LukaTheGOAT wrote: GSP wrote:
Djoker wrote:I just listened to Ben's podcast on Garnett vs. Duncan. There were some good points there but he (and his cohost) largely concluded that KG's inability to manufacture isolation offense in the playoffs is not a weakness. I'm completely baffled. Yes on really good offensive teams KG doesn't have to do that and his off-ball skills like being an alley-oop target and a better midrange shooter makes him more scalable in such an offense but that's a flawed way of thinking IMO. Most championship teams are hard to build let alone a team that already has a go-to scorer and great playmaker(s) that you can just plug Garnett in. Most situations are average situations. I personally think that Duncan's ability to "carry" a team offensively to a larger degree than KG is a huge feather in his cap. In fact it's the reason why I rank Duncan over KG.
Yes KG had worse team circumstances in Minnesota but he also had much much worse team success as well. KG for all his greatness missed the playoffs for 3 straight years. Their conversation skips straight from 2004 to 2008 as if the years in-between didn't exist. KG's impact metrics in those seasons were much lower than in 2003 and 2004... and 2008. It's just glossed over.
I love KG more and I see Duncan as very slightly better. But I don't think the analysis presented by Ben on this subject was done with full transparency. Duncan's weaknesses are IMO amplified and KG's are minimized. And entire years are ignored which don't fit the narrative well. I hate to be harsh because Ben produces amazing work and I'm a big fan to say the least but that's how I feel.
Kgs casts with Sams injury from 05-07 were as bad as any alltimer had in their primes. I mean Kgs numbers were basically the same in 05 as his Mvp season. Also the Wolves won 44 games and were 11th in Srs. They are easily a playoff team in the East but they were playing in one of if not the most brutal conference ever
You realize almost all of his teammates in the 05-07 years were out of the league not long after that right? I mean most ppl who criticize Kg for not making it those years prolly cant even name a teammate besides Wally and Ricky Davis from the 06 or 07 teams without using basketball reference. Kareem missed the playoffs b2b in his prime and even tho he was injured in 75 he played all 82 the next year on a different team and still missed it but i doubt ppl are question mid-70s Kareems impact even tho he had Gail Goodrich and an alltime coach in Bill Sharman
KG's impact metrics were down from 05-07, but I would say depending on what you look at they are relatively comparable to Duncan during that span. I don't blame KG for not making the PS those years, but I guess my issue with Ben's conclusion's stems from this:
I'm curious how exactly Ben is determining CORP, and the value of portability. I understand his reasoning, that he believes KG can fit better in many different situations, but how can he be so confident that ceiling raising is more valuable than Duncan's floor-raising efforts. And based off his evaluations on portability of stars since the year 1991 or so, it seems like the best player on championship teams tend to have neutral portability at best. This could mean that positive port stars are rare, but I would argue there have been many positive port stars like Robinson, Garnett who didn't win until later in their careers; couldn't this potentially be a hint that if those guys were better floor-raisers in exchange for some of their portability, they might've experienced some more team success?
I'll end on this. The 08 Celtics won a championship, but they were forced to 7 games twice during that run against not so great teams. I am not convinced that scalability is nearly as important. It matters, but I do think history tells us that floor-raisers are more valuable in random championship odds, simply because front offices are not that great and a lack of capital means, meshing players who fit well is not always a possibility. I’d rather have KG play for my team in the Olympics than Duncan, but that is a unique situation and far from the norm. More times than not, you want Duncan who is a better #1 and #2 option than KG.
Portability of Best Players on Championship Teams (According to his Evaluations)
14: Neutral (Duncan)
04: Neutral (Wallace)
All I'm saying is I'm seeing plenty of neutral portability guys and the only example of positive port guys winning it multiple years in a row is with the Warriors, which might be the most well constructed team ever; a rarity basically.
This is a really interesting post; great thought process and documentation!
But I kind of wanted to follow up here.
Ben seems to use the word "Portability" to mean "how much of their value they retain when they play as something other than the best offensive player on their team". He (and others) may quibble with that characterization, but that's how I've come to read it.
Well here's the problem. You know whose portability we can be sure of? Guys that aren't playing as the best part of their offense have portability that's very easy to observer. Guys like Scottie Pippen are clearly portable because they're demonstrating that portability. Draymond Green was obviously portable. Pau Gasol in '08-10 was obviously portable. Guys who were the best player on their offense but with a non-ball-dominant skillset are obviously portable (Reggie Miller, Kevin Durant, etc.).
But guys that are playing as the ball-dominant best players on their teams? Absolutely nothing they're doing is demonstrating portability, because they're not playing in the environment designed for it. You could never be sure of Jordan's portability, because he (rightly) dominated the crap out of the offense his whole career. So players who are the best players on championship teams don't really need to demonstrate portability, which makes the exercise somewhat problematic.
Here's the issue I have with the concept. Don't get me wrong, I think the entire thought journey of portability is incredibly valuable.
But it makes way, way, way more sense for mid-range players than studs. Allen Iverson has a seriously limited value because he wasn't good enough to win you a championship as the #1, but he wasn't portable enough to be a legit #2 or #3 on a championship team. Whereas Draymond Green is definitively not capable of winning a championship as a #1, but as the 2nd or 3rd best player on a team he can take you to the next level. The difference between the two is massive, and portability articulates that beautifully.
But saying stuff like "But Kevin Garnett would have been so much better as #2" is unquestionably true, but way less relevant. Here's how I think of it:
Think of it like it's 2k21 or something. Every player has a certain overall number of points to spend on attributes. Let's imagine that each player has an overall grade. Let's say that each league has the following:
5 players in the 95-99 range
10 players in the 90-94 range
20 players in the 85-89 range
30 players in the 80-84 range
and so on.
And each of these players' skill points can go into portable skills (off-ball offense, offensive rebounding, defense, spot-up shooting, passing) and Alpha skills (ball-dominant offense/passing, effective ISO-heavy scoring).
Imagine choosing between two 85 point players. One is slanted heavily ball-dominant, the other is slanted heavily towards portable skills. Of the two the latter is almost certainly the more valuable player (despite them having the same number of raw points) because the former is almost certainly not good enough to be the #1 on a title-winning team (Isiah Thomas may be a counterexample to this premise) but the latter can be an excellent #2 or #3 on a contender.
But here's the problem. What happens if you have a 98 point player who is slanted heavily towards portability? I mean, upside, 98 point player! You're talking one of the best players in the league, easy. Even operating as a #1 (which they're not designed for) they'll still show at the level of a Top 5 player. But if they could only play as a #2 they'd absolutely blow the doors off the league. Imagine KG with Shaq (or Duncan), or KG with LeBron or Steph. Hole-eee crap. But the problem is this: 98 point portable players are *still* better #1s than almost every player in the league but 5 or so. And the odds of the 98 point portable player actually being in that situation is really, really low.
Imagine every 98+ point ball-dominant player ever. How many of them got to be the #1 option on their team? ALL OF THEM! They're ball-dominant 98 point players!
Now imagine every 98+ point portability slanted player ever. How many of their peak seasons were as the #2 option on their team? Very, very few. You have to get lucky to get those opportunities.
If I said that "Player A is better than Player B in most situations, but if Player B gets a team that is ideally suited to him (10% chance of occurring) then Player B is better" . . . I think I basically just said that Player A is better. That we shouldn't hold against Player B that he never got to play in that optimal situation, sure . . . but Player A didn't need no stinking optimal situation.
So I get why you would argue that the portability-slanted player is better, because you'll usually see them in what are (for them) sub-optimal situations. And part of being a responsible analyst is compensating for that players playing in a sub-optimal environment. But when the optimal fit is so freaking rare for a player at that level . . .
I don't know if this adds anything to the discussion, but that's how I've come to think about it.
PS: And this is what I think is so fascinating about Russell as a portability study. He's literally *all* portability and limited ball-dominant skills. In the modern era that doesn't work; in the modern game you *cannot* be a 99 point player with limited points in ball-dominant skills. But in the pre-three point era? An outstanding defensive big had a defensive impact loosely comparable to modern offensive giants today. Which means that an all-portability big could actually reach 99 points because pumping up defense could yield such massive results. And that means that Russell was in a super-unique position, because he could be a 99-point portability star and that optimal situation discussed above (where he could be something other than the #1 option on offense) would have been true on almost every team in the league! Such a weird exception to everything!