Doctor MJ wrote:the Lakers didn't really get great on offense until West showed up
The Lakers only had Baylor for 2 seasons before West showed up and 1 of those 2 seasons Baylor led the Lakers to the NBA finals. Also, In Baylor's rookie year (before they got West), the Lakers went from being a 19 win team to 33 wins (a 14 win improvement), yet they only improved by 11 wins after drafting West. In Baylor's rookie year (without West), the Lakers went from 6th in the league in points per game to 5th and from 6th in offensive rating to 4th.
Doctor MJ wrote:What about Baylor's passing? Ah well this is the devil of highlights. Show footage of Baylor & Oscar passing the ball like what you showed above to anyone without access to data and reputation and they'll conclude Baylor was the better passer. Why? Because Baylor was big on circus passes while Oscar's passes were mostly pretty boring.
And this is why it's understandable why people would look at Magic Johnson and Pete Maravich as if they were the same type of player but the data tells us that while Magic may have been the greatest playmaker in history, Maravich was largely wasting everyone's time.
There's a long history of razzle-dazzle playmaking in basketball that comes in the wake of the Rens/Globetrotters that I don't want to bash at all, but you can't judge the effectiveness of players with such approaches by highlights because the highlights don't show you what it looks like when it goes wrong, nor give you a sense for how often it actually went right.
So you've got to watch the full games and not just the highlights - got it. Chick Hearn started broadcasting Lakers games in 1961. He saw as many of Baylor's full games as anybody. You yourself said that Hearn said Baylor is the best player he ever saw. Dr. J is quoted saying that Baylor is one of the 5 greatest players ever.
Baylor went to 8 NBA finals (1 of them before West joined the team), Maravich went to 0 NBA finals. Baylor was all NBA 1st team 10 times, compared to just 2 times for Maravich. Baylor scored 61 points in a game plus 22 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a win over Russell-led Celtics during their 60's dynasty. You're trying to say that Baylor was all flash and no substance, comparing him to Maravich but it's an apples to oranges comparison.
Then you say how Oscar and Magic are better passers than Baylor - so what? Did I say Baylor was a better passer than Magic or Oscar? Nope. I simply said that Baylor was a very good passer (especially for a forward) and a very good defender (with the versatility to cover both guards and forwards). Magic, Oscar and West have already been voted into this poll, a long time ago.
What I'm saying, is that compared to the players who are still on the board - who have not yet been voted onto this poll, Baylor is the best all-around player left. When you look at what Baylor did and how good he was scoring (inside scoring, scoring on drives and scoring with his mid range/outside shot), rebounding, passing, defense, ball handling, his speed, athleticism and strength (a combination which was off the charts and simply had never been seen before by an NBA player), and his ability to attack the basket, keep pressure on a defense, push the ball in transition, finish in transition or in the half court.
Doctor MJ wrote:Relative to the other guys in the Big 6 of his early years when he was actually at his best, his efficiency still wasn't that great. I just made a spreadsheet that I made a thread for using bkref's new TS Add. Here's the spreadsheet:
Historical TS Add
Okay so ranking that Big 6 by peak TS Add:
1. Wilt Chamberlain 430.3
2. Oscar Robertson 392.5
3. Jerry West 374.3
4. Bob Pettit 250.6
5. Elgin Baylor 148.2
6. Bill Russell 88.2
Same guys by the number of times they surpassed Baylor's 148.2 peak:
Wilt Chamberlain: 13
Oscar Robertson: 11
Jerry West: 10
Bob Pettit: 8
Worth noting also that Pettit was older than Baylor, and Pettit surpassed Baylor's peak 5 times while Baylor was in the league.
What I'm trying to emphasize here is that it's not just that Baylor was weak on the back end of his career compared to these other guy, the gap between the Big 4 offensive players of the era was massive, and while Wilt/Oscar/West is moot because they're already in (as is Russell), to my knowledge no one's voted for Pettit yet despite the fact he was a glaringly better scorer with a better defensive reputation. I don't think Baylor should be really even seriously considered until Pettit is voted in.
After Pettit it becomes more debatable, but here are other players who also produced bigger TS Add years in the NBA during Baylor's career:
Dick Van Arsdale
Chet Walker, Johnny Green, Dick Van Arsdale, Kenny Sears, Bob Boozer and Dick Snyder..really? The fact that all of those guys rank above Baylor, tells me that TS Add is a flawed statistic and should be taken with a grain of salt. Not to mention that some of the guys you listed, their careers barely overlapped with Baylor - and much of that overlap came during Baylor's final 2 injury-riddled seasons. A lot of these guys you listed played later on during Baylor's career - when league-wide shooting percentages were rising. Or you listed bigs who are naturally going to have a higher shooting percentage since more of their shots are taken in close to the basket and some of their shots are taken over much smaller defenders. Plus, Bill Russell has such a low rating, which is 3x lower than Pettit and 5x lower than Wilt? C'mon.
Doctor MJ wrote:To my knowledge no one's voted for Pettit yet despite the fact he was a glaringly better scorer with a better defensive reputation. I don't think Baylor should be really even seriously considered until Pettit is voted in.
Baylor and Pettit is a good debate. I think both have a strong case to be top 20 of all time.
You say Pettit was a glaringly better scorer than Baylor. I'm not so sure about that. Scoring efficiency-wise, sure Pettit has an edge there. Overall scoring, I think it's close. Both were exceptional scorers. Defensively, Pettit might have a slight edge. But Baylor was faster, better passer and better ball handler. And in terms of impact, Baylor was Dr. J before Dr. J. Baylor was Connie Hawkins before Connie Hawkins. Jordan modeled his game after Dr. J, as did Dominique Wilkins. Kobe and LeBron modeled their game after Jordan. Baylor was a pioneer. He paved the way for all of the explosive, big, strong, athletic wings to come later. He came in to the league before Oscar, before Wilt and right after Russell, at a time when black players faced a lot of racism. Pettit didn't have to deal with that, and Pettit also had the advantage of being 4 inches taller.
And speaking of impact, you could also make the argument that Baylor is the one who invented the euro-step: