Where would Jerry West rank today?

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Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#1 » by rand » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:01 pm

If Jerry West in his prime had a full offseason to train his 3pt shot and learn the nuances of the modern game, where would he rank in the NBA this season?
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#2 » by 70sFan » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:48 pm

Certainly top 5, would fight with Curry for the best guard spot.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#3 » by penbeast0 » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:54 pm

If he's healthy and adapts to the 3 ball the way he adapted to his environment in the 60s, he's a monster. He was both one of the two highest scoring and two highest efficiency non centers to play in his era (Oscar being the other), had arguably the best range on his jumper in the league, a good but not great playmaker, and a very good and disruptive defender. He had health issues with his fearless drives to the basket and that could keep him from being a top 5 player but assuming equivalent adaption to his era, a healthy West is a true superstar.

That said, I don't think one offseason is enough to develop a modern NBA 3 point shot. I think you need to train maybe 3 years or preferably, from an early age. West starts with the advantage of a great long 2 ball though so maybe it's possible.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#4 » by Max123 » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:56 pm

rand wrote:If Jerry West in his prime had a full offseason to train his 3pt shot and learn the nuances of the modern game, where would he rank in the NBA this season?

Aren’t there way too many factors that influence this time translation of West into the modern game to say anything decisive on how he’d play like and even less so about how valuable it would be? What are the parameters we should use to evaluate this question?


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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#5 » by No-more-rings » Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:18 pm

Well i’ll just say I don’t think anyone would be clearly better, although I’d probably favor Jokic and Giannis over him. Probably slightly better than Curry because of defense.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#6 » by eminence » Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:45 pm

Top 5 is likely. Think I’d have him a hair behind the current top 3 (Curry/Giannis/Jokic). Rich mans Mitchell as my playstyle comp.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#7 » by ty 4191 » Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:57 pm

70sFan wrote:Certainly top 5, would fight with Curry for the best guard spot.


I agree!!

From your game film studies, what's your assessment of his skill set and player tendencies?
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#8 » by 70sFan » Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:53 pm

ty 4191 wrote:
70sFan wrote:Certainly top 5, would fight with Curry for the best guard spot.


I agree!!

From your game film studies, what's your assessment of his skill set and player tendencies?

Some quick points:

1. West's help defense is among the best ever at guard position. Not only he was long and athletic, but his ability to read action on the fly are basically unmatched. I've seen him many times anticipating off-ball move or pass way before the execution.

2. West athleticism is very underrated. He could jump relatively high from standstill position, but it's his quickness and ability to decelerate that are the most impressive. Despite horrible shoes, bad state of floors and very restricted traveling/ball-handling rules, West executed modern moves fluently. His signature pull-up jumpshot is also extremely impressive, very few players could pull up quicker than West.

3. West's shooting technique is quite interesting. He didn't have the modern form, but I don't think it reduced his effectiveness at all. You should pay attention to how West angled his body during pull-up jumpshots to either side, which always put him exactly in front of the basket, even while fading away.

4. West's ball-handling ability was his weakness at the beginning of his career. By his own words, he worked hard to improve it and by the time he reached prime, he was capable of driving to either side without any problems. His handles weren't fancy or too advanced, but they allowed him to get to the spot he wanted comfortably.

5. People often view West as some kind of Curry-esque shooter, but that wasn't his style. He was mostly a slasher, a very crafty one. He had all the finishing moves in his repertoire - finger rolls, floaters, agressive finishes, reverse layups and hook shots. He also drew a ton of fouls, which should suggest you that he wasn't only a stereotypical white shooter (I hate this stereotype by the way...).

If you have any other questions, please let me know! Just keep in mind that I haven't tracked West's shooting data yet - I'm working on the top centers for now.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#9 » by ty 4191 » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:03 pm

70sFan wrote:
ty 4191 wrote:
70sFan wrote:Certainly top 5, would fight with Curry for the best guard spot.


I agree!!

From your game film studies, what's your assessment of his skill set and player tendencies?

Some quick points:

1. West's help defense is among the best ever at guard position. Not only he was long and athletic, but his ability to read action on the fly are basically unmatched. I've seen him many times anticipating off-ball move or pass way before the execution.

2. West athleticism is very underrated. He could jump relatively high from standstill position, but it's his quickness and ability to decelerate that are the most impressive. Despite horrible shoes, bad state of floors and very restricted traveling/ball-handling rules, West executed modern moves fluently. His signature pull-up jumpshot is also extremely impressive, very few players could pull up quicker than West.

3. West's shooting technique is quite interesting. He didn't have the modern form, but I don't think it reduced his effectiveness at all. You should pay attention to how West angled his body during pull-up jumpshots to either side, which always put him exactly in front of the basket, even while fading away.

4. West's ball-handling ability was his weakness at the beginning of his career. By his own words, he worked hard to improve it and by the time he reached prime, he was capable of driving to either side without any problems. His handles weren't fancy or too advanced, but they allowed him to get to the spot he wanted comfortably.

5. People often view West as some kind of Curry-esque shooter, but that wasn't his style. He was mostly a slasher, a very crafty one. He had all the finishing moves in his repertoire - finger rolls, floaters, agressive finishes, reverse layups and hook shots. He also drew a ton of fouls, which should suggest you that he wasn't only a stereotypical white shooter (I hate this stereotype by the way...).

If you have any other questions, please let me know! Just keep in mind that I haven't tracked West's shooting data yet - I'm working on the top centers for now.


Amazing post!! Best I've seen in a long time here. This is Sansterre/Penbeast/Doctor MJ level stuff!! :D

Thank you!!

Any particular games on your channel- or elsewhere- that I should watch, in particular?
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#10 » by 70sFan » Sat Nov 20, 2021 8:46 pm

ty 4191 wrote:
70sFan wrote:
ty 4191 wrote:
I agree!!

From your game film studies, what's your assessment of his skill set and player tendencies?

Some quick points:

1. West's help defense is among the best ever at guard position. Not only he was long and athletic, but his ability to read action on the fly are basically unmatched. I've seen him many times anticipating off-ball move or pass way before the execution.

2. West athleticism is very underrated. He could jump relatively high from standstill position, but it's his quickness and ability to decelerate that are the most impressive. Despite horrible shoes, bad state of floors and very restricted traveling/ball-handling rules, West executed modern moves fluently. His signature pull-up jumpshot is also extremely impressive, very few players could pull up quicker than West.

3. West's shooting technique is quite interesting. He didn't have the modern form, but I don't think it reduced his effectiveness at all. You should pay attention to how West angled his body during pull-up jumpshots to either side, which always put him exactly in front of the basket, even while fading away.

4. West's ball-handling ability was his weakness at the beginning of his career. By his own words, he worked hard to improve it and by the time he reached prime, he was capable of driving to either side without any problems. His handles weren't fancy or too advanced, but they allowed him to get to the spot he wanted comfortably.

5. People often view West as some kind of Curry-esque shooter, but that wasn't his style. He was mostly a slasher, a very crafty one. He had all the finishing moves in his repertoire - finger rolls, floaters, agressive finishes, reverse layups and hook shots. He also drew a ton of fouls, which should suggest you that he wasn't only a stereotypical white shooter (I hate this stereotype by the way...).

If you have any other questions, please let me know! Just keep in mind that I haven't tracked West's shooting data yet - I'm working on the top centers for now.


Amazing post!! Best I've seen in a long time here. This is Sansterre/Penbeast/Doctor MJ level stuff!! :D

Thank you!!

Any particular games on your channel- or elsewhere- that I should watch, in particular?

Thank you, although I wouldn't go that far. There are far better posters than me active on this board :wink:

I would recommand watching 1972 Lakers vs Hawks game for West defensive effort. Any of his game against the Bucks in 1972 playoffs as well. For offense, he looks great in 1970 playoffs footage that I gathered this year.

If you don't have the access for them, I'll post something in this thread.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#11 » by ty 4191 » Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:39 pm

70sFan wrote:Thank you, although I wouldn't go that far. There are far better posters than me active on this board :wink:

I would recommand watching 1972 Lakers vs Hawks game for West defensive effort. Any of his game against the Bucks in 1972 playoffs as well. For offense, he looks great in 1970 playoffs footage that I gathered this year.

If you don't have the access for them, I'll post something in this thread.


I don't have access. Thank you in advance, Brother. :D
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#12 » by 70sFan » Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:54 pm

ty 4191 wrote:
70sFan wrote:Thank you, although I wouldn't go that far. There are far better posters than me active on this board :wink:

I would recommand watching 1972 Lakers vs Hawks game for West defensive effort. Any of his game against the Bucks in 1972 playoffs as well. For offense, he looks great in 1970 playoffs footage that I gathered this year.

If you don't have the access for them, I'll post something in this thread.


I don't have access. Thank you in advance, Brother. :D

Here's the first one I mentioned:

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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#13 » by LukaTheGOAT » Sun Nov 21, 2021 2:42 am

I could see current Jokic and Giannis if he can play how he did toward the latter half of the last PS.

However, I think besides those exceptions, West might be the best player in the world.

In terms of his scoring peak

Jerry West in the PS (64-66)

Inflation Adjusted Points Per 75 of 29.6 pts, rTS% of 7.3%

Jerry West in the PS (66-68)

Inflation Adjusted Points Per 75 of 28.4 pts, rTS% of 8.3%

When you consider the era, West's scoring is an outlier. The inflation adjusted numbers look great even today, but the only one who really scored like this pre-modern NBA is Kareem. When you consider that he looks like such an outlier as a scorer in his era, I think the value of a guy who can score like this is only amplified.

West played in probably the worst possible era for him, where there was no 3 point line, and there was a lack of overall spacing. Bigs didn't have to respect the value of the jumper as much, and could concede jumpers more without as much fear. Finishing at the rim was more difficult, and ball-handling was more restrictive. It was harder to draw fouls, less ideal methods for optimizing stars.

The two 3-year scoring stretches I mentioned above, rated out as a 3.0 in ScoreVal (an estimate of a player’s points per 100 impact from scoring only), which is ranks #3rd (not double counting player stretches). He and Kareem are the only 2 players with a 3.0 ScoreVal for more than 1 3-year stretch.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#14 » by feyki » Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:09 am

Wouldn't be as good as Curry, but would be close to him. Top 5, at least.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#15 » by jalengreen » Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:45 am

I don't think one full offseason is nearly enough to train his 3PT shot or adapt to a very different game. But that seems like an unfair condition anyway and that unfairness was probably unintended, so ignoring that and assuming he receives a normal development in that sense, I think he'd be top 5ish. I'd take Jokic and Giannis over him and I'm not sure if I believe his offensive impact would be close enough to Curry's to offset the defensive difference. I mean the hypothetical of developing a 3PT shot is weird in general because how are you supposed to know how good of a 3PT shooter he'd be able to become?
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#16 » by penbeast0 » Mon Nov 22, 2021 6:28 pm

70sFan wrote:
ty 4191 wrote:
70sFan wrote:Certainly top 5, would fight with Curry for the best guard spot.


I agree!!

From your game film studies, what's your assessment of his skill set and player tendencies?

Some quick points:

1. West's help defense is among the best ever at guard position. Not only he was long and athletic, but his ability to read action on the fly are basically unmatched. I've seen him many times anticipating off-ball move or pass way before the execution.

2. West athleticism is very underrated. He could jump relatively high from standstill position, but it's his quickness and ability to decelerate that are the most impressive. Despite horrible shoes, bad state of floors and very restricted traveling/ball-handling rules, West executed modern moves fluently. His signature pull-up jumpshot is also extremely impressive, very few players could pull up quicker than West.

3. West's shooting technique is quite interesting. He didn't have the modern form, but I don't think it reduced his effectiveness at all. You should pay attention to how West angled his body during pull-up jumpshots to either side, which always put him exactly in front of the basket, even while fading away.

4. West's ball-handling ability was his weakness at the beginning of his career. By his own words, he worked hard to improve it and by the time he reached prime, he was capable of driving to either side without any problems. His handles weren't fancy or too advanced, but they allowed him to get to the spot he wanted comfortably.

5. People often view West as some kind of Curry-esque shooter, but that wasn't his style. He was mostly a slasher, a very crafty one. He had all the finishing moves in his repertoire - finger rolls, floaters, agressive finishes, reverse layups and hook shots. He also drew a ton of fouls, which should suggest you that he wasn't only a stereotypical white shooter (I hate this stereotype by the way...).

If you have any other questions, please let me know! Just keep in mind that I haven't tracked West's shooting data yet - I'm working on the top centers for now.


Never thought of him as Curry type; injury prone James Harden with less rebounding but much better defense. He did have excellent range and used the threat of it to make defenders commit for his drives.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#17 » by rrravenred » Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:13 pm

Think he might struggle to break down defenses with his handles (which is a product of era, and would probably take a lot more time to develop than just extending his shooting range).

Having said that, great first step and athleticism would mean you can't play him too tight on the perimeter, and his defensive prowess, passing and BBIQ would make him a solid offensive hub (although his kickout and crosscourt passing to properly utilise the 3 would be a work in progress).

Can see Top 5 if everything goes right, but would expect Top 10 as a floor unless there are serious translation issues.

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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#18 » by RCM88x » Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:55 pm

DWade with a worse first step and more range on his jumper.

I think top 5 for sure and possibly even top 3 with Curry and Jokic.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#19 » by trex_8063 » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:39 am

RCM88x wrote:DWade with a worse first step and more range on his jumper.

I think top 5 for sure and possibly even top 3 with Curry and Jokic.


Not as explosively athletic as Wade. But otoh, has marginally BETTER length, I think.
And yeah: notably better shooter.
Wade is a pretty good starting point, in terms of a modern/recent comp.


My 2c:
I'm sort of doubtful about West being better than current Giannis, Jokic, or Curry. While I'm skeptical he can maintain this start he's had to the season, it must be said that Jimmy Butler has been friggin' phenomenal. If this actually is the new reality for Butler [if he actually has "made the leap" into legit MVP-tier superstardom], then I'm not sure West is better than him either.

Durant is another one I'm not sure about.

Beyond that, I'm not sure anyone else in the league presently would be better than West.
Lebron is maybe a question mark [we've barely seen him this year], but I doubt it; it took awhile, but I think age is finally claiming The King.
Embiid's start to this year is just a little underwhelming, and his health is always too much in question.
I simply don't think Anthony Davis or Damian Lillard are quite as good as West [especially with the way things are going for Dame so far], though I could be wrong (obviously we're ALL just speculating here).
Doncic looks like he's struggling a bit early, too, though he'd be another one to consider.

I don't think there's anyone else even worth considering.....
Harden just seems like he's slipped too far.
DeMar DeRozan is having a career year so far, but defense will place him decidedly behind a prime West.
Gobert's a defensive monster [and probably under-appreciated for how he contributes to the Jazz 3pt scramble], but I'd simply rather have West's dynamic two-way impact and clutch play when playoff time rolls around.

So......probably somewhere in the 4-7 range, imo.
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Re: Where would Jerry West rank today? 

Post#20 » by ceiling raiser » Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:37 am

Top 5, in theory. I think Curry is better, though. Giannis at his best might be as well, but I'm less sure. Jokic and KD I can see to a lesser degree, but I go with West.

Elephant in the room - there is an off-chance his athleticism doesn't translate to the modern way.

By this I mean, while he was very athletic and long for his era, with guys from the mid 50s to early 70s, there is always a sliver of doubt in the back of my mind about whether the top guys were just that more gifted than the rank-and-file and stood out that much more. It is not a massive chance, but even if it's say a 5% chance, it does exist. For the record, I feel the same about Russell. I also feel the same way, to a much greater degree, about Wilt (he's probably closer to 50/50, in my mind), and definitely Pettit. Oscar, really hard to tell. He wasn't super athletic for his era, but I think his size is less of an asset in the more modern league. That said, given the offenses he led, I think he's great in any era. So maybe he's closer to Russell/West.
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