Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time?

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Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#1 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:42 pm

Larry Bird defended PFs, and McHale defended the opposing SF. Bird was a great PF defender, and had the range perfect for a PF playing with both a dominant center and an SF who could drive into the paint. If I make the all-time peak team, the other positions are all very obvious for most.

PG:Magic
SG: MJ
SF: LBJ

C: Shaq/Wilt

PF is a debate. Some people say KG. Others may suggest Duncan because he played PF, even though he'd cramp the paint offensively and mostly excelled as a rim protector defensively. Why is Larry Bird not the obvious choice for that slot, and for best PF of all time?Who would you put in that slot?
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#2 » by colts19 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:47 pm

Legend did play a lot of PF during the 2nd half of his career. Magic, MJ, LBJ, Bird and Wilt would be a scary-ass team.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#3 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:56 pm

colts19 wrote:Legend did play a lot of PF during the 2nd half of his career. Magic, MJ, LBJ, Bird and Wilt would be a scary-ass team.

He actually played PF in the first half, McHale became the starting PF when Bird shifted to SF to bring him into the lineup. He won MVP/FMVP as PF in 84.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#4 » by 70sFan » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:08 pm

Because Tim Duncan was better basketball player.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#5 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:14 pm

70sFan wrote:Because Tim Duncan was better basketball player.

Kareem was better than Duncan

that doesn't mean Kareem is the better PF to put into this lineup. Kareem did have similar range as Duncan, while being far better offensively. Not many PFs can guard Kareem
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#6 » by 70sFan » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:15 pm

euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:Because Tim Duncan was better basketball player.

Kareem was better than Duncan

that doesn't mean Kareem is the better PF to put into this lineup. Kareem did have similar range as Duncan, while being far better offensively. Not many PFs can guard Kareem

So you judge who is the best by creating fictional all-time starting 5? Strange criteria to be honest, but you can use them of course.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#7 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:31 pm

70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:Because Tim Duncan was better basketball player.

Kareem was better than Duncan

that doesn't mean Kareem is the better PF to put into this lineup. Kareem did have similar range as Duncan, while being far better offensively. Not many PFs can guard Kareem

So you judge who is the best by creating fictional all-time starting 5? Strange criteria to be honest, but you can use them of course.


I judge them based on their positional fit. It's not like these players are unique, or their strengths abnormal for the position.

By and large, excepting magic, those are the players the positions are modeled after in the modern game (excepting Shaq/Wilt, who are just the dream of every GM).

On offense, David Robinson is more of a PF than Tim Duncan. His face-up game, mid-range jumper, and transition offense are almost textbook PF. Duncan played back to the basket in the post, and protected the rim.

Just watching the highlights, he's against centers almost every play, following David Robinson's retirement. Robinson was an athletic monster of a Center with the skillset of a PF.

DRob + most centers would probably work similar to DRob + Duncan.
Hakeem/DRob
Kareem/DRob
Wilt/DRob
Duncan/DRob

But, Duncan's skillset would overlap too much with most centers. Duncan played C in college, and is one of the most dominant Cs in college history.

So why is Duncan considered a PF?
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#8 » by Owly » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:43 pm

euroleague wrote:
colts19 wrote:Legend did play a lot of PF during the 2nd half of his career. Magic, MJ, LBJ, Bird and Wilt would be a scary-ass team.

He actually played PF in the first half, McHale became the starting PF when Bird shifted to SF to bring him into the lineup. He won MVP/FMVP as PF in 84.

CBS graphics for the opening game considered Rambis - Maxwell the PF matchup (Bird, Worthy the other forwards), fwiw. It would also depend on which end you think defines positions (and what you make of Magic in this instance).

Rambis guards Maxwell on the first play. Worthy is DJ, Cooper on Bird. And at the other end Bird is on Cooper (the smallest Laker).

G6 CBS doesn't state positions but puts Worthy opposite Bird, he guards Rambis, but is guarded by Cooper.

Generally, defensively Bird seems at a glance to be more on Rambis (not necessarily tight- whether he's there to be on the PF or just guarding the weaker forward to allow him to focus on roaming, as some have hypothesized [Simmons?] maybe coud be argued), so he's more 4 defensively (as seems common in playoffs that year)
.
It would be fair to say the Maxwell Bird forward positions were somewhat fluid in general, in that series specifically ... it depends heavily how you define positions (on paper, court position, matchup on offense, matchup on defense - particularly pertinent in this case as Celtics crossmatching seems not to have been uncommon).

Earlier in the season vs Seattle Bird takes the bigger Chambers, Maxwell the more interior based, typically better rebounding Reggie King (in that instance matchup stayed the same both ends) ... not sure that clears anything up.

Might be simpler to just call Bird a forward.

Don't imagine people would complain if you put Bird there if it's clear what you mean (many here wouldn't see him over Duncan). Guys like that just show it's all a bit arbitrary and made up anyhow.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#9 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:52 pm

Owly wrote:
euroleague wrote:
colts19 wrote:Legend did play a lot of PF during the 2nd half of his career. Magic, MJ, LBJ, Bird and Wilt would be a scary-ass team.

He actually played PF in the first half, McHale became the starting PF when Bird shifted to SF to bring him into the lineup. He won MVP/FMVP as PF in 84.

CBS graphics for the opening game considered Rambis - Maxwell the PF matchup (Bird, Worthy the other forwards), fwiw. It would also depend on which end you think defines positions (and what you make of Magic in this instance).

Rambis guards Maxwell on the first play. Worthy is DJ, Cooper on Bird. And at the other end Bird is on Cooper (the smallest Laker).

G6 CBS doesn't state positions but puts Worthy opposite Bird, he guards Rambis, but is guarded by Cooper.

Generally, defensively Bird seems at a glance to be more on Rambis (not necessarily tight- whether he's there to be on the PF or just guarding the weaker forward to allow him to focus on roaming, as some have hypothesized [Simmons?] maybe coud be argued), so he's more 4 defensively (as seems common in playoffs that year)
.
It would be fair to say the Maxwell Bird forward positions were somewhat fluid in general, in that series specifically ... it depends heavily how you define positions (on paper, court position, matchup on offense, matchup on defense - particularly pertinent in this case as Celtics crossmatching seems not to have been uncommon).

Earlier in the season vs Seattle Bird takes the bigger Chambers, Maxwell the more interior based, typically better rebounding Reggie King (in that instance matchup stayed the same both ends) ... not sure that clears anything up.

Might be simpler to just call Bird a forward.

Don't imagine people would complain if you put Bird there if it's clear what you mean (many here wouldn't see him over Duncan). Guys like that just show it's all a bit arbitrary and made up anyhow.


Bird wasn't really a good fit defensively against SF, at any part of his career. Maxwell played SF the same as McHale played PF, so naturally they were defended by the opposing team's PF.

The question is, was Duncan a PF? Not in college, where he was arguably the top Center in the last 40 years. Not in high school. Not after DRob retired, for the most part.

Were Duncan's skills a good fit at PF next to a traditional Center? Duncan played with his back to the basket in the post.

In 04 Playoffs, Duncan spent about 30 more minutes at C than he did at PF. All of his lineups at Center were hugely positive in +-. All of his lineups at PF were negative.
In 05 Playoffs, all of Duncan's lineups where was a PF were a negative +-. All of his lineups as a C were a positive.
In 06 Playoffs, the top 3 most played lineups had Duncan at C. The 4th most played only had limited minutes, but wasn't their most effective lineup (small positive at PF, his only effective play at PF that I can find - and the effectiveness was just barely positive).

Those are all of his playoffs without David Robinson at Center, where Duncan is still listed on Breference as a PF. Does it seem like Duncan is playing PF when it matters?
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#10 » by 70sFan » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:54 pm

euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:Kareem was better than Duncan

that doesn't mean Kareem is the better PF to put into this lineup. Kareem did have similar range as Duncan, while being far better offensively. Not many PFs can guard Kareem

So you judge who is the best by creating fictional all-time starting 5? Strange criteria to be honest, but you can use them of course.


I judge them based on their positional fit. It's not like these players are unique, or their strengths abnormal for the position.

By and large, excepting magic, those are the players the positions are modeled after in the modern game (excepting Shaq/Wilt, who are just the dream of every GM).

On offense, David Robinson is more of a PF than Tim Duncan. His face-up game, mid-range jumper, and transition offense are almost textbook PF. Duncan played back to the basket in the post, and protected the rim.

Just watching the highlights, he's against centers almost every play, following David Robinson's retirement. Robinson was an athletic monster of a Center with the skillset of a PF.

DRob + most centers would probably work similar to DRob + Duncan.
Hakeem/DRob
Kareem/DRob
Wilt/DRob
Duncan/DRob

But, Duncan's skillset would overlap too much with most centers. Duncan played C in college, and is one of the most dominant Cs in college history.

So why is Duncan considered a PF?


If you rank Duncan as a center, then give me Garnett over Bird. Very close but clear to me.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#11 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:58 pm

70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:So you judge who is the best by creating fictional all-time starting 5? Strange criteria to be honest, but you can use them of course.


I judge them based on their positional fit. It's not like these players are unique, or their strengths abnormal for the position.

By and large, excepting magic, those are the players the positions are modeled after in the modern game (excepting Shaq/Wilt, who are just the dream of every GM).

On offense, David Robinson is more of a PF than Tim Duncan. His face-up game, mid-range jumper, and transition offense are almost textbook PF. Duncan played back to the basket in the post, and protected the rim.

Just watching the highlights, he's against centers almost every play, following David Robinson's retirement. Robinson was an athletic monster of a Center with the skillset of a PF.

DRob + most centers would probably work similar to DRob + Duncan.
Hakeem/DRob
Kareem/DRob
Wilt/DRob
Duncan/DRob

But, Duncan's skillset would overlap too much with most centers. Duncan played C in college, and is one of the most dominant Cs in college history.

So why is Duncan considered a PF?


If you rank Duncan as a center, then give me Garnett over Bird. Very close but clear to me.


I edited in some more details about his line-up success. Actually quite interesting, how almost every time Duncan played PF his team sucked. And every time he played Center, the Spurs dominated...
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#12 » by 70sFan » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:04 pm

euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:
I judge them based on their positional fit. It's not like these players are unique, or their strengths abnormal for the position.

By and large, excepting magic, those are the players the positions are modeled after in the modern game (excepting Shaq/Wilt, who are just the dream of every GM).

On offense, David Robinson is more of a PF than Tim Duncan. His face-up game, mid-range jumper, and transition offense are almost textbook PF. Duncan played back to the basket in the post, and protected the rim.

Just watching the highlights, he's against centers almost every play, following David Robinson's retirement. Robinson was an athletic monster of a Center with the skillset of a PF.

DRob + most centers would probably work similar to DRob + Duncan.
Hakeem/DRob
Kareem/DRob
Wilt/DRob
Duncan/DRob

But, Duncan's skillset would overlap too much with most centers. Duncan played C in college, and is one of the most dominant Cs in college history.

So why is Duncan considered a PF?


If you rank Duncan as a center, then give me Garnett over Bird. Very close but clear to me.


I edited in some more details about his line-up success. Actually quite interesting, how almost every time Duncan played PF his team sucked. And every time he played Center, the Spurs dominated...


Like in 1999? Come on, I also think that Duncan was a center but he had a lot of playing time at four and he was all-time great at both positions.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#13 » by Owly » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:26 pm

euroleague wrote:Just watching the highlights, he's against centers almost every play, following David Robinson's retirement.

Fist impressions from first couple of plays of some games
2004
Minny: Him vs KG is the matchup, both ends.
vs Lakers: (RS) matchup is Malone both ends (November and April)
ditto G1, G5
2005
Houston: matches up with Juwan Howard both ends.
2006
Suns: Matches up with Marion on D. Hodgepodge matchups on O but Thomas, Suns notional C is on Rasho.

Over time he comes to play more at the 5, but it's hardly "almost every play" post Robinson. Rasho, Nazr then Francisco and depending on how one allocates positions Fabricio (arguable who's the C in this last instances) eat up a lot of the minutes at the 5 for the mid-into lateish "noughties" Spurs (somewhat less so in playoffs).

euroleague wrote:I edited in some more details about his line-up success. Actually quite interesting, how almost every time Duncan played PF his team sucked. And every time he played Center, the Spurs dominated...

That's just a lie. Duncan playing PF majority of the time mid-decade, Spurs did not "suck" for those minutes.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#14 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:35 pm

Owly wrote:
euroleague wrote:Just watching the highlights, he's against centers almost every play, following David Robinson's retirement.

Fist impressions from first couple of plays of some games
2004
Minny: Him vs KG is the matchup, both ends.
vs Lakers: (RS) matchup is Malone both ends (November and April)
ditto G1, G5
2005
Houston: matches up with Juwan Howard both ends.
2006
Suns: Matches up with Marion on D. Hodgepodge matchups on O but Thomas, Suns notional C is on Rasho.

Over time he comes to play more at the 5, but it's hardly "almost every play" post Robinson. Rasho, Nazr then Francisco and depending on how one allocates positions Fabricio (arguable who's the C in this last instances) eat up a lot of the minutes at the 5 for the mid-into lateish "noughties" Spurs (somewhat less so in playoffs).

euroleague wrote:I edited in some more details about his line-up success. Actually quite interesting, how almost every time Duncan played PF his team sucked. And every time he played Center, the Spurs dominated...

That's just a lie. Duncan playing PF majority of the time mid-decade, Spurs did not "suck" for those minutes.

Literally every lineup with Duncan at PF is worse than the lineups with him at C, bar maybe one or two. They did indeed 'suck'. It's data.

I've seen the match-ups, and know who he defended. He was being defended by Shaq in 04 much of the time, and did defend Shaq occasionally as well.



You cant invent a narrative, and say anyone who disagrees with it is lying... that's just bs.

The data literally tells you what position he was playing. And it was Center. So, regardless of what you remember about match-ups.... Horry wasn't playing Center. Duncan was. In one series, he may have defended PF. It doesn't change his data...
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#15 » by 70sFan » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:41 pm

euroleague wrote:Literally every lineup with Duncan at PF is worse than the lineups with him at C, bar maybe one or two. They did indeed 'suck'. It's data.


Show this data then.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#16 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:00 pm

70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:Literally every lineup with Duncan at PF is worse than the lineups with him at C, bar maybe one or two. They did indeed 'suck'. It's data.


Show this data then.

It's in the post I edited. If you want every line-up and piece, just use basketball reference to confirm what I said...
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#17 » by 70sFan » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:13 pm

euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:Literally every lineup with Duncan at PF is worse than the lineups with him at C, bar maybe one or two. They did indeed 'suck'. It's data.


Show this data then.

It's in the post I edited. If you want every line-up and piece, just use basketball reference to confirm what I said...

I wouldn't use basketball reference to decide positions of players.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#18 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:20 pm

70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:
Show this data then.

It's in the post I edited. If you want every line-up and piece, just use basketball reference to confirm what I said...

I wouldn't use basketball reference to decide positions of players.

I'm using line-up data and +-. Not basketball reference.

In a lineup of Duncan/Horry/Bowen/Manu/Tony Parker, who do you think is the Center? Bowen/manu/tony are pretty consistent. Horry rotates with Michael Finley as the most common 5th man. Brent barry is the next most common. And, another center would be the 8th or 9th man...

in a "Duncan" line-up.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#19 » by 70sFan » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:25 pm

euroleague wrote:In 04 Playoffs, Duncan spent about 30 more minutes at C than he did at PF. All of his lineups at Center were hugely positive in +-. All of his lineups at PF were negative.

This is not true:
Parker/Ginobili/Turkoglu/Duncan/Nesterovic - +29.8 PER100 (Duncan was clearly at PF).
Hart/Ginobili/Turkoglu/Rose/Duncan - -22.5 PER100 (Duncan was clearly at C).
In 05 Playoffs, all of Duncan's lineups where was a PF were a negative +-. All of his lineups as a C were a positive.

This is again not true:
Parker/Ginobili/Barry/Duncan/Mohammed - +33.1 (Duncan at PF).
Parker/Barry/Bowen/Horry/Duncan - -12.9 (Duncan at C).

You also didn't include:

Duncan with Elson and Oberto in 2007.
Duncan with Robinson.
Duncan with Splitter.
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Re: Why is Larry Bird not the best PF of all time? 

Post#20 » by euroleague » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:30 pm

70sFan wrote:
euroleague wrote:
70sFan wrote:
Show this data then.

It's in the post I edited. If you want every line-up and piece, just use basketball reference to confirm what I said...

I wouldn't use basketball reference to decide positions of players.


Here's 2004:

B. Bowen | T. Duncan | R. Nesterovi膰 | T. Parker | H. T眉rko臒lu
112:02 played together
-10.3

B. Bowen | T. Duncan | M. Gin贸bili | R. Horry | T. Parker
46:32 played together
+7.0

B. Bowen | T. Duncan | M. Gin贸bili | R. Nesterovi膰 | T. Parker
31:01 played together
-1.9

D. Brown | T. Duncan | M. Gin贸bili | R. Horry | T. Parker
26:01 played together
+36.4

T. Duncan | M. Gin贸bili | R. Horry | T. Parker | H. T眉rko臒lu
22:22 played together
+31.9

B. Bowen | T. Duncan | R. Horry | T. Parker | H. T眉rko臒lu
21:01 played together
+50.7

B. Bowen | M. Gin贸bili | R. Horry | R. Nesterovi膰 | T. Parker
20:27 played together
+13.5

M. Gin贸bili | R. Horry | R. Nesterovi膰 | T. Parker | H. T眉rko臒lu
15:38 played together
+54.3

T. Duncan | M. Gin贸bili | J. Hart | M. Rose | H. T眉rko臒lu
12:51 played together
-22.5

T. Duncan | M. Gin贸bili | R. Nesterovi膰 | T. Parker | H. T眉rko臒lu
11:25 played together
+29.8

Didn't catch the last line-up, which seems to have done well during their 11 minutes. However, with Bowen in place of Turkoglu, it didn't do so well...

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