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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2012-13 Game Thread: East vs. West

I know few of you really care about the All-Star Game, but it is always nice to see a Knick starting, so, well, here’s a thread for your in-game thoughts!

Congrats again to Melo and Chandler for making the team!

27 comments on “2012-13 Game Thread: East vs. West

  1. TheRant

    As noted, I don’t really care about the all star game. Thanks for the shout out, Brian.

    But here’s to extra days of rest for our aged team! Cheers!

  2. Z-man

    http://www.firstpost.com/topic/person/willis-reed-the-strength-of-wilt-chamberlain-video-STXbuXGPdoY-3565-15.html

    I still think it is sad that people today seem to think today’s players are better than those of the ’60′s and ’70′s. I surfed a few Russell and Chamberlain videos and am more convinced than ever that these two guys would be as revered today as they were back when they played. Here’s one on Wilt:

    http://www.firstpost.com/topic/person/willis-reed-the-strength-of-wilt-chamberlain-video-STXbuXGPdoY-3565-15.html

  3. Brian Cronin

    It is not so much that they’re better nowadays (as I agree, such statements are a big stretch), but it is more the fact that Chamberlain and Russell wouldn’t dominate the same way that they did back in the day because of the size of modern players. Would they be great still? Of course. But they’d have to play a lot differently. They’d certainly adjust (Chamberlain and Russell were far too talented to not be able to adjust), but there’s no way that they’d put up the same type of numbers.

  4. Z-man

    Agree that the numbers would be different, particularly rebounding, but I think Chamberlain in his prime would have led the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks, and that Russell would have won a high number (5+) titles. IMHO, nobody comes close to Wilt as an athlete, and to Russell as a “winning comes first” guy.

  5. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin:
    Well, if the West wins, Durant will at least get an MVP!

    One of the more competitive All-Star Games so far!

    close certainly, dunno about competitive exactly. the next person who tries to stop Griffin from dunking will be the first…

    Durant was All-Star MVP this year, Chris Paul deserves this one. am I the only one starting to look forward to LeBron playing with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland in a few years?

  6. Z-man

    Great game by Melo, considering he was thinking about not playing, he led the team in minutes played. Gotta say this about Melo, the dude just loves to play.

  7. jon abbey

    of the 24 guys on these two teams, which guy would you want least on your own team? forget about rootability, just how much you think they’d help a team win in a vacuum, we don’t know who their teammates would be. I might go Bosh.

  8. BigBlueAL

    jon abbey:
    of the 24 guys on these two teams, which guy would you want least on your own team? forget about rootability, just how much you think they’d help a team win in a vacuum, we don’t know who their teammates would be. I might go Bosh.

    Brook Lopez

  9. Brian Cronin

    Agree that the numbers would be different, particularly rebounding, but I think Chamberlain in his prime would have led the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks, and that Russell would have won a high number (5+) titles. IMHO, nobody comes close to Wilt as an athlete, and to Russell as a “winning comes first” guy.

    I guess the way I was viewing it is that a lot of what Chamberlain was revered for was his numbers, ya know? Like the 100 point game or averaging 50 points a game for a season. And in the modern NBA, he’d have nowhere near the same numbers he did when he played back in the day. But yeah, he’d still be a decent bet to lead the league in points, rebounds and blocks. He’d still be a Hall of Famer, but he’d be a Hall of Famer closer to Hakeem or Shaq than to what he is now. I mean, 100 points in a single game? That’s insane!

    As for Russell, in the current NBA he easily could win a bunch of titles, but I could also just as easily see him end up as a Hall of Famer without a bunch of titles. He clearly had a tremendous will to win (Jordan and Russell are likely the two most driven to win players in NBA history), but in the old days, his ability to dominate was enough to push the Celtics over the top. Nowadays, when Lebron James is an inch shorter and twenty-five pounds heavier than Russell was back then, how would he possibly dominate the same way? I think he’d need to find the perfect situation. But yeah, clearly he’d be a good bet to win a bunch of titles.

    In total, though, yeah, the whole “the old NBA wouldn’t be able to play in today’s game” is true for a lot of guys (especially pre-1960 – can you imagine George Mikan in the modern NBA? Would he even start for an NBA team?), but not for the truly great ones like Russell and Chamberlain.

  10. Brian Cronin

    Least want on my team….great question. I’d go with Jrue Holliday. I like him, but I don’t think he is in the same class as most of the other players and the guys in his class like Brook Lopez, Lamarcus Aldridge, David Lee and Chris Bosh at least give you size.

  11. BigBlueAL

    Bill Russell was listed as 6’9 215 lbs. His career FG and FT%’s are 44 and 56%. Sorry, I have a hard time seeing him being anything more than a decent player in today’s NBA.

  12. jon abbey

    yeah, Holliday is a good pick. Lopez seems like he is still getting better and he has played much better D when I’ve seen him this year.

  13. Z-man

    BigBlueAL:
    Bill Russell was listed as 6’9 215 lbs.His career FG and FT%’s are 44 and 56%.Sorry, I have a hard time seeing him being anything more than a decent player in today’s NBA.

    Sorry, BBA, I have to cal you out on this. First of all, who did Bill Russell have to emulate as a kid, George Mikan? Second, who since Bill is talked about in terms of his will to win? Only one guy, Michael Jordan, comes close. Third, he was a legit 6’9″ and his weight was consistent with that time before weight training and nutrition were what they are today (not to mention short cuts.) He was probably Mourning’s size, and a much better athlete. He was a legit world class high-jumper in track and field. You also seem to minimize the mental aspect of the game. Bill Russell was the ultimate leader of men, he maximized the talents of his teammates, he out-thought and out-hustled his opponents. I hate the Celts and always have, but you have to see these guys in the context of their times. LeBron’s game is build on the guys he has emulated and the advantages of his day and age. Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson were the LeBrons of their day, and they would be the first to tell you about the greatness of Russell and Chamberlain. Look at the names of the guys making quotes on the video I posted, they weren’t just any scrubs…Havlicek, Johnson, Lanier, even Arnold.

    Look at what Chris Paul did tonight, does height and weight really matter? Did you see how Kobe defended LeBron at the end of the game?

  14. jon abbey

    people forget there were only nine teams in the league for most of Russell’s career, that makes titles decidedly easier in my book than in a 30 team league.

  15. BigBlueAL

    Chris Paul is a PG so his height is pretty normal for his position and is irrelevant for the most part. Russell’s size and weight is somewhat important to discuss because the position he played is very much based on size and strength. You are making alot of assumptions about how if he played in today’s NBA his body would be bigger/stronger etc which is a fair point but Im not looking at it that way, Im just asking if you put 1960′s Russell in today’s NBA how good a player would he be??

    Russell’s shooting numbers were pretty bad. Im not saying he couldnt be a double digit rebounder who averaged 3 blocks a game in today’s NBA which would make him a pretty good NBA player. But when the best thing you can say for him is his intangibles and leadership skills I think you are reaching a bit to try to justify his greatness. He played with a bunch of HOFers in an 8 team league. His teammates certainly helped alot in winning those titles considering Russell was a poor shooter who averaged 15 pts per game.

    Its probably the baseball fan in me who is skeptical about the older players in the NBA/NFL and how good they would be in today’s age. Football and basketball have gone through so many rule changes and hell the NBA is a relatively young sport still to boot that its really tough to compare the older players to today’s. Baseball has basically had the same rules since the turn of the 20th century and its statistical history is huge compared to the other sports. There were still differences in terms of the playing field and competition obviously but the rules and playing dimensions have been the same forever.

  16. Brian Cronin

    people forget there were only nine teams in the league for most of Russell’s career, that makes titles decidedly easier in my book than in a 30 team league.

    Oh yeah, that’s really the biggest roadblock to Russell winning multiple titles, the amount of teams out there. However, even with the larger amount of competition, the very best players in the NBA still tend to end up on teams that make the NBA Finals, ya know? I mean, who is the greatest player of the last 20 years to never make the NBA Finals? Chris Paul, probably, right? And would it surprise you if Chris Paul never made the NBA Finals in his career? I bet the answer to that is yes (other great players from the past 20 years never to make the NBA Finals include Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, Steve Nash, STAT and Melo , Melo and Alonzo Mourning. At least four of them still have a legit shot of eventually making it).

    So I think Russell would have a good chance at making the NBA Finals still and winning a couple, even if he doesn’t get Tim Duncan luck and gets KG luck instead.

  17. Brian Cronin

    Bledsoe for Millsap…wow, that trade rumor would make a lot of sense for both teams. The Clippers could afford to re-sign Millsap and it would help keep Chris Paul in L.A. And Blesdoe would be perfect for Utah.

    The only thing is if Paul doesn’t re-sign, the Clippers are effed by not having Bledsoe.

  18. Brian Cronin

    If Russell played today, I think he’d be a taller/thinner version of Charles Barkley, with less offensive skills but a much better defender. And that alone is enough to build an NBA champion around him. However, on top of that, we never really got to see Barkley go all out, as he did not have the same will to win as other great players, let alone a psycho like Russell or Jordan. So imagine an insanely motivated, taller/thinner Charles Barkley. That dude would get you to some NBA championships. Would you win? Depends on his teammates, but still, that’s a Hall of Fame-level guy.

    Also, note that Dennis Rodman was an important part of five NBA championships, so even if Russell did not adapt offensively to the modern NBA (I think he would), just on defense and rebounding alone he could win multiple titles like Rodman.

  19. Brian Cronin

    Also, note that Dennis Rodman was an important part of five NBA championships, so even if Russell did not adapt offensively to the modern NBA (I think he would), just on defense and rebounding alone he could win multiple titles like Rodman.

  20. jon abbey

    Barkley isn’t a good comparison, he was all offense and little defense and Russell was the opposite. there are so many distinctions made there it ends up being kind of a pointless comparison IMO, like trying to compare Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler.

  21. Brian Cronin

    I just used Barkley as an example since he was a guy whose body didn’t seem to fit the modern NBA but was still able to get a ton of rebounds and be an offensive presence at the 4.

    But sure, if you want to go with “Dennis Rodman with an offensive game,” that’s fine, too (note that Rodman was two inches shorter than Russell).

    The biggest change with Russell is that he likely would have to be a 4 in the modern NBA and not a 5, unless he’s playing in a small ball lineup.

  22. Z-man

    Brian Cronin:
    Also, note that Dennis Rodman was an important part of five NBA championships, so even if Russell did not adapt offensively to the modern NBA (I think he would), just on defense and rebounding alone he could win multiple titles like Rodman.

    Rodman is an excellent comparison, a guy who put up monster rebounding numbers in the modern NBA at a time when fewer shots were taken, and could effectively defend bigger players. Russell was a similar athlete, perhaps even better (he had world-class track and field credentials, especially in the high jump). Other guys today put up big rebounding numbers in stretches, Kevin Love and recently Tyson Chandler are two examples.

    Russell’s understanding of and commitment to winning are unparalleled, and that’s what set him apart. You might say that he turned himself into the greatest role player of all time. He not only defined his own role perfectly, he made sure that everyone on the team understood their roles perfectly. These are qualities that are in short supply in today’s NBA. Bill Simmons talks about his grasp of “the secret” at length in his Book of Basketball (he’s an unabashed Celts homer, but his chapters on Russell vs. Chamberlain and on what he calls The Pantheon are pretty good.

    Regarding his shooting, take a good look at the league-wide shooting percentages, hardly anyone shot 50%. It was a run and gun game with 15-20 footers galore.

    One of the most underrated athletic feats of all time is Chamberlain’s playing 48.5 mpg at a time when there were many more trips up and down the court than there are now, and having the scoring and rebounding numbers he had (he averaged 40 shots and 25 rebounds per game!) Even as a 36-year old man with bad knees in ’72-’73 he out-rebounded league MVP Kareem and played 43 mpg

  23. Nick C.

    I think the sub-standard gyms, lighting conditions, quality of the basketballs and the smoke(ing) in the arenas didn’t help. But comparing shooting percentages from then in a vacuum is like saying Honus Wagner sucked at fielding because he made 30 errors in a season without referencing the size and quality of gloves or the infield conditions.

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