RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 (David Robinson)

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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#41 » by penbeast0 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:05 pm

Thank you for running those numbers on David Robinson's playoff defense. I haven't put DRob on my list yet and he would have to be the level of ATG defender he was in the regular season to justify being in the next group. The numbers don't show him quite that good it seems.

I can't imagine having Barkley's defense as anywhere near as valuable as Robinson's offense; Barkley was a below average defender while Robinson was a very good (but not great) offensive center even in the playoffs.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#42 » by Odinn21 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:10 pm

trex_8063 wrote:And you're citing only OBPM (and occasionally PER) which are both [basically] offensive metrics (which isn't even where the bulk of DRob's value comes from unlike players like Curry or Durant). Though even there he's still "pretty good" [as Matt said]: you cited a PER of 24.6 in the playoffs for '94-'96 (in the rs that would have been good enough for 4th in the league in '94 and 5th in '95-'96); his OBPM was still +4.0 (which would be roughly top 12(ish) in each year during the rs.

I already responded a bigger part of this but I would like to point out an issue about postseason per. I already wrote it when the discussion was about Moses Malone vs. David Robinson.

Spoiler:
Odinn21 wrote:Here's a comparison for Moses Malone's best 3 season stretch and David Robinson's best 3 season stretch;

Moses Malone from 1980-81 to 1982-83

27.8 pts 14.9 reb 1.6 ast 1.0 stl 1.8 blk 3.6 tov per game on .580 ts (+4.6 rts) in 239 regular season games
33.4 pts 17.9 reb 1.9 ast 1.2 stl 2.2 blk 4.3 tov per 100
25.7 per (1.7 rank on average), 5.0 obpm (4.7 rank on average)

26.3 pts 15.2 reb 1.8 ast 0.9 stl 1.6 blk 2.8 tov per game on .549 ts in 37 playoff games
30.7 pts 17.8 reb 2.1 ast 1.1 stl 1.9 blk 3.3 tov per 100
23.6 per, 5.6 obpm
In his two deep playoff runs in 1981 and 1983; among players played more than 1 series, he had the highest per in both playoffs. His obpm was 4th in 1981 and 2nd in 1983.

In playoffs, Malone's scoring volume went down but not his offensive quality by looking at obpm.

David Robinson from 1993-94 to 1995-96

27.5 pts 11.2 reb 3.6 ast 1.6 stl 3.3 blk 2.8 tov per game on .589 ts (+5.1 rts) in 243 regular season games
37.0 pts 15.2 reb 4.8 ast 2.1 stl 4.4 blk 3.8 tov per 100
29.8 per (1.0 rank on average), 6.6 obpm (2.7 rank on average)

24.0 pts 11.1 reb 2.9 ast 1.4 stl 2.6 blk 3.1 tov per game on .538 ts in 29 playoff games
33.7 pts 15.6 reb 4.1 ast 1.9 stl 3.6 blk 4.3 tov per 100
24.6 per, 4.0 obpm
In his two playoff runs went further than 1st round in 1995 and 1996; among players played more than 1 series, His per was 6th in 1995 and 1st in 1996. His obpm was 10th in 1995 and 7th in 1996.

He dropped in every single category there is on box numbers.

Comparing their single series playoffs in 1982 and 1994;
1982 Malone did better than 1994 Robinson.

Now, an observation about per;
To achieve 15.0 average across regular season or playoffs, per method uses iterative process and that causes the players with the most games played to be at a disadvantage because the players with the most GP are more involved in establishing the 15.0 baseline. The method needs something to continue at obviously. That makes players with less playtime act like more outlier like.
That's why Reggie Miller had a per of 35.8 in 1996 playoffs with 31 minutes of playtime.
(Though BBRef leaderboards usually ignore the players with so little playtime.)

In 1981 playoffs, Malone led the games and minutes played.
In 1983 playoffs, Malone played in 13 games while the highest was 15 and his 524 minutes of play time was the 5th highest (#1 was Magic with 643). 524/643 = 81.5%
In 1996 playoffs, Robinson played in 10 games while the highest was 21 and his 353 minutes of play time was the 28th highest (#1 was Payton with 911). 353/911 = 38.7%
Robinson leading 1996 playoffs per was a situation like Duncan leading in 2002 and O'Neal leading in 2003.

So, while Robinson was helped by per design to lead the 1996 playoffs, Malone led per on merit more in 1981 and 1983.


As for the appeal of 4.0 obpm, if you look at the numbers on my thread, you'd see Karl Malone ahead of Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. James Harden ahead of Dwyane Wade. And I'm sure as hell wouldn't pick Malone over Duncan or Olajuwon, or Harden over Wade as good enough playoff performer or to lead my team's offense.
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#43 » by Odinn21 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:17 pm

penbeast0 wrote:Thank you for running those numbers on David Robinson's playoff defense. I haven't put DRob on my list yet and he would have to be the level of ATG defender he was in the regular season to justify being in the next group. The numbers don't show him quite that good it seems.

I can't imagine having Barkley's defense as anywhere near as valuable as Robinson's offense; Barkley was a below average defender while Robinson was a very good (but not great) offensive center even in the playoffs.

I agree that Barkley's career average as a defender was below average. But in most of his properly good prime seasons, he was OK. When I watched Barkley in 1989, 1990 and 1993 playoffs, I didn't think his defense was particularly below average.

Those are not postseason numbers on there surely but they are useful in general about Barkley.
viewtopic.php?t=1344019
I think Barkley's defense got a reputation based on seasons like 1992.
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#44 » by Doctor MJ » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:21 pm

Odinn21 wrote:The code in the spoiler has the numbers I ran if someone is curious about it;
Spoiler:

Code: Select all

Opponent / Opponent's ORtg in regular season / ORtg against the Spurs / difference / # of minutes played
DEN / 108.0 / 105.2 / -2.8 / 720
POR / 110.5 / 107.2 / -3.3 / 1755
GSW / 111.9 / 111.7 / -0.2 / 960
PHO / 107.5 / 120.7 / +13.2 / 720
POR / 108.3 / 105.1 / -3.2 / 985
PHO / 113.3 / 109.9 / -3.4 / 1440
UTA / 108.6 / 110.6 / +2.0 / 960
DEN / 109.1 / 103.1 / -6.0 / 720
LAL / 109.1 / 97.9 / -11.2 / 1490
HOU / 109.7 / 110.6 / +0.9 / 1440
PHO / 110.3 / 109.3 / -1.0 / 960
UTA / 113.3 / 114.1 / +0.8 / 1440


Eh, I think I see a problem here.

Note that there's one glaring case where opponent skyrockets against the Spurs in the playoffs (120.7).

That performance comes from '91-92, when Robinson was injured an didn't play.

So it's not just that that skews the numbers here when it shouldn't - because Robinson wasn't playing - it's that we're seeing by far the worst performance of the bunch happening specifically without Robinson, which would seem to imply the opposite conclusion about Robinson's defense not making a big difference.

That's before we consider that the '98-99 Spurs won with defense with Robinson absolutely being the key defender on that team, not Duncan.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#45 » by Odinn21 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:31 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Odinn21 wrote:The code in the spoiler has the numbers I ran if someone is curious about it;
Spoiler:

Code: Select all

Opponent / Opponent's ORtg in regular season / ORtg against the Spurs / difference / # of minutes played
DEN / 108.0 / 105.2 / -2.8 / 720
POR / 110.5 / 107.2 / -3.3 / 1755
GSW / 111.9 / 111.7 / -0.2 / 960
PHO / 107.5 / 120.7 / +13.2 / 720
POR / 108.3 / 105.1 / -3.2 / 985
PHO / 113.3 / 109.9 / -3.4 / 1440
UTA / 108.6 / 110.6 / +2.0 / 960
DEN / 109.1 / 103.1 / -6.0 / 720
LAL / 109.1 / 97.9 / -11.2 / 1490
HOU / 109.7 / 110.6 / +0.9 / 1440
PHO / 110.3 / 109.3 / -1.0 / 960
UTA / 113.3 / 114.1 / +0.8 / 1440


Eh, I think I see a problem here.

Note that there's one glaring case where opponent skyrockets against the Spurs in the playoffs (120.7).

That performance comes from '91-92, when Robinson was injured an didn't play.

So it's not just that that skews the numbers here when it shouldn't - because Robinson wasn't playing - it's that we're seeing by far the worst performance of the bunch happening specifically without Robinson, which would seem to imply the opposite conclusion about Robinson's defense not making a big difference.

That's before we consider that the '98-99 Spurs won with defense with Robinson absolutely being the key defender on that team, not Duncan.

Yep, that's a brain fart from me. I'll edit my post accordingly.

Your last statement goes back to me saying;
Robinson's defense yielded goat level defensive results in playoffs when he did not have to carry his team's scoring / offense.

The new numbers are;
-2.6 rDRtg on overall and -1.8 rDRtg when we exclude the best and the worst.
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#46 » by penbeast0 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:34 pm

To be fair, playing Washington during the late 80s, early 90s was never a real challenge stars would get up for. We were consistently mediocre or worse. So, if you were a player who was inconsistent in effort, I probably saw more of the lack of effort games as a Bullets ticket holder.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#47 » by The Master » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:35 pm

Joao Saraiva wrote:How do you feel about Dr. J and his ABA days? How much credit do you give him for those?

74-76 v. 80-82 RS

PER: 26.8 v. 25.4
WS/48: .247 v. 225
BPM: 9.2 v. 7.6

I don't agree with opinions that Erving was not able to repeat the level he played during ABAs years in the NBA - in my opinion mostly he would have been able to, and (partially) he did, but in Sixers until the period of 79-80 and later, he found himself in suboptimal conditions, so this 77-79 period gave mixed results (with strong postseason performances though). It's very impressive how good he was in his early 30s after Sixers succesfully reshuffled their roster and built their offense around Erving - and that's a great determinant of how great Dr J was in his athletic peak in ABA in a team built around him, against very good opposition, especially in '76. Even if you don't give him full benefit of a doubt (I do), his longevity (73-84) is still amazing, and I don't see many reasons to rank him below Durant or Moses with very comparable peak. Basically, the worst thing you can say about Erving is that he was so team-oriented as a player that he tried to fit in a team (Sixers 77-78) instead of taking it over, what was a main reason why his stats got worse, because there was no fit in these Sixers teams.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#48 » by Joao Saraiva » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:40 pm

The Master wrote:
Joao Saraiva wrote:How do you feel about Dr. J and his ABA days? How much credit do you give him for those?

74-76 v. 80-82 RS

PER: 26.8 v. 25.4
WS/48: .247 v. 225
BPM: 9.2 v. 7.6

I don't agree with opinions that Erving was not able to repeat the level he played during ABAs years in the NBA - in my opinion mostly he would have been able to, and (partially) he did, but in Sixers until the period of 79-80 and later, he found himself in suboptimal conditions, so this 77-79 period gave mixed results (with strong postseason performances though). It's very impressive how good he was in his early 30s after Sixers succesfully reshuffled their roster and built their offense around Erving - and that's a great determinant of how great Dr J was in his athletic peak in ABA in a team built around him, against very good opposition, especially in '76. Even if you don't give him full benefit of a doubt (I do), his longevity (73-84) is still amazing, and I don't see many reasons to rank him below Durant or Moses with very comparable peak. Basically, the worst thing you can say about Erving is that he was so team-oriented as a player that he tried to fit in a team (Sixers 77-78) instead of taking it over, what was a main reason why his stats got worse, because there was no fit in these Sixers teams.


All right. Feel good about my vote then. How about Moses vs KD and vs Curry? Cause I got those two right next with Barkely.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#49 » by eminence » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:41 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
LA Bird wrote:
eminence wrote:Question was in the #16 thread, but that went real wonky on me, so answering here.

@LA-Bird: I think Bob Davies was almost certainly the second best player in the late NBL/Early NBA, all the indicators of the first offensive dynasty while he was at the helm of the Royals. (Kurland/Haynes both with claims to second best player in the world status though)

Thanks, I knew I was forgetting someone. But unless you rank him highly compared to later 50s stars, Bob Davies still seems to be a low bar when it comes to 2nd best player in the league.


Bob Davies was Mikan's primary competition. If that seems like a low bar to you, well, yeah.

For the record, there are two stars I'm aware of who had winning records against Mikan, and both on average outscored him when they played:

Paul Arizin
Bob Pettit

While we can debate whether this should be held against Mikan or not, I do think these two guys were pretty clearly the two best basketball players in the NBA who were contemporaries of Mikan.

In the case of Arizin, a few things:

1. Arizin's NBA is career is messed up because of his time in the military.
2. Early in their matchups Mikan outscored Arizin. I don't want to imply that the bigger scorer "wins" but just so we're clear on that.
3. I think it is worth noting that Arizin's Warriors got the best of Mikan's Lakers in '51-52 when they played, and it's entirely possible that had they played in the playoffs the Lakers don't win the title. But they didn't play and the Lakers won the title.
4. I think there's basically zero doubt that by '55-56 when Arizin was all the way back and his Warriors won the title, Arizin was the superior player.

I'll also note that in '55-56, the Warriors and Lakers didn't play because the Lakers lost to Pettit's Hawks, where Pettit clearly dominated the series over Mikan or anyone else.

I look at all of this and what I'll definitely say is that I think circa '55-56, the 27 year old Arizin and the 23 year old Pettit were better players than the 31 year old Mikan. And now a question to consider:

How often do you see a 31 year old as clearly inferior to a 27/23 year old and think "Oh yeah, but he was old, clearly he would have done a lot better if he weren't an ancient 31 when they played?"

Yes it's different now compared to back then, but to the notion that Mikan dominated everyone and then retired before being surpassed, not so much. And this pertains to why I've tended to have Pettit ahead of Mikan in the past, and likely would entertain Arizin over Mikan if he'd just have been able to have a normal career.


Calling Pettit/Mikan contemporaries seems off to me, they shared the league for less than a full season when Mikan was a high impact 20 mpg player battling injuries (think Walton on the Celtics). Schayes/Cousy seem more relevant. Schayes seems particularly relevant in the Pettit/Mikan comparison as he had real overlap with both. Cousy a very different sort of player.

The '52 Warriors/Lakers point is bordering on the absurd, and drags down a good point (Arizin should've been Mikan's primary challenger if not for the military draft). May as well say the '20 Pacers/Raptors might've beat the Lakers.

And I don't think it's particularly rare - Walton, Hill, McGrady, Bird (okay - 32), Roy, Yao didn't even make it to 31, Penny, Rose. Superstars go down to injury in all decades.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#50 » by trex_8063 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:42 pm

Odinn21 wrote:
As for the appeal of 4.0 obpm, if you look at the numbers on my thread,


I don't know what thread you're referring to here.

Odinn21 wrote:you'd see Karl Malone ahead of Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. James Harden ahead of Dwyane Wade.


Ahead of them in OBPM?
And if so why wouldn't you.....

Odinn21 wrote:..........pick Malone over Duncan or Olajuwon, or Harden over Wade as good enough playoff performer or to lead my team's offense.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#51 » by Odinn21 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:47 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
Odinn21 wrote:
As for the appeal of 4.0 obpm, if you look at the numbers on my thread,


I don't know what thread you're referring to here.

Odinn21 wrote:you'd see Karl Malone ahead of Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. James Harden ahead of Dwyane Wade.


Ahead of them in OBPM?
And if so why wouldn't you.....

Odinn21 wrote:..........pick Malone over Duncan or Olajuwon, or Harden over Wade as good enough playoff performer or to lead my team's offense.

Keep having brain farts...

I initially linked my thread, then decided to write the numbers instead, then forgot that I didn't give the link.
viewtopic.php?f=64&t=1971138

I wouldn't cause of things like these not showing up in obpm numbers.
viewtopic.php?f=64&t=1836300
Spoiler:
Odinn21 wrote:Tim Duncan in his prime (1998-99 to 2006-07) was
21.9 ppg 11.9 rpg 3.2 apg 0.8 spg 2.5 bpg on .551 ts in regular seasons (+2.7 rts)
21.0 ppg 11.6 rpg 4.0 apg 0.5 spg 2.8 bpg on .556 ts in 38 playoffs 1st rounds games
25.3 ppg 13.3 rpg 3.5 apg 0.7 spg 2.7 bpg on .562 ts in 91 playoffs games past 1st rounds

In that time frame, Duncan played
5 playoff series against prime O'Neal and outscored O'Neal in 3 of 'em, 3-2.
4 playoff series against prime Bryant and outscored Bryant in 1 of 'em, 1-3. (1999 is the difference between Kobe and Shaq)
3 playoff series against prime Nowitzki and outscored Nowitzki in 3 of 'em, 3-0.
These players are known for their scoring and scoring based offensive impacts. And Duncan elevated his offensive production to their level in those series while maintaining his defensive impact. Also his efficiency got better even though he played more minutes in tougher series.

These things do not show up in BBRef player profile pages.
The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#52 » by DQuinn1575 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:48 pm

Dr Positivity wrote:Pushing back against Mikan

- Playing in a league with only white American players is a huge difference. As I said in the last thread imagine this era with only white American players and the stats a player like Love would put up. Someone compared it to Cobb and Ruth, but I think it's worse in basketball. Over half the current MLB in white, while in NBA it's less than 20%, and a good chunk of those are europeans.


Mikan played 7 games against the Harlem Globetrotters and 1 against the New York Rens. They each won a world championship, and were considered the two best black teams. The Trotters would tour and have winning records against the All-Americans each year - 1961 the AA team included Walt Bellamy, Don Kojis, Tom Meschery for example, so they weren't playing patsies even then. In the early 50s they would attract top talent.

Mikan was 5-2 against the Trotters and beat the Rens. The Rens were in the 1948 world championship, Mikan scored 40 in a 75-71 win.
Mikan scored 204 points in 7 games against the Trotters; the Lakers scored 473,averaging 68 versus the Trotters 58.
So he averaged 30.5 ppg against the top black talent of the day.

I took 1951, Mikan's last super dominant year. There was one starting center who was 6-10, Ron Livingstone, and 4 others who were 6-9 - Risen,Foust,Rocha,Halbert.
In those 30 games Mikan scored 829 points, a 27.6 average; in the other 38 games scored 1,107 points, a 29.1 average. So he's scoring 27.6 a game against 6-9 guys. And realize the mid 70s
still had 6-9 guys like Cowens, Reed, besides of course Unseld. And yes, the other games he is playing against 6-6, 6-7 guys, which benefitted him.

So he did well against guys his height, he did well against black teams.

Dr Positivity wrote:- From 52-54 he goes from "most dominant vs his era ever" to someone who's still terrific, but not necessarily more dominant than big men like Robinson and Moses in my opinion. So the era where he really towered over someone is EARLY (47-51), on top of the lack of competition he benefitted from rules playing to the post player's favor in a way that nobody else after the rule change ever got to benefit again. I'm guessing this is the biggest reason his offensive production dropped in 52.


1952-1954 he is 2/2/4 in scoring, 1/1/2 in rebounding in the league, winning 3 championships. That's way more dominant than Moses and Robinson ever were. The only 3 year stretch like that
for big men is probably Shaq 2000-2002. And this is after they changed the rules and he wasn't as dominant.

Dr Positivity wrote:- Even after going back to 47, his longevity is still somewhat weak. Robinson's 8th healthy year is 98, and then he still plays 5 more seasons with pretty solid value in my opinion. A player like Erving has clear better longevity.

I'm willing to entertain Mikan vs a center like Ewing but this seems slightly too high.


Erving was never the best player on the best team in the world. Mikan was seven times. So playing long with lesser results doesn't do much for me.

My vote:
1. Mikan
2. Moses
3. Doctor J
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#53 » by Doctor MJ » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:17 pm

eminence wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
LA Bird wrote:Thanks, I knew I was forgetting someone. But unless you rank him highly compared to later 50s stars, Bob Davies still seems to be a low bar when it comes to 2nd best player in the league.


Bob Davies was Mikan's primary competition. If that seems like a low bar to you, well, yeah.

For the record, there are two stars I'm aware of who had winning records against Mikan, and both on average outscored him when they played:

Paul Arizin
Bob Pettit

While we can debate whether this should be held against Mikan or not, I do think these two guys were pretty clearly the two best basketball players in the NBA who were contemporaries of Mikan.

In the case of Arizin, a few things:

1. Arizin's NBA is career is messed up because of his time in the military.
2. Early in their matchups Mikan outscored Arizin. I don't want to imply that the bigger scorer "wins" but just so we're clear on that.
3. I think it is worth noting that Arizin's Warriors got the best of Mikan's Lakers in '51-52 when they played, and it's entirely possible that had they played in the playoffs the Lakers don't win the title. But they didn't play and the Lakers won the title.
4. I think there's basically zero doubt that by '55-56 when Arizin was all the way back and his Warriors won the title, Arizin was the superior player.

I'll also note that in '55-56, the Warriors and Lakers didn't play because the Lakers lost to Pettit's Hawks, where Pettit clearly dominated the series over Mikan or anyone else.

I look at all of this and what I'll definitely say is that I think circa '55-56, the 27 year old Arizin and the 23 year old Pettit were better players than the 31 year old Mikan. And now a question to consider:

How often do you see a 31 year old as clearly inferior to a 27/23 year old and think "Oh yeah, but he was old, clearly he would have done a lot better if he weren't an ancient 31 when they played?"

Yes it's different now compared to back then, but to the notion that Mikan dominated everyone and then retired before being surpassed, not so much. And this pertains to why I've tended to have Pettit ahead of Mikan in the past, and likely would entertain Arizin over Mikan if he'd just have been able to have a normal career.


Calling Pettit/Mikan contemporaries seems off to me, they shared the league for less than a full season when Mikan was a high impact 20 mpg player battling injuries (think Walton on the Celtics). Schayes/Cousy seem more relevant. Schayes seems particularly relevant in the Pettit/Mikan comparison as he had real overlap with both. Cousy a very different sort of player.

The '52 Warriors/Lakers point is bordering on the absurd, and drags down a good point (Arizin should've been Mikan's primary challenger if not for the military draft). May as well say the '20 Pacers/Raptors might've beat the Lakers.

And I don't think it's particularly rare - Walton, Hill, McGrady, Bird (okay - 32), Roy, Yao didn't even make it to 31, Penny, Rose. Superstars go down to injury in all decades.


As I said, if you want to look at Mikan through his actual chief competition, it was Davies. If we want to extend it to everyone he faced, then yes it makes sense to refer to Cousy & Schayes, and it also makes sense to look at Arizin & Pettit.

I think with Arizin it should be noted he was the same age as Cousy & Schayes, which was 4 years younger than Mikan, which shouldn't be considered that much of a difference given that Davies was 4 years older than Mikan. You want to look at Mikan's generation, those are the guys. The most talented of the bunch other than Mikan was Arizin, who also did pretty dang well against Mikan.

Pettit is clearly seen as the next generation beyond Mikan and I get that...but I think it has to be noted that if LeBron at age 31 were cleanly surpassed by someone age 23, no one would ever take LeBron seriously as a GOAT candidate. When you think about what would have happened had Mikan continued to play a normal career arc, there's no reason to think that wouldn't have happened more. As such, I'd argue that the idea of Mikan as this dominant figure who was never topped is a real problem.

Mikan got surpassed by others at an age that we generally would consider Mikan to still be in his prime. You want to call that injuries okay, but the idea that we wouldn't note that Mikan didn't seem to be able to do a whole heck of a lot to stop Pettit matters.

Re: '52 point is absurd. Might as well say... Clearly you object to the "what might have been" aspect of things. Okay, the fact remains that Arizin is exactly the type of player we'd be looking at to ask "So could Mikan stop guys who could actually shoot?". Answer: No. Doesn't make Mikan something other than a great rim-protector, but it's telling that Mikan didn't actually face much in this vein in the thick of his prime.

Mikan seems to me to have clearly had an effect on Schayes, which makes sense because Schayes was someone with the body we'd now call a wing-sized player playing as a big. He was exactly the type of guy you'd expect Mikan to expose.

Cousy? I mean I think it's clear as we look back that he didn't have the BBIQ people back then thought he had. If Cousy had been a smarter decision maker, you have to wonder if Boston wins titles before Russell ever arrives.

Davies? I think clearly smarter than Cousy, but he wasn't himself a volume scorer as we see them today. He wasn't going to be a guy who burned you over and over again with his shot.

Arizin was that guy. By far the most modern skilled player of the era so far as I can see, and he beat Mikan more times than he lost, while scoring more on average, and almost certainly doing so with a drastically superior efficiency.

None of that makes Arizin > Mikan a realistic choice for me here of course, but it is something of a problem when the biggest theoretical challengers (Kurland, Arizin) to Mikan in his generation a) seem to have done well against him and b) for differing reasons just weren't competing against Mikan all that much.

And then Pettit comes along, and you have a guy who was better at 23 than Mikan was at 31, and still better at age 31 than Mikan was at 31 holding his own and continuing to grow as a player at an age long after Mikan had to give up on things like volume scoring.

Does that mean I can't see a case for Mikan over Pettit? No. I think Mikan's defense is a big deal. I can absolutely see the case for Mikan and his modern-ineffective offense against Pettit.

But when I see people talking about Mikan towering over the world for 8 years as if "Mikan trounced everyone he faced so we'll never know what he would have done against the Russells and Wilts of the world", it doesn't jive with the reality I see. Mikan got surpassed and pushed into retirement at an early age while facing guys no one is seriously championing yet. At the very least, that should give people some pause if they are in any way asking the question "But how good was he at playing basketball?" instead of "How historically significant was he?".
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#54 » by sansterre » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:57 pm

Here are some general thoughts:

Elgin Baylor: Short career, and I'm having a hard time finding advanced stats that think he was amazing. A +3.2 WOWYR is quality, but to compete for spots this high on such a short career, I'd need a lot more.

Moses Malone: Probably the highest longevity candidate at this level that we're talking. But the more I look at him the less I like him. He honestly wasn't that good a scorer, and his assist/turnover numbers are terrifyingly bad. There's almost no "he made life easier for his teammates by setting them up to score" argument at all; high usage + really low assists + really high turnovers equals some serious value bleeding. And his defense, while probably above average, was certainly not a serious strength. We're pretty much down to most of his value coming from rebounding (specifically offensive rebounding) and while he may have been the best ever at it . . . I really can't see him competing with everyone else here.

Steph Curry: His peak seasons are as good as anyone's remaining. Maybe better. But his career has been short (comparatively) *and* he's missed some time with injuries *and* he's missed some games in the playoffs with injuries. I really like Curry, but to vote for him you have to be weighting on almost pure peak, and I'm not there.

Steve Nash: Had a nicely long career. Crazy WOWYR numbers. That said, he was crazy ball-dominant for his value. And he wasn't reaaaaaally good until Phoenix. I really like him, probably more than anyone above, but his peak, while insane, was fairly narrow.

Dwyane Wade: Not super-long career (injuries) and WOWYR doesn't love him (playing with LeBron/Shaq may have something to do with that). Super ball-dominant, not great at scaling. But he was a serious beast in the playoffs. I could easily put Nash ahead of him here.

Julius Erving: Tons of longevity . . . but some of the years are ABA, and a lot of advanced stats don't care for him much. AuPM is lower on him than anyone on this list (WOWYR likes him okay), and the BackPicks BPM thinks his playoff runs were fine but not dominant. There are simply a ton of warning signs on him that are pretty scary.

Kevin Durant: Very little longevity; he missed a full year, a playoffs and a championship round; that definitely takes the wind out of your sails. But WOWYR and AuPM both really like him, and (predictably) both BPMs think very highly of his playoff performances (yes he was worse most years in OKC, but worse can still be damned good).

Scottie Pippen: Pippen had a middle-ish number of expected playoffs. But he was extraordinarily good in them. His defense was excellent, he was a very effective creator and a capable (but not great) scorer. The guy put up nine straight +5 or better playoffs by BackPicks BPM (three at +7 or higher). He scaled pretty well (given that he was such a good defender and rebounder). Honestly, given his insane playoff BPMs, he deserves serious consideration here. But AuPM and WOWYR both seem him short of that level. And you have to admit, Pippen was put in a really good position to succeed with some strong rosters. So even if some numbers say he was that good . . . I'm cautious.

David Robinson: Short career (though notably longer than Durant and Curry in terms of Playoffs). I've seen zero evidence that his outstanding defense was any worse in the playoffs, he was a solid passer, monster rebounder and a decent (though not great) scorer in the playoffs. His WOWYR and AuPM are both stratospheric, but those are mostly regular season measures; if he carried his RS value to the PS, he'd have been voted in a while ago. BackPicks BPM has him around +5 for all of his runs which is really good. And unlike Pippen, Robinson was definitely never set up for success by his teammates (until '98).

Charles Barkley: Sir Charles had a lot of estimated playoff reps, and played them at a high level. AuPM doesn't love him, but WOWYR has him higher than almost any of these names (and Barkley jumped teams a lot, so that's a reasonable predictor). Barkley may not have been above average on defense (besides rebounding), but on offense he was basically a better version of Moses Malone. Not quite as good on the boards, but wildly more efficient, and an increasingly decent passer as he got older (I don't know that he ever got *good* but it went from a small minus to some added value). And, worth noting, he got better in the playoffs. He's definitely not the best in the playoffs, but his peak was consistently north of +5 and combine that with a lot of playoff-worthy seasons and the numbers have him higher than I expected.

Chris Paul: What the heck. This guy. By the box scores he should be #1 by a lot. He has *seven* playoffs with BackPicks BPMs above +6.8. That's nuts! And AuPM loves him, seeing him comparable to Robinson or Curry (the two best of these players). And yet . . . WOWYR is kind of meh about him. And somehow his teams never seemed to need him quite much as you'd guess. And they never seemed to hurt as much as you'd think when he left, nor jump quite as much when he joined. So many of his advanced stats scream that he's the best playoff performer of this field (for those with this many playoff reps) . . . I just don't know how much I buy that. I really need to look more into him, because there are a lot of conflicting stories here.

Votes:

1. Charles Barkley
2. David Robinson
3. Chris Paul
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#55 » by DQuinn1575 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:01 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
eminence wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Bob Davies was Mikan's primary competition. If that seems like a low bar to you, well, yeah.

For the record, there are two stars I'm aware of who had winning records against Mikan, and both on average outscored him when they played:

Paul Arizin
Bob Pettit

While we can debate whether this should be held against Mikan or not, I do think these two guys were pretty clearly the two best basketball players in the NBA who were contemporaries of Mikan.

In the case of Arizin, a few things:

1. Arizin's NBA is career is messed up because of his time in the military.
2. Early in their matchups Mikan outscored Arizin. I don't want to imply that the bigger scorer "wins" but just so we're clear on that.
3. I think it is worth noting that Arizin's Warriors got the best of Mikan's Lakers in '51-52 when they played, and it's entirely possible that had they played in the playoffs the Lakers don't win the title. But they didn't play and the Lakers won the title.
4. I think there's basically zero doubt that by '55-56 when Arizin was all the way back and his Warriors won the title, Arizin was the superior player.

I'll also note that in '55-56, the Warriors and Lakers didn't play because the Lakers lost to Pettit's Hawks, where Pettit clearly dominated the series over Mikan or anyone else.

I look at all of this and what I'll definitely say is that I think circa '55-56, the 27 year old Arizin and the 23 year old Pettit were better players than the 31 year old Mikan. And now a question to consider:

How often do you see a 31 year old as clearly inferior to a 27/23 year old and think "Oh yeah, but he was old, clearly he would have done a lot better if he weren't an ancient 31 when they played?"

Yes it's different now compared to back then, but to the notion that Mikan dominated everyone and then retired before being surpassed, not so much. And this pertains to why I've tended to have Pettit ahead of Mikan in the past, and likely would entertain Arizin over Mikan if he'd just have been able to have a normal career.


Calling Pettit/Mikan contemporaries seems off to me, they shared the league for less than a full season when Mikan was a high impact 20 mpg player battling injuries (think Walton on the Celtics). Schayes/Cousy seem more relevant. Schayes seems particularly relevant in the Pettit/Mikan comparison as he had real overlap with both. Cousy a very different sort of player.

The '52 Warriors/Lakers point is bordering on the absurd, and drags down a good point (Arizin should've been Mikan's primary challenger if not for the military draft). May as well say the '20 Pacers/Raptors might've beat the Lakers.

And I don't think it's particularly rare - Walton, Hill, McGrady, Bird (okay - 32), Roy, Yao didn't even make it to 31, Penny, Rose. Superstars go down to injury in all decades.


As I said, if you want to look at Mikan through his actual chief competition, it was Davies. If we want to extend it to everyone he faced, then yes it makes sense to refer to Cousy & Schayes, and it also makes sense to look at Arizin & Pettit.

I think with Arizin it should be noted he was the same age as Cousy & Schayes, which was 4 years younger than Mikan, which shouldn't be considered that much of a difference given that Davies was 4 years older than Mikan. You want to look at Mikan's generation, those are the guys. The most talented of the bunch other than Mikan was Arizin, who also did pretty dang well against Mikan.

Pettit is clearly seen as the next generation beyond Mikan and I get that...but I think it has to be noted that if LeBron at age 31 were cleanly surpassed by someone age 23, no one would ever take LeBron seriously as a GOAT candidate. When you think about what would have happened had Mikan continued to play a normal career arc, there's no reason to think that wouldn't have happened more. As such, I'd argue that the idea of Mikan as this dominant figure who was never topped is a real problem.

Mikan got surpassed by others at an age that we generally would consider Mikan to still be in his prime. You want to call that injuries okay, but the idea that we wouldn't note that Mikan didn't seem to be able to do a whole heck of a lot to stop Pettit matters.

Re: '52 point is absurd. Might as well say... Clearly you object to the "what might have been" aspect of things. Okay, the fact remains that Arizin is exactly the type of player we'd be looking at to ask "So could Mikan stop guys who could actually shoot?". Answer: No. Doesn't make Mikan something other than a great rim-protector, but it's telling that Mikan didn't actually face much in this vein in the thick of his prime.

Mikan seems to me to have clearly had an effect on Schayes, which makes sense because Schayes was someone with the body we'd now call a wing-sized player playing as a big. He was exactly the type of guy you'd expect Mikan to expose.

Cousy? I mean I think it's clear as we look back that he didn't have the BBIQ people back then thought he had. If Cousy had been a smarter decision maker, you have to wonder if Boston wins titles before Russell ever arrives.

Davies? I think clearly smarter than Cousy, but he wasn't himself a volume scorer as we see them today. He wasn't going to be a guy who burned you over and over again with his shot.

Arizin was that guy. By far the most modern skilled player of the era so far as I can see, and he beat Mikan more times than he lost, while scoring more on average, and almost certainly doing so with a drastically superior efficiency.

None of that makes Arizin > Mikan a realistic choice for me here of course, but it is something of a problem when the biggest theoretical challengers (Kurland, Arizin) to Mikan in his generation a) seem to have done well against him and b) for differing reasons just weren't competing against Mikan all that much.

And then Pettit comes along, and you have a guy who was better at 23 than Mikan was at 31, and still better at age 31 than Mikan was at 31 holding his own and continuing to grow as a player at an age long after Mikan had to give up on things like volume scoring.

Does that mean I can't see a case for Mikan over Pettit? No. I think Mikan's defense is a big deal. I can absolutely see the case for Mikan and his modern-ineffective offense against Pettit.

But when I see people talking about Mikan towering over the world for 8 years as if "Mikan trounced everyone he faced so we'll never know what he would have done against the Russells and Wilts of the world", it doesn't jive with the reality I see. Mikan got surpassed and pushed into retirement at an early age while facing guys no one is seriously championing yet. At the very least, that should give people some pause if they are in any way asking the question "But how good was he at playing basketball?" instead of "How historically significant was he?".


Mikan didn't play for a year and a half - he came back in mid January. And it wasn't like he was staying in athletic shape by doing something like playing baseball. When he did come back he is quoted as saying he wasn't planning on taking Lovellette's spot in the starting lineup. He didn't get pushed into retirement, he quit after winning and winning. He did a comeback because the team he was general manager for was terrible - He came back in mid January, no training camp, and then he scored less every month - 11.0.10.7/9.8 for Jan/Feb/Mar - I really don't think how he played in that half year was reflective of how good he was in 1954.
The league didnt change that much between 1954 and 1956 - of the top 15 guys in minutes played in 1956, only 3 didnt play in 1954 - Pettit, Arizin, and Gola, who was 15th. It's not like comparing 1956 vs 1961 where you get Oscar,Wilt,Russell,West.Baylor changing the league. Pettit and Arizin make the league a little better, but it's not like the league got so much better, Mikan got a lot worse and for whatever reason decided he had enough.
Win Shares per 48 - MIkan 52,53,54 is .268,264,.258 - Pettit's in 1956 was .236, his best .246- so figuring 1949-51 were definitely better, Mikan had 8 years of WS/48 better than Pettit's best.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#56 » by Dr Positivity » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:12 pm

DQuinn1575 wrote:1952-1954 he is 2/2/4 in scoring, 1/1/2 in rebounding in the league, winning 3 championships. That's way more dominant than Moses and Robinson ever were. The only 3 year stretch like that
for big men is probably Shaq 2000-2002. And this is after they changed the rules and he wasn't as dominant.


Mikan's efficiency is somewhat average from 52-54, therefore he only finishes 7th, 5th and 10th in OWS. I would argue he has been passed offensively by several players in this time period when taking into accounts numbers, production and position with Cousy, Arizin, Johnston, Schayes, Sharman, Macauley all having seasons between 52-54 where you could argue they were better on offense than him. They were not as good on defense though. Therefore I think you could make a case that Robinson has seasons as good compared to his era as 52-54 Mikan, much like Mikan Robinson was worse than a number of players on offense, but made up for it by being best in the world level on defense. I don't care about the titles considering the era and Lakers were stacked.

In my opinion

47-51 Mikan: god level, basically untouched in terms of dominacne vs era
52-54: more like "just" Duncan/Hakeem/peak Robinson/etc type big vs his era, which is still good enough for Lakers to win every year
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#57 » by DQuinn1575 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:21 pm

Dr Positivity wrote:
DQuinn1575 wrote:1952-1954 he is 2/2/4 in scoring, 1/1/2 in rebounding in the league, winning 3 championships. That's way more dominant than Moses and Robinson ever were. The only 3 year stretch like that
for big men is probably Shaq 2000-2002. And this is after they changed the rules and he wasn't as dominant.


Mikan's efficiency is somewhat average from 52-54, therefore he only finishes 7th, 5th and 10th in OWS. I would argue he has been passed offensively by several players in this time period when taking into accounts numbers, production and position with Cousy, Arizin, Johnston, Schayes, Sharman, Macauley all having seasons between 52-54 where you could argue they were better on offense than him. They were not as good on defense though. Therefore I think you could make a case that Robinson has seasons as good compared to his era as 52-54 Mikan, much like Mikan Robinson was worse than a number of players on offense, but made up for it by being best in the world level on defense. I don't care about the titles considering the era and Lakers were stacked.

In my opinion

47-51 Mikan: god level, basically untouched in terms of dominacne vs era
52-54: more like "just" Duncan/Hakeem/peak Robinson/etc type big vs his era, which is still good enough for Lakers to win every year


Pretty good points, well summarized
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#58 » by Doctor MJ » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:39 pm

DQuinn1575 wrote:Mikan didn't play for a year and a half - he came back in mid January. And it wasn't like he was staying in athletic shape by doing something like playing baseball. When he did come back he is quoted as saying he wasn't planning on taking Lovellette's spot in the starting lineup. He didn't get pushed into retirement, he quit after winning and winning. He did a comeback because the team he was general manager for was terrible - He came back in mid January, no training camp, and then he scored less every month - 11.0.10.7/9.8 for Jan/Feb/Mar - I really don't think how he played in that half year was reflective of how good he was in 1954.
The league didnt change that much between 1954 and 1956 - of the top 15 guys in minutes played in 1956, only 3 didnt play in 1954 - Pettit, Arizin, and Gola, who was 15th. It's not like comparing 1956 vs 1961 where you get Oscar,Wilt,Russell,West.Baylor changing the league. Pettit and Arizin make the league a little better, but it's not like the league got so much better, Mikan got a lot worse and for whatever reason decided he had enough.
Win Shares per 48 - MIkan 52,53,54 is .268,264,.258 - Pettit's in 1956 was .236, his best .246- so figuring 1949-51 were definitely better, Mikan had 8 years of WS/48 better than Pettit's best.


You mention '49-51. Obviously that's because beginning the next year Mikan was considerably less effective, and this is the at the heart of what I'm talking about.

Questions:
Who the hell starts becoming a drastically worse scorer at the age of 27?
Who the hell does that against 1951 level competition?

Answer:
Someone whose offensive game was really only viable against '40s level competition, aka, something considerably less advanced that college today.

Is it unfair to say Mikan was pushed out? Yes, I'd say it's fine to call me out for hyperbole.

What cannot be denied though is that Mikan was becoming less effective at an age when most guys as we know them are only entering their prime, and it wasn't just that his scoring became obsolete. Dude was playing less. By '53-54, Mikan was playing a LOT less than Jim Pollard who was older than he was.

Does it seem realistic that Mikan was such a prodigy that he learned everything there was to know at a young age compared to the players of today and simply had his body break down? No, I don't think it does. I think if Mikan had been capable of evolving as a scorer, he'd have done so.

Does that mean Mikan wasn't still a great defensive player? No, it doesn't, and this where people have an argument to make that perhaps Mikan could have kept that facet of his impact up indefinitely.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#59 » by Doctor MJ » Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:29 pm

Vote:

1. David Robinson
2. Julius Erving
3. Steph Curry

On Robinson, I think the literal worst you can say about him is that on an ideal team he's your #2 offensive player and your #1 defensive player. The idea that that's damning when we're considering the #17 spot to me is frankly pretty absurd. Compare others through the same lens, Robinson comes across looking great.

Now add in his lack of ego, his willingness and ability to change roles incredibly effectively, and his cultural impact, and frankly I can see a case for him going a lot higher.

Longevity is something of an issues for him, but not nearly as big as it looks at first glance. The average NBA fan thinks that Robinson stopped being relevant as a superstar with his '96 injury and the rest is just filler. In reality, he was probably the most impactful player in the world in '98-99 and continued to be quite valuable until the end of his career in 2003, albeit with lower and lower minutes by the end.

On Erving, as I've said before I see his ABA years as fundamentally legit. I've looked into the idea that his NBA years should make his ABA performances get an asterisk based on "weak competition" and I don't see it. Other ABA players did as good or even better when they went to the NBA, and it surely isn't a coincidence that when Erving went from a team with excellent fit in the ABA to a stupidly constructed NBA team, his impact went way down.

On the other hand, the fact that Erving never found a consistent impact groove on the 76ers is a red flag for me and not something I feel comfortable writing off.

It has been noted that perhaps the presence of Bobby Jones caused a negative on/off for Erving due to Jones' minutes getting staggered relative to Erving's. First, I'd like to see more analysis on that. How staggered where they?

But more broadly there's the issue that while I admire Jones, he's really not supposed to be better than Erving. Jones apparently actually being more impactful than Erving hurts Erving for me. It also helps Jones.

But as I say: In the end we're talking about wandering in the dark when we consider impact. The players with the sense for how to impact get an edge, and those who don't lose ground relative to those with the edge, but this does not mean that I literally think Erving was a "negative impact player". I think his time in Philadelphia at the very least adds proof of longevity, and it makes it hard for me to put guys with considerably shorter careers above him.

On Curry: Our basketball angel. A pure finesse player whose approach to the game is still in the process or revolutionizing it, and whose effects won't be fully understood for at least another generation.

I consider Curry's '15-16 regular season to be the greatest regular season in history. You can certainly argue that defense should allow others to take that spot over Curry, but his offense was completely off the charts. And while he hasn't had a year as overwhelming as that again, he's pretty consistently been the most impactful offense player in the world, while leading the most dominant 5-year team run that frankly any of us have ever witnessed.

As I say that, we've also seen Curry be a bit injury-prone, but also injury-sensitive. He's a rhythm player, and we've yet to see him be dominant all the way through the post-season. Many hold this against him a ton. I hold it against him some, but not a ton. I think the reality is you're talking about a guy who lost one series in 5 years when his team was healthy, and in that series he lost to the guy we just voted as #1 in no small part because he beat Curry's 73 win Warriors.

I also think that in general there's a trend where young guys hit peak impact before they hit peak resilience. I think that if Durant hadn't come to the Warriors and Curry had just spent the past few years being "the guy who has to score", he'd have likely had several post-seasons where he seemed more resilient than '15-16.

Now, I do respect if your position is "Yeah but he hasn't yet, so I'm not going to credit him for something he hasn't done yet", but my position is more "Do I have reason to actually classify this player as being fundamentally flawed in a series?" I really don't see that with Curry.

On Durant:

1. In general, he's been less impactful in his prime than Curry.
2. It's no mystery why he's less portable than Curry given that Curry has made such a point to develop his off-ball game.
3. It matters that Curry's the backbone of a dynasty and Durant's attempt at this fizzled out.
4. It REALLY matters to me how toxic Durant turned in Golden State after WINNING a championship.
5. It really REALLY bothers me that Durant was openly jealous of a guy who was doing a ton to make life easier on the court for Durant. Like, Curry was moving off ball looking to suck guys out of Durant's way and Durant was probably thinking as he drove for an easy score "How can they think Curry's better than me?".

I'm not sure where I'm going to have Durant. After Curry, Durant really is pretty debatable with most everyone else, but frankly I find the idea that Durant's had a more valuable career than Curry to be almost offensive. Put these guys in any other career and Curry is the your model employee while Durant is your malcontent. That's true in basketball but we forget it, if they were our co-workers though, we'd never forget it.

A note on Paul:

Him being traded to Phoenix makes it really clear how next year is going to be big for Paul's legacy. Paul thus far largely has a career where he's managed not to make his teammates better despite playing the "make your teammates better" position exceptionally well. Paul likes control, and he's going to a place where he needs to not be a control-freak or it just won't work. It's Booker's backcourt and Paul best never delude himself otherwise.

Am I bettering against Phoenix succeeding? No, I thought they'd have an excellent year next year if they didn't make a move. They should succeed, but there is a question of whether Paul makes an immediate change to the development of Booker, Ayton, and others or not. If he does, a lot of the questions about Chris "the most annoying man in the world" Paul will likely disappear permanently. If he doesn't, well, they won't.

On Nash: I don't want to be the one pushing him because you know and I know that I probably have a bias here. I do think he's clearly below Curry, but beyond that I'm really not sure. There are a bunch of guys I could see putting Nash over, or the other way around. Paul is one of those guys.

On Stockton: If I'm bringing up Paul & Nash, Stockton deserves mention. The most fundamentally solid guy around and you can make cases to put him extremely high based on longevity. It bothers me though that I see him as often passive while his team is struggling to get buckets with Malone in the playoffs. I get it that this can be chalked up as Sloan's scheme and we don't truly know what Stockton was capable of, but Nash was forking lightning out there with an aggression I've not seen from anyone in this mold, I don't think it's right to just gift Stockton with that aggression. I can see arguments for Stockton as an overall player and career, but it's not really a debate whether Nash had the more impressive game on display.

Stockton vs Paul is interesting because in some ways they are more alike, with Paul being considerably more assertive verbally. If Paul's motor mouth were a clear-cut good thing I might be inclined to side with him here...but I'm rather inclined to see it as a problem.

On Wade: I admire the heck out of him, but I do see that lack of shooting as both a ceiling-dropper and a longevity-dropper. I can see a case for Wade over Nash/Stockton/Paul if you really think he "got there" in terms of championship basketball in a way the other guys didn't, and when Wade into freak motor mode in the playoffs, that's a pretty reasonable thing to think.

I also think him winning that '06 title was essentially a fluke though and I don't see us seeing Wade at all the same way without that fluke.

On Barkley: I used to have Barkley higher, but I do think he's a guy with fragile intangibles. He's like Shaq in some ways, but a) not so insecure and grudge-holding which is good, but also b) he doesn't have Shaq's preternatural ability to be impactful while being lazy. I think that while Barkley never had the conscientiousness to be a reliable defender, he was capable of the spectacular whenever he was tuned in and that meant that at his best he was a force beyond someone like Karl Malone, but in practice I'd rather have Malone on my team.

Also, I think the comparison with his mentor Moses Malone is an interesting one. I think Barkley was the more talented player and probably had the higher BBIQ in the abstract, but there was a relentlessness to Moses you could depend on. There have been times when I've ranked Barkley ahead of Moses, but that's not what I'm feeling at this time.
Hey: With what's going on in the world, my fuse is shorter than it used to be, and it's leading my lose my cool and then go on self-imposed breaks from things (such as RealGM). Please try to keep it civil, and I'll be looking to do the same.
BigBoss23
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #17 

Post#60 » by BigBoss23 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:45 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:Vote:

1. David Robinson
2. Julius Erving
3. Steph Curry

On Robinson, I think the literal worst you can say about him is that on an ideal team he's your #2 offensive player and your #1 defensive player. The idea that that's damning when we're considering the #17 spot to me is frankly pretty absurd. Compare others through the same lens, Robinson comes across looking great.

Now add in his lack of ego, his willingness and ability to change roles incredibly effectively, and his cultural impact, and frankly I can see a case for him going a lot higher.

Longevity is something of an issues for him, but not nearly as big as it looks at first glance. The average NBA fan thinks that Robinson stopped being relevant as a superstar with his '96 injury and the rest is just filler. In reality, he was probably the most impactful player in the world in '98-99 and continued to be quite valuable until the end of his career in 2003, albeit with lower and lower minutes by the end.

On Erving, as I've said before I see his ABA years as fundamentally legit. I've looked into the idea that his NBA years should make his ABA performances get an asterisk based on "weak competition" and I don't see it. Other ABA players did as good or even better when they went to the NBA, and it surely isn't a coincidence that when Erving went from a team with excellent fit in the ABA to a stupidly constructed NBA team, his impact went way down.

On the other hand, the fact that Erving never found a consistent impact groove on the 76ers is a red flag for me and not something I feel comfortable writing off.

It has been noted that perhaps the presence of Bobby Jones caused a negative on/off for Erving due to Jones' minutes getting staggered relative to Erving's. First, I'd like to see more analysis on that. How staggered where they?

But more broadly there's the issue that while I admire Jones, he's really not supposed to be better than Erving. Jones apparently actually being more impactful than Erving hurts Erving for me. It also helps Jones.

But as I say: In the end we're talking about wandering in the dark when we consider impact. The players with the sense for how to impact get an edge, and those who don't lose ground relative to those with the edge, but this does not mean that I literally think Erving was a "negative impact player". I think his time in Philadelphia at the very least adds proof of longevity, and it makes it hard for me to put guys with considerably shorter careers above him.

On Curry: Our basketball angel. A pure finesse player whose approach to the game is still in the process or revolutionizing it, and whose effects won't be fully understood for at least another generation.

I consider Curry's '15-16 regular season to be the greatest regular season in history. You can certainly argue that defense should allow others to take that spot over Curry, but his offense was completely off the charts. And while he hasn't had a year as overwhelming as that again, he's pretty consistently been the most impactful offense player in the world, while leading the most dominant 5-year team run that frankly any of us have ever witnessed.

As I say that, we've also seen Curry be a bit injury-prone, but also injury-sensitive. He's a rhythm player, and we've yet to see him be dominant all the way through the post-season. Many hold this against him a ton. I hold it against him some, but not a ton. I think the reality is you're talking about a guy who lost one series in 5 years when his team was healthy, and in that series he lost to the guy we just voted as #1 in no small part because he beat Curry's 73 win Warriors.

I also think that in general there's a trend where young guys hit peak impact before they hit peak resilience. I think that if Durant hadn't come to the Warriors and Curry had just spent the past few years being "the guy who has to score", he'd have likely had several post-seasons where he seemed more resilient than '15-16.

Now, I do respect if your position is "Yeah but he hasn't yet, so I'm not going to credit him for something he hasn't done yet", but my position is more "Do I have reason to actually classify this player as being fundamentally flawed in a series?" I really don't see that with Curry.

On Durant:

1. In general, he's been less impactful in his prime than Curry.
2. It's no mystery why he's less portable than Curry given that Curry has made such a point to develop his off-ball game.
3. It matters that Curry's the backbone of a dynasty and Durant's attempt at this fizzled out.
4. It REALLY matters to me how toxic Durant turned in Golden State after WINNING a championship.
5. It really REALLY bothers me that Durant was openly jealous of a guy who was doing a ton to make life easier on the court for Durant. Like, Curry was moving off ball looking to suck guys out of Durant's way and Durant was probably thinking as he drove for an easy score "How can they think Curry's better than me?".

I'm not sure where I'm going to have Durant. After Curry, Durant really is pretty debatable with most everyone else, but frankly I find the idea that Durant's had a more valuable career than Curry to be almost offensive. Put these guys in any other career and Curry is the your model employee while Durant is your malcontent. That's true in basketball but we forget it, if they were our co-workers though, we'd never forget it.

A note on Paul:

Him being traded to Phoenix makes it really clear how next year is going to be big for Paul's legacy. Paul thus far largely has a career where he's managed not to make his teammates better despite playing the "make your teammates better" position exceptionally well. Paul likes control, and he's going to a place where he needs to not be a control-freak or it just won't work. It's Booker's backcourt and Paul best never delude himself otherwise.

Am I bettering against Phoenix succeeding? No, I thought they'd have an excellent year next year if they didn't make a move. They should succeed, but there is a question of whether Paul makes an immediate change to the development of Booker, Ayton, and others or not. If he does, a lot of the questions about Chris "the most annoying man in the world" Paul will likely disappear permanently. If he doesn't, well, they won't.

On Nash: I don't want to be the one pushing him because you know and I know that I probably have a bias here. I do think he's clearly below Curry, but beyond that I'm really not sure. There are a bunch of guys I could see putting Nash over, or the other way around. Paul is one of those guys.

On Stockton: If I'm bringing up Paul & Nash, Stockton deserves mention. The most fundamentally solid guy around and you can make cases to put him extremely high based on longevity. It bothers me though that I see him as often passive while his team is struggling to get buckets with Malone in the playoffs. I get it that this can be chalked up as Sloan's scheme and we don't truly know what Stockton was capable of, but Nash was forking lightning out there with an aggression I've not seen from anyone in this mold, I don't think it's right to just gift Stockton with that aggression. I can see arguments for Stockton as an overall player and career, but it's not really a debate whether Nash had the more impressive game on display.

Stockton vs Paul is interesting because in some ways they are more alike, with Paul being considerably more assertive verbally. If Paul's motor mouth were a clear-cut good thing I might be inclined to side with him here...but I'm rather inclined to see it as a problem.

On Wade: I admire the heck out of him, but I do see that lack of shooting as both a ceiling-dropper and a longevity-dropper. I can see a case for Wade over Nash/Stockton/Paul if you really think he "got there" in terms of championship basketball in a way the other guys didn't, and when Wade into freak motor mode in the playoffs, that's a pretty reasonable thing to think.

I also think him winning that '06 title was essentially a fluke though and I don't see us seeing Wade at all the same way without that fluke.

On Barkley: I used to have Barkley higher, but I do think he's a guy with fragile intangibles. He's like Shaq in some ways, but a) not so insecure and grudge-holding which is good, but also b) he doesn't have Shaq's preternatural ability to be impactful while being lazy. I think that while Barkley never had the conscientiousness to be a reliable defender, he was capable of the spectacular whenever he was tuned in and that meant that at his best he was a force beyond someone like Karl Malone, but in practice I'd rather have Malone on my team.

Also, I think the comparison with his mentor Moses Malone is an interesting one. I think Barkley was the more talented player and probably had the higher BBIQ in the abstract, but there was a relentlessness to Moses you could depend on. There have been times when I've ranked Barkley ahead of Moses, but that's not what I'm feeling at this time.


I find your take on Durant's GSW tenure incredibly biased and inaccurate.

He wasn't jealous of Curry. He was envious of all the love his teammates were getting. His detractors would never acknowledge him as "being one of the them" and hence he left for Brooklyn. In this sense, he miscalculated that his play would do the talking for him; people have strong opinions and because he pulled an Infinity Wars Thanos and followed through successfully at making sure GSW dominated the league that the Heatles wish they did.

He fit in, played his role to perfection. That scuffle with Draymond? Management suspended Green, so that should tell you who they thought was in the wrong for that altercation. Want to dig deeper? Draymond didn't like the mystery surrounding KD's impending free agency. I don't see other stars getting criticized for being "a malcontent employee" simply by not openly discussing their impending free agency. Did he ever have any other documented problems or altercations with teammates while he was in OKC or GSW? The answer is no. His GSW teammates lobbied for him to resign and have nothing but good things to say about him to this day.

Curry revolutionized the game no doubt, and is perhaps the greatest off ball player/ceiling raiser in history. But the one thing he didn't have was the elite top level ability to create his own shot at will when defenses bog down at the highest level. In the few games that GSW had trouble with in the 2017 and 2018 Finals where nobody's shot was falling those games, it was KD who was the one constant. Whether that means he was more or less "important" than Curry's overall impact is a discussion, as the value of isolation scoring at high efficiency seems to be lost for many in this project imo. You guys tend to focus on "what could have happened" vs "what actually happened".

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