2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread

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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1041 » by Dutchball97 » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:48 pm

Giannis had an All-Time great regular season and he had the highest BPM of the play-offs. He showed to be incapable of carrying a struggling team to the finals but the only player in the league who has proven to be able of that is LeBron. Matthews was an offensive non-factor, Bledsoe was terrible, Brook Lopez underperformed and Middleton only hit shots whenever Giannis was injured for some reason. Add on top of that Bud's questionable coaching and I'm not so sure it's fair to penalize Giannis too much for that. I can't see him outside of the top 5 personally.

Other than that LeBron/AD will most likely be my 1 and 2. I feel like I have to include Butler as well. Even though he's more of a top 10 than top 5 player statistically his leadership led to results that many "better" players were unable to achieve this year. Still undecided on the 5th spot between Harden, Jokic and Kawhi.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1042 » by 70sFan » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:00 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:Brook Lopez underperformed

What?
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1043 » by Dutchball97 » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:27 pm

70sFan wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:Brook Lopez underperformed

What?


Remembered him being pretty uneventful in the play-offs even though he wasn't really the problem either.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1044 » by 70sFan » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:31 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:
70sFan wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:Brook Lopez underperformed

What?


Remembered him being pretty uneventful in the play-offs even though he wasn't really the problem either.

I remember him playing fairly well despite his tram treating him like a roleplayer. He should have had a bigger role, but even without it he still played very well. He was the only reliable source of points in his series, Giannis and Middleton were very inconsistent.

I'm not saying he played like a superstar, but with better coaching job he might do that well. Heat had no answer for his inside game, they were simply too small.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1045 » by Doctor MJ » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:46 pm

eminence wrote:These all seem like fair questions.

What the Heat/Jimmy were doing didn't really work that well during the RS (not that it was bad either), they were a deserving 5 seed who could've easily finished 4-6. In any season but this one I find it highly unlikely they make it out of the East and playing those RS games they certainly didn't know that this bubble is how things would wind up. How much should I hold that against them? I don't know.

In the Bucks series I see a series won by great teamwide 3pt shooting vs mediocre shooting from the Bucks, some of that is due to Jimmy's superior ability to break down a defense off the dribble compared to Giannis/Middleton (Dragic better too), but a lot of it is a credit to Crowder. A soft foul at the end of game 2 echoes in my mind. Then Giannis goes down early in game 4. Series is 100% over from then on out, keeps Jimmy from fully slaying the giant.

I would also put the Celtics in the low-end contender circle. That series matters quite a bit to me. And I think Tatum was the best player in it, with Bam the best Heat player. Plenty of others playing well too (it was a fun/high-level series).

On a more granular level, Jimmy's defense in the playoffs I found overall underwhelming, with him as primary defender all of Middleton/Tatum/LeBron really got cooking.

I'm left seeing a guy who through the ECF was the lead offensive cog in a strong Heat team, but a cog nonetheless. A lesser cog on defense, with Bam the star there.

In the Finals Jimmy really steps it up offensively (especially games 2-5) it's an alltimer of a performance. It's forced by circumstance with Dragic/Bam injuries (I see '15 LeBron parallels). It's heroic and great and overall gives Jimmy the 3rd best playoff run in my mind (LBJ/AD are 1-2), but he started this race in ~10th place and he didn't get over the finish line same as all the rest (sans LBJ/AD).

I think the main differences are that I seem to place more importance on the RS/Celtics series, and am less impressed by Jimmy's individual performance in the Bucks series than you seem to be. Perhaps generally lower on his defense as well.


Good thoughts and I want to be clear that I'm really not sure where I'm putting Butler, a few quick things though:

Re: unlikely to make it out of the East in the regular season. I think you're not alone to believe this but to be honest I'm not sure what the rationale here is.

Miami beat the Bucks by exposing a regular-season-oriented mentality in the Bucks, then beat the Celtics in no small part because they just seemed more psychologically ready to handle the high stakes of the playoffs. Both of those things seem to me to be perennial concerns.

Then there's the matter that Miami's players clearly improved come playoff time. Dragic is literally an all-star level player at his best who played at his best in the playoffs, and the young guys were clearly better by the playoffs than they were at the start of the season. It's one thing to say that you think that a team that played like Miami did during the bulk of the season wouldn't normally be able to improve this much, but it's quite another thing to assert that this is "really a 5 seed kind of team going forward" given that improvement.

Even beyond that though, if the Heat were the 2nd best team in the Bubble they were the 2nd best team in the Bubble, and realistically, the Bubble defines this season. Anyone who tries to say "Giannis was the best before the Bubble and then it was just bad luck in the Bubble" to me is offering a non-starter. The Bucks lost for reasons that people speculated about before we'd ever heard the word "COVID".

Re: Heat beat Bucks with 3-point shooting. I mean, in Game 3 we saw Giannis literally get stuck and we saw Butler plow through the vaunted Buck defense down the stretch. You can argue that that sample overstates the importance of Butler, but in the 3rd quarter of that game the Bucks seemed poised to make it a 2-1 series, and at that point people would have expected the Bucks to complete the comeback and win the series. In that crucial time, Butler destroyed the Bucks and boom, that's the series.

I'll add that while there's a good dose of randomness in how each supporting cast shoots 3's, the Bucks offense is designed to allow Giannis to drive in, suck defenders in, and then kick out the ball for open 3's. So when Giannis isn't able to drive well, we don't really expect the Bucks to hit their 3's. I don't want to deny there's signal amongst the noise, but when a team is unusually good or bad from 3 I think it's always worth asking what the defense is doing to disrupt the shooting rhythm, and the Heat defense absolutely did that.

Re: Giannis goes down in Game 4. I'll just say I'm not open to any argument that Giannis had "figured everything out between Game 3 and Game 4" from an October 2020 analysis perspective. Maybe he miraculously did, but we didn't even get to see him play a single game after Game 3 were he was awesome in crunch time, which is where the problem actually is.

Re: Celtics series. I think Bam was very clearly the MVP of that series and I don't want to take anything away from him. But the Heat also tend to operate with their offense through Bam's playmaking for reasons other than him being an amazing playmaker already. He's a pretty good point center, but to me they're playing that way because they're imagining him becoming a great one, not because playing an offense that was is a drastic improvement over something more Dragic or Butler focused.

The Bam-focused offense worked against the Celtics. Great and credit Bam for player of the series, but that's not the same as the Heat needing something desperately from Butler and him being unable to deliver.

I was not that impressed by Tatum in the series. To me the Celtics felt like they were in the no man's land between "team ball" and "hero ball" that buried them precisely because Tatum proved less adept at it than Butler would show in the next series. Butler's just a hell of a lot savvier out there than Tatum is. I see Tatum as a guy whose game is much like his beard. There's potential there, but clearly he needs to figure some things out.

Re: primary defender on Middleton/Tatum/LeBron, underwhelming. So, Butler is the lead defender on the opposing team's lead perimeter player while also being his own team's lead scorer, the first two guys have mediocre efficiency, the third guy is LeBron, and this is a significant negative for you?

I'll add in that to me Butler was often incredibly good making little plays that weren't necessarily man defense focused. He's the guy who tends to get the loose ball not simply because he's tenacious, but because he's smarter than most everyone else on the floor.

I really want to emphasize how astonishing it was that in Game 5 against the Lakers where Butler had a 30/10/10 triple double with a super high TS% and a great A/TO ratio, he also got 5 steals. Take away those 5 steals and the Lakers win the game. Butler was doing it all right when his team needed him to do it all.

Tatum? I'm going to remember Tatum bricking shots basically whenever the game was on the line. It just felt like over and over again Tatum thought "Alright, no it's time for me to be Kobe", and whenever he thought that I thought "Okay, how will he blow it this time?"

Now that's a big focus on gut. It's not a fair thing to make it seem like that's the bulk of what he was doing out there. He is the Celtics' franchise player and showed that they are right to see him in that light, but I spent a lot of time thinking that I wish Tatum were approaching the game more like Brown. In the long term you don't want that because Tatum has so much higher alpha potential, but in these playoffs frankly Tatum disappointed me. I thought from his mid-season run that he'd turned more of a corner than he actually had.

Re: lead cog but still a cog. Well right, that's the Heat's primary system. We can disagree philosophically on how to rank Butler because of it, but this whole approach of "he's just a cog who got hot" isn't right. There were a couple points where the Heat's offense stopped being able to be so team-oriented, when that happened, Butler showed a tendency to be able to run a comparably good offense with himself as the focus.

Quite honestly I think Spo has a bit of a dilemma on his hands going forward. While I expect he'll continue to use the same type of offense with Bam as point center because Bam still seems like the team's franchise player going forward, most teams would not be running their offense through someone other than their best offensive players. The Heat have a quirky model based on the assumption that they don't have anyone good enough to play the role we just saw Butler play. If Butler were younger, I think frankly you throw out the complex offense and just ride heliocentric with Butler.

I agree with your assessment of our differences, and I respect that we have different approaches. I will emphasize one more time that I think it generally makes sense not to hold a lack of primacy against a player when a) he's doing what he's supposed to do, b) it's working for the team, and c) when it stops working, he grabs the bull by the horns and does so remarkably well.

To me the big question is whether we have a specific reason to look at the Butler-oriented offense as inherently fragile to counters. Butler has limitations to his skillset (lack of 3 point shooting for example). Do we think that any savvy defense without someone like AD would be able to shut that down? Or do we think that in most circumstances "shutting Butler down" would just mean he willingly passes more to his teammates?

I'm still chewing on this stuff and am wary of overrating Butler, but I have to say I was blown away by his quick thinking and decision making in these playoffs. I've never thought about Butler before like this, but now I feel I have to.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1046 » by Sublime187 » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:35 pm

For Giannis, I am very low on him for the same reasons as I am much lower then most on K Malone. The regular season is so much easier to dominate but only the truly best players in the world dominate the playoffs. In the regular season you might play many minutes against a guy like Javale McGee but in the playoffs when things get tight a guy like Javale sometimes doesn't play for a whole series at a time.

Giannis does really well in the RS when half the time teams don't even give a **** until the final minutes of the game. Furthermore, this is not the first time Giannis has done this. We can blame coaching all we want but in the end it comes down to Giannis putting in the work which I do not think he has done enough of. Yes, he won DPOY and MVP but the playoffs proved that he is not in fact the best defensive player in the league nor the best overall player. On the other hand a guy like Harden was just so damn dangerous every time he had the ball.

My list would probably go something like:

1) LeBron
2) AD
3) Jokic
4) Harden
5) Leonard
6) Butler
7) Giannis
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1047 » by Joey Wheeler » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:44 pm

Baski wrote:
Joey Wheeler wrote:
Baski wrote:
Enjoy the Lakers 17th Championship led by the POY Lebron James and Runner up Anthony Davis. Hopefully next season isn't underwhelming for sir Isaac Newton over there with his healed up hangnail-excuse me-horrific season-ending hand injury


It'll be very underwhelming. The Warriors have no chance to challenge the Lakers at all and no amount of gravity will change that.

I honestly have no idea how it'll shake out, but I'll damn sure be looking out for where the Warriors finish.
A lot of myths have been dying horrible deaths in recent years' playoffs

Playoff Kyrie the guaranteed baller
Playoff Kawhi the guaranteed title
Lebron the big man killer
The wild wild West

Next season we'll see how "Gravity just started in 2016 and negates bad games lolz" holds up


Hmm don't think any of that has died.

"Playoff Kyrie the guaranteed baller" - was this ever a thing? He had played 52 playoff matches prior to last season, none as the leader/best player of the team. Were there people claiming he was infallible or something in the playoffs?

"Playoff Kawhi the guaranteed title" - Again, was this ever a thing? Even before this year, Kawhi lost in the playoffs more than he won.

"Lebron the big man killer" - this is not true, but Davis dominating has nothing to do with that. The reality is Lebron is a difficult guy to fit with other guys who need the ball in their hands without getting diminishing returns, this is absolutely not disproven by Davis thriving

"The wild wild West" - Uh? The West is clearly the stronger conference. Lebron and AD romping their way through it doesn't mean it's weak, they'd do that against any conference...
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1048 » by Todeasy » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:18 pm

MyUniBroDavis wrote:On butler, if you read about a bunch of the heat chemistry stuff, his impact on that culture and the young guys around him cant be overstated

On lebron and AD, AD genuinly had an ATG+ playoff run, (His 66.5TS mark is better than ANY of currys playoff runs) and didnt actually have as many off ball easy rim possessions as youd expect (although def way more in the finals), and had to create a bunch of his offense. Ended up scoring 1.01ppp per 1v1 play, on 7 a game, which is about what luka is in terms of effeciency (5.5 poss a game). His post ups were effecient although dipped in the finals, his iso/faceup game was insane throughout the playoffs though. And while i do think his offense dipped in the finals (although still was a super effecient 25ppg scorer, which shows his off ball versatility makes it hard to stop him from scoring), his defense in the finals was DPOY++ level.

In the end, he averages 27.7/9.5/3.5, with DPOY defense. Rebounding looks worse because he was on the perimeter defensively some games and he had 1-2 bad rebounding games that really stood out but he was pretty solid on the boards overall, considering his offensive rebounding was about the same despite him being on the perimeter so much, and his defensive reboundjng was act great since whenever he got near hed get them, really stopped adebayo from getting offensive boards i feel. Passing was solid, had like a bad game or two here and there but was great overall. And again, currys career high in Ts was in 2017, where he shot 65.9 TS on 28.1 a game in 35.4 minutes. AD hit 66.5TS on 27.6 a game in 36.5 minutes, and id say he took harder shots since he was creating way more than most big men do, esp pre finals. Even the off ball impact curry has, AD prolly has the most "roll man" impact ever too. Basically we had a guy that has strong intangible/non box score impact have a better scoring playoffs than curry ever did, while playing high class DPOY defense. One thing thats interesting, despite his on ball scoring dipping a bit, both because of role (when heat were running zone) and because bam is prolly the best AD defender in the league, the more off ball role he took still allowed him to score 25 a game with crazy effeciency, which is esp impressive considering the insane defense he was playing overall

In terms of playoff runs that lead to a title, strictly in terms of level of play i think this one is high, high up there in terms of big man runs. Obv not as much of a carry job because of bron but strictly in terms of level of play, i think its a top 5 big man title run (if we consider it as 1 run per guy)

I think it was def one of the best defensive runs recently, keep in mind the matchups outside of vs portland and vs miami were teams that limit impact. The nuggets had a money play that AD cant really effect outside of guarding murray on switches which he did fine in, since it revolves around a jokic mismatch or a murray mismatch, and the rockets obv play their own way. I think AD played better against those two teams than alot of DPOY guys could have, and otoh his defense against portland was amazing, and his defense against miami, outside of the foul trouble game, was legit amazing (obv he chilled when they got big leads but whenever it was tight he actually was atg on defense)

The only real knock is he didnt clamp jokic like howard did. At rhe same time he did a far better job than gobert who at least from an effeciency standpoint got literally abused. I think playoff ADs defense was clearly better than goberts for sure, def more valuable, not sure with Giannis but probably better too, esp since he had that confidence to ask to go on to butler. Sure its a wtv thing fir some but i do like he took that upon himself.

In the end, it was ATG scoring big man run coupled with an atg big man defensive run. Add in him being a legit three point threat with the spacing, his playmaking hitting another gear and while not being kg level or anything is def far improved (as for the idea that he cant operate out of doubles, it seems thats been put to rest but as an extra thing ill add that when they do that front back double in the post it opens lob threats and ad is prolly one of the best big men atm at passing to other big me for lob threats as well).

Lebron prolly had a better run than AD so that speaks for itself lmao. As a whole, i think bron was better vs portland, its close vs houstan, AD was better vs the nuggets, and bron was better vs the heat


I don’t know if I’d say AD had a DPOY++ level finals, to me he really only hit that level in games 4,6, and either 1 or 2 (don’t quite remember which).I thought he was good-great the rest of the games but nothing unbelievable.

I can’t speak confidently on the Houston and Blazers series since I didn’t watch those that closely, but just looking at the numbers it doesn’t seem like he lowered their efficiency at a CRAZY level in the series. Could be understated due to Blazers being hot though, and it does say something that AD is versatile enough to be crucial in both.

Probably disagree with AD being better than Gobert. For one Gobert was was forced to recover crazy distances because of the horrific pnr coverage by the Jazz perimeter guards. Don’t have stats for Lakers-Nuggets, but based on what I saw David simply can’t stop Jokic down low in isolation. Jokic backed him down easily every time he was able to get the ball below the free throw line. Don’t think he had anywhere near that success and he had to rely on crazy hot shooting from deep against Gobert.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1049 » by Baski » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:46 pm

Joey Wheeler wrote:
Baski wrote:
Joey Wheeler wrote:
It'll be very underwhelming. The Warriors have no chance to challenge the Lakers at all and no amount of gravity will change that.

I honestly have no idea how it'll shake out, but I'll damn sure be looking out for where the Warriors finish.
A lot of myths have been dying horrible deaths in recent years' playoffs

Playoff Kyrie the guaranteed baller
Playoff Kawhi the guaranteed title
Lebron the big man killer
The wild wild West

Next season we'll see how "Gravity just started in 2016 and negates bad games lolz" holds up


Hmm don't think any of that has died.

"Playoff Kyrie the guaranteed baller" - was this ever a thing? He had played 52 playoff matches prior to last season, none as the leader/best player of the team. Were there people claiming he was infallible or something in the playoffs?

It sure was a thing until the 2019 playoffs. People legit thought that Kyrie was infallible in the playoffs. That was pretty much the only thing that came up when discussing him vs other star PGs.
Having watched the Cavs offense be generally indifferent to his presence and actually hurt by it in 2017 pre-finals, it was infuriating for me to see people put down clearly superior players like Lillard and Lowry simply because they didn't play with Lebron. Kyrie also got an automatic pass for his team-killing effect on the Celtics because "he'll show up in the POs", well until he didn't in his first ever POs without Lebron.
"Playoff Kawhi the guaranteed title" - Again, was this ever a thing? Even before this year, Kawhi lost in the playoffs more than he won.

Also was a thing until this recent flameout. The guy got the ultimate pass for the most blatantly scummy behaviour plus gross disrespect to the RS with load management solely based on people's belief that he leads you straight to a title and thus all of that is worth it. Aside from tons of posters saying exactly that, how else do you explain the relatively lukewarm reaction to him forcing the Clippers to mortgage their entire future for Paul George and giving members of his circle FO jobs? It gets even more ridiculous every time I say it. Zero picks for 6 years. And this idiotic decision was only bashed AFTER the Clippers flamed out. Ridiculous.

As to your last statement, I'm just as shocked as you by the bizarre forum-wide amnesia regarding Kawhi's pre-2017 playoffs performances.
"Lebron the big man killer" - this is not true, but Davis dominating has nothing to do with that. The reality is Lebron is a difficult guy to fit with other guys who need the ball in their hands without getting diminishing returns, this is absolutely not disproven by Davis thriving

Yes it is actually. It tells me that big men who can't defend nor bang inside can't play with anyone, it's not a Lebron thing. Lebron had no issue producing elite offense with Bosh and Love next to him. Where his teams always failed was on the defensive end, where Love and Bosh (bless his heart he tried so hard early on) were huge weaknesses. That speaks more to his GM abilities than his effect on other players. What was the last championship team that had a big man with Love's weaknesses playing major minutes? It's always been my opinion that the ideal big man next to Lebron is a defensive specialist. DeAndre Jordan or Rudy Gobert would've been massively better for them than Kevin Love for example.
"The wild wild West" - Uh? The West is clearly the stronger conference. Lebron and AD romping their way through it doesn't mean it's weak, they'd do that against any conference...

The dumb argument was that whether it's the East or West made any difference to Lebron's dominance. Yes they'd do that against any conference because talent is talent.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1050 » by 70sFan » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:48 pm

Bosh wasn't a weakness on offense, he was a key part of Heattles famous trapping defense.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1051 » by eminence » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:44 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:Good thoughts and I want to be clear that I'm really not sure where I'm putting Butler, a few quick things though:

Re: unlikely to make it out of the East in the regular season. I think you're not alone to believe this but to be honest I'm not sure what the rationale here is.

Miami beat the Bucks by exposing a regular-season-oriented mentality in the Bucks, then beat the Celtics in no small part because they just seemed more psychologically ready to handle the high stakes of the playoffs. Both of those things seem to me to be perennial concerns.

Then there's the matter that Miami's players clearly improved come playoff time. Dragic is literally an all-star level player at his best who played at his best in the playoffs, and the young guys were clearly better by the playoffs than they were at the start of the season. It's one thing to say that you think that a team that played like Miami did during the bulk of the season wouldn't normally be able to improve this much, but it's quite another thing to assert that this is "really a 5 seed kind of team going forward" given that improvement.


I think the Celtics series takeaway you're making here is too strong. That was a very close series where the Heat had better injury luck (Hayward missing games 1/2). Neutral court vs Boston/Miami is a big difference. For the next paragraph "a team that played like Miami did during the bulk of the season wouldn't normally be able to improve this much" is exactly what I'm trying to say (coupled a bit with a team like the Bucks potentially not falling off so much - which seemed to happen in the Bubble RS as well). Going forward I'd be very excited if I were a Heat fan, but that's different from evaluating who they were this season.

Doctor MJ wrote:Even beyond that though, if the Heat were the 2nd best team in the Bubble they were the 2nd best team in the Bubble, and realistically, the Bubble defines this season. Anyone who tries to say "Giannis was the best before the Bubble and then it was just bad luck in the Bubble" to me is offering a non-starter. The Bucks lost for reasons that people speculated about before we'd ever heard the word "COVID".

Re: Heat beat Bucks with 3-point shooting. I mean, in Game 3 we saw Giannis literally get stuck and we saw Butler plow through the vaunted Buck defense down the stretch. You can argue that that sample overstates the importance of Butler, but in the 3rd quarter of that game the Bucks seemed poised to make it a 2-1 series, and at that point people would have expected the Bucks to complete the comeback and win the series. In that crucial time, Butler destroyed the Bucks and boom, that's the series.

I'll add that while there's a good dose of randomness in how each supporting cast shoots 3's, the Bucks offense is designed to allow Giannis to drive in, suck defenders in, and then kick out the ball for open 3's. So when Giannis isn't able to drive well, we don't really expect the Bucks to hit their 3's. I don't want to deny there's signal amongst the noise, but when a team is unusually good or bad from 3 I think it's always worth asking what the defense is doing to disrupt the shooting rhythm, and the Heat defense absolutely did that.

Re: Giannis goes down in Game 4. I'll just say I'm not open to any argument that Giannis had "figured everything out between Game 3 and Game 4" from an October 2020 analysis perspective. Maybe he miraculously did, but we didn't even get to see him play a single game after Game 3 were he was awesome in crunch time, which is where the problem actually is.


*Suns actually.

Kinda yes, but also no for me. The Bucks were losing because of reasons folks had speculated about. Giannis missing almost half the series buries them from there (remember he initially injures himself early in Game 3 and spends the rest of that game clearly limited to my eye). Prior to the initial injury he had just outplayed Jimmy down the stretch of Game 2, despite the Heat pulling it out.

Doctor MJ wrote:Re: Celtics series. I think Bam was very clearly the MVP of that series and I don't want to take anything away from him. But the Heat also tend to operate with their offense through Bam's playmaking for reasons other than him being an amazing playmaker already. He's a pretty good point center, but to me they're playing that way because they're imagining him becoming a great one, not because playing an offense that was is a drastic improvement over something more Dragic or Butler focused.

The Bam-focused offense worked against the Celtics. Great and credit Bam for player of the series, but that's not the same as the Heat needing something desperately from Butler and him being unable to deliver.

I was not that impressed by Tatum in the series. To me the Celtics felt like they were in the no man's land between "team ball" and "hero ball" that buried them precisely because Tatum proved less adept at it than Butler would show in the next series. Butler's just a hell of a lot savvier out there than Tatum is. I see Tatum as a guy whose game is much like his beard. There's potential there, but clearly he needs to figure some things out.

Re: lead cog but still a cog. Well right, that's the Heat's primary system. We can disagree philosophically on how to rank Butler because of it, but this whole approach of "he's just a cog who got hot" isn't right. There were a couple points where the Heat's offense stopped being able to be so team-oriented, when that happened, Butler showed a tendency to be able to run a comparably good offense with himself as the focus.

Quite honestly I think Spo has a bit of a dilemma on his hands going forward. While I expect he'll continue to use the same type of offense with Bam as point center because Bam still seems like the team's franchise player going forward, most teams would not be running their offense through someone other than their best offensive players. The Heat have a quirky model based on the assumption that they don't have anyone good enough to play the role we just saw Butler play. If Butler were younger, I think frankly you throw out the complex offense and just ride heliocentric with Butler.


I think this comes back to how close I felt the Celtics series was (very). I feel like if Spo/Jimmy thought they had something clearly better in the bag (heliocentric Jimmy) they would've whipped it out in that series. That they didn't to me points towards them not believing it was much/if any better at all. To me, yes the Heat did need something better offensively from Jimmy that series to cleanly win it and he didn't have it.

Tatum held Butler to 9 pts/75 @ 40% TS when he was on him - which he was the plurality of the time (109 possessions - approximately 2x as much as Smart). Absolutely smothered him.

Doctor MJ wrote:Re: primary defender on Middleton/Tatum/LeBron, underwhelming. So, Butler is the lead defender on the opposing team's lead perimeter player while also being his own team's lead scorer, the first two guys have mediocre efficiency, the third guy is LeBron, and this is a significant negative for you?

I'll add in that to me Butler was often incredibly good making little plays that weren't necessarily man defense focused. He's the guy who tends to get the loose ball not simply because he's tenacious, but because he's smarter than most everyone else on the floor.

I really want to emphasize how astonishing it was that in Game 5 against the Lakers where Butler had a 30/10/10 triple double with a super high TS% and a great A/TO ratio, he also got 5 steals. Take away those 5 steals and the Lakers win the game. Butler was doing it all right when his team needed him to do it all.


A) I agree that Butler's best defensive work was off-ball. He also did well on Tatum.

B) Butler wasn't exactly a traditional lead scorer (the cog bit) through the ECF (he was 4th on his team in pts in the ECF). We should expect more defensively of him than someone with significantly more of an offensive load (Harden/Luka/LeBron types).

C) Middleton overall had mediocre efficiency due to Crowders time on him, not Butlers. He was just over 60% TS against Butler.

D) I get it, LeBron's LeBron. But Jimmy got cooked.

Doctor MJ wrote:Tatum? I'm going to remember Tatum bricking shots basically whenever the game was on the line. It just felt like over and over again Tatum thought "Alright, no it's time for me to be Kobe", and whenever he thought that I thought "Okay, how will he blow it this time?"

Now that's a big focus on gut. It's not a fair thing to make it seem like that's the bulk of what he was doing out there. He is the Celtics' franchise player and showed that they are right to see him in that light, but I spent a lot of time thinking that I wish Tatum were approaching the game more like Brown. In the long term you don't want that because Tatum has so much higher alpha potential, but in these playoffs frankly Tatum disappointed me. I thought from his mid-season run that he'd turned more of a corner than he actually had.

I agree with your assessment of our differences, and I respect that we have different approaches. I will emphasize one more time that I think it generally makes sense not to hold a lack of primacy against a player when a) he's doing what he's supposed to do, b) it's working for the team, and c) when it stops working, he grabs the bull by the horns and does so remarkably well.

To me the big question is whether we have a specific reason to look at the Butler-oriented offense as inherently fragile to counters. Butler has limitations to his skillset (lack of 3 point shooting for example). Do we think that any savvy defense without someone like AD would be able to shut that down? Or do we think that in most circumstances "shutting Butler down" would just mean he willingly passes more to his teammates?

I'm still chewing on this stuff and am wary of overrating Butler, but I have to say I was blown away by his quick thinking and decision making in these playoffs. I've never thought about Butler before like this, but now I feel I have to.


Don't really have anything that isn't repeats for this stuff. But I guess if I had to pick one key thing it'd be along the lines of this: I don't think 'it' was working well enough in the Celtics series for Jimmy not to grab the bull by the horns if he was capable of doing so, and I think he simply wasn't capable of doing so against an elite wing defender in Tatum (and Smart/Brown for backup).
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1052 » by Baski » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:01 am

70sFan wrote:Bosh wasn't a weakness on offense, he was a key part of Heattles famous trapping defense.

He wasn't Love but you could see he wasn't exactly an anchor and the 2014 finals was just the end of that experiment. When you compare both of them to other historical superstar big men like Davis or even Bam-level players you can see how they easily fall short.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1053 » by C0bR » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:31 am

70sFan wrote:Bosh wasn't a weakness on offense, he was a key part of Heattles famous trapping defense.

the famous defense which they played because Bosh was incapable of protecting the rim in traditional pnr coverage and they couldn't find a legit C

by '14 everyone was out off gas thanks to that scheme and Wade's knees were gone
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1054 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:32 am

yoyoboy wrote:I''m really tempted to put him 3rd because of how much value I'm putting into what Butler provides outside of his basketball abilities and that's much harder to quantify. Nobody expected this Heat team to make it as far as they did. They dominated the MVP-led 9.4 SRS Bucks and took 2 games off the championship Lakers, even with his 2nd/3rd best players missing significant time. And while it was a great team effort and a hell of a coaching job by Spo, it's hard for me not to see Butler as the guy who gets that young inexperienced team to play with the kind of swagger and confidence that they do. Because he leaves a clear trail wherever he goes, and it really makes you wonder what kind of fire he's lighting under his teammates that we're not seeing on the court necessarily. The fact that he had such an unbelievable Finals series only adds to it - and I think it's disingenuous to say it was "just 2 games" because 2 of his games were All-Time level and the rest didn't necessarily match up. He had 2 ATG games, 2 very good games, 1 okay game, and 1 subpar game. I'm relatively high on his defense, as well.


The bold matters to me. It's why the choice for LeBron over AD is pretty clear for me when AD built a pretty strong argument.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1055 » by toodles23 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:51 am

Regarding Kawhi, how is everybody accounting for the fact that he looked physically diminished in the second half of that Denver series? There might have been some mental component to his terrible game 7, but he did not look right athletically. The play that exemplifies it best is this one at 6:55, if he's healthy that's an easy layup every time but his legs just didn't work like he expected them to.

;ab_channel=SmartHighlights

Had the Clippers won that series I think his effectiveness would have continued to diminish the longer the playoffs went on. If the goal is to win a championship but your body can't hold up through a playoff run how valuable can you truly be? This happened to him last year too where by the Finals he clearly did not look like the same guy he was early in the playoffs, though the dropoff wasn't as drastic as it was this year IMO.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1056 » by WarriorGM » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:01 am

HeartBreakKid wrote:
WarriorGM wrote:
HeartBreakKid wrote:WarriorGM is slowly coming to terms that GSW's era might be over and that most people are never going to seriously consider Curry over James again.


I considered the Lakers the presumptive favorites at the beginning of this season and I actually questioned why the Clippers were considered favored over them way back when. So none of this is surprising or unexpected for me. Maybe some of you late comers depending on others to analyze things for you are once again led to change your minds on how things stand but it's been constant for some time now. Nothing that happened this year really changed anything except improving Butler's stock. Did we really learn anything else?

What you said literally has nothing to do with my post. Not even a single word.


It does. Maybe you just need to think about it more.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1057 » by Heej » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:11 am

^yup I think Kawhi only has 2 rounds' worth of intense playoff basketball games in his legs. So basically somewhere a little under a month of every other day high intensity games. After that he'll start to fall off precipitously.
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1058 » by GSP » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:23 am

Bron
Ad
Harden
Jokic
Giannis

Hm: Kawhi, Luka
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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1059 » by MyUniBroDavis » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:34 am

WarriorGM wrote:
HeartBreakKid wrote:
WarriorGM wrote:
I considered the Lakers the presumptive favorites at the beginning of this season and I actually questioned why the Clippers were considered favored over them way back when. So none of this is surprising or unexpected for me. Maybe some of you late comers depending on others to analyze things for you are once again led to change your minds on how things stand but it's been constant for some time now. Nothing that happened this year really changed anything except improving Butler's stock. Did we really learn anything else?

What you said literally has nothing to do with my post. Not even a single word.


It does. Maybe you just need to think about it more.


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Re: 2019-2020 Player of the Year Discussion Thread 

Post#1060 » by Doctor MJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:14 am

Just jumping in on a few things:

eminence wrote:For the next paragraph "a team that played like Miami did during the bulk of the season wouldn't normally be able to improve this much" is exactly what I'm trying to say (coupled a bit with a team like the Bucks potentially not falling off so much - which seemed to happen in the Bubble RS as well). Going forward I'd be very excited if I were a Heat fan, but that's different from evaluating who they were this season.


So this points to a difference in perspective here.

If you weigh early parts of the season enough then this would hurt a team like Miami that improved over the course of the season. But of course with league emphasis on the playoffs and the championship, the fact a team started slow isn't going to mean very much as time moves on.

While I'm good with giving some weight to, say, Giannis this year for a great regular season, or the '15-16 Warriors for the 73-9 record, the idea of penalizing teams for being weak early in the year doesn't resonate with me in basketball.

To be clear: It would in baseball where the playoffs are much more like flipping a coin, but in basketball we like to think the best team wins in the playoffs. While that's of course a bit naive, in a 7 game series, the team that finds the best match up edge can typically win 4 games before the other team does, and I suppose I see it as the primary job for teams to prepare themselves to do as well as possible within those series once they've made it into the echelon that actually gets to play playoff basketball.

Of course, as I say that, interesting both the Lakers and Heat went from no playoffs last year straight to the finals this year.

eminence wrote:Kinda yes, but also no for me. The Bucks were losing because of reasons folks had speculated about. Giannis missing almost half the series buries them from there (remember he initially injures himself early in Game 3 and spends the rest of that game clearly limited to my eye). Prior to the initial injury he had just outplayed Jimmy down the stretch of Game 2, despite the Heat pulling it out.


I really struggle with this "Giannis was turning the corner" narrative. I mean, he might have been sure, but you're focusing on a game where he scored 29 points sandwiched between two games where Butler scored 30+ when all 3 of the games ended up with Giannis' team losing. I'll concede that perhaps Giannis outplays Butler in 9 out of 10 universes, but in this one Butler had the edge before Giannis got hurt, and regardless of Giannis Butler gave the Heat two heroic performances in the first 3 games of the series, by which point we knew the series was over.

eminence wrote:I think this comes back to how close I felt the Celtics series was (very). I feel like if Spo/Jimmy thought they had something clearly better in the bag (heliocentric Jimmy) they would've whipped it out in that series. That they didn't to me points towards them not believing it was much/if any better at all. To me, yes the Heat did need something better offensively from Jimmy that series to cleanly win it and he didn't have it.

Tatum held Butler to 9 pts/75 @ 40% TS when he was on him - which he was the plurality of the time (109 possessions - approximately 2x as much as Smart). Absolutely smothered him.


Re: if Spo/Jimmy though they had something better... I never said they thought they had something better. I'm quite sure that Butler's handful of electrifying performances in these playoffs blew away everyone's expectations. That's why we need to recalibrate how we think of him.

Re: Tatum held Butler. Those are some eye-popping stats and I honestly wasn't aware of them. It may well be that Tatum was a better defender against Butler than anyone then.

I would point out though that Miami's offense had its way with Boston's defense. For perspective:

Philly against the Celtics: 106.0 ORtg
Toronto against the Celtics: 100.7 ORtg
Miami against the the Celtics: 114.4 ORtg

To me this combined with Butler's stats make me see this as a case of plucking the lower hanging fruit.
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