2019-20 NBA Season Discussion

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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4041 » by limbo » Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:09 am

Also, one more thing regarding Shaq vs. smallball...

Why are people assuming you have to be over 7 feet to have any prayer of defending Shaq? Wasn't Ben Wallace like one of the most effective Shaq defenders ever and he's what... 6'9'' on his best day? He's definitely not much taller than someone like Draymond. Also, Dennis Rodman was able to defend Shaq very well in various stages of his career.

Most 7 footers you will find on the market are clumsy oafs with bad footwork, low mobility, poor core strength and high center of gravity... That's why Shaq was throwing them around like rag dolls. You need the exact opposite of those things to defend Shaq... You need to move gracefully, have good footwork, good lateral mobility, good core strength and a low center of gravity... Which is what Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman had.

This 'myth' that Shaq would be unstoppable today because teams no longer have as many big planks of 7 feet laying around is kind of weird... Those 7 foot planks didn't really defend Shaq any better than how most Centers would in today's league. And as many have mentioned before, if a guy like Shaq existed in today's NBA, teams would stock up on a couple more big bodies just to throw at him and collect some fouls. It's not like there's a shortage of them...
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4042 » by 70sFan » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:44 pm

limbo wrote:Wasn't Ben Wallace like one of the most effective Shaq defenders ever and he's what... 6'9'' on his best day?

No, he wasn't, Shaq torched him. Ben Wallace being a Shaq stopped is a myth came from his famous block on Shaq, but usually Shaq dominated him H2H.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4043 » by limbo » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:40 pm

70sFan wrote:
limbo wrote:Wasn't Ben Wallace like one of the most effective Shaq defenders ever and he's what... 6'9'' on his best day?

No, he wasn't, Shaq torched him. Ben Wallace being a Shaq stopped is a myth came from his famous block on Shaq, but usually Shaq dominated him H2H.


Averaging 23/9/2 in head-to-head games is 'torched him'?

Shaq had like 4 games against Wallace where he scored over 30 points once Wallace got to the Pistons and settled as an NBA starter, and i believe they played each other like 40 times in total, including multiple back-to-back Playoff series from 2004 to 2007.

It's true that Shaq's efficiency usually didn't plummet against Wallace like it did against the Spurs for example (if i calculated correctly, Shaq averaged around 58 FG% in games versus Ben Wallace, which would put him right at where his usual prime average was), but his volume wasn't that impressive... I'll gladly live with any guy that i can put on Shaq and get him to average 23/9/2 on 58% from Shaq considering his FT shooting and playmaking any day of the week.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4044 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:49 pm

limbo wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:This is a good discussion.

I think the fact that the Lakers won with more of a "bigs focus" this year may well be start of a trend back to "bigger" basketball so I don't want to come off like "Small Ball FTW forever!", but the big question with Shaq is always about the other side of the ball now that Stretch 5's exist and great 3 shooters are so ubiquitous.

We see how Davis dominated on the inside in the playoffs and it makes us think about how bigs used to dominate, but Davis can play out to the perimeter on both sides of the ball. Shaq, not so much.

Don't get me wrong, if Shaq were a prospect today I'd see him as a future superstar. But when people go with the whole "he'd massacre all these small ball guys so he'd be even better today!" I always think about the trade offs and the uncertainty about who will get the better end of the mismatch.

Of course I think that way in general and it's part of why I'm not that big on playoff predictions. Analyzing relative strengths and weaknesses ahead of time to know what to expect and what will likely make the difference for a team if they win is good, but when it comes to shoring up weaknesses, I think it's really hard to know who can mitigate the best.


See, i don't look at this Laker victory as a win for 'Big-focused' basketball. I think the Lakers best lineups were still the ones without either Dwight or McGee playing any minutes. And if the Lakers had someone that was actually good instead of Morris/Kuzma getting minutes at the 4, this would be even more pronounced. McGee was completely abolished come Playoff time and Dwight was used situationally, mostly to take some pressure off AD by not always having to bang with the biggest guy and be the main rim protector. Dwight really only featured in the Denver series because he's a good defensive matchup to throw at Jokic. You don't want to be putting AD on Jokic most of the game and risk him getting foul trouble. The Portland series was so lopsided it didn't matter, and against Houston and Miami, when the Lakers got serious they benched Howard, told AD to suck it up, and played much better as a result of it.

And yes, i realize AD is 6'11'' and basically a C/PF hybrid, but the death of 'big man basketball' was never so much about size, but more about style of play. If you can find a 7'5' dude that can play exactly like Anthony Davis and offer the same things while not blow up his knees somewhere along the way, then that player will definitely be one of the best in the league and a definite championship pillar you can build around.

But ultimately it comes down to two things. The first one being what Dr.Positivity already mentioned. The days where teams could get away with playing guys like Nazr/Rasho and Erick Dampier and still challenge for NBA titles are long gone by now. You simply can't afford to be a liability on offense, and defensively, their biggest strength (which is interior/post defense) has become an increasingly less important factor of defending modern offensive schemes. Defensive versatility, the ability to switch, not getting cooked by mismatches, the ability to come out and defend 3pt shooters and recover... all those things have become almost exponentially much more important in the last decade, and guys like Nazr/Dampier and several guys that played 20-32 mpg in the 00's are liabilities in those areas of defense. So now you're basically dealing with players that become liabilities on both ends.

And since people like to pick on me for always using low hanging fruit like Nazr to illustrate my point, you could take someone like Andrew Bynum, and the same things would apply.

Bynum was an all-star not too long ago... What use does Bynum have in the modern NBA? He can't shoot, can't pass, can't dribble on offense... Defensively he's a solid rim protector and post defender, i guess, but is he good at defending the 3pt line, defending multiple positions, switching onto quicker guys, is he fast enough to recover against teams with good shooters and ball movement? No...

Thus... what's the point of having Andrew Bynum on your roster? There's no point. I mean, if you're a team that's starving for talent like the Knicks, i guess you can pick him up and use him as some sort of option offensively. He's good enough to average an efficient 18 ppg and is a good offensive rebounder. But are you really going to go anywhere as a team building around a guy like Bynum offensively? Probably not. Even as a third option type deal, i would decline him... If i'm the 2020 Lakers or the 2020 Heat... I'm not interested in taking Bynum and using him as some 3rd option isolation scorer... I rather fill my roster with more guys like Green, KCP, Morris, Crowder, Olynyk etc. to be honest. Rather just have players that stand on the three point line and either shoot or keep it moving than have a Bynum type player.

Which segways nicely to my second 'thing'; Days of teams looking for offensive injections through mediocre (or even decent) post players are gone... Like i said in the paragraph above. There's absolutely no scenario right now in which you would rather run your offense through a guy like Bynum or Dwight in the post (both of which were actually good post scorers too) over putting the ball into the hands of your best perimeter playmaker and surrounding him with a team full of shooters (ideally guys that can also put the ball on the floor and do more)... Unless that post player is a complete outlier like Jokic who is a multi-dimensional player with GOAT level passing and elite shooting. And even then Jokic plays on the perimeter and uses the full extent of the half-court more than he is a post player... I'm not a big fan of Embiid post-centric offense. It's not terrible, but not great either, and puts a cap on the ceiling. You put Kyle Lowry on those 2018/2019 Sixers and they improve significantly as an offensive team.


I get what you're saying and you make good points.

I'd still say that the Lakers "small" lineups were able to beat the physically abuse everyone but the Nuggets.

LeBron with his first 3 teams had his primary partner be a guard (Mo, Wade, Kyrie). This is the first team where his main partner is another giant like him, and his teams have never seemed more like a physical bully.

And of course the fact that they have Howard & McGee when they need them to make sure they can manhandle even someone like Jokic I think further brings the general point. Against everyone they faced, the Lakers played bigger.

(I wonder what they'd have done against the 76ers. I mean, they'd beat the 76ers, but what approach would prove best?)
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4045 » by Heej » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:59 pm

70sFan wrote:Shaq came to the league as 290-300 lbs 20 years lld guy. No way he'd ever weigh 275 lbs, it'd be impossible for him.

I can see him staying in 300-320 lbs range, because he wouldn't need extra mass today but 275 lbs is unrealistic.

Lol goddamn he looked 275 lean to my eye. Wtf is that dude's bones made out of. Adamantium?

I think he'd have to stay 300 then.

In regards to the Lakers being some kind of herald for a new age of big men prominence, as much as I'd like to see it I'm not holding out any hopes for it. When it came down to it, even against Houston even though there were myriad statistics pointing to matching strength with strength and playing Dwight in the dunker spot to vertically space the floor; Vogel still went with Smallball (AD at 5) and micro-ball (Morris at 5) lineups at the end of the day.

That was the turning point in my book. If you weren't gonna do it vs the Rockets with an outlier shapeshifting big/wing hybrid like AD it's never coming back in the minds of 2020 coaches. Only way is if the next crop of young bigs come up in the Jokic vein and demand the big man be placed at the forefront. Which is entirely possible during the late 2020s. But as I said before, that allowance will only be made for the upper echelon passers that make post offense functional in the modern game.

Look at Joel Embiid, he's about as good as a modern big can get in terms of scoring in the post; but he'll never be the focal point of a championship level offense with his sub-par passing. Joel Embiid is the absolute ceiling for a big man that can't pass. He's got everything else in the book other than the ability to play higher up vs the PNR, and he's at best a fringe top 10 guy and not a true championship level first option.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4046 » by 70sFan » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:32 pm

limbo wrote:
70sFan wrote:
limbo wrote:Wasn't Ben Wallace like one of the most effective Shaq defenders ever and he's what... 6'9'' on his best day?

No, he wasn't, Shaq torched him. Ben Wallace being a Shaq stopped is a myth came from his famous block on Shaq, but usually Shaq dominated him H2H.


Averaging 23/9/2 in head-to-head games is 'torched him'?

Shaq had like 4 games against Wallace where he scored over 30 points once Wallace got to the Pistons and settled as an NBA starter, and i believe they played each other like 40 times in total, including multiple back-to-back Playoff series from 2004 to 2007.

It's true that Shaq's efficiency usually didn't plummet against Wallace like it did against the Spurs for example (if i calculated correctly, Shaq averaged around 58 FG% in games versus Ben Wallace, which would put him right at where his usual prime average was), but his volume wasn't that impressive... I'll gladly live with any guy that i can put on Shaq and get him to average 23/9/2 on 58% from Shaq considering his FT shooting and playmaking any day of the week.


Well, if you include Miami and Phoenix Shaq then sure - this version of Shaq didn't dominate Wallace, but he didn't dominate anyone at that point.

Here are points and efficiency from all RS h2h matchups from 2002-04 period:

28 points, 11/18 FG and 60 TS%
28 points, 11/17 FG and 65 TS% (in 25 min)
35 points, 14/24 FG and 64 TS%
24 points, 10/18 FG and 58 TS%
21 points, 7/17 FG and 48 TS%
20 points, 8/16 FG and 54 TS%

Then in the finals, Shaq averaged 27 ppg on 63 FG% and 62 TS%. All in low 80s pace and with Kobe playing worse than Pascal Siakam.

Even when Shaq wasn't himself anymore, he still put up 21 ppg on 59 FG% and 58 TS% in 2005 and 22 ppg on 66 FG% and 62 TS% in 2006 as a second option. 2006 was the time when Shaq was shut down by Dampier and weak Dallas team, yet Wallace was still hopeless against him.

It's not about defending Shaq here - you are just wrong. Ben Wallace was never a great post defender (Sheed was better actually) and he never was great option on Shaq. Ben didn't shut down Duncan either, it was Rasheed job. You can see in 2004 finals that out of shape Shaq scored on Wallace one on one with ease, because Pistons hoped to stop Kobe instead (which the succeed). 2004 Shaq wasn't half of a player 2000 Shaq was.

Teams often used smaller players with low center of gravitt against Shaq, but it rarely worked. I remember that people often said Malik Rose was Spirs best option against Shaq, but the truth is that without Duncan/Robinson doubles he was hopeless and even with them he was far worse option than Duncan or Robinson. Only Perdue was worse than that.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4047 » by limbo » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:41 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:I'd still say that the Lakers "small" lineups were able to beat the physically abuse everyone but the Nuggets.


Howard was just a really good match against Denver's lineups and looked extra motivated to prove himself against Jokic defensively.

I don't think this really unlocks any secrets in terms of going bigger vs smaller. I think AD would've defended Jokic even better than Dwight but since Dwight can do a solid job at that, why not use AD's defensive versatility to greater use. And Lakers displayed that in this series with AD taking a more roaming style and even defending Murray at times. And like i said previously, you don't want to risk AD picking up fouls on Jokic who is as crafty as they come at drawing them...

But yeah, obviously, when the Lakers went with their smaller lineup against most other teams it was like a cheat code, because when most teams right now opt for the smallball lineup, they don't have the ideal personnel to execute that style. They have to rely on guys like Covington/PJ Tucker, Ibaka/Siakam, Theis/Tatum, Bam/Crowder etc. and AD and LeBron simply BULLY all these guys. AD and LeBron are generational physical freaks of nature while Crowder is... Crowder. He cannot compete with that. That's why most teams will simply lose if they go small against the Lakers unless you got some aces up your sleeve (like a Draymond + GOAT level shooting) or these kinds of rare combinations. Your team also has to bring something unique to the table by going smallball or else you'll just end up being a weaker version of smallball in comparison to the Lakers...

That said, the Lakers would abuse bigger lineups all the same as well... so there's not much of a difference here :D It's hard to counter a versatile combo like LeBron/AD regardless of going big or small. If you go small, they will bully you. If you go big, the will bring you out of the paint and blow by, beat you with penetration and passing... It's a lose lose situation.

If you don't wanna get abused by Bron and AD, you literally need an Ayton or Bam + Giannis frontcourt or something ridiculous like that, and even then i've seen AD handle Bam fine and LeBron bully his way against Giannis too... Davis is literally the most versatile player to put at C and LeBron is the most versatile player to put on the court period.

So while i agree the Lakers couldn't 'physically' abuse the Nuggets bigger frontcourt as effectively as they could other matchups, i don't think it matters in the grand scheme of things, because they would find other, non-physical, ways to abuse them, which they did. Posting a 118 ORtg despite playing Dwight increasing minutes and shooting 34% from 3pt land. Dwight just had a lot more value in this matchup than in others because the Nuggets couldn't exploit him as much, so it made perfect sense to play him.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4048 » by MyUniBroDavis » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:43 pm

Heej wrote:
70sFan wrote:Shaq came to the league as 290-300 lbs 20 years lld guy. No way he'd ever weigh 275 lbs, it'd be impossible for him.

I can see him staying in 300-320 lbs range, because he wouldn't need extra mass today but 275 lbs is unrealistic.

Lol goddamn he looked 275 lean to my eye. Wtf is that dude's bones made out of. Adamantium?

I think he'd have to stay 300 then.

In regards to the Lakers being some kind of herald for a new age of big men prominence, as much as I'd like to see it I'm not holding out any hopes for it. When it came down to it, even against Houston even though there were myriad statistics pointing to matching strength with strength and playing Dwight in the dunker spot to vertically space the floor; Vogel still went with Smallball (AD at 5) and micro-ball (Morris at 5) lineups at the end of the day.

That was the turning point in my book. If you weren't gonna do it vs the Rockets with an outlier shapeshifting big/wing hybrid like AD it's never coming back in the minds of 2020 coaches. Only way is if the next crop of young bigs come up in the Jokic vein and demand the big man be placed at the forefront. Which is entirely possible during the late 2020s. But as I said before, that allowance will only be made for the upper echelon passers that make post offense functional in the modern game.

Look at Joel Embiid, he's about as good as a modern big can get in terms of scoring in the post; but he'll never be the focal point of a championship level offense with his sub-par passing. Joel Embiid is the absolute ceiling for a big man that can't pass. He's got everything else in the book other than the ability to play higher up vs the PNR, and he's at best a fringe top 10 guy and not a true championship level first option.


Tbf id say itd be the same for iso players that cant pass, if embiid was a good passer he could totally lead a top level offense

On lakers vs rockets, i dont think tthem taking a different route means the other one couldnt have worked

The fact that zion is the same weight as shaq is hilarious lol
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4049 » by 70sFan » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:48 pm

Heej wrote:Look at Joel Embiid, he's about as good as a modern big can get in terms of scoring in the post; but he'll never be the focal point of a championship level offense with his sub-par passing. Joel Embiid is the absolute ceiling for a big man that can't pass. He's got everything else in the book other than the ability to play higher up vs the PNR, and he's at best a fringe top 10 guy and not a true championship level first option.


What's the point of building offense around player who can't pass? Do we have threads about how you can't build around guards that can't pass? Of course not, because we all know you have to be at least decent passer to be offensive anchor, no matter what position you play.

Every post player that was legit offensive anchor was good passer.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4050 » by limbo » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:52 pm

Also, i would like to add that i definitely think bigger lineups CAN come back into the NBA, and the league CAN even transition back towards more post-oriented play again... but it's not going to happen under the current state of the game. The NBA would need to fundamentally change parts/rules of the game for that to manifest. The three point line is just too valuable of a shot right now. They would need to eliminate corner threes, bring the 3pt line further back... SOMETHING that would nerf the effectiveness of camping/spamming 3pt shots... The current 3pt line might have been good in 1990, when few players growing up were really practicing long distance shooting that seriously, but in 2020, every kid pre-high school is already practicing outside shooting ad nauseum, a lot of the guys coming into the NBA are already sharp shooters now.

Or, before you start tinkering away with the 3pt line, the league should just give defense more power in the game. I don't want to see league revert back to the dark ages where brutes where climbing up each other in the paint and throwing elbows, but i would like if the defender could at least breathe on a shooter before it being called a foul.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4051 » by Heej » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:06 pm

70sFan wrote:
Heej wrote:Look at Joel Embiid, he's about as good as a modern big can get in terms of scoring in the post; but he'll never be the focal point of a championship level offense with his sub-par passing. Joel Embiid is the absolute ceiling for a big man that can't pass. He's got everything else in the book other than the ability to play higher up vs the PNR, and he's at best a fringe top 10 guy and not a true championship level first option.


What's the point of building offense around player who can't pass? Do we have threads about how you can't build around guards that can't pass? Of course not, because we all know you have to be at least decent passer to be offensive anchor, no matter what position you play.

Every post player that was legit offensive anchor was good passer.

Because it's a lot harder to find a guy that can score than it is to find someone that can pass lol. You build offenses around who your most talented players are. Also, the higher you go up on the positional chart the lower average passing ability goes down. Most of the leagues talented Cs aren't good passers, ergo the discussion centers around whether you can build an offense around your center as an offensive hub.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4052 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:17 pm

limbo wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:I'd still say that the Lakers "small" lineups were able to beat the physically abuse everyone but the Nuggets.


Howard was just a really good match against Denver's lineups and looked extra motivated to prove himself against Jokic defensively.

I don't think this really unlocks any secrets in terms of going bigger vs smaller. I think AD would've defended Jokic even better than Dwight but since Dwight can do a solid job at that, why not use AD's defensive versatility to greater use. And Lakers displayed that in this series with AD taking a more roaming style and even defending Murray at times. And like i said previously, you don't want to risk AD picking up fouls on Jokic who is as crafty as they come at drawing them...

But yeah, obviously, when the Lakers went with their smaller lineup against most other teams it was like a cheat code, because when most teams right now opt for the smallball lineup, they don't have the ideal personnel to execute that style. They have to rely on guys like Covington/PJ Tucker, Ibaka/Siakam, Theis/Tatum, Bam/Crowder etc. and AD and LeBron simply BULLY all these guys. AD and LeBron are generational physical freaks of nature while Crowder is... Crowder. He cannot compete with that. That's why most teams will simply lose if they go small against the Lakers unless you got some aces up your sleeve (like a Draymond + GOAT level shooting) or these kinds of rare combinations. Your team also has to bring something unique to the table by going smallball or else you'll just end up being a weaker version of smallball in comparison to the Lakers...

That said, the Lakers would abuse bigger lineups all the same as well... so there's not much of a difference here :D It's hard to counter a versatile combo like LeBron/AD regardless of going big or small. If you go small, they will bully you. If you go big, the will bring you out of the paint and blow by, beat you with penetration and passing... It's a lose lose situation.

If you don't wanna get abused by Bron and AD, you literally need an Ayton or Bam + Giannis frontcourt or something ridiculous like that, and even then i've seen AD handle Bam fine and LeBron bully his way against Giannis too... Davis is literally the most versatile player to put at C and LeBron is the most versatile player to put on the court period.

So while i agree the Lakers couldn't 'physically' abuse the Nuggets bigger frontcourt as effectively as they could other matchups, i don't think it matters in the grand scheme of things, because they would find other, non-physical, ways to abuse them, which they did. Posting a 118 ORtg despite playing Dwight increasing minutes and shooting 34% from 3pt land. Dwight just had a lot more value in this matchup than in others because the Nuggets couldn't exploit him as much, so it made perfect sense to play him.


I think how Jokic played against the Lakers was incredibly instructive. In a nutshell, the Lakers successfully reduced Jokic's effectiveness to admirable degree...but you could see that Jokic - savant that he is in most facets of play - was rattled by Howard's unsportsmanlike play and made some stupid mistakes to go along with the tactically-smart-strategically-dumb fouls he would take on early in the game. I think there's every reason to think that Jokic can come back smarter and stronger against the Lakers in the future.

And I say that while remembering plays where AD proved powerless against Jokic. Jokic has better basketball strength and intelligence than AD, and I'd say he's the only guy I'd say that combo about.

That's not to say that I think Jokic would necessarily outplay AD in their next match up, but I'm not at all convinced that AD has Jokic's number the way he does with Butler.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4053 » by 70sFan » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:17 pm

Heej wrote:
70sFan wrote:
Heej wrote:Look at Joel Embiid, he's about as good as a modern big can get in terms of scoring in the post; but he'll never be the focal point of a championship level offense with his sub-par passing. Joel Embiid is the absolute ceiling for a big man that can't pass. He's got everything else in the book other than the ability to play higher up vs the PNR, and he's at best a fringe top 10 guy and not a true championship level first option.


What's the point of building offense around player who can't pass? Do we have threads about how you can't build around guards that can't pass? Of course not, because we all know you have to be at least decent passer to be offensive anchor, no matter what position you play.

Every post player that was legit offensive anchor was good passer.

Because it's a lot harder to find a guy that can score than it is to find someone that can pass lol. You build offenses around who your most talented players are. Also, the higher you go up on the positional chart the lower average passing ability goes down. Most of the leagues talented Cs aren't good passers, ergo the discussion centers around whether you can build an offense around your center as an offensive hub.

That's true but it was always true. Most bigs aren't good picks for your first option, because bigs are usually less talented. It doesn't mean that it's impossible to create a succesful offense on legit bigman star.

Nobody asks you to build offense around Patrick Ewing or Elvin Hayes. Ewing played that way because he had to, Knicks had no talent offensively. I'm sure Riley would be happy to have Jordan or Magic as his first option, but instead he had Starks who wasn't better than Ewing on offense.

When you look at successful first option centers, you see that all of them were at least good passers - Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Walton, Lanier, Shaq, Hakeem (during mid-90s at least), Duncan, Jokic. There is one exception and it's off-ball bigman like Davis or Moses but they aren't your typical anchors - they just amplify everyone's production around them.

The absolute best offensive bigman who was the main creator for his team and wasn't good passer is someone like Reed, Ewing or Howard and they were never in conversation for the best offensive players in the league. There are also outliers like Dirk or McAdoo, but they played more like perimeter players.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4054 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:32 pm

70sFan wrote:
Heej wrote:
70sFan wrote:
What's the point of building offense around player who can't pass? Do we have threads about how you can't build around guards that can't pass? Of course not, because we all know you have to be at least decent passer to be offensive anchor, no matter what position you play.

Every post player that was legit offensive anchor was good passer.

Because it's a lot harder to find a guy that can score than it is to find someone that can pass lol. You build offenses around who your most talented players are. Also, the higher you go up on the positional chart the lower average passing ability goes down. Most of the leagues talented Cs aren't good passers, ergo the discussion centers around whether you can build an offense around your center as an offensive hub.

That's true but it was always true. Most bigs aren't good picks for your first option, because bigs are usually less talented. It doesn't mean that it's impossible to create a succesful offense on legit bigman star.

Nobody asks you to build offense around Patrick Ewing or Elvin Hayes. Ewing played that way because he had to, Knicks had no talent offensively. I'm sure Riley would be happy to have Jordan or Magic as his first option, but instead he had Starks who wasn't better than Ewing on offense.

When you look at successful first option centers, you see that all of them were at least good passers - Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Walton, Lanier, Shaq, Hakeem (during mid-90s at least), Duncan, Jokic. There is one exception and it's off-ball bigman like Davis or Moses but they aren't your typical anchors - they just amplify everyone's production around them.

The absolute best offensive bigman who was the main creator for his team and wasn't good passer is someone like Reed, Ewing or Howard and they were never in conversation for the best offensive players in the league. There are also outliers like Dirk or McAdoo, but they played more like perimeter players.


Eh, but Hayes was always the first option from early on through his prime. I don't think it makes sense to say that was some kind of back up plan. Hayes expected the offense to run through his scoring because coaches always though it was a good idea to have him miss all those shots.

A more extreme example to my mind is Nate Thurmond. There you literally have a guy that no one sees as offensively skilled and yet he ends up with 20 ppg on lousy shooting in a way that would proven quite clearly to be not inevitable if he were around today.

There's a long history in basketball of thinking from a perspective where you are trying to advance the ball as close to the basket as possible to get the best shot possible. That's why we call guards "guards": They weren't supposed to lead the offense, they were supposed to lead the defense.

And the epiphany that's changed that not just once but repeatedly is:

"Oh, I guess humans can hit a shot from that far away."

It's only from our modern lens that you can argue that perimeter-based offense is the obvious way to do things, and even then that wasn't any kind of consensus until the 2010s (if it even is now).
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4055 » by limbo » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:56 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:I think how Jokic played against the Lakers was incredibly instructive. In a nutshell, the Lakers successfully reduced Jokic's effectiveness to admirable degree...but you could see that Jokic - savant that he is in most facets of play - was rattled by Howard's unsportsmanlike play and made some stupid mistakes to go along with the tactically-smart-strategically-dumb fouls he would take on early in the game. I think there's every reason to think that Jokic can come back smarter and stronger against the Lakers in the future.

And I say that while remembering plays where AD proved powerless against Jokic. Jokic has better basketball strength and intelligence than AD, and I'd say he's the only guy I'd say that combo about.

That's not to say that I think Jokic would necessarily outplay AD in their next match up, but I'm not at all convinced that AD has Jokic's number the way he does with Butler.


Yeah, Jokic has so many tricks in the bag, and he's very good both on/off ball and low block, high post or top of the arc. He can punish you from anywhere, anyhow. He's a tall task for anyone trying to defend.

I don't think Dwight is bigger, stronger, more intelligent or has more defensive versatility than Davis. Yet it seemed like he 'rattled' Jokic more. What perhaps helped Dwight seem like a more effective defender against Jokic was the fact that he was an afterthought offensively and he was in these games for the sole purpose of being physical and roughing up Jokic because he could afford to play a bit more physical.

If Davis was a 16-22 minute bench player with no role offensively and didn't care about picking up 6 fouls, i think we would see him try and be more physical and energized when defending Jokic, much as Howard was able to be.

So again, i think it comes mostly down to role/circumstances than Howard being some secret kryptonite or generally a better Jokic defender. AD needed to pull a lot of punches because he's out there to score 30 points and defend at a high level for 40 minutes. Dwight not so much.

But like i said, Jokic has so many tricks in his bag that it's hard to deny him having a great impact on offense even if he scores just 20 points. Even in the last game when Dwight played and defended Jokic by far the most minutes than in any other game Jokic still put up 20 on 61%TS, 5 assists and only 1 turnover. It was the rest of the Nuggets squad that were being far more contained than Jokic.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4056 » by 70sFan » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:59 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
70sFan wrote:
Heej wrote:Because it's a lot harder to find a guy that can score than it is to find someone that can pass lol. You build offenses around who your most talented players are. Also, the higher you go up on the positional chart the lower average passing ability goes down. Most of the leagues talented Cs aren't good passers, ergo the discussion centers around whether you can build an offense around your center as an offensive hub.

That's true but it was always true. Most bigs aren't good picks for your first option, because bigs are usually less talented. It doesn't mean that it's impossible to create a succesful offense on legit bigman star.

Nobody asks you to build offense around Patrick Ewing or Elvin Hayes. Ewing played that way because he had to, Knicks had no talent offensively. I'm sure Riley would be happy to have Jordan or Magic as his first option, but instead he had Starks who wasn't better than Ewing on offense.

When you look at successful first option centers, you see that all of them were at least good passers - Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Walton, Lanier, Shaq, Hakeem (during mid-90s at least), Duncan, Jokic. There is one exception and it's off-ball bigman like Davis or Moses but they aren't your typical anchors - they just amplify everyone's production around them.

The absolute best offensive bigman who was the main creator for his team and wasn't good passer is someone like Reed, Ewing or Howard and they were never in conversation for the best offensive players in the league. There are also outliers like Dirk or McAdoo, but they played more like perimeter players.


Eh, but Hayes was always the first option from early on through his prime. I don't think it makes sense to say that was some kind of back up plan. Hayes expected the offense to run through his scoring because coaches always though it was a good idea to have him miss all those shots.

A more extreme example to my mind is Nate Thurmond. There you literally have a guy that no one sees as offensively skilled and yet he ends up with 20 ppg on lousy shooting in a way that would proven quite clearly to be not inevitable if he were around today.

There's a long history in basketball of thinking from a perspective where you are trying to advance the ball as close to the basket as possible to get the best shot possible. That's why we call guards "guards": They weren't supposed to lead the offense, they were supposed to lead the defense.

And the epiphany that's changed that not just once but repeatedly is:

"Oh, I guess humans can hit a shot from that far away."

It's only from our modern lens that you can argue that perimeter-based offense is the obvious way to do things, and even then that wasn't any kind of consensus until the 2010s (if it even is now).

Elvin Hayes was a prick who always believed he was better than he actually was. He's known for a lot of bad off-court stories about him criticizing coaches and refusing to take lesser role. In short - he was a toxic player.

Thurmond wasn't Warriors anchor, although it's true that he took way too many shots. It's not like Warriors run their offense through him - he just was willing to take shots defenses gave them. He was known for shooting a lot of long midrange jumpshots even though he wasn't that good at it.

Thurmond case is more about how most coaches didn't understand the importance of efficiency in the 1960s and 1970s. I wouldn't use this as an example of "big=better" mindset. You can find a lot of perimeter players who played way too big role on offense as well.

I think that something is missing in this discussion. It's absolutely true that bigs usually had bigger and more important roles in older eras than now. It's also true that usually it's better to run your offense through perimeter player. With that being said, some people act here like back then everything was run through bigs and even unskilled bigs were not liabilites. Knicks played perimeter oriented basketball as early as in the late 1950s. Oscar Robertson didn't reduce his role for Wayne Embry. Lakers dominated in the 1960s offensively while their bigs played quite modern role.

It was never optimal to run your offense through bigman, unless you have truly elite bigman. People act like Jokic doesn't count because he's special - every good offensive bigman was special. Kareem wouldn't become Meyers Leonard in today league. Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal had no peers in 70 years of NBA history. Saying that Kanter or Okafor play doesn't mean much in conparison to Wilt or Shaq, who were absolute outlier.

Nobody ever dominated the league with Wilt or Shaq style. Other than Wilt and Shaq of course.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4057 » by Heej » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:40 pm

70sFan wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
70sFan wrote:That's true but it was always true. Most bigs aren't good picks for your first option, because bigs are usually less talented. It doesn't mean that it's impossible to create a succesful offense on legit bigman star.

Nobody asks you to build offense around Patrick Ewing or Elvin Hayes. Ewing played that way because he had to, Knicks had no talent offensively. I'm sure Riley would be happy to have Jordan or Magic as his first option, but instead he had Starks who wasn't better than Ewing on offense.

When you look at successful first option centers, you see that all of them were at least good passers - Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Walton, Lanier, Shaq, Hakeem (during mid-90s at least), Duncan, Jokic. There is one exception and it's off-ball bigman like Davis or Moses but they aren't your typical anchors - they just amplify everyone's production around them.

The absolute best offensive bigman who was the main creator for his team and wasn't good passer is someone like Reed, Ewing or Howard and they were never in conversation for the best offensive players in the league. There are also outliers like Dirk or McAdoo, but they played more like perimeter players.


Eh, but Hayes was always the first option from early on through his prime. I don't think it makes sense to say that was some kind of back up plan. Hayes expected the offense to run through his scoring because coaches always though it was a good idea to have him miss all those shots.

A more extreme example to my mind is Nate Thurmond. There you literally have a guy that no one sees as offensively skilled and yet he ends up with 20 ppg on lousy shooting in a way that would proven quite clearly to be not inevitable if he were around today.

There's a long history in basketball of thinking from a perspective where you are trying to advance the ball as close to the basket as possible to get the best shot possible. That's why we call guards "guards": They weren't supposed to lead the offense, they were supposed to lead the defense.

And the epiphany that's changed that not just once but repeatedly is:

"Oh, I guess humans can hit a shot from that far away."

It's only from our modern lens that you can argue that perimeter-based offense is the obvious way to do things, and even then that wasn't any kind of consensus until the 2010s (if it even is now).

Elvin Hayes was a prick who always believed he was better than he actually was. He's known for a lot of bad off-court stories about him criticizing coaches and refusing to take lesser role. In short - he was a toxic player.

Thurmond wasn't Warriors anchor, although it's true that he took way too many shots. It's not like Warriors run their offense through him - he just was willing to take shots defenses gave them. He was known for shooting a lot of long midrange jumpshots even though he wasn't that good at it.

Thurmond case is more about how most coaches didn't understand the importance of efficiency in the 1960s and 1970s. I wouldn't use this as an example of "big=better" mindset. You can find a lot of perimeter players who played way too big role on offense as well.

I think that something is missing in this discussion. It's absolutely true that bigs usually had bigger and more important roles in older eras than now. It's also true that usually it's better to run your offense through perimeter player. With that being said, some people act here like back then everything was run through bigs and even unskilled bigs were not liabilites. Knicks played perimeter oriented basketball as early as in the late 1950s. Oscar Robertson didn't reduce his role for Wayne Embry. Lakers dominated in the 1960s offensively while their bigs played quite modern role.

It was never optimal to run your offense through bigman, unless you have truly elite bigman. People act like Jokic doesn't count because he's special - every good offensive bigman was special. Kareem wouldn't become Meyers Leonard in today league. Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal had no peers in 70 years of NBA history. Saying that Kanter or Okafor play doesn't mean much in conparison to Wilt or Shaq, who were absolute outlier.

Nobody ever dominated the league with Wilt or Shaq style. Other than Wilt and Shaq of course.

This is what you're not understanding 70sFan. The game is fundamentally different under zone rules now. Theres a good chance that Kareem isn't the "on paper GOAT" (which if you look at resume only his argument is unassailable imo) if he played in the league now. He might be more on the Timmy tier, as in peaking around top 5 as opposed to having the best all-around argument for GOAT like he does now.

The game is slanted against the scoring-centric big man archetype. I understand Kareem was an above average if not very good passer for his position, but he's not built to be a heliocentric star in the modern NBA. It's because the rules have been rigged against the big man for now. Jokic is the exception that proves the rule for now as far as the Outlook of heliocentric big men goes (also lol at my phone for automatically capitalizing outlook I need to work more during work).

Outlier talents can transcend their archetype while still experiencing some of the nerfs associated with it. I just think you're gonna have a much harder time building a championship team with Kareem or Shaq as the go-to option now than you would with LeBron or MJ even though they're clearly all roughly the same tier of talent. On the flip side, as second options I think you have a much easier go of it with the big guys as seen with AD and his immense ceiling raising.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4058 » by limbo » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:46 pm

70sFan wrote:It was never optimal to run your offense through bigman, unless you have truly elite bigman. People act like Jokic doesn't count because he's special - every good offensive bigman was special. Kareem wouldn't become Meyers Leonard in today league. Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal had no peers in 70 years of NBA history. Saying that Kanter or Okafor play doesn't mean much in conparison to Wilt or Shaq, who were absolute outlier.

Nobody ever dominated the league with Wilt or Shaq style. Other than Wilt and Shaq of course.


The point is that the scale has tipped heavily in favor of wing/guard perimeter-based offensive systems in the last couple of decades...

There's no way any player, no matter how big or small, would be able to be anywhere close to the best offensive player in the league today playing the way Kareem did. And this is not a slight on Kareem, but the average NBA team is able to just generate much better offensive looks on a per-possession basis in today's league, mostly by the league improving in outside shooting as a whole, but also some rule changes that gave dribblers more leeway of what they're allowed to get away with on the court.

The only way Big men can hang with perimeter players in offensive impact and hope to anchor a championship caliber offense nowadays is if they mimic what perimeter players are doing on offense...;that is, be able to shoot, dribble, pass, score from anywhere on the floor.

This wasn't the case in the past... You could have a Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon type of offensive anchor and still have a fringe Top 5 offense 15-25 years ago. And the further back you go in time, the less you could optimize your offense through perimeter-based offensive systems. Which is why guys like Moses Malone could dominate offensively in the late 70's by basically camping in the low block, with no passing ability whatsoever and a middling 14 foot jumper at best.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4059 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:57 pm

limbo wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:I think how Jokic played against the Lakers was incredibly instructive. In a nutshell, the Lakers successfully reduced Jokic's effectiveness to admirable degree...but you could see that Jokic - savant that he is in most facets of play - was rattled by Howard's unsportsmanlike play and made some stupid mistakes to go along with the tactically-smart-strategically-dumb fouls he would take on early in the game. I think there's every reason to think that Jokic can come back smarter and stronger against the Lakers in the future.

And I say that while remembering plays where AD proved powerless against Jokic. Jokic has better basketball strength and intelligence than AD, and I'd say he's the only guy I'd say that combo about.

That's not to say that I think Jokic would necessarily outplay AD in their next match up, but I'm not at all convinced that AD has Jokic's number the way he does with Butler.


Yeah, Jokic has so many tricks in the bag, and he's very good both on/off ball and low block, high post or top of the arc. He can punish you from anywhere, anyhow. He's a tall task for anyone trying to defend.

I don't think Dwight is bigger, stronger, more intelligent or has more defensive versatility than Davis. Yet it seemed like he 'rattled' Jokic more. What perhaps helped Dwight seem like a more effective defender against Jokic was the fact that he was an afterthought offensively and he was in these games for the sole purpose of being physical and roughing up Jokic because he could afford to play a bit more physical.

If Davis was a 16-22 minute bench player with no role offensively and didn't care about picking up 6 fouls, i think we would see him try and be more physical and energized when defending Jokic, much as Howard was able to be.

So again, i think it comes mostly down to role/circumstances than Howard being some secret kryptonite or generally a better Jokic defender. AD needed to pull a lot of punches because he's out there to score 30 points and defend at a high level for 40 minutes. Dwight not so much.

But like i said, Jokic has so many tricks in his bag that it's hard to deny him having a great impact on offense even if he scores just 20 points. Even in the last game when Dwight played and defended Jokic by far the most minutes than in any other game Jokic still put up 20 on 61%TS, 5 assists and only 1 turnover. It was the rest of the Nuggets squad that were being far more contained than Jokic.


Hmm, well I agree that Jokic is a pretty tricky dude.

In terms of bigger/strong/smarter I'm a bit confused. I mean, AD is obviously smarter, but I thought everyone saw Howard as obviously bigger and stronger. Davis might be longer - not actually sure on that - but if AD is as big and strong as Howard that's a recent thing. Howard was a considerably more effective bully than AD when they were both young.

I do agree with you though that AD would be a bit different if he could only focus on defense, but I just don't think he's ever had the body for jungle ball. I think if AD and LeBron got physical with each other, for example, that AD would be the one getting hurt.
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Re: 2019-20 NBA Season Discussion 

Post#4060 » by Heej » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:57 pm

@limbo: excellent point about the relaxation of dribbling rules. So much of what's made ballhandlers so OP now against defenses like their hesitations, change of pace, change of direction stems from the fact that players are allowed to get away with an OBSCENE amount of carrying. Watch Luka dribble, he carries the ball every single time, but since his hand is only 60% under the ball as opposed to 80% he can get away with it.

There's a term in anime fandom called "power creep" where suddenly everyone in the show just gets strong as hell for no reason compared to earlier in the story. That kind of stuff has happened with ballhandling in the NBA. The "power creep" of refereeing ballhandlers has made these perimeter guys unreasonably impactful compared to the early arcs of the NBA

Edit: Just saw the Dwight vs AD post. C'mon limbo Dwight is so much stronger than AD it's literally a laughable comparison. Dwight is a goddamn Minotaur. You can see the pain in people's faces when they collide with him. You can tell it literally hurts when you play against him. He's an outlier even amongst world class outlier athletes.

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