DQuinn1575 wrote:Bulls-you keep bringing up Kukoc and Kerr, and I continue to agree they were good; Kukoc very good, Kerr a great fit.
But no, again, they werent average 8-9-10 - If you look at the Top 6 teams in the league and take their top 4 bench guys in minutes, the only two that NEVER played 24 minutes a game are on the Bulls- that is a fact, not an opinion. I wont bother looking at Dickey Simpkins, who was 10th in minutes played. So I am saying they are below average talent wise 8,9,10.
I'm giving you evidence - the fact they werent considered good enough by the league to play half a game, they dont fit your conclusion that this is one of the best benches ever so you dispute them. Your evidence is an opinion of Buechler, but no fact or comparison against anyone else. I'm not sure if you offered anything else except that the team had a great record.
So are you saying you dont think playing time is a fair measure of how good someone is? I mean I could put together something showing the average player who played 24 mpg 5 times in a career has better numbers than the average player who never played 24 mpg but I think that would be a waste of time right now.
Thanks again, I think if we have beat this horse as much as either one of us care to, so let's discuss the next 50 some spots in the Top 100.
Sorry, I'm going to beat this dead horse some more. While it’s off-topic, it’s in an expired thread anyway; and there is so much I’d like to reply to I’m not even sure how to start.
I guess I’ll start with a little preface/disclaimer: I don’t blindly and unbendably dispute things that don’t match my conclusions out of some fierce, defensive code of loyalty to my own ideas at all costs [as you seem to be implying].
But I do tend to research my conclusions quite extensively [certainly before really “digging in” on any particular point, and certainly when being challenged on a point]. And so when I encounter a position that seems overtly mistaken----even if it wasn’t something I was previously passionate about [which this certainly wasn’t really even on my radar previously]---I frequently will explore it at great length and with substantial depth [as you will see, because I’m OCD]......and then if I’ve not been led by my explorations to abandon or alter my previous conclusion, I’ll continue
to dispute it.And to be clear
: I’m not disputing you because you don’t think the ‘96 Bulls bench was an all-time great bench. I kinda
think they might have been (and feel it’s probably the biggest factor that set the ‘96 [and to lesser degree ‘97] Bulls apart from earlier versions), but maybe they weren’t.
However, they were undeniably
a good [even “very” good], significantly above average
And that’s why I’m still engaging you on this point; because you didn’t say “yeah, they were pretty good, but not an all-time great bench imo
You said--in absolutist/authoritative tone---[and I quote]: “they were not a talented bench.”
Semantically, “not talented” would seem to imply ordinary [average]. That is not a tenable position; it simply is false (I’ll say that in an absolutist tone, because the “proof” is to follow). I see that you subsequently amended your opinion
to allow that they may have been as good as Seattle’s bench (though still obviously not an all-time great bench, you say) after reading that ONE associated press writer said so.
I’m still going to present my arguments for whoever, because I’d made most of them before I caught that brief amendment to your position (and I’m going to make at least a “soft contest” to the notion that they were significantly weak 8-12).
There are a couple other things you’ve said that I wanted to touch on, too.
fwiw, your change of tune was sort of frustrating in its own way.
After hand-waving aside my actual data-based arguments regarding Kerr and Buechler [while sticking to the nah, they’re only average
premise].......you then abruptly change positions after reading the opinion of one random journalist [which I’m guessing didn’t even come with much argumentation or evidence].
That I went to some length and was deflected or disregarded out-of-hand, while one journalist stating conjecture was enough to turn you, made me feel a bit….jilted, if that makes sense.
At any rate, I’d already done the research before I caught your about-face; so I’m nonetheless going to share my homework, and logically walk thru the arguments stepwise, and will establish beyond any reasonable doubt that this actually was a pretty damn good bench.
All-time tier? idk, that’s debatable; but WELL above average in the league.
But we’ll circle back to this later. There are some other issues with what you’ve been saying which I feel need addressing first…..
Firstly, I’m going to point out that regardless
of what measure of player goodness you’re using (be it PER, WS/48, BPM, other collection of box-stats, eye-test, AuPM or other plus/minus-based metric, # of seasons >24 mpg, or any combination of the above), the manner in which you’ve used your measure is not an appropriate method of determining what’s above/below average.
You say “they weren’t average 8-9-10”......and then proceed to compare them to ONLY the other top 5 teams (in a 29-team league
Setting aside the fact that I whole-heartedly disagree with the yardstick you’ve chosen to measure these players with, surely I don’t have to elaborate upon why "they don’t compare well to the top 5 teams" [in a 29-team league] "therefore they’re below average"
is a seriously flawed way of approaching this.
Regarding this “yardstick” of measuring bench player quality that you’re using (# of seasons >24 mpg)......I see FOUR major
flaws:1) It’s not really a direct method of measurement.
By that I mean: instead of measuring the actual season being discussed, you’re basically measuring everything ELSE
, giving players credit for what they WERE doing [or would be doing] in other years--->often several years distant
[even a decade+ in some instances] from the year in question.
If not fully and explicitly stated, you’ve more than strongly
insinuated that having multiple seasons >24 mpg trumps not having any such seasons; and by repeatedly bringing up the total number of these seasons as a talking point you have further insinuated that the higher the number===>the better the player.
This will [very obviously] grossly overrate players who were once good but are in the twilight of their careers, particularly those with long careers. It will also overrate players who haven’t yet developed to the players they’d eventually become during the year in question. It will also overrate players who’ve sustained career-altering injuries.
Take the ‘97 Bulls as an example: is Robert Parish a better bench player on that team than Steve Kerr (or even Jason Caffey, for that matter)? After all, he has 17 seasons >24 mpg, vs just one for Kerr and two for Caffey.
But all evidence would fairly clearly indicate he’s not as effective as either (and by a good distance behind Kerr).
Or more appropriate to our discussion of ‘96, let’s look at Frank Brickowski: he’s got 5 seasons >24 mpg.
However, specifically in ‘96, Brickowski was 36 years old and just returned from injury (having missed the entire ‘95 season). He had clearly fallen off a cliff as a player from his most recent [34-yr-old pre-injury
] season. Every metric had fallen off [some of them pretty sharply] since that last season played.
He was [more or less] a scrub that season, except that with the shortened line he suddenly had some 3pt range that was of benefit. It was pretty much the ONLY benefit he provided, though; other than maybe a willingness to commit hard fouls (I have memory of him being [at least sporadically] sort of like a hockey goon this season)…...hard fouls was just about the only thing he was
good for defensively.
Realistically, he’d NEVER been much a defender: not a rim protector, sort of small for a center [which limited his post defense], and a weak defensive rebounder too…...and that’s during his prime
By ‘96 he’s still a smallish non-rim protecting center, though now an outright terrible
rebounding center, and pretty slow too. Not sure if fouling so much was purely of necessity due to his short-comings (and he just chose to make some of them hard), but he AVERAGED 6.8 fouls per 36 minutes played. That’s averaging [not on a bad night, but AVERAGING] fouling out in <32 minutes.
He was also exceptionally
turnover prone this year (like, REALLY exceptionally): he’s producing just 4.35 pts and 0.7 ast (and only 1.9 reb, fwiw) for every 1.0 turnovers he commits this year. Yikes.
He has as many personal fouls as he does rebounds, steals, and blocks COMBINED. Yikes.
I mean there’s no nice way to put it: he was basically done
as a player by that point (and in fact would only play 17 more games in his professional career after that season).
He’s a clearly lesser player than Buechler that year, and likely worse than Wennington too (every single rate metric
[including AuPM and rs pseudo-APM] favours Wennington, at any rate).
Even Brick vs Dickey Simpkins is a debate: Simpkins is no better at many things [like ball-control and rim-protection], and is a clearly lesser shooter [and scorer], for what that’s worth [given both were low-volume guys]. But otoh, he’s far and away a better rebounder than Brickowski, and doesn’t accrue as many fouls either.
So you can certainly make the case that Simpkins was a tad better than Brickowski in ‘96 [and Brick was the 9th man for the team that won the West].
But your preferred method rates Brick better than ALL of them. Why? Because it’s noisy in its inherent accuracy in the first place, AND it gives him credit for the player he HAD been in years past [which he CLEARLY no longer was].2) Playing time among bench-level players is heavily influenced by the quality of team he’s on.
I touched on this previously: bad teams just need bodies to fill their bench [or sometimes even their starting line-up].....they don’t have better options. Good teams DO have better options [that’s why they’re good], so just “any old body” isn’t going to find much time on the court.
Off the top of my head a recent example illustrating this is Reggie Jackson: he’d been the starting PG for Detroit for years [averaging anywhere from 26.7 to 30.7 mpg]. He got traded to the Clippers mid-season last year and immediately dropped to 21.3 mpg [he’d been averaging 27.2 in Detroit that same season]; and this current season he’s down to just 13.5 so far.
He hasn’t changed as a player; he’s just in a new circumstance where he no longer sits near as high on the totem pole…...so his playing time dropped.
This phenomenon is at work all over the league, every single year, and is a huge issue with this method.
We can look at a few examples from in or near-to our 96 season….
I looked at many bench players from this season in my investigations [data to follow]…..in so doing I ran across numerous illustrative instances:
Willie Anderson was traded mid-season from Toronto to NY. He’d been a starter averaging 31.9 mpg [4th on the team] for a terrible Raptors team; upon arrival in NY [a decent team], he’s suddenly averaging only 18.4 mpg [9th on the team]. That’s quite a shift.
Walt Williams goes from a 39-win team to a 42-win team (though the SRS change is a little bigger than that, it’s still not a huge shift in team quality), and goes from 30.7 mpg [4th on team] to 28.1 mpg [9th on a highly varied roster].
Frank Brickowski in ‘94 is averaging a team-high
33.5 mpg for a godawful Bucks team; gets traded mid-season to a merely average Hornets team, and immediately finds himself down over 10 minutes to 23.3 mpg [around 8th on the team].
Your method makes a blanket assumption that 24.5 mpg for a 20-win team is automatically a better player than someone playing 23.5 mpg for a 60-win team…….when it’s likely that 90+% of the time the exact opposite is the case.3) Playing time among bench-level players is heavily influenced by the positional depth [and/or positional foul tendencies] of the specific roster they’re part of.
Some guys only get noteworthy playing time because the roster is shallow at his position. This again applies to Frank Brickowski in ‘96.
What was the weakest position in Seattle’s starting line-up? Center [Ervin Johnson] obviously, who also couldn’t stay on the court anyway due to an extremely high foul-rate. The other man Brickowski would sub for, PF Shawn Kemp, was only 4th on the team in playing time because he had a tendency to get into a bit of foul trouble too [never once averaged 36 mpg in his career as a result].
So the two starters Brick might be sent in for happen to be the two with lowest playing time. Between them they left nearly 45 mpg of PF/C time [more like 46 mpg or so, when factoring in the handful of games missed by Kemp/Johnson] that would need to be filled by their bench bigs…...and the only bench bigs on their roster were 34-yr-old Sam Perkins, Frank Brickowski, and Steve Scheffler. Hence, Brick gets consistent court time.
On the flip-side, if we look at Buechler on the ‘96 Bulls, who is he subbing for? Principally for Pippen and Jordan…..who are only out of the game for around 22 mpg COMBINED (Ervin Johnson alone allows for substantially more sub time than that), and some of that is being covered by Toni Kukoc or even Ron Harper [if they go with a backcourt of Kerr/Brown].4) Playing time among bench-level players is heavily influenced by injuries among teammates who play the same position.
We already touched on this in noting Will Perdue’s only year >24 mpg happened because DRob went down for the year. On a smaller scale we see this with Dickey Simpkins on the ‘96 Bulls; basically ALL of the relevant missed games on their roster were by Rodman [missed 18] and Longley [missed 20], who also happen to be 3rd and 4th in mpg on the starting line-up too. These missed games are probably the only reason Simpkins averaged slightly higher mpg than Buechler.Summary point on all of the above:
Your measuring method is arguably as much about……
a) quality of rosters played for (usually on totally different teams/circumstances, often years
separated from the time-period in question),
b) positional depth on those rosters,
c) injuries on those rosters at his position
……...as it is actually about the player himself.
AND [as if this^^^ isn’t enough] it is frequently grossly mischaracterizing player quality based on crediting him for seasons past [or yet to come], seasons which are often SEVERAL YEARS and/or serious injury separate from the year in question.
When there are so many means of measuring the ACTUAL quality of a player in the ACTUAL season being discussed [why not just use the same tools we utilize for every other non-bench player?], I just cannot understand why anyone would adhere to a method that carries all these glaring flaws.
It’s basically saying “I’m going to look at how these players were in ‘96 by looking---thru the most indirect and murky lens imaginable
----at what they were in all OTHER [not ‘96] seasons.”
What could go wrong?On why I “keep bringing up Kukoc and Kerr”
Because it pertains very heavily toward this idea that this was “not a talented bench” (which yes, I see you’ve amended that opinion; though this applies even to any notion that they were merely a kinda good or “little above” average bench, or similar).
Kukoc and Kerr are, imo, the clear best 6/7 duo in the league this year. Let’s qualify that…..
To this point I’ve said nothing BUT a one-liner opinion regarding Kukoc, other than to note he was the actual 6MOY recipient. However, you’ve seemed satisfied with that level of non-analysis where he is concerned, having acknowledged that he “was very good”. So I won’t go into depth on him. He arguably was the most deserving of the award that year, almost assuredly a top-2 candidate for it at any rate (Sabonis is the only other guy I feel you can make a truly credible case for [he finished 2nd in vote]).
You’ve [almost grudging...once] acknowledged that Kerr was “good”, otherwise only allowing that he was “a great fit”, nothing more.
For being only the 7th-man in the rotation, I would contend that he was VERY good.
I went into a fair bit of depth on him in a prior post, so I won’t repeat all of it. I will repeat, however, that he was accounting for 32.8 pts and 9.1 ast for every 2.0 turnovers he committed.
I was going to say that kind of overall offensive efficiency is extremely rare…..but it’s not. It’s completely unheard of in NBA history
outside of ‘96 Steve Kerr.
No one else [regardless of modest offensive load, “great fit”, limited minute role, etc] has attained that degree of GOAT-level ball-control while simultaneously
having that degree of shooting efficiency. That’s why his 141 ORtg from that year is unmatched by anyone while playing relevant minutes (as far as I can tell no one else [other than Kerr himself] has come closer than 135).
That deserves recognition.
Also noting that he played 23.4 mpg [at least marginally higher than the average 7th man] is why I think he was [perhaps easily] the theoretical “7th Man of the Year”.
Thus: the clear best 6th/7th duo in the league that year, imo.
And then further noting that because they were both healthy all year, and because the Bulls were strikingly consistent in that 7-man rotation, they ended up accounting for more minutes played than 8-12 on the roster COMBINED.
So if one wants to argue that the ‘96 Bulls bench was fairly ordinary, contending that 8-12 were merely “not average” won’t cut it…….you have to establish the Bulls from 8-12 were [fairly literally] the bottom of the entire league
to make this a roughly average bench overall.
But they demonstrably were not bottom of the league, or even particularly close to it.
To even make a claim that this bench overall was merely “decent” or “a little above average” or “kinda good” requires establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that they were at least ”kinda” near
the bottom of league from 8-12 (like maybe only 23-25 of 29 teams??).
However, it can be argued that they weren’t even below average at all
from 8-12 (more on this to follow).
Ergo [after arguments which follow], it is by literal definition an above average [“talented”] bench overall (and likely by quite a substantial margin).On the difference between opinion/conjecture and objective evidence
You said I provided only an opinion wrt to Buechler, which is not true. Let’s be clear on what is conjecture, and what is objectively established as fact:
If I say “Player A is a good player”.....that’s an opinion.
If I say “Player A was a good FT shooter” and then provide the numbers that establish he was indeed above average…..that’s not opinion; that’s fact.
Even if I DIDN’T cite the FT% numbers specifically, it’s easy enough to reference FT% for yourself that if my statement is true, it still holds up as fact without me doing the legwork for you.
So let’s look at what I said about Buechler…..
1) I said he was a “fair/decent 3&D role player”, and cited that he shot 44.4% from 3pt on 6.4 3PA/100. This already is looking like factual evidence that he was indeed a good 3pt shooter.
To be more precise: even with the shortened line, league avg 3pt% was just 36.7%......so he’s nearly 8% better than league-average.
League-average volume [all positions] was 3.5 3PA/100; specifically among PG/SG/SF’s only…..about
5.5 3PA/100. So Buechler is taking treys at an above average rate [even among perimeter players] while making them at nearly 8% better than average.
This is not my opinion; this is a fact: he was GOOD [pending semantic clarity, could perhaps even say “excellent”] 3pt shooter that year.
2) I said he was a good offensive rebounding SF, and while didn’t cite the specs I noted his OREB% was better than Wennington’s [a center], and barely behind Longley [another center]. Given I’ve made specific reference to a dataset for a specific skillset, this already seems to be hedging more toward evidence than mere conjecture.
To be more precise: league-average OREB/100 rate [all positions] was 2.75 (average for a SG/SF like Buechler is actually closer to 2.5 or a little less); Buechler was averaging 3.2.
This is not my opinion; this is a fact: he was a good offensive rebounding wing that year.
3) I said I recalled him being “fair/decent defensively”, and provided as back-up to my opinion that he averaged 2.9 steals+blocks/100. As stl+blk is a fairly unreliable gauge of defense [though probably not as unreliable as # of seasons >24 mpg
], this one probably does hedge closer to conjecture. But I’ll add to it…..
League average [all positions] stl+blk/100 was 2.8 (1.7 stl, 1.1 blk); so Buechler’s 2.9 (2.4/0.5) is negligibly above average. He did so without committing an excess of fouls (league avg foul rate was 5.0/100, Buechler’s was 5.0).
His defensive rebounding rate is slightly low: average for a SG/SF is around 5 to 5.5 dreb/100; Buechler averaged 4.7.
We don’t have DRAPM for ‘96, however we DO have it for the very next year: Buechler’s DRAPM in ‘97 was +0.74 (fwiw, was then -0.37 in ‘98, and +0.45 in ‘99).
I also noted the one nickname listed on bbref is “Mr. Fundamental”. This is purely speculative, but I would guess
that you’re unlikely to garner that nickname if you’re a total space cadet on defense.
Take all of ^^that fwiw. Collectively I do think it suggests that my eye-test was more or less correct: he was a “fair/decent” defensive player.
Just doing a quick once-over on some other aspects of his game…..
League average ast/100 [all positions] was 4.9 (specifically for a SG/SF it might slightly >5); Buechler averaged 4.0. His turnover economy is mediocre among wings.
So statistically he’s a somewhat below average passer/creator wing (consistent with my memory, fwiw).
I talked up his 3pt shooting, though overall he’s an ordinary scorer: +1.0% rTS while scoring 19.8 pts/100 [league average is 21.7].
Add it up, what have we got?
An average scorer (good [even excellent] 3pt shooter---which can penalize teams for doubling off him, fwiw----but weak in all other aspects of scoring), average defender, good offensive rebounder, somewhat weak in passing/creation.
Basically a fairly average(ish) player [or close to it] in small minutes.
That may not sound complimentary, but “average” is actually pretty good for a 9th/10th man. Most 9th/10th men are substantially BELOW average (that’s frequently why they’re not ~5th/6th in the rotation).
I actually went a whole lot further to compare Buechler specifically to other 9th(ish) men in the league that year:
I tried to identify all the 9th(ish) men in the league…...which is actually kinda hard on some rosters. Some rosters/rotations were so broken up by injuries, mid-season trades, and general rotational experimentation that the 9th-highest mpg was sometimes still >24 mpg (they just had SEVERAL guys playing biggish minutes in not very many games). Or sometimes a player was 9th on one team, traded to another where he was 4th (the above Willie Anderson and Walt Williams examples).
But going by total minutes played was little better as you’d sometimes land on some guy who played ~30 mpg (but for only like 33 games because of injury).
So I did my best to identify some 9th(ish) type players (which does include the Willie Anderson and Walt Williams examples, btw, as well as some others who are probably better placed among 8th or even 7th men).
In total I collected data on 46 different players from ‘96 (including both Buechler and Dickey Simpkins--->Simpkins was actually 9th on the Bulls in mpg, though only 10th in minutes).
In addition to Buechler/Simpkins and the aforementioned Anderson/Williams, it includes [for example] names like Ledell Eackles, Charlie Ward, Todd Day, Doug West, ED O’Bannon, Zan Tabak, Shawn Respert, Kevin Gamble, Chris Gatling [a 6MOY nominee], 41-yr-old Robert Parish, Loren Meyer, Cherokee Parks, rookie Gary Trent, Haywoode Workman, Mark Bryant, and washed up Frank Brickowski.
For each of these 46 players, I recorded the following stats:
“Per 100 added” (I looked at their Per 100 numbers and added: Pts + TReb + Ast + Stl + Blk - TO - missed FGA - (0.5 * missed FTA))
Pseudo APM (rs only, provided by colts18; available for 29 of the 46 players)
Scaled AuPM (provided by Ben Taylor; available for 23 of the 46)
Here is what the average “9th man” [including Buechler] looks like:
1,163 minutes played
20.96 “Per 100 added”
-5.11 net rating
-1.55 scaled AuPM
None of this should be surprising. BPM actually defines “replacement level” for us as -2.0. Analogous “replacement level” for the other stats might be around PER of 13, WS/48 of .075, net rating of -4, “Per 100 added” around 21-22…...something like that.
And a typical “replacement level” guy would be approximately the 7th man in your average rotation. So the 9th man would reasonably be expected to look just a little worse than “replacement level”......which is precisely what we see here.
Here’s how Buechler shakes out among this crowd:
740 minutes played (42nd of 46)
10.0 mpg (46th)
14.1 PER (tied for 8th)
22.3 “Per 100 added” (16th)
.148 WS/48 (1st)
+1.7 BPM (3rd)
+11 net rating (1st)
He’s one of the players we don’t have APM or AuPM for. But if we used his RAPM from the very next season as a proxy (+0.31), that would rank 2nd of 29 in pseudo-APM and 2nd of 23 in scaled AuPM.
If we averaged his ‘97 and ‘98 RAPM’s (comes to -0.49) to use as a proxy, that would still rank 7th and 6th, respectively.
I don’t know about you, but I look at all of this data and find I cannot come away with a conclusion that Buechler was a poor or below average 9th/10th man. The bulk of evidence would seem to suggest he was even a bit of an ABOVE average 9th/10th man…...which is consistent with the player break-down I did just before this data-set.
fwiw, Dickey Simpkins has the following line:
-2 net rating
20.7 “Per 100 added”
APM and AuPM absent [subsequent year RAPM’s unflattering]
…...probably a slightly below average “9th man” overall [though we seemed to have agreed he’s better placed as the “10th man” anyway; probably negligibly below average among them].
I haven’t done the “8th men” in the league [hopefully goes without saying, this took a fair bit of work], but it would probably include a few of the same names and would average out just marginally better, I should think.
Something like: PER of 12.0, WS/48 of 0.072, BPM -2.1, “Per 100 added” of 21.25, net rating of -4.5, and AuPM of -1.4 on 18-19 mpg…..is probably a good estimate.
‘96 Wennington (Chicago’s 8th man) has this line:
+7 net rating
20.75 “Per 100 added”
…….basically pretty average if we amalgamate all of that.
So the bench of the ‘96 Bulls is starting to look like this:
*the single-best 6th/7th duo in the league
**an entirely average 8th man
***a slightly ABOVE
average 9th man
****a negligibly below average 10th man
*****and while I haven’t done the thorough investigation, I think it’s clear that Randy Brown is certainly no less than average as the 11th bloody man in the line-up [and likely better than average for that role].
And this is exhaustively long already, so I’m going to ignore 12 [though off the cuff I’d say Caffey and Salley are basically no worse than Simpkins].
So you hopefully get the idea: this bench [compared to the league as a whole
, and not just top-5 teams] was actually perfectly “OK” from 8-12 [arguably even hedging toward "decent"], while being better than anyone
else at 6/7.
This made them more than just a little bit good as a bench overall.
If you've read this far, you don't need glasses.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." -George Carlin