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RealGM Highest Peak #36 (Voting ends Sat 11/17)

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Post#1 RealGM Highest Peak #36 (Voting ends Sat 11/1
Sun Nov 4, 2012 12:37 pm by Doctor MJ

I'm making this thread to keep the conversation going while we discuss things over on the Project thread.

Basically the participation in the last thread was so weak, I want to take a pause and see what's up.

However, if you'd iike to make any arguments for guys not yet voted in, please do so. I feel like part of the problem is that people just aren't sure enough about the players out there.
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Post#2 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 12:57 pm by Doctor MJ

Some guys on my mind:

Bob Pettit: I'd say pretty clearly the best player from the last '50s to early '60s still available. Some might question whether George Mikan should get in before him, but for me, one of the things I look at with the really early guys is how well their skills would play today. While Mikan was a guy succeeding due to advantages that basically wouldn't exist today (he was bigger than everyone else, and he still wasn't blocking shots anything like what Russell did), I see Pettit as a guy who just found a way to be good his whole career. It's not like we haven't seen guys with similar builds thrive all throughout NBA history, the guy was a capable alpha, full of motor, and with strong intuition for the game to go along with a clear leadership charisma.

Artis Gilmore: As I've indicated before, Gilmore burst on the seen in '71, and people talked about how he was like nothing they'd seen before. That's pretty amazing given that they had all seen Wilt play. Gilmore's got 2 major issues from a GOAT perspective:

1) The jawdropping athleticism people remarked about early on did not carry through his prime, leaving some to question whether it was hyperbole to begin with, but if you've seen pictures of the guy jumping early on, it's pretty clear this was someone at lesast flirting with 12'6". Were he in the league today then he basically be able to jump as high as anyone in the game and do so with strong shot blocking instincts.

2) He was too cautious as a scorer to dominate that way. This is what puts his peak down from some of the very best. But for some perspective, while it's a reason to rank his peak below Ewing's, I would argue that I'd much rather have a hyper-efficient secondary scorer as my big than a big trying to be a volume scorer and not really providing great efficiency. So take Ewing's peak out of play, there are a lot of years I'd rather have Gilmore.

Bernard King: He's been rattling around for a while. Hyper-efficient volume scorer with no clear Dantley-ish signs that his strategy inherently stifled the rest of the offensive weapons. I think a good chunk of the issue is that his peak was so short people simply are cautious about overreacting to it - and I am right there with them which is why I haven't championed him - but we're clearly reaching a point where continued caution isn't really being included as a rational quantitative factor.

Kevin Johnson: Still waiting to hear some legit criticism of KJ. I realize he often times gets ranked below a few of the other point guards out there still, but what's not to like about the guy? Super-efficient scorer who can go nuclear. His playmaking doesn't get talked about as much, but his Phoenix teams had some fantastically successful offenses, so clearly he wasn't someone stifling the offense.

Bob McAdoo: Needs to get discussion. It's easy to think that because his short prime happened on mediocre teams that at the very least he's unproven to be able to do his thing with a team strategy that scales, but one cannot forget how hideous the team was before and after him. This is the team that would become the Clippers after all, there is no more pathetic franchise in all of sports, and they someone had an MVP during Kareem's peak. This is no trivial achievement.

Alonzo Mourning: Seems like Thurmond gets more talk than Zo, and i've got a ton of respect for Thurmond. However Thurmond did not have some kind of otherworldly transformative impact like his contemporary Bill Russell. There's nothing THAT magical here. He was very good, and as a man defender of bigs, there's probably never been anyone better.

Zo though had good size, good instincts, good motor, and at the very least he was someone you could rely on on the offensive end. Thurmond on the other hand basically had the kind of offensive career I want every young big to look at and try NOT to do. He should not have been a 20 PPG scorer, yet that's what he did, on quite poor efficiency. One can defend him by saying that was what coaches told him to do of course, but Zo's edge there is still quite noteable.
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Post#3 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 4:13 pm by penbeast0

Connie Hawkins . . . two inferior leagues, 2 MVPs (NBLat age 19 with probably more talent than 1st 2 years of ABA including future/past NBA All-stars like Bill Bridges and George Yardley) then banned because his mother was seeing a gambler so went to ABA and was easy MVP and Finals MVP and well on his way to a second when he had a horrific knee injury. Basically two years of Tracy McGrady like dominance but during this time, he led his team to best record in early ABA both years until the injury (unlike, say, Rick Barry whose team did just fine without him in winning the championship when Barry was injured). The Hawk was never the same player again; turning into more of a high post passer and jump shooter than the low post LeBron style dunker and uberathlete he had been but truly dominant in this short stretch. (Still an All-NBA 1st team player moving to SFin his 1st NBA season before another knee blowout.)

Not saying I would put him over Pettit but should be looked at. I'd take his peak year over King's since he seemed to be more a team player and defender to go along with the offensive dominance according to all the quotes from his teammates. King was a "me" guy first, last, and always.
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Post#4 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 4:31 pm by JordansBulls

I am going to change my vote to 1992 Clyde Drexler. He had his best overall season and playoffs this season. His PER and WS were a little less than 1988 but his playoffs was a lot better. He finished 2nd in MVP voting and led his team to the top seed in the Western Conference.

Vote: 1992 Clyde Drexler
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Post#5 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 4:36 pm by C-izMe

I'm voting 2000 Zo again. I'll probably explain him over Gilmore soon.
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Post#6 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 5:40 pm by fatal9

Just to quickly point out some questions about Gilmore which always linger in my head:

- His post game was not as good as his number indicate. He turned the ball over a lot mainly because of how much he used to travel (bad footwork) and because he didn't read defenses well. He was great in a finishing role but he gives back his offensive efficiency by having a TOV% rate near 20% in some years (he was much more turnover prone than even someone like Moses to put it in perspective, he is the turnover king of centers). His TOV% is even worse than it appears because it's coming at a relatively low usage (not like he's volume scoring or playing the role of an offensive hub here). So to me, his FG% overrates his overall efficiency and skills.

- I don't start respecting ABA competition till like the last couple of years (you can see his stats falling as ABA is getting better). Different brand of game with not as many quality centers as the NBA so this is kind of a big deal. I find it hard to believe that Artis (and other ABA players) peaked before 26 and then were never able to show that sort of an impact in the NBA. I don't think he was a fundamentally different player back then.

- His defensive impact in the NBA is questionable to me. I think he was a good defender, good post defender due to his size/strength, good defensive rebounder but just one year where his team was good defensively in the NBA and the rest are in the cellar, like borderline worst defense in the NBA bad. Maybe it's possible to track from missed games if he was just around horrific defensive rosters (he did play with Theus who was an absolute sieve) or if he really had such little impact (pretty sure Bulls had similar record with than without him in '80 over a pretty large sample size). His shotblocking in the NBA is pretty average compared to elite centers. And given a non-volume scoring role, I expect him to be playing up to his defensive potential in these years (if he is, then there's a problem with his defense, if he isn't, then there's a problem with his motor). I've read his defensive mobility also being criticized, though this is something that may not have been an issue in his younger years where he was playing at lesser weight. So was he playing defensively as well as guys like Thurmond, Zo, Cowens or an inspired Lanier? I don't think so, but I'm receptive to arguments saying otherwise.

Here's how his teams did defensively in the NBA by year (in his all-star years), 2nd out of 22 (keep in mind the parity in the league that year is crazy, there's not much of a difference between #2 defense and the #8 defense), and after that, 20th/22, 16th/22, 15th/22, 14th/22, 17th/23, 15th/23. A bad year here or there I can see, but we're consistently seeing awful defenses.

- I don't like his intangibles. Not really seen as a leader, lot of criticism of him playing with low intensity, kind of matters when you compare him with other guys at his position (you can say what you want about Zo's inability to step up at times, but he definitely brought a different level of intensity when he was on the floor).


Doc, are you suggesting he peaked in his first couple of years in the ABA? It's just really really hard for me to believe that for a player unless a career altering injury happened.
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Post#7 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 6:14 pm by Doctor MJ

fatal9 wrote:Doc, are you suggesting he peaked in his first couple of years in the ABA? It's just really really hard for me to believe that for a player unless a career altering injury happened.


Well what I see in his career is that he starts out with huge numbers and buzz as a shotblocker, but that goes away pretty quickly. So what's the explanation?

Obviously one answer for that is that the competition got better. Given that ABA competition did get a good amount better over time this seems like a pretty plausible answer. I do have some trouble getting my head around how that literally was supposed to play out though. Gilmore's other stats stayed about the same, so that narrative is saying that the superior competition didn't stop Gilmore in any way except that they were better at not getting their shots blocked. This doesn't seem so plausible to me.

Now, you express doubt that a player could peak so early, but if we're just talking about shotblocking, it's not unheard of at all for big men to peak early on defense because of how crucial athleticism is to blocking shots. Typically they are still improving because of them taking on more all around responsibilities, but clearly that's something where Gilmore fails to some degree.

Of course we need to factor in that failure, but this is a guy who started out out better than Dr. J, so had he done that ideal kind of career curve we'd have expected to vote him in a long time ago.

At his peak is he a better defender than Thurmond? I'd be reluctant to say so, but then I also factor in that he always was doing good stuff on the offensive end for his team, which Thurmond wasn't.

Cowens? Well, he's already in now, and he's such a different animal. I don't really know how to compare the two.

Favore Zo over Gilmore because he's got the well roundedness with more aggression and more evidence of career progression? This is pretty reasonable, but it should also be noted that it's not like Zo could do everything Gilmore could. Gilmore was about as big as they come other than Shaq, and early on he had clear agility to go with that. Anyone scouting the two of them not knowing anything else, wouldn't they notice Gilmore more than Zo?
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Post#8 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 6:18 pm by Doctor MJ

JordansBulls wrote:He led the Hawks to more of an elite record. However 1986 Nique was higher in MVP voting and led the league in scoring.

Vote: 1987 Dominique Wilkins.


Not to mention the Hawks managed to be the #2 seed in the conference this season in a stacked eastern conference.


Gotta admit that the more I think about Nique, the less he's pulling me in. Yes, he scored a lot, with meh efficiency, and what else?
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Post#9 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 6:28 pm by Doctor MJ

penbeast0 wrote:Connie Hawkins . . . two inferior leagues, 2 MVPs (NBLat age 19 with probably more talent than 1st 2 years of ABA including future/past NBA All-stars like Bill Bridges and George Yardley) then banned because his mother was seeing a gambler so went to ABA and was easy MVP and Finals MVP and well on his way to a second when he had a horrific knee injury. Basically two years of Tracy McGrady like dominance but during this time, he led his team to best record in early ABA both years until the injury (unlike, say, Rick Barry whose team did just fine without him in winning the championship when Barry was injured). The Hawk was never the same player again; turning into more of a high post passer and jump shooter than the low post LeBron style dunker and uberathlete he had been but truly dominant in this short stretch. (Still an All-NBA 1st team player moving to SFin his 1st NBA season before another knee blowout.)

Not saying I would put him over Pettit but should be looked at. I'd take his peak year over King's since he seemed to be more a team player and defender to go along with the offensive dominance according to all the quotes from his teammates. King was a "me" guy first, last, and always.


Connie's a tough one. Ultra-dominance, in such a weak league though. I think for the most part, I've kind of looked at it with Connie, Barry, and Gilmore that Gilmore stood out over Barry in a way that Connie didn't, so I favor Gilmore.

Comparing Connie to the other SF-PF Pettit & Baylor though it is worth noting that in both the ABA & NBA, Connie had seasons at considerably more efficiency than either. It's not so far ahead of Pettit that I think Pettit couldn't have gotten there though, so I'd still probably side with the more known choice of Pettit. (But yes, I do rate Connie's peak ahead of Baylor.)
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Post#10 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Sun Nov 4, 2012 8:48 pm by C-izMe

Zo 2000 vs Gilmore 75


Defensively the Heat were 7th and Zo won DPOY. I'm pretty sure we can all agree he was DPOY level for that year and 99. Kentucky on the other hand ranked first and were led by Gilmore. I'm pretty sure he won DPOY too and he played 41.6 minutes per game on the best defense in the league so there's no reason to believe he did not lead them. Defensively I'll call it a slight win for Gilmore.

Offensively Gilmore was a turnover machine. He averaged around 4 a game in the PS and regular season, meanwhile Zo was very safe with the ball for a defensive C only having a 10TOV% in the PS. Gilmore and Zo were even as freethrow shooters but Zo had a way better jumpshot. Zo actually had a pretty good shot for a big. Meanwhile Gilmore is probably top 5 ever at scoring by the basket (Wilt, Dwight, Shaq, who else?) but he dropped the ball a ton inside and got stripped. Zo was an amazing finisher when he was young due to his athleticism and strength but he wasn't on some special level. Gilmore had slightly higher efficency but Zo had way higher usage (28 to 21). I would give Zo the edge due to his similar efficency on increased volume.

In all it comes down to the PS. Gilmore averaged 19.2 pp36 on 60TS with a 19.5TRB% and 2.7BLK%. Zo scored 20.7 pp36 on 54.2TS (weak sauce) with a 15.8TRB% and 7.1BLK%. Gilmore had a 114 ORTG (21.4USG%) and Zo had a 106 ORTG (29.3USG%).

I personally think Zo had a tough time because Ewing, Camby, and Thomas are relatively good post defenders. Considering the difference in competition I gave this to Zo.
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Post#11 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Mon Nov 5, 2012 5:48 am by ardee

Vote: 1984 Bernard King

penbeast, I'm not sure about what you've said. I've never heard any such stories about King, he was usually beloved and appreciated by most of his peers.
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Post#12 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 1:51 am by ardee

JordansBulls wrote:He led the Hawks to more of an elite record. However 1986 Nique was higher in MVP voting and led the league in scoring.

Vote: 1987 Dominique Wilkins.


Not to mention the Hawks managed to be the #2 seed in the conference this season in a stacked eastern conference.


JB I asked you last time, why Nique over King? King scored on better volume + better efficiency, and he was at least a decent team defender.
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Post#13 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 11:43 am by therealbig3

I for one couldn't participate because I had no internet, because of the Hurricane.

But my theory on the dropoff in participation is that there's really so many people you could argue here, that people just don't know who to pick and want to read what other people say.

I think the best thing to do for me would be to rank by position, who I think have the best peaks left:

PG - KJ

SG/SF - Drexler

PF/C - McAdoo/Gilmore/Mourning

I know I was much more impressed with McAdoo after the top 100, and Zo and Gilmore are always impressive because of their two-way games. It probably comes down to those 3 for me for the big men. Reed and Pettit have taken steps down in my eyes.

KJ/Drexler/McAdoo/Gilmore/Mourning...that's who it's between for me right now. Yes, I do like KJ more than any other PG left, including Isiah, Payton, Stockton, and Kidd. For me, KJ is just a notch below Chris Paul.

The wings are all super close, but going off my top 100, I took Drexler over all of them all time, and I think a big part of that is because he was an excellent primary and secondary scorer, who was an excellent passer who crashed the boards well. Decent defender and fantastic in the open court. His half court game and handles can get criticized, but I like his skills enough to take him over anyone else here.

Right now, I'm leaning KJ...don't know which year to go with for his peak though. I'll just pick a year and keep thinking about it:

Vote: 90 Kevin Johnson

Based off a quick glance at his box score numbers. I think he's a better offensive player than Drexler, and Drexler's defense doesn't make that up, because it's not like he was that great defensively. Zo is great on either end, but he's not very impressive offensively to me. I would take Dwight Howard over Zo offensively, for example. And defensively, he was great, but I don't think he was quite THAT great. He was a little undisciplined defensively, and he never really limited capable offensive post players...McHale and Parish played great in 93, and Ewing always lit him up.

And the great defenses he anchored in Miami seemed to be more dependent on the coaching than on him. Pat Riley takes over in 96, Mourning's first year with Miami, and Miami has a top 10 defense every until 2008, with SVG and Riley coaching throughout. So right there, after Mourning leaves, Miami is still maintaining top 10 defenses for a while. Then you look at the fact that Mourning misses huge chunks of time during his career in Miami...he plays 13 games in 2001, and Miami is still 4th in the league defensively. They're 10th in 03, when Mourning doesn't play. They're 9th in 04, when Mourning is on a different team. They also had the 1st ranked defense in 97, with Mourning playing 66 games. In the 16 games he missed, Miami had a 103.9 DRating vs an average 106.8 ORating (-2.9). That was still a very strong defensive squad without Mourning. Now, they were -6.1 on the year, which means they were -6.9 in the games Mourning played, which is very impressive. But it's nowhere close to the lift we see from the truly elite defensive anchors.
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Post#14 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 12:02 pm by Dr Positivity

Vote 84 Bernard King

Pierce still has no fans yet, so I'll move on to King, one of the most dynamic scorers ever
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Post#15 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 1:45 pm by C-izMe

Look at the numbers for 2000. Zo was amazing against Shaq (the only offensive C in the league at the time). I would agree with the defense but he had many years with super high defensive impact (probably top 10) after getting hurt. If we assume he was better before the injury I think we can comfortably say he's as good as your average DPOY.

I can see where your coming from though.

With KJ vs Clyde you said the defensive gap wasn't large. I was always under the assumption that KJ was decent to average defensively (for a PG) and Clyde was good defensively (for a SG). That's a sizable gap IMO.
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Post#16 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 3:16 pm by therealbig3

C-izMe wrote:With KJ vs Clyde you said the defensive gap wasn't large. I was always under the assumption that KJ was decent to average defensively (for a PG) and Clyde was good defensively (for a SG). That's a sizable gap IMO.


What I meant was it's not enough to overcome KJ's advantage on offense for me. I don't think it's a small difference defensively, or that it wasn't noticeable, but considering the overall package on both sides of the court, there's a bigger gap offensively imo. For me, KJ has a top 5 PG peak, after Magic, Oscar, Nash, and Paul, in that order. He was a beast offensively, and really lit it up when he needed to. Very efficient, great passer, excellent midrange shooter, really aggressive, some awesome playoff performances. He's like a more consistent, more efficient, and smarter Russell Westbrook, with superior creation and shooting. That's a devastating player. And I was critical about Barkley before when he was still on the board, because I think you could make a good argument that the best offensive player for Phoenix was actually KJ and not Barkley, or at least, they were comparable. When Barkley left after the 96 season, KJ had a big year and led Phoenix to a top 6 offense. When Barkley was missing time and KJ was healthy, he was still leading some very impressive offenses in Phoenix.

Drexler was really good too, but I think it's fair to criticize his handles, and combined with his inconsistent outside shooting, there are legitimate questions about his ability to create in the half court, which is pretty important come playoff time, and pretty important when talking about portability. To be honest, I have a tough time with Pierce vs Drexler, because Pierce is an awesome scorer in the half court, and so he translated better to the playoffs. He also proved that he has excellent portability, and he's a better defender than Drexler.

But where I give Drexler the edge is his ability to pass like a PG, and I think he handles the ball a lot better than most wings, certainly better than Pierce. That extra dimension makes him an overall better offensive player imo, similar to why I rank T-Mac very highly even when he wasn't scoring so efficiently. He was still creating a lot of opportunities for others, and I think Drexler does that to a degree that Pierce can't. For example, we saw Pierce have to play point forward in these past playoffs in game 2 against the Hawks, when Rondo was suspended. He played well, and everyone pointed to how he "carried" the Celtics in that game, but it's not like he was super efficient as a scorer (56.7% TS), and he turned the ball over like crazy (8 TOs) while not really creating a lot of opportunities (4 assists, Boston had a 95.9 ORating). Granted, he's a bit past his prime here, but he's one of those guys who has aged really well, and there's not a huge difference between him today and him in 08, which I think is his peak. And it's not like he was leading the Celtics to great results in that role earlier in his career either, although he was playing with some terrible supporting casts.
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Post#17 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 3:52 pm by C-izMe

I see what your saying and its easy to say Clyde isn't portable and can't score in the halfcourt (which works against him in the PS), especially when both statements SHOULD be true looking at his game, but in his career he was a consistently good PS performer (just as good as img regular season IMO), an he showed his portability when going to play with Hakeem (while a little past his prime). I can see why many would question that but he definetly outplayed his game in his career (odd wording but I'll go with it).

Personally I'll put him over Pierce because I think he's a better first option (PP is the more portable player but barely IMO).

After your KJ explanation I get where your coming from but what Drexler season are you looking at? I'm thinking of 92 when he was pretty amazing offensively and led the 7th ranked offense with comparable offensive players to what KJ had when he led the 6th best offense.
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Post#18 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 4:17 pm by fatal9

vote: '00 Mourning
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Post#19 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 9:11 pm by Doctor MJ

therealbig3 wrote:I for one couldn't participate because I had no internet, because of the Hurricane.


Oh wow. How are you doing realbig?
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Post#20 Re: RealGM Highest Peak #36 Discussion Thread
Thu Nov 8, 2012 9:19 pm by SideshowBob

Doctor MJ wrote:
therealbig3 wrote:I for one couldn't participate because I had no internet, because of the Hurricane.


Oh wow. How are you doing realbig?


Yeah, seriously. Hope everything's been okay
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