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Friday, October 31, 2014

2009 Report Card: Chris Duhon

When the Knicks signed Chris Duhon for 2 years at $5M per year, more than one analyst accused the team of overpaying in free agency yet again. However looking at Duhon’s production over the year it’s hard to argue with the signing. The former Bull ran the offense (7.0 ast/36), shot efficiently (56.9% ts%), hit nearly 40 percent from downtown (39% 3p%), and played above average defense. Oh and he set the franchise record for assists in a game with 22.

But Duhon’s season wasn’t all positive. He still is a meager scorer (10.9 pts/36) who is limited when driving to the hoop. Occasionally the Knick point guard ventures into the paint, and passes up a wide open look in lieu of delivering the ball to a teammate on the perimeter. And while Duhon and Lee make a great pick & roll tandem, as the season wore on Duhon’s scoring deficiencies allowed other teams to focus on Lee and better defend the strategy. This year, Duhon’s turnovers per minute peaked at 2.8 to/36, mainly due to his scoring woes. Teams looked to stop the pass more when he had the ball.

When looking back on the 2009 season, Duhon will be remembered for transitioning from Stephon Marbury’s noxious hold on the team to D’Antoni’s ball-sharing paced offense. Duhon was the anti-Marbury: quiet, stable, defensively able, inept finishing around the hoop, unselfish with the ball. All in all, Duhon’s effect on the team was a positive one, but his deficiencies make him more suited for a reserve role than a starter playing upwards of 36 minutes. The team has more pressing needs this summer (namely center and shooting guard), but finding their point guard of the future would be a wise investment as well.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 2
Defense: 4
Teamwork: 5
Rootability: 4
Performance/Expectations: 5

Final Grade: B+

83 comments on “2009 Report Card: Chris Duhon

  1. Ray

    Duhon did a fantastic job early to mid year. Then he started breaking down. Coach gave him too many minutes and then there was no suitable back up for him and towards the end of the year he never was the same. It definitely was not a bad signing but we have to look for ways to get him some rest and some help.

  2. Caleb

    This was such a signature move for ’08-09, it’s strange to think that the odds of Duhon staying in New York beyond next summer are probably less than 50-50…

    But he was definitely quietly efficient.

    I would be interested to see a close-up analysis of his defense – in Chicago, I always had the impression that he was very good… and he works hard, going through screens, not giving up on plays, etc… but I’ve talked to a lot of people who don’t think he’s more than average, at best.

  3. Ray

    Word on the streets is that Curry might be gone by 8. Do we gamble on Holiday or do we go for Lawson? Willl Donnie be able to get us a mid 1st rounder so that maybe we could snag a big man. We also have no pick for next year so can Donnie fix that situation. Lots of questions to be answered. Draft time drives me crazy.

  4. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Picking Lawson at #8 would be a mistake, if you ask me. If you’re suggesting, Ray, that the Knicks trade down (and perhaps send Muffins along with the pick) to get Lawson in the mid-teens and clear up some cap space, I am all for it.

  5. Z

    Great to see the report card back! Last offseason was especially long without it!

    I Agree on all counts on Duhon. (And finally, a metric to measure “rootability”).

    Off topic, I see over there ——————————–>
    that the “Shaq to Cavs talk is heating up”.

    Since everything the Cavs do affects us more than anything the Knicks do, does anyone think that is a good idea? They considered the move at the deadline this year but balked, presumably thinking they were good enough to win it all without him.

    Now Shaq is another year slower, along with the rest of the Cavs team.

    Anyone think that if the Cavs had pulled the trigger on Shaq in February they would have beaten the Magic? Anyone think it would help their chances next year?

  6. d-mar

    Good analysis of Duhon, Mike, I think I’d probably lean more towards a low B. Part of the reason for his increasing ineffectiveness over the course of the season (besides being a horrendous finisher around the basket) was that opposing coaches would not allow the Lee pick and roll, which was such a weapon earlier in the season. They realized that Duhon was not an offensive threat and took away Lee’s cuts to the basket.

    I agree that Curry will probably be gone by #8, and I wouldn’t take Lawson with that high a pick.

  7. BigBlueAL

    I would like to disagree with you Mike on Duhon’s Defense. I was pleasantly surprised by Duhon’s offense, particularly his ability to drive to the hoop. I agree totally about his 2nd half offensive collapse which was well documented.

    BUT I was very, very disappointed with Duhon’s D throughout the season. I guess because I thought his D was going to be his strong point when he came here and his offense early on was his best asset instead. I mean the Knicks struggled so badly in covering PG’s and keeping them out of the lane that they reverted to putting Jeffries and even Chandler in covering opposing PG’s because they were all lighting up Duhon. Now his off-the-ball D and help D was very good I will admit, and he does have active hands deflecting many balls and always showed the willingness to play D which is always a plus. But his inability to cover opposing PG’s was a HUGE negative throughout the season.

    I guess all Im saying instead of giving him a 4 on D I wouldve given him a 3 instead, so in the end really not that big a deal.

  8. Thomas B.

    For those of you wondering what rootability is…

    “Rootability indicates that the volumes containing the root file system and the system swap area are under VxVM control. Without rootability, VxVM is usually started after the operating system kernel has passed control to the initial user mode process at boot time.”
    -hp.com

    In conclusion, Duhon helps the operating system but he can’t finish around the basket.

    I suprised you didn’t compare his fg% in the paint to other Knick guards and other starting points. We have talked about Duhon’s ability to finish as being a problem most of the season. I’m not sure if that is something he can learn to do at this stage in his career. How does one learn to do that?

    There is something to be said about his hesitancy in the paint. If he would truly commit to the drive he might draw more shooting fouls. Defensive players do ease off him as they know he is looking to pass first. But if he would look to finish and show an improvement in his ability to finish, he might draw more fouls. I think two from the line is better than finding Nate or Gallinari camped out at the 3p line.

  9. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Perhaps my defensive grading is loose from watching 10 years of Knick guards that didn’t play any. I agree that he was poor at keeping quicker guards out of the paint, but he was generally good all around. And it seems these days not many guards can prevent the quickest from getting into the lane. If any…

    I could see him getting a 3 on defense, although I’d still give him a 4.

  10. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Overall I decided to factor in the expectation of the player into the fold. Otherwise it’d be pointless in doing grades, since few players would see anything over a C. Since very little was expected of Duhon, I think his grade was warranted.

  11. Ted Nelson

    I think the lack of inside help made Duhon look worse defensively than he is. As Mike says no one can keep the quickest PGs out of the paint, especially with the NBA’s current rules. Duhon might still lag behind a Rajon Rondo-type Grade=5 defensive PG in keeping his man in check, but I think a 4 is fair. Defensively you’ve got to guide your man towards the help, and when there’s no help there (slow to rotate or just ineffective) there’s not much you can do.

    Great analysis overall. 2 might be a bit harsh on his offense…

  12. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    One thing I was thinking of was Mark Jackson during the Finals. And I know I rip on him often enough, but he had one thing correct that he pointed out frequently. It’s a guard’s job to get up on his man on the perimeter, and trust in the help defense behind him if he gets burnt. Now great defenders won’t get beat as often, and the main part of defense is staying in front of your guy. But if you have a good defense behind you, you’ll look so much better.

  13. Ted Nelson

    Did he really have to put on the “X” hat???????? Before this I thought he was doing a great job of being humble… what a jerk-off. Real tough to coach MJ, Pippen, Shaq, Kobe, and Pau…

  14. Z

    Any of the Kobe haters that said Kobe couldn’t win a title as the #1 option care to offer apologies?

    Didn’t think so.

  15. Ray

    Was looking at some video and I think a lot of people are sleeping on Jeff Teague. All the talk about him is different if he has a better performance in March Madness. This guy is super quick and can get to the rim and when focused he is a real threat. Why does it always seem we are stuck drafting around 8. Or a little too far to get what we need?

  16. Brian Cronin

    Did anyone seriously think that Kobe could not win a title once they were gifted Gasol?

    Even if you “hate” Kobe Bryant, the Lakers seemed to be the clear best shot at making the NBA Finals (and once you’re there, who knows?), right?

  17. Brian Cronin

    Great analysis of Duhon, by the way, Mike.

    Now it’s time to start worrying about rumors!!!

  18. Duff Soviet Union

    “Any of the Kobe haters that said Kobe couldn’t win a title as the #1 option care to offer apologies?”

    Um, no. Because I never said that. What I and many others have said, and will continue to say, is that he is not the best player in the NBA. This is not the same thing as saying he can’t win as a #1 guy. Seriously, Gasol, Odom, Bynum and Ariza is a freaking great “supporting cast” and there are a handful (not a lot, but a handful) of guys who could easily win a championship with those guys around them.

  19. Frank

    Z- I really can’t remember anyone saying that Kobe couldn’t win a title as the #1 guy. So no apologies. That doesn’t take away from the fact that except for he and Shaq being such babies, they probably would’ve won another 3 titles each and be challenging Jordan’s 6 total.

    On another note, interesting tidbit from hoopsworld today re: Turkoglu — the last sentence being the most interesting.

    “Hedo Will Have a Ceiling: Magic president Bob Vander Weide revealed earlier in the week that Finals fever had overtaken the DeVos family and that it was decided among ownership that if the team needed to pay Luxury Tax to keep the team intact that they would, namely hinting that the Tax not being a hindrance to re-signing Hedo Turkoglu. Magic sources however said last night that did not mean the Magic would spend “silly money” to keep Turk. The belief is that GM Otis Smith while having the green light to spend will not anchor the franchise to Turkoglu at any cost. The Magic still believe Turk’s market value is somewhere in the $6 to $7 million per year range and will go through the process with Turk this summer in getting him to a new deal.”

    I was quite surprised when I read that — I think that if Turkoglu is only worth 6-7MM, then perhaps David Lee is in the same category. I’m sure the 6-7MM is just the baseline starting point for negotiations from Orlando’s perspective, but I would’ve thought that Turkoglu was in the 9-10MM range… This may bode well for resigning Lee, and to a lesser extent, Nate for very reasonable $$. Unfortunately I still think Nate is gone this coming year. I wouldn’t mind a 1 year deal a la Ben Gordon 08-09 though. He’s the only reason my wife watches (and thus why I’m allowed to watch every game).

  20. Frank

    One more thing – I’ve been trying to figure this out but it’s hard with the new trade machine– what is the current state of our salary cap (not including any resigns of Lee or Nate but including draft pick salaries) post 2010? Are we pretty much stuck with 1 max FA or is it still possible to get 2?

  21. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I’ve been racking my brain on why people don’t like Kobe. For a while I thought it was the petulant star thing (whining about not being a top banana instead of appreciating his time with Shaq). Then I thought it was the highbrow stuff – speaks Italian, talks to Gasol in Spanish, forced his way onto the Lakers, etc. Then I thought it was the overachiever – nobody likes the A student in the class that does all their homework on time.

    While some of these may have contributed to his being hated from time to time (including the rape allegations in Denver), I don’t think any of these are the main cause. I think it’s ultimately the portion of fans that feel that somehow Kobe has been slighted and that his greatness hasn’t been recognized enough. That Kobe is one of the greatest players of all time and the rest of the world just can’t see it. This notion causes a knee-jerk reflex in the rest of the non-Kobe world to put him down.

    Kobe is a great player. No doubt. But he’s certainly not among the greatest of all time. Not when the shadow of Jordan looms over him and not when brightness of LeBron eclipses him. He’s like any other All Star in this league, he needs a great cast around him to succeed. That’s why LeBron hasn’t won a title yet. That’s why it took Garnett, Allen, and Pierce to be teamed together to do so. Swap Gasol and Lewis and the series might have gone 5 games the other way. Swap LeBron and Kobe, and King James would be wearing his first crown.

    Check out these comments from a Laker site:

    – “and kobe deserves mention as the best ever at his position”
    – “Kobe taking down Lebron AND Shaq in the finals next year. that would cement his legacy as a top 5 player ever.”

    I’ll say it again: Kobe is a great player. He’s a good scorer and defender. He’s what you would want from an All Star player. But he’s not in that first tier of Hall of Fame players. And he’s not the greatest at his position. Oddly enough it’s Kobe’s greatest fans, stumping for him to be among the greatest of all time, that contribute to others disliking him.

  22. Z

    “Z- I really can’t remember anyone saying that Kobe couldn’t win a title as the #1 guy”

    Oh. After about a two minute search I found these tidbits: (from the Kobe Like Mike thread last month)

    Elitethatsme:

    “Kobe Bryant = 3 Rings as the 2nd best player (by far) on his own team. Shaq was the reason L.A. won those championships. Kobe helped, but without Shaq… That team wins 0. As the best player on his team, Kobe has only accomplished one finals appearence. Something Lebron James has already done (at a much younger age, with a much much much MUCH worse team)…The Lakers will be steamrolled by the Cavs this year.”

    Upsilonking:

    “So how else do we tell players apart as better than rings?…best players play their best games when it counts the most…Kobe has never done that on the most important stage.”

    Okay fine– these guys aren’t regular posters (KB readers are smarter than most fans!), but like Mike indicated above, for every Kobe lover, there is an equal and opposite Kobe hater.

    Now that the nightmare scenario for Kobe haters has come true (winning a title without Shaq), I wonder how they will argue he’s still worse than Manu, Pierce, Ray Allen, or World B. Free…

  23. Owen

    “Any of the Kobe haters that said Kobe couldn’t win a title as the #1 option care to offer apologies?”

    Z – Was he really the first option? It’s very easy to make the argument that Gasol was the better player in the regular season. After all, he posted the highest offensive rating in the NBA this year. And it’s very easy to say he was the better player in the playoffs also, with an 18-11-62.2% ts% line and higher offensive and defensive ratings than Kobe. He also neutralized Dwight Howard in the Final.

    Gasol is in his prime right now. He is lucky to have Kobe, but Kobe is luckier to have him.

    (ritual application of kerosene to the fire)

    I will also add that I predicted a Lakers championship ten months ago, and it is making me really queasy now that it has happened…

    Probably the strangest thing about this Finals was how close it was, without turning out to be close at all. It very easily could be 3-2 for the Magic right now heading back to LA. Instead they are out.

  24. Ted Nelson

    Kobe does seem to bring out strong feelings one way or the other. I can buy Mike’s line of thinking. It’s like David Lee: everyone says he’s just another energy guy, so you feel compelled to defend him. You end up looking like you’re calling him Bill Russell just for trying to tell it how it is. Same with Kobe, but on the other side: people call him amongst the greatest of all-time, so you feel compelled to set them straight. You end up looking like a Kobe hater.

    A lot of things set players apart besides rings… I don’t hear much discussion about Derek Fisher or Mark Madsen being among the greatest ever to play the game. I don’t think Josh Powell feels vindicated for finally winning a title without Shaq (that’s a joke). Kobe Bryant is a brilliant scorer and defender, an amazing competitor and one of the best players in the league, but to ignore the fact that he played on the best team in the league would be stupid. He wins one and now all the announcers are talking about how much he’s matured, how about the fact that the team around him got so much better???

    Kobe also gets over-hyped because scoring is so overrated.

  25. mase

    wow!
    ed weiland has Calathes as the 3rd best PG in the draft!
    I wonder if you can steal him in the 2nd round.

    If i’m DW and Curry and Rubio are off the board, what do you do with DErozan?(i would have a hard time passing on him)

  26. Caleb

    If you line up DeRozan againstthe other lottery prospects, he ranks below average in scoring volume, efficiency, rebounding, passing, steals… everything. (You can find all the NCAA stats at draftexpress).

    You could argue that he was much improved the last month of the year . But if you’re looking at on-court production, rather than whether a guy looks like a basketball player, or what his rep was coming out of h.s…. IMO DeRozan is a big stretch for the lottery, much less #8. Not as big a stretch as BJ Mullens, who probably doesn’t deserve to be drafted in the top 50, but pretty big.

    DeRozan isn’t an out-of-sight athlete, either — middle of the pack at the combine…

  27. mase

    “But if you’re looking at on-court production, rather than whether a guy looks like a basketball player, or what his rep was coming out of h.s”

    wtf?

    he’s a kid with no off-court issues, solid mid-range, natural 2-guard, solid perimeter defender, very coachable, draftexpress says ‘most explosive athlete in the draft’, or am i looking at his measurements?

  28. mase

    “But if you’re looking at on-court production, rather than whether a guy looks like a basketball player, or what his rep was coming out of h.s”

    wtf?

    he’s a kid with no off-court issues, solid mid-range, natural 2-guard, solid perimeter defender, very coachable, draftexpress says ‘most explosive athlete in the draft’, or am i looking at his measurements?

  29. Caleb

    Here are the pre-draft testing results:
    http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/?year=2009&sort2=DESC&draft=&pos=&sort=5

    DeRozan did have the 3rd best vertical jump. But he was near the bottom on the agility sprint, straight sprint and bench… all in all I don’t think you can say he tested as a great athlete. And he may be a “classic” 2-guard – his size and reach are NBA-level, no doubt – but they aren’t extraordinary.

    But my point is that the athletic testing is overrated — the bottom line should be, can he play? At USC, DeRozan wasn’t a very good scorer, wasn’t efficient, didn’t rack up assists, steals or rebounds… he had a lot of hype but didn’t produce like an elite player. He did far less than a supposed disappointment like Jrue Holliday.

    If you could say, “yeah, but he’s the fastest/biggest/best ____” then you could argue for upside and raw potential… but that’s not what I saw in the pre-draft testing.

    I’m glad he’s “coachable” and not criminal-minded, but that sets the bar pretty low!

    He’s young, so predictions are harder to make, but if you were looking for a swingman, why would you take DeRozan ahead of, say, Terrence Wiliams?

  30. Caleb

    Looking closer at the stats… I see DeRozan does make a high-percentage of two point shots — just behind James Harden, the best in that category, of big-college players. But DeRozan got the line barely half as much as Harden — only four times a game. (Eric Gordon, last year, had more than 10 FTAs per game). And DeRozan has no 3-point shot at all.

    To his credit, he didn’t take 3-pointers — that’s a good sign of a disciplined player. But if you can’t hit the 3 and you don’t get to the line, you’re not going to be an elite scorer. And I don’t see what else he does that could justify a lottery selection…

    http://www.draftexpress.com/stats.php?year=2008/09&league=NCAA&per=pergame&qual=eligible&sort2=DESC&pos=SG&stage=all&min=20&conference=0&sort=17

  31. Z

    Re: Kobe sentiment

    Ted– well put as always.

    Owen– you’re a crackpot, but I love you.

    KB– I don’t follow what other sites are saying, but it seems like anti-Kobe sentiment is particularly strong with Knick fans. Maybe it’s because I live in LA where Kobe loving is amped up to 11, but it seems like Knick fans will root against Kobe while supporting actual Knick villains like Jordan, Reggie, and Pat the Rat. THAT is what I find most interesting about Kobe “hating”.

  32. IGMKNICKS

    The present focus on finding a starting point guard is enough evidence that the Duhon signing as a poit guard was a failure except that it allowed management to push Marbury aside. It was obvious from the very beginning that D’Antoni would lose his high speed offense to a slow, half-court point who did not start doing well until they went largely to the pick and roll against teams that could not defend it.

    Once teams caught onto the pick and roll, Duhon was practically useless. The record speaks for itself.

    Duhon was inconsistent at best. He was handed the assist record by a team featuring Jamal Crawford and Don Nelson who preaches less defense than D’Antoni.

    Everyone’s offensive stats look better in a D’Antoni offense. Witness the decline in offensive production of the 2008-09 Suns and former Suns such as Marion.

    You are right. Duhon is a back-up, just like he was when has was signed.

    Jrue Holiday would be an improvement immediately

  33. ess-dog

    I think Duhon did a fairly commendable job this year. There are no “lock down” points in the NBA, and I think the lack of paint defense really made him look worse. I would say he’s above average. The effort was always there at least. On offense, his inability to finish killed him. Ultimately, you need a point that is a threat to get by you and make a damn layup.
    This is my fear about Curry. Yes he’s a great shooter, but can he get by NBA point guards? You really have to pick your poison this year with point guards: Curry for shooting, Holliday for defense, Jennings for handle, Rubio for passing, Lawson for leadership…
    On the free agent front, Turkoglu is opting out and will be looking for 10 mil. That’s great news since the Magic will definitely want to retain him and will therefore, be unable to retain Gortat. I think he’s ours for the taking unless Chicago offers him a starting spot (polish sausages? mmmmm…) I think he looked pretty good even in the last game. Not the beast Dwight is, but he works every play and looks pretty heady in terms of getting positioning, taking the charge, etc.

  34. Caleb

    Since the grades are really a measurement against expectations, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Duhon was signed as an obvious stopgap, not a long-term solution. He was offered $10+ million over three years by Orlando – we got him by matching the dollars over two years instead. It was a small, shrewd move – knowingly overpay a bit, without affecting the 2010 cap.

    Also, if Orlando moves Alston, Duhon would be a perfect fit for the Magic, as a 3rd guard. Nice 3-point shot, funneling opposing PGs straight to Dwight Howard… and durable.

    Unfortunately they gave their draft pick to Memphis in the Alston trade, but if we pick up a PG in this draft it would make a lot of sense to try and move Duhon for the Magic’s 2011. pick…

  35. Caleb

    Ed Wieland put it pretty well re: Lawson – he’s clearly the best PG of the college guys. Maybe someone like Jennings or Holliday will be better down the road, but Lawson isn’t an overachieving scrapper like, say, Darren Collison… he was a top-10 player out of h.s. according to most of the recruiting services, and he’s the quickest college PG that I’ve seen the past few years, aside from maybe Derrick Rose.

    I’d love for the Knicks to find a way to snag Rubio, but barring that…
    the best-case scenario might be moving down a few spots, taking Lawson and dumping Jeffries’ contract in the same move.

    But I’m loving the news about Rubio’s (supposed) fall… if he somehow slides to 4, or even 5-6-7, that makes a trade a lot more feasible. I still have a feeling that someone will pony up and make Memphis an offer they can’t refuse.

    I’m also loving the Jonny Flynn love – if he goes high, that frees up a genuine lottery option for the Knicks…

  36. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Yeah Weiland was generally high on PGs in general, and panned Flynn. Flynn could be one of those players that gets drafted above other PGs that will eclipse him. I’m thinking of the 1983 NFL draft where Todd Blackledge went in the top 10 before HOFers Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, and solid starters Ken O’Brien and Tony Eason. I’m going to have to find the NBA version of that…

  37. d-mar

    “But I’m loving the news about Rubio’s (supposed) fall… if he somehow slides to 4, or even 5-6-7, that makes a trade a lot more feasible. ”

    What do you think it will take to move up and get Rubio now? I can’t see Walsh letting Lee go to move up 3 or 4 spots.

    Berman ( who now has mentioned every single player in the draft as being coveted by the Knicks) says today in the Post that the Knicks really like Jordan Hill. If we take him, Lee is as good as gone.

  38. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Ok the NBA version of that could be the 2001 draft. Here are the big men that were taken that draft: Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mehmet Okur, Samuel Dalembert, Brendan Haywood, Troy Murphy, and Eddy Curry. And the Wizards select Kwame Brown with the 1st pick.

  39. Caleb

    The Flynn thing is just weird – every day you read what a charismatic guy he is, what a big personality, how people are bowled over by him, how he dominates the room or court, everyone thinks he’ll be the new leader of their team. It’s like he’s casting a spell. Has anyone here ever met him?

    By the numbers, and just watching him on the court, you see a pretty good prospect, but nothing like a player you’d take in the first half of the lottery.

    It’s hard to find a comparison to Flynn – a young player with a good but not elite rep, whose draft stock blew up at the end of the season. The closest comparisons I found are Acie Law and Mike Conley. Law was a reach, at least to anyone who looks at numbers. But neither he or Conley went ahead of great PG prospects. Ramon Sessions lasted until #56 but no one was touting him for the lottery.

    On the flip side, of PGs Rondo is probably the biggest missed opportunity in the last 10-15 years. If Lawson stays healthy, I don’t think the regrets will be that big, but they’ll be close…

    In general, not many PGs get picked high, and those that do are sort of consensus favorites, even busts. Randy Foye, for example.

    Ray Felton at #5 seemed like a reach, but in reality he’s been as good or better than the PGs taken behind him. In 1998 you had Jason Williams going just ahead of Dirk Nowitzki and Amare Stoudemire… but not ahead of better PGs.

    I’m leaving out the busts due to unforeseeable physical issues – DeJuan Wagner’s stomach, Jay Williams’ motorcycle and Shaun Livingston’s knee (well, maybe that last one you shoulda seen coming…)

    But I can’t think of a year when there were anything like this year’s number of PG prospects. It’s unprecedented, teams having to make hard choices among backcourt guys. You can also see PGs becoming more prominent in the draft, the past few years.

    http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-draft-history/?syear=2008

    p.s. I saw Marc Berman reporting the Knicks are hot for Jordan Hill… don’t know how reliable that is, but it would be a mistake, IMO.

  40. Caleb

    “What do you think it will take to move up and get Rubio now? I can’t see Walsh letting Lee go to move up 3 or 4 spots.”

    I’d love to think we could move up using, say, Nate & Wilson Chandler, but you’re right – there’s a good chance the price is Lee. I don’t know that Walsh is shopping him but I think he’d pull the trigger in a second if it landed Rubio… if a player is a #2 talent, you don’t worry about grabbing him a few slots later.

    It probably won’t happen unless Rubio drops – would Lee really sign with Memphis or OKC? Sacramento and Washington seem much more realistic, both from Lee’s point of view, and the teams’. Or Golden State, which seems to be in “win-now” mode…

    I read this morning, though, that Minnesota might offer Kevin Love to move up.

  41. ess-dog

    This seems like a no brainer for us:

    Atlanta is reportedly looking to package the #19 pick along with Speedy Claxton’s contract, in order to clear additional cap room, likely to resign Mike Bibby. 80% of Claxton’s contract (5.2 million) will be picked up by an insurance company, making this a relatively cheap investment for a team with cap room looking to acquire another pick.

  42. Frank

    yeah, if we had cap room it would be a no-brainer. but we don’t. do we?

    re: Love – do you think Minnesota would move up to get Rubio? Or to get Thabeet? If you move Love, then you slide Jefferson over to the 4. That makes more sense to me.

    Meanwhile I still am hoping Curry falls to us. He showed reasonably good passing instincts at Davidson (6.6 assists/40 playing a college pace), and I have lots of confidence in D’Antoni’s ability to coach up the PG position. To have Curry, Gallinari, and Harrington as major 3P threats should theoretically open up driving lanes etc. Now if only we had a low-post threat. I hate how every year I have this thought: “Maybe Eddy Curry will get it together and be a dominant low-post threat”.

    But seriously, maybe Eddy will get it together this year. (I’m kidding, Owen).

  43. Ted Nelson

    Will Rubio play in Minnesota? I don’t know if the Memphis thing is about the city or the organization. The Wolves want to make a big splash, but drafting Rubio to watch him demand a trade would be the wrong kind of splash.

    I agree on Flynn. Nice player who I think has a solid chance in the NBA, but I have no idea how he can rank so far ahead of Lawson according to the “consensus.”

  44. Caleb

    Unfortunately Minnesota doesn’t have any salary cap issues, so we don’t have much to offer – unless Lee or Nate were willing to go, or if they took a combo of Chandler and #8.

    Same with Memphis, Oklahoma City and Washington.

    Golden State might be enticed by our taking Crawford off their hands, but I doubt Rubio lasts until #7. No one else is worth that trade.

    Sacramento on the other hand has a lot of dead-weight salary. Udrih, Nocioni and Francisco Garcia all have long, overpaid contracts. If not a Lee offer, the 8 and expiring contract or two might be the best offer they get. Obviously you tread carefully, because in effect you’re taking Rubio in place of a big free agent in 2010 or 2011.

  45. Thomas B.

    “Kobe is a great player. No doubt. But he’s certainly not among the greatest of all time. Not when the shadow of Jordan looms over him and not when brightness of LeBron eclipses him.” -MikeK

    Um what? Not among the greatest of all time? Seriously? Okay then.

    I would think a numbers guy would appreciate the rare company some of Kobe’s numbers have put him with.

    1. 81 points. The second highest single game scoring total in the history of the NBA. It takes a truly dominant player to put up that kind of scoring in a single NBA game. In fact, of the top five single game performances (Wilt’s 100, Kobe’s 81, David Thompson’s 73, David Robinson’s 71, and Jordan’s 69), only Thompson is not mentioned as one of the greatest players of all time-perhaps due to his substance abuse issues-but the talent was there. He was arguably the greatest college ball player ever (I said arguably).

    2. Four straight games of at least 50 points in 2007. A feat performed only by Wilt. MJ’s best was 3.

    3. 2009 finals he averaged 32, 7, and 5 only Jordan has done that in an NBA Finals series.

    4. 4 titles. Now titles are the result of team play not individual play but being the clutch player and most dominant player on the most dominant team counts for something. Especially when people seem to hold titles up as the measure, by which any player is compared to Jordan. Well Kobe has for at 30. Jordan won 3 titles after the age of 32 so there is no reason to say Kobe can’t catch MJ.

    5. Even ESPN ranked him number 2 for SG’s. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-GreatestSGs
    So if Kobe isn’t one of the greatest players of all time, then there is only 1 SG on the all time list?

    6. 3 seasons of at least 30, 6, and 5. Jordan and Oscar Robinson do things like that, and those guys are what-two of the greatest of all time. One season like could be a fluke, but 3? C’mon, give the guy his all time best due.

    7. If the measure of a person’s greatness is the shadow looming over him, then no player can be called great as MJ shadow looms over all-for now. LBJ’s “eclipse” is at this point still speculation. And how can LBJ eclipse Kobe without a single title if Kobe has to have seven to eclipse Jordan? That is not fair at all.

    Normally, I think you get it right but your stance on this one has me confused. Kobe is not better than Jordan; sure, you can argue that. But to say he is not one of the greatest of all time is just… well I don’t know what it is but whatever it is then well yeah.

    Thomas Black
    President
    Fans United to Cherish Kobe

  46. Thomas B.

    The difference between Flynn, Holiday, Rubio, and Curry is so slight that I don’t think it warrants trading an assest to get one of them. Any one of them could be a star or a bust. Trading Chandler (or Lee or Nate) and the 8 to move up to 3-6 isnt worth it. We cannot say for sure that Rubio is going to be way better than Holiday or Flynn. It is just as likely the Flynn is the best PG in this draft as Curry or Holiday. This draft is too deep with PG to trade up for one.

  47. TDM

    First of all, welcome back Thomas B. Glad to have some humor back on the boards.

    ess-dog said: “Atlanta is reportedly looking to package the #19 pick along with Speedy Claxton’s contract, in order to clear additional cap room, likely to resign Mike Bibby. 80% of Claxton’s contract (5.2 million) will be picked up by an insurance company, making this a relatively cheap investment for a team with cap room looking to acquire another pick.”

    I saw that too, along with the story that the Hawks are looking for takers interested in Josh Smith. Its too bad his deal runs another 5 years at $10M per. That said, grabbing another first rounder to package with a player or the 8th pick may be enough to get the #2 from Memphis. I wonder if Memphis would be interested in the 19th and N8 for the #2.

    There has also been some buzz that the Knicks are inquiring about Shaq and T-Mac. It would seem that any deal for either one of those would have to include one (or more) of the following players: eddy, JJ, Q or Hughes. Houston would be looking for a sg in return, and I think N8 would be a good fit for their system. Although seeing Aaron Brooks and N8 running around the court together would be like visiting my son’s preschool during recess.

    Also, Monta Ellis is stirring up trouble in GS because he doesn’t want GS to draft a pg. This could heat up and lead to him demanding a trade. Not that there would be a lot of takers with his 6 year/ $11M contract.

  48. Caleb

    re: Kobe, “among the greatest of all-time” is a pretty vague standard. The greatest shooting guards? Players? Players on championship teams? And how many people are in this club?

    In general I’d agree that Kobe is a great player, and when you’ve done that for a while I would say generically that you are “among the greatest.”

    To be more specific, I would pay special attention to durability and consistency. I would argue that he’s never been even one of the 3 or 4 best players in the league*, but he has stayed close – say, top 10 – for 82 games a year, for a decade with no sign of slowing down. His overall body of work ranks higher than his peak value.

    “It is just as likely the Flynn is the best PG in this draft as Curry or Holiday.”

    What would make you say such a thing? But I agree, not worth trading up unless you get Rubio.

    *These days, I’d put LeBron and Chris Paul easily ahead, and probably Dwight Howard, too. Maybe Garnett or Duncan or Nowitzki. Earlier in the decade, Kobe never approached the value of O’Neal, Garnett or Duncan. You could make a comparison to Karl Malone. Although he was gifted an MVP, he was never close to Jordan, Robinson or Olajuwon – but he was a legit All-Star for 15 years. How high you rank him depends on whether you’re talking peak value, or total value.

  49. ess-dog

    I would think Thabeet would be a better choice for Minny at 2, move Al over to pf. Then they could get a guard at 6. If I were Memphis, I would want another player too in that trade. I’m hoping after all of this hoopla, Harden will fall to us at 8. I feel like someone will trade up to 2 for Rubio, Thabeet 3, Sacto says they like Evans or Holiday at 4, 5 will be Hill if Wash. trades Jamison, 6 could be Curry or Harden, and 7 will probably be Harden or Evans, if Monta wants to play the point.
    In terms of pure point guards, only Rubio and maybe Holiday will be gone by us. I just don’t see Flynn going before 8. I think 8 is too high for him, but maybe someone will trade up to nab him, like the Pacers, Suns or Sixers. Maybe we could lose Jeffries and still get Lawson? Sign Lee, let Nate walk, then get Gortat or Birdman w/ the midlevel.

  50. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Thomas B – you’re right that he could be the 2nd best SG ever. But would you put him in the top 10 NBA players of All Time? I wouldn’t. Perhaps he would be in the top 10 players since the 3-point line? How many of these players do you think were/are better than Kobe Bryant?

    Barkley
    Bird
    Drexler
    Duncan
    Garnett
    Isiah
    Jordan
    Kobe
    LeBron
    Magic
    Malone
    Miller
    Mourning
    Nash
    Olajuwon
    Payton
    Robinson
    Shaq
    Stockton
    Wade

  51. Owen

    Caleb – Succinct as always, not much to add.

    Re Duhon – i think KB’s evaluation is pretty much spot on. Duhon created a lot of early excitement but his limitations as a player caught up to him, as well as all the minutes he was forced to play. Still, he was above average for a below average contract, which is pretty good.

    Re the Draft – Looks like a really unpromising crop. Looking at the numbers of a lot of the top prospects it’s interesting how many of them were so very mediocre in college. Yet, there is still a lot of hype to go around. Its amazing to me how far Dejuan Blair has already fallen despite amazing stats against the toughest competition in college basketball. Just seems silly.

    Re Kobe – I don’t know what is more ridiculous. Saying Kobe is a top ten player, or what I will seem like to people when I argue he isn’t anything close.

    Thomas B, let me riddle you this, since you love numbers so much, how many times has Kobe averaged 30 points per 36+ with a True Shooting % above 60%, as Jordan did three times. How many times did he come close?

  52. Thomas B.

    “To be more specific, I would pay special attention to durability and consistency.” Caleb

    C-dogg, the man is an 11 time All star in 13 seasons. How much longer do you have to do it? 6 trips to the finals as either the number 1 or 1a option. I don’t see how you can say that anyone was better between 2005-2007 (okay maybe Nash maybe).

    I was wrong about the 30, 6, and 5. It should have been 30, 5, and and 5 and only 2 seasons. In 2005-2006 it was 35, 5, and 4.5. Sure plenty of players do that all the time. No reason to let that be a measure of greatness.

    Don’t think of him in terms of age (30) think of him in number of seasons (13). Most of the greatest players played in about 13-15 seasons, he has that at 30. Plus he had been durable and consistent.

    “LeBron and Chris Paul easily ahead, and probably Dwight Howard, too. ”

    Combined rings of those 3= 0
    Rings for Kobe=4

    I’m just saying is all.

    “It is just as likely the Flynn is the best PG in this draft as Curry or Holiday.”

    What would make you say such a thing? -Caleb

    What have we seen in Rubio that makes him an absolute lock over Flynn or Curry? I have not seen anything from those guys that rivals what Deron Williams or Chris Paul showed before they were drafted. Everyone, other than ATL seemed to know those two would be great. I can’t say for sure who will be the great PG in this draft.

    Draft history lesson C-dogg. PG’s can suprise you-any player can.

    Best point for the 2001 draft was the fourth one picked (Tony Parker)

    Best of the 2002 draft 2nd rounders Flip Murray and Juan Carlos Navarro. Yes who knew Jay Williams would nearly lose a leg, spare me.

    Best of 2003? Possible Leandrinho Barbosa the fourth pg taken. Okay, he isnt really a traditional point, but he was drafted as one.

    See where I’m going here? The line between Rubio and Flynn, Curry, Holiday is not great enough to trade up. Rubio vs Lawson or Patty Mills-sure. but I can’t say for sure Rubio is a lock to be better than one of the players that will still be there at 8. Let me rephrase, I don’t know that Rubio’s potential is worth Chandler and the 8th. I’d rather keep Chandler and take Flynn or Curry, if either of them are still there. If we were drafting without a shot at one of those guys, i might agree to move up, but not when a potentially good player is available. Lets not go back to the days of Scott Layden shall we.

  53. Caleb

    “C-dogg, the man is an 11 time All star in 13 seasons. How much longer do you have to do it? 6 trips to the finals as either the number 1 or 1a option. I don’t see how you can say that anyone was better between 2005-2007 (okay maybe Nash maybe).”

    I was agreeing with you, you know…

    About “among the greats.”

    But in 2005-2007 I don’t think he was as good as Duncan, Garnett, Shaq, Wade, Nowitzki, just off the top of my head. Maybe Nash, maybe some others not popping to mind.

    I might write a Rubio post some time (Caleb, is that a threat?), but Ed Wieland’s is pretty good. In general I would point out Paul was a college soph when drafted and Williams was a junior. If Rubio were in the U.S., he’d still be a high school senior. Coming off his “sophomore” and “junior” high school years he was a solid contributor to Spain’s Olympic medalist and world champion teams, respectively. He’s also been a good player in a top Euro league that’s tougher than the NCAA by most accounts.

    It’s hard translating Euro stats, especially for someone whose forte is defense, but Wieland and others have done some of the work.

  54. Caleb

    And Flynn is a second-rate prospect, compared to the other collegians – Lawson and maybe Curry on production, and Holliday on potential.

  55. Frank

    Just my 2 cents on Kobe’s Greatness:
    Keep in mind I can’t stand the Lakers, and that my wife’s only interests in basketball are cheering for Nate and booing Kobe.

    I read Mike’s list and I think it’s very hard to rank players regardless of position. Is Kobe better than Duncan? I don’t know, they do totally different things. What I do notice about Mike’s list is that there are 10 guards, and out of those 10, 5 (Drexler, Jordan, Kobe, Reggie, and Wade) are SGs. So I think we can all agree that Kobe is NOT better than Jordan. Even so, I think rather convincingly, he’s better than Drexler, who never won anything until he was on the court with Hakeem. He’s clearly better than Reggie, who was essentially a one-dimensional player. His body of work and his durability is definitely better than Wade. So essentially he is the #2 SG of all time. I think that probably qualifies him as an all-time great.

    In terms of the others, it’s hard to say. But in terms of well-roundedness, I think it is hard to find more than a handful of players that can match him. In terms of offense he has the whole package – great shooter from mid/long range. Along with LeBron and maybe Wade is the best finisher at the hoop in the game. Very good passer from the 2 guard position. Great free throw shooter. In terms of defense, he’s been on multiple All-NBA defensive teams. 4 NBA titles. Incredible durability.

    And in terms of intangibles — tough to say, but I think it’s hard for anyone to argue that he may be the closest thing to Jordan in terms of absolute competitiveness combined with amazing skill.

    I don’t know, I’m just not sure where the blowback comes from when talking about him as one of the all-time greats. He even said himself that he just wants to be in that conversation — not that he has to be top 1 or 2 etc.

  56. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “Even so, I think rather convincingly, he’s better than Drexler”

    Here is Kobe vs Drexler at the same age:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/tiny.cgi?id=W7b5W

    You can give Kobe the slight edge in scoring (pts/36 + TS%), but Clyde is convincingly (ha-there’s that word) better in rebounds, assists and steals. And if you’re touting the rings, then remember that Drexler took his team to the Finals twice as the main man in a 3 year span in Portland. If he had Shaq on his team for his first decade, he might have had a fistful of rings as well. (Portland’s centers in those years were Duckworth/Buck Williams/Cliff Robinson — hell he might have had a couple of rings with Gasol as the center).

    Kobe might have been the better player, but if you look at the per-36 stats, I don’t think the conversation is one-sided.

  57. Ted Nelson

    I would compare Kobe to Derek Jeter… A lot of parallels there. He’s definitely a HoFer, but I agree with Caleb, Mike, and Owen’s assessments. One part of the conversation is the importance of each position… at the same time that’s a whole nother conversation, I guess.

    I will be very, very surprised if Flynn is the best PG in the draft. I think it would say more about the others being busts than Flynn being great. Lawson stands out as being a far better player than Flynn. He’s someone who I think might conform to your observations of the 4th or so PG taken often being the best.

    Having seen Rubio play a bunch of times in Spain I can say that I understand the hype and he can definitely be a special player. That said, like most 18 year-olds, he has some holes in his game to work on. How hard he works will have a lot to do with it, but he’s a legit top 2 or 3 pick.
    The comparisons to Fran Vazquez (or Fred Wies) as far as maybe staying in Europe are bunk: those two are solid bigs in Spain, nothing special. They could maybe be rotation players in the NBA in the right situation. Rubio has the potential to be a star at the NBA level.
    I feel especially confident about this after Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez’s trips to the NBA. Sergio hasn’t been great, but his quickness and passing ability translated. I had some questions about Rudy adapting to the NBA game. He’s much more a scorer than Rubio (obviously), but I questioned whether his scoring efficiency would translate (his shot selection in Spain reminded me a lot of Jamal Crawford to the point where I soured on him for a while) as well as his athleticism (stood out in Spain, but I wondered how his skinny frame and run-jump athleticism would translate).

    I don’t think that the Knicks have much of anything to lose by trading up, but they also don’t have much of anything to trade up with other than the Lee/Robinson hand-shake deal. You could take a salary for a top 10 pick (Caleb’s example being Jamal Crawford) and then trade the two top 10 picks for a top 3 pick.
    Even though I’m high on Rubio I would also consider taking Thabeet and Harden ahead of him. To me there is a definite top 4 in this draft (Griffin, Rubio, Thabeet, and Harden, split into two groups: Griffin and the rest), then things get a lot more wide open. If the Knicks are so high on Curry, however, maybe they see him in that second half of the top tier.

  58. Frank

    “Kobe might have been the better player, but if you look at the per-36 stats, I don’t think the conversation is one-sided.”

    If you look at the NBA All-Defense teams, they are very one-sided:

    First team All-Defense:
    Kobe: 7
    Drexler: 0

    Second team All-defense:
    Kobe: 2
    Drexler: 0

    Now some of that has to do with reputation (ie. once you’re on the team it’s hard to come off the team). But 9-0 would nearly lead to the mercy rule in most Little League games.

    Beyond just defense I think you need to take into account longevity and durability. Kobe has played almost 50% more minutes than Drexler in his career. And he’s only 30.

  59. Thomas B.

    “How many of these players do you think were/are better than Kobe Bryant?” Mike K

    Tough question. Robinson? Oscar, David or Rumeal? :)

    On total body of work, I’d say Kobe is clearly better than Drexler, Morning, and Payton (David Robinson, yes-Oscar no). Miller, Wade and Nash are harder to justify but I could make a somewhat plausible argument that he is better than them.

    I don’t KNOW for sure that Wade or LBJ will be able to do what Kobe has done for 10 seasons. If they play on their current level for that numbrs of years than LBJ will be arguably the best of all time (with a few titles). I think it would be a close one with Wade. Wade is a really good closer but I worry about how long he can do what he asks of his body.

    LBJ is today a better player than Kobe is today. Kobe has had the better career but LBJ is only 5 years in so…

  60. Thomas B.

    “I was agreeing with you, you know…” -Caleb

    Oh, Sorry. People agree with me so infrequently that I missed it.

    Wow, Flynn is second rate huh? Good thing I’m not a GM.

  61. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Just to put All-NBA teams in perspective, they do depend on who else is in the league. Here is the first All-NBA team in Kobe’s 4th season:

    Kobe
    Duncan
    T-Mac
    Kidd
    Shaq

    Here is the All-NBA team in Clyde’s 4th season:

    Magic
    Jordan
    Bird
    McHale
    Olajuwon

    Also Clyde averaged almost a whole steal more than Kobe (0.8 stl/36), so perhaps the competition was tougher to be on these teams (or Kobe’s lack of great SGs during his time, or Kobe’s reputation, or Kobe playing with Shaq, etc.)

    BTW – My point with these is not to say whether one person is better or another (conclusively) but to show that Kobe isn’t so much head and shoulders above a lot of other great players. It’s easy to separate Jordan from Kobe, (as I did here: http://www.knickerblogger.net/?p=1702) but not so easy to separate Kobe from other great players. I just don’t think he’s in the conversation of the truly dominant like the Jordans, Magics, Shaqs, etc. More like in the conversation of great players, but not the greatest.

  62. Owen

    The stats for Drexler and Kobe are very close. Drexler averaged more than a rebound, more than an assist, and more than half a steal more than Kobe across his entire career, per 36, while scoring about 20% less and less than 1 percent less efficiently. And that is through age 35.

    So the numbers are definitely there. i really wouldn’t hesitate to say Drexler was at least as good as Bryant overall What really hurts Drexler is that he was so overshadowed by Jordan in his prime, just as Kobe would have been.

    Also, if Jerry West was a shooting guard, he certainly deserves consideration.

    The thing about Kobe is that to me you really have to set the statistical standard for your position to be considered an all time great. MJ, and Magic and Bird really did that. Kobe doesn’t even come close. He is much much closer to the Vince Carter, Tracy Mcgrady, Paul Pierce and Ray Allens of this world than he is to Jordan.

  63. Ted Nelson

    Hard to compare players across time-periods and positions without doing a lot of research. I would be satisfied with the conclusion that Kobe is an all-time great, but not an all-time greatest (if you get what I’m saying… all depends how you define the groups I suppose). By the end of his career maybe I’ll change my mind, I do think there’s something to be said for longevity. 5 to 7 more years at this level and his case gets that much stronger.

    “Wow, Flynn is second rate huh? Good thing I’m not a GM.”

    There are a lot of people who are high on Flynn, apparently including GMs. So you’re not crazy if you like him. If you’re someone who believes statistical analysis is important (for judging draft prospects as well as NBA players) then he’s somewhat second rate. He’s got a solid skill set and apparently an amazing attitude, so you never know.

    What strikes me as especially odd is that he’s so hot right now, while Lawson’s size seems to be such an issue. Lawson was a much better college player. Holiday’s got more upside (especially defensively), and Curry’s got an NBA skill that could be top notch (shooting and possibly scoring overall). I just look at Flynn and see someone who can play at the NBA level, but probably won’t really stand-out at anything. Maybe he can stand-out as an Aaron Brooks type quick little guy who gets into the lane at will and creates for teammates. His outside shooting numbers weren’t great at Syracuse, but maybe he develops that over time. One thing that it does sound like may stand-out is his attitude, which should make for a nice long NBA career if he can stay healthy and play at least adequately/find the right situation.
    I’ve seen a lot of little guards who were just not quite good enough for the NBA playing in Europe, but I guess I’d have to look closer at the numbers.

  64. Thomas B.

    “Thomas B. – so Kobe isn’t even in your top 10 in the last 30 years…”
    -Mike K

    Well no, as the top ten would have to include Shaq, Hakeem, Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Garnett. Its hard to compare bigs to him. But hey, I think Wilt is better than Jordan. No, please stop throwing things at me. So I usually limit my comparison to players of the similar position. If its just SG’s, I would argue for Kobe right behind MJ all time. But of all players…no I cant say he is better than Wilt or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or Oscar Robertson (not Robinson-silly me).

    Of all time back court players, I could say he is in the top 5.

    Jordan
    Stockton
    Magic
    Thomas
    Kobe

    And he is gaining on Thomas and Magic quickly.

    Ted Nelson-

    Thank you. Caleb had me thinking I was nuts (I may still be nuts) for a second but you captured what I was thinking about Flynn. I just don’t want to see the Knicks risk assets on a guy that is not a lock. If your are taking a guy who isn’t a lock anyway, why not do it without giving up something of value?

    “welcome back Thomas B. Glad to have some humor back on the boards.” -TDM

    (Think Good Fellows)
    Humor? How am I humorous? What you mean like a clown? Do I amuse you?

  65. Thomas B.

    Andfor the record, I don’t think Flynn will be the best PG in the draft, i just picked his name from the hat because we have a shot at taking him 8th. I could just have easily said Curry or Holiday. Its not Flynn per se, its the principle that I supporting.

  66. Duff Soviet Union

    For all the guys who got screwed by playing at the same time as Jordan (Ewing, Barkley, Stockton and Malone,) I’d say that no one copped it worse than Drexler, who actually played the same position as MJ. Without Jordan, Drexler has two rings, one as the undisputed best player on his team, and is the far and away best shooting guard of his time. Plus he never gets embarassed on a national stage like he did in the 92 Finals.

    The legend of MJ has a huge impact on the perception of the careers of both Kobe and Clyde. But the impact is very different. Kobe is actually helped by Jordan, because he never had to play against him while they were both in their primes, he kind of looks like him and kind of plays like him, so people assume that he was as good as him. Meanwhile Drexler actually DID have to play against MJ, who quickly made it obvious that while Drexler was great he just wasn’t on MJ’s level, and people punished him way too much for this. The same would have happened to Kobe if he’d come along earlier.

  67. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “Of all time back court players, I could say he is in the top 5.

    Jordan
    Stockton
    Magic
    Thomas
    Kobe”

    Again I could argue a half dozen names other than Kobe (And Isiah).

    “And he is gaining on Thomas and Magic quickly.”

    Magic? You’re kidding right? 3-time MVP. 6 other times he was voted in the top 3. 3 time Finals MVP. Undoubtedly the greatest PG of all time. Kobe would have to be Jordan for 3-4 years to touch Magic.

  68. Thomas B.

    “Again I could argue a half dozen names other than Kobe (And Isiah). ” -Mike K.

    Of course you can.

    Honestly, I think you have to throw out things like MVP and titles because I really don’t think they say enough about the ability of the player. The MVP evaluates the player vs his peers and we cant use that to compare player of seperate era’s as they have different peer groups. MVP is not always the best player. Kobe was the best player in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. But forget that because awards are subjective. Numbers are less subjective.

    So other than assists is there anything Magic will have more of than Kobe at the end of Kobes career (titles?). Kobe scored 5053 more points than Magic in the same number of games. Thats three plus seasons worth of Magic’s scoring in the same amount of time. Yes, I know magic kills on the assists but Kobe’s complete body of work is catching up to Magic. Stockton was better than magic. And why isnt mark jackson on the list?

  69. Z

    I like the debate, and I love comparing players, but…

    We may as well be discussing whether Obama is a better president than FDR, or Lincoln, or Van Buren, or Reagan, or Harding, or Truman. Barack stands out from the pack for various reasons, seems to most analysts that he will probably be in the conversation someday, but it’s completely impossible to measure him up at the moment because his failures and accomplishments are far from complete.

    Kobe is only 30. He hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down. He’s adjusted his game as he’s aged. His franchise is healthy financially. His teammates are younger than him and dripping with finals experience. He could probably miss 30 games a year and still find himself perennially in the conference finals. He took a big step this week in shutting up his critics and he’ll have many more chances to prove himself on the biggest stage.

    Maybe Kobe will contract an incurable, life-threatening disease and will be forced to retire this summer. Then, like with Magic, the rest can be left up to speculation and hardware can be compared. But as of now, there is no reason to assume Kobe WON’T win 3 finals MVP awards, or more league MVP awards, or have more championships than Magic and Robertson and Maravich and Stockton and Drexler combined!

    What we CAN be debating, though, is the statement: “Undoubtedly the greatest PG of all time”, especially if hardware is the measurement of choice. There was a PG that won 6 rings (still the most ever for a PG), an MVP (which was unheard of for a point guard at the time), was the PG of the greatest dynasty of all time, had the most ever all star appearances when he retired, and was the all-time leader in assists. He even coached Oscar Robertson, teaching him everything he knows.

    Bob Cousy, not “undoubtedly” the best, but certainly as much in the conversation as Magic– career eFG% of .375 and all!

  70. Nick C.

    I was wondering where anyone got the idea Kobe was better than #3 Laker G of all-time behind Magic and West. I still don’t see Kobe being any more than in the mix for 3rd team all-time G with the assorted men talked about (the first two being MJ, Magic, O and West).

  71. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “Honestly, I think you have to throw out things like MVP and titles because I really don’t think they say enough about the ability of the player. The MVP evaluates the player vs his peers and we cant use that to compare player of seperate era’s as they have different peer groups. MVP is not always the best player. Kobe was the best player in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.”

    Sorry I’m not buying this. Yes MVP awards aren’t the be-all end all of comparison. But when Magic is consistently in the top 3 in 9 seasons, I think that says something about him, or at least the perception of him. And let’s not forget that during his era he had to compete against Jordan and Bird for these awards (and lots of other great players as well).

    “So other than assists is there anything Magic will have more of than Kobe at the end of Kobes career (titles?). ”

    I don’t think career accumulation is as important as averages. Granted I think it’s an accomplishment, but not nearly as important as doing it per minute. Magic beats Kobe in just about every non-points per-minute stat, and many of them aren’t close. His TS% is 60 points higher. That more than makes up for the 5 points per 36. Throw in the assists & rebounds, and he towers over Kobe.

  72. Caleb

    If anyone wants to do a lot of work… how would Kobe’s career averages look if you took out the first two years, when he was 17 and 18 years old?

    In general, if I’m comparing players, I probably look at their best 2- or 3-year span… established peak value. It’s totally arbitrary – comparing career accomplishments is different but just as important. But when I think about who would win an imaginary matchup, I’m thinking about each guy in the season they were on top of their game.

  73. Ted Nelson

    Shouldn’t we consider pace and overall level of competition (maybe average player statistical production and team offensive efficiency, statistical production of all-NBA teams, etc.) more in this conversation? And aren’t we weighting offense disproportionally? (Granted defense is harder to measure.)

  74. Ted Nelson

    Shouldn’t we consider pace and overall level of competition (maybe average player statistical production and team offensive efficiency, statistical production of all-NBA teams, etc.) more in this conversation? And aren’t we weighting offense disproportionally? (Granted defense is harder to measure.)

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