RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92

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RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#1 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 1, 2021 2:44 pm

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. Billy Cunningham
90. Dan Issel
91. James Worthy
92. ??

Target stop-time around 10am EST on Monday.

Spoiler:
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Franco wrote:.

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Hal14 wrote:.

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Joe Malburg wrote:.

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[quote=”sansterre”].[/quote]
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"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
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#2 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 1, 2021 2:46 pm

1st 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 usage 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.


2nd vote: LaMarcus Aldridge (EDITED)
This was more or less a coin-flip between him and Webber; I've opted to switch and go with LMA.
I don't think he peaked quite as high (peaking at probably a weak All-NBA 2nd Team level), but he was just so solidly consistent for about 11 straight years. It's left him in fairly high standing in various counting and cumulative metrics, but he also has a handful on years in the top 15 of the league in RAPM.

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.


3rd vote: Chris Webber
Short(ish) prime, and certainly under-achieved his potential [though his potential was REALLY damn high]. He's still a very nice peak and top 2-3 years, with some useful years outside of that. An OK [and somewhat versatile] scorer, EXCELLENT passing big-man, very very good rebounder, good defender when engaged (though I'll freely acknowledge he was NOT consistently engaged).
Although he's an under-achiever [boy, this is a lukewarm endorsement!], I think he did enough in his career to warrant consideration here.


Have updated my list [for Condorcet purposes] to include ANYONE who has received votes of any kind, plus some others who are definitley on my radar:
Melo > LMA > Webber > Beaty > Cheeks > Sikma > Porter > Lowry > Walker > DeBusschere > Hawkins > Bellamy > Johnston > G.Williams > D.Johnson > Walton > Jokic > Tiny > Draymond > King (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. Could also see bumping Hawkins ahead of DeBusschere +/- Walker.
"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
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#3 » by Hal14 » Sat May 1, 2021 2:57 pm

Hal14 wrote:1. Dennis Johnson
2. Tiny Archibald
3. Walt Bellamy

Johnson was Finals MVP in 79. The dude was an animal. Flying around the court like a bat outta hell, some of the best defense a guard has ever played. Going all out, hustling, taking it strong to the rim.

Next, let's look at 84. 83-84 was his first year on the Celtics. The year before that in 83 the Celtics got swept in the 2nd round by the Bucks. Yes, KC Jones taking over as coach was a factor as well, but the Celtics adding Johnson was a HUGE reason why they went from being swept in the 2nd round in 83 to NBA world champs beating the Lakers in the finals the very next year in 84 (with Magic and Kareem in their prime).

In both 84 and 86 Johnson was one of the team's top 4 players, came through in the clutch time and time again and Bird is on record saying that Johnson was the best teammate he ever played with (meaning Bird thinks Johnson was better than Parish and Mchale).

https://www.sportscasting.com/larry-bird-reveals-the-best-player-hes-ever-played-with/

Johnson was one of the best defensive guards of all time, easily one of the top 10 defensive guards ever. The guy had very good size and strength at the PG position which made him a tough matchup, early in his career had great explosiveness and athleticism, he could score inside, drive to the basket and as his career went on developed a deadly outside shot - especially in the mid range area, not as much from 3 because at the time 3's weren't being taken very much across the league (early in his career there was no 3 point line), plus he could rebound well, unselfishly looked to get the ball to his teammates but would make you pay dearly if you ignored him too much on offense, plus of course his outstanding defense.

Solid longevity, played 14 seasons (13 of which he played 27+ mins a game and all of them he played in 70+ games) which was solid for that era, especially considering he played in a ton (180 to be exact) of playoff games.

How about durability? The guy always played, he was always in the lineup. Out of his 14 seasons:
-he played 72+ games in 14/14 (100%)
-he played in 77+ games in 12/14 seasons (86%)
-he played in 80+ games in 7/14 seasons (50%)

How about Rasheed's durability?
-he played 72+ games in 14/16 (63%)
-he played in 77+ games in 8/16 seasons (50%)
-he played in 80+ games in 10/16 seasons (13%)

Here's a glimpse into how good Johnson was on defense:


Johnson was as good defensively as any guard to ever play. Only guards I might put over him on D are Jordan, Payton and maybe Frazier.

How clutch was Johnson? Take a look at this huge shot to beat the Lakers in the finals:


Want more clutch plays? Larry Bird made a great steal, but it wouldn't have mattered, the Celtics would have still lost that game (and the series) if Johnson didn't race in towards the basket, catch the ball in traffic and finish over a defender:


If you want a guys who put up some nice advanced stats in an era where advanced stats didn't even exist yet, sure go ahead and vote for Hornacek. But if you want to win, then DJ is your guy.

Tiny is a 6 time all-star, 3x all NBA 1st team, 2x all NBA 2nd team. You want peak? Only player ever to lead the NBA in both scoring and assists in the same season. And he was a key piece on the 1981 NBA championship-winning Celtics. Solid defender. Very few point guards in the history of the game possessed his combination of scoring and distributing. And he did it in an era before it was easier for point guards to dominate the league (like it's been since 2005). He'd be even higher up this list if not for injuries, but still had 13 seasons which is pretty good longevity, especially for that era.

Bellamy was a dominant center who could do it all - hit shots, score with power inside, rebound, defend, run the floor. Good combination of size, strength and skill. Sure, his ability diminished in his later years, but that's why he's not a top 50 player. If you just look at top 1 or 2 years for peak, there are very few centers who can match Bellamy. It's about time he gets voted in:

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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#4 » by HeartBreakKid » Sat May 1, 2021 3:03 pm

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) Draymond Green. After pondering it for a few threads I decided to place Green over Hawkins. I might go back on this. I think Green's defense is as valuable as many players volume scoring. He has an interesting qwirk where he can raise his level of defense in the post season, a unique type of resilience. He also has the playmaking ability of a point guard, he's not just a guy who feast in huge open space making simple kicks to 3 point shooters. Green has learned how to read the defense, and is excellent at making quick decisions and not all the passes he makes are easy.









Hawkins > Porter > G Williams > King > Dennis Johnson > Lowry > Archibald > Aldridge > Lucas > C Anthony > Bellamy > Johnston > DeBusschere
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#5 » by Dutchball97 » Sat May 1, 2021 3:11 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.

Draymond Green > Anfernee Hardaway > Jimmy Butler > Cliff Hagan > Paul George > Kyle Lowry > Marques Johnson > Jerry Lucas > Neil Johnston > Walt Bellamy > Chris Webber > Carmelo Anthony > Maurice Cheeks > Andrei Kirilenko > Eddie Jones > LaMarcus Aldridge > Bernard King > Bill Walton > Connie Hawkins > Dennis Johnson > Dave DeBusschere > Tiny Archibald
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#6 » by Owly » Sat May 1, 2021 5:29 pm

trex_8063 wrote:1st 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 usage 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.


2nd vote: LaMarcus Aldridge (EDITED)
This was more or less a coin-flip between him and Webber; I've opted to switch and go with LMA.
I don't think he peaked quite as high (peaking at probably a weak All-NBA 2nd Team level), but he was just so solidly consistent for about 11 straight years. It's left him in fairly high standing in various counting and cumulative metrics, but he also has a handful on years in the top 15 of the league in RAPM.

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.


3rd vote: Chris Webber
Short(ish) prime, and certainly under-achieved his potential [though his potential was REALLY damn high]. He's still a very nice peak and top 2-3 years, with some useful years outside of that. An OK [and somewhat versatile] scorer, EXCELLENT passing big-man, very very good rebounder, good defender when engaged (though I'll freely acknowledge he was NOT consistently engaged).
Although he's an under-achiever [boy, this is a lukewarm endorsement!], I think he did enough in his career to warrant consideration here.


Have updated my list [for Condorcet purposes] to include ANYONE who has received votes of any kind, plus some others who are definitley on my radar:
Melo > LMA > Webber > Beaty > Cheeks > Sikma > Porter > Lowry > Walker > DeBusschere > Hawkins > Bellamy > Johnston > G.Williams > D.Johnson > Walton > Jokic > Tiny > Draymond > King (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. Could also see bumping Hawkins ahead of DeBusschere +/- Walker. I could conceivably bump Worthy a pinch lower [or Beaty a pinch higher], too, I suppose.

You can probably get rid of the Worthy mention. :wink:

Any reason Brand isn't on your big board with Webber on your ballot? My inclination, otoh, is Brand equal or slightly better on court (with slightly better peak [moreso if you weight playoffs heavily and/or aligning RS peak and playoff peak heavily], maybe slightly more productive [similar career Reference box composites over more minutes], better playoffs [small sample on Brand but solid post prime years and perhaps the best single run, imo, when he only got one swing in his prime - I'll grant others may see it differently I don't love comparing playoffs with different samples, different opponents etc]) with Webber coming with more costs that are less concrete or not directly playing related (financial, legal/reputational, chemistry/feuding [Nelson, Peja, even Jalen?], ego [including how he perceives himself, his role etc], maybe even flight risk - Brand wanted out of something ... Clippers-y [or even didn't but the Clippers simply didn't, or were very slow to, meet the market-rate, arguably wisely given Brand would never be the same again], Webber opted out of what had seemed a good team situation in GS and then again seemed to be flirting with other destinations whilst in Sacramento).
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#7 » by Doctor MJ » Sat May 1, 2021 5:38 pm

Repeating vote with some updates.

Since Porter almost got in is that I actually would put Buck Williams over Porter. Porter's greater if you factor in just their Blazer career, but Buck's work on the Nets is big too, so I'm slotting Buck in.

Also, it's bugging me that Chris Mullin isn't being given more love. I think it's worth reiterating that he wasn't a "fringe Dream Teamer". He was more of a lock than Barkley, and his minutes played in the Olympics speaks to this. Basically he had a role with some similarities to what what Miller/Allen/Curry would later have, and which is still tremendously underrated today imho.

Doctor MJ wrote:Alright...

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

Other preferences in order:

Spoiler:
Chris Mullin
Tiny Archibald
Buck Williams
Dave DeBusschere
Dennis Johnson
Terry Porter
Jerry Lucas
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.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#8 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 1, 2021 5:48 pm

Owly wrote:You can probably get rid of the Worthy mention. :wink:


Ah yes. Done.


Owly wrote:Any reason Brand isn't on your big board with Webber on your ballot? My inclination, otoh, is Brand equal or slightly better on court (with slightly better peak [moreso if you weight playoffs heavily and/or aligning RS peak and playoff peak heavily], maybe slightly more productive [similar career Reference box composites over more minutes], better playoffs [small sample on Brand but solid post prime years and perhaps the best single run, imo, when he only got one swing in his prime - I'll grant others may see it differently I don't love comparing playoffs with different samples, different opponents etc]) with Webber coming with more costs that are less concrete or not directly playing related (financial, legal/reputational, chemistry/feuding [Nelson, Peja, even Jalen?], ego [including how he perceives himself, his role etc], maybe even flight risk - Brand wanted out of something ... Clippers-y [or even didn't but the Clippers simply didn't, or were very slow to, meet the market-rate, arguably wisely given Brand would never be the same again], Webber opted out of what had seemed a good team situation in GS and then again seemed to be flirting with other destinations whilst in Sacramento).


Yeah, if you're wanting a definitively and fully objective reason why I I have Webber higher, I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint. Some of it is gut. Most of the evaluation tools and authored "metrics" place them close.....some [most, actually] have Webber higher, some have Brand higher, but always close (with the exception of one family of ball-parking tool, which utilizes accolades as one of the inputs--->most versions place Webber more substantially higher).

Brand's close for me. I used to have him just barely behind Webber, though recently nudged him back a little further. He's somewhere in that region of my extended Condorcet listing with DeBusschere/Walker/Bellamy/Hawkins [and definitely ahead of Johnston]. It's not that I don't see arguments for him higher.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#9 » by Owly » Sat May 1, 2021 7:00 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
Owly wrote:You can probably get rid of the Worthy mention. :wink:


Ah yes. Done.


Owly wrote:Any reason Brand isn't on your big board with Webber on your ballot? My inclination, otoh, is Brand equal or slightly better on court (with slightly better peak [moreso if you weight playoffs heavily and/or aligning RS peak and playoff peak heavily], maybe slightly more productive [similar career Reference box composites over more minutes], better playoffs [small sample on Brand but solid post prime years and perhaps the best single run, imo, when he only got one swing in his prime - I'll grant others may see it differently I don't love comparing playoffs with different samples, different opponents etc]) with Webber coming with more costs that are less concrete or not directly playing related (financial, legal/reputational, chemistry/feuding [Nelson, Peja, even Jalen?], ego [including how he perceives himself, his role etc], maybe even flight risk - Brand wanted out of something ... Clippers-y [or even didn't but the Clippers simply didn't, or were very slow to, meet the market-rate, arguably wisely given Brand would never be the same again], Webber opted out of what had seemed a good team situation in GS and then again seemed to be flirting with other destinations whilst in Sacramento).


Yeah, if you're wanting a definitively and fully objective reason why I I have Webber higher, I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint. Some of it is gut. Most of the evaluation tools and authored "metrics" place them close.....some [most, actually] have Webber higher, some have Brand higher, but always close (with the exception of one family of ball-parking tool, which utilizes accolades as one of the inputs--->most versions place Webber more substantially higher).

Brand's close for me. I used to have him just barely behind Webber, though recently nudged him back a little further. He's somewhere in that region of my extended Condorcet listing with DeBusschere/Walker/Bellamy/Hawkins [and definitely ahead of Johnston]. It's not that I don't see arguments for him higher.

Fair enough, I'll just say
An accolades measure overrating Chris (and underrating Brand) isn't exactly a surprise.

My gut is box-y composites have more pro Chris-bias (PER: scoring, WS: team performance, BPM: team performance, assists as a proxy for BB-IQ including on D iirc - can't speak as much to others in the box-y "..PM" family have the same issue) than pro-Brand (WS skewing a a bit hard pro efficiency versus volume).

It might be the contrarian in me or sympathy for Brand's plight on awful teams, an unconfirmed belief in Brand's scalability (peak year on a better Clippers - "Jack of all trades" goodness suggests good players and specialists don't take much away from him) or a negative trajectory in my perception of Webber's intangibles but I tend to think of Webber as the bigger "star" and Brand as the player I'd want.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#10 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 1, 2021 7:23 pm

Owly wrote:Fair enough, I'll just say
An accolades measure overrating Chris (and underrating Brand) isn't exactly a surprise.

My gut is box-y composites have more pro Chris-bias (PER: scoring, WS: team performance, BPM: team performance, assists as a proxy for BB-IQ including on D iirc - can't speak as much to others in the box-y "..PM" family have the same issue)


True enough regarding PER, WS, and BPM. The "box-y PM family" might have the same issue [though probably to a lesser degree]. PIPM does rate Webber a little better at least when looking at a LARGER window (like best 7+ years).

Owly wrote: than pro-Brand (WS skewing a a bit hard pro efficiency versus volume).


And theoretically if his efficiency is good and his teammates truly are godawful, he could still manage impressive WS totals. I'd look at rookie Walt Bellamy as an example: played for team that went 18-62, but still managed a .233 WS/48.


fwiw, looking at RAPM [and using AuPM for '94-'96], which is a more "pure" impact metric (not box influenced).....

Brand's peak year [unsurprisingly is '06] is +3.7 (vs. +3.38 for Webber), and his best 3-years combined totals something slightly better than Webber's best three; from '05-'07 Brand is in the neighborhood of +3.5 each year.
However, then there's a big drop-off for Brand: his 4th-best RAPM is +2.1, his 5th-best is +1.7.

Webber, otoh, after his top three seasons has THREE other years with an RAPM of +2.1 or higher, and FIVE other years of +1.7 or higher. And that's without even having a figure for Webber's '96 campaign [although that was only a 15-game sample].

Consequently, Webber's best 5-years, 7-years, or 10-years added all look a little better than Brand's. Some of those RAPM's came on fewer games, however, as Webber was not quite as durable as Brand. otoh, most of them came on higher mpg, too.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#11 » by prolific passer » Sat May 1, 2021 7:38 pm

I'm just gonna throw a name out there. Cliff Hagan.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#12 » by Owly » Sat May 1, 2021 8:14 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
Owly wrote:Fair enough, I'll just say
An accolades measure overrating Chris (and underrating Brand) isn't exactly a surprise.

My gut is box-y composites have more pro Chris-bias (PER: scoring, WS: team performance, BPM: team performance, assists as a proxy for BB-IQ including on D iirc - can't speak as much to others in the box-y "..PM" family have the same issue)


True enough regarding PER, WS, and BPM. The "box-y PM family" might have the same issue [though probably to a lesser degree]. PIPM does rate Webber a little better at least when looking at a LARGER window (like best 7+ years).

Owly wrote: than pro-Brand (WS skewing a a bit hard pro efficiency versus volume).


And theoretically if his efficiency is good and his teammates truly are godawful, he could still manage impressive WS totals. I'd look at rookie Walt Bellamy as an example: played for team that went 18-62, but still managed a .233 WS/48.


fwiw, looking at RAPM [and using AuPM for '94-'96], which is a more "pure" impact metric (not box influenced).....

Brand's peak year [unsurprisingly is '06] is +3.7 (vs. +3.38 for Webber), and his best 3-years combined totals something slightly better than Webber's best three; from '05-'07 Brand is in the neighborhood of +3.5 each year.
However, then there's a big drop-off for Brand: his 4th-best RAPM is +2.1, his 5th-best is +1.7.

Webber, otoh, after his top three seasons has THREE other years with an RAPM of +2.1 or higher, and FIVE other years of +1.7 or higher. And that's without even having a figure for Webber's '96 campaign [although that was only a 15-game sample].

Consequently, Webber's best 5-years, 7-years, or 10-years added all look a little better than Brand's. Some of those RAPM's came on fewer games, however, as Webber was not quite as durable as Brand. otoh, most of them came on higher mpg, too.

On the WS/efficiency thing I'll just add it's more too harsh on Webber (notably inefficient) than generous on Brand (solidly efficient). This just means you'd choose a different player to make the same point in the inverse direction.

Without knowing the seasons I'd guess the mpg versus injury absence fewer games isn't going to be a wash as it might seem. To use your season ranking method, Brand has six seasons (which align fairly well with his prime) with a higher total minutes than Webber's highest.

I don't know why you'd want a number on an "in" 15 game sample for a career value (fwiw the +66 on-off would seem promising though there's other roster instability regarding injuries). I'm a little iffy on mixing measures in the same counting exercise and my very, very rough not even back of the envelope mental aggregation of very similar 97-14 RAPM, plus Brand's better peak causing better title odds, plus absence in '96 and a .. mixed picture from the limited 94 and 95 numbers ... to me fits an on court tie (again Brand more minutes, possible slight edge) with Webber's other issues (intangibles and perhaps playoffs) tilting pro-Brand.

But I don't want to get too into arguing "for" or "against" a guy, I got my answer (he would be on the long list list you just chose not to mention) thanks for taking the time to respond.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#13 » by HeartBreakKid » Sat May 1, 2021 11:06 pm

Hm...might consider Brand or Hagen for my 3rd place vote.

prolific passer wrote:I'm just gonna throw a name out there. Cliff Hagan.

Not a bad name to throw out. Actually, I'm not sure if Hawkins has a great argument over him.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#14 » by Doctor MJ » Sat May 1, 2021 11:42 pm

HeartBreakKid wrote:
prolific passer wrote:I'm just gonna throw a name out there. Cliff Hagan.

Not a bad name to throw out. Actually, I'm not sure if Hawkins has a great argument over him.


Not sure what you're looking for in an argument, but feel free to put a question forward.

If what we're talking about is a situation where it's agreed that Hawkins was better at peak but Hagan was better longer and we just differ in one we're each more impressed by, that's fine. I will point out as I'm known to do that the based on stats, the career gap in production may not be as great as folks think.

Career Win Shares: Hagan 85.3, Hawkins 76.7. (And I think that the lack of data from the day causes an underrating of Hawkins as well.)

If you're honestly on the fence about who the better player was though, and I kinda feel like that may be the case, then I could see just having more confidence about the man who did it longer.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#15 » by Cavsfansince84 » Sun May 2, 2021 12:07 am

92. 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

93. 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).

94. Dennis Johnson
-3x champ, 1x fmvp
-1x all nba 1st team, 1x all nba 2nd team
-6x all def 1st team, 3x all def 2nd team
-2x top 8 in mvp voting(high of 5th)
-I do like that everywhere he played(including Phx) his teams had a lot of success. He seems like a guy who can be plugged in anywhere from a #2-4 role and be very effective.

95. Lucas
96. Cheeks
97. Mullin
98. Porter
99. Melo
100. Butler

others: Jokic>Dumars>Griffin>Webber>King>Hagan>Green>George>Brand>Williams>Walker>>Bellamy>Walton>Hawkins
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#16 » by Owly » Sun May 2, 2021 8:35 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
HeartBreakKid wrote:
prolific passer wrote:I'm just gonna throw a name out there. Cliff Hagan.

Not a bad name to throw out. Actually, I'm not sure if Hawkins has a great argument over him.


Not sure what you're looking for in an argument, but feel free to put a question forward.

If what we're talking about is a situation where it's agreed that Hawkins was better at peak but Hagan was better longer and we just differ in one we're each more impressed by, that's fine. I will point out as I'm known to do that the based on stats, the career gap in production may not be as great as folks think.

Career Win Shares: Hagan 85.3, Hawkins 76.7. (And I think that the lack of data from the day causes an underrating of Hawkins as well.)

If you're honestly on the fence about who the better player was though, and I kinda feel like that may be the case, then I could see just having more confidence about the man who did it longer.

Hagan in this comp can nudge forward an "early ABA numbers are soft" argument, highlighted by his own 22.7 PER, .209 WS/48 in the ABA in the seasons Hawkins played, which he did after a year out of the game and at the age of 36 and 37, albeit in non-full time minutes.

Re longevity gap, Hawkins gets a marginal advantage playing the 82 game schedule his full career versus Hagan's early (and many of his best) years at 72 or 75
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#17 » by trex_8063 » Sun May 2, 2021 2:19 pm

Thru post #16:

Carmelo Anthony - 1 (trex_8063)
Bill Walton - 1 (HeartBreakKid)
Nikola Jokic - 1 (Dutchball97)
Dennis Johnson - 1 (Hal14)
Dave DeBusschere - 1 (Cavsfansince84)
Connie Hawkins - 1 (Doctor MJ)


About 24 hours or just under left for this one.

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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#18 » by Doctor MJ » Sun May 2, 2021 6:39 pm

Owly wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
HeartBreakKid wrote:
Not a bad name to throw out. Actually, I'm not sure if Hawkins has a great argument over him.


Not sure what you're looking for in an argument, but feel free to put a question forward.

If what we're talking about is a situation where it's agreed that Hawkins was better at peak but Hagan was better longer and we just differ in one we're each more impressed by, that's fine. I will point out as I'm known to do that the based on stats, the career gap in production may not be as great as folks think.

Career Win Shares: Hagan 85.3, Hawkins 76.7. (And I think that the lack of data from the day causes an underrating of Hawkins as well.)

If you're honestly on the fence about who the better player was though, and I kinda feel like that may be the case, then I could see just having more confidence about the man who did it longer.

Hagan in this comp can nudge forward an "early ABA numbers are soft" argument, highlighted by his own 22.7 PER, .209 WS/48 in the ABA in the seasons Hawkins played, which he did after a year out of the game and at the age of 36 and 37, albeit in non-full time minutes.

Re longevity gap, Hawkins gets a marginal advantage playing the 82 game schedule his full career versus Hagan's early (and many of his best) years at 72 or 75


Well I'd note that that way of looking at things actually knocks both players, and that an alternative view might lead you to appreciate Hagan - and even Hawkins - more.

Here's something to chew on. You might know of the stat TS Add that bkref has added. It basically estimates how many extra points you're creating taking the shots you are as opposed to an expected level. There's more to scoring ability certainly, but as a baseline, it's great lens.

So, here are the top 5 players in the ABA by TS Add in the first year of the ABA:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/ABA_1968_adj_shooting.html

1. Connie Hawkins (Pittsburgh) +359.4
2. Charles Beasley (Dallas) +165.4
3. John Beasley (Dallas) +158.1
4. Cincinnatus Powell (Dallas) +148.2
5. Cliff Hagan (Dallas) +137.3

I'm guess you see the pattern. The Dallas Chaps' offense most definitely seems to be be the best offensive system in the ABA that year, and while that might mean that Hagan is merely a "system player" here, there's also the matter that he was player-coach and known for being a loud, controlling coach. This wasn't just 5 guys out there with the ball the way it was for the Pittsburgh Pipers.

Incidentally, unsurprisingly these were the two best offenses by ORtg that year.

More surprising? Perhaps the fact that Hawkins' Pipers had the #1 rating over Dallas despite the fact that Hawk was only the 3rd most prolific shooter on his team, and the 1st & 2nd guys had negative TS Adds.

I'd say with Dallas what you had is probably more capable coaching than the rest of the ABA early on - due to Hagan - but in the end the talent of Hawkins was so overwhelming that even when forced to carry the equivalent of handicapping weights, his team topped all.

One other note:

I think it's important to remember that Hagan got moved into more of a 6th man role as the St. Louis Hawks focused their first unit away from the previous Pettit-Hagan core to something more like a Pettit-Wilkens-Zelmo core, and those are good players. So a) while it certainly makes Pettit look more impressive than Hagan, I don't think it makes Hagan look awful, and b) I definitely don't think it should be taken as a given that Hagan was given as much primacy as he should have been.
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.
Owly
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#19 » by Owly » Sun May 2, 2021 7:27 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Owly wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Not sure what you're looking for in an argument, but feel free to put a question forward.

If what we're talking about is a situation where it's agreed that Hawkins was better at peak but Hagan was better longer and we just differ in one we're each more impressed by, that's fine. I will point out as I'm known to do that the based on stats, the career gap in production may not be as great as folks think.

Career Win Shares: Hagan 85.3, Hawkins 76.7. (And I think that the lack of data from the day causes an underrating of Hawkins as well.)

If you're honestly on the fence about who the better player was though, and I kinda feel like that may be the case, then I could see just having more confidence about the man who did it longer.

Hagan in this comp can nudge forward an "early ABA numbers are soft" argument, highlighted by his own 22.7 PER, .209 WS/48 in the ABA in the seasons Hawkins played, which he did after a year out of the game and at the age of 36 and 37, albeit in non-full time minutes.

Re longevity gap, Hawkins gets a marginal advantage playing the 82 game schedule his full career versus Hagan's early (and many of his best) years at 72 or 75


Well I'd note that that way of looking at things actually knocks both players, and that an alternative view might lead you to appreciate Hagan - and even Hawkins - more.

Here's something to chew on. You might know of the stat TS Add that bkref has added. It basically estimates how many extra points you're creating taking the shots you are as opposed to an expected level. There's more to scoring ability certainly, but as a baseline, it's great lens.

So, here are the top 5 players in the ABA by TS Add in the first year of the ABA:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/ABA_1968_adj_shooting.html

1. Connie Hawkins (Pittsburgh) +359.4
2. Charles Beasley (Dallas) +165.4
3. John Beasley (Dallas) +158.1
4. Cincinnatus Powell (Dallas) +148.2
5. Cliff Hagan (Dallas) +137.3

I'm guess you see the pattern. The Dallas Chaps' offense most definitely seems to be be the best offensive system in the ABA that year, and while that might mean that Hagan is merely a "system player" here, there's also the matter that he was player-coach and known for being a loud, controlling coach. This wasn't just 5 guys out there with the ball the way it was for the Pittsburgh Pipers.

Incidentally, unsurprisingly these were the two best offenses by ORtg that year.

More surprising? Perhaps the fact that Hawkins' Pipers had the #1 rating over Dallas despite the fact that Hawk was only the 3rd most prolific shooter on his team, and the 1st & 2nd guys had negative TS Adds.

I'd say with Dallas what you had is probably more capable coaching than the rest of the ABA early on - due to Hagan - but in the end the talent of Hawkins was so overwhelming that even when forced to carry the equivalent of handicapping weights, his team topped all.

One other note:

I think it's important to remember that Hagan got moved into more of a 6th man role as the St. Louis Hawks focused their first unit away from the previous Pettit-Hagan core to something more like a Pettit-Wilkens-Zelmo core, and those are good players. So a) while it certainly makes Pettit look more impressive than Hagan, I don't think it makes Hagan look awful, and b) I definitely don't think it should be taken as a given that Hagan was given as much primacy as he should have been.

Some interesting stuff.

Re the first para: I don't think many put much stock in Hagan's ABA run, if they're even aware of it. Hawkins conversely has his clear cut apex in the early ABA, if one buys that Hagan is highlighting how poor that league is (and Hagan was slightly below league average in the Reference box-composite metrics by the final year and sliding, then takes a year out) then you may cut the legs out of what might appear an exceptional peak and are left with a (to whatever degree) diminished perception of the ABA version and then 3, what, very good NBA years and then nothing needle moving. The quality of the early ABA (which he dominated) looms larger in the Hawk's evaluation than any other player, I would suggest.
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Re: RealGM 2020 Top 100 Project: #92 

Post#20 » by Doctor MJ » Sun May 2, 2021 7:40 pm

Owly wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Owly wrote:Hagan in this comp can nudge forward an "early ABA numbers are soft" argument, highlighted by his own 22.7 PER, .209 WS/48 in the ABA in the seasons Hawkins played, which he did after a year out of the game and at the age of 36 and 37, albeit in non-full time minutes.

Re longevity gap, Hawkins gets a marginal advantage playing the 82 game schedule his full career versus Hagan's early (and many of his best) years at 72 or 75


Well I'd note that that way of looking at things actually knocks both players, and that an alternative view might lead you to appreciate Hagan - and even Hawkins - more.

Here's something to chew on. You might know of the stat TS Add that bkref has added. It basically estimates how many extra points you're creating taking the shots you are as opposed to an expected level. There's more to scoring ability certainly, but as a baseline, it's great lens.

So, here are the top 5 players in the ABA by TS Add in the first year of the ABA:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/ABA_1968_adj_shooting.html

1. Connie Hawkins (Pittsburgh) +359.4
2. Charles Beasley (Dallas) +165.4
3. John Beasley (Dallas) +158.1
4. Cincinnatus Powell (Dallas) +148.2
5. Cliff Hagan (Dallas) +137.3

I'm guess you see the pattern. The Dallas Chaps' offense most definitely seems to be be the best offensive system in the ABA that year, and while that might mean that Hagan is merely a "system player" here, there's also the matter that he was player-coach and known for being a loud, controlling coach. This wasn't just 5 guys out there with the ball the way it was for the Pittsburgh Pipers.

Incidentally, unsurprisingly these were the two best offenses by ORtg that year.

More surprising? Perhaps the fact that Hawkins' Pipers had the #1 rating over Dallas despite the fact that Hawk was only the 3rd most prolific shooter on his team, and the 1st & 2nd guys had negative TS Adds.

I'd say with Dallas what you had is probably more capable coaching than the rest of the ABA early on - due to Hagan - but in the end the talent of Hawkins was so overwhelming that even when forced to carry the equivalent of handicapping weights, his team topped all.

One other note:

I think it's important to remember that Hagan got moved into more of a 6th man role as the St. Louis Hawks focused their first unit away from the previous Pettit-Hagan core to something more like a Pettit-Wilkens-Zelmo core, and those are good players. So a) while it certainly makes Pettit look more impressive than Hagan, I don't think it makes Hagan look awful, and b) I definitely don't think it should be taken as a given that Hagan was given as much primacy as he should have been.

Some interesting stuff.

Re the first para: I don't think many put much stock in Hagan's ABA run, if they're even aware of it. Hawkins conversely has his clear cut apex in the early ABA, if one buys that Hagan is highlighting how poor that league is (and Hagan was slightly below league average in the Reference box-composite metrics by the final year and sliding, then takes a year out) then you may cut the legs out of what might appear an exceptional peak and are left with a (to whatever degree) diminished perception of the ABA version and then 3, what, very good NBA years and then nothing needle moving. The quality of the early ABA (which he dominated) looms larger in the Hawk's evaluation than any other player, I would suggest.


I do understand what you're saying here, and this was what I was trying to address with my post.

I think it's important to understand that Hagan wasn't just able to show up in the ABA and become an MVP candidate. After being relegated to 6th man in the NBA, he got to be player-coach controlling his own team, and the result was an offensive system that produced unusually good offensive efficiency for all the core shooters on the team.

I don't mean to imply that Hagan didn't have some outstanding scoring games in the ABA, but if you look at Hagan's game-by-game data in the NBA, you'll see that every year he was producing 30+ point scoring games. I think the role he was asked to play in St. Louis toward the end made Hagan look like he had degraded further from prime than he actually had, and I think what we end up seeing in the ABA is that he was in the process of seeing his body crumble as old vets often crumble: They have good days and bad, and once the injuries start acting up, that can be that.

And I understand that the concerns of the quality of the 1st year ABA are on your mind and understandably so, but I just showed you a stat indicating that Hawkins was a country mile ahead of anyone else in the league. So if anyone is under the impression that "Hawkins had good numbers, but so did everyone in the ABA", I think they need to realize that Hawkins was in a completely different category from everyone else.
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.

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