All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square

Moderators: penbeast0, Clyde Frazier, Doctor MJ, trex_8063, PaulieWal, Quotatious

Who would win?

Poll ended at Tue May 24, 2016 9:43 am

Doctor MJ
7
58%
Square
5
42%
 
Total votes: 12

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All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#1 » by Quotatious » Thu May 12, 2016 3:38 pm

ImageImage

Doctor MJ (Long Beach Longshoremen)

Jerry West 1968 - 18.2 FGA
Larry Bird 1980 - 17.8 FGA
Alonzo Mourning 1999 - 13.8 FGA
Joe Dumars 1997 - 11.1 FGA
Buck Williams 1991 - 7.4 FGA
Wes Unseld 1978 - 6.1 FGA
Paul Millsap 2007 - 4.9 FGA
Steve Kerr 1992 - 4.9 FGA

Total: 84.2 FGA

vs

Square

Russell Westbrook 2016 - 18.1 FGA
Charles Barkley 1990 - 14.9 FGA
Shawn Marion 2007 - 13.4 FGA
Bill Russell 1965 - 12.6 FGA
Brent Barry 2002 - 9.8 FGA
DeMarre Carroll 2014 - 8.8 FGA
Nate McMillan 1995 - 5.0 FGA
Omer Asik 2012 - 2.4 FGA

Total: 85.0 FGA

You have to put your write-ups here by Sunday evening. Exact minutes allocation is necessary (has to be 240 total minutes).
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#2 » by Square » Fri May 13, 2016 11:29 am

Okay, I'll put my thoughts up first.

Team Square

Roster
G Russell Westbrook ('16): 24 ppg, 8 rpg, 10 apg, 2 spg, 4th in MVP voting
G Brent Barry ('02): 14 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg, 2 spg, 51/42/85 shooting, 65 TS% (led NBA)
G Nate McMillan ('95): 5 ppg, 4 rpg, 5 apg, 2 spg, All-D 2nd team
F Shawn Marion ('07): 18 ppg, 10 rpg, 2 spg, 2 bpg, 59 TS%
F Charles Barkley ('90): 25 pg, 12 rpg, 4 apg, 2 spg, 66 TS% (led NBA), All-NBA 1st team
F DeMarre Carroll ('14): 11 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 spg, 36 3p%, 58 TS%
C Bill Russell ('65): 14 ppg, 24 rpg, 5 apg, NBA MVP
C Omer Asik ('12): 3 ppg, 5 rpg, 1 bpg, +4.4 DBPM (3rd in NBA)

Minutes
G Westbrook (36) / McMillan (12)
G Barry (36) / McMillan (12)
F Marion (36) / Carroll (12)
F Barkley (36) / Carroll (12)
C Russell (38) / Barkley (2) / Asik (8)

General Approach
Team Square is anchored by the indomitable presence of William Felton Russell, the greatest winner in NBA history. He is flanked by two hard-charging superstars in Barkley and Westbrook and a cadre of efficient, athletic role players.

The general philosophy of Team Square is simple: force turnovers, get out in transition, control the paint and the glass. We are stocked with guys who are terrors in the passing lanes: Every starter 1-4 averages at least 1.8 steals per game (steals weren't recorded in Russell's day) and we bring McMillan (2+ spg, led the league in steals off the bench in 94) and Carroll (1.5 spg) off the bench to maintain the pressure.

And it's not just the steal numbers but the overall athleticism: Westbrook, Marion, Barkley, and Russell are all elite athletes, able to fly around and cause havoc. And it's the presence of Russell on the back line who turns these aggressive individual defenders into a cohesive unit that can force opponents to cough up the ball without sacrificing easy shots at the rim.

Lakers coach John Kundla wrote: "[Russell] is the guy who whipped us psychologically. Russell has our club worrying every second. Every one of the five men is thinking Russell is covering him on every play. He blocks a shot, and before you know it, Boston is getting a basket, and a play by Russell has done it.”


Once those turnovers come, this team is deadly in transition. Russell is one of the all-time great defensive rebounders and outlet passers, while Westbrook and Barkley are two of the most devastating transition pushers and finishers of all time. Marion and McMillan thrived in fast paced systems in Phoenix and Seattle, and Barry gives an elite trailing shooter and creative playmaker who can also finish with style. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3toFlRh0_J8)

The easiest way to impose a running pace is to force turnovers (which we do) and control the glass. We do the latter via our front line of Russell (24 rpg), Barkley (12 rpg), and Marion (10 rpg), plus the presence of one of the all-time great rebounding PG's in Westbrook (8 rpg). We ain't one of those small teams that runs because it can't rebound. We run because we like dunking.

Finally, some teams may want to try to run with us rather than trying to slow us down. That's tough, because if your forwards are leaking out, then Russell, Barkley, Marion, and Westbrook are all over that offensive glass. And if you do get out, you have to contend with the greatest defender of all time chasing you down...
http://giant.gfycat.com/AdventurousKeyHornet.gif
John Havlicek wrote:“Say it was a 3-on-1. [Russell] could take away a whole side of the floor. He would know the tendencies of everyone involved, and depending on whether the man with the ball was right-handed or left-handed he could make him do what he didn’t want to do. He could take a sequence in which there was a 90 percent scoring chance and reduce it to 50 percent.”


Finally, I've emphasized the up and down pace and how we enforce it, but even in the halfcourt we have a myriad of options. Russell is a great elbow facilitator; by '65 Cousy had retired, leaving much of the Celtics' playmaking to Russell, who finished 5th in the league in assists. Russell is also one of the all-time great screeners, meaning guys like Barry and Westbrook will be rocketing around his screens at the elbow. This leaves Barkley room to work in the post, where he could overpower weaker guys and face up on slower guys; in '90 he finished 2nd in MVP voting (to Magic, beating MJ) and led the league in TS% while scoring 25 ppg. A more typically "modern" halfcourt option is the devastating Westbrook/Barkley pick and roll, with Barry and Marion waiting to shoot or attack closeouts. Westbrook's ability to get to the rim draws attention and so opens up more offensive rebounding opportunities. In short, we can get buckets.

This specific matchup
Doctor MJ has built a really nice team, and I applaud him for getting under the cap after an initial misunderstanding. But I think Team Square has some advantages which can push us over the top. Just my (biased) thoughts, of course.

First of all, I should just make super clear some basic things: this is Larry Bird in his rookie season (not his MVP prime), this is Joe Dumars at age 34 (4 years after his last all-D season), and this is Paul Millsap as a rookie playing 18 mpg off the bench in Utah.

This version of Bird scored 21 ppg on 51 TS% in the playoffs, where his Celtics lost to the Sixers in 5, and this version of Dumars shot 49 TS% and got lit up by Steve Smith in a first round loss to the Hawks.

Defensively, Team Square has strong options against Bird, with an excellent defender in Marion (who has done stellar work against probably the most comparable modern player to Bird in Durant), and another good, athletic defender in Carroll picking up the slack when Marion sits. We can put either speed (Westbrook) or size (Barry) on West, and we have a 6'5" All-Defense combo guard in Nate McMillan coming off the bench to harrass West some more. When West sits, the Longshoremen bring in Kerr, and so play two smaller, slower combo guards in Kerr and 34-year old Dumars, neither of whom is a natural PG. This is just fodder for our aggressive, pressing defense to force still more turnovers. We guard Zo with Russell, who has the size, strength, and smarts to match up with him and anchor our back line at the same time. Finally, we note that neither rookie Millsap nor Unseld are serious offensive threats at this level, allowing us to sag off them and wreak more havoc on the Longshoremen offense. Even Wes's teammates knew this:
Bullets forward Bobby Dandridge wrote:“It’s the same old story. The other team just leaves Wes alone and double-teams us inside. If Wes were capable of making those 15-footers, we’d be O.K.”


Offensively, we follow our plan to try to push the pace first and foremost, since we have speed advantages at every position -- Russell is faster than Zo (who preferred a snail's pace) and Unseld (who was something of a plodder), Young Barkley and Westbrook are both runaway freight trains, Marion can beat Bird down the floor, and peak Barry is beating 34-year old Dumars end to end. In the half court, we can put the slower Longshoremen bigs in Bird and Unseld into unguardable pick and rolls with Westbrook and whichever forward they are guarding (Barkley, Marion). We can also use the passing and screening of Russell and Barkley to get good looks for our finishers. Finally, we can go to Barkley in a variety of settings (low post, high post) - Buck is a good defender, but Barkley shot 58 fg% against him in 46 career meetings (during which Barkley's teams were 30-16). http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=barklch01&p2=willibu01

We can also trot out a ridiculous Westbrook/Barry/Carroll/Marion/Barkley speed lineup at times when Zo and Russell sit, to match up with any small ball lineups on the other side. (Hell, it may even be an option with Zo on the floor too...)

Since this writeup is rapidly approaching Icelandic saga length, let me just end with the fact that in 6 playoff meetings between Jerry West and Bill Russell, Russell won every single time. If that's not a psychological advantage, I don't know what is.

Image

Some quotes from these sources:
http://www.nba.com/encyclopedia/players/bill_russell.html
http://www.truthaboutit.net/2009/09/elvin-hayes-versus-wes-unseld.html
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#3 » by Doctor MJ » Fri May 13, 2016 6:04 pm

So y'all know what to expect from me here in terms of what my posts will be:

1) Introductory statement (this post)
2) Team page
3) The matchup with Square

I don't know if I'll get 2 or 3 done today, but they'll definitely be up by tomorrow.

___________________________________________________________________________

First, I just want to emphasize as much as I can to anyone who reads this or any other matchups: Remember that it's not realistic to talk about guys scoring at will or getting utterly shut down.

Outstanding offenses are less than 10% more effective than average offenses, and the same is true on defense. Every single team here regardless of the "weaknesses", is unrealistically strong compared to anything we've ever seen, so all we're really talking about are the edges a team has that will give the team boosts here and there. And of course, this is all NBA basketball has ever been as the star of my opponent's team once said, if you can cause the pressure to make things just tough enough that your opponent misses 3 shots he normally would have hit, that will typically be enough to swing the game.

And second, let me just talk about what I like about Square's team and write up:

Square wrote: And if you do get out, you have to contend with the greatest defender of all time chasing you down...
http://giant.gfycat.com/AdventurousKeyHornet.gif
John Havlicek wrote:“Say it was a 3-on-1. [Russell] could take away a whole side of the floor. He would know the tendencies of everyone involved, and depending on whether the man with the ball was right-handed or left-handed he could make him do what he didn’t want to do. He could take a sequence in which there was a 90 percent scoring chance and reduce it to 50 percent.”


Love this. First love the use of quotes, but beyond that, this really emphasizes something often not talked about when we talk about how it's tougher to be a big man nowadays. Russell being long, fast, and hanging back a bit on offense is going to make it harder for teams to get easy transition buckets than any defensive force we've seen in this era.

Square wrote:First of all, I should just make super clear some basic things: this is Larry Bird in his rookie season (not his MVP prime), this is Joe Dumars at age 34 (4 years after his last all-D season), and this is Paul Millsap as a rookie playing 18 mpg off the bench in Utah.


He's right of course. I'm going to address this and address it well, and I expect not everyone will be sold.

Square wrote: When West sits, the Longshoremen bring in Kerr, and so play two smaller, slower combo guards in Kerr and 34-year old Dumars, neither of whom is a natural PG.


Quite the dilemma. Why did Doc, who so loves point guards, apparently skimp on this front?

Square wrote:
Buck is a good defender, but Barkley shot 58 fg% against him in 46 career meetings (during which Barkley's teams were 30-16).


My opponent seems to have done his due diligence in the scouting department.

Square wrote:
Since this writeup is rapidly approaching Icelandic saga length


:lol: I like how you write.

Good job, and good luck!
In another world...
Your Longshoremen of Long Beach...

And now introducing...
The Song of Westeros...
LeBron James
John Stockton
Bobby Jones
Rudy Gobert
Khris Middleton
Connie Hawkins
Otto Porter
Ryan Anderson
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#4 » by Square » Fri May 13, 2016 6:36 pm

Doctor MJ wrote: :lol: I like how you write.

Good job, and good luck!


Appreciate it, and looking forward to what you have to say. I probably made some incorrect assumptions about your rotation just from looking at your roster, so feel free to set me straight and we can go back and forth some more.


(Also: your answer to criticisms about Bird and Millsap being rookies better not be some baloney about how rookies provide youthful exuberant joie de vivre to warm the hearts of those jaded grizzled vets...)
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#5 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 14, 2016 4:02 pm

I look forward to reading Doc's expanded arguments, but for now I assess that he has an uphill battle. Square's team is downright scary (maybe the scariest team in this tourney). The construct is sound; he's assembled near-perfect personnel for his game-plan/philosophy. His squad is maybe slightly lacking in outside shooting, but everything else is fantastic: defense, rebounding, forcing turnovers, transition scorers/playmakers.......imo all of those things are elite or hyper-elite, even by the standards of this fantasy draft league. EDIT: And with Westbrook and Barkley he has elite isolation scorers, too, fwiw.
All-Time NE Fantasy Team
PG-Chauncey Billups (06-08)/Terry Porter (91-93)
SG-George Gervin (78-80)/Danny Green
SF-R. Barry (67-70)/Bruce Bowen (04-06)
PF-Ho Grant (92-94)/D. Cowens (74-76)
C-D. Robinson (94-96)/Kevin Willis (92-94)
Bill Sharman (coach)
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#6 » by Doctor MJ » Sat May 14, 2016 11:48 pm

The Longshoremen of Long Beach...

History
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In 1911 the Port of Long Beach was founded. It and the Port of Los Angeles directly adjacent to it are the two largest container ports in the US. The port along with the discovery of massive amounts of oil in 1921 led to rapid growth for Long Beach and the establishment of the town's blue collar culture.

After the massive Long Beach Earthquake of 1933, the city banded together together to rebuild, and a group of port workers would start barnstorming the West Coast as a basketball team known as the Long Beach Longshoremen.

While dominant against their competition, they were under the radar compared to east coast teams like the New York Rens and the Original Celtics, and when the original national leagues formed, they were sadly left out. Fortunately though in the era of rapid expansion through the 1970s, the ATFDL allowed them to join the league which they've been in ever since, through good times and bad.

Colors
Originally sand and sea, the design has been refined to reflect the industrial backbone of the city with the inspiration of copper patina from the 1929 completion of the Villa Rivera, shown here with the beach, ocean, oil islands in the background:

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The jerseys themselves are often described as green & gold:

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The Current Players, by Tenure

Joe Dumars, 12th Year in Long Beach, Co-Captain

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Joe came to the Longshoreman relatively unheralded from McNeese State. At the time the team was on the tail end of having been a contender, and so initially he wasn't given much responsibility. He would eventually break out with the new core as an outstanding defender and an all-star level scorer and general offensive player. Over time, he's further carved out his niche as an off-guard known for killing teams with the 3. His man defense isn't what it used to be, but with the advent of rules which allow defensive players to work together, his incredible intelligence continues to make him incredibly effective at making whoever he's guarding work harder than they normally have to to get a good shot off.

His teammates though think of him as a sage. Not only does he act as a coach on the floor telling other players where to go and what the other team is doing, he's a marvel off the floor. Go into the Longshoremen locker room after a game and you'll typically see him sitting down with young players going over specific plays that Joe noticed them struggling with during the game and giving wily veteran tricks.

Read more here:
WISE GUYS WITH JOE DUMARS'S SAGE COUNSEL, DETROIT'S GRANT HILL IS THE TOP NBA ROOKIE

Wes Unseld, 10th Year in Long Beach, Co-Captain

Image
There are some men whose sheer presence make us stand a little straighter and walk a little taller. Wes Unseld is one of those men. Built as if sculpted out of solid granite. The immovable object, both on and off the court. His bone-crunching picks, so solid and unexpected, would leave an opponent flat on his back wondering what he was doing with his life. His ability to carve out territory, leaving taller and even heavier men pushed helplessly out of position with Wes’ core strength, center of mass, cleverness, and methodical patience.

In the locker room, Wes’ arrival began a new and better era for the Longshoremen. When he came to Long Beach, the team jolted to its now history streak as reliable contenders, and they formed a new identity that has since come to define a type of player. Guys who aren’t necessarily big scorers, but who are incredibly intelligent, disciplined, and always seem to do the little things right are sometimes called “future Longshoremen”. And this is true both of college prospects and of professionals freshly surrounded by toxic franchise issues beyond their control. When dissatisfied stars fantasize about going somewhere where they do things right, they think about coming to Long Beach.

Because Wes’ relatively short height compared to other big men, he’s long been a polarizing figure for analysis. No one disputes the things he did, he did incredibly well. They look at his height and his lack of scoring though, and many suspected he was a product of a system who would be exposed after a few years. When this didn’t happen, people prognosticated defiantly that he’d never survive an era dominated by 3-point shooting where the game’s move to the perimeter seemed in general to make big men less valuable.

What they missed though was that 3-point shooters need guys to pass them the ball and screeners to get them open. And there’s been no one in the history of the game more adept at both of things together than Wes Unseld. The eyebrows of statisticians accelerated upward as they noted that when Wes was on the court, 3-point shooting on the Long Shoremen increased both in volume and accuracy.

Of course, one cannot talk about Wes without mentioning those beautiful outlet passes. None were better and finding streaking teammates racing down the floor, and none were better at getting the rebound in the first place, and in the pace & space era, people marveled at how perfectly Wes seemed to fit in.

Read more here:
Wes Unseld Bio

Jerry West, 8th year in Long Beach, co-captain

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While Wes may embody what it means to be a Longshoreman, there’s no denying that Jerry West is the greatest in the history of the franchise. Some have said that had Jerry arrived in the league back in the 1960s he’d have come in seen as a star prospect, but while Jerry dominated the college game at West Virginia, teams just didn’t see him as a sure thing…and as a result the wily Long Beach franchise scooped him up with a relatively late 1st round pick.

In the wake of his success of course, everyone’s an expert on why they knew he’d become a superstar, though it’s pretty easy to understand how you could convince yourself you never doubted him. How many players have the ability to volume shoot from 3, a ridiculous wingspan, and intelligence so keen that people half expect General Manager Doctor MJ to simply hand the job to Jerry as soon as he’s retired as a player.

When Jerry led the Longshoremen to their first ever championship, no one thought it was a fluke. It was clear at the time that the team wouldn’t be so dominant that a dynasty was expected, but Jerry and his team were serious competitors that would put you through hell every time you stepped on the floor against them.

Read more here:
The also-ran was a champion


Alonzo Mourning, 4th year in Long Beach, 7th year in ATFDL

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While Wes established the culture of the Longshoremen, the moment when it hit home how powerful of a force it was, and when Longshoremen-mania reached a fever pitch, was when all-star Alonzo Mourning left the Atlantic for the Pacific and joined the team. Many had expected that Zo would spend his entire career in Charlotte and eventually become the permanent face of the franchise and the loss of him is a blow with sting that only seems to get more devastating with each passing year to Hornets fans.

With his arrival, the Longshoremen gained a momentum that kept growing until it peaked with champagne in the locker room and rings for everyone at the end of Zo’s 2nd year, June before last. While Jerry won the Finals MVP, everyone knew that such success wouldn’t have been possible without the defense that was anchored by Zo.

There simply isn’t anyone who plays with more intensity than Zo, which frankly is astonishing to see in a man of his dimensions. It’s part of what allows him to be such a force on both sides of the floor in an era some might say isn’t built for giants. While Zo may have scored more had he played in earlier eras, at least we can say we’ve had the pleasure of seeing him become a legend finishing on the fast break, and any team hoping to ignore him on defense is soon exploited as he scores capably from the rim out to mid-range.

Read more here:
Mourning's intensity, passion made him special

Steve Kerr, 3rd year in Long Beach, 4th year in ATFDL
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If Jerry was underrated as a prospect, Steve could be said to have not been noticed as a prospect at all. While the University of Arizona is a national power now, it was over the course of Steve’s career their that that tide rose. Nicknamed “Ice”, he played with a cold anger that seemed to focus him rather than leave him raving.

That layer of detachment has melted away some in the pros especially after the Longshoremen acquired his services, but he remains a player with a kind of granular intelligence that leads him toward continued learning and improvement. Some say he has the makings of a fine coach.

Steve first came to prominence for having one of the best shooting strokes around in an era that craved that ability more than any before it. On a team with so many brilliant passers, he couldn’t be in a better place. It does a disservice to the player though to imply he just sits somewhere waiting to catch & shoot. Steve is always active and moving. He utilizes screens very well, and he makes great passes off the dribble. Truly on another team one might wonder if he’d turn into a great ball dominant point guard, but on the Longshoremen what he presents is yet another player making smart moves both on and off the ball.

Read more here:
The assassination of Steve Kerr's father and the unlikely story of a champion

Buck Williams, 2nd year in Long Beach, 10th year in ATFDL
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Buck, the former future Longshoremen, now seems like he’s been here forever. After being the classic good guy in a bad situation in Jersey, he came to Long Beach and has played as if he has a second shot at life. No one in the entire league can match the sheer unleashed life with which he is playing and his presence makes the entire court feel claustrophobic to our opponents.

The strength of a power forward with the aggression of a linebacker, he still has the flexibility to take on smaller, quicker players without falling prey to mismatch. A smart decision maker with great efficiency on the court, off the court he’s proven a shrewd thinker and negotiator, and may well end up leading the ATFDL players as a whole in some capacity or starting some unrelated company before all is said & done. Who knows? For now, Long Beach is proud he chose to call us home.

Read more here:
Celebrating Our Heritage: Buck Williams

Larry Bird, Rookie.

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Larry Bird is the difference this year. Last year the team was as good as their previous championship year, but in the ATFDL, the competition is ever fiercer than anything the basketball world has seen before, and the Longshoremen didn’t quite have enough this time.

As happens so often with already excellent teams, the Longshoremen had reached a point that left outsiders wondering whether they’d reached their ceiling. An excellent team no doubt, but it they needed to get better still, how could they even do it? They’d need a player who could come in and not require any of the other players to really change what they were doing. To simply recognize opportunities others would miss and act on them knowing how his teammate would react to these situations. But how can you simply add someone like that?

The Longshoremen had a card up their sleeve however. They had drafted Larry Bird the year before knowing that Bird would stay in college another year, and it would turn out that Larry is even more impressive than they had hoped.
What we’ve seen this year is argued by many to be the single greatest rookie season in history. This wasn’t simply a rookie landing in the right situation, it was like an alien landing on planet basketball. A guy said to be “playing chess” while everyone else “played checkers”.

Analysts have talked about how much harder it is to lift an already good team than a bad one. What we appear to have seen with the arrival of Bird is a player more “portable” than anything we’ve seen before, and thus better able to have impact on a great team than possibly anyone else in history.

Larry instantly became a massive scoring threat as a scorer and especially a 3-point shooter, but he basically seems to be able to play most every role featured by the time, alternating based on the needs of the lineups on the floor and the context of the moment. He can do the Wes Unseld rebound & outlet seemingly as well as the master, his passing lane intuition emulates Jerry’s, and the motor with which fills the court helps strangle opposing offenses.

After leading this team back to the #1 seed, many are talking about him as a strong MVP candidate including fellow superstar teammate Jerry West.

The story of how rookie phenom Larry Bird led the NBA's greatest turnaround season

Paul Millsap, Rookie

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While Larry was hyped this year as a strong candidate for ROY and future stardom, Paul out of Louisiana tech came in totally off the radar despite leading the college ranks in rebounding 3 straight years.

Beginning in the draft camps, to the summer, through this season, what we’ve seen from Millsap is an ever-hungry need to keep working and keep getting better. With his locker right next to Joe’s, he eagerly soaks up the wisdom from a locker room filled with more wisdom than many believe has ever existed. Paul couldn’t be in a better place, and has responded by becoming a “nothing off the table” guy.

While others on the team certainly help the team more while playing bigger roles than Paul, he remains humble and focused, and whenever he’s on the floor he’s finding a way to make sure all impact he has is in the right direction.

Read more here:
Utah Jazz found a hidden gem by drafting Paul Millsap

On Defense

The team gleefully takes advantage of recent innovations in defensive strategy made possible by rule changes. This will be a team of guys who play as if on a string together, but also have an energy to them that resembles a swarm of bees. Every single one is known for playing with intelligence and heart, and the result will be teams simply won’t get worry free shots.

Zo is our defensive anchor without question. When he’s on the floor the perimeter can afford to funnel guys in to Zo if they see the potential to trap the ballhandler down there. Zo is a frightening presence down on the interior who is at least as much bite as he is bark.

It must be noted though that above and beyond Zo, the defense is designed with the idea of forcing quick decisions from the opponent. This is an era where you simply cannot linger with the ball in your hands near the basket, and while there’s an opportunity there for a pass whenever a double occurs, the margin for error here will be considerably smaller than it is against typical opponents.

This will be at its most clear as a philosophy when Zo is on the bench. Wes, Buck, Larry, and Paul will all expect to have to help where needed if the interior is attempted to be pierced by the opponent.

Jerry and Larry will have more leeway than other players when it comes to gambling for steals, rebounds, etc. Both have phenomenal intuition and a history of success on this front without burning their team very often.

Beyond them, a veteran Joe and mid-career Steve are not going to be the absolute quickest on their feet, but they are incredibly savvy, and they’ll have exceptionally solid and savvy guys behind them. No opponent should mistake them for true weakness. Everything here will be harder to work against than the opponents in the ATFDL have seen before.

Our defensive rebounding will be very, very good. People need to remember that defense gets most of the rebounds no matter what happens so long as the defense works together, which smart teams do. We form impermeable barriers, and we do so being near psychic in knowing where the ball is going to end up.

On Offense

This team will operate with virtuosity. Joga Bonito I believe the Brazilians like to say. Quite literally, there’s never been a team assembled outside of a Dream Team that could even claim to have the kind of vision, prowess, and unselfishness that you’ll see from this team.

In Wes and Larry we have guys who can start the break with outlet passing that will bring tears to your eyes, and basically everyone else can make great decisions minimizing the effectiveness of any defender, no matter how good he is.

We’ll also be able to finish the break not simply with dunks but with 3’s as there will more than 1 outstanding 3 point shooting option on the floor at all times.
In the half court we’ll be operating with something in the mold of the Princeton. Players will constantly be on the look out for opportunities to move without the ball to receive an open pass, and that includes players who just passed the ball of course. It’s a scheme that would be difficult to pull off with normal players, but with guys this smart, it’s what they’ll do naturally.

Pick & roll will certainly be featured, and while this will occur between various guys who live on the perimeter (including Paul & Buck at times), no one is better and springing his teammate some daylight with picks than Wes.

We’ll be taking a large amount of 3’s by all historical standards, and the passing will be gorgeous, but this is note remotely a finesse offense. Players with their movement will dive toward the interior regularly, and we have the wherewithal to thread those needles from bounce pass to alley oop.

On the offensive boards to be perfectly honest we’ll be cautious as most are in pro ball nowadays. Our players are smart and experienced and have earned the right to decide to go for it when they judge it appropriate, but they also understand how substantial the risks are in this age where teams are so aggressive in transition.

Player Usage

Jerry West (38 minutes) – to the extent we have a point, he’ll be it when he’s on the floor

Alonzo Mourning (38) – clear cut for us on the interior, though he can hit the mid-range

Larry Bird (36) – the jack of all trades. In some ways a big, in some ways a wing, in some ways a point, and he’ll play each in accordance to the team needs. For example, he’ll take on more of an on-ball role when Jerry is on the bench

Joe Dumars (36) – wing, does his job, moves, makes life easier for his teammates, and makes you pay whenever you lose track of him

Wes Unseld (32) – definitely slotted as a big, though he’ll be able to be able to wander further from the basket depending on who he’s out there with

Buck Williams (24) – similar to Wes with a little more tendency toward the perimeter

Paul Millsap (18) – similar to Buck with even more tendency toward the perimeter, particularly on offense. Can work on the dribble and hit 3’s.

Steve Kerr (18) – the super off-ball wing, though really can handle fine and an excellent passer. The most underestimated of the lot, and he will have his revenge.

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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#7 » by Doctor MJ » Sat May 14, 2016 11:51 pm

Alright, looking at the matchup, on the face of it I just don't see any real problems for my team that they wouldn't be able to handle so at least from a Game 1 perspective, we'd go into it doing our thing.

Unfortunately that means this post is really going to be focused on negatives relating to Square's team and rebutting his negatives on mine. Cheers Square!

I believe the big issue with the team is Westbrook. Those who know me know that I'm not a huge fan of Westbrook, so this is to be expected, and disagreed with by some. Take a look at the main offensive players beyond Westbrook: Barkley, Marion, and Barry. When I see those guys I think, "Man, give them Steve Nash, and these guys would be amazing.", but they don't have Nash, they have a combo guard known for being unable to get the ball out of his hands. Yes he makes some good passes - you're bound to when you control the ball that much - but Westbrook at the 1 is a recipe for redundancy from scorers.

Obviously when I talk about this I'm implicitly calling Westbrook & Durant to mind. They've done great things together, but I think all would agree that there are some major portability issues when the two guys play together. Durant tends to get underutilized, and everyone else besides the Big 2 tend to get underutilized further. I think it's telling that OKC has finally had a recent breakthrough and when they did so their 5 big players involved Westbrook & Durant along with 3 guys known for their defense. The heavy primacy of the big two options means that you can let other guys specialize in other areas.

So the other guys will be underutilized here and then there's the matter that because Barkley is a guy who is much less of a shooting threat than Durant, he'll be a rougher fit with Westbrook. Want further evidence?

Remember those Barkley & KJ Suns? They were a great team with a great offense...but they have heavy redundancy issues between their two stars. Remember Barkley's MVP year when the team won 62 games? KJ missed half that season. Remember '94-95 when they won 59 games? KJ missed about half of that one too. So is KJ the problem? Well before Barkley came the Suns had won 50+ games the previous 4 years and had SRSes higher than any Barkley year in 3 of those 4 years. The two guys just never synergized that well, and from the perspective of this comparison this is despite the fact that KJ was naturally a far less wasteful player than Westbrook. KJ was a considerably more efficient player than Westbrook who of course has mediocre efficiency even against real NBA level competition while playing in a matter that doesn't scale well as competition gets fiercer (the better your teammates, the more important it is to use the effectively every possessions and the more the defense will punish you when you don't).

What about Marion? Well as a pure role player he's fine here, the problem is that we've seen that when he's truly a role player, he doesn't become one of those guys who is sneakily more valuable. To be scary scoring-wise he needs opportunities, and those will be tough to come by on a team with 2 heavy first options who aren't preternaturally gifted at seeking out other teammates. When you remove that you've got a good defender and rebounder but not a lot else. The defender part is important because of Barkley, the rebounding part though I think would have some major redundancy issues.

I like the Barry selection generally speaking as I think he'd be a guy more valuable today, but again, the whole 3 & D thing is predicated on great passing. Without giving something of a major boost in mind based on Barry being amazingly used, he's probably not a guy I'd draft in this league.

Russell, as everyone knows, I love. But he'd definitely be weaker today simply based on the 3's being taken, just like any amazing shot blocker. He's still the best damn defensive anchor anyone could have drafted, but he's not what he was. So then, the one part of the starting 5 with good synergy, we have to remember how he'd be diminished with attacks that thrive on the perimeter...like mine.

The backups, well see this is tough because I think we might have had different assumptions here. Square's backups are considerably more like actual backups whereas mine are guys who would play these roles well, but were considerably more talented. I expect to have a major edge here simply based on having harvest more talented guys.

_____________________________________________________________

Okay now to respond to what he's written:

The general philosophy of Team Square is simple: force turnovers, get out in transition, control the paint and the glass. We are stocked with guys who are terrors in the passing lanes: Every starter 1-4 averages at least 1.8 steals per game (steals weren't recorded in Russell's day) and we bring McMillan (2+ spg, led the league in steals off the bench in 94) and Carroll (1.5 spg) off the bench to maintain the pressure.

And it's not just the steal numbers but the overall athleticism: Westbrook, Marion, Barkley, and Russell are all elite athletes, able to fly around and cause havoc. And it's the presence of Russell on the back line who turns these aggressive individual defenders into a cohesive unit that can force opponents to cough up the ball without sacrificing easy shots at the rim.


The general philosophy makes sense, and interestingly I'd say much of the same about my team, except that part of what I'm emphasizing is the importance of team defense. To me the most important thing for a defense, really in any era but it has more potential in this one, is to be working together. While I"m sure Square would certainly respond by saying that team defense will be taken seriously too, it's clearly not as high on his mind as stealing the ball. And so I think the judge has to ask himself:

Is it better to build a defense that tells every player to gamble for steals and chooses players that tend to focus on gambling rather than having his man's back, or one that has them work together to close gaps, and has a couple of guys who have more license to gamble precisely because they have a phenomenal track record of guessing at the right time and also being phenomenal threats leading the transition?

I do understand that Russell is Russell and he's awesome, but he's not going to do nearly as much good if the offense exploits the fail steal attempt by passing the ball for a corner 3 instead of driving to the hoop. The ability for a team to attack from everywhere means the defense has to be ready to defend everywhere, and every moment you leave something open is a moment you've lowered your probability of success considerably.

The easiest way to impose a running pace is to force turnovers (which we do) and control the glass. We do the latter via our front line of Russell (24 rpg), Barkley (12 rpg), and Marion (10 rpg), plus the presence of one of the all-time great rebounding PG's in Westbrook (8 rpg). We ain't one of those small teams that runs because it can't rebound. We run because we like dunking.


I think you're going to find some very problematic diminishing returns here much like the steals. You don't want a team full of guys all crashing the boards. On defense it means worse actual court coverage, on offense it means getting killed in transition. So the team is again in a situation of redundant strengths invariably causing vulnerabilities eisewhere which will be exploited among other places by me being able to let my best intituitives go for offensive rebounds as they see fit while the other guys get back in transition, while on the other hand using even better outlet passers hitting quick thinkers on the other end.

Finally, some teams may want to try to run with us rather than trying to slow us down. That's tough, because if your forwards are leaking out, then Russell, Barkley, Marion, and Westbrook are all over that offensive glass. And if you do get out, you have to contend with the greatest defender of all time chasing you down...


I think you need to think very specifically about what exactly Russell is doing out there.

A major perk of having Russell run the offense further from the rim is that it was much easier for him to get back and challenge the offense in transition. So is he doing that, or is he a by-the-basket offensive player focusing on the offensive rebounds? Is he running the offense, or is he taking up space Barkley would like to work with, or is he just standing there waiting for the other team to get the ball so he can play defense?

While I understand saying that Russell would do what made sense to him because he's a smart dude, there are some things that cannot be emphasized at the same time.

Finally, I've emphasized the up and down pace and how we enforce it, but even in the halfcourt we have a myriad of options. Russell is a great elbow facilitator; by '65 Cousy had retired, leaving much of the Celtics' playmaking to Russell, who finished 5th in the league in assists. Russell is also one of the all-time great screeners, meaning guys like Barry and Westbrook will be rocketing around his screens at the elbow. This leaves Barkley room to work in the post, where he could overpower weaker guys and face up on slower guys; in '90 he finished 2nd in MVP voting (to Magic, beating MJ) and led the league in TS% while scoring 25 ppg. A more typically "modern" halfcourt option is the devastating Westbrook/Barkley pick and roll, with Barry and Marion waiting to shoot or attack closeouts. Westbrook's ability to get to the rim draws attention and so opens up more offensive rebounding opportunities. In short, we can get buckets.


Okay, so then this officially is a team that is choosing to have Bill Russell as the primary playmaker while also having in Westbrook a guy who hasn't been able to thrive in any other role. Whenever Boston chose this path they had below average offenses. It's going to have a similar effect here and the hope has to be that the benefit it gives on the other end with Russell is worth it. I don't think it would have been worth it in the '60s. It was worth it for the Celtics because they didn't have a truly dangerous on-ball guard.

First of all, I should just make super clear some basic things: this is Larry Bird in his rookie season (not his MVP prime), this is Joe Dumars at age 34 (4 years after his last all-D season), and this is Paul Millsap as a rookie playing 18 mpg off the bench in Utah.

This version of Bird scored 21 ppg on 51 TS% in the playoffs, where his Celtics lost to the Sixers in 5, and this version of Dumars shot 49 TS% and got lit up by Steve Smith in a first round loss to the Hawks.


So yeah, these are things all my opponents should bring up in one way or another. Square is absolutely right to look to these facts to attack. I addressed these in my TL;DR team post, but to state them succinctly here:

-Because of Dumars' age I can't make the argument that he's an amazing man defender. This doesn't mean though that he wouldn't be solid when working with other smart and capable teammates. This is why after all aging Pierce and Allen were on such successful defenses in Boston. Smart team defense gives you cushioning. If you're a little slower than you used to be but smarter than ever and ready to give it all, you can do fine if you've got great guys around you.

Also I have to point out that offensively Dumars was in a wiser role at this point in his career which is why he was still named all-star. While it's possible judges will let folks argue that any yokel would learn to play optimally for this league, I just want the record to show that I chose this Dumars precisely because this is the Dumars that had put in the work to be a great 3-point shooter and veteran leader. If others really don't value those things then I probably should have picked the younger Dumars I guess. :oops:

-Bird on the other hand people just need to remember that Bird was an utter phenomenon that year. The transformative effect he had that year on the Celtics should leave everyone slackjawed. Of course one can agree to that and still talk about scoring issues. What I'd point out though is that there really is no justification for questioning his shooting ability at that point, so what we're really talking about are plays where he was forced to manufacture something. That's a skill he had to develop over the next few years until he became his pinnacle self as an offensive anchor...but it's also not something my team especially needs.

Larry Bird is the greatest off-ball genius in history. The only problem with that is that you can have even greater effect on-ball if you're enough better than everyone else on your team at it. But I have Jerry West and a bunch of great passers.Whatever I lose in Bird's volume scoring ability by picking a younger version, I gain and then some by gaining his otherworldly motor and fearless physical flings. I get to max out the greatest off-ball genius i history, which was the whole point of picking him - though granted I didn't intend up front to emphasize him being a rookie, merely still young.

Defensively, Team Square has strong options against Bird, with an excellent defender in Marion (who has done stellar work against probably the most comparable modern player to Bird in Durant), and another good, athletic defender in Carroll picking up the slack when Marion sits. We can put either speed (Westbrook) or size (Barry) on West, and we have a 6'5" All-Defense combo guard in Nate McMillan coming off the bench to harrass West some more. When West sits, the Longshoremen bring in Kerr, and so play two smaller, slower combo guards in Kerr and 34-year old Dumars, neither of whom is a natural PG. This is just fodder for our aggressive, pressing defense to force still more turnovers. We guard Zo with Russell, who has the size, strength, and smarts to match up with him and anchor our back line at the same time.


Wait are these guys locking my guys down with tough man defense, or are they gambling for steals? Do they just do it all? Westbrook tries to do that in real life. It's why he's not a good defender despite having been a fantastic defender in college.

In general what I'd say is that Square's team has great players, as does mine, and all others in the league. I'm not going to pretend that I'm going to score at will on them. It will be a tough fight no matter how it goes, and so what I would tend to focus on are emergent properties from complex context. What is it these sets of players that really gives an advantage to one side or another in a fashion you wouldn't necessarily expect. And there, while I get if you still find my analysis too vague, I think it's more clear I'm relying on my guys reading the situation, communicating, and working together. I see a bunch of individuals on Square's team, and when one improvises and fails, I don't think they'll be able to recover fast enough to deal with how my guys move the ball.

Finally, we note that neither rookie Millsap nor Unseld are serious offensive threats at this level, allowing us to sag off them and wreak more havoc on the Longshoremen offense.


There's a difference between between able to create for yourself at this level but if we're talking about 4th or 5th options simply capitalizing after the 1st option finds them in a striking position I wouldn't agree. Guys don't inherit Kwame Brown's hands & brain simply because their opponents get better. You want your 4th & 5th scorers to be doing a lot of other good things rather than focusing on scoring. That's frankly the entire basis of the success of the Jordan-Jackson Bulls. Failure to specialize along these lines means once again redundant fit and all that comes with it.

I have these guys on my team precisely because they were guys who always knew how to be valuable regardless of their offensive primacy. I believe they'll continue to do so here, and I'll point specifically to what I've mentioned about Unseld's intelligence, passing, and screen setting. A team with several strong scorers out there wants someone like this more than they want another scorer, and Unseld fills that need at an all-time great level.

Offensively, we follow our plan to try to push the pace first and foremost, since we have speed advantages at every position -- Russell is faster than Zo (who preferred a snail's pace) and Unseld (who was something of a plodder), Young Barkley and Westbrook are both runaway freight trains, Marion can beat Bird down the floor, and peak Barry is beating 34-year old Dumars end to end. In the half court, we can put the slower Longshoremen bigs in Bird and Unseld into unguardable pick and rolls with Westbrook and whichever forward they are guarding (Barkley, Marion). We can also use the passing and screening of Russell and Barkley to get good looks for our finishers. Finally, we can go to Barkley in a variety of settings (low post, high post) - Buck is a good defender, but Barkley shot 58 fg% against him in 46 career meetings (during which Barkley's teams were 30-16). http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=barklch01&p2=willibu01

We can also trot out a ridiculous Westbrook/Barry/Carroll/Marion/Barkley speed lineup at times when Zo and Russell sit, to match up with any small ball lineups on the other side. (Hell, it may even be an option with Zo on the floor too...)


Uh, Zo wasn't someone who required a snail's pace. I wouldn't put his agility up there with Russell, but Zo is among the more agile 5's in this league certainly. Beyond that you make some good points.

One thing on the pick & roll: Once again, if you're running pick & roll with Westbrook and not-Russell, what is Russell doing? You don't want him clogging the paint given that Westbrook's drives are the real reason why he's scary, so Russell's just standing off to the side doing nothing. What do you think I'm having his defender doing, sticking to him like he's Kyle Korver?

As always, that doesn't mean you won't be able to have some success with Westbrook running the pick & roll, but there are redundancy costs here even before you remember that Westbrook doesn't do anything along these lines without a lot of margin for error efficiency-wise.

Since this writeup is rapidly approaching Icelandic saga length, let me just end with the fact that in 6 playoff meetings between Jerry West and Bill Russell, Russell won every single time. If that's not a psychological advantage, I don't know what is.


Except that Jerry West clearly wasn't the type to get daunted by an opponent, and this Jerry West was never on the Lakers and never faced the Celtics, so, yeah, I don't think this is going to matter.

Alright my friend, cheers, an apologies if anything I said cut deep. I tend to get whimsical went I write long enough.

Whatever happens, it's been fun! :starwars
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#8 » by Square » Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 pm

Awesome, that was certainly a fun writeup from Doctor MJ. He's clearly put a lot of himself into this team, so much so that I'm almost hesitant to criticize it. So I'll just hit a few of the points that I thought were more...fictional (and I don't mean the Long Beach backstory, which I thoroughly enjoyed).

Re: Westbrook. If you have an aesthetic dislike for Westbrook's game that's one thing (de gustibus non est disputandum and all that). Personally, he won me over this year with his improved decision making and efficiency, lower usage, and improved passing vision out of the pick and roll. Combine these things with the sheer intensity with which he plays and you have a guy I want on my team every time. To be honest, I wasn't sure what the analogy with oft-injured Kevin Johnson in your post was really supposed to indicate. Westbrook is just better than KJ, and any time he's missed time OKC has dropped from contender to also-ran. Westbrook has also already shown an ability to share an extremely productive offense with another high usage star, and has shown excellent offensive synergy with a roll/postup big man in Kanter (with and without Durant). I see him meshing great with Barkley.

Re: steals/defense. Of course if you use the word "gambling" you are already prejudicing the issue. We have a roster of great athletes who will play an aggressive style of defense that, yes, will force a lot of turnovers. In the wrong hands, that could backfire into a bad defense, but we are in the right hands, namely those of the greatest team/help defender of all time. Hell, even though we don't have the numbers, Russell's real-life Celtics clearly forced a ton of turnovers while being the most dominant defensive team in the league. And we've had plenty of great D's since then that made forcing TO's a large part of that: the 90's Bulls, 90's Sonics, Grit n' Grind Grizz, etc.

Re: Russell's role on offense. Russell can play a variety of roles on offense depending on situation and matchup; I mentioned a number of them not to mean that he does them all at the same time but that he won't just be a bystander. On the ball, he's dangerous as a facilitator (although yes, Westbrook and Barkley will have more time on the ball than him, just as Cousy and Havlicek did), in transition, and diving to the rim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWelUNrJUMM). Off the ball, he's dangerous on the offensive glass, and as a screen-setter or DHO facilitator. (If Westbrook or Barry are rocketing off his screens, your big man can't be 10 feet off Russell.) In any case, he's not a guy you can just ignore.

As far as offensive rebounding versus getting back in transition -- this is a needle that Russell threaded expertly his whole career, and I'd mostly leave it up to him and my fictional coaching staff. With the quality of the other offensive rebounders on this roster he may tilt slightly toward emphasizing floor balance, but his threat on the glass is always there.

Re: Marion, Zo. I didn't get your points about Marion -- I like him in this league precisely because he was a guy who generated a lot of offense without the ball or without real plays called for him, just by cutting hard, running hard in transition, getting offensive rebounds, and loose balls, etc. Westbrook, Barkley, Russell, Barry, McMillan are all excellent passers who can find him when he runs hard. As far as Zo -- he thrived on one of the slowest paced teams in recent memory in Miami. He liked to set up on the block for his effective, if somewhat robotic, post game. (By the way, for all the talk of the importance of "preternatural passing", Zo was not a good passer. I say this as a huge Zo fan; he wasn't selfish by any means, but his post game was just turnover prone and he did not have great vision from that spot.)

Anyway, it's been fun.


EDIT: After looking at the Longshoremen minutes distribution:
Doctor MJ wrote:Player Usage

Jerry West (38 minutes) – to the extent we have a point, he’ll be it when he’s on the floor

Alonzo Mourning (38) – clear cut for us on the interior, though he can hit the mid-range

Larry Bird (36) – the jack of all trades. In some ways a big, in some ways a wing, in some ways a point, and he’ll play each in accordance to the team needs. For example, he’ll take on more of an on-ball role when Jerry is on the bench

Joe Dumars (36) – wing, does his job, moves, makes life easier for his teammates, and makes you pay whenever you lose track of him

Wes Unseld (32) – definitely slotted as a big, though he’ll be able to be able to wander further from the basket depending on who he’s out there with

Buck Williams (24) – similar to Wes with a little more tendency toward the perimeter

Paul Millsap (18) – similar to Buck with even more tendency toward the perimeter, particularly on offense. Can work on the dribble and hit 3’s.

Steve Kerr (18) – the super off-ball wing, though really can handle fine and an excellent passer. The most underestimated of the lot, and he will have his revenge.


Just two more points:
- This is 2007 Millsap, who wouldn't hit more than one three pointer in a season until 2011, and more than 10 three pointers in a season until 2013.
- These minutes imply at least 22 mpg of Mourning and Unseld on the floor together, which just seems like a combo that is too slow and has too little spacing to me.
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#9 » by Doctor MJ » Sun May 15, 2016 6:25 pm

Square wrote:
Spoiler:
Awesome, that was certainly a fun writeup from Doctor MJ. He's clearly put a lot of himself into this team, so much so that I'm almost hesitant to criticize it. So I'll just hit a few of the points that I thought were more...fictional (and I don't mean the Long Beach backstory, which I thoroughly enjoyed).

Re: Westbrook. If you have an aesthetic dislike for Westbrook's game that's one thing (de gustibus non est disputandum and all that). Personally, he won me over this year with his improved decision making and efficiency, lower usage, and improved passing vision out of the pick and roll. Combine these things with the sheer intensity with which he plays and you have a guy I want on my team every time. To be honest, I wasn't sure what the analogy with oft-injured Kevin Johnson in your post was really supposed to indicate. Westbrook is just better than KJ, and any time he's missed time OKC has dropped from contender to also-ran. Westbrook has also already shown an ability to share an extremely productive offense with another high usage star, and has shown excellent offensive synergy with a roll/postup big man in Kanter (with and without Durant). I see him meshing great with Barkley.

Re: steals/defense. Of course if you use the word "gambling" you are already prejudicing the issue. We have a roster of great athletes who will play an aggressive style of defense that, yes, will force a lot of turnovers. In the wrong hands, that could backfire into a bad defense, but we are in the right hands, namely those of the greatest team/help defender of all time. Hell, even though we don't have the numbers, Russell's real-life Celtics clearly forced a ton of turnovers while being the most dominant defensive team in the league. And we've had plenty of great D's since then that made forcing TO's a large part of that: the 90's Bulls, 90's Sonics, Grit n' Grind Grizz, etc.

Re: Russell's role on offense. Russell can play a variety of roles on offense depending on situation and matchup; I mentioned a number of them not to mean that he does them all at the same time but that he won't just be a bystander. On the ball, he's dangerous as a facilitator (although yes, Westbrook and Barkley will have more time on the ball than him, just as Cousy and Havlicek did), in transition, and diving to the rim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWelUNrJUMM). Off the ball, he's dangerous on the offensive glass, and as a screen-setter or DHO facilitator. (If Westbrook or Barry are rocketing off his screens, your big man can't be 10 feet off Russell.) In any case, he's not a guy you can just ignore.

As far as offensive rebounding versus getting back in transition -- this is a needle that Russell threaded expertly his whole career, and I'd mostly leave it up to him and my fictional coaching staff. With the quality of the other offensive rebounders on this roster he may tilt slightly toward emphasizing floor balance, but his threat on the glass is always there.

Re: Marion, Zo. I didn't get your points about Marion -- I like him in this league precisely because he was a guy who generated a lot of offense without the ball or without real plays called for him, just by cutting hard, running hard in transition, getting offensive rebounds, and loose balls, etc. Westbrook, Barkley, Russell, Barry, McMillan are all excellent passers who can find him when he runs hard. As far as Zo -- he thrived on one of the slowest paced teams in recent memory in Miami. He liked to set up on the block for his effective, if somewhat robotic, post game. (By the way, for all the talk of the importance of "preternatural passing", Zo was not a good passer. I say this as a huge Zo fan; he wasn't selfish by any means, but his post game was just turnover prone and he did not have great vision from that spot.)

Anyway, it's been fun.


EDIT: After looking at the Longshoremen minutes distribution:
Doctor MJ wrote:Player Usage

Jerry West (38 minutes) – to the extent we have a point, he’ll be it when he’s on the floor

Alonzo Mourning (38) – clear cut for us on the interior, though he can hit the mid-range

Larry Bird (36) – the jack of all trades. In some ways a big, in some ways a wing, in some ways a point, and he’ll play each in accordance to the team needs. For example, he’ll take on more of an on-ball role when Jerry is on the bench

Joe Dumars (36) – wing, does his job, moves, makes life easier for his teammates, and makes you pay whenever you lose track of him

Wes Unseld (32) – definitely slotted as a big, though he’ll be able to be able to wander further from the basket depending on who he’s out there with

Buck Williams (24) – similar to Wes with a little more tendency toward the perimeter

Paul Millsap (18) – similar to Buck with even more tendency toward the perimeter, particularly on offense. Can work on the dribble and hit 3’s.

Steve Kerr (18) – the super off-ball wing, though really can handle fine and an excellent passer. The most underestimated of the lot, and he will have his revenge.


Just two more points:
- This is 2007 Millsap, who wouldn't hit more than one three pointer in a season until 2011, and more than 10 three pointers in a season until 2013.
- These minutes imply at least 22 mpg of Mourning and Unseld on the floor together, which just seems like a combo that is too slow and has too little spacing to me.


Square on the whole I'm going to let you have the last word here, but you brought up a couple things that seemed to be asking for responses, so I'll oblige.

1st to be clear, I bring up my past with Westbrook not to bias judges in my favor but to simply acknowledge my own potential bias. You clearly like Westbrook considerably more than me, which makes sense. I do think that when you see Westbrook as clearly superior to KJ you may be not seeing how damn impressive KJ was because that's a common thing due to KJ's injuries shortening his prime. When he was on though he was amazing despite imho not playing in a time best suited for him.

2nd, Marion's just not a guy who was having impact like that most of the time. His peak by far came in Phoenix with Nash. He scored similar volume before Nash, but it was not very efficient and the offense on the whole wasn't very good. After Phoenix he was never the same again and only became at all relevant years later in Dallas as a pure role player with nowhere near all-star impact. He's a guy I like for the ATFDL but only with the right context. But hey, just my biased opinion.

3rd, just to be clear on Unseld & spacing, because I think your concerns would be shared by others. Unseld's not camping out anywhere, he's perfect for pick & roll. He'll be able to give his pick & roll partner luxurious space to shoot, and when he gets the ball he'll be ready to make quick passes to whoever is there. Here's where it also behooves me to note that you're clearly hoping to hide Barkley and his laziness on Unseld on defense, but in reality I'm going to be dragging Barkley around and you'll be in a situation where he and his partner have to fight to stay on their man through the bloody wall of Unseld, or Barkley will be out on the perimeter trying to deal with guys like West.

Alright, I'll leave it at that. Feel free to respond again if you'd like the last word.

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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#10 » by Square » Sun May 15, 2016 6:38 pm

Nah. We disagree on Westbrook (KJ was a nice player, but I think anyone who watched them both can see that Westbrook is a different animal), we disagree on Marion (you are basically removing his age 26-30 years from the equation, which seems unfair to me), and we disagree with the efficacy of Unseld as a roll man. (Also KJ is a slimy human being and it galls me to say nice things about him, irrelevant as that is to the current discussion...)

But at this point I'll leave it be and let the judges (or whoever else wants to argue) take over here.
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#11 » by trex_8063 » Sun May 15, 2016 8:16 pm

Square wrote:Nah. We disagree on Westbrook (KJ was a nice player, but I think anyone who watched them both can see that Westbrook is a different animal), we disagree on Marion (you are basically removing his age 26-30 years from the equation, which seems unfair to me), and we disagree with the efficacy of Unseld as a roll man. (Also KJ is a slimy human being and it galls me to say nice things about him, irrelevant as that is to the current discussion...)

But at this point I'll leave it be and let the judges (or whoever else wants to argue) take over here.



Not to totally derail, but I'm curious: why the "slimy human being" comment for KJ? Where is that coming from?
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#12 » by Square » Sun May 15, 2016 8:40 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
Square wrote:Nah. We disagree on Westbrook (KJ was a nice player, but I think anyone who watched them both can see that Westbrook is a different animal), we disagree on Marion (you are basically removing his age 26-30 years from the equation, which seems unfair to me), and we disagree with the efficacy of Unseld as a roll man. (Also KJ is a slimy human being and it galls me to say nice things about him, irrelevant as that is to the current discussion...)

But at this point I'll leave it be and let the judges (or whoever else wants to argue) take over here.



Not to totally derail, but I'm curious: why the "slimy human being" comment for KJ? Where is that coming from?


http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/kevin-johnson-sacramento-mayor-phoenix-suns-sexual-misconduct-hbo-real-sports-032316
http://deadspin.com/more-women-come-forward-to-publicly-accuse-kevin-johnso-1766611938
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#13 » by Quotatious » Mon May 16, 2016 2:28 pm

Time to start voting (and explaining your votes)

SideshowBob wrote:.

RSCD3_ wrote:.

ronnymac2 wrote:.

Texas Chuck wrote:.

AceofSpades69 wrote:.

mischievous wrote:.

70sFan wrote:.

penbeast0 wrote:.

Owly wrote:.

PaulieWal wrote:.

lorak wrote:.

tsherkin wrote:.

trex_8063 wrote:.
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#14 » by Doctor MJ » Mon May 16, 2016 4:05 pm

I'm going to note that I mentioned Millsap's ability to hit from 3 range, and that given I ended up using Millsap's rookie year, that's not actually something he was doing then. Sorry about that.
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#15 » by Texas Chuck » Mon May 16, 2016 4:14 pm

enjoyed the back and forth from these competitors quite a bit.

And I like the different approaches(and really applaud Doc for changing mid-stream and deciding to play by the 85 FGA limit and still building such a quality team)

Square just has the most physically daunting team probably in this whole thing. Westbrook, Chuck, Marion, Russell is just overwhelming athleticism and force. Barry, Carroll, and McMillan are very nice complementary pieces to that and well Asik will defend and rebound for you for the few minutes Russell needs a blow.

IF everything goes right for Square, they will just blow teams out of the water with their ability to get out in transition and I mean that is a great transition lineup even if Westbrook isn't a traditional playmaker. His own finishing makes them dangerous just in a different way. Russell starting that team in transition.... And Barkley gives them an elite half-court option when teams force them to slow it down.

Doc's team is a more skilled approach based around West and Bird. Would watching those two guys play together bring me great joy? Oh yeah it would, but beyond that it would be very very dangerous. I actually feel like Zo is one of the weaker centers in this league tho. He's not one of the really best defensive centers and while he's a marginally better scorer than some of those guys he's not really a guy you want to use much offensively. Now the other bigs are all very interesting. Unseld was a tremendous pick here. Still a very effective player in 78. Young Millsap came into the league able to rebound and defend and wasn't a liability on offense. Agree with Square that we can't call him a 3-pt shooter here, tho on minimal attempts he was a passable mid-range guy. But 2/3 of shots were at the rim. He was a garbageman for the most part. Buck Williams was another pick I really loved.

But overall it just feels like the talent is too much here in favor of Square. There are some question marks for him, but here I don't think Doc quite has the pieces to take advantage of them enough to win.

Winner: Square
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#16 » by Doctor MJ » Mon May 16, 2016 4:35 pm

Texas Chuck wrote: I actually feel like Zo is one of the weaker centers in this league tho. He's not one of the really best defensive centers and while he's a marginally better scorer than some of those guys he's not really a guy you want to use much offensively.


I'm sorry if this is rude, I"m not sure if I'm supposed to respond or not, and I don't want to make judges feel defensive, but this statement is really strange to me.

Zo is a 2-time DPOY and in this year, his absolute peak, he won it in a landslide. Public opinion, box score stats, and +/- stats all agree that he was a phenomenal defender at the time. I absolutely consider him one of the stronger defensive centers in this league, and it's really strange to me to see this underwhelming perception of him.

If others agree with Chuck, that will be a blow to my team certainly, because that's not how I see Zo at all.
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#17 » by Texas Chuck » Mon May 16, 2016 4:56 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Texas Chuck wrote: I actually feel like Zo is one of the weaker centers in this league tho. He's not one of the really best defensive centers and while he's a marginally better scorer than some of those guys he's not really a guy you want to use much offensively.


I'm sorry if this is rude, I"m not sure if I'm supposed to respond or not, and I don't want to make judges feel defensive, but this statement is really strange to me.

Zo is a 2-time DPOY and in this year, his absolute peak, he won it in a landslide. Public opinion, box score stats, and +/- stats all agree that he was a phenomenal defender at the time. I absolutely consider him one of the stronger defensive centers in this league, and it's really strange to me to see this underwhelming perception of him.

If others agree with Chuck, that will be a blow to my team certainly, because that's not how I see Zo at all.


I don't have any problems with you questioning me so definitely don't worry about that(unless of course Q has an issue with it :D ). I'm not trying to say Zo isn't a great defensive player. He is. But again this is just my opinion--he's not up there with Russell, Robinson, Dream, Deke, Duncan, Wallace, at the very top of the league. He has some scoring advantages on some of those guys, but as I stated I don't think he's actually that great of an offensive player and I personally would prefer the better defensive center and lose the scoring edge. And I know you are a big proponent of getting scoring from your perimeter players so I assume you have no issue with that part of my opinion. More just a disagreement on where Zo stacks up defensively.

I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but even if I saw Zo as being nearly Russell's equal defensively I would still have taken Square in this matchup. So my (relatively) lower opinion of Zo's defense wasn't a major factor in the decision.

But I'm definitely glad you called me out on this. I want people to keep me honest as a judge. This is very difficult and I fully appreciate how much work each of you put into building these teams and I want to take my role as a judge very seriously.
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#18 » by Doctor MJ » Mon May 16, 2016 5:14 pm

Texas Chuck wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Texas Chuck wrote: I actually feel like Zo is one of the weaker centers in this league tho. He's not one of the really best defensive centers and while he's a marginally better scorer than some of those guys he's not really a guy you want to use much offensively.


I'm sorry if this is rude, I"m not sure if I'm supposed to respond or not, and I don't want to make judges feel defensive, but this statement is really strange to me.

Zo is a 2-time DPOY and in this year, his absolute peak, he won it in a landslide. Public opinion, box score stats, and +/- stats all agree that he was a phenomenal defender at the time. I absolutely consider him one of the stronger defensive centers in this league, and it's really strange to me to see this underwhelming perception of him.

If others agree with Chuck, that will be a blow to my team certainly, because that's not how I see Zo at all.


I don't have any problems with you questioning me so definitely don't worry about that(unless of course Q has an issue with it :D ). I'm not trying to say Zo isn't a great defensive player. He is. But again this is just my opinion--he's not up there with Russell, Robinson, Dream, Deke, Duncan, Wallace, at the very top of the league. He has some scoring advantages on some of those guys, but as I stated I don't think he's actually that great of an offensive player and I personally would prefer the better defensive center and lose the scoring edge. And I know you are a big proponent of getting scoring from your perimeter players so I assume you have no issue with that part of my opinion. More just a disagreement on where Zo stacks up defensively.

I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but even if I saw Zo as being nearly Russell's equal defensively I would still have taken Square in this matchup. So my (relatively) lower opinion of Zo's defense wasn't a major factor in the decision.

But I'm definitely glad you called me out on this. I want people to keep me honest as a judge. This is very difficult and I fully appreciate how much work each of you put into building these teams and I want to take my role as a judge very seriously.


It is very difficult and we're lucky to have so many judges. I know from experience you can start dreading posting your vote because of combative responses so I don't want to do that. It's just this in particular really caught me off guard. I mean, you just said you don't see him on the same tier as a bunch of guys who largely when in the league with him when he won this DPOY by a mile, and quite literally the one people tend to rate as the best defender of those guys - Mutombo - was smack dab in the middle of his prime losing out to Zo there. It's pretty understandable if you prefer Deke to Zo regardless of this, but the tier difference is what's weird to me.

I'll also say, I chose Zo over Deke specifically because I think Deke's larger body would have more issues under the current rules. It's again just my opinion and others can disagree, but I really wasn't expecting to have to justify Zo's value the way I was, say, Unseld's.

Last note, I"m away from my home machine right now, and I know not everyone goes by +/- to the extent I do, but it's worth noting that Zo's numbers are utterly massive on that front. So I'm kinda getting the sense that people may be concluding that voters at the time overrated Zo, but in reality from what I see I think they may have underrated him. Not that I was counting on people thinking Zo was better than people saw him at the time, I suppose I just thought the common opinion from the time spoke for itself given that there's really nothing about Zo to me that screams, "Yeah, but could someone like him really thrive with today's rules?".

Okay, I'm going to step away and try to will myself to leave the judges alone. I don't want to be THAT guy. :oops:
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#19 » by trex_8063 » Mon May 16, 2016 8:36 pm

While Doc produced what I thought was by far the most entertaining team write-up, I simply feel his team is over-matched here.

He made mention of Unseld's great outlet passing, but I note he doesn't really have a running team. Probably the best he's got at running and finishing in transition is rookie Larry Bird. His backcourt/perimeter core is frankly pretty slow, and with the possible exception of West, not really noted as finishers at the rim.

While the idea of West crushing it in the mid-range (or possibly trey) coming off some brick wall Unseld screens is nice, it'd be nicer if Unseld was a true offensive option either rolling to the rim or on the pnp. Unseld is a nice passing big, who should be able to find the off-ball savant that is Bird. Otherwise by far the best play-maker in the backcourt is West (who I'd classify as slightly above average on this front among other PG's). Zo and Buck are not play-making bigs, Kerr is not a good passing PG (and is undersized at the SG).....I worry some of Bird's off-ball qualities won't be fully realized.
I also note that Square having some crafty thieves in his line-up could be problematic as I think Doc has arguably the worst ball-handling and passing backcourt in the tourney.

Doc suggested that Square's team could not force those turnovers without sacrificing all semblance of good half-court defense, which I don't think is the case. With a measured amount of what Spaceman I believe called "calculated gambling", they can force turnovers without leaving their you-know-whats in the wind. Marion, Barkley, Barry, Westbrook are all long and/or athletics guys who can wreak havoc in passing lanes without gambling over-much. McMillan has quick hands, too.


I also don't see a problem with Square's team hitting the offensive glass to a small degree, as I don't see many runners on Doc's squad, and Square's team is faster pretty much top to bottom (i.e. I don't think they'll struggle to get back on defense).


Square's team simply appears a little more talented on the surface, appears better suited to the way he intends to deploy them, and have a strengths (creating turnovers and transition offense) at precisely areas where Doc's team appears a little weak to me (ball-handling and transition defense).

Vote: Square
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Re: All-Time Fantasy Draft With FGA Limit EC1R - (1) Doctor MJ vs (8) Square 

Post#20 » by ronnymac2 » Tue May 17, 2016 9:06 am

Very entertaining and engaging writeups. Love the back story Doc created for his team.

OK, so the first thing I noticed about either team is Square's rebounding. Nuts. Russell/Barkley/Marion offers staggering rebounding in the frontcourt, the bench guys rebound, and Westbrook is always swooping in to clean the glass, too. The awesome part about having Larry Bird in leagues like this is that he usually guarantees a rebounding edge if you put him at SF. I don't think that happens in this matchup.

When Square is on offense...obviously this team runs a dominant fast break. What happens in the HCO? Shawn Marion has only ever been an efficient scorer when assisted by two of the three best passers ever in Kidd and Nash. I do see him being a weakness here.

I don't see Russell himself being a weakness, because I don't think he throws up poor shots himself in this league. What I question is Russell being involved in pick-n-roll with RW when Barkley/Marion do not space the floor for those two to run it properly. That's really where the spacing issue comes in. Some of that is mitigated by Marion's movement off-ball and Barkley's generally gravity as an offensive player and top-notch offensive rebounder, but it still affects that play. Also, Westbrook is a great off-ball player, but not rocketing off Russell screens. He's not really a catch-and-shoot guy, so that's in my opinion a tactical error.

Love Barry here though. Spreads the floor and allows Westbrook to get quick-hitting dives near the rim and offensive rebounds. I also like Barkley here because according to Doc's MPG distributions, Barkley is going to be defended by Buck and Wes. Wes is too slow, and I don't like the matchup for Buck either. Don't like Zo or two rookie SFs on him either. I don't mind West/Dumars are RW, as they are both very good defenders.

When Doc is on offense...selecting rookie Bird was weird to me at first, but it makes sense now. Bird does all the little auxiliary things that matter, and he allows Doc to play with two lead guards instead of a pure PG because Bird himself can alleviate some pressure and make plays for others. So I like it. I like Dumars here, too. In 1997, Detroit had a strong offense with Hill as the lead creator and Dumars/Hunter as very solid tertiary playmakers. I actually think the 1997 Detroit Pistons would be awesome in 2016, but that's neither here nor there.

I think I'm becoming a big believer in Wes Unseld. The guy was a legit heavyweight. Just look at his frame and skeletal structure, and you'll see that he's clearly the strongest player in this matchup. Would love to see Wes vs. Shaq.

That said, Wes is playing a lot of MPG with Zo. Rookie Millsap I'm assuming is playing a decent amount of his MPG at SF. I'm not in love with the spacing here. I don't actually mind the shooters here (Kerr, Bird, West, Dumars), but it's a funky fit in the frontcourt. I think Square has more flexibility, especially with DeMarre Carroll coming off the bench and playing solid defense while being a 36% 3-point shooter capable of spot MPG at the PF position (without losing too much on the glass since Westbrook and Russell have such great positional advantages).

I think I might give an edge to Doc in the hafcourt. Despite having a team capable of applying insane pressure (especially when you put McMillan/Westbrook/Marion together), I think the execution is there to beat it most times. Dumars/West/Bird is an incredibly smart brain trust. Doc's team might not be able to take advantage of Barkley's iso defense, but they can put him in pick-n-roll, with West and Wes, and I think West hits shots efficiently there.

But Square can pivot to a quicker lineup with Carroll. And with Bill Russell inside, I don't see rookie Millsap or Buck Williams being super effective in the paint, even when they hit the offensive glass and MAYBE make Square pay for going smaller. Asik is a good paint protector as well, so there's not much relief.

There's going to be some games where Doc's superior execution wins out, and there will be some games where Square's speed and aggression overwhelms. In the end, I think Square has enough defense, lead by Russell, to snuff out Doc's inside game while having the perimeter defenders (namely Marion and McMillan) to lower the scoring efficiency of Doc's perimeter threats.

Vote: Square
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