[Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird

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ty 4191
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#21 » by ty 4191 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:29 pm

Benja wrote:Now, let's get to ranking all these seasons:

1. 1985-86 Larry Bird
2. 1983-84 Larry Bird
3. 1986-87 Magic Johnson
4. 1984-85 Larry Bird
5. 1986-87 Larry Bird
6. 1989-90 Magic Johnson
7. 1988-89 Magic Johnson
8. 1987-88 Magic Johnson
9. 1987-88 Larry Bird
10. 1990-91 Magic Johnson
11. 1985-86 Magic Johnson
12. 1984-85 Magic Johnson
HM: 1982-83 Larry Bird and 1983-84 Magic Johnson


Excellent list. I think this is entirely fair, especially given Bird's strength of schedule (esp. in the playoffs) compared to Magic's.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#22 » by falcolombardi » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:40 pm

my issue with the competition strenght argument is that in the years celtics disnt win, celtics were either a) losing to lakers, b) losing to teams that also beat the lakers, c) losing to teams that lakers beat

like switch them around and imagine the results

80: they lost to sixers, lakers beat the team that beat them, they may make a extra finals but still dont win a title

82: they lost to sixers who again, the lakers did actually beat

83: sixers would have kicked their asses like milwaukee did

85: they lost to lakers

87 they lost to lakers

88: they lost to pistons, lakers did beat the pistons

i dont think there is any year where being in the east instead of west "prevented" celtics from accomplishing more

there is also the fact that celtics did most od their damage when milwaukee was the only other big threat in the conference (inbetween sixers falling off after 83 and pistons exploding in 88)

so while they played in a really rough conference. that conference was only so strong in the early 80's and late 80's when celtics only made 1 finals, east was still strong but less so when celtics started to dominate it

some argue thst it was the celtics improvement what led them to their 4 year finals streak in 84-87, which may be true overall, but the weakening of the conference can also not be understated (but is true that milwaukee was still tougher than lakers west rivals)
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#23 » by 70sFan » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:47 pm

I think that people put a bit too much focus on the competition factor here. You have to keep ij mind that Bird played far better teams on average in playoffs, but at the same time 1985-91 Magic basically never underperformed against quality team or defense faced. On top of that, he faced pretry strong competition in 1990 or 1991, yet it didn't show up in his production.

Magic was extremely resiliant offensive player. I'd say he was more resiliant than Bird even when you adjust for faced competition.

We should probably focus on their offensive styles and defensive games. A lot of people seem to be far higher on Bird's defense than me - can you give me your explaination of this opinion?

Lastly, I'd like to quickly touch portability conception. I think it's a good idea that has a lot of sense, but sometimes people turn this whole conception into shooting ability. Magic was extremely portable player and he proved in throughout his career. I've seen some criticism about his ball dominance, but we have evidences of Magic thriving next to dominant volume scorer (1980-81) and we've seen Magic sharing the ball next to typical PG. Magic wasn't as good shooter as Bird (though he shortened the gap around 1986), but he had other advantages. Magic was possibly the best transition player ever (on offense) and that translates to any offense. He's a giant ball-handler who could break down any pressure, but his size allowed him to be a great cutter and strong post pressence. Magic"s post game is one of the deadliest weapon the game has ever seen, he was the ultimate cheatcode. As we all know, post offense is in 90% off-ball work.

Magic thrived next to post players (Worthy, Kareem), but he's also ATG post player himself and he didn't need volume scorers around him. Magic liked playing fast, but his post game allowed him to play slow, grind out basketball as well. He could run the heliocentric offense, but he wasn't a one dimensional scorer who simply created opportunities through his scoring ability.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#24 » by ty 4191 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:49 pm

falcolombardi wrote:my issue with the competition strenght argument


Maybe you missed this. You certainly didn't reply to any of it, directly. Can you, since you're so ardent that strength of competition isn't crucial and (also) that Bird didn't play against much better players than Magic, on average, and, overall?

Odinn21 wrote:EC-WC balance in the '80s was the reverse of EC-WC balance in the '00s. But I think this would be more compelling for competition level within conferences when we compared Larry Bird and Magic Johnson;

Postseason competition in the conferences

Spoiler:
Magic Johnson's opponents in the WC from 1981-82 to 1990-91;
27 series / 45.1 wins / 45.7 expected wins / 1.58 SRS / 9.5 average SRS rank / -0.1 average rDRtg / 4 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 2 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 5 series against top 5 defenses / 4 series against top 5 SRS

Larry Bird's opponents in the EC from 1979-80 to 1987-88;
23 series / 47.6 wins / 47.2 expected wins / 2.67 SRS / 7.1 average SRS rank / -1.8 average rDRtg / 6 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 5 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 9 series against top 5 defenses / 12 series against top 5 SRS

So;
Magic played 22.2% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 18.5% against top 5 defense. 14.8% against top 5 SRS.
Bird played 47.8% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 39.1% against top 5 defense. 52.2% against top 5 SRS.

In those series Magic averaged 39.3 minutes. (4830 minutes in 123 games, 4.56 games per series.)
In those series Bird averaged 42.5 minutes. (4848 minutes in 114 games, 4.96 games per series.)


Postseason competition in the conferences excluding 1st rounds

Spoiler:
Magic's opponents
19 series / 47.9 wins / 48.4 expected wins / 2.57 SRS / 7.6 average SRS rank / -0.1 average rDRtg / 2 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 2 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 4 series against top 5 defenses / 4 series against top 5 SRS

Bird's opponents
17 series / 51.4 wins / 51.0 expected wins / 4.03 SRS / 4.4 average SRS rank / -2.5 average rDRtg / 6 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 5 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 9 series against top 5 defenses / 12 series against top 5 SRS

So;
Magic played 21.1% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 21.1% against top 5 defense. 21.1% against top 5 SRS.
Bird played 64.7% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 52.9% against top 5 defense. 70.6% against top 5 SRS.

In those series Magic averaged 39.5 minutes. (3874 minutes in 98 games, 5.16 games per series.)
In those series Bird averaged 42.2 minutes. (3963 minutes in 94 games, 5.53 games per series.)


In short, the disparity between the conferences is a legit concern to be addressed in a comparison between Bird and Magic.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#25 » by falcolombardi » Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:16 pm

ty 4191 wrote:
falcolombardi wrote:my issue with the competition strenght argument


Maybe you missed this. You certainly didn't reply to any of it, directly. Can you, since you're so ardent that strength of competition isn't crucial and (also) that Bird didn't play against much better players than Magic, on average, and, overall?

Odinn21 wrote:EC-WC balance in the '80s was the reverse of EC-WC balance in the '00s. But I think this would be more compelling for competition level within conferences when we compared Larry Bird and Magic Johnson;

Postseason competition in the conferences

Spoiler:
Magic Johnson's opponents in the WC from 1981-82 to 1990-91;
27 series / 45.1 wins / 45.7 expected wins / 1.58 SRS / 9.5 average SRS rank / -0.1 average rDRtg / 4 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 2 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 5 series against top 5 defenses / 4 series against top 5 SRS

Larry Bird's opponents in the EC from 1979-80 to 1987-88;
23 series / 47.6 wins / 47.2 expected wins / 2.67 SRS / 7.1 average SRS rank / -1.8 average rDRtg / 6 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 5 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 9 series against top 5 defenses / 12 series against top 5 SRS

So;
Magic played 22.2% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 18.5% against top 5 defense. 14.8% against top 5 SRS.
Bird played 47.8% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 39.1% against top 5 defense. 52.2% against top 5 SRS.

In those series Magic averaged 39.3 minutes. (4830 minutes in 123 games, 4.56 games per series.)
In those series Bird averaged 42.5 minutes. (4848 minutes in 114 games, 4.96 games per series.)


Postseason competition in the conferences excluding 1st rounds

Spoiler:
Magic's opponents
19 series / 47.9 wins / 48.4 expected wins / 2.57 SRS / 7.6 average SRS rank / -0.1 average rDRtg / 2 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 2 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 4 series against top 5 defenses / 4 series against top 5 SRS

Bird's opponents
17 series / 51.4 wins / 51.0 expected wins / 4.03 SRS / 4.4 average SRS rank / -2.5 average rDRtg / 6 series against -4.0 or better rDRtg / 5 other series against between -2.0 and -4.0 / 9 series against top 5 defenses / 12 series against top 5 SRS

So;
Magic played 21.1% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 21.1% against top 5 defense. 21.1% against top 5 SRS.
Bird played 64.7% of his series against -2.0 or better defense. 52.9% against top 5 defense. 70.6% against top 5 SRS.

In those series Magic averaged 39.5 minutes. (3874 minutes in 98 games, 5.16 games per series.)
In those series Bird averaged 42.2 minutes. (3963 minutes in 94 games, 5.53 games per series.)


In short, the disparity between the conferences is a legit concern to be addressed in a comparison between Bird and Magic.


i am not sure where you are getting that i think bird didnt face tougher competition in the east since i already said that is the case

what i said was that every year they lost in bird prime they were losing to a team that the lakers beat or to the lakers themselves (or in 83 case a team both lakers and celtics were out of their depth against)

yes, lakers didnt have to deal with any team as good as the 80 sixers, 82 sixers or 88 pistons to make the finals, but they still beat those teams in the finals, in the same years boston failed to beat them. the overall point being that despite playing great teams less often lakers did a bit better vs those great teams

that was the only point i made, the other one i did earlier was that a weaker conference doesnt inflate regular season récords as much as people think ,never said anythingh else about conference strenght beyond that
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#26 » by DQuinn1575 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:26 pm

70sFan wrote:I think that people put a bit too much focus on the competition factor here. You have to keep ij mind that Bird played far better teams on average in playoffs, but at the same time 1985-91 Magic basically never underperformed against quality team or defense faced. On top of that, he faced pretry strong competition in 1990 or 1991, yet it didn't show up in his production.

Magic was extremely resiliant offensive player. I'd say he was more resiliant than Bird even when you adjust for faced competition.

We should probably focus on their offensive styles and defensive games. A lot of people seem to be far higher on Bird's defense than me - can you give me your explaination of this opinion?

Lastly, I'd like to quickly touch portability conception. I think it's a good idea that has a lot of sense, but sometimes people turn this whole conception into shooting ability. Magic was extremely portable player and he proved in throughout his career. I've seen some criticism about his ball dominance, but we have evidences of Magic thriving next to dominant volume scorer (1980-81) and we've seen Magic sharing the ball next to typical PG. Magic wasn't as good shooter as Bird (though he shortened the gap around 1986), but he had other advantages. Magic was possibly the best transition player ever (on offense) and that translates to any offense. He's a giant ball-handler who could break down any pressure, but his size allowed him to be a great cutter and strong post pressence. Magic"s post game is one of the deadliest weapon the game has ever seen, he was the ultimate cheatcode. As we all know, post offense is in 90% off-ball work.

Magic thrived next to post players (Worthy, Kareem), but he's also ATG post player himself and he didn't need volume scorers around him. Magic liked playing fast, but his post game allowed him to play slow, grind out basketball as well. He could run the heliocentric offense, but he wasn't a one dimensional scorer who simply created opportunities through his scoring ability.


Real good post, agree with most everything except you did overstate Magic’s ability in the post.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#27 » by Odinn21 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:36 am

Top 7 seasons for Magic Johnson;
1987
1988
1990
1989 (w/o the injury in the Finals, I think 1989 was clearly over 1990)
1991
1986
1985

Top 7 seasons for Larry Bird;
1986
1984
1985
1987
1988
1983/1982
1982/1981

My list of top 12 seasons between the two;
1. 1986 Larry Bird
2. 1984 Larry Bird
3. 1987 Magic Johnson
4. 1988 Magic Johnson
5. 1985 Larry Bird
6. 1987 Larry Bird
7. 1990 Magic Johnson
8. 1988 Larry Bird
9. 1989 Magic Johnson
10. 1991 Magic Johnson
11. 1986 Magic Johnson
12. 1983 Larry Bird

My thoughts;
- I think it's known by now that I have Bird's peak higher than Magic's. I mean, if we look at 1987 season alone, which was Magic Johnson's absolute peak season and he was the PoY without a doubt, it's not that clear he was actually better than Bird. I might be generous to Magic in here with him over Bird in '87 because when I think about '87 season alone, with a consideration to how the season played out, I see a pretty strong case for Bird. This is what I wrote about comparison of the 2 a while back;
Spoiler:
Odinn21 wrote:The West was so uncompetitive against the Lakers and Magic, it had a considerable impact.
The Lakers had 9.30 MOV and 8.31 SRS. That is -0.99 SOS and it's the league's worst.
And their playoff competition;
1st round against 37-45 Nuggets, -1.14 SRS (15/23)
2nd round against 42-40 Warriors, -2.54 SRS (16/23)
WCF against 39-43 Sonics, 0.08 SRS (6/23)
NBA Finals against 59-23 Celtics, 6.57 SRS (3/23)
Averages; 44.3 wins, 0.74 SRS, 10.0 SRS rank

Not trying to take anything from Magic. IMHO, if Bird were in his position, I'd doubt that he'd do worse. Aside from beating the C's (who were pretty worn down) in the Finals, they just cruised in the season.
Kevin McHale was better than any other Laker than Magic surely but as for the overall help it's obvious.

Bird on the other hand, played in a way tougher conference. In regular season, Boston team had -0.07 SOS. Bird was still insanely good. His EFF, BPM and VORP numbers are better than Magic. Magic has him beat in PER and WS/48. He played great against the EC. Boston team didn't have a proper bench and they won 59 games, had 3rd best SRS and made it to the NBA Finals thanks to Bird.

A stat about bench/help thing; in the playoffs, Bird played in 90.7% of all minutes Boston played (1015/1119). The same ratio for Magic is 77.1% (666/864). Magic got rested nearly double of Bird even though playing 5 less games (104 to 198 mins).

If we were to see a season and a playoffs like '87 happening right before our eyes, I think we'd appreciate body of work a bit more.

- 1987 makes it a bit fuzzy but after putting 1987 Magic at 3rd, it's a rather smooth sail. I've had 1988 Magic very close to his 1987 version. Very similar thing applies to 1985 and 1987 Bird. Bird's bar fight incident is the tiebreaker in terms of order. The smooth sailing stops after 1990 Magic though.
- Bird's 1988 playoffs performance wasn't that convincing with the performance he had against the Pistons as he was suffering from bone spurs. Johnson otoh basically missed the '89 NBA Finals series against the Pistons. So, it's kind of hard to put Bird at fault for having a subpar performance. These seasons were the seasons they were declining on D, but Bird was still the better defender between the two and I don't see a bigger gap on offense with Bird's strong off-ball value. I went with '88 Bird over '89 Magic.
- 1988 was the last season of extended peak Bird. So, Magic's 1991 and 1986 are pretty safe.
- The last spot was between 1983 Bird and 1985 Johnson. Johnson's 1985 has a more wow factor to it, but in these 2 seasons, he was playing on a far loaded team with far less defensive duties. 1983 was Bird's one of the strongest seasons on D. His effort and motor were pretty good. Again, the gap on D is just looking bigger to me. Though I'll be candid, I might be overcorrecting for the winning bias that might work for '85 Johnson.

---

70sFan wrote:...

The main issue with this postseason competition is that, looking at the small sample size Magic had, we can't interpolate him doing particularly better than Bird.

Magic doing well against tough opponents which he got like 20-25% is not reliable enough to assume he could operate at the same level if he got such opponents 65-70% of the time.

Bird averaged 42.6 minutes a game in the playoffs from 1980 to 1988 (145 games).
Magic had only 5 playoff series he averaged more than 42.6 mpg in his entire career.
Bird had 3 different ps runs that he averaged 44+ mpg over 15+ games.
Magic had only 2 playoff series he averaged 44+ mpg.

How many times we saw Magic going through a competition like Bucks/Pistons/Lakers as Bird did in '87 or Knicks/Bucks/Lakers in '84 or Pistons/Sixers/Lakers in '85.
Bird and the Celtics get out of the first round, and bam, they are going up against 3 of the top 5 possible opponent teams. Instead of some negative or mid level SRS/NRtg teams.

I do give benefit of the doubt to Magic but the occasion rates are far away from each other that that 20-25% of the time can be presented as evidence. We can't assume Magic doing just as well or better as body of work consistently. That's the fundamental issue for me. Those performances you base your argument around are not frequent enough to be evidence.
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#28 » by confucius » Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:46 am

Hello again! Really enjoying this project. Here are my rankings of Bird v Magic, a player rivalry like no other.

1. 1986-87 Magic Johnson- I mentioned in the last post regarding '00 Shaq having the GOAT offensive peak. '87 Magic has a case for that as well. The reason I have Magic above Bird's peak is that I just prefer his offense to Bird's and his postseason performance is better in my opinion.
2. 1985-86 Larry Bird- The second greatest off-ball player of all time (just behind Curry for me) has his best performance in the playoffs. I also believe this is his playmaking peak.
3. 1989-90 Magic Johnson- Very interesting season for Magic, as this is probably his shooting peak from 3.
4. 1983-84 Larry Bird- Bird's second-best PO performance.
5. 1986-87 Larry Bird- I was between this year and '85 for better Bird season, but I believe his playoffs to be better this season (playmaking mainly)
6. 1987-88 Magic Johnson
7. 1988-89 Magic Johnson
8. 1984-85 Larry Bird
9. 1985-86 Magic Johnson
10. 1990-91 Magic Johnson- Prefer Magic's O to '88 Bird's O, but it is very close.
11. 1987-88 Larry Bird
12. 1984-85 Magic Johnson


This was really hard for me to differentiate between these two legends. But I am looking for feedback to be able to continue to learn! But I can see where I lean Magic now by looking at each of these seasons more closely. I think I value playmaking a lot more than other attributes, and while Bird is very good as a playmaker, Magic may very well be the greatest. Thanks!
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#29 » by Benja » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:45 am

Colbinii wrote:
Benja wrote:Hi, it's me again.
I want to clarify that my criteria to rank players is based on how a player in a given season would be performing on a random team as in portability/scalability mattering to me.


1) What do you quantify as a "random team"?

A) A .500 win team
B) Comparing how the players would fare on teams with a primary ball handler vs non-primary ball handler
C) Isn't scalability strictly when a player is put on better and better teams? If so, how do you quantify this? Not every 55-win team would prefer Bird over Magic.
D) If this is totally random, the more ball-dominant player should always take precedent since a majority of "random teams" are not good because they need an elite ball handler.
I think of a 'random team' as in a team that could make the playoffs without the given person. That does not mean it could not be a variety of teams. You could end up on a heavily defensively slanted team, or a heavily offensively slanted team. Examples of that in the 80s would be the early 80s Denver Nuggets - some of the most offensively slanted teams ever - and the late 80s Detroit Pistons (without Isiah Thomas).
This means that I give more value to raising the ceiling than raising the floor, at least in most cases, as most teams that can make the playoffs without their star usually have a solid floor and just need that star to achieve more.
If you want to define a 'random team' as a .500 team, because usually .500 teams make the playoffs, so be it.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#30 » by 70sFan » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:27 am

Odinn21 wrote:
70sFan wrote:...

The main issue with this postseason competition is that, looking at the small sample size Magic had, we can't interpolate him doing particularly better than Bird.

Magic doing well against tough opponents which he got like 20-25% is not reliable enough to assume he could operate at the same level if he got such opponents 65-70% of the time.

Bird averaged 42.6 minutes a game in the playoffs from 1980 to 1988 (145 games).
Magic had only 5 playoff series he averaged more than 42.6 mpg in his entire career.
Bird had 3 different ps runs that he averaged 44+ mpg over 15+ games.
Magic had only 2 playoff series he averaged 44+ mpg.

How many times we saw Magic going through a competition like Bucks/Pistons/Lakers as Bird did in '87 or Knicks/Bucks/Lakers in '84 or Pistons/Sixers/Lakers in '85.
Bird and the Celtics get out of the first round, and bam, they are going up against 3 of the top 5 possible opponent teams. Instead of some negative or mid level SRS/NRtg teams.

I do give benefit of the doubt to Magic but the occasion rates are far away from each other that that 20-25% of the time can be presented as evidence. We can't assume Magic doing just as well or better as body of work consistently. That's the fundamental issue for me. Those performances you base your argument around are not frequent enough to be evidence.

I think that's fair, although Magic did face some stiff competition in 1991 and 1990 (and 1980, but he wasn't in his prime yet). I always struggle to rank Bird and Magic seasons because of that - Magic to me was a better, more resiliant offensive player but he usually had easier path to the title and wasn't forced to play nearly as much as Bird. It's extremely hard to balance it out for me and I think it'd be easier if I believed that Bird was simply better :D

By the way, your post made look at my list again and I had 1985 Bird way too low. For now, I have him above 1989 Johnson and I don't know how I could put him lower before.

Could you go a bit longer on 1991 Magic vs 1988 Bird? Although Bird certainly gets the edge on RS performance, I think that Magic's postseason play more than makes it up. Is it because of defense? I don't believe that Bird was even average defender at this point, though I may overreact to some games from that season I've seen. Neither was Magic, he was clearly below average in 1991 but is the difference really that big?
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#31 » by Odinn21 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:10 am

70sFan wrote:I think that's fair, although Magic did face some stiff competition in 1991 and 1990 (and 1980, but he wasn't in his prime yet). I always struggle to rank Bird and Magic seasons because of that - Magic to me was a better, more resiliant offensive player but he usually had easier path to the title and wasn't forced to play nearly as much as Bird. It's extremely hard to balance it out for me and I think it'd be easier if I believed that Bird was simply better :D

I think this kind of showcase my point about Magic's resilient offense. Especially 1990. It was arguably Magic's top offensive ps run which was ended in the 2nd round. In 1991, Magic's performance against the Bulls wasn't that different from Bird's performance against the Lakers in '85 even though Bird was playing through a physical issue.
Those 2 ps runs why I think it's not given Magic could be better than Bird in terms of ps resiliency right away.

70sFan wrote:By the way, your post made look at my list again and I had 1985 Bird way too low. For now, I have him above 1989 Johnson and I don't know how I could put him lower before.

I was surprised by your choice for 1985 Bird when I was recording the votes. Personally, I'm glad that you moved '85 Bird over '89 Johnson. :D

70sFan wrote:Could you go a bit longer on 1991 Magic vs 1988 Bird? Although Bird certainly gets the edge on RS performance, I think that Magic's postseason play more than makes it up. Is it because of defense? I don't believe that Bird was even average defender at this point, though I may overreact to some games from that season I've seen. Neither was Magic, he was clearly below average in 1991 but is the difference really that big?

Yeah, it's mostly about the gaps in rs runs and defense are being bigger than the gaps in ps runs and offense. I'm probably higher on Bird's defense than you because even though movement wise Bird didn't look great, 1988 was the best rebounding season he had after he started hitting his offensive peak. Bird did a decent job at covering for decline in Parish's level. It was the season he played like a true big man the most among his extended peak seasons.
Bird was still a clear positive impact on D even though not by much. Magic was a clear mismatch that got attacked so much. I know his offensive load didn't help but 1991 Johnson was more like 2019 Harden than 2006 Bryant / 2009 Wade in terms of offense-defense distribution.
So, yeah, the difference is coming from defense.
(I know Bird shot horribly against the Pistons in '88 ECF but all things considered, his defensive effort, his playmaking value, etc, I don't think he was bad enough compared to Magic's performance against the Bulls in '91 to put 1991 Magic ahead.)
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#32 » by 70sFan » Thu Oct 14, 2021 12:47 pm

Odinn21 wrote:I think this kind of showcase my point about Magic's resilient offense. Especially 1990. It was arguably Magic's top offensive ps run which was ended in the 2nd round.

Magic played very well offensively though, so I'm not sure if that proves your point.

In 1991, Magic's performance against the Bulls wasn't that different from Bird's performance against the Lakers in '85 even though Bird was playing through a physical issue.

I think that Magic played considerably better on offense with less talent around him and while being defended by better defensive team.

Those 2 ps runs why I think it's not given Magic could be better than Bird in terms of ps resiliency right away.

But Magic teams didn't lose because of his performance, they lost because they were outmatched.

Magic still played better offensively in 1990 and 1991 than Bird at any point of his postseason career outside of 1984, 1986 and maybe 1987.

I was surprised by your choice for 1985 Bird when I was recording the votes. Personally, I'm glad that you moved '85 Bird over '89 Johnson. :D

It was simply a bad mistake from the tired version of myself :D

Yeah, it's mostly about the gaps in rs runs and defense are being bigger than the gaps in ps runs and offense. I'm probably higher on Bird's defense than you because even though movement wise Bird didn't look great, 1988 was the best rebounding season he had after he started hitting his offensive peak. Bird did a decent job at covering for decline in Parish's level. It was the season he played like a true big man the most among his extended peak seasons.
Bird was still a clear positive impact on D even though not by much. Magic was a clear mismatch that got attacked so much. I know his offensive load didn't help but 1991 Johnson was more like 2019 Harden than 2006 Bryant / 2009 Wade in terms of offense-defense distribution.
So, yeah, the difference is coming from defense.

Thank you for the clarification :)
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#33 » by Odinn21 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:07 pm

70sFan wrote:Magic played very well offensively though, so I'm not sure if that proves your point.

But Magic teams didn't lose because of his performance, they lost because they were outmatched.

I think that Magic played considerably better on offense with less talent around him and while being defended by better defensive team.

I said showcase because 1990 was a 2nd round exit for a player who got the NBA Finals 9 times in 12 seasons. That's what I had in mind. And his 1991 had a similar trajectory to Bird's 1985 / 1987 ps runs in terms of running into strong teams. Comparing their performances against the toughest teams they faced in those playoffs; Magic's performance against the Bulls wasn't that different than Bird's performance against the Lakers.
I don't think it necessarily proves btw. It just supports being a sceptic.

We assume Magic's performance holding up from other seasons. That's the issue here for me here. There's a strong interpolation stuff going on with Magic's later offensive performances.
And as you know, I try to eliminate any form of bias to get a proper sense of actual performance level to build on.
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#34 » by LA Bird » Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:22 pm

1. 1986 Bird
2. 1987 Magic
3. 1990 Magic
4. 1984 Bird
5. 1987 Bird
6. 1985 Bird
7. 1989 Magic
8. 1988 Bird
9. 1991 Magic
10. 1988 Magic
11. 1985 Magic
12. 1986 Magic

Bird is not the most consistent player when it comes to the playoffs but 86 was an exception and he had a great year from start to finish. 84/85/87 Bird all had some weaknesses but I think they are still better than any non 87/90 Magic seasons. Probably not a popular opinion but I have 88 Bird above 88 Magic despite the difference in their performance against the Pistons. Moved 86 Magic down a bit from before because of the missed games. I don't care much about the portability debate but the level of competition matters and Bird's postseason numbers would most likely have looked better than it is now if he had played weaker teams more frequently in the playoffs.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#35 » by Odinn21 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:26 pm

I need to get a job done. It's 35 mins until the deadline but am posting the results a bit early. I'll update it if necessary. Cheers all.

Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird results;

Code: Select all

1.   83 points / 0.988 share / '86 Larry Bird
2.   75 points / 0.893 share / '87 Magic Johnson
3.   70 points / 0.833 share / '84 Larry Bird
4.   62 points / 0.738 share / '90 Magic Johnson
5.   54 points / 0.643 share / '87 Larry Bird
6.   50 points / 0.595 share / '85 Larry Bird
7.   42 points / 0.500 share / '88 Magic Johnson
8.   38 points / 0.452 share / '89 Magic Johnson
9.   29 points / 0.345 share / '88 Larry Bird
10.  21 points / 0.250 share / '91 Magic Johnson
11.  13 points / 0.155 share / '86 Magic Johnson
12.   7 points / 0.083 share / '85 Magic Johnson
                               
13.   2 points / 0.024 share / '83 Larry Bird


Points within top 12 seasons voted;
Magic Johnson 31 - 47 Larry Bird

Points totals in top 12 seasons voted;
Magic Johnson 258 - 286 Larry Bird

Winner: Larry Bird


Results on Google Sheets
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#36 » by DQuinn1575 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:37 pm

Odinn21 wrote:I need to get a job done. It's 35 mins until the deadline but am posting the results a bit early. I'll update it if necessary. Cheers all.

Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird results;

Code: Select all

1.   83 points / 0.988 share / '86 Larry Bird
2.   75 points / 0.893 share / '87 Magic Johnson
3.   70 points / 0.833 share / '84 Larry Bird
4.   62 points / 0.738 share / '90 Magic Johnson
5.   54 points / 0.643 share / '87 Larry Bird
6.   50 points / 0.595 share / '85 Larry Bird
7.   42 points / 0.500 share / '88 Magic Johnson
8.   38 points / 0.452 share / '89 Magic Johnson
9.   29 points / 0.345 share / '88 Larry Bird
10.  21 points / 0.250 share / '91 Magic Johnson
11.  13 points / 0.155 share / '86 Magic Johnson
12.   7 points / 0.083 share / '85 Magic Johnson
                               
13.   2 points / 0.024 share / '83 Larry Bird


Points within top 12 seasons voted;
Magic Johnson 31 - 47 Larry Bird

Points totals in top 12 seasons voted;
Magic Johnson 258 - 286 Larry Bird

Winner: Larry Bird


Results on Google Sheets


Been watching this, and it follows what I've said - Bird was the better player each year through 1986. In 87 and 88 Magic was a little better than Bird, and then 89-91 Magic was definitely better.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#37 » by 70sFan » Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:41 pm

Boo! Bird stans are the worst, how is that possible!

Just kidding, good list overall - even if I don't agree with the consensus.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#38 » by DQuinn1575 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:14 pm

70sFan wrote:Boo! Bird stans are the worst, how is that possible!

Just kidding, good list overall - even if I don't agree with the consensus.


Actually if you look at the consensus, you are off by 1 spot on 8 of the 12 spots, agree with 3, and only off 2(88 Magic) on one.
In every case except 91 Magic and 88 Bird, you are a little higher on Magic or a little lower than Bird than the consensus. And the consensus ranking of each of their own seasons is exactly the same as yours.
So you disagree, but not really by a lot.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#39 » by Djoker » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:24 pm

falcolombardi wrote:my issue with the competition strenght argument is that in the years celtics disnt win, celtics were either a) losing to lakers, b) losing to teams that also beat the lakers, c) losing to teams that lakers beat

like switch them around and imagine the results

80: they lost to sixers, lakers beat the team that beat them, they may make a extra finals but still dont win a title

82: they lost to sixers who again, the lakers did actually beat

83: sixers would have kicked their asses like milwaukee did

85: they lost to lakers

87 they lost to lakers

88: they lost to pistons, lakers did beat the pistons

i dont think there is any year where being in the east instead of west "prevented" celtics from accomplishing more

there is also the fact that celtics did most od their damage when milwaukee was the only other big threat in the conference (inbetween sixers falling off after 83 and pistons exploding in 88)

so while they played in a really rough conference. that conference was only so strong in the early 80's and late 80's when celtics only made 1 finals, east was still strong but less so when celtics started to dominate it

some argue thst it was the celtics improvement what led them to their 4 year finals streak in 84-87, which may be true overall, but the weakening of the conference can also not be understated (but is true that milwaukee was still tougher than lakers west rivals)


The problem with this logic is that there is a fatigue factor. Going through the Bucks or Sixers just to reach the finals is a big deal. If the Celtics didn't face those teams they would be much fresher in the finals perhaps beating the Lakers.
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Re: [Project:Primes of the top 10 ever] List the top 12 seasons between Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird 

Post#40 » by ty 4191 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:09 pm

Djoker wrote:
falcolombardi wrote:my issue with the competition strenght argument is that in the years celtics disnt win, celtics were either a) losing to lakers, b) losing to teams that also beat the lakers, c) losing to teams that lakers beat

like switch them around and imagine the results

80: they lost to sixers, lakers beat the team that beat them, they may make a extra finals but still dont win a title

82: they lost to sixers who again, the lakers did actually beat

83: sixers would have kicked their asses like milwaukee did

85: they lost to lakers

87 they lost to lakers

88: they lost to pistons, lakers did beat the pistons

i dont think there is any year where being in the east instead of west "prevented" celtics from accomplishing more

there is also the fact that celtics did most od their damage when milwaukee was the only other big threat in the conference (inbetween sixers falling off after 83 and pistons exploding in 88)

so while they played in a really rough conference. that conference was only so strong in the early 80's and late 80's when celtics only made 1 finals, east was still strong but less so when celtics started to dominate it

some argue thst it was the celtics improvement what led them to their 4 year finals streak in 84-87, which may be true overall, but the weakening of the conference can also not be understated (but is true that milwaukee was still tougher than lakers west rivals)


The problem with this logic is that there is a fatigue factor. Going through the Bucks or Sixers just to reach the finals is a big deal. If the Celtics didn't face those teams they would be much fresher in the finals perhaps beating the Lakers.


Exactly, Djoker!! The Celtics faced drastically better teams in the playoffs, as the data proves, AND the teams in the East ALSO drained all the energy out of one another (only to have to face the much fresher Lakers in the Finals basically every single year).

Between 1980-1988 Bird's teams were pushed to 7 games seven times in 25 playoff series.

Same years, the Lakers were pushed to 7 games only THREE times, in 26 playoff series, and all three of THOSE occurred in 1988.

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