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NBA Top 50 Players of All-Time
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHOA did I miss a fucking awesome thread or what. One super quick thing...


jdw wrote:


Allen Iverson (37 BS / NR SY)

Another amazing talent and scorer. Not efficient at all, though warrants credit for being an insane warrior out there taking loads of punishment while leading the league in Minutes Per Game a nutty number of times. Like Gervin, his teams were "successful" but not really serious contenders. The trip to the Finals wouldn't have happened if they were in the West.

Tend to agree that it's nutty not to have him in the Top 50. But I never really was wowed by him. Respect his toughness, and that he largely had crappy support. On the flip side, I'm not sure how well he would have clicked if you dropped him on the 80s Celts in the place of Bird, or the Shaqkobe Lakers in the place of Kobe. He's a force of nature... not really a force of winning titles. Like with guys like Gervin and Nique, I'd toss him in the 51-100 range.


One of my all time NBA "What If's" is What if Philly had drafted Kevin Garnett at #3 in 1995 instead of Stackhouse and had Iverson and KG grow up together. KG is able to provide rim protection and defense while AI provides the 4th quarter scoring chops. Those two guys together would have dominated the post Jordan Eastern Conference and would have made the western teams actually have to work for their titles.

I am a completely irrational Iverson guy. I absolutely believe you could have won a title with him as your best player when he was at his peak. Yes he never actually won a title and his percentages are for shit. But he's one of the ultimate can't be measured by stats guys. Simmons is right on with all the "scariest guy in the league" stuff which is amazing considering his size. That means a lot to me. I'd also rather have AI shoot 30 times a game than Eric Snow or Aaron McKie etc etc etc.

And this cannot be overstated :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grXws5m11SA
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I respect AI. He's a guy who can make marginal teams better by his sheer will, which is why he's in my 51-100 somewhere. On a shitty team, which is largely what he played on, sure... fire away. It's your only chance of getting into the post season.

But I just don't think there's any way you could win a title with him as your #1 unless it was a horrible and flukey NBA season like 1978 & 1979 (i.e. Walton going down).

I can't picture a single team that won the title from 1980-2014 where if you took their best player off the team and replaced him with AI that they would win the title. I also can't think of any near-miss team (like say the 2013 Spurs) where if you did the switch they'd win the title. The 2008-2010 Lakers don't win those titles if you replaced Kobe with Peak AI. They probably would win 50+ games, though Phil might kill himself on the bench. But they'd run aground come the playoffs.

I didn't have Gervin and Nique in my Top 50. They played on a lot of good playoff teams, though never one that was really a threat (other than the Spurs in one of those shitty 1978-79 seasons when they still flopped).

On some level, they are more "impactful" players than some of the guys that I have in my Top 50 because they could anchor a marginal playoff team. I'm not sure that Cowens or McHale could have done that, or sustained it as long as Nique and Gervin did. On the other hand, I don't think Nique or Gevin could have played the #2 guy on a title team like Cowens and McHale did, or be a terrific role player like Bob Dandridge was as a #2 or #3 on four Finals teams.

I'm a bit more comfortable shoving the AI / Nique / Ice guys lower in the Top 100, and largely (though not always given Mailman & Stockton) use the Top 50 for key title winning guys.
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:


I can't picture a single team that won the title from 1980-2014 where if you took their best player off the team and replaced him with AI that they would win the title. I also can't think of any near-miss team (like say the 2013 Spurs) where if you did the switch they'd win the title. The 2008-2010 Lakers don't win those titles if you replaced Kobe with Peak AI.


I feel like if you replaced Richard Hamilton in 2004 with AI that Detroit still would have won a title. But that was a funky team. I would say that at his peak you could replace Wade in 06 with Iverson and they still win the title. Although, you wonder if the league would rig it the other way since they always hated AI where that was close to the peak of the D-Wade love fest.

But really that argument overall is kinda weak...

Teams that won titles from 1980-2014 were led by:
Kareem (your #3 all time)
Larry Bird (your #6 all time)
Moses Malone (your #14 all time where all your comments indicate he would have ranked higher in a better situation)
Magic (your #5 all time)
Isiah (your #19 all time)
Michael Jordan (your #1 all time)
Hakeem (your #12 all time)
Tim Duncan (your #4 all time)
Shaq (your#13 all time)
Weird Pistons Team where Ben Wallace was probably the best player?
D-Wade (your #27 all time)
Kevin Garnett (your #20 all time)
Kobe (your #7 alltime)
Dirk (your #17 all time)
LeBron (your #10 all time)

Obviously replacing one of the dominant big men with a 5'10 155lb guy is going to radically change the makeup of those teams. But when you say "you couldn't replace the #1 guy on a championship team with Iverson and be guaranteed a title" you're totally right. Look at those guys. That's 70% of your all time top 10.

But you could absolutely build a team where Iverson was offensively (i should have stressed "offensively" that in the previous post) the teams best player. I do think he would have to be paired with another great player to win but you could say that with literally everybody. My KG/AI vision is with KG anchoring the defense and AI the offense. He definitely needed a tag team partner.

This is my version of the Takada/Vader/Dojo Theory. KG/AI/Shooters. Neither ever happened which is too bad for everyone. :)

Peak Iverson was absolutely better than Peak D-Wade. Wade just got to play with all time great players and wasn't the smallest guy on the court every night. I would have both in the 30s somewhere. Iverson ahead one spot. :)
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

elliott wrote:
I feel like if you replaced Richard Hamilton in 2004 with AI that Detroit still would have won a title. But that was a funky team.


I think that's a group that was very similar to the 1988-90 Pistons: the sum of the whole was greater than the pieces. I don't even think anyone thought Rip was the best player on the team, even if he did lead them in scoring. I think people saw over time that Chauncey was the best player. AI clearly is better than either of those guys, but within the Pistons... I don't think that team works as well, or even beats the Lakers. Brown of course had coached AI in Philly, in what was Brown's longest coaching stint in one place ever... so he did know how to coach him. But I just don't think that team gells.


Quote:
I would say that at his peak you could replace Wade in 06 with Iverson and they still win the title. Although, you wonder if the league would rig it the other way since they always hated AI where that was close to the peak of the D-Wade love fest.


I think the key to that team was that Wade was young and up & coming. Shaq always got along with young guards like that before they became the MVP-heat seeker. He got along with Penny until Penny wanted it to be his team. Same with Kobe. Eventually, thinks soared a bit with Shaq and D-Wade. They weren't soar in 2006.

AI was a direct peer with Shaq: they fought over scoring titles, MVPs and World Titles. Put them on the same team and they instantly fight over whose team it is. I don't even think the great Pat Riley could keep that from blowing up. :)

But really that argument overall is kinda weak...


Quote:
Teams that won titles from 1980-2014 were led by:
Kareem (your #3 all time)
Larry Bird (your #6 all time)
Moses Malone (your #14 all time where all your comments indicate he would have ranked higher in a better situation)
Magic (your #5 all time)
Isiah (your #19 all time)
Michael Jordan (your #1 all time)
Hakeem (your #12 all time)
Tim Duncan (your #4 all time)
Shaq (your#13 all time)
Weird Pistons Team where Ben Wallace was probably the best player?
D-Wade (your #27 all time)
Kevin Garnett (your #20 all time)
Kobe (your #7 alltime)
Dirk (your #17 all time)
LeBron (your #10 all time)



Quote:
Obviously replacing one of the dominant big men with a 5'10 155lb guy is going to radically change the makeup of those teams.


That's the beauty of 1980-2014: there are loads of teams that won without dominant big men: Bird's Celtics, Magic's Later Lakers, Zeke's Pistons, Jordan's Bulls, the 2005 Pistons, Wade's Heat, Kobe's Lakers & Lebron's Heat. Big Men have had less impact than the old Mikan-Russ-Wilt days.


Quote:
But when you say "you couldn't replace the #1 guy on a championship team with Iverson and be guaranteed a title" you're totally right. Look at those guys. That's 70% of your all time top 10.


That is a pretty nifty trick of mine. Not intentional, though... I kind of stumbled blindly into it. :)

On the other hand, what elevated Zeke up to the Top 20 is that not only did he lead a team to a title, he did it twice, and he had the best team in the NBA a third time in 1988 when the Lakers gutted their way past the Pistons. Sure, Zeke played with excellent talent. But Zeke was a gunner (with Tripucka) when he came into the league, and evolved into a team player that the rest of the Pistons took their "team" lead from rather than gunning for their own stats.

Wade is where he is because he combined these things:

* AI style insane seasons
* led a team to a title when he was the Ace
* was willing to become the #2 on another pair of title teams

As great as Wade has been, I only have him at #27.

AI *only* did the first thing above. He didn't do the second, nor do I think he could. He didn't do the third, and I think there's 0.00 percent chance that he could or would even be able to be a #2 on a title team like Wade was. Dude went to Denver and suddenly is leading the team in scoring in his first full season... it becomes AI's team, not Melo's. Then after the season, the Nuggets shopped AI, and eventually traded him early in the next year for Billups as someone they hoped would fit better with Melo.


Quote:
But you could absolutely build a team where Iverson was offensively (i should have stressed "offensively" that in the previous post) the teams best player. I do think he would have to be paired with another great player to win but you could say that with literally everybody. My KG/AI vision is with KG anchoring the defense and AI the offense. He definitely needed a tag team partner.


You could build a team where he is the best player. He led his teams to six playoffs when he was the best player.

If AI and KG played together, KG would have been the best player. Whether they won anything... who knows. KG was likely best suited for one of two types of teams:

* where he's the off the charts #2
* where there's an oddball "team" concept where he's the #1

On the first item, KG would be the greatest Pipper even. Great defense (like Pippen), sick match up issue (like Pippen but better), intense as hell (like Pippen but more of a dick), but willing to defer to the "team" rather than load up his numbers (like Pippen). If KG came into the Bulls at the same time that Pippen had (instead of Pippen), he would have like Scottie been beaten down by the greatness of Mike since Mike was already there and a Demigod on his way to being a God. KG would have gotten behind Mike, and bought into Mike's bullshit. And they would have won... and ungodly amount.

He would have been a great #2 to Kobe. He'd be the greatest #2 for Lebron ever. He'd be a nuts #2 for Bird... and off the charts better #2 for Magic than Worthy (and those would have won a few more titles if they had KG rather than Worthy).

That's probably the best role for KG.

But the other role for KG is as a #1 on a great team type of team, like he was in Boston. He would have fit well into the Bad Boys, though that team then would need to get a Zeke-replacement in this fantasy booking. He would have been far and away the best player on the 2005 Pistons, they never would have had to trade for Sheed... that exact same KG-Billups-Rip-Price-Big Ben team *dominates* the NBA in 2005-2007.

If you're looking for a replacement for Duncan in the 2003 & 2005 & 2007 teams, KG is probably the only direct comp who could be dropped into them. My guess is that Pop would get at least one title out of them. He'd find KG a harder #1 to work with them Timmy, but Pop has the great ability to take the positives of players like Manu and Tony, worked on the weaknesses but still know that some will remain that drives him nuts, but mold them as much as possible into a "team" concept that works. KG wouldn't be as hard as those two guys: KG already was a "team" player in Minny when he could have been dropping 30+ a night and chasing egofuck stats.

I think KG would have been a better #2, the best ever if we ignore the Baylor-West dynamic. But he showed he could be an #1 and win a title even while not putting up monster number.

AI... :)


Quote:
This is my version of the Takada/Vader/Dojo Theory. KG/AI/Shooters. Neither ever happened which is too bad for everyone. :)


The problem is that shooters don't shoot when AI is around. He sucks the shots onto himself. :)


Quote:
Peak Iverson was absolutely better than Peak D-Wade. Wade just got to play with all time great players and wasn't the smallest guy on the court every night. I would have both in the 30s somewhere. Iverson ahead one spot. :)


I'd take 2009 Wade over AI's best, and not even give it a second thought.

There's a valid knock on Wade for how often he was injured, even in his prime. But AI was missing about 10+ games like clockwork in his prime, sometimes dropping down to 20-ish+. We all respect the beating he took, but it did knock him out of games with regularity.

I just have the "successful" gunners like Ice, Nique and AI in the 51-100 range. They were successful in the sense that their teams did win games with them as the Ace, they had a lot of playoff seasons, and they did it with teams that weren't exactly loaded with talent. But I also think that type of player has a limited value in the NBA: one that doesn't have a ceiling of contributing to titles.

I have a big bias there due to being a Lakers Fan: 11 titles in my lifetime, and it's always the thing that I want to see the team build to. It's not that I think every season we don't win the title is a failure. But I tend to see any team that isn't part of building to a title in the future as a failure.

If I were in some other NBA city, I'd probably be happy with a team like the Reggie Pacers or even the Pacers of the last few years. It's far better than the alternative of decades of being like the old Clippers. You'd be watching a good team, lots of good players, one that plays together well, some thrilling moments over the years. I'd want to get a title at some point to fulfill my fandom, but I wouldn't have the mentality that I do as a Lakers Fan. I'd be happy even in down years of simply seeing elements that build to our next consistent playoff team.

In that type of "happy with consistent playoffs appearances" scenario, I'd love AI. He flat out was a player that as soon as he joined the team you can start pondering the team you could put around him to get to the payoffs. As those pieces came together, I'd love it. As AI lit it up, I'd be thrilled.

But that's not really where my head is at when looking at talent and value. I'm forever screwed up into looking at players as, "Is this a guy who could play on the Lakers next title team." :/
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elliott



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the weird editing. I put all of this into a word document because I had to run earlier while replying and I didn't want to start all the way over. I did some more research when I came back to this so any paragraph that starts with "And also" or something like that is me coming back with more research. Not me being a jerk. :) Your comments are in bold. My original comments in italics if we needed my original quote


elliott wrote:
I feel like if you replaced Richard Hamilton in 2004 with AI that Detroit still would have won a title. But that was a funky team.



I think that's a group that was very similar to the 1988-90 Pistons: the sum of the whole was greater than the pieces. I don't even think anyone thought Rip was the best player on the team, even if he did lead them in scoring. I think people saw over time that Chauncey was the best player. AI clearly is better than either of those guys, but within the Pistons... I don't think that team works as well, or even beats the Lakers. Brown of course had coached AI in Philly, in what was Brown's longest coaching stint in one place ever... so he did know how to coach him. But I just don't think that team gells.


I agree that team isn’t really the same with AI in place of Rip. That was my “funky” comment. That team worked because it was a bunch of good players nobody really wanted jelling together. They absolutely worked because there wasn’t a traditional superstar on the team and putting someone like Iverson on the team probably screws up the entire dynamic. Funky, once in a lifetime kind of team.

I tend to give more credit to the Wallaces up front than the Chauncey/Rip backcourt. But I think Chauncey was really overrated. When he retired and people were talking about him as a Hall of Famer…that took years off my life.


Quote:
I would say that at his peak you could replace Wade in 06 with Iverson and they still win the title. Although, you wonder if the league would rig it the other way since they always hated AI where that was close to the peak of the D-Wade love fest.



I think the key to that team was that Wade was young and up & coming. Shaq always got along with young guards like that before they became the MVP-heat seeker. He got along with Penny until Penny wanted it to be his team. Same with Kobe. Eventually, thinks soared a bit with Shaq and D-Wade. They weren't soar in 2006.

AI was a direct peer with Shaq: they fought over scoring titles, MVPs and World Titles. Put them on the same team and they instantly fight over whose team it is. I don't even think the great Pat Riley could keep that from blowing up. :)


I can accept that. Let’s say Young Iverson plopped on the team in place of Wade. 22-25 when he had already led the league in scoring twice and was coming off 3 straight 26.8+ppg seasons.


But when you say "you couldn't replace the #1 guy on a championship team with Iverson and be guaranteed a title" you're totally right. Look at those guys. That's 70% of your all time top 10.



That is a pretty nifty trick of mine. Not intentional, though... I kind of stumbled blindly into it. :)


The best players of all time are the ones who win the titles. That’s why they’re the best. :)


On the other hand, what elevated Zeke up to the Top 20 is that not only did he lead a team to a title, he did it twice, and he had the best team in the NBA a third time in 1988 when the Lakers gutted their way past the Pistons. Sure, Zeke played with excellent talent. But Zeke was a gunner (with Tripucka) when he came into the league, and evolved into a team player that the rest of the Pistons took their "team" lead from rather than gunning for their own stats.


I’m a huge Isaiah fan. I think everyone else was underrating him and you putting him in the top 20 is great. I would probably sneak him above Dr J and Dirk and slot him right behind Hondo.


* AI style insane seasons

Well. Sort of. But honestly, not really. Don’t believe the hype.

Wade has never played more than 38.6mpg in his career. In 10 years with Philly, Iverson never played LESS than 39.4mpg. Iverson played less than 40mpg once. Once. He did this while playing Wade’s exact same aggressively bounding into the lane and finishing over bigger guys style. He did it with worse teammates than Wade has typically had in his career.

Not to mention being 4-6 inches shorter and probably 30-50lbs lighter.

* led a team to a title when he was the Ace

No denying that. Neither did a bunch of guys. A lot of them above Wade. ;)


* was willing to become the #2 on another pair of title teams


No denying that either. I don’t think AI was emotionally or psychologically capable of being a #2. ;)


AI *only* did the first thing above.

And he did it in an undeniably more impressive fashion. Let’s not even get into the rule changes that make things easier on perimeter players now than when Young Iverson entered the league.

Oh and the height and weight thing.

Oh and the fact that "The League" meaning Stern, Owners, Officials, etc hated and were utterly terrified of Allen Iverson. Where Wade was much more "fan friendly."

He didn't do the second, nor do I think he could. He didn't do the third, and I think there's 0.00 percent chance that he could or would even be able to be a #2 on a title team like Wade was. Dude went to Denver and suddenly is leading the team in scoring in his first full season... it becomes AI's team, not Melo's. Then after the season, the Nuggets shopped AI, and eventually traded him early in the next year for Billups as someone they hoped would fit better with Melo.

Absolutely agree on all of this. But we’re really talking about Peak. Not broken down sitting out games with general knee oldness. ;)

And also…Melo was 22 and 23 years old when he played with Iverson. Who by that point was 31 and 32 years old and already a first ballot Hall of Famer. I can understand not wanting to take a backseat to some young hot shot punk.

And Also, Iverson led the team in scoring his first full season 26.4ppg to 25.7ppg. Melo played 36mpg while Iverson led the league in mpg with 41.8. AI took 19 shots per game while Melo took 19.2. But yes. You are technically correct that Iverson led the Nuggets in scoring his first full year. ☺


But you could absolutely build a team where Iverson was offensively (i should have stressed "offensively" that in the previous post) the teams best player. I do think he would have to be paired with another great player to win but you could say that with literally everybody. My KG/AI vision is with KG anchoring the defense and AI the offense. He definitely needed a tag team partner.



You could build a team where he is the best player. He led his teams to six playoffs when he was the best player.


Meant to say “championship team” :)


If AI and KG played together, KG would have been the best player. Whether they won anything... who knows. KG was likely best suited for one of two types of teams:

* where he's the off the charts #2
* where there's an oddball "team" concept where he's the #1


KG would have been the anchor of the defense no doubt. But Iverson would have been the go to offensive force. I would view them more as peers than a clear cut #1 or #2. They’re both theoretically invaluable to their team but for different reasons. Both take pressure off of each other.
Obviously this is all totally theoretical. I never saw KG as a #1 offensive option on a championship team but he was so talented you almost had to treat him as though he could be. A natural scorer with a killer instinct like Iverson takes the pressure off of KG and allows him to be the all around monster that he could be.

I feel like just those two guys surrounded by above average role players is beating the 99 Knicks and those awful Nets teams with ease. That Pacers team and the later Pistons teams would have given them more trouble. But I feel like those two together could have dominated the post MJ Pre Lebron East by sheer force of personality.

On the first item, KG would be the greatest Pipper even. Great defense (like Pippen), sick match up issue (like Pippen but better), intense as hell (like Pippen but more of a dick), but willing to defer to the "team" rather than load up his numbers (like Pippen). If KG came into the Bulls at the same time that Pippen had (instead of Pippen), he would have like Scottie been beaten down by the greatness of Mike since Mike was already there and a Demigod on his way to being a God. KG would have gotten behind Mike, and bought into Mike's bullshit. And they would have won... and ungodly amount.

He would have been a great #2 to Kobe. He'd be the greatest #2 for Lebron ever. He'd be a nuts #2 for Bird... and off the charts better #2 for Magic than Worthy (and those would have won a few more titles if they had KG rather than Worthy).

That's probably the best role for KG.

But the other role for KG is as a #1 on a great team type of team, like he was in Boston. He would have fit well into the Bad Boys, though that team then would need to get a Zeke-replacement in this fantasy booking. He would have been far and away the best player on the 2005 Pistons, they never would have had to trade for Sheed... that exact same KG-Billups-Rip-Price-Big Ben team *dominates* the NBA in 2005-2007.

If you're looking for a replacement for Duncan in the 2003 & 2005 & 2007 teams, KG is probably the only direct comp who could be dropped into them. My guess is that Pop would get at least one title out of them. He'd find KG a harder #1 to work with them Timmy, but Pop has the great ability to take the positives of players like Manu and Tony, worked on the weaknesses but still know that some will remain that drives him nuts, but mold them as much as possible into a "team" concept that works. KG wouldn't be as hard as those two guys: KG already was a "team" player in Minny when he could have been dropping 30+ a night and chasing egofuck stats.


I think KG would have been a better #2, the best ever if we ignore the Baylor-West dynamic. But he showed he could be an #1 and win a title even while not putting up monster number


100% agree on all of this.


AI... :)

Well, AI never played with two top 50 NBA players ever who were starved for a ring and happened to fit perfectly alongside KG…Because they were talented offensive players and took the pressure off of KG to dominate offensively and focus on anchoring the defense.

Like I said I don’t think Iverson is a top 10 player of all time. That’s why in my proposal for how you could build a championship team with him as the #1 offensive option includes pairing him with the guy both of us agree could have been the best 2nd banana at all time. Iverson isn’t a top 20 player of all time. But pair him with KG, reach the finals multiple times while averaging what he did, get even one title and people would put him in the top 20.

I know it’s a total what if, theoretical that is impossible to ever prove. But this all started as a what if theoretical. ;)


Quote:
This is my version of the Takada/Vader/Dojo Theory. KG/AI/Shooters. Neither ever happened which is too bad for everyone. :)


The problem is that shooters don't shoot when AI is around. He sucks the shots onto himself. :)


Lol :)

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/PHI/2001.html

Look at the team he took to the Finals.

There were no shooters! :)

Seriously, look at that team.

After Iverson the guard rotation is Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, and Kevin Ollie. That’s not even the pu pu platter. That shit isn’t even on the menu.

Quote:
Peak Iverson was absolutely better than Peak D-Wade. Wade just got to play with all time great players and wasn't the smallest guy on the court every night. I would have both in the 30s somewhere. Iverson ahead one spot. :)



I'd take 2009 Wade over AI's best, and not even give it a second thought.

Miami Heat 43-39 lost in the First Round versus Atlanta Hawks 47-35. Give it a second thought :)

This was also one of two seasons post rookie year that he didn’t get to play with at least one other HOFer. So it stands to reason he would put up a career high in PPG. He had shittier teammates so he had to bear a bigger load.

That 09 Heat team is fucking awful looking though.

And I’m not trying to discredit Wade’s terrific individual performance in 09.

But let’s be realistic.

Absolute peak Wade with a bunch of crappy players gets you knocked out of the first round.

Which kind of rolls back to my point of I would rank them close together. But Iverson ahead ;)


There's a valid knock on Wade for how often he was injured, even in his prime. But AI was missing about 10+ games like clockwork in his prime, sometimes dropping down to 20-ish+. We all respect the beating he took, but it did knock him out of games with regularity.


Absolutely. He also played more 3-4ish more MPG than Wade did over the course of a 10 year stretch in Philly. Of course after the 10 years in Philly he followed it up averaging 42mpg in Denver for 3 more years. Including playing 41.8mpg for 82 games at age 32 in 2008. 12 seasons into his career.

Wade is currently finishing up his 12th season. How’s that going?

Let’s stop pretending Wade took a similar beating to Iverson. He didn’t. Wade’s “takes a beating” gimmick has fooled more people than Shawn Michaels “great worker” gimmick. It was true for a while. Then it stopped being true but people just agreed to go along with it because it was still the gimmick.


I just have the "successful" gunners like Ice, Nique and AI in the 51-100 range. They were successful in the sense that their teams did win games with them as the Ace, they had a lot of playoff seasons, and they did it with teams that weren't exactly loaded with talent. But I also think that type of player has a limited value in the NBA: one that doesn't have a ceiling of contributing to titles.


Ok, sell me on “David Thompson 45th best player in NBA history.” Specifically break down for me why Thompson's 4 pre injury seasons should rank him higher than Ice, Nique and Iverson. I know I wasn't born yet, but in researching the nba over the years did I miss the late 70s Nuggets Dynasty? ;)

I have a big bias there due to being a Lakers Fan: 11 titles in my lifetime, and it's always the thing that I want to see the team build to. It's not that I think every season we don't win the title is a failure. But I tend to see any team that isn't part of building to a title in the future as a failure.

If I were in some other NBA city, I'd probably be happy with a team like the Reggie Pacers or even the Pacers of the last few years. It's far better than the alternative of decades of being like the old Clippers. You'd be watching a good team, lots of good players, one that plays together well, some thrilling moments over the years. I'd want to get a title at some point to fulfill my fandom, but I wouldn't have the mentality that I do as a Lakers Fan. I'd be happy even in down years of simply seeing elements that build to our next consistent playoff team.

In that type of "happy with consistent playoffs appearances" scenario, I'd love AI. He flat out was a player that as soon as he joined the team you can start pondering the team you could put around him to get to the payoffs. As those pieces came together, I'd love it. As AI lit it up, I'd be thrilled.

But that's not really where my head is at when looking at talent and value. I'm forever screwed up into looking at players as, "Is this a guy who could play on the Lakers next title team." :/


Haha! Understood on all of this. I definitely get that point of view. Between the Lakers, Yankees, Duke, whatever futbol team you like that is probably the best team, you’re spoiled. All things considered, it is stunning that you took to Kawada over Misawa the way you did. Very un-jdw like behavior to root for the loser :)

I’m casually working on a top 50 to post as well with comments. 4 of my top 7 are Lakers and the other 3 guys all played on different teams (Kareem, Magic, Kobe, West). It’s truly sickening ;)

And like I said, this is all theoretical and there’s no way to prove any of it (but it’s still fun to talk and think about). What happened, happened. I’m not trying to give AI credit for what he could have done. I just think what he actually did was pretty remarkable. Especially given his size and his personality (being the type to stay out drinking till 5am on gameday, “Practice” etc etc) and the sad collection of nba players he played with over the years. Dude is criminally underrated and it will only get worse as people continue to care more about metrics.

Edited to add in that awesome "Misawa/Kawada/jdw's tendency to root for the winners" reference that I thought of after I hit submit. :)
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elliott



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Missed a small thing...

Obviously replacing one of the dominant big men with a 5'10 155lb guy is going to radically change the makeup of those teams.

That's the beauty of 1980-2014: there are loads of teams that won without dominant big men: Bird's Celtics, Magic's Later Lakers, Zeke's Pistons, Jordan's Bulls, the 2005 Pistons, Wade's Heat, Kobe's Lakers & Lebron's Heat. Big Men have had less impact than the old Mikan-Russ-Wilt days.


Post Mikan/Russ/Wilt Days includes:
Kareem Titles
Knicks Titles where most people would probably say Willis Reed was the best player (I would say Frazier but whatever)
Celtics title with Cowens as best player
Walton Title
Bullets title with Unseld as the best player
Moses title
Bird's Celtics are remembered historically for having the best front court in history
Hakeem's titles
Shaq's Titles
Duncan's Titles
Dirk's title
I would argue for the 04 Piston's the Wallaces meant more than Billups/Hamilton. It was the trade for the 6'11 guy that pushed them over the top.
Wade's 06 Title included a still very effective Shaq.
Kobe's Laker's were built on Kobe + Pau/Bynum/Odom trio of bigs.
Garnett Celtics led by KG

So later Magic Teams, Zeke's Pistons, MJ's Bull which happened to include the near unanimous GOAT, and LeBron's heat which included the single most dominant player since MJ.

Big guys are still important, they've just evolved and look different from the Mikan/Wilt/Russ era. Look how ready everyone is to turn the league over to the next dominant big man: Anthony Davis.

AND also, Bird, Magic, Lebron, MJ and Kobe are closer in size to Hakeem and Duncan than Iverson is to Bird, Magic, Lebron, MJ and Kobe.

Iverson is closer in size to Spud Webb and Mugsy Bogues than he is to D-Wade. :)

The only guy even close to Iverson's size was Zeke. Who won his titles with really good players. What makes Zeke really unique is that is the only team in NBA history where the undisputed best player is a guy under 6'4. Really other than Wade in 06 and Zeke's Pistons everyone who ever won a title as the best player was 6'6 or taller. 6 inches taller than Iverson's listed height which everyone agrees was listed higher than reality.

edited to make that last point about Zeke.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree that Chauncey isn't a HOFer. It's an oddball team without a true All NBA type of player. They also got better over the next two seasons, but (i) lost to the Spurs, (ii) lost Brown, and (iii) got stuck with an idiot coach in Flip. The clock ran out without them winning again, while their one title was a perfect storm of Good Match Up vs Lakers + Lakers Melting Down Dysfunction. They were a really good team, had a really good 2.5 year run after the Sheed Trade, hit the lotto in 2005, and then didn't get the same breaks when they were better.

* * * * *

On Zeke, it's hard for me to put him above Doc as we don't really know what Doc would have done in the NBA if he washed up in the league in 1972-76. What he did in the ABA was stunning. Sure, it was lesser talent in terms of depth. But ponder him averaging 38-14-5 vs these guys:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/DNA/1976.html

They went Dan Issel, Bobby Jones and David Thomspon across the front. That same team won 50 games their first year in the NBA, the second most in the entire league... and just happened to run into the Blazer when they were peaking. Bobby Jones was widely considered the best defensive forward of the era.

Doc lit those guys and specifically That Guy up like a Christmas tree. Even more stunning: 43-14-5 in the three games in Denver.

Then you have Doc coming into the NBA with a Team of Stars (i.e. gunning ball hogs), and it's Doc that's willing to supress his game down to a 22-9-4 so that everyone (i.e. McGinnis & Collins & Free) could get their shots. Doc also was willing to let the 76ers be Malone's team when he came over.

I think Doc's high end was higher than Zeke's, it's just that it was buried in the ABA. Zeke might have had that level Doc reached against the Nuggets & Jone for some games, but I don't think he could ever have a six game series that isane against an elite-of-elite defenders like Jones (such as Payton or Pippen covering him). In turn, Doc did show that Zeke willingness to go "team ball", putting aside his own glory for the good of the team.

I think Doc can be overrated. He had an odd game that doesn't translate to modern play, and was perfect for an era when defense was suspect at best. But... I think he was pretty expceptional and maybe sometimes can be underrated.

With Dirk... I'd love to rate him lower, but it's hard. He was so good for so long, anchored so many good teams in the brutal West, that it's hard to figure out where to put him lower. They won the title in his 13th year. Even after tearing the team down and doing an oddball rebuild where not a lot has gone right, they've still played .561 ball (46-36 average) in the West and will have made the playoffs 3 out of 4 years... in the WEST. :) This will be their 14th trip to the playoffs out of the last 15 years, with 11 50+ seasons and a shot at a 12th this year.

I'd have him lower if he didn't have the title. But that was over Bron's Heat, with Dirk a bit past his physical prime but still a sneaky, tricky gunner. Of course they've lost an insane number of first round series. ;) But he got out of the West twice, won a title, and was totally screwed out of another. He also had part of his career screwed up by the Mavs being too cute with letting Nash go, and then blowing the money they should have paid him on shitty players.

So... I like Zeke, but I can't put him above Doc, and there isn't anything quite as impressive in Zeke's resume as that lone gunman leading a cast of misfits to the 2011 Title over those Big Bad Heat. :)

* * * * *

On AI vs Wade, I do think Wade had monster seasons like AI. He just didn't play the minutes, and he wasn't throwing up 25 shots a game. But he also didn't gun at a .420 clip (or worse) and need to hoist up that many shots.

28-5-7 2006-07 & 2009-10 Wade
30-4-6 2000-06 AI
32-4-6 2001+2002+2005+2006 AI

I don't think Wade looks out of place there. Especially not when he was shooting .488 to AI's .418 & .423, hoisting up 5-6 less shots, hosting less of the clanky three pointers both took, and getting to the line just as much. Not to mention being a better defensive player.

Were AI's more flashy because he went 30+ four times? Sure, but that's one of my points with the AI / Ice / Nique type of players. They are flash. Their teams are successful. Not a single one of them was ever the Ace of a serious title contender. The one time any of their teams made it was fluke-o-rama: AI's 76ers coming out of a horrid East that offered up the Nets as a lamb for slaughter the next two years. :)

* * * * *

On the 2009 Hawks, I don't think they were that horrible of a team. They actually had more quality players than the shitty Heat at that point. They problem was that they didn't play expecially well when Horford or Smith (yeah... Josh Smith) were out of the line up.

36-19 (.655) with them both in the line up
11-16 (.407) with one out

Johnson missed twelve in November, Horford twelve in January, and then another three (all losses) elsewhere in the year.

Not saying they were a great~! But the actually were a good team, and won 53 the following year.

It's kind of credit to Wade for taking taking them to seven games. ;)

* * * * *

On the "Wade Took A Beating" thing, two point:

I was more about AI taking a beating, that we all respect.

But Wade also took a beating. He went to the line a lot up to and including the first season with Lebron, though he was slowing backing off it looks like in Feb. The following season he backed off quite a bit, plus he was banged up and really never has had the same hops since.

Wade took a beating through the age of 29, AI through the age of 32. AI was shot after that. Wade has had some effective seasons since backing off the beating, though he's also been banged up and has issues sustaining a high level of play for long stretches.

Again, respect for AI. I also respect Wade for how he played.

* * * * *

On Thompson, I could be argued out of where I rank him. But...

I was more impressed by Thompson than I was by the others. More "wow" factor. Of course I was younger, and far less jaded than I was by the time Nique came along.

Mentioned that was a good Nuggets team that was actually a serious NBA Title contender the year they ran into the Blazers. No one really thought super highly of that Blazers team until they came back from 0-2 down in the Final, combined with their sweep of the Lakers in the WCF.

I also give Thompson some credit for era adjustment: if he played under the rules that AI did, he would have at least two more pro seasons. No freshman hoops in those days, and his soph team went undefeated. Back in the day, the money that NC State was paying his family under the table was enough to get him to stay another 2 seasons rather than leave for the ABA (in contrast to Doc and others). In AI's days or even Nique's days, he would have left after his soph seasons, especially after Magic and Zeke paved the way for soph's to skip their last two years.

AI happened to just play two years in college, while Nique played three. Ice is a funny story that you can look up for a chuckle.

Anyway, Skywalker would have been in the NBA no later than after his soph season, and he would have been GREAT just as he instantly was in the ABA.

So when I'm eyeballing him, I see six terrific pro seasons, then the injuries and coke. He was a bit ahead of his time, like Doc. He also wasn't a magnate for a huge number of shots like Ice and Nique, instead being a bit more balanced with Issel there.

I was a kid... cut me some slack. :P

* * * * *

On best players on teams:

* Kareem Titles

1971 + 1980 + 1982 would be his teams.

1985 + 1987 + 1988 would be Magic's.


* Knicks Titles

Would agree with you that Frazier was the best player.

* Celtics title with Cowens as best player

I would say Hondo was the best player.

* Walton Title

Yep.

* Bullets title with Unseld as the best player

No one thought Wes was the best player on that team. They probably would point to Hayes, while I'd toss it into the "team" concept like the 2005 Pistons and point to Dandrige being the best player on the team.

* Moses title

Yep.

* Bird's Celtics are remembered historically for having the best front court in history

Bird really wasn't a "big man". He was a Point-Forward. :) He certainly isn't a Mikan-Russ-Wilt type.

* Hakeem's titles

MJ's Gambling Vacation ;)

* Shaq's Titles

2000 could be called Shaq's
2001 + 2002 were Shaqkobe
2006 doesn't happen without Wade

* Duncan's Titles

Yep. Though he's a bit different than the Mikan-Russ-Wilt type.

* Dirk's title

Not really a traditional big man. Much more a modern hybrid "stretch 4". They won that year when the finally has a strong rim protecting big man in Chandler (along with loads of other reasons including Dirk). No one would confuse Dirk with a Mikan-Russ-Wilt big man.


* 2005 Pistons

We may disagree on who is the best player, while also agreeing on the trade putting them over the top. But I think you'd have to admit that they did not win due to a Dominating Big Man. The Two Wallaces weren't that, nor ever thought of as being that. :)

* 2006 Heat

Wade was the dominant player on that team. Shaq was less effective than I care to remember... it's painful to look up his numbers that year.

* 2008 Celts

KG was the best player on the team. It was a "team", and he really didn't have to be a dominanting big man for them. Again, no one would confuse KG with Mikan-Russ-Wilt.


* 2009-2010 Lakers

Kobe's team. Bynum wasn't dominant in those playoffs. He was poor the first one, and a role player in the second one with some good games against early round teams who had no one to defend him. His big seasons where the two years after. Pau was an excellent big man, but hardly dominanting. Odom was a freak... I have no one to compare him with. He was a bit of a Point-Power Foward, except he didn't need the ball as much as Bird, which was good since Kobe wouldn't let him have it as much. But a total freak of a player. Not dominaing, though. If you gave Larry Bird the body of Odom, you'd have far and away the greatest player who ever lived. :)

* * * * *

Again, I have a lot of respect for AI being a small guy, taking the beating and filling it up. So he'd be in my Top 100.

But he's also a guy who shot .420 in his prime, was a terribly 3 point shooter (which didn't stop him from chucking), tossed up a load of shots each game (even more than the 25 a game since he was getting to the line on other shots he was fouled on). He's not a point guard, but since he's the gunner the ball always needed to be him his hands. He could carrry mediocre team to the post season in a crappy conference, which also let him win some series. But like Nique and Ice, I just can't see his shit working on a serious title contender.

Thompson's stuff could, as was since in his first two pro seasons. Obviously the coke would eventually be a problem. ;) But I see his fitting in easier that Ball Hogging Uber Aces like Nique / Ice / AI.

With Kobe and MJ it could be pulled off. But there's at another level of player from all of those guys.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jag has AI at #50.

Yohe slapped AI with the "airhead" tag to explain why he's not in.

I have him off.

Elliott will have him on his list.

I think we need Guren and Rian to do lists to see whether the Yohe/jdw camp or Jag/Elliott camp is more in line.

I might have to drag Hoback over to do a list. If he can vote in Yohe's LA Wrestling Hall of Fame, he certainly can vote in the tOA NBA Top 50. :P
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JAG



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had Iverson in the perfect spot.

He has his warts, but that 2000-01 season happened. Philly was the best team out of the East from 1999-2003. They were 40-12 in conference play that year and handed the best team of the past 19 years its only playoff loss. And Iverson won that game by himself.

It couldn't have been any fun to play with AI, but he was a warrior and his ability to take over games and win them by himself is major plus for his resume since the league only has so many of those at any given time.

Jagdip
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jdw
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it might have been good to play with AI if you're someone like peak Mutombo or Horry in his Lakers-Spurs mode. You're a limited player who does his role well and shows up hard every night.

If you're Horry, you camp out at the three point line. If AI passes you the ball on one of his drive&kicks, you're ready. If not, you might sneak in for some offensive boards, or you're ready to get back on defense.

If you're Mutombo, you just do your thing, set screens and maybe learn to crash to the glass like DJ with the Clipps.

There are lots of players who are like are like that. Haslem has made a career out of that with the Heat.

Where AI would be a pain in the ass is if you're a pretty good Other Guard, either in terms of being really good and need the ball (say Wade or T-Mac or even Steve Franchise at his best) or think you're really good and want more of it (like old BJ Armstrong getting his head big after some years with Mike).

A guard like Steve Kerr, who is kind of good at one thing, would be fine with AI.

A guard like Klay Thompson... I wonder if at a certain point he'd get tired of AI, while Curry is (at least for now) more in turn with those times when Klay goes off.

That's a little of my point: you can surround AI with Horry, Mutombo, Kerr, Battier, Mike Miller types. They would be a good team... much better than AI's Philly team. But would they be a serious contender in a non-flukey (i.e. 1978-79 type of season) to win the title?

I kind of don't think so. Also note that in guys like Horry, Mutombo, Kerr, Battier and Miller that we're taking some of the very best of those types of players.

But if you're going a cut above those guys, to say the 1973 Knicks where AI drops into Clyde's spot, does it work with the Other Guys being Pearl, DeBusschere, Bradley, Reed and Lucas? I think those five guys would kill AI, and AI would end up being like Walt Bellamy and traded the hell out of New York. :)

* * * * *

FWIW, I don't have AI that far removed from where Jag has him at #50. He's somewhere between 51-100 for me, and I'd probably toss the gunners all close to each other in the 50s or 60s.

I vastly respect Ice, Nique and AI over someone like Pistol Pete, who never even led his teams to the level of success as Ice / Nique / AI. :)
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elliott



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This will be way more reasonable because we agree in principal on the vast majority of these points we just have our longwinded way of saying them :)

Agree that Chauncey isn't a HOFer. It's an oddball team without a true All NBA type of player. They also got better over the next two seasons, but (i) lost to the Spurs, (ii) lost Brown, and (iii) got stuck with an idiot coach in Flip. The clock ran out without them winning again, while their one title was a perfect storm of Good Match Up vs Lakers + Lakers Melting Down Dysfunction. They were a really good team, had a really good 2.5 year run after the Sheed Trade, hit the lotto in 2005, and then didn't get the same breaks when they were better.

Agreed on all of this. I don't want to say the Pistons fell ass backwards into that title. But "perfect storm" is exactly how I would describe it.

One of my best friends is a diehard Pistons fan (as in he had watched literally every Pistons game since 1990 (god have mercy on him). He does NOT have good things to say about GM Joe Dumars. :)

*snip Doc Stuff*

I think Doc can be overrated. He had an odd game that doesn't translate to modern play, and was perfect for an era when defense was suspect at best. But... I think he was pretty expceptional and maybe sometimes can be underrated.


This kinda sums up how I feel honestly (Doc would absolutely still be in my top 20 mind you). Him and Oscar are probably the two best guys where I REALLY don't feel like I have a strong a grasp on them compared to guys on their general level (Ignoring Mikan era Different Sport). With Doc it is so difficult to put him into proper historical perspective because more than the other older guys, so much of it feels like mythology. Almost like he's the NBA Version of Ed Lewis.

I find Zeke's accomplishments to be really impressive and somehow more tangible for me. Being the smallest guy to lead a team two world titles. Going back to back in one of the most difficult era's to win a title. Taking the title from Magic and holding off Michael. Clutch player. Team first player. Extra points for crying while watching NBA Classics. Double extra points for threatening to beat up Simmons (and I love Simmons, but I think that story is hilarious). Triple extra points for "The Secret" being the crux of the Book of Basketball. My mind was blown reading that because in almost every job interview I've had I've worked in talking about how the best basketball teams work together and sacrifice for the benefit of the greater good. It's awesome :)

*snip Dirk stuff*

Here's the thing with Dirk...I think he's awesome. One of my favorite players to watch. It warms my heart that you had him above KG, Barkley and Malone. I think Dirk is already historically underrated and most NBA fans would probably rank those 3 slightly ahead of him. Hell, it took me 10+years but I finally made the quote machine because of Dirk's Mavs beating Miami in 2011 :)

I consider Thomas's career impressive because of what he did. Chris Paul hasn't made the conference finals let alone win back to back titles as the best player on his team.

Zeke and Dirk would be close on my list though. Having one at 17 and one at 19 isn't an insult to either guy. When I finish my list those two will be in exactly that range and likely right next too each other.


On AI vs Wade, I do think Wade had monster seasons like AI. He just didn't play the minutes, and he wasn't throwing up 25 shots a game. But he also didn't gun at a .420 clip (or worse) and need to hoist up that many shots.

28-5-7 2006-07 & 2009-10 Wade
30-4-6 2000-06 AI
32-4-6 2001+2002+2005+2006 AI


I don't think Wade looks out of place there. Especially not when he was shooting .488 to AI's .418 & .423, hoisting up 5-6 less shots, hosting less of the clanky three pointers both took, and getting to the line just as much. Not to mention being a better defensive player.[/b]

I know I keep harping on it. But, to me, the clear size difference between the two swings a comparable peak Iverson's way. That is one of those impossible to be measured things and what makes someone like AI so hard to judge.


Were AI's more flashy because he went 30+ four times? Sure, but that's one of my points with the AI / Ice / Nique type of players. They are flash. Their teams are successful. Not a single one of them was ever the Ace of a serious title contender. The one time any of their teams made it was fluke-o-rama: AI's 76ers coming out of a horrid East that offered up the Nets as a lamb for slaughter the next two years. :)


But here's the thing...it was AI's team that made it to the finals. Not Ice or Nique. And AI was a "six foot tall" shooting guard who stole a game from Shaq and Kobe at their absolute Playoff Peak with Aaron McKie as the team's 2nd leading scorer in the playoffs. AARON MCKIE! Played 39 minutes per game! Is their a worse guy in history who was #2 in ppg in the playoffs for a finals team?

And this happened:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grXws5m11SA

100 billion points. :)



On the 2009 Hawks, I don't think they were that horrible of a team. They actually had more quality players than the shitty Heat at that point. They problem was that they didn't play expecially well when Horford or Smith (yeah... Josh Smith) were out of the line up.

36-19 (.655) with them both in the line up
11-16 (.407) with one out

Johnson missed twelve in November, Horford twelve in January, and then another three (all losses) elsewhere in the year.

Not saying they were a great~! But the actually were a good team, and won 53 the following year.

It's kind of credit to Wade for taking taking them to seven games. ;)


This is totally fair. And I really don't want to totally discredit Wade even it is coming across that way. He's a great player and will absolutely be on my list. But when Simmons says things like "he's the best SG ever after MJ and Kobe" I just laugh.


On the "Wade Took A Beating" thing, two point:

I was more about AI taking a beating, that we all respect.

But Wade also took a beating. He went to the line a lot up to and including the first season with Lebron, though he was slowing backing off it looks like in Feb. The following season he backed off quite a bit, plus he was banged up and really never has had the same hops since.

Wade took a beating through the age of 29, AI through the age of 32. AI was shot after that. Wade has had some effective seasons since backing off the beating, though he's also been banged up and has issues sustaining a high level of play for long stretches.

Again, respect for AI. I also respect Wade for how he played.


Really agreed. They played a similar style: driving fearlessly into the lane, taking a ton of contact, sinking the circus shot and then going to the line. Or, clanging jumpers off the side of the rim :)

Wade has sat out a lot of games the last several seasons and when he does play, he is often openly dogging it and not trying hard. I really don't have a problem with aging, breaking down players sitting out games. I've been a Duncan/Pop/Spurs fan for almost 2 decades. But when you do play, you need to play hard. Wade has had a tendency to slip into Bret Hart/HBK/"80s Jumbo" House Show Mode. Sometimes on nationally televised games. ;)

*snip David Thompson stuff*

I was just pulling your chain with that one. It was like 2:15 am, I was on a roll and having fun :)

And really, I'm a big fan of David Thompson in the sense that I like reading about him and wish I could have watched all those games. You could have also just said "Michael Jordan's Favorite Player" :)

I don't begrudge anyone for sneaking a few favorites on towards the bottom of lists like this that are just for fun. Bill Walton is a 100% lock to make my list :)

On best players on teams:


* Knicks Titles

Would agree with you that Frazier was the best player.


Do you think most people would? Or just NBA dorks like us?


* Celtics title with Cowens as best player

I would say Hondo was the best player.


Zero issue with this. Love love love Hondo.


* Bullets title with Unseld as the best player

No one thought Wes was the best player on that team. They probably would point to Hayes, while I'd toss it into the "team" concept like the 2005 Pistons and point to Dandrige being the best player on the team.


Dandridge is another obscenely underrated guy. Totally forgot he was the piece they picked up that season to win the title. I always think of Dandridge from the Bucks. I did this list from memory laaaaaaate last night, remembered Unseld won the Finals MVP and everyone thinks Elvin is a choker. Totally brainfarted on Dandridge.


* Bird's Celtics are remembered historically for having the best front court in history

Bird really wasn't a "big man". He was a Point-Forward. :) He certainly isn't a Mikan-Russ-Wilt type.


Definitely not. But beyond "Larry Bird" when people think of the 80s Celtics they think of Bird/McHale/Parish
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRik9erWgQ8

:)


* Hakeem's titles

MJ's Gambling Vacation ;)


Yep :)



* Shaq's Titles

2000 could be called Shaq's
2001 + 2002 were Shaqkobe
2006 doesn't happen without Wade


Agree on the Wade point here for sure.

At the time and still to this day I viewed those Laker teams as Shaq the clear guy. I always viewed Shaq as completely 100% irreplaceable where I felt you could have put AI or T-Mac in Kobe's place and LA still wins those exact 3 titles.

We saw what happened with Kobe when he didn't get to play with another great player :)


* Duncan's Titles

Yep. Though he's a bit different than the Mikan-Russ-Wilt type.


Can you expand more on this for me? I'm interested where you're going here. :)


* Dirk's title

Not really a traditional big man. Much more a modern hybrid "stretch 4". They won that year when the finally has a strong rim protecting big man in Chandler (along with loads of other reasons including Dirk). No one would confuse Dirk with a Mikan-Russ-Wilt big man.


Agreed. But it was yet another title team built around two 7 footers - Dirk and Tyson. Dirk definitely isn't a traditional big man, especially not in the Mikan/Wilt/Russ sense. But it's still a team built around a 7 footer. I eventually got to the point later about how big men look and play differently now. :)


* 2005 Pistons

We may disagree on who is the best player, while also agreeing on the trade putting them over the top. But I think you'd have to admit that they did not win due to a Dominating Big Man. The Two Wallaces weren't that, nor ever thought of as being that. :)


They...well Big Ben, was a dominant big man defensive player. Would that be fair?

But yeah...that team is just such a weird outlier in every since it is best to just ignore them :)


* 2006 Heat

Wade was the dominant player on that team. Shaq was less effective than I care to remember... it's painful to look up his numbers that year.


Agreed Wade was the dominant player.

Shaq was a 33 year old 13 year vet in 06. He played 58 games, 30mpg. He averaged 20&9 and led the league with 60% shooting. His #s per 36minutes were 23 and 12. His per 36#s in LA were 26 and 11.
18 and 10 in the Playoffs that year with 61% shooting.

He was NOT the same player. Let's not get confused. But he wasn't Cleveland/Boston Shaq yet. Still a valuable contributor even if everyone knew he wasn't unstoppable force Shaq anymore.

2006 was also the year the refs rigged the finals and swung the series with Wade shooting roughly 800 free throws in 3 games. :)


* 2008 Celts

KG was the best player on the team. It was a "team", and he really didn't have to be a dominanting big man for them. Again, no one would confuse KG with Mikan-Russ-Wilt.


He was the dominant defensive player on a team that won by being a dominant defensive team. This is goes back to the game changing and big guys looking different now.

* 2009-2010 Lakers

Kobe's team. Bynum wasn't dominant in those playoffs. He was poor the first one, and a role player in the second one with some good games against early round teams who had no one to defend him. His big seasons where the two years after. Pau was an excellent big man, but hardly dominanting. Odom was a freak... I have no one to compare him with. He was a bit of a Point-Power Foward, except he didn't need the ball as much as Bird, which was good since Kobe wouldn't let him have it as much. But a total freak of a player. Not dominaing, though. If you gave Larry Bird the body of Odom, you'd have far and away the greatest player who ever lived. :)


Agreed that singularly those guys weren't dominating. That's why I listed them together. It was Kobe + the Collective Big Men on the roster. But yeah Kobe's team. And also agreed on the Odom points. What a weird player.


Again, I have a lot of respect for AI being a small guy, taking the beating and filling it up. So he'd be in my Top 100.

But he's also a guy who shot .420 in his prime, was a terribly 3 point shooter (which didn't stop him from chucking), tossed up a load of shots each game (even more than the 25 a game since he was getting to the line on other shots he was fouled on). He's not a point guard, but since he's the gunner the ball always needed to be him his hands. He could carrry mediocre team to the post season in a crappy conference, which also let him win some series. But like Nique and Ice, I just can't see his shit working on a serious title contender.


When talking about AI and his inefficiencies and the ridiculous volume of shots he took you have to consider the shit sandwich he played with throughout his prime. He reached the finals with Aaron McKie, Dikembe Mummytumbo, and Eric Snow as the teams top 3 scorers after AI. The team Philly built around him was AI shooting + Defense. The offense was either AI being run off screens like Reggie Miller, AI in the pick and roll, AI beating his man off the dribble. Opposing teams weren't worried about George Lynch or Tyrone Hill. If the team was going to be competitive, Iverson had to have a big offensive game. So he took a ton of shots and played a ton of minutes.

And the size thing.


Thompson's stuff could, as was since in his first two pro seasons. Obviously the coke would eventually be a problem. ;) But I see his fitting in easier that Ball Hogging Uber Aces like Nique / Ice / AI.


No way does AI live through the late 70s/early 80s as an adult. :)


With Kobe and MJ it could be pulled off. But there's at another level of player from all of those guys.


Agreed.


This did not end up as short as I planned. But it was still fun :)
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JAG wrote:
I had Iverson in the perfect spot.

He has his warts, but that 2000-01 season happened. Philly was the best team out of the East from 1999-2003. They were 40-12 in conference play that year and handed the best team of the past 19 years its only playoff loss. And Iverson won that game by himself.

It couldn't have been any fun to play with AI, but he was a warrior and his ability to take over games and win them by himself is major plus for his resume since the league only has so many of those at any given time.

Jagdip


Jagdip is a scholar and a gentleman :)
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it might have been good to play with AI if you're someone like peak Mutombo or Horry in his Lakers-Spurs mode. You're a limited player who does his role well and shows up hard every night.

If you're Horry, you camp out at the three point line. If AI passes you the ball on one of his drive&kicks, you're ready. If not, you might sneak in for some offensive boards, or you're ready to get back on defense.


It's funny you say Horry. In my theoretical dream world where I am the Philly GM in the mid 90s, after I draft KG in 95 and AI in 96, I am figuring out a way to get Robert Horry on the team. Robert Horry rocks.


If you're Mutombo, you just do your thing, set screens and maybe learn to crash to the glass like DJ with the Clipps.


Prime Mutombo is another sort of guy I would try and pair with Iverson provided I don't have KG (or even if I do, I would love a nucleus of AI/KG/Dikembe + shooters). If I can't get Mutombo or if I have my money tied up elsewhere, I would want an Oakley type bruiser.


There are lots of players who are like are like that. Haslem has made a career out of that with the Heat.


Yeah but Haslem has never been as good of a player as Mutombo. Not in the same universe.

But he's close to the Oakley solar system.

Where AI would be a pain in the ass is if you're a pretty good Other Guard, either in terms of being really good and need the ball (say Wade or T-Mac or even Steve Franchise at his best) or think you're really good and want more of it (like old BJ Armstrong getting his head big after some years with Mike).


This DEFINITELY wouldn't work.


A guard like Steve Kerr, who is kind of good at one thing, would be fine with AI.


Would love to have Steve Kerr and would welcome him with open arms. But no way could you start a Kerr/Iverson backcourt. In a lot of way as much as I've dogged them McKie and Eric Snow were the style of guard you would need to pair with AI in the starting lineup. Guys who didn't need the ball but could slide over and defend bigger twos. I just need to find better versions of those guys and perferably with a 3 point shot. I get away with Kerr/Iverson for stretches of time if I've got Kevin Garnett AND Prime Mutombo on the team.

I would also negotiate a post retirement head coaching gig into Kerr's contract so my team is taken care of after I'm gone. :)


A guard like Klay Thompson... I wonder if at a certain point he'd get tired of AI, while Curry is (at least for now) more in turn with those times when Klay goes off.


Man I love the Klay and Curry dynamic. Klay would absolutely be the perfect type of player to put next to AI provided they got along and the chemistry worked and all. BUt yeah, a wing with good defense and great range would be ideal. I had Danny Green in mind as a more cost effective version. :)


That's a little of my point: you can surround AI with Horry, Mutombo, Kerr, Battier, Mike Miller types. They would be a good team... much better than AI's Philly team. But would they be a serious contender in a non-flukey (i.e. 1978-79 type of season) to win the title?


Probably not. That's why this is all built on AI and KG together. If you're surrounding those 2 with Horry, Mutombo, Battier, etc then yes. That team is absolutely a serious contender to win the title.


But if you're going a cut above those guys, to say the 1973 Knicks where AI drops into Clyde's spot, does it work with the Other Guys being Pearl, DeBusschere, Bradley, Reed and Lucas? I think those five guys would kill AI, and AI would end up being like Walt Bellamy and traded the hell out of New York. :)

Adult AI does not survive through the 60s to make it to the 1973 Knicks :)


FWIW, I don't have AI that far removed from where Jag has him at #50. He's somewhere between 51-100 for me, and I'd probably toss the gunners all close to each other in the 50s or 60s.

I vastly respect Ice, Nique and AI over someone like Pistol Pete, who never even led his teams to the level of success as Ice / Nique / AI. :)


Totally agree. We're literally talking about the top .0001% of NBA players of ALL TIME so the difference between mid 30's and mid 50s is totally negligible in the grand scheme of things. We're on the same page for a LOT of this stuff anyway. But I'm on stay-cation in Oregon. I have family in town and at the end of my day I've been having a blast talking about this stuff. Hence all the smiley faces :)

This is also just us warming up for what happens when I finish my list and Wilt is at #10 and Tim Duncan #3 :)
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Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iverson lifetime shot 41%. He won 2 scoring titles @ 39%. He was a street player with a ego that had to be #1, so he played 42 to 43 minutes a game. I don't think he was easy to coach & I can't see him doing well on a team with a lot of good players. At 6 foot I don't remember him as a defense player & the shooting guard should play D. He shot 31% on 3 pointers & today that wouldn't be good enough. I never thought much of him, but he did lead a team to the final, but the Lakers beat him like an after-thought. I respect him on some levels, but he isn't close to being top 50 on my list. Maybe because I live on the West Coast.

Could he have replaced Scott on the Magic's Lakers team. Scott played a lot of D and if Iverson didn't have the ball, I don't think he could help you. He would have driven them crazy.

He was too small to play guard for Jackson & I don't think he could have learned the triangle.

He was a gutsy guy but there is too many negatives to be a top 50 guy. I don't see it. I really don't like street players.--Yohe
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

two quick things

Steve,

Can you teach me about "Joe Fulks top 50 player?" PF who won two scoring titles shooting 30%. Under 500 games played in his career.

Also for John in your list you said:

Dave DeBusschere (46 BS / 48 SY)

Legendary defensive player, good rebounder for undersized forward... but kind of a shitty shooter.


Can you expand more on being a shitty shooter? I know he's only a caree 43% shooter, but this is how Simmons led off the DeBusschere section in his book:
"Two changes would have transformed Dave's career historically. First they didn't create the All-Defense team until the '68-'69 season. (From that point on, Dave made the first team every year until he retired.) Second, they didn't create the three point line until the '79-'80 season. (Dave had been retired for 6 years, having spent his career shooting threes that counted as twos.) Add those tweaks and we're looking at 12 All-Defenses, a career average of 20-11, and a well-earned reputation as the best three-point-shooting forward of his era."

Everything I've ever heard about Dave offensively has been either "great range for the era" or "didn't care about taking shots."
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