RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 (Billy Cunningham)

Moderators: Clyde Frazier, trex_8063, Doctor MJ, penbeast0, PaulieWal, Quotatious

trex_8063
Forum Mod
Forum Mod
Posts: 9,962
And1: 5,651
Joined: Feb 24, 2013
     

RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 (Billy Cunningham) 

Post#1 » by trex_8063 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:08 am

2020 List
1. LeBron James
2. Michael Jordan
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4. Bill Russell
5. Tim Duncan
6. Wilt Chamberlain
7. Magic Johnson
8. Shaquille O'Neal
9. Hakeem Olajuwon
10. Larry Bird
11. Kevin Garnett
12. Kobe Bryant
13. Jerry West
14. Oscar Robertson
15. Dirk Nowitzki
16. Karl Malone
17. David Robinson
18. Julius Erving
19. George Mikan
20. Moses Malone
21. Charles Barkley
22. Kevin Durant
23. Chris Paul
24. Stephen Curry
25. Bob Pettit
26. John Stockton
27. Steve Nash
28. Dwyane Wade
29. Patrick Ewing
30. Walt Frazier
31. James Harden
32. Scottie Pippen
33. Elgin Baylor
34. John Havlicek
35. Rick Barry
36. Jason Kidd
37. George Gervin
38. Clyde Drexler
39. Reggie Miller
40. Artis Gilmore
41. Dolph Schayes
42. Kawhi Leonard
43. Isiah Thomas
44. Russell Westbrook
45. Willis Reed
46. Chauncey Billups
47. Paul Pierce
48. Gary Payton
49. Pau Gasol
50. Ray Allen
51. Dwight Howard
52. Kevin McHale
53. Manu Ginobili
54. Dave Cowens
55. Adrian Dantley
56. Sam Jones
57. Bob Lanier
58. Dikembe Mutombo
59. Elvin Hayes
60. Paul Arizin
61. Anthony Davis
62. Robert Parish
63. Bob Cousy
64. Alonzo Mourning
65. Nate Thurmond
66. Allen Iverson
67. Tracy McGrady
68. Alex English
69. Vince Carter
70. Wes Unseld
71. Tony Parker
72. Rasheed Wallace
73. Dominique Wilkins
74. Giannis Antetokounmpo
75. Kevin Johnson
76. Bobby Jones
77. Bob McAdoo
78. Shawn Marion
79. Dennis Rodman
80. Larry Nance
81. Ben Wallace
82. Hal Greer
83. Grant Hill
84. Sidney Moncrief
85. Damian Lillard
86. Chris Bosh
87. Horace Grant
88. Jeff Hornacek
89. ??

Target stop-time will be around 10pm EST on Monday.

Spoiler:
Ainosterhaspie wrote:.

Ambrose wrote:.

Baski wrote:.

bidofo wrote:.

Blackmill wrote:.

Clyde Frazier wrote:.

DCasey91 wrote:.

Doctor MJ wrote:.

DQuinn1575 wrote:.

Dr Positivity wrote:.

drza wrote:.

Dutchball97 wrote:.

Eddy_JukeZ wrote:.

eminence wrote:.

euroleague wrote:.

Franco wrote:.

Gregoire wrote:.

Hal14 wrote:.

HeartBreakKid wrote:.

Hornet Mania wrote:.

iggymcfrack wrote:.

Jaivl wrote:.

Joao Saraiva wrote:.

Joe Malburg wrote:.

Joey Wheeler wrote:.

Jordan Syndrome wrote:.

LA Bird wrote:.

lebron3-14-3 wrote:.

limbo wrote:.

Magic Is Magic wrote:.

Matzer wrote:.

Moonbeam wrote:.

Odinn21 wrote:.

Owly wrote:.

O_6 wrote:.

PaulieWal wrote:.

penbeast0 wrote:.

PistolPeteJR wrote:.

[quote=”sansterre”].[/quote]
Senior wrote:.

SeniorWalker wrote:.

SHAQ32 wrote:.

Texas Chuck wrote:.

Tim Lehrbach wrote:.

TrueLAfan wrote:.

Whopper_Sr wrote:.

ZeppelinPage wrote:.

2klegend wrote:.

70sFan wrote:.

876Stephen wrote:.

90sAllDecade wrote:.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." -George Carlin

"The fact that a proposition is absurd has never hindered those who wish to believe it." -Edward Rutherfurd
HeartBreakKid
RealGM
Posts: 19,217
And1: 15,318
Joined: Mar 08, 2012
     

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#2 » by HeartBreakKid » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:09 am

Criteria

Spoiler:
I'm a pretty big peak guy, I'm not that interested in value of total seasons. The value of multiple seasons to me is to give me a greater sample size to understanding how good they were on the court, not necessarily the totality of their impact through out the years.

I also value impact over all else, and I define impact as the ability to help a team win games. Boxscore stats, team accolades and individual accolades (unless I agree with them personally) have very little baring on my voting so some names will look a bit wonky. The reason why I ignore accolades and winningness is because basketball is a team game and the players are largely not in control of the quality of their teammates or the health of their team (or their own personal health in key moments), thus I don't see the value of rating players based on xx has this many MVPs versus this guy has this many rings. In addition, I simply find this type of analysis boring because it's quite easy to simply look at who has a bigger laundry list of accomplishments.



1) Bill Walton. He is the best player by far here. He was probably a top 3 player in the world during his last couple years in college as well, though I believe this is NBA only. I am quite certain that Bill Walton is a top 20 peak ever. He is a top ten defensive anchor which alone adds more value than anyone left, and his offensive passing can generate very efficient offenses without him needing to score.

2)) Nikola Jokic. #2 vote I'll give to the only guy who is large and passes better than Walton. I'm not a longevity guy but Jokic has actually been a star caliber player for longer than people think. He was greatly underplayed in his 2nd season and Malone was criticized for that even back then. He has 4 seasons of all-star impact and two seasons where I had him as the 2nd best player in the league. I do think his offense is so special from his position that it causes an imbalance that makes him more valuable than two way bigs. His scoring ability might be the best among all the bigs left, and what's great about him is that he doesn't need to score a lot to have impact. Walton's defense is so intense that I can't imagine taking Jokic over that, but everyone else left is a tier or 2 down from either Walton's offense or his defense.


3) Connie Hawkins . He was widely seen as the best player in the early days of the ABA and was believed that he would have been a dominant force had he been in the NBA. He was generally rated higher than Rick Barry while they were both in the ABA (a player who got in a long time ago), and the stats and results seem to back that up as well. His interior scoring, great passing and rebounding make him an easy candidate.












Draymond Green > Porter > G Williams > Issel > Cunningham > Dennis Johnson > Archibald > Lucas > C Anthony > Bellamy > DeBusschere
trex_8063
Forum Mod
Forum Mod
Posts: 9,962
And1: 5,651
Joined: Feb 24, 2013
     

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#3 » by trex_8063 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:11 am

1st vote: Dan Issel
As was discussed in the #81 thread (circa-post 30), Dan Issel is sort of like Amar'e Stoudemire (not in style, but in substance)......except with good longevity/durability.
He wasn't much defensively [though probably better than Stat], but he scored and scored and scored (and fairly efficiently: +3.3% rTS for his entire 15-year career, with a solid turnover economy too).

We're talking about the guy who is 11th all-time in career ABA/NBA combined points scored. He's ahead of Hakeem and Elvin Hayes. He's ahead of guys who pretty much hang their hats on being great scorers [and not much else] and who've already been voted in [e.g. Dominique Wilkins, Alex English, Adrian Dantley], as well as Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Reggie Miller, Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Rick Barry, etc etc etc.

He's also #31 all-time in career rebounds.
He's #23 all-time in career rs WS--->the highest ranked player still on the table; he's actually the ONLY player in the top 39 all-time still not voted on to this list (one of only TWO players [with Walt Bellamy] in the top 49 all-time who are not yet on this list).
Going into this current season he was #80 all-time [or since 1973] in career VORP.

He was only awarded an All-Star appearance once in the NBA [though 6 consecutive years in the ABA], but look at his numbers: he was posting All-Star calibre metrics year after year pretty much until his 14th season.

I don't think there's any way he can't at least be in the discussion.


2nd vote: Carmelo Anthony
As sansterre elaborated upon in his greatest teams project (#4 team), there is perhaps an edge in the modern era in having a reasonably efficient high-usage perimeter player.
I do think a prime/peak Melo COULD have been the 1st-option on a contender team; tbh, I think the '09 Nuggets more or less proved that [they were darn near a contender; just a pinch stronger extended depth could have done it, imo]. NOTE: I'm drawing a clear distinction between "1st option" and "best player"......they are NOT necessarily the same thing.

A title with Melo as your best player?......no, probably not. But with him as your 1st option scorer? Yes, I think it's possible.
And what's more, I think he more or less proved in playing next to Iverson, Billups, Amar'e, and on the Olympic teams that he can co-exist next to other high-octane superstar scorers.

And going into this current season, Melo was 14th in all of NBA/ABA history in total points scored. imo, there are simply not a lot of players who---in any circumstance---would have been capable of achieving that in a competitive era.

And fwiw, I think he's one of those players for whom the noise occasionally was not "filtered out" in his impact metrics. For example in '13: looking at the rest of the cast, I simply find it hard to believe that the Knicks achieved that degree of success [and the best offense in franchise history], without a fair chunk of it being tied to him.

For further arguments, I'd reference Clyde Frazier's post about him in the #88 thread (around post 37 or thereabouts, iirc). Fantastic supporting arguments. I added a pinch more around post 40 or so of that thread, too.

So anyway, I'm going with him.


3rd vote: Chris Webber
Could easily go with LaMarcus Aldridge here, too, who I truly think belongs in the top 100. Kinda just a coin-flip in my mind, and maybe I'm being marginally strategic in that I think Webber is more likely to garner traction before LMA. We'll see; I may opt to switch this one.
Zelmo Beaty, who I'm coming to think is VERY underrated historically is the other guy who's quite close. Guys like Sikma, Cheeks, are also [somewhat] in the vicinity.
I'll try to write up something in favour of Webber at some point.

Among those who have received votes of any kind or traction:
Issel > Melo > Webber > LMA > Beaty > Cheeks > Sikma > Porter > Walker > DeBusschere > Hawkins > G.Williams > D.Johnson > Cunningham > Walton > Jokic > Tiny (may change the order on Walton/Jokic/Tiny as we go along, but this is how I'm currently feeling).
Could see going a pinch higher with Terry Porter......am looking into it.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." -George Carlin

"The fact that a proposition is absurd has never hindered those who wish to believe it." -Edward Rutherfurd
DCasey91
Starter
Posts: 2,341
And1: 1,212
Joined: Dec 15, 2020
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#4 » by DCasey91 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:41 am

I joined in later but there’s about 15-20 guys on my ranking list that can go from 90-100 (Even higher by my est 80 ish looking at the names listed ahead). So someone who is a genuine top 100 type player wouldn’t look out of place so someone has to miss out. It’s unfortunate but hey it’s a great constructive exercise , kudos to everyone that has been here since the beginning. It’s on the home straight now. As an observer initially it’s been thorough and in deep analysis (NBA in general could this method research, it seems from my poi this forum generally picks up things a lot sooner even with all the bad takes.) We do hit a lot of the time

Anyway I’m rambling, I flip flop a lot in the last ten or so because they can be very interchangeable. The backing for Anthony has me intrigued compared to other scorers from bygones eras he doesn’t look all that out of place in comparison (Dantley, English, Wilkins).

Anyway:

1. Bill Walton - My fandom might get the best of me but an 89 ranking all time would do a player of his caliber justice imo. Sports in general reward what a player accomplished no matter the timeframe and he won all of the highest accolades individually and for a team’s perspective. As such I’m rewarding his insanely high peak even if it was a small glimpse. He delivered. One and only chip in 51 years for the club is humungous.

2. Joe Dumars - Key piece to Back to Back championship wins capping it off with a finals MVP. Very very solid career as a legitimate 2 -way player.

3. Draymond Green - One of if not the best defender this past decade. His RS seasons may look pedestrian but his Playoff Resume is very sound, big time defensive impact. Integral part of a dynasty winning team. Game 7 2016 was incredible and him not playing was a big reason the Cavs got back into it.

92.Debusschere 93.Anthony 94.Issel 95.Webber 96.Hawkins 97.Lucas 98.Archibald. 99.Cunningham 100.Kemp

A name to put into conversation is Rajon Rondo. I’m highly impressed by the end of 08 until 2012, even 13’ and a nice role playing piece in 2020. In fact Rondo, does he have a credible standing in the backend of the top 100? He ticks the boxes for me. I may have to rethink it now writing it out he has a sound argument imo.
Add in Marc Gasol as well.
User avatar
Clyde Frazier
Forum Mod
Forum Mod
Posts: 17,924
And1: 21,429
Joined: Sep 07, 2010

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#5 » by Clyde Frazier » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:48 am

Vote 1 - Carmelo Anthony
Vote 2 - Billy Cunningham
Vote 3 - Bernard King

Issel > Webber > Tiny > Worthy > DeBusschere > Terry Porter > Bellamy > Jerry Lucas > Gus Williams > Dennis Johnson > Hawkins > Jokic > Walton


Below are players already voted in in Melo’s VORP and Win Shares range. I left out older players who had some seasons before VORP was calculated since it's cumulative:

VORP
Rasheed Wallace 38.36
Dwight Howard 38.28
Alex English 38.25
Kevin Johnson 37.27
Carmelo Anthony 35.6
Giannis Antetokounmpo 34.59
Kevin McHale 34.29
Dikembe Mutombo 34
Sidney Moncrief 33.15
Horace Grant 33.05
Chris Bosh 31.14
Tony Parker 30.13
Alonzo Mourning 27.60
Dennis Rodman 21.02

Win Shares
Hal Greer 102.65
Russell Westbrook 102.58
Carmelo Anthony 102.3
Alex English 100.68
Grant Hill 99.93
Allen Iverson 98.97
Tracy McGrady 97.27
Ben Wallace 93.51
Kevin Johnson 92.77
Sam Jones 92.29
Bob Cousy 91.11
Dennis Rodman 89.83
Alonzo Mourning 89.74
Damian Lillard 89.39
Bob McAdoo 89.08
Dave Cowens 86.32
Anthony Davis 86.05
Kawhi Leonard 82.56
Isiah Thomas 80.69
Giannis Antetokounmpo 72.56

Peak carmelo developed into one of the best offensive players in the league. The “iso melo” stigma really became an outdated narrative as you saw all he really needed was a decent PG rotation to keep the ball moving (a little different, but billups certainly got the best out of him in denver). He became one of the better off the ball players in 12-13, actually shooting more efficiently and on higher volume than durant in catch and shoot situations. His transition to a great 3 pt shooter also opened up his game, and he stepped into transition 3s about as well as anyone in the league.

He’s obviously known for his great post up and face up game, but not acknowledged as much for being a great offensive rebounder for his position. He had a deceptively quick second jump and soft touch around the rim for put backs. He also possessed a unique rolling spin move to the hoop i’m not sure anyone else in the league has. The one thing he was really average at is finishing at the rim, and i’d say that partially has to do with him not being able to take advantage of the way the game is called these days. He wasn’t a freak show athlete like lebron, and he doesn’t have those long strides like durant / harden where they know the angles and draw fouls as easily as they do.

I then look at someone like dominique, who was voted in at #73, and I don't think carmelo should fall too far behind. Let's look at their first 11 seasons. You can change the years, but my point remains the same.

https://stathead.com/tiny/Vr6aD

They’re very comparable in most areas, and carmelo actually comes out as the better postseason performer, something wilkins was well criticized for, but still managed to get voted in much earlier. Melo also has a clear edge in relative scoring efficiency. I noted trex's argument in past threads about nique consistently carrying offenses with not much support. It's a valid point, although a good portion of melo's prime was wasted on poor PG play, which was the key to unlocking his best performance.

I'd also point out that while melo's transition to a role player was a bit rocky, he didn't call it quits like iverson when asked to come off the bench. You could make the argument that he was scapegoated in houston (to be clear, no conspiracy theories here about him getting blackballed -- that was just dumb). There's some revisionist history there as he literally came off the bench for HOU, so he did what they asked. Then last year in portland he did exactly what you'd want from a role player in year 17: 38.5% from 3 on 3.9 attempts per game, posting a positive net rating and on/off along with being a great teammate.

As I noted earlier, melo's best years came when he had decent PG play around him. Knicks management largely failed him in this regard post 2013. In 12-13, a merely average PG rotation of felton, kidd and prigioni was quite beneficial to him. In 13-14 felton was out of shape and kidd retired. After that:

14-15: Shane Larkin, Langston Galloway, 37 yr old Prigioni, 33 yr old Calderon

15-16: Langston Galloway, rookie Jerian Grant, 34 yr old Calderon — this PG rotation was so poor that Carmelo ended up leading the team in APG and just about equaled Calderon in AST%

16-17: Rose, Jennings, rookie Ron Baker

Jennings was really the one penetrate and dish PG the knicks had in those 3 seasons.  He even seemed to buy in to the fact that he can’t shoot and really got everyone involved.  Of course, he had rose starting in front of him, so his time on the floor with melo was limited.  He was used more in bench lineups that actually thrived, relatively speaking.

In an era where dynamic PG play is paramount, knicks management abhorrently ignored the position.  I don’t think you can find such ineptitude in a front office with playoff aspirations outside of the cousins-era kings.  

Then we get to the clutch play.  82games.com looked at shot data from 04-09 in the reg season + 04-08 in the post season.  Carmelo was 6th in the league in game winners, but #1 in the league by far in FG% on game winners at 48.1%:

http://82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm

By 2011, he already had enough game winners to choose from to create a top 10 for his career:



For clutch data from 2000-2012, carmelo was 7th in the league in FG%, and 50% of his FGs were assisted, which is interesting to note for being criticized for holding the ball too long.

http://bit.ly/1wnySdJ

[I’d obviously prefer eFG% or TS% for these figures, but they weren’t available here]

Carmelo gets a decent amount of flack for his playoff resume, and I think it’s a little overstated, so I’d like to provide some context for each season.  It also seems to get pushed aside that making the playoffs 10 seasons in a row is no big deal or something, especially when the majority of them came out west.  Below is carmelo’s team SRS rank and the opponent’s SRS rank that he lost to in the playoffs.

CARMELO SRS RANK / OPPONENT SRS RANK

'04 - 11th / 2nd
'05 - 10th / 1st (eventual NBA champion spurs)
'06 - 15th / 9th
'07 - 9th / 1st (eventual NBA champion spurs)
'08 - 11th / 2nd
'09 - 8th / 3rd (eventual NBA champion lakers)
'10 - 8th / 3rd
'11 - 15th / 6th
'12 - 11th / 4th (eventual NBA champion heat)
'13 - 7th / 9th

Aside from 2013, the team he lost to has always been favored in SRS, with 4 of the 10 series losses coming to the eventual NBA champs.  To me, this doesn’t reflect a player who’s come up short when he’s been expected to go farther in the playoffs.  You can make the argument that if he was a better player, he may have been favored in more series, but that only goes so far.  

It’s clear that he hasn’t been as fortunate as some other players as far as who he’s played with.  Some more details on his recent playoff loses:

'09 - This run to the WCF almost gets glossed over at times.  Nuggets were 2 wins away from the finals, losing to the eventual NBA champion lakers, who were just flat out the better team. He had some great performances during that run.

'11 -  Billups gets hurt in game 1 against boston (out for rest of series), then amare gets hurt in game 2 only playing 17 min.  First 2 games are decided by 2 and 3 points respectively.  

Tony douglas forced to play PG for the rest of the series, basically putting it out of reach.

'12 - Disastrous # of injuries.  Tyson chandler finishes off a DPOY season, and of course gets the flu as soon as the playoffs start.  Lin doesn’t come back for the playoffs, shumpert and douglas only play 1 game a piece, baron davis eventually goes down, and the knicks are only left with 33 yr old mike bibby to run the point, who already had 1 foot in retirement.

'13 - First time since carmelo came to the knicks that they really looked like a team who could make a run to the finals.  PG play was always an issue prior to this season, and felton came up big in the 1st round against boston.  Ball movement flowing with kidd and prigioni as well.  Then in the 2nd round against indiana, chandler again doesn’t look himself, which would later be revealed that he had an “undisclosed illness” during the series.  I think there’s a good chance they beat the pacers with a healthy chandler, and who knows what happens from there.

As for defense, the last few seasons specifically he hasn’t been the same player physically. I’ve never claimed him to be a plus defender, even in his prime.  I’m now reminded of some data i gathered in the 2014 project that i haven’t added here:

While not perfect, take a look at how the below SFs have performed against carmelo vs. their career averages.  Sure, camrelo may not have been guarding them the whole time, but it's a large enough sample size to at least uncover any red flags.

    (TS% or eFG% not available for head to head data)

    Durant - 27.9 PPG on 43/41/87 (career 27.3 PPG on 48/38/88)

    LeBron - 25.9 PPG on 49/27/70 (career 27.4 PPG on 50/34/75)

    Gay - 18.6 PPG on 44/22/72 (career 18.4 PPG on 45/34/79)

    George - 15.1 PPG on 45/34/77 (career 15.3 PPG on 43/36/83)

    Pierce - 23.1 PPG on 50/41/80 (career 20.9 PPG on 45/37/81)

    Granger - 16.6 PPG on 45/39/88 (career 16.8 PPG on 43/38/85)

    Caron Butler - 12.4 PPG on 43/38/84 (career 14.5 PPG on 43/34/85)

    McGrady - 19.6 PPG on 45/44/82 (career 19.6 PPG on 44/34/75)

    Deng - 17.1 PPG on 45/36/83 (career 16.9 PPG on 46/33/77)

    Josh Howard - 12.7 PPG on 44/31/79 (career 14.3 PPG on 45/33/77)

    Richard Jefferson - 14.2 PPG on  51/43/66 (career 14 PPG on 47/38/77)

    Stephen Jackson - 17.4 PPG on 35/33/86 (career 15.1 PPG on 41/33/80)

Of the 12 players, 6 scored the same or less than their career averages against carmelo.  Those that scored more were only by marginal amounts.  Efficiency ranges from lower to somewhat higher.  No red flags here.


That’s 11 seasons of data. It doesn’t paint the picture of an egregious defender.

Here are the best players carmelo’s played with in his prime: andre miller (first few seasons of carmelo's career), kenyon martin (often injured), post 30s iverson, camby (often injured), JR smith, nene (often injured), billups, afflalo, amare (often injured), tyson chandler (often injured), kidd in his last season, in shape felton and porzingis' rookie/soph year.  

Outside of iverson, that’s a collection of good players, but nothing that screams "consistent second option", or even "consistent first option" if you want to push carmelo down a notch.  Porzingis and carmelo actually had great chemistry until rose came along, but their timelines unfortunately didn't match up.  Fit is clearly important, too, and while iverson and carmelo never had "problems" with each other, it wasn't working.  It’s not an accident that carmelo’s best seasons came with billups running the show in 2009 and a knicks team in 2013 which focused heavily on keeping the ball moving and quick decision making.

When he made it to OKC with westbrook and george it was just too little too late. Not denying the growing pains, but he was in year 15 and not the same player since his knee surgery. Took him time to adjust his game as he's now done in portland.
falcolombardi
Junior
Posts: 452
And1: 284
Joined: Apr 13, 2021
       

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#6 » by falcolombardi » Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:06 am

not a voter but some recent names that i believe deserve some consideration at this point and some general toughts

the llast few threads have kind of focused on great peak/short prime guys (jokic, walton) vs long career/ relatively low peak guys (grant or hornacek)

potentially ignoring the middle options of medium peak/prime with medium longevity kind of guys? for example


paul george: 8 seasons prime 2013-2021 of clear all star level play, a couple arguably top 5 regular seasons (as in 5 best players that reg season)

jimmy butler: a close player to george in reg season impact but with a more impressive playoffs resume

and others like them
Dutchball97
Starter
Posts: 2,460
And1: 2,072
Joined: Mar 28, 2020
 

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#7 » by Dutchball97 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:59 pm

1. Nikola Jokic - I might be voting for Jokic for a while but I think he deserves to make the list at least. Jokic' case is very similar to Giannis in my opinion. Both have 4 high level years along with 1 other positively contributing year. While both have 4 great regular seasons it is clear Giannis has the edge up till 2020, which is why I have him ahead. The difference in longevity is just Giannis' first two years when he was barely a replacement level player so if you're fine with Giannis being voted in this range, how can you justify not having Jokic not in your top 100 at all? Their play-off resumes are comparable at this point as well. Giannis has 5.8 WS and 3.4 VORP in the post-season so far compared to 5.5 WS and 3.5 VORP for Jokic. Giannis has reached the play-offs more often (5 times) than Jokic (2 times) but both have 3 play-off series wins at this point. While Giannis has played 10 more games than Jokic, the reason why the numbers are still close is that both of Jokic' runs were arguably better than any of Giannis' play-off outings. It's a shame some of the voters don't consider him for the top 100 project at all but at this point of the list we're all simply going to have to accept players will receive votes that others don't have among their next 25 picks at all.

2. Gus Williams - While another voter already has Dennis Johnson on his ballot, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned his teammate on the 79 champion Supersonics yet tbh. Gus Williams was only a 2 time All-Star so I understand he might fly under the radar for some people but this massively undervalues him. His prime quality and duration really isn't much different than Ben Wallace. It maybe shouldn't be a surprise I'm this high on Gus WIlliams because I've consistently put a big emphasis on play-off performance and Gus was a post-season savant who consistently stepped his game up when it counted most. After being the best player for the 78 Sonics that lost game 7 of the finals, he went on to post a 23.8 PER, .210 WS/48 and 6.7 BPM alongside a league leading 2.7 WS and 1.3 VORP on the way to a championship the next year. That isn't the end of Gus Williams being amazing in the play-offs though. In the 1980, 82, 83 and 84 post-seasons he had 20+ PER, .150+ WS/48 and 6+ BPM in every single one of those campaigns.

3.Terry Porter - Like Gus Williams, Terry Porter is only a 2-time All-Star but just like with Gus this underrates Porter's prime significantly. Porter's prime was cut short but he still managed 6 very strong seasons from 87/88 till 92/93. In the play-offs he was always solid but his main case there are 3 very strong consecutive post-seasons in 1990, 91 and 92. He played 58 play-off games over that 3 year stretch and was playing at a high level throughout. I think Gus Williams just has a few more really strong post-seasons but other than that I don't see much seperating them.

Anfernee Hardaway > Draymond Green > Jimmy Butler > James Worthy > Paul George > Dan Issel > Kyle Lowry > Billy Cunningham > Jerry Lucas > Walt Bellamy > Chris Webber > Carmelo Anthony > Maurice Cheeks > Andrei Kirilenko > Eddie Jones > Bernard King > Bill Walton > Connie Hawkins > Dennis Johnson > Dave DeBusschere > Tiny Archibald
Cavsfansince84
General Manager
Posts: 8,477
And1: 6,301
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#8 » by Cavsfansince84 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:16 pm

89. Billy Cunningham
-Averaged 21.2/10.4/4.3 during 11 year career on career ts+ of 101
-5x all nba/aba(4x 1st team, 1x 2nd team)
-4x top 10 in mvp voting(high of 1st in aba, high of 3rd in nba)
-1x nba champ
-joins 35 win Carolina team in the aba and the next year(73) with him they win 57 games and lose in 7 in the conf finals while he is league mvp
-from 68-73 playoffs averaged 24.8/12.1/4.5 on ts of 54%(roughly +2.5% league avg)

90. Dave DeBusschere
-10 yr prime where he averages 16.5/11.3/2.9 on ts+ of 96
-6x all defense 1st team, 1x all nba 2nd team
-Finishes top 11 in mvp voting from 72-74 while playing for Knicks teams that win lots of games after Reed has injuries
-Big part of two Knicks title teams
-Known for being gritty defender/rebounder and great team guy who also could hit big shots in the playoffs
-spent three years as player/coach in Det showing his leadership ability

91. Neil Johnston
-Only a 6 year prime but during which he led the league in win shares 5 straight years(even while playing on a 12 win team), scoring 3 straight years, ts% twice, rebounding once and had ts add over 250 5 straight years(which is incredible).
-5x all nba(4x 1st team, 1x 2nd)
-Co-led the Warriors to a title with Arizin in 56. So in short I think the argument could be made that from 53-58 he was a top 3-5 player in the league every year and had a span of dominance which few players have matched statistically. Also, imo is more athletic than most people probably give him credit for with good length to go with good handles for a center and solid outside shooting(more so for his era).

92. Worthy
93. Lucas
94. Cheeks
95. Mullin
96. DJohnson
97. Porter
98. Issel
99. Melo
100. Butler

others: Jokic>Dumars>Griffin>Webber>Green>King>George>Brand>Williams>Walker>>Bellamy>Walton>Hawkins
Doctor MJ
Senior Mod
Senior Mod
Posts: 44,202
And1: 13,152
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Location: Cali
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#9 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:46 pm

Repeating vote.

Doctor MJ wrote:Alright...

1. Connie Hawkins
2. Bill Walton
3. Nikola Jokic

Other preferences in order:

Spoiler:
Nikola Jokic
Billy Cunningham
Tiny Archibald
James Worthy
Dave DeBusschere
Horace Grant
Dennis Johnson
Terry Porter
Jeff Hornacek
Jerry Lucas
Dan Issel
Walt Bellamy
Gus Williams
Carmelo Anthony


Hawk love letter:

I think there's never been anyone like him, before or since. I'm dying to see more footage of him, because honestly I think he's got a bunch of moves that we don't have names for.

The roots of Hawkins becoming what he became are a story not of some kind of inevitable success through sheer talent, but of a guy with great talent getting bounced around and picking up stuff as he went.

Hawkins was a star in each of the following places:
1. The Schoolyard
2. Golden Age NYC High School Basketball
3. ABL
4. Harlem Globetrotters
5. ABA
6. NBA

All 6 of these things are a big deal, though I'll note that I'd consider (1) and (4) the best for understanding how Hawkins became what he became where (5) and (6) represent the proof in the pudding.

To speak on (1), the thing to understand is that play in the school yard all day is what the "good" Black boys did in this era. You were either playing basketball, or you were getting involved in gangs, pimping, and eventually drugs. So if you had basketball talent, this is where your family wanted you. Stay on the court, where it's safe.

And from the perspective of these Black kids, when they played (white) kids from other places, they just always got the sense that those white kids were far less experienced, because they were doing a lot of things other than playing basketball.

So, while Hawkins was dominating the incredibly high quality ball of NYC back then too, the Schoolyard was always where he developed his game. Just trying different things.

Others noted that while Hawkins lacked confidence in general, and was a poor reader and a poor student, he was an extremely quick learner when he saw someone else do something on the basketball court. When an opponent did something with the ball against Hawkins, Hawkins seemed to instantly have a new tool.

It's also important to note that in the Schoolyard, Hawkins didn't start out as The Man. He learned to play by fitting in around others who were older and better. We're talking about a kid who was playing against NBA pros (in the NBA off-season) before he was a High School star, so when he was playing those games, he wasn't just going in as the star. He learned to fit in. He learned how to be an aware passer before he learned to be a scorer.

About (3), so as many of you know, Hawkins was banned from college due to point shaving scandal (he later won a lawsuit clearing his name), so he ended up getting an opportunity in Abe Saperstein's ABL, which had various former NBA pros and a 3-point line. In the lone full season of that league, Hawkins would win MVP.

This is obviously impressive for a guy basically straight out of high school - and speaks both to his talent and how much experience he'd already had beyond just playing against other high schoolers - but I'd also argue that if not for the existence of the ABL, there's a good chance Hawkins would have died on the vine. He didn't have any other great skills other than basketball, so most likely he'd have ended up like many of his other peers still in Brooklyn which was being taken over by a see of heroin.

But his performance in the ABL, led to an invitation to join Saperstein's flagship product: The Harlem Globetrotters.

And as fortune would have it, Sweetwater Clifton - former New York Ren, Globetrotters, NBA all-star - played in the ABL that year with Hawkins, and re-joined the Globetrotters at the same time as Hawkins. And he told Hawkins basically, "You don't realize what kind of things you can do with those big hands!"

He mentored Hawkins on the ways you can use your ability to easily palm a hand. More flexibility when driving, more ways to protect the ball when you're guarded, myriad tricky passes, and the ability to rebound with just one hand so you can use your other arm (ahem, elbow) to fend of opponents.

I've noted before that big hands seem to be a Harlem Globetrotter thing. Beginning with the team's first clown - Goose Tatum - along through Clifton, Meadowlark Lemon, along with Wilt Chamberlain, Hawkins, and others - the Globetrotters seemed to look for guys with big hands in a way that the NBA has literally never done. I've also seen it noted that a particular Globetrotter was held back by his hand size despite being naturally very comedic.

There's a kind of trickery you can do with hands like this that lends itself well to comedy through basketball actions, and this raises the question of whether these Globetrotters were much better at certain basketball skills than NBA players.

There the answer is yes with an asterisk. Most of the tricks the Globetrotters did, while they required great skill, were not designed to hold up against actual defenders, and this was a source of frustration for Hawkins who felt that he was becoming soft due to not playing in a real competitive league, which I'd say was true.

At the same time, he'd still go back to NYC and play in the Schoolyard testing out techniques. Basically, he mined stuff out from the Globetrotters, and the stuff he found could work against actual defenders, he made a part of his repertoire. And this is how he became truly unique.

As we look at Hawkins ABA & NBA years, one of the things to understand is that both when he joined Pittsburgh in the ABA and Phoenix in the NBA, the teams did not immediately re-shape their offenses around Hawkins, and between these ramp up times, Hawkins increasing tendency toward injury, and a tendency for Hawkins to get down on himself, when we look at his yearly stats, it has to be noted that there was far more variance over the course of the season in team and Hawkins-specific performance than you'd expect not simply as a modern observer, but as a contemporary observer. Hawkins wasn't the absolute rock that you'd expect from a Jerry West, and this certainly doesn't help his Top 100 case.

But what this context also means is that when you look at Hawkins' yearly stats those first few years, as impressive as they look, know that they underrate what he was doing at his best.

I've noted before that in his first year in the ABA, Hawkins led the league in PPG despite being 3rd on his team in FGA. He did this by also leading the league in TS%, and do so while also leading the team in APG, RPG, and almost certainly BPG & SPM had they had that data (but interestingly he did not lead his team in TOs, and was 11th on his team in terms of TOs per minute). To lead a team to the title like this is amazing, but it does give rise to the question: Why were other guys shooting more than Hawkins?

The answer seems to be that these guys were just flat out bad chuckers who the coach couldn't get to pass the ball even though he'd sometimes bench them just to ensure the ball went to Hawkins, but apparently the team couldn't get anyone better mid-season (neither would last that much longer in the ABA).

Now, I tend to read stuff that focuses on Hawkins' perspective rather than the perspective Chico Vaughn, so bias is a concern. But my conclusion is that even in a young ABA that wasn't what it would later become, the Pittsburgh Pipers had no business winning a title given the lack of team play. But what was the case is that when Hawkins played the pivot, the offense hummed with Hawkins both scoring incredibly well and passing incredibly well.

Hawkins suffered the defining injury of his career midway through his second ABA season, and most don't think he was ever as good again, yet still he ended up blowing away the NBA once he got going.

What precipitated him getting going? Mid-way through the season, Phoenix Suns GM Jerry Colangelo fired coach Red Kerr, took over as coach, and had the team play with Hawkins in the high post as the guy the offense would run through. Prior to that point, Hawkins had been positioned in the corner while team captain Gail Goodrich dribbled, dribbled, dribble, and then shot. Goodrich, it should be noted seems to have had a good attitude and was willing to play in an offense with Hawkins as the focus, but when left to his own devices, he tended to just iso.

A few more anecdotes in Hawkins first year in the NBA:

1. After the Suns beat the Celtics in Boston, Bill Russell - who had retired the previous year - came over and gushed "You can do things with the ball I've never seen before!". (Hawkins responded "If you'd have been out there, you'd have blocked half my shots". Russell then said "I don't think so".)

2. Hawkins drew rave reviews as the best passer in the league. Was he better than Oscar? I'm not prepared to say that, but what I can say is that Hawkins was doing things Oscar could not. One described play involved Hawkins having the ball in the high post and making two quick passing fakes in opposite directions (which he could do because had had the ball palmed), and then casually dribbling through the now open lane to the basket.

3. Another anecdote: Apparently Hawkins could dribble through press defense unaided. When a team pressed the Suns, they'd pass the ball to Hawkins, and get out of the way, while he dribbled his way through opponents. If this seems unrealistic for a player generally, I'd note that this skill was a major thing before the shot clock, and the team most famous for this ability was the Globetrotters back in their still-competitive days in the '40s. Against the Mikan-led Lakers, the Globetrotters famously gave the ball to master-dribbler Marques Haynes, and he dribbled what remained of the 4th quarter away so that his team could take the last shot.

While the shot clock rendered this specific ability moot, the Globetrotters used it as part of their act, and so this was something the Globetrotter players actually practiced, and Hawkins honed the ability there.

So I'd say the most amazing thing isn't that someone could do this, but that Hawkins at 6'8" could do this.

4. I'd note that Wilt said that Hawkins was the only guy in the world who could play "all three positions" - by which he meant guard, forward, and center.

I should also note that Hawkins's quickness and agility was tied to his lithe fame, so when Hawkins played center, he took a severe beating that made it hard for him to sustain that kind of play over a season.

I'll also note that Hawkins was a guy who got very little training in formal defense. With his long arms and quickness he could get blocks and steals, but he struggled beyond that.

5. Some people hated his "clown antics". Some refs in particular. I think this makes sense because the Globetrotters - while they may be clowns - spend their games making their opponents look like fools. What happens when you do that to someone who isn't paid to take it? Animosity.

6. Among players, Elvin Hayes in particular apparently expressed hostility toward Hawkins, and this led to a showdown in the very last game of the '69-70 season which Hawkin's Suns needed to make the playoffs. The Suns were down 19 points at half time, and in the second half Hawkins & Hayes matched up. Hawkins led the team back to a victory with a 44/20/8 night on 30 FGA, and was said to have had 5 blocks & 5 steals in the 3rd quarter alone. Multiple of those blocks came on Hayes who went for 23/18/2 on 25 FGA.

7. In the playoffs, the Suns would fight hard before losing in 7 to the West/Wilt led Lakers, with some making the comment that it was essentially "the Lakers vs Connie Hawkins".

After that year, Hawkins would still have great runs, but injuries took more of a toll. The general feeling was that his body was much older than his age suggested having played 250 Globetrotter games per year while others his age were playing 25 college games per year, to say nothing about all that time on the Schoolyard.

In the end, with Hawkins, I think it's very hard to know how to rank him and so I completely understand those who won't have him in the Top 100. More than anything else, I hope others can just appreciate how singular he was, and how significant on a level beyond simple career impact.

But I do think he warrants a place above Bill Walton, who is my #3 pick here. Love, love, love Walton, but as much as Hawkins had longevity issues, I'd say Walton had them worse, and I'm not comfortable saying that Walton was clearly the better player best vs best. I think Walton was amazing like this, and he certainly has the defensive edge overall, but in some ways I feel like you could look at Walton on offense as a poor man's Hawkins.

Part of what I'm saying here is that I believe that the pivot-and-cut offense that Jack Ramsay instituted for Walton in Portland is not some completely new thing, but rather something that was huge and never really made it to the NBA. Once the basketball world saw Mikan & Kurland, pivot-and-cut passing didn't seem as useful as just pass to low post and score. And when that paradigm got challenged, it got challenged by perimeter-oriented offenses that in today's game are dominant.

I would submit that we've never really seen the potential for a pivot-and-cut offense in the modern NBA until Nikola Jokic, and I might make a comparison between Jokic & Hawkins. And on that front, note that I have Jokic below Walton. Through the end of last season, I didn't think Jokic had done enough to surpass Walton, but with this season, well, things are changing.

I will note, with regards to context, I consider Jokic to be more of "random genius" than Hawkins. I think Hawkins became what he did because he was shaped by unique context and had specific, rare physical gifts. Jokic seems like he was born like this.

Alright, beyond Hawk I've got Walton & Jokic on my ballot.

So first, what that means is that I'm clearly right now siding on peak/prime over longevity relative to some other folks. As I always say, I'm not going to tell you that your longevity weighting is wrong - I think that's up to personal philosophy.

I will say on Walton I've had him all over my ballots through the years and really don't know where to put him...but I do think that he deserves to be higher than Jokic through '19-20. I understand that you can argue that Jokic should win based on a longevity edge, but Jokic is obviously weak there as well, and Walton being a key part of a championship team 7 years after the first really cements that indelible impression I have of him.

If you just think Jokic through last year was better than Walton, I get that, but I'd not feel comfortable saying that because Walton was the best defender on the planet.

On Jokic over other guys, the first guy I want to mention is someone I've not even been listing out because he hasn't had traction: Draymond Green. When I look at current players not in, those two are the next ones on my list and to be honest I expected to have Green ahead of Jokic.

If I felt strongly about Green over Jokic, I'd be arguing for that now, but I'm not. I can see arguments both ways, but Green really doesn't have much of a longevity edge, and as special as Green was at his best, I do think Jokic was more special by a smidge even before this year.

Next guy: Billy Cunningham. I think Cunningham is a strong candidate, but I definitely see him as less indelible than Hawk or Walton.

Looks like Horace Grant is getting a lot of momentum, and he's another guy I love so I'm not looking to argue against really, but clearly his argument over these other guys is longevity, and I struggle to talk about Grant as a big longevity guy.

On Tiny Archibald - I'm really convinced at this point that he was an absolute killer at his best. He feels like he should be easily a Top 100 guy for me, and I rank him above some guys already on the list, but obviously there are still guys left out there that I like even better.

On James Worthy - I don't really feel like I have a precise compelling case for Worthy, but I don't think we should forget about him. I see him as a guy who proved himself to be versatile while still capable of being a good alpha when needed.
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.
Doctor MJ
Senior Mod
Senior Mod
Posts: 44,202
And1: 13,152
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Location: Cali
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#10 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:27 pm

So I haven't commented on other people's votes in a while, and to be honest it's been nice. But I also feel like it's a shame if we just go through the rest of the tournament all set in our ways, so I figured with about 10 spots left now's a good time to start thinking of things to discuss if we're ever going to discuss them.

I think clearly we're getting a major separation in votes based on prime vs longevity focus. That's as it should be. If you and I differ on that, to me that's definitely agree-to-disagree territory, though I'm happy to have the philosophical conversation of how we each decide on how to weigh longevity.

There's a second split though I'm noticing with guys with good longevity, but who to me aren't just less-than-best prime wise, but who have costs associated with them.

Carmelo Anthony is a classic one. A reasonable distinction was made between being the best player on a championship team and being the best scorer on a championship team, and I don't fundamentally disagree with the idea that Melo could be the best scorer on a championship team...but I do consider him a player who in general lowers your offensive ceiling compared to what serious contenders would ideally be looking for, and someone whose game has never really lifted other players up. I remember what happened to Amar'e Stoudemire when Melo came to NY. It was like Melo sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

Chris Webber is also mentioned, and to me Webber is a guy who got fundamentally overrated in all of our minds when Sacramento became awesome because he got considered to be THE star on the team. In reality, this was a team that functioned as an ensemble cast that tended to take too many low efficiency CWebb shots until CWebb was injured...at which point the offense actually got better. I'm really, really not sure that I think Webber was more valuable to that team than Vlade Divac was.

Dan Issel I'm more comfortable with as a guy who knew how to take a backseat and still be a net positive value with his shooting, but I'm with penbeast in that I tend to think that in the ABA, the Kentucky focus on Issel as the lead offensive threat was completely misguided. It really should have been the Artis Gilmore show with Louie Dampier running the offense and Issel acting as a Stretch 4.

With each of these guys, I look at them and ask "How easy would it be to have a championship team with them doing their thing?" and I think "Not easy at all." And this pertains to why I'm championing guys with shorter careers over them. Longevity matters, and can make up for a lower peak, but there's a difference between being a "take nothing off the table" sidekick, and being a lead scorer type than I'm not super-keen on building my offense around if I'm wanting to go all the way.
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.
Doctor MJ
Senior Mod
Senior Mod
Posts: 44,202
And1: 13,152
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Location: Cali
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#11 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:31 pm

falcolombardi wrote:not a voter but some recent names that i believe deserve some consideration at this point and some general toughts

the llast few threads have kind of focused on great peak/short prime guys (jokic, walton) vs long career/ relatively low peak guys (grant or hornacek)

potentially ignoring the middle options of medium peak/prime with medium longevity kind of guys? for example


paul george: 8 seasons prime 2013-2021 of clear all star level play, a couple arguably top 5 regular seasons (as in 5 best players that reg season)

jimmy butler: a close player to george in reg season impact but with a more impressive playoffs resume

and others like them


I think George & Butler warrant conversation. When looking at current players, the thing is that I really can't justify either of them over Draymond Green, and part of that is just that Green has meant so much to a team that accomplished so much. Neither George nor Butler have had the same type of indelible impact on any place. Warrior fans are going to be talking about Green forever, and this is still not given for George or Butler on any team.

I've mentioned before that among guys still playing, the two main guys on my mind right now are Green & Jokic. Currently voting for Jokic in my 3rd spot and not Green, but continuing to grapple with that comparison.
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.
Cavsfansince84
General Manager
Posts: 8,477
And1: 6,301
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#12 » by Cavsfansince84 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:48 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:So I haven't commented on other people's votes in a while, and to be honest it's been nice. But I also feel like it's a shame if we just go through the rest of the tournament all set in our ways, so I figured with about 10 spots left now's a good time to start thinking of things to discuss if we're ever going to discuss them.

I think clearly we're getting a major separation in votes based on prime vs longevity focus. That's as it should be. If you and I differ on that, to me that's definitely agree-to-disagree territory, though I'm happy to have the philosophical conversation of how we each decide on how to weigh longevity.

There's a second split though I'm noticing with guys with good longevity, but who to me aren't just less-than-best prime wise, but who have costs associated with them.

Carmelo Anthony is a classic one. A reasonable distinction was made between being the best player on a championship team and being the best scorer on a championship team, and I don't fundamentally disagree with the idea that Melo could be the best scorer on a championship team...but I do consider him a player who in general lowers your offensive ceiling compared to what serious contenders would ideally be looking for, and someone whose game has never really lifted other players up. I remember what happened to Amar'e Stoudemire when Melo came to NY. It was like Melo sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

Chris Webber is also mentioned, and to me Webber is a guy who got fundamentally overrated in all of our minds when Sacramento became awesome because he got considered to be THE star on the team. In reality, this was a team that functioned as an ensemble cast that tended to take too many low efficiency CWebb shots until CWebb was injured...at which point the offense actually got better. I'm really, really not sure that I think Webber was more valuable to that team than Vlade Divac was.

Dan Issel I'm more comfortable with as a guy who knew how to take a backseat and still be a net positive value with his shooting, but I'm with penbeast in that I tend to think that in the ABA, the Kentucky focus on Issel as the lead offensive threat was completely misguided. It really should have been the Artis Gilmore show with Louie Dampier running the offense and Issel acting as a Stretch 4.

With each of these guys, I look at them and ask "How easy would it be to have a championship team with them doing their thing?" and I think "Not easy at all." And this pertains to why I'm championing guys with shorter careers over them. Longevity matters, and can make up for a lower peak, but there's a difference between being a "take nothing off the table" sidekick, and being a lead scorer type than I'm not super-keen on building my offense around if I'm wanting to go all the way.


Regarding the prime v longevity side of it, my main issue is that I don't see much of a prime v longevity debate going on so much as I've noticed a heavy peak v prime chasm in how a lot of players have been graded since around pick 60. Which tbh I'm not really ok with because there already is a peaks project. I'm fine withe everyone having their own criteria and metrics which they favor in a project such as this which can include peak level but I'm not really down with peak being a super high criteria. I think this project would be better served with some kind of guidelines where peak should be more reserved for the peaks project. This one imo should be more about careers as a whole. I'm not saying this to call out certain voters so please don't take it personally if you think I am. I would just like to see more emphasis placed on careers and less on peaks in this project.

Regarding some of the players you mentioned, re:

Melo. I think he's gotten sort of lumped into the classic high volume scoring group with guys like Nique and English and the main reason I have him at 95 or thereabouts is that despite the very good prime length I can't really see him playing on a real contender without a near all nba pg running the offense. Plus the concerns I have on his defense and ability to lead. I doubt I really need to elaborate on that and his penchant for 10-27 type shooting games.

Issel. I have him I think one spot ahead of Melo and I'd probably be ok with him getting in now but mainly again idk about him being the primary scorer on a contender and I have questions about his defense and rebounding at his position. In general, I'm not that high on guys which I feel have fundamental weaknesses in their game.

Webber. I have just outside my top 100 and really to me it just comes down to his health. Too many seasons which feel compromised by injuries and while I give him a fair amount of credit for being a near mvp caliber guy on some very strong Kings teams he never fully backed it up in the playoffs outside of his 02 run. So I won't have him on any of my ballots.
trex_8063
Forum Mod
Forum Mod
Posts: 9,962
And1: 5,651
Joined: Feb 24, 2013
     

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#13 » by trex_8063 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:02 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Carmelo Anthony is a classic one. A reasonable distinction was made between being the best player on a championship team and being the best scorer on a championship team, and I don't fundamentally disagree with the idea that Melo could be the best scorer on a championship team...but I do consider him a player who in general lowers your offensive ceiling compared to what serious contenders would ideally be looking for, and someone whose game has never really lifted other players up. I remember what happened to Amar'e Stoudemire when Melo came to NY. It was like Melo sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

.


By him being someone who "lowers your offensive ceiling compared to what serious contenders would ideally be looking for" and "sucked all the oxygen out of the room", do you mean how they [the Knicks] posted best offense in franchise history in the very first partial-season he arrived?--->EDIT: this was a +3.6 rORTG overall, though performing MUCH better offensively AFTER the trade to obtain Melo, Billups, and JR Smith, while losing Felton, Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov (misc other minor changes occurred).

And then two years later [with Amar'e missing most of the year, and Billups long-gone] bested that by a sizable +1.6 more [a +5.2 rORTG]?......an offense which only 10 of the 44 post-merger champions have bested:
'85 Lakers (+6.2)
'87 Lakers (+7.3)
'01 Lakers (+5.4)
'91 Bulls (+6.7)
'92 Bulls (+7.3)
'96 Bulls (+7.6)
'97 Bulls (+7.7)
'13 Heat (+6.4)
'15 Warriors (+6.0)
'17 Warriors (+6.8)

That +5.2 rORTG was achieved with a supporting cast of [in descending order of minutes]: JR Smith, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd [on his literal last legs: 19th season], Steve Novak, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Chris Copeland, Ronnie Brewer, (then Amar'e).

Admittedly, their offense seriously floundered in the playoffs, however it is worth noting that occurred while first playing the 7th-rated defense in the league, followed by the #1-rated defense in the league [relative to the defenses faced, they were still a +1.3 rORTG in the playoffs]; also JR Smith missed one game.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." -George Carlin

"The fact that a proposition is absurd has never hindered those who wish to believe it." -Edward Rutherfurd
trex_8063
Forum Mod
Forum Mod
Posts: 9,962
And1: 5,651
Joined: Feb 24, 2013
     

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#14 » by trex_8063 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:30 pm

Cavsfansince84 wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:.


Regarding the prime v longevity side of it, my main issue is that I don't see much of a prime v longevity debate going on so much as I've noticed a heavy peak v prime chasm in how a lot of players have been graded since around pick 60. Which tbh I'm not really ok with because there already is a peaks project. I'm fine withe everyone having their own criteria and metrics which they favor in a project such as this which can include peak level but I'm not really down with peak being a super high criteria. I think this project would be better served with some kind of guidelines where peak should be more reserved for the peaks project. This one imo should be more about careers as a whole. I'm not saying this to call out certain voters so please don't take it personally if you think I am. I would just like to see more emphasis placed on careers and less on peaks in this project.

Regarding some of the players you mentioned, re:

Melo. I think he's gotten sort of lumped into the classic high volume scoring group with guys like Nique and English and the main reason I have him at 95 or thereabouts is that despite the very good prime length I can't really see him playing on a real contender without a near all nba pg running the offense. Plus the concerns I have on his defense and ability to lead. I doubt I really need to elaborate on that and his penchant for 10-27 type shooting games.



Regarding the first paragraph above, I disagree that there hasn't been much prime [or at least peak/prime] v longevity debate happening. The examples and explanations relating to CORP-type principles [which largely centered around a Walton v Grant context] toward the end of the #87 thread and thru much of the #88 thread was basically all about high peak/prime vs more moderate peak/prime [but great longevity/consistency].

Re: Melo and the offense, please see my post 13 itt (as well as Clyde's post, if you haven't read it).
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." -George Carlin

"The fact that a proposition is absurd has never hindered those who wish to believe it." -Edward Rutherfurd
Cavsfansince84
General Manager
Posts: 8,477
And1: 6,301
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#15 » by Cavsfansince84 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:50 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
Regarding the first paragraph above, I disagree that there hasn't been much prime [or at least peak/prime] v longevity debate happening. The examples and explanations relating to CORP-type principles [which largely centered around a Walton v Grant context] toward the end of the #87 thread and thru much of the #88 thread was basically all about high peak/prime vs more moderate peak/prime [but great longevity/consistency].

Re: Melo and the offense, please see my post 13 itt (as well as Clyde's post, if you haven't read it).


I think it's been debated a bit since I started voting in this project which was at #17 I believe but I would say there's been a lot more emphasis on peaks then on longevity, with defining longevity as say primes of more than 7-8 years and/or meaningful years which fall outside of a player's prime. I think there's a number of voters for whom peak is a huge part of how they rate players. Which is fine since that's the way they like to rate players but my point is that there is already a peak project so for this one I think it would have been better to maybe try and discourage people from relying too heavily on a peak based way of evaluating a player's career.
Doctor MJ
Senior Mod
Senior Mod
Posts: 44,202
And1: 13,152
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Location: Cali
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#16 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:28 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Carmelo Anthony is a classic one. A reasonable distinction was made between being the best player on a championship team and being the best scorer on a championship team, and I don't fundamentally disagree with the idea that Melo could be the best scorer on a championship team...but I do consider him a player who in general lowers your offensive ceiling compared to what serious contenders would ideally be looking for, and someone whose game has never really lifted other players up. I remember what happened to Amar'e Stoudemire when Melo came to NY. It was like Melo sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

.


By him being someone who "lowers your offensive ceiling compared to what serious contenders would ideally be looking for" and "sucked all the oxygen out of the room", do you mean how they [the Knicks] posted best offense in franchise history in the very first partial-season he arrived?--->EDIT: this was a +3.6 rORTG overall, though performing MUCH better offensively AFTER the trade to obtain Melo and Billups for Felton and Gallinari.


Hmm. I'll fully admit I was more focused on the fact that the Nuggets had the best offense in the league that year and seemed better after Melo left, than the fact that the inferior offense that the Knicks were offering still happened to be better than the entirety of Knicks history.

I was also more focused on the fact that the Knicks really didn't show any kind of on/off with Melo in that first year, which was something of a shock to the basketball world as I remember multiple talking heads saying something like "C'mon, superstars are gods, put two of them on a team and it's always amazing!", which most certainly didn't prove true.

trex_8063 wrote:And then two years later [with Amar'e missing most of the year, and Billups long-gone] bested that by a sizable +1.6 more [a +5.2 rORTG]?......an offense which only 10 of the 44 post-merger champions have bested:
'85 Lakers (+6.2)
'87 Lakers (+7.3)
'01 Lakers (+5.4)
'91 Bulls (+6.7)
'92 Bulls (+7.3)
'96 Bulls (+7.6)
'97 Bulls (+7.7)
'13 Heat (+6.4)
'15 Warriors (+6.0)
'17 Warriors (+6.8)

That +5.2 rORTG was achieved with a supporting cast of [in descending order of minutes]: JR Smith, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd [on his literal last legs: 19th season], Steve Novak, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Chris Copeland, Ronnie Brewer, (then Amar'e).

Admittedly, their offense seriously floundered in the playoffs, however it is worth noting that occurred while first playing the 7th-rated defense in the league, followed by the #1-rated defense in the league [relative to the defenses faced, they were still a +1.3 rORTG in the playoffs]; also JR Smith missed one game.


Well, I think we know the story here is that because Amar'e was out, Melo played the 4, which was what he was always best suited for offensively. It does nothing to change the truth that Melo-Amar'e really couldn't do much together.

Then there's Tyson Chandler who quite clearly is a much better choice to include on a roster if you want to be a serious title contender than Melo is. He can't be your offensive alpha, but he found an efficient role that helped his alphas, while proving himself to be a DPOY by bailing out a team that played Melo at the 4.

Quite seriously: I'm not sure I'd rank Melo higher on this list than Chandler.
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.
Doctor MJ
Senior Mod
Senior Mod
Posts: 44,202
And1: 13,152
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Location: Cali
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#17 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:39 pm

Cavsfansince84 wrote: I think it's been debated a bit since I started voting in this project which was at #17 I believe but I would say there's been a lot more emphasis on peaks then on longevity, with defining longevity as say primes of more than 7-8 years and/or meaningful years which fall outside of a player's prime. I think there's a number of voters for whom peak is a huge part of how they rate players. Which is fine since that's the way they like to rate players but my point is that there is already a peak project so for this one I think it would have been better to maybe try and discourage people from relying too heavily on a peak based way of evaluating a player's career.


Okay, so here's what I'll say:

First, do understand that Peaks projects in general are always B-list projects compared to Career projects specifically because people actually kinda suck at deciding who was better in any given season. Hence, the idea of changing the Career project to give more space to the Peaks project doesn't make sense.

(The exception: Thinking Basketball's Greatest Peaks project, because Ben actually can judge this stuff pretty effectively.)

But to me the bigger philosophical point here is that it has to be understood that winning titles is the goal of NBA basketball players, and so if a player at his best really helps your chance of winning a title, to me it's not weird at all picking him over someone who played longer better never really up'ed your odds that much.

I think of a guy like Danny Green. There you have a guy who realistically shouldn't be seen as a guy who ups your championship odds that much, but has proven repeatedly that he can at least stay on the court and prove adequate. I respect him a great deal and think most underrate him, but I struggle to put him ahead of legit title-potential superstars whose careers were shorter.

And then from there, we've got the thing that if you want to win titles, you probably should choose to have Green on your team rather than Melo/Webber/Issel.

So I'm kind of at a place where to be ahead of the Hawkins/Walton's of the world by longevity, I kinda need you to be a star talent who scales wells to championship teams, rather than a role player who scales, or a star who doesn't scale.

And to be clear, guys like that still exist. I can see arguments for a Chris Mullin or a Joe Dumars over Connie Hawkins. Very debatable there and maybe I could even be swayed (though of course this isn't my first rodeo, so I've got my reasons and it likely will be an upset any given time I conclude I absolutely must change my stance).
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.
Cavsfansince84
General Manager
Posts: 8,477
And1: 6,301
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
   

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#18 » by Cavsfansince84 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:56 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Okay, so here's what I'll say:

First, do understand that Peaks projects in general are always B-list projects compared to Career projects specifically because people actually kinda suck at deciding who was better in any given season. Hence, the idea of changing the Career project to give more space to the Peaks project doesn't make sense.

(The exception: Thinking Basketball's Greatest Peaks project, because Ben actually can judge this stuff pretty effectively.)

But to me the bigger philosophical point here is that it has to be understood that winning titles is the goal of NBA basketball players, and so if a player at his best really helps your chance of winning a title, to me it's not weird at all picking him over someone who played longer better never really up'ed your odds that much.

I think of a guy like Danny Green. There you have a guy who realistically shouldn't be seen as a guy who ups your championship odds that much, but has proven repeatedly that he can at least stay on the court and prove adequate. I respect him a great deal and think most underrate him, but I struggle to put him ahead of legit title-potential superstars whose careers were shorter.

And then from there, we've got the thing that if you want to win titles, you probably should choose to have Green on your team rather than Melo/Webber/Issel.

So I'm kind of at a place where to be ahead of the Hawkins/Walton's of the world by longevity, I kinda need you to be a star talent who scales wells to championship teams, rather than a role player who scales, or a star who doesn't scale.

And to be clear, guys like that still exist. I can see arguments for a Chris Mullin or a Joe Dumars over Connie Hawkins. Very debatable there and maybe I could even be swayed (though of course this isn't my first rodeo, so I've got my reasons and it likely will be an upset any given time I conclude I absolutely must change my stance).


I can respect the logic when it comes to guys like Walton and Hawkins who won titles in their peak year(though with Hawkins one of my major reservations is that he played in the aba when it was at its weakest). Its guys who didn't win in their short primes that it concerns me more. My other issue though is that there's a lot of players who did win titles as a #1, 1b or #2 who still aren't voted in who are getting passed over as well. It's not really a matter of comparing a Danny Green to a Melo. It's that there's still guys like Dumars, Johnston, DeBusschere and a few others who actually proved that they can be a top 2/3 player on teams that win titles along with having reasonably long primes and making all nba teams.
trex_8063
Forum Mod
Forum Mod
Posts: 9,962
And1: 5,651
Joined: Feb 24, 2013
     

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#19 » by trex_8063 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:05 pm

Cavsfansince84 wrote:
trex_8063 wrote:
Regarding the first paragraph above, I disagree that there hasn't been much prime [or at least peak/prime] v longevity debate happening. The examples and explanations relating to CORP-type principles [which largely centered around a Walton v Grant context] toward the end of the #87 thread and thru much of the #88 thread was basically all about high peak/prime vs more moderate peak/prime [but great longevity/consistency].

Re: Melo and the offense, please see my post 13 itt (as well as Clyde's post, if you haven't read it).


I think it's been debated a bit since I started voting in this project which was at #17 I believe but I would say there's been a lot more emphasis on peaks then on longevity, with defining longevity as say primes of more than 7-8 years and/or meaningful years which fall outside of a player's prime. I think there's a number of voters for whom peak is a huge part of how they rate players. Which is fine since that's the way they like to rate players but my point is that there is already a peak project so for this one I think it would have been better to maybe try and discourage people from relying too heavily on a peak based way of evaluating a player's career.


fwiw, I agree with you [obviously, since I'm much more longevity and/or WHOLE career-based than most.....and I think there's A LOT of sound basis for doing so, as was partially elaborated on in the last couple threads].
However, we don't want to be too dogmatic and say "this is how you MUST consider 'all-time greatness'". We've deliberately left that to each individual (though again: I'm with you on this, personally).

I meant to mention this in my last reply, but got distracted.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." -George Carlin

"The fact that a proposition is absurd has never hindered those who wish to believe it." -Edward Rutherfurd
trex_8063
Forum Mod
Forum Mod
Posts: 9,962
And1: 5,651
Joined: Feb 24, 2013
     

Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #89 

Post#20 » by trex_8063 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:16 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Cavsfansince84 wrote: I think it's been debated a bit since I started voting in this project which was at #17 I believe but I would say there's been a lot more emphasis on peaks then on longevity, with defining longevity as say primes of more than 7-8 years and/or meaningful years which fall outside of a player's prime. I think there's a number of voters for whom peak is a huge part of how they rate players. Which is fine since that's the way they like to rate players but my point is that there is already a peak project so for this one I think it would have been better to maybe try and discourage people from relying too heavily on a peak based way of evaluating a player's career.


Okay, so here's what I'll say:

First, do understand that Peaks projects in general are always B-list projects compared to Career projects specifically because people actually kinda suck at deciding who was better in any given season. Hence, the idea of changing the Career project to give more space to the Peaks project doesn't make sense.

(The exception: Thinking Basketball's Greatest Peaks project, because Ben actually can judge this stuff pretty effectively.)

But to me the bigger philosophical point here is that it has to be understood that winning titles is the goal of NBA basketball players, and so if a player at his best really helps your chance of winning a title, to me it's not weird at all picking him over someone who played longer better never really up'ed your odds that much.


Firstly, I do not agree wholesale with the bolded: imo, there is dignified value in being a good floor-raiser. I don't adhere to a "title or bust" notion when assessing players.

Secondly, this EXACT topic was hit hard upon in the last two threads [again: specifically within the context of comparing Grant to Walton], and there is ample to suggest that Grant gives MORE championship odds over the course of their respective whole careers (see post 22 of the #88 thread in particular; and for that matter falcolombardi's reply in post 26). The example pertaining to the 1st 3peat Bulls is compelling, imo (and hard to refute).

And fwiw, I've started doing specifically CORP assessments among some of these players and did indeed have Horace Grant come out very comfortably ahead of Bill Walton for full careers [though admittedly, his career represents a longer window, which is a valid consideration--->which was also touched on within that discussion]; and that's using Ben Taylor's chart [since you yourself have advocated for him] for odds added by the respective grades of players.


Danny Green seems a bit out of place [strawman?], as no one is arguing for him (or even mentioned him, in fact). Although if we were doing a top 200 or 250 project, I absolutely think he's a name that should at least be discussed.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." -George Carlin

"The fact that a proposition is absurd has never hindered those who wish to believe it." -Edward Rutherfurd

Return to Player Comparisons