#23 - GOAT peaks project (2019)

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#23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#1 » by LA Bird » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:47 pm

1) Michael Jordan 1990-91
2) LeBron James 2012-13
3) Wilt Chamberlain 1966-67
4) Shaquille O'Neal 1999-00
5) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1976-77
6) Tim Duncan 2002-03
7) Larry Bird 1985-86
8) Bill Russell 1963-64
9) Hakeem Olajuwon 1993-94
10) Magic Johnson 1986-87
11) Kevin Garnett 2003-04
12) Julius Erving 1975-76
13) Bill Walton 1976-77
14) Oscar Robertson 1963-64
15) Stephen Curry 2015-16
16) Dwyane Wade 2008-09
17) Jerry West 1965-66
18) David Robinson 1994-95
19) Dirk Nowitzki 2010-11
20) Kobe Bryant 2007-08
21) Tracy McGrady 2002-03
22) Moses Malone 1982-83

Please include at least 1 sentence of reasoning for each of your 3 picks. A simple list of names will not be counted.
If you're repeating votes from previous rounds, copy and paste the reasoning because "see previous thread for explanation" will not be counted as a valid vote.

Current deadline: 11am September 13 Eastern Time
The deadline will be extended by 24 hours up to twice if there is less than 12 votes or there is a tie for first.


The Voting System:

Everyone gives their 1st choice (4.5 points), 2nd choice (3 points), and 3rd choice (2 points). Highest point-total wins the round.
You can use your 3 choices to vote for more than 1 season of the same player (if you think that the best 3 seasons among the players left belong all to the same player, nothing is stopping you from using all you 3 choices on that player), but you can't continue voting for other seasons of that player once he wins and gets his spot. The final list will be 1 season per player.

Thank you for your participation!

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liamliam1234 wrote:.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#2 » by liamliam1234 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:01 pm

liamliam1234 wrote:1. 2019 Kawhi Leonard
Reasons detailed throughout [prior] thread, but concisely, elevated perpetual second-round exit/chokers into a title team on back of one of the best scoring runs in NBA history (arguably the best in a title-winning season). Strong leadership, major offensive load, excellent clutch performances. One of the weakest modern title leaders, sure... but still a title-leader. [And now that Moses is in, the list of peak players to achieve that is exceedingly small.]

2. 2019 Giannis Antetokounmpo
Best regular season remaining, in my opinion. Better than other competitors in fewer minutes, which should be considered the opposite of a negative; maaaaybe if there were fragility concerns, I could see the case, but up until this season he was a perpetual minutes leader, so that  “analysis” seems lazy. Made conference finals and lost close series to champions, which is basically as good as every non-winner left as far as accomplishment. MVP and DPoY runner-up is best hardware of remaining non-title candidates. Best impact metrics remaining. Value offence more than Ewing’s by a fair bit, especially considering level of competition (where is the indication Ewing would have done any better against Marc Gasol given what happened to Embiid, his closest modern comparison?). Comparing relative defence is tougher, but I think Ewing loses that comparison in 1990, and I think his 1993-94 iteration is not better by enough of a gap to make up for the offensive disadvantage.

3. 2007 Steve Nash
[Maybe this weekend] I will probably try to put together a thorough post making his case. But in short, immense offensive impact comfortably exceeding... basically everyone... Generally dominates SRS and WOWY metrics. Incredible ceiling raiser, with scoring acumen to still provide respectable floor. Great leadership, and reasonable prior and future history of captaining deep playoff runs (consider this combination the anti- Chris Paul bonus). Little indication defensive limitations notably impacted the Suns defence; should be considered lack of advantage rather than specific negative. For 2007 specifically, seemed to be final level of gradual evolution from 2005. Playoff run was imperfect, but egregious situational context explains it in part, and his playoff passing was at its apex. Kind-of frustrating to see a three way vote split between 2005-07, but all three have fair cases, and if Kawhi and Giannis manage to make it in, those other seasons will receive my next votes.


You know, it is funny, I get the feeling that Giannis is being hurt by leading his team to a top seed and then losing to / disappointing against an incredible defence in the conference finals, as if: a.) any of that seemed to succeed as a criticism against David Robinson; and b.) it would be better if he just simply repeated what happened in the previous two seasons where he earned a low seed and impressed in early losses against highly favoured teams. :lol:
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#3 » by Morb » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:21 pm

1. Bob McAdoo 1975 - Scoring Machine, shooting 6'10, rebounds, historically great series vs DRtg 91.3 (-6.4). Wow.
2. Chris Paul 2008 - Top 3 PG Peak, assists, tempo, midrange, quickness, low tovs, good series vs DRtg 106.1 (-1.4) and good series vs DRtg 101.8 (-5.7).
3. Patrick Ewing 1990 - Offense + Defense, 7'1, midrange, athletic, great series vs DRtg 107.9 (-0.2) and average series vs DRtg 103.5 (-4.6).

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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#4 » by liamliam1234 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:31 pm

Alright, seeing as the Giannis comparison is apparently too disconnected, I will try a different approach:

What exactly is the case for 1990 Ewing over 2018 Davis or 2011 Howard or even 1992 KMalone? I sincerely do not understand why Ewing is receiving all this support over other players who by the numbers seem very comparable.

That also applies for Barkley, but I think voting for Barkley almost automatically establishes something of a general apathy to big man defence, so I doubt I can make up much ground there. Nevertheless, it is strange to see his offensive advantage automatically moving him past players at similar positions who have faaaaaaar larger defensive impact, including all five names mentioned above.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#5 » by FrogBros4Life » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:26 pm

cecilthesheep wrote:This time gap between his offensive and defensive peaks is exactly what makes Ewing so tough for me. I've wanted to put him on my ballot for some time but there's no individual year I can justify as being all-around better than a few other guys on my list. If Ewing's best offensive and best defensive years were combined, he'd likely be several spots higher.


I've seen several people express this opinion, but the difference in offensive output is markedly less pronounced once you adjust for pace and style of play. The 1990 Knicks played at a league average pace. The Riley Knicks played at a bottom 5 pace every year. That will greatly deflate the appearance of unadjusted box score production. Once we factor that in, Ewing's offensive numbers look much more comparable with his 1990 season, and in 94 (my pick for his peak), he actually turns out better in a few categories (assists and offensive rebounds). Meanwhile, Ewing was an elite defender for the majority of his career, but he was all time level great (in that both the 93 and 94 Knicks are both top 5 non-Bill Russell lead defenses ever) during some of the years where his offensive production was in line with his 1990 season. Let's look at some adjusted numbers for 90,92,93 and 94.


Regular Season

Code: Select all

        Pace   avgPace  rawPPG  PPGper100  Rp100   Ap100   Sp100   Bp100   rTS    scr%  dRTG
        =================================================================================================     
90:     98.2    98.3    28.6      36.2      13.8    2.8     1.2     5.0    +6.2   26.4   103

92:     92.9    96.6    24.0      32.3      15.1    2.6     1.4     4.0    +3.2   23.6   98

93:     94.5    96.8    24.2      33.1      16.6    2.6     1.3     2.7    +1.0   23.8   94

94:     92.8    95.1    24.5      33.7      15.4    3.1     1.6     3.8    +2.3   24.9   93



So, while the raw ppg difference between 90 and the 92-94 seasons appears to be about 4.5-5 points, once adjusted for pace, the difference between 90 and 94 specifically is only 2.5 points, and the scr% is only at a 1.5% differential between those two years. His efficiency was clearly the best in 90, but he was above league average in efficiency each year, so it's not like he only had one season where he shot the ball well. 1990 has the edge in blocks, but again, when we adjust for pace the difference is less than the raw box score totals (5.0 to 3.8, vs 5.9 Blk% to 5.1 Blk%). In 94 though, we see Ewing comes out better in rebounding, assists, steals and has a -10 in dRTG compared to 1990. I would think the slight difference in points generated (2.5 on +3.9rTS) is ultimately outweighed by the uptick in rebounding rate and the massive improvement in dRTG. 1994 Ewing is giving you about 93% of 1990 Ewing's offense, and about 111% of his (measurable) defensive impact (probably more than that, actually). Ok....but that's just the regular season. What about the playoffs?


Playoffs

Code: Select all

        Games     rawPPG     PPGper100     Rp100     Ap100     Sp100     Bp100     rTS     scr%     dRTG     
        ================================================================================================

90:       10       29.4        37.5        13.4       4.0       1.7        2.6     +4.2     27.8     112

92:       12       22.7        32.0        15.7       3.2       0.8        3.6     -2.9     25.1     100

93:       15       25.5        33.6        14.4       3.2       1.5        2.7      0       25.8     103

94:       25       21.9        29.1        15.6       3.5       1.7        4.0     -3.3     24.6     94


So, the first thing we need to note is the major increase in games played in 94 compared to the other years. His defense is still the best by far in 94, but even his per100 scoring looks below his usual level. What's up with that? Well, part of it is that the Knicks were scoring ~10 points per game less as a team in the 94 playoffs than they did in the regular season (By comparison, the 90 Knicks only scored ~3 points per game less in the playoffs). This is because in 94 (even with Jordan's retirement), the avg team dRTG of the Knick playoff opponents was about as strong as it was in the next strongest year, but extended to 2 additional series and 13 extra games. We see this reflected in that even though his raw ppg and his per 100 are down, his scr% is still almost identical to what it was during the regular season. And this is with his abysmal offensive performance against Houston factored in.

Here are the team dRTG's faced by Ewing and the Knicks for the aforementioned years

Code: Select all

    Rd1(Opp dRTG/rank)      Rd2              Rd3               Finals            Avg        Avg Opp rdRTG
         =======================================================================================================
90: BOS(107.9/12th)     DET(103.5/2nd)        X                  X               105.7         -2.4

92: DET(105.3/6th)      CHI(104.5/4th)        X                  X               104.9         -3.3

93: IND(110.1/21st)     CHA(109.7/19th)    CHI(106.1/7th)        X               108.6         +0.63

94: NJ(104.9/10th)      CHI(102.7/6th)     IND(104.2/8th)     HOU(101.4/2nd)     103.3         -3


If we eliminate the Houston series, Ewing's playoff scoring in 94 looks closer to what we would expect on a per game basis: 23.1 ppg on 54.4 TS with a scr% of 26.6. In fact, his (through three rounds) 1994 playoff 26.6 scr% is much closer to his 1990 playoff scr% of 27.8 than his 1990 playoff dRTG of 112 is to his 1994 dRTG of 94. It's unfortunate he struggled so much offensively in that series to the point where it brings down his entire postseason scoring production (especially his efficiency). He truly did have an excellent defensive series in the Finals however -- and even though he shot the ball poorly, he still was his team's leading scorer for the series, and the Knicks outscored the Rockets combined over all 7 games.

So, outside of the one series against Houston, it doesn't look like his 94 offensive contributions were so far below his 1990 levels (especially when adjusting for strength of playoff defense faced), that it outweighs his overall play on both sides of the court. And when you consider that in 94 Ewing's key rotational teammates missed a combined 164(!) games compared to only 21 the previous year, and that despite that, the Knicks only won 3 fewer regular season games, had an arguably better defense AND were about as close to winning a championship as you can be without actually holding the trophy....you have to think it's because of the overall high level of Ewing's on court play. As good as 90 Ewing was, I'm not sure that if you swap him in for 94 Ewing on a team that had 164 missed player games, that they would fare as well or better, and to me, I think that is the key point in why I'd lean toward 94 as his best overall year. Leadership and experience count, even if they don't show up on a stat sheet.

liamliam1234 wrote:I would still like to hear the case for 1990 Ewing/Barkley over Giannis. I think DatAsh said Barkley had “two to three times” the offensive impact, and I cannot really see support for that by their actual production. But everyone else has kind-of glossed over it.


First, I have to say that Giannis's per 100 numbers for this past season look really good, to the point where I think I was actually under rating his impact. That being said, he does still have certain limitations to his game that I think make him a little bit easier to neutralize than either Ewing or Barkley. Giannis has some of the same flaws as Robinson in that you can't just give Giannis the ball anywhere on the court and say "go score 2 points to win the game"....maybe even to a greater degree than Robinson at this stage in his career, because Robinson had a decent mid range jumpshot. Dominating on (mostly) sheer athleticism and effort is great in the regular season, but you need guys who can create something out of nothing on offense the deeper you advance into the playoffs.

I also think with regard to Barkley specifically, that Giannis' assist numbers are a tad overvalued, and that Barkley was better at creating scoring opportunities for teammates that otherwise would not have materialized, even if Giannis racks up more assists just by finding the man who is already open. The way teams defend Giannis makes it easier for him to move the ball to where it naturally should go, but Barkley was better at making the play no one saw coming. In 3 years or so this may be a moot point, because I don't think we've actually seen peak Giannis yet, but I'd still rather have any version of 90-94 Ewing or Barkley with the ball in their hands to win a playoff game on offense, and in Ewing's case I'd also feel better about him making a game winning defensive stop. Even though 90 wasn't Ewing's defensive peak, he was still a really good defensive player -- not just in the post, but he was exceptional at switching onto perimeter players on the pick and roll and blocking/altering three pointers.


liamliam1234 wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:I’m not sure about Barkley vs Giannis, but for me Ewing still was a better defender than Giannis, and if his scoring game gets shut down i don’t think it’s as detrimental as if it happens to Giannis. On offense Giannis is better sure, but being a dpoy caliber guy in a league where Gobert, and Draymond are the top suspects compared to a league with Drob, Hakeem, Rodman, etc. isn’t really the same.


What supports Ewing being a DPoY-calibre player in 1990? That is my point. People are selecting 1990 because of Ewing’s offence, even though his defence was clearly a ways off his 1993-94 peak and was probably the worst defensive year of his career... so what makes his offence + defence better than Giannis’s that year?


The Knicks weren't great as a team defensively in 1990, but Ewing was an elite defensive presence since his college days. In 90 he averaged a combined 5 blocks + steals a game. Compare that to a combined 2.8 blocks and steals a game for Giannis last year. Even if we adjust for pace, Giannis has a combined 5.7 stl + blk % last season compared to Ewing's combined 7.1 stl + blk % in 1990. Ewing's blk % alone (5.9) is greater than Giannis' combined blk + stl %. They were probably equal as man defenders with respect to their positions, but Ewing was the better rim protector and was probably just as good if not better switching out on the perimeter. Giannis last season and Ewing in 90 also had roughly the same number of DWS (5.5 to 5.3) despite Giannis team winning 15 more games. And again....this is the best defense we've seen yet from Giannis compared to a defensive year of Ewing's that isn't even one of his top 5.

Anyway....here are some clips of Ewing utterly dominating on both sides of the court throughout the 94 playoffs for anyone still unaware of just how well he played in 94 compared to 90.

Rd1: @ New Jersey, game 4 (36 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks)

Rd2: @ Chicago, game 3 (34 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks -- personal 8-0 run in the last 1:30 to tie the game)

Rd3: vs Indiana, game 7 (24 points, 22 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 5 blocks -- game winning putback)

Finals: vs Houston, game 5 (25 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 8 blocks)

Giannis is special, but I don't think he's reached this level of domination yet. In fact, quite a few players already voted in never quite reached this level of domination. This is also why I can't rank someone like Nash ahead of Ewing. Nash could dominate the game on one side of the ball, but Ewing could dominate the game on both sides.

Rd1:


Rd2:


Rd3:


Finals:



I'll try to make a formal vote in a separate post later, I just wanted to make a thorough case here for anyone doubting 94 as Ewing's overall peak. I can still see a case for 90, because of his efficiency and athleticism (and how much you want to ding him for his shooting woes against the Rockets), but some people are voting 93 and that just doesn't make sense to me.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#6 » by Clyde Frazier » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:51 pm

At leases half a dozen guys in consideration for my 3rd ballot after Ewing/Barkley, so I'll come back with my vote.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#7 » by freethedevil » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:48 pm

freethedevil wrote:Think it's time for

2019 giannis
-> anchored a historically great team on both ends, both as the primary facilitator, defensive anchor, and scoring weapon. It took an atg championship winning defense giving him the pistons treatment to stop him and even then it was by the slimmest of margins. His decimation of a strong celtics defense was quite impressive as well. His passing limitations cost him vs the raptors but no one yet to be listed is strong enough of an offensive threat to warrant anything close to the defensive attention giannis warranted and when you add that to being one of the game's best scorers and a top 5 defender, you get a worthy pick for this spot. He has the highest corp +/- evaluation and the second highest corp. I'm hesitant to put him below the #1 in corp here, largely because I disagree with ben's analysis of kd's portability, but more on that later.

2017 Durant
-> Was one of two seasons in his career his defense was noteworthy and actually significant. I don't view his offense as significantly lower than his 2014 self who was able to lead a great rs team with or without westbrook(the playoffs are another story). Pretty one dimensional but at this rate so is the rest of the competition. He comes pretty close to giannis's +/- evaluation. That said, I'm not convinced he's portable at all. Much is made of his ability to "raise the cieling" of the warriors but given his skillset which is basically scoring, i'm rather hesitant to give him credit for this cieling raising when he's playing with better shooters and passers.

Players I'm considering a vote for at #3
-> 2017 Westbrook
-> 2016 draymond green
-> 1962/63 Moses Malone
-> Some version of Patrick Ewing
-> 2019 Kawhi
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#8 » by No-more-rings » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:11 am

Frogbros laid out some good Ewing stuff, enough for me to still be confident in my vote.

1. 90 Pat Ewing- Highly efficient volume scorer and defensive anchor, took it to the Celtics in the 1st round dropping 31.6 ppg/59.7 ts%, and won in 5 who appeared to would’ve been favored over them that year, still managed 27 ppg/56 ts% against the eventual champion and very strong defense Pistons.

2. 19’ Kawhi- For me it’s as simple as his playoff run being imo better than anyone else who’s left. Yeah he missed 20ish games, but he accomplished what everyone strives to do and only some can dream of. And 2017 proved he can play a full season and still be rested enough to dominate, sure you can bring his durability into question, I remember him being a little banged up against the Warriors and maybe some of the Bucks series but he’s shown to have held up better than someone like Cp3 has proven.

3. 19’ Harden- Unless i’m forgetting someone i’m at least somewhat confident in taking him over Giannis, KD, Barkley etc. I’ll probably be alone in having to take on Eballa, Freethedevil and Liamliam all by myself :lol:

Below at minimum scratches the surface of some Harden vs KD discussion

No-more-rings wrote:When does Harden start getting traction for you guys?

Aside from 2016 Steph Curry, he had likely the best offensive regular season of the past couple decades, and he still held his own in the playoffs even if he did see a dip in production.

Most seem to have KD’s peak over his when I don’t even see the argument honestly. Kd’s top attribute is far and away scoring, and 2019 Harden at least matches if not surpasses Kd’s best scoring season.



cecilthesheep wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:
cecilthesheep wrote:I think KD's scoring is more sustainable against game planning and generally tighter playoff defense, and KD is also a positive defender (for all Harden's improvement, he's still significantly worse than most guys we're now considering)

Pre-Golden state (which i think most would agree is to be taken with a grain of salt), Kd seen similar dips in his scoring in the playoffs. And if you’re knocking Harden for his defense fine, then you probably shouldn’t be voting for Barkley either already(not saying you are).

Took a look at Durant's pre-GSW playoff numbers and I have to say, I was fairly surprised by what I found and may have to reevaluate some stuff:

Durant during All-Star years in OKC, regular season: 29.0 points per 75 on 62.1% TS
Playoffs during same time span: 26.9 points per 75 on 57.5% TS
Net dropoff: -2.1 pp75, -4.6% TS

Harden during All-Star years, regular season: 28.9 points per 75 on 61.0% TS
Playoffs during same time span: 27.4 points per 75 on 56.9% TS
Net dropoff: -1.5 pp75, -4.1% TS

... damn, Harden probably still has worse individual moments, but overall i'm floored by how much KD actually dropped off. Might dig into how they each did past the first round later .

And yeah i'm not voting for Barkley yet, and it is, at least in significant part, because of his defense. Although it bears mentioning that KD pre-GSW wasn't as good of a defender as he became later on. Is there a case he actually peaked in Golden State?


Anyway, i think a lot of guys at this point have good enough arguments vs each other it shouldn’t be that crazy.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#9 » by eminence » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:27 am

Touching on Durant's playoff scoring - I think when painting in broad strokes like that he gets punished a bit unfairly (relative to others) for being good so early. Young guys never seem to get it come playoff time and he had some pretty serious success earlier than most (outside of guys who are largely already in). We should've expected him to continue to improve (slightly at least) in terms of playoff resiliency just with experience in addition to the GS environment.

I'd also say that he was pretty junk in that '16 1st round series against the Mavs, but I have a tough time caring about it too much. 1st round series are often glorified regular season games for high end contenders.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#10 » by liamliam1234 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:08 am

As I said, I see Harden in a similar tier as most of the players being discussed right now. And in terms of sheer offensive output, I would say he has a better case than most for surpassing Giannis’s overall output on that end alone. Of course, whether that output legitimately translated to “impact” is something of another story, but the fact the greatest per possession scoring run of all-time, done more efficiently than like the next twenty non-Curry seasons below it, and coupled with respectable passing and general assist totals, by some indications was not massively “impactful” kind-of inherently shows the flaws in what some of those impact metrics convey. The end of the Warriors series leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but the same can be and has been said for people looking at Giannis against the Raptors.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#11 » by E-Balla » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:34 am

1. 2017 Russell Westbrook - I'm on record since 2017 saying next to 09 LeBron this is the best season I've seen since I've watched basketball religiously. The short version here is that he averaged a 30 point triple double, made 200 three pointers, had the most clutch season ever, and averaged 37/12/11 in the playoffs while destroying Houston, only losing because his team was the worst team I've ever seen in the playoffs without him on the floor. Unlike many here he had to also overcome horrible fitting teammates (they had the worst 3 point percentage in the league outside of him) and the worst coach in the league.

2. 1990 Patrick Ewing - This season is spectacular. Ewing was legitimately up for MVP along with Barkley and Magic for most of the season prior to his team making some moves that hurt them. In the first 52 games of the season the Knicks went 34-17 (55 win pace) with Ewing averaging 27.8/10.2/2.3 (4.9 combined blocks and steals) on 58.7 TS% with a 114 ORTG. After the trade the Knicks went 11-20 which would make one assume Ewing didn't play well but he actually played better with the team around him falling apart. He averaged 30.0/12.1/2.1 (4.9 combined blocks and steals) on 61.9 TS% with a 116 ORTG in the last 31 games.

At one point they had a 1-9 stretch where Ewing averaged 32.1/12.5/1.3 (5.0 blocks and steals combined) on 64.5 TS%. His career high was in that stretch, a 51 point performance in a loss to the Celtics.

Then the playoffs came and Ewing went off. In game 1 vs Boston they lost pretty handedly and in game 2 they allowed Boston to break the playoff record for points with 157 (a record that still stands). Following that embarrassment at Boston they were facing elimination in game 3. Ewing and Oakley really turned on the defense and dominated the glass with Ewing grabbing 19 boards in the 3 point win. They followed that with a game 4 blowout win where Ewing played what's probably his best game ever with 44 points, 7 steals, 5 assists, and shooting 75% from the field. Now they were tied up in the series attempting to become the 2nd team to comeback from being down 0-2 and at the same time hoping to break a 28 game losing streak in Boston (the last time they won in Boston was in 84). The Knicks won that closely contested game with the momentum shifting towards the end of the game with Larry Bird missing an easy dunk and Ewing shortly after making his iconic turnaround 3 pointer.

On Larry Bird missing that dunk this is from SI's article on that series:

When Larry Bird missed the dunk—a point-blank dunk at crunch time in a do-or-die playoff game in Boston Garden—he did so not as a result of any strange astrological occurrence or the Massachusetts budget crisis or even tough defense.

He did so, by his own account, because he was worried. "I wasn't going to dunk it," he explained after the game. "But I thought Patrick was coming, so I tried to. And then I jumped too high, if you can believe it."

Believe it, as hard as it may seem. It is not the business of Boston Celtics to feel shadowy presences, least of all for Larry Legend to feel one from a New York Knick in the building in which New York had lost 26 straight times and hadn't won in the playoffs since the Nixon administration. This was the Garden, and the ghosts are supposed to be friendly. But: "I thought Patrick was coming."

If the truth be told, at the time of Bird's misguided dunk attempt, any Celtic was entitled to be wary of these Knicks. A little more than four minutes remained in Sunday's fifth and final game of these teams' first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, and the Patrick in question, a certain Mr. Ewing, had just feathered in a jump-hook to give New York a 103-99 lead. Ewing did just about everything asked of him in this game. He finished with 31 points and 10 assists, and those figures are stark testimony to how shrewdly he picked apart Boston's double teams with opportune passes and drives.


Following that series they were completely outmatched by the Pistons but Ewing wasn't. He had some stinkers but overall averaged 27.2 ppg on 56 TS% which is more PPG than anyone outside of MJ (who was only as efficient as Ewing one of those 3 years) averaged against the Pistons in a series between 88 and 90.

EDIT: I punched the numbers. MJ averaged 30.0 ppg on 56.0 TS% against the Pistons from 88 to 90. He averaged 25.4 points per 36. Ewing averaged 26.2 points per 36 against them on 56.0 TS%. So his scoring performance against them was right there with MJ's average scoring performance against them.

Overall that's a pretty great season, but it's not the most impressive left on the board so why 90 Ewing? Well here's how I see his game:

Scoring - 28.6 ppg on +6.2 rTS% speaks for itself. Post merger only Moses (in 81), Robinson (in 94), and Shaq (in 94, 95, 00, and 01) have scored more ppg as a center. Only Shaq in 94, 00, and 01 did it on higher efficiency. In the playoffs he showed he could consistently score on that level scoring 29.4 ppg on 57.9 TS% in the playoffs. Post merger only Shaq (in 98, 00, and 01), Hakeem (in 88 and 95), and Kareem (in 77 and 80) scored more ppg than Ewing in the 90 playoffs. Only Kareem in both years, and Shaq in 98 did it on higher efficiency.

Then you look at his skillset. He had a robotic but effective post game with a predictable but at times unstoppable running hook shot, great speed and strength, the best jumper for any true C I've seen outside of KAT, and his one weakness was probably his small hands which at times limited him on lobs and lead to easy misses of his signature finger roll. There's a solid argument to be made that outside of the true greats (Kareem, Hakeem, Wilt, Moses, Shaq) he's the best scoring C ever. I think his scoring game would suit the modern game amazingly too. Ewing got most of his buckets back then off quick actions and turnaround jumpers, things that would be more valued in today's league at his size.

His passing and rebounding on the other hand were never strong. His passing was below average and his rebounding was mediocre at best for his size.

There's been a lot of discussion about his defense this year. Discussion I don't really understand. Ewing was still an elite defender in 1990 and I don't really have any reason to think he improved after 1990. Played better? In 1992, definitely, but outside of that the biggest change in the quality of the Knicks defense those years was due to his support and most of all the coach. The coach's effect on defensive ratings is always overlooked but there's no great defenses that don't have great defensive coaches and his supporting cast was Oak, Wilkins, and a bunch of scrubs in 1990.

On that end he was a beast out on the perimeter capable of sticking with smaller guys, super athletic and capable of blocking shots at their apex, the best PNR defender of all the Cs of that era (DRob, Hakeem, Deke, and a little later Zo) and he had fast hands capable of stopping drives. Can anyone actually say what he improved at under Pat Riley? I mean performances aren't consistent which is why I think he was better defensively in 89, 92, etc. but why believe Ewing was a meaningfully better defender in the mid 90s just because he finally got a supporting cast that was dominant on that end and a great defensive coach?

I think tons of people just aren't used to seeing young Ewing so they see the numbers and can't connect it to him being legitimately better, and assume he had to have improved later when in reality he lost a ton of his athleticism and really didn't add much to his game. 93/94 Ewing isn't doing this:



That block 47 seconds in is one of the best I've ever seen and in this game you can see his defensive ability in 90. Locking down Edwards on the perimeter, forcing Isiah to pick up his dribble and rush a pass (causing a turnover) after a switch in the PNR, drawing a charge on Isiah all the way at the dotted line with his quick reaction and movement (it was called blocking but he's clearly there in time), stopping 3 on 1 fast breaks because no one wanted to go up with it with him around, and at the end of the game blocking Isiah's layup from the other side of the basket.

And while it's simple to think that might just be an abnormal game for Ewing that year it isn't. Detroit still was more efficient than their regular season offense that game, and Ewing had defensive numbers worse than his averages. I think he's an easy choice at this spot for now.

3. I don't have one well above the pack yet. I have them by positions for now but my contenders here (I'll expand on why a bit later) are:

Guards - Penny and CP3
Wings - Kawhi and Rick Barry
Bigs - McAdoo and Zo

I was originally going to go with Barry but I talked myself into Zo earlier in this project, did the same with Kawhi in 2016, and tons of other guys have made amazing cases for McAdoo. Right now if I had to order them for now I'd go:

1. McAdoo
2. Barry
3. Zo
4. Kawhi
5. CP3
6. Penny

With guys like Barkley, Pettit, Nash, Kidd, and Clyde Frazier up after that.

EDIT: Voting for 75 McAdoo here. His scoring and postseason performance are too great to ignore.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#12 » by E-Balla » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:03 am

liamliam1234 wrote:As I said, I see Harden in a similar tier as most of the players being discussed right now. And in terms of sheer offensive output, I would say he has a better case than most for surpassing Giannis’s overall output on that end alone. Of course, whether that output legitimately translated to “impact” is something of another story, but the fact the greatest per possession scoring run of all-time, done more efficiently than like the next twenty non-Curry seasons below it, and coupled with respectable passing and general assist totals, by some indications was not massively “impactful” kind-of inherently shows the flaws in what some of those impact metrics convey. The end of the Warriors series leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but the same can be and has been said for people looking at Giannis against the Raptors.

*If you ignore the changing rules making NBA defenses the weakest they've ever been by a distance, so weak a rookie is saying it's harder to score in the Euroleague.

Plus no one doubts his offense. He's clearly a top 5ish offensive player. The issue is that's coupled with him being (at this point) the worst defensive SG in league history.

This is part of a post I made in March:

Now explain why Harden's defensive impact over the last 5 seasons have been:

2019: The defense goes from a 104.7 DRTG (the numbers I got yesterday didn't have any games from this month, this is the most recent numbers taken from NBA.com) without him to a 111.5 DRTG with Harden on the court (+6.8, worst on the team and one of the worst in the league).

2018: The defense goes from a 100.8 without him to a 105.7 with him on the court (+4.9, worst on the team).

2017: The defense goes from a 103.3 without him to a 108.5 with him on the court (+5.2, again worst on the team).

2016: The defense goes from a 102.6 without him to a 106.4 with him on the court (+3.8, 2nd worst on the team).

2015: The defense goes from a 95.1 without him to a 103.1 with him on the court (+8.0, worst on the team, worst in the league).

So is there noise in this 5 year sample too?

How about this let's take a 1.5 year sample of RAPM (so taking in some of last season) and see if he fares better. In the 1.5 year sample Harden is 530th of 591 in DRAPM. Yeah I'm sorry he's consistently one of the worst defenders in the league by point differential. Nothing outside of boxscore tracking will ever tell you he's a good defender. Getting 2 steals a game, 3 deflections, and a block, doesn't make up for bad defense in the other 50 possessions.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#13 » by HHera187 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:13 am

N.1 STEVE NASH 2005
One of the best offensive season of all time, no doubt. Some advanced stats of his unbelievable season:
13 Box Creation / +7.7 rTS% / 9.5 passer rating
A goat level combination of scoring and playmaking. Amazing playoffs run, take a look at his WCF VS San Antonio defense.

N.2 KEVIN DURANT 2014
As usual an all time scoring season: 31.4 points per 75 with unbelievable +9.4 rTS%. He was also a very good creator: 11 BOX OC. His playoffs was excellent despite the loss vs San Antonio, but the Spurs that year were too much good for everyone.

N.3 KEVIN DURANT 2017
I can't give too much credit to 2017 KD because of his "supporting cast", but I think this is his best version in terms of skillset. 27.1 points per 75 with 9.8 rTS% and all time level playoffs and finals.

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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#14 » by freethedevil » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:46 pm

liamliam1234 wrote:As I said, I see Harden in a similar tier as most of the players being discussed right now. And in terms of sheer offensive output, I would say he has a better case than most for surpassing Giannis’s overall output on that end alone. Of course, whether that output legitimately translated to “impact” is something of another story, but the fact the greatest per possession scoring run of all-time, done more efficiently than like the next twenty non-Curry seasons below it, and coupled with respectable passing and general assist totals, The end of the Warriors series leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but the same can be and has been said for people looking at Giannis against the Raptors.

Giannis scored more effeciently than harden. Multiple players did. Rather odd to bring up effiency here when harden's effiency wasn't spectacular at all. The only thing that was unqiue here was his volume. Why would a High volume and moderate effiency RS be rated over high efficiency, moderate volume seasons?

by some indications was not massively “impactful” kind-of inherently shows the flaws in what some of those impact metrics convey.

It only shows the flaws if you can prove they're flaws. How precisely is it a flaw that moderately high usage superstars are rated below moderate usage, high effiency ones?
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#15 » by liamliam1234 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:55 pm

freethedevil wrote:Giannis scored more effeciently than harden. Multiple players did. Rather odd to bring up effiency here when harden's effiency wasn't spectacular at all. The only thing that was unqiue here was his volume. Why would a High volume and moderate effiency RS be rated over high efficiency, moderate volume seasons


Giannis was nowhere near Harden’s points per possession output. Harden literally scored twenty-five percent more per possession.

But I did exaggerate: Harden only trails Curry’s efficiency in the top ten best points per possessions seasons ever. Expanding to top twenty includes 2014 Durant and 2017 Isaiah (R.I.P.).

It only shows the flaws if you can prove they're flaws. How precisely is it a flaw that moderately high usage superstars are rated below moderate usage, high effiency ones?


“Use the data you think is flawed to show me how the data is flawed” is a quintessentially [you] request.

And while I am defending a guy I already said was not going to be on my radar for like five or six more rounds...

E-Balla wrote:If you ignore the changing rules making NBA defenses the weakest they've ever been by a distance, so weak a rookie is saying it's harder to score in the Euroleague.


My point does not change much even if you use rTS or that fun metric where you look at the gap between the lead and second-lead scorers in a given season.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#16 » by E-Balla » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:58 pm

liamliam1234 wrote:
My point does not change much even if you use rTS or that fun metric where you look at the gap between the lead and second-lead scorers in a given season.

James Harden scored 36.1 PPG on +5.9 rTS%. Jordan in 88 scored 35.0 ppg on +6.5 rTS%. That's just off the top of my head.

Plus his overall efficiency still wasn't all that because of his turnovers. He wasn't any more efficient than Kobe in his 35.4 ppg season once you take that into account. His scoring efficiency was just higher.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#17 » by liamliam1234 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:10 am

So we take into account turnovers but not creation. :roll:

Adding one person to the list, the guy at the top of the peaks project, radically changes the calculus for you? Did I say no one would jump him under those different standards? No, I said it would not change much.

Also, cute to switch away from per possession. In Jordan’s case, that affects little, but for everyone else it makes the gap a whole lot more obvious.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#18 » by E-Balla » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:02 am

liamliam1234 wrote:So we take into account turnovers but not creation. :roll:

No we take both into account. Harden's extra creation didn't really help things, I mean we've seen their offense do better with him getting the ball less and his supporting cast isn't nearly bad enough to justify him dominating the ball like that.

Adding one person to the list, the guy at the top of the peaks project, radically changes the calculus for you? Did I say no one would jump him under those different standards? No, I said it would not change much.

Also, cute to switch away from per possession. In Jordan’s case, that affects little, but for everyone else it makes the gap a whole lot more obvious.

Per possession makes sense unless Harden is a noticeable amount of MPG away from MJ, Wilt, and Kobe in their high scoring seasons and he was.

At the end of the day Harden underachieved given the quality of his teammates. Houston, even with the injuries, would've been way better with a Harden taking less possessions and giving even a small amount of effort defensively.
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#19 » by liamliam1234 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:30 am

E-Balla wrote:No we take both into account. Harden's extra creation didn't really help things, I mean we've seen their offense do better with him getting the ball less and his supporting cast isn't nearly bad enough to justify him dominating the ball like that.


What, the better offence the year before, where the team was better, healthier, and supported by an end-of-prime Chris Paul?

He did not go on a historic scoring run on a lark. He went on the scoring run because no one else was stepping up. Maybe on paper his supporting cast did not need that level of offensive output, but they sure did not act like it.

Per possession makes sense unless Harden is a noticeable amount of MPG away from MJ, Wilt, and Kobe in their high scoring seasons and he was.


If we are adjusting for era, why would it only go one way? Stars player fewer minutes now. That is part of it.

At the end of the day Harden underachieved given the quality of his teammates. Houston, even with the injuries, would've been way better with a Harden taking less possessions and giving even a small amount of effort defensively.


Completely speculative and assumes the entire team is a profoundly irrational actor, or dominated by a profound ego of "I want to score as much as possible" which has never been suggested. And no, I would not say losing to the Warriors is underachieving, apart from (obviously) game six. And if the ending to that series is prohibitive, fine, but that is a separate reason (and it is not like they lost because he scored too much anyway :noway:).
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Re: #23 - GOAT peaks project (2019) 

Post#20 » by Odinn21 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:38 am

1. 1993 Charles Barkley
Natural scorer and rebounder and it wasn’t like he didn’t pay attention on defense in this particular season. That WCF performance was something to behold. The Sonics were 5th in ppg allowed and 2nd drtg (also, despite the W numbers, they led the league in SRS) and that 44/24 game 7 performance is one of the best ever game 7 performances. Also, despite losing in 6, the Suns didn’t get outscored by the Bulls in the NBA Finals. That was the level of Chuck elevating the team. I’m particularly big on this because there are team performances winning the series despite not outscoring the opponent but those series are usually decided in the last game, either game 5 or game 7. Not in this case.

2. 1994 Patrick Ewing
I was previously voting for 1993 version because I couldn't simply get behind the idea of getting outclassed by a direct competition at the position. But I had a change of heart. As FrogBros4Life pointed out, his 1994 playoffs performance was not something short of his 1993 playoffs performance. Though excluding the NBA Finals makes Ewing's DRTG 97, which is not that far away from the other mentioned numbers even though there's an advantage still. Nearly all of the arguments that can be made for Pat are already in there. So not much to add.

3. 1990 Patrick Ewing
I was considering Westbrook, CP3 or KD for the final spot in my vote. But E-Balla's points about Pat in his vote convinced me to go for Pat one more time.
I don't know if anyone considered this while thinking about Ewing but 1990 Ewing looked a bit mobile/agile to me while 1993 and 1994 versions looked a bit stronger.

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