. I don't consider either the strongest season in memory but would argue that this is evidence that this might not be the strongest argument for LAEHoA to be making.

What's most impressive to me about LeBron's year is that its arguably his weakest, outside of his rookie season.

***

I don't think it's an insane, given how usage dependent the uber-metrics are, to say that comparisons of PER and win shares aren't really persuasive at the very highest echelons of the sport.

I think they're definitely cruder tools here, in part because of usage dependence. (And PER totally overrates usage. What was the break-even threshold to improve your PER by shooting - something like 30%?)
   1259. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 01:58 AM (#4072504)
I await robinred's reading of 1249.
---

I think people misunderstand me sometimes when it comes to Kobe. Like a lot more (but not nearly enough) of the Lakers fanbase than people realize (I believe the blind KobeWorship stereotype is reinforced by Abbott, Hollinger, and Simmons making fun of/complaining about it all the time) I know Kobe has his faults as a player and that he is not as good as the very best of the all-time greats. But I am sick and fricking tired of the faux-analytical internet cottage industry, of which Chasing23.com is a part, that is devoted to running him down. I think because of that and the rapist! stuff, sometimes people lose track of games like last night, when he put up a 31/8/7 on 11/23 shooting, while playing with a jacked-up wrist, a fractured nose, seven fingers he can straighten out all the way, and a neck that required treatment for a few hours today. Very, very few players in history have gotten more out of their bodies and abilities and put more effort into succeeding than Kobe Bryant has.
   1260. Manny Coon Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:00 AM (#4072505)
My comment about Magic's teammates was just highlight that they were pretty good, but were dismissed as being poor. In general I think stars get too much credit and blame for the quality of their teammates and making judgements based on titles can be a pretty weak comparison as a result. I'm sure Charles Barkley would have loved to play with guys like Kareem or Kevin McHale his entire career (David Robinson eventually did with Duncan, but gets very little credit for winning once he did).

Speaking of the notorious choker David Robinson, he has a higher career playoff PER than Magic or Bird, which is amusing given his reputation.
   1261. tshipman Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:03 AM (#4072506)
Speaking of the notorious choker David Robinson, he has a higher career playoff PER than Magic or Bird, which is amusing given his reputation.


That all comes from that series against Hakeem, right?

(And PER totally overrates usage. What was the break-even threshold to improve your PER by shooting - something like 30%?)


Yes. That's why it isn't persuasive as a measurement for me when you compare Magic/Bird to LeBron/Jordan/Kobe.
   1262. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:09 AM (#4072507)
Game 5 is the definition of single game dominance.


It was one game. James did not, by himself, make that team a Finals-level team. He made it a fifty-win team, and it happened to get to the Finals due to weak competition. And he never got back to the Finals again, until he had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with him. No one--not even MJ--does it alone.

NJ is going to like you. He is twitchy as hell about LeBron and Kobe, too. For the record, since you may be new here, NO Lakers fans here that I recall have argued that Bryant is better than James. This crowd is smart enough to avoid that. So you don't have to sweat that one. If you want to argue about that, log on to any Lakers blog on the net and have at it.

DK,

What El Hombre actually said was that the Lakers had "middling" talent and Johnson took them to the Finals. Given that they went 43-39 and 39-43 the two years after he retired, I think that is a fair argument. You can argue with his assertion that it was the most dominant post-merger season and I am there with you. The most dominant post-merger season in my memory was Jordan in 1989.
   1263. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:13 AM (#4072508)
1259: No, that's sounds exactly like how you normally present yourself. :)

I'm in the camp that think that Kobe as clutch is, at minimum, really overblown and that it would behoove him to not try to go in that kind of beast mode as often as he does. That said, he is what he is at this point - and the total package is obviously worth it.
Attacking the narrative of 'Kobe as clutch' is a worthwhile endeavor, but that slips into 'attack Kobe' because of who he is and because taking so many of those shots is seen by some as a moral failing. They also (I'm generalizing) take a little more glee in that work than is warranted.

So, I think we're in not too dissimilar boats.

***

As for Barkley, if the rumor I mentioned here a few months back was true - the Suns could've swapped Richard Dumas from their 62-20* ('92-93) club for Rodman, but turned it down.
West/Miller - Rodman - Barkley - Majerle - KJ, with AC Green, Ceballos, and Ainge on the bench. Oops.


* despite losing KJ for a few months.
   1264. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:14 AM (#4072509)
My comment about Magic's teammates was just highlight that they were pretty good, but were dismissed as being poor.


Again, he said "middling."

In general I think stars get too much credit and blame for the quality of their teammates and making judgements based on titles can be a pretty weak comparison as a result.


Sure. But you can take that up with the ESPN 5/5 guys. If you would take James over Bird and Magic because of defense, I won't argue with you. But I don't see it as a clear-cut call, and tship's points are well-taken.
   1265. tshipman Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:16 AM (#4072512)
If you would take James over Bird and Magic because of defense, I won't argue with you. But I don't see it as a clear-cut call, and tship's points are well-taken.


I actually would take James over Bird and Magic because of defense, and I do think that it's pretty clear cut.

I am starting to wonder what goes on with him in the playoffs, though. It's starting to weird me out.
   1266. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:22 AM (#4072515)
(And PER totally overrates usage. What was the break-even threshold to improve your PER by shooting - something like 30%?)


Yes. That's why it isn't persuasive as a measurement for me when you compare Magic/Bird to LeBron/Jordan/Kobe.


PER Single Season leaders

Top 50 seasons: Shaq-8, Jordan-7, Wilt-6, LBJ-4, Alcinder-4, DRobinson-3, Pettit-2, Mikan-2, Wade-2, Paul-2, Garnett-2. Connie Hawkins, Barkley, Tracy McGrady, Elgin Baylor, Dirk, KMalone, Spencer Haywood and Dr J all have 1. Kobe, Magic, and Bird - 0.

EDIT: My posting of PER top 50 is more intended as a bash on PER than it is on Kobe, Magic and Larry.
   1267. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:25 AM (#4072516)
Magic's low usage is a little misleading - just becuase bb-ref's version doesn't account for assists doesn't mean that they don't make their way into the uberstats. Also, while I think PER overrates usage - I'm not aware of WS having that problem. Besides, high usage has value in and of itself (allows teammates to take high percentage shots). So, I'd argue that this is something we should use to temper the statistical comparisons, not disregard them.
Put another way, it's not enough to close the gap.

***

Let me first say: I'm not trying to pick on LA Hombre - he's great. I (w/ Manny and outl13r) am picking on his choice.

robinred said: What El Hombre actually said was that the Lakers had "middling" talent and Johnson took them to the Finals. Given that they went 43-39 and 39-43 the two years after he retired, I think that is a fair argument.
Sure, that's true. But what his quote was:
I believe to this day that Johnson's 1990-91 campaign (19.4/12.5/7 on 25th slowest placed team out of 27) was the most dominant season by a single player since the merger. He took a Laker team of middling talent and dragged them to 58 wins and into the NBA Finals seemingly by himself.

I read the second sentence as his effort to back the first - that that was his reasoning for picking that year.
You can argue with his assertion that it was the most dominant post-merger season and I am there with you. The most dominant post-merger season in my memory was Jordan in 1989.

I'm not sure that I'd pick that year (Jordan's), I'm not sure that I wouldn't. (I don't know what I'd pick.) It blew my mind at the time, if we're playing the memory and feelings game.
   1268. Manny Coon Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM (#4072517)
I guess it depends on how you interpret "middling" and "by himself". The two don't really go together and "by himself" caught my attention more.
   1269. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM (#4072518)
NJ is going to like you. He is twitchy as hell about LeBron and Kobe, too. For the record, since you may be new here, NO Lakers fans here that I recall have argued that Bryant is better than James. This crowd is smart enough to avoid that. So you don't have to sweat that one. If you want to argue about that, log on to any Lakers blog on the net and have at it.


I didn't post that link because I thought someone made that argument here. I only posted it because I hate all the LBJ isn't clutch/Kobe is sooo clutch nonsense in the MSM. I thought it would be something that some on here might like to see, since it's fairly well researched.
   1270. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:27 AM (#4072520)
I guess it depends on how you interpret "middling" and "by himself". The two don't really go together and "by himself" caught my attention more.


Same thought process here.
   1271. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:31 AM (#4072521)
Attacking the narrative of 'Kobe as clutch' is a worthwhile endeavor,


Perhaps. I also think attacking the narrative of "Guys who criticize Kobe are always objective about it and only do it to set the record straight" is worthwhile as well. And trust me--that one gets sold just as hard as "Kobe is clutch."

According to NBA.com's "clutch numbers", which are in their player profiles section, and are based on 5 and 5 (five minutes or less left in the game, and score within five points either way) Kobe has a USG of 44.8 in those times and is 9/35 on midrange/long jumpers. Obviously, those numbers need to change. Some of that is on Brown, some is on Kobe, and some is roster construction.

OTOH, the Lakers are, as they have throughout his career, winning about as many games as one would expect based on their point differential and last I checked were 9-3 in games decided by five points or less. Under Phil, they often actually did a little better than their PYTH numbers would suggest. It may be that they have a long history of losing close games due to Kobe's late gunning, and I would be willing to look at data that shows that.

At the same time, while 'ringzzz' arguments are lame in general, in this case, they have some merit. These guys argue that Kobe has really HURT the team and still does. Maybe he does, but they have managed to win a lot anyway.
   1272. Manny Coon Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:31 AM (#4072522)
As for best post merger seasons Shaq in 99-00 and 00-01 was pretty awesome back when he was still a defensive force, as was Duncan in 02-03. Obviously many of Jordans best years are right there though.
   1273. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:37 AM (#4072525)
dragged them to 58 wins and into the NBA Finals seemingly by himself.


Well, I don't really see the contradiction. He dragged them from .500 to the Finals, is, I think, the argument, and it is actually pretty easy to back up. You might quibble with the word choice.

tship,

Fair enough, but I would suggest that part of that is mental images. People see Magic and Bird as they were later in their careers and compare them with the SuperFreak James we see now. My parameters were all of them at age 20, starting a team. I would rather have James on D, but I would prefer Bird or Magic in the 4th quarter in the playoffs, and in the clubhouse, on the bench, at practice etc. I see it as a tough call. Magic of course did have bad playoff games as well.
   1274. Manny Coon Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:42 AM (#4072528)
I hate Kobe, but he's great player. His durability and toughness is amazing and his ability to score anywhere on the court is a real asset when opposing defenses get tougher, even if he's not the most efficient player over the course of an entire season.
   1275. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:46 AM (#4072532)
I only posted it because I hate all the LBJ isn't clutch/Kobe is sooo clutch nonsense in the MSM.


Like I said, NJ will like you. So would Abbott--he thinks MSM reporting of Kobe being clutch needs to be stamped out as well.

James has brought some of this on himself--he didn't get the job done in the 4th quarter in the Finals a couple of times last year, and Nowitzki did, big-time. Kobe, as bad he was in most of Game 7 in 2010, had 10 points and four boards in the 4th in that game--coincidentally, the same numbers Nowitzki had in Game 6 last year. Add that to the asskicking Boston laid on James' team in 2010 and James' weird Game 5 in that series, and that is a lot of the narrative.

It isn't fair, but it isn't based on nothing, either. I do think Miami is going to win it this time and put some of this to rest.
   1276. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: March 02, 2012 at 02:49 AM (#4072533)
But I disagree with the idea that grouping them with James, or preferring them over James, is crazy/dumb/ridiculous, etc.


In my opinion it's perfectly sensible to prefer Magic and/or Bird to LeBron, especially considering the vagueness of the question ("Take your pick"). This exercise is basically the same as someone asking you to rank Pujols against Mike Schmidt, Rickey Henderson, and Barry Bonds. Pujols and LeBron have been as good through their current ages as any of those all-time greats in their respective sports. However, the next 5 or 6 seasons are enormous in ultimately assessing the entirety of their careers. Each of the retired players remained at or near the top of the league for several more years, and that's a major part of why they're considered the greatest players in recent history. It might seem like an obvious question in 2020, but I don't think there's anything wrong with a panel overwhelmingly preferring the retired guys at this point.
   1277. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 03:00 AM (#4072535)
Kobe, as bad he was in most of Game 7 in 2010, had 10 points and four boards in the 4th in that game--coincidentally, the same numbers Nowitzki had in Game 6 last year.


Why would you even cite that game of Kobe's? I feel like you're trying to get a response.
   1278. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 03:02 AM (#4072536)
Perhaps. I also think attacking the narrative of "Guys who criticize Kobe are always objective about it and only do it to set the record straight" is worthwhile as well. And trust me--that one gets sold just as hard as "Kobe is clutch."

It does gets sold harder ... but by a lot less people. They just happen to be people you read, or get links to, or that you might otherwise respect. (Implied wink)

I'll say this, I'm willing to give people bonus credit for clutchness (or debit them for lack thereof) and I've long rated Kobe as neutral. For this year / his current level of ability, I think I'd ding him ... he's thrown up some wild stuff when I've gotten to see him play. (One reason that they're doing fine in close games is that everyone else in the rotation is hitting their shots in those situations. Presumably, some of that is putbacks (he says to 83% shooting Andrew Bynum). Not sure I should give Kobe too much credit there).

***

Mental images: I would suggest that part of that is mental images. People see Magic and Bird as they were later in their careers and compare them with the SuperFreak James we see now.
I think that's true. (I also think it's a two-way street - a lot of people romanticize their epic battles and role in popularizing the league, witness their ELO scores.) FWIW, I've tried to research this stuff when it comes to my comments on defense (though I've got a lot more available to me from '90 on than before. That said, Bird and Magic? People talked about them a lot in their heyday) - doesn't mean that what I say is true, but I'm not necessarily pulling out of my ### (I'm pulling it from someone's else's ###?).

***

It might seem like an obvious question in 2020, but I don't think there's anything wrong with a panel overwhelmingly preferring the retired guys at this point.
I agree, or at least mostly agree.
   1279. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 03:17 AM (#4072538)
Here's some clutch shooting stats (going back to 2001!). Replete with Kobe slam in the comments by the author (note: Kobe's actual numbers here look fine.)
   1280. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 03:43 AM (#4072542)
Linked from within 1279: Cognitive Bias in the LeBron Narrative

Was posted during the Heat's run last May and ends with:
In other words, when James did this stuff in Cleveland, it didn’t result in a victory as often. Now, it leads the highlights in an apparent championship march. Of course, if Miami wins a title in two weeks, the Jordan comparisons will suddenly begin. If they lose again, expect all this talk of change to quickly be reneged
   1281. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 03:51 AM (#4072544)
1279 - there are definitely some fun names that I had forgotten about on those lists. Surprised to see Wade so low.
   1282. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 04:04 AM (#4072546)
Why would you even cite that game of Kobe's? I feel like you're trying to get a response.


__

To explain to you part of the reason the narrative that apparently bothers you enough that you are posting stuff from Chasing23 exists. Kobe's team came back and won in the biggest game of his career, against their hated historic rivals, and although Kobe shot badly overall,he played pretty well late in the game, and his team got the streamers and the parade and the banner.

James, although he has games like tonight when he is about as good as it is possible for a human being to be at basketball, has not--yet--had that type of moment in the NBA Finals and had it lead to a banner going up. His team has, instead, lost in those games and in other big games, with James sometimes playing in ways that, as tship says, "weirds people out."

People like Henry Abbott who really like LeBron James and really hate Kobe Bryant are very, very, bothered by this narrative, with some justification. But it isn't going to change until James' team wins the title and James has a couple of big fourth quarters while the team is doing so.


It does gets sold harder ... but by a lot less people.


With the way the media have changed, I don't think this is true anymore. You might argue that the clutch thing is sold TO more people, if the ABC guys are always talking up Kobe as the game's best closer (I don't know if they are or not). But between Hollinger, Simmons, Abbott, Dwyer, Lowe, Thomsen, Moore, Mahoney and some other guys, you have several guys with high/medium profile gigs on major websites who, at various levels, don't have a lot of use for Kobe Bryant. And that doesn't even include all the bloggers connected to TrueHoop and SB Nation etc. Talk radio/podcasts are changing as well.

At the level of the casual fan, you may be right, I suppose. But like I said--the media are changing in terms of who writes and who reads.

As to this year, I showed you those numbers so you have a point. As to other guys hitting their shots, part of that may be Kobe's ability to draw defensive attention helping guys get looks. That is a pattern in his career--many guys like Cook, Ariza, Shannon and Kwame Brown--have played better with Kobe than they have elsewhere. But how much credit Kobe should get for that is debatable.

key note about last night, via Forum Blue and Gold:

Via the MySynergySports twitter account Kobe did a lot of his work of cuts, post-ups, and in transition while only working in isolation twice.


This is a crucial point about the current Kobe. While fewer isos may make it harder for him to draw the D, it will make him more efficient. Yet another reason the Lakers need a PG.
   1283. rr Posted: March 02, 2012 at 04:10 AM (#4072547)
DK,

That link is a good example of what I mean. There are guys like Skip Bayless...and there are also guys like that ElGee guy, whose blog I have read a few times, and who is not exactly a friend-of-Kobe. You can argue that Bayless "matters" a lot more since he has the big audience, but again: the media are changing.
   1284. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: March 02, 2012 at 05:35 AM (#4072553)
Magic Johnson's retirement bringing the Lakers from 58 wins to 43 isn't really evidence for him as a greatest-player candidate. The Cavs declined by 42 games when LeBron left! 42 games! Yes, some mitigating factors, but Magic's 15 game dropoff does not seem enormous in the context of a star leaving their team. Look at the Hornets this year minus CP3. Raptors lost 18 games when Bosh left. Suns lost 14 games when Amare left. Just to pick two star-but-non-superstar players I picked at random among recent-vintage free agents who left w/o their teams getting anything useful in return.

15 games is not that large in the context of a superstar basketball player in their prime leaving a team.

Also, referencing PER of teammates during a season seems like a bad metric to judge quality of a supporting cast. One of the things a superstar does is improve his teammates' stats (whether by decreasing usage, drawing the focus of the defense, whatever.) WS is even worse because it's basically a zero sum game. If you combine a star player's win shares with their supporting cast's, well, they're going to add up to the number of wins, so if you're looking at team wins and WS of teammates you may as well just look at the player's WS itself. Not that WS is necessarily the best metric but these kinds of stat-based analyses of a particular season's supporting cast don't really add anything to it. (Looking at players' statistical contributions with and without the star teammate would be a better way to go.)
   1285. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4072587)
You can argue that Bayless "matters" a lot more since he has the big audience, but again: the media are changing.
I see your point - I just don't think that things have changed that much yet, judging by water cooler talk. Part of our difference (which I don't think is that big a difference) is probably the audiences that we're referring to - and do I think that some of Kobe's criticism is backlash for its own sake.

This is a crucial point about the current Kobe. While fewer isos may make it harder for him to draw the D, it will make him more efficient. Yet another reason the Lakers need a PG.
Yes and yes (I was tempted to write a similar bit upthread). Though - in crunch time, I'm seeing a lot of isos for him (you watch them more than I do - tell me if I'm wrong). That's not all on Kobe, mind you.

Looking at players' statistical contributions with and without the star teammate would be a better way to go.

Agreed, but I don't have that at my disposal that far back in time. WS, PER and the like tell us more about how much of a contribution those other guys were making than not using anything would. (Besides, if we have an idea as to the biases and influences on those metrics, we can try to adjust for them.)
   1286. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4072601)
This exercise is basically the same as someone asking you to rank Pujols against Mike Schmidt, Rickey Henderson, and Barry Bonds. Pujols and LeBron have been as good through their current ages as any of those all-time greats in their respective sports. However, the next 5 or 6 seasons are enormous in ultimately assessing the entirety of their careers. Each of the retired players remained at or near the top of the league for several more years, and that's a major part of why they're considered the greatest players in recent history.

I understand that he hasn't won a title yet, but LeBron has been the best player in basketball for something like 5 consecutive years now. How much longer does he need to remain at or near the top of the league to prove himself?
   1287. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4072606)
NJ is going to like you.

Like I said, NJ will like you.

Trying to figure out why this is/was necessary.
   1288. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 02, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4072607)
I understand that he hasn't won a title yet, but LeBron has been the best player in basketball for something like 5 consecutive years now. How much longer does he need to remain at or near the top of the league to prove himself?


UNTIL THERE ARE SOME RINGZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ AVAILABLE FOR COUNTING PURPOSES
   1289. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4072609)
By the way, I appreciated the comments on Magic/Bird/LeBron and the effect usage has on some of the super stats. However, for me, it still comes down to a question of whether the gap between LeBron and those two as a defender can be made up by their offensive contributions and I'm having a tough time seeing how that's impossible when (throwing the stats out) LeBron is regarded as one of the 5 or so best defenders in the NBA regardless of position and I've never heard of anyone thinking of Magic as more than a below average defender and Bird as "could be solid."

EDIT: I think my comments here go back to the point I tried to make about Melo and Amar'e earlier this season and how observers/analysts weight defense and offense.
   1290. tshipman Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4072663)
I understand that he hasn't won a title yet, but LeBron has been the best player in basketball for something like 5 consecutive years now. How much longer does he need to remain at or near the top of the league to prove himself?


He's been the favorite to win the title for the last 4 years at least and hasn't done so. In not winning the title, he's had some really weird and inexplicable games.

He needs to win a few to put that to rest. Like I said above, I think he's getting pretty close to top 5 all time, but the way he's failed to win titles is starting to get weird.

If he never wins a title in his prime, I'm not sure what to make of him. Titles matter a lot more to me in hoops than in any other sport.
   1291. The Essex Snead Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4072669)
He's been the favorite to win the title for the last 4 years at least and hasn't done so.

I'll buy that for last year (& this year), but I'm gonna call BS on anyone outside of Ohio ever thinking the Cavs were favorites to win the title, even when they were PLAYING for the title. LeBron made them a contender, obviously, but that's all.
   1292. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4072677)
He's been the favorite to win the title for the last 4 years at least and hasn't done so. In not winning the title, he's had some really weird and inexplicable games.

The DAL series was bizarre, but I'm not aware of any other "weird and inexplicable games." The only thing I can think of is maybe you're referencing the BOS series? Assuming that's the case, I don't see anything weird or inexplicable about it. He apparently had an injured elbow and when he played on 2 days rest he played well and when he didn't have 2 days he didn't play as well. (Without looking at the numbers) Part of what makes Kobe special is his ability to play through just about anything and LeBron demonstrated an inability to do the same in that instance (again, I have no idea if LeBron's playing through pain numbers are actually still better than Kobe's or not so I apologize if that is the case) but I don't think his performance was "weird and inexplicable."
   1293. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4072688)
This isn't all LeBron, but the year after he left they won 42 fewer games.
   1294. tshipman Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4072691)
I'll buy that for last year (& this year), but I'm gonna call BS on anyone outside of Ohio ever thinking the Cavs were favorites to win the title, even when they were PLAYING for the title. LeBron made them a contender, obviously, but that's all.


Uh, I thought they were the favorites, along with a fair number of people, if I remember this thread correctly.

2009-2010: 61 wins, most in NBA
2008-2009: 66 wins, most in NBA
The only thing I can think of is maybe you're referencing the BOS series? Assuming that's the case, I don't see anything weird or inexplicable about it. He apparently had an injured elbow and when he played on 2 days rest he played well and when he didn't have 2 days he didn't play as well.


His game 6 in Cleveland was really, really weird. I've seen guys play hurt, and I don't like to criticize them, but LeBron's play was so listless and apathetic. It seemed like his team was up 3-0 in the series, rather than down 3-2.
   1295. JJ1986 Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4072692)
Assuming that's the case, I don't see anything weird or inexplicable about it.


The Cavs gave up in the elimination game with about 90 seconds left.
   1296. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4072699)
His game 6 in Cleveland was really, really weird. I've seen guys play hurt, and I don't like to criticize them, but LeBron's play was so listless and apathetic. It seemed like his team was up 3-0 in the series, rather than down 3-2.

I don't remember his body language but he did listless his way to 27-19-10 (with 9 turnovers) in that game.

EDIT: By the way, I agree with the point that they were the favorites those last two years in CLE and lost, so that is 3 years in a row where they have been "upset" and that IS a legitimate mark against him.
   1297. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4072713)
I understand that he hasn't won a title yet, but LeBron has been the best player in basketball for something like 5 consecutive years now. How much longer does he need to remain at or near the top of the league to prove himself?


You do realize that he was Albert Pujols in this analogy, right? You seem to have a much higher bar for proving oneself than I do.
   1298. tshipman Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4072717)
I don't remember his body language but he did listless his way to 27-19-10 (with 9 turnovers) in that game.


He was not effective in that game. 8-21 shooting, and really just looked horrible in the 4th. Seriously, do you not remember that game? It was strange. It spawned all those conspiracy theories about Delonte West, just wanting to get out of town, etc. We puzzled over it for months.

   1299. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4072718)
[1297] The point I was trying to make was that LeBron, off the top of my head, has already had as many seasons at or near the top of the league as those guys did so there's no point in requiring that he maintain this level of production for 5 or 6 more years.
   1300. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4072721)
He was not effective in that game. 8-21 shooting, and really just looked horrible in the 4th. Seriously, do you not remember that game? It was strange. It spawned all those conspiracy theories about Delonte West, just wanting to get out of town, etc. We puzzled over it for months.

Memory may be off but I actually remember that game (flaws and all) as one of his more active/positive games in the series. It was the Game 5, I believe, that really got the ball rolling.
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