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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Knicks Morning News (2018.05.23)

  • [NYTimes] Rockets Seize Momentum and End the Warriors’ Home Win Streak
    (Wednesday, May 23, 2018 4:34:34 AM)

    Golden State had every opportunity to win the game, but a last-second 3-pointer by Stephen Curry could not find its way home, leaving the series tied.

  • [NYPost] The lone Frank Ntilikina surprise in NBA’s All-Rookie voting
    (Tuesday, May 22, 2018 3:09:19 PM)

    Somebody thought the Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina was worthy of All-Rookie second-team honors. Of course, that solo vote didn’t mean a whole heckuva lot. Utah forward Donovan Mitchell, the 13th pick in last June’s NBA draft, and Philadelphia guard/forward Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in 2016 who sat out an entire season with injury, were…

  • 99 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2018.05.23)

    1. Brian Cronin

      It’s awesome that both Conference Finals will go at LEAST six games. Very cool.

      What an amazing win by the Rockets. Down double digits in the fourth on the road against the WARRIORS? Daaaaang.

      But yeah, that last sequence by the Warriors, down two, was crazy bad.

      Also – you be the coach – up two, 0.5 seconds left, you’re shooting one free throw left. Do you try to intentionally miss it to knock enough time off of the clock so that they can only attempt a miracle tap in for the tie? Or make it and then just hope they don’t make a three? I think I’d go for the intentional miss there.

    2. Frank

      If the Rockets win this series, is it going to be weird when KD leaves the Warriors to play for the team that beat him?

    3. chrisk06811

      I can’t believe the Rockets did it by playing D!!! GS is all running and shooting 3’s. When they fast breaks stopped, they really turned into a chucking 3 pt team.

    4. Brian Cronin

      Some of the shots that Durant was taking – holy shit, dude, why the fuck did you think that those were good ideas?

    5. hoolahoop

      I think I’d go for the intentional miss there.

      As a coach, with this much on the line, that takes a lot of balls, but the right play.
      Steph had a great look to tie the game.

      When does the clock start? When it leaves the foul shooters hands, or when it makes contact with the rim/backboard? If the former, just throw the ball sky high.

    6. Brian Cronin

      When does the clock start? When it leaves the foul shooters hands, or when it makes contact with the rim/backboard? If the former, just throw the ball sky high.

      The latter. It starts when someone grabs it after it hits the rim. So the risk is that your guy might be so pumped up that he misses the basket entirely, in which case no time elapses and the other team just gets the ball, as you’re required to at least hit the rim on a free throw. I don’t think that’s a huge risk, but I’ve seen it happen a few times (to dumber NBA players than Chris Paul, but still).

    7. Bruno Almeida

      The Rockets, including Harden, played some awesome defense, but both teams looked so tired and out of sorts at the end. It looked like they all ran a marathon and just wanted it to end, specially after that insane 3rd quarter sequence with their super short rotations.

      My guess is that Paul was afraid of missing the rim altogether on the intentional miss, then it would be a violation, GSW ball with .5 to go down by 2. It’s a tough decision to make for sure. If Paul was 100% confident he could hit the rim, the intentional miss is for sure the right play as it literally ends the game right there.

    8. d-mar

      I’m not a big Rockets fan, but that was some ballsy performance by them last night. They could easily have folded after the Warriors 3rd quarter barrage, but they kept coming and forced GS into some really bad shots in the 4th quarter.

      I never thought the Rockets had a chance to win this series, but 2 out of the next 3 at home? Should at least keep this series interesting.

    9. DRed

      Pretty shocked the rockets won that. Not even that they came back-they did that in the second quarter, but I thought GS would make a little run at the end to put them away.

    10. MSA

      When does the clock start? When it leaves the foul shooters hands, or when it makes contact with the rim/backboard?

      It’s when someone touches the ball AFTER it hits the rim/backboard.

      So GS would have to grab the board and ask for a timeout in less than 0.5 secs.

      I would go for the miss.

    11. The Glass Half Rebuilt

      I hate when the Warriors go away from their all time great offense and start chucking up shots. It also didn’t help that Iguodala was out for the game considering how important he is to their team. Houston is going to lose the next two games and they should be grateful the series went this far.

      I really don’t like the Rockets. James Harden plays an ugly brand of basketball, Chris Paul is feisty to an annoying point, and Mike D’Antoni can’t coach. Houston did a good job of keeping themselves in the game, but GSW lost that game much more than Houston won it.

      We’re supposed to be looking into hiring Jud Buechler from the Lakers’ staff. He’s been in charge of Laker player development the past few years and he coached the SL Lakers to the championship in Vegas. Seems like a solid hire.

    12. Hubert

      Iggy’s injury has made this interesting. If he’s out or limited the rest of the way, this is anyone’s series.

    13. Hubert

      I don’t think that’s a huge risk, but I’ve seen it happen a few times (to dumber NBA players than Chris Paul, but still).

      I’ve seen it happen a decent amount of times, too. I’ve also seen players accidentally bank in a free throw when he was trying to miss. It seems surprisingly difficult to miss a free throw correctly!

      I would just sink it. The risk of missing the rim altogether, running no time off the clock, and giving the other the team the ball at midcourt down 2 off a timeout is hard to quantify, but it seems high enough to want to avoid.

    14. wetbandit

      Amazing how Harden seemed to vanish at times, especially when they were down, and Chris Paul, PJ Tucker, and Ariza seemed to pick up the slack. Gordon tried, and had some good plays, but damn did he brick.

    15. Owen

      Went to sleep secure in the knowledge the Rockets would lose. Total shock this morning. Good for them.

      Good for the NBA too because outside of Pacers-Cavs the playoffs have been mediocre.

    16. djphan

      i dont think intentionally missing is something that teams practice much…. and from a management standpoint you shouldnt put your players in an unfamiliar position especially at a crucial juncture…. im fine with making the free throw since missing the rim is the worst case scenario and its something thats pretty hard to quantify particularly in that situation….

      im not sure if the nba defined how quick a timeout could be called either… is it even possible to grab a rebound and call timeout with .02 seconds? nba should clarify that like they do with the tucker rule…

    17. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, and Michael Porter are going to lead us to the promised land"

      I’m rooting for the Rockets, but I didn’t give them much of a chance to win the series. From here though (and with Iggy out) I’d say they are exactly where they wanted to be all season. Now it’s 2 out of 3 games and they are home twice. All it’s going to take is 2 hot nights out of 3 from beyond the arc to win. You can be the inferior team and come up with 2 hot nights out of 3 if you have a team like the Rockets.

    18. swiftandabundant

      I think these playoffs have been pretty fun. First round you had Jazz OKC which was a fund series. Bucks Celtics was pretty good too as was Cavs Pacers. And watching the Pelicans put in work in the first round was fun too. Second round was kind of a snooze fest but also it was fun to see LeBron melt down the raptors again. Pelicans and Jazz just happy to be in the second round. Philly Boston wasn’t as close as it could be. But I feel like a lot of times the second round is usually not close because the difference between the top 4 and the next 4 is usually pretty significant.

    19. DRed

      The stars for both teams played heavy minutes last night, which probably explains some of the sloppy play at the end. The Warriors are still one of the best teams of all time, with 4 in their prime hall of famers, but they are moving out of that prime and they are not as deep as they once were

    20. d-mar

      In a way, losing Iggy (or Draymond) is worse for the Warriors than losing Durant, Curry or Klay. One of those 3 guys goes down, the other 2 pick up the slack and take more shots. Iggy and Draymond are total X factors for that team, and their substitutes can’t even begin to replicate what they do.

      I still think about how NBA history would have changed if Draymond didn’t get tossed for game 5 in the 2016 Finals. Warriors probably win the series, Durant probably stays in OKC and Lebron’s finals record is 2-5 instead of 3-4. Would have changed the conversation somewhat.

    21. Hubert

      I’m rooting for the Rockets

      I’m rooting for LeBron, so I’m rooting for the Rockets.

      For all their offensive talent, Golden State’s foundation is their switch heavy defense. Sure, they can replace Iggy with a backup that has a great TS%, but team basketball at this level still relies on things aren’t easily quantified. The Warriors have a weak link now, and they don’t have the depth to fix it.

    22. ProjectKnicks

      I know it’s hard to criticize Curry, but it seems when the Warriors are doing well, he starts playing stupidly careless basketball, trying to be too fancy. Last night, the Warriors were like 10 up and had possession when Curry just made some bad no-look pass that resulted in an uncontested layup for the Rockets. Everything went downhill from there.

      Not to mention the Warriors’ vaunted passing game goes to hell under pressure. Curry and Durant become Melo-maniacs and totally ignore Thompson (who stops running and cutting knowing the ball is not coming back).

      I still think the Warriors should win, but they will need to give 100% against a Houston team that has been much better than them the entire season.

    23. kevin5318

      @AdamZagoria
      Knicks coach David Fizdale & PG @FrankLikina are flying to Boston today and are expected to be at Game 5 of the Cavs-Celtics, per league source. After returning from France, Ntilikina met Fizdale for the first time this week &the #Knicks had about 6 guys working out in Tarrytown.

    24. Brian Cronin

      i dont think intentionally missing is something that teams practice much…. and from a management standpoint you shouldnt put your players in an unfamiliar position especially at a crucial juncture

      From a management standpoint, shouldn’t you be practicing all different types of reasonable end of game scenarios? Intentionally missing the second free throw (when you’re down by more than one with little time left on the clock) comes up a few times every season, no?

      im not sure if the nba defined how quick a timeout could be called either… is it even possible to grab a rebound and call timeout with .02 seconds? nba should clarify that like they do with the tucker rule…

      They don’t, which is why you’d be able to get the timeout even though logically it would be impossible to seriously signal and be given the timeout in less than half a second.

    25. Brian Cronin

      I’m rooting for LeBron, so I’m rooting for the Rockets.

      You’re not rooting for the Celtics bet to pay off?

    26. hoolahoop

      From a management standpoint, shouldn’t you be practicing all different types of reasonable end of game scenarios? Intentionally missing the second free throw (when you’re down by more than one with little time left on the clock) comes up a few times every season.

      It’s odd how long some things take to become standard practice. Eventually, every team will have set plays and drills to close out in that situation.

    27. DRed

      Steph and Lebron are both a bit turnover happy. Obviously they more than make up for it, but it can be a problem for both of them in really close games.

    28. hoolahoop

      I’m enjoying the Cavs-Celtics series.
      I see it as a privilege to watch the GOAT, likely at the end of his peak greatness. And Boston is young, fast and exciting.

    29. Z-man

      In a way, losing Iggy (or Draymond) is worse for the Warriors than losing Durant, Curry or Klay. One of those 3 guys goes down, the other 2 pick up the slack and take more shots. Iggy and Draymond are total X factors for that team, and their substitutes can’t even begin to replicate what they do.

      But wait, who needs Iggy? They have Jordan Bell, who Jowles has already inducted into his very own bizarro HOF….

    30. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, and Michael Porter are going to lead us to the promised land"

      @AdamZagoria
      Knicks coach David Fizdale & PG @FrankLikina are flying to Boston today and are expected to be at Game 5 of the Cavs-Celtics, per league source. After returning from France, Ntilikina met Fizdale for the first time this week &the #Knicks had about 6 guys working out in Tarrytown.

      It seems like Fizdale is taking this “good relationship with players” stuff very seriously.

      I like it!!

    31. hoolahoop

      For older guys like Phil, and Pop (not to take anything away from him), for the most part, their hopes and dreams are behind them.
      Fiz is that young lion that wants to challenge the biggest male to take over the pride. His burgeoning ambition, an enormous source of positive energy, more than makes up for what he lacks in experience,
      This is going to be an exciting, formative season for the “new” knicks.

    32. Z-man

      “Everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
      -Mike Tyson

      I also like what I’m seeing/hearing but what Fizdale says/does now hardly matters in the long run. If he has shitty players or bad luck, he will lose and eventually get fired by the dumbest owner in the NBA.

    33. lavor postell

      I see it as a privilege to watch the GOAT

      Didn’t realize Jordan made a comeback

    34. Hubert

      You’re not rooting for the Celtics bet to pay off?

      1. I don’t think it’s going to any more.

      2. Have you ever bet on a team you’ve hated your whole life? It’s weird because you want to root for yourself, but it’s hard to actually bring yourself to cheer for them during a game. I find myself automatically pleased when the Cavs win and annoyed when the Celtics do. So yeah, I am actively rooting for LeBron during these games. We’ll see what happens tonight, though.

    35. Frank

      Other possibility re: missing the free throw is a foul that would put GS on the line.
      Dumber stuff has happened.

      Hard to argue against hitting the free throw and ensuring that there’s basically no way you can lose the game in regulation.

    36. Frank

      If Golden State loses…. can you imagine Durant on the 76ers?
      No one’s even talking about that possibility.
      he’d be perfect for them. Good luck scoring when Simmons, Durant, Covington, and Embiid are on the floor.

    37. Brian Cronin

      It’s bizarre that the NBA has had the whole “Players must stand for the national anthem” rule on their books for decades now.

    38. Hubert

      I see it as a privilege to watch the GOAT

      Didn’t realize Jordan made a comeback

      I thought Scottie Pippen’s comments nailed it on the head (with the notable exception of how he tries to pin LeBron down as a small forward; he should have added positional fluidity to one of the many differences between the two eras). They’ve been wildly misconstrued and taken out of context in the Hot Take Circus, so read them for yourself if you haven’t seen them in their entirety:

      There’s really no comparison. Michael Jordan played in an era where the game was different. It was being refereed different than what LeBron is playing in. LeBron plays a different role than what Michael played as a player. In all fairness to Michael, he was never asked to do things that LeBron [does] for his team. He had a lesser role. And stastically that’s why you’re seeing LeBron’s numbers are far better than Michael Jordan’s numbers in terms of what he does throughout the whole game because we didn’t utilize Michael to do things that the Cavs utilize LeBron for. So the comparison is unfair, and they play different positions. And I know a lot of times we love answering that question because we want to hear the storylines behind it, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not a fair comparison to LeBron or Michael. One guy is considered a two guard and one guy is considered a small forward. They definitely are great in their era, they’re both the greatest in their era. But to say who is the greatest, we would never know that. In my eye, Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest basketball player. But Michael and LeBron should never be really compared. It’s almost like comparing Kareem to me. That wouldn’t be fair.””

      I think deep down we all know it’s impossible to declare a GOAT. I bet 90% of the people who think Michael is the GOAT never even saw Russell or Wilt play.

    39. kevin5318

      The way I see the GOAT conversation is who you would take first in an all time draft to compete for the title.

      The thing is are you drafting players at their peaks or are you taking longevity into consideration. The case could be made for Shaq if its just peaks or guys like Lebron or Kareem who were so good for so long.

    40. Hubert

      But like Scottie said, it depends what era’s rules you are using.

      If you’re drafting an all time team under today’s rules, you might take Steph Curry over Bill Russell. But with1964 NBA rules, Steph isn’t coming near your team.

    41. d-mar

      We’ll see what happens tonight, though.

      Please refrain from using the phrase “we’ll see what happens”. I hear it every day from our decisive, take charge commander-in-chief.

    42. Hubert

      I’m not a Bill Simmons fan but I liked his pyramid idea. There should just be an elite pantheon.

      LeBron is in it. MJ is in it. I’d argue Magic is in it (but Bird no way; he’s next tier with Duncan). All we can realistically argue is whether or not a guy deserves to be in that pantheon. It’s pointless to argue which guy in that pantheon was supreme.

    43. Ntilakilla

      The thing that separated MJ from all of the rest, particularly a Chamberlain and even Lebron, was the fact the was a stone cold killer. I know its hard for people who didn’t watch him play during the late 1980s and 1990s to understand it, but there was no greater finisher in the history of professional sports than Jordan. He had an almost compulsive drive to dominate and defeat his opponents by whatever means was at his disposal. He was the meanest competitor I’ve ever seen. And I’ve never seen anything like it before or since in the game and probably never will.

    44. kevin5318

      @42 Very true. I guess for the actual #1 GOAT conversation its easier since guys like Kareeem, Lebron and Jordan would similarly dominate in any era.

    45. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, and Michael Porter are going to lead us to the promised land"

      If you’re drafting an all time team under today’s rules, you might take Steph Curry over Bill Russell.

      I saw a little of Chamberlain and Russell at the end of their careers when I was just a kid and they already below their peak. I saw all of Kareem.

      I would draft all 3 of them over Curry no matter what the rules are.

    46. Bruno Almeida

      It goes the other way too, imagine someone as talented as Kareem with today’s technology, nutrition etc making sure his body is in peak condition 100% of the time, with more skill friendly rule sets etc.

      I don’t think we can safely pinpoint GOATs or anything but greatness is greatness. I just rather say Jordan owned his era and LeBron owns his and that’s fine for me, I was fortunate enough to watch both for a long time.

    47. Jack Bauer

      @45 Kobe was the closest to having that will to win since Jordan that I’ve seen. I am not a fan of either, but the truth is the truth.

      For the “greatest team ever assembled with 4 future hall of famers” Golden State looked pretty discombobulated at the end of last night’s game. Got to give the Rockets credit for hanging in there, particularly on defense.

      This is a series now for sure, Warriors better not dick around or Houston may find a way.

    48. Scorpio Dragon

      For my money, I have to put Hakeem in the GOAT conversation. I mean he’s consistently penalized for having trash teammates, but when he had All-Star level talent (Ralph Sampson) next to him, he was Finals-bound in his what 2nd year? Then Sampson couldn’t stay healthy and the Rockets couldn’t build anything around Hakeem until he almost forced a trade/left the team. His prime was wasted. You have a player here that gives you most of what Russell could give defensively, but add in a scorer that could carry the team offensively like a Kareem and steals like a guard? It’s amazing to me Olajuwon doesn’t at least get mentioned in the potential GOAT category. But I guess it’s the Jordan effect (though I truly believe if Jordan faced Hakeem in 94 or 95 at least one of those championships is going to Dream).

    49. rama, king of superfluous poppycock

      That backpicks.com site covered 40 players in depth, and however silly the methodology, it’s helpful to read about each player and put them in context both in their era and regarding their role on the team. Curry isn’t in the top 20, and that seems right to me.

    50. Cock Jowles, #1 Purveyor of Wanton Chuckery

      https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/CHI/1989.html

      Jordan’s career is so similar to LeBron’s. Look at the trash around Jordan and his absurd stats for the year. VORP has him at 32.4 wins against replacement! In the playoffs, he’s listed as 7+ wins against replacement in 17 games. Similar to the talent-barren teams that LeBron carried to the Finals until he got to Miami.

      And wouldn’t you know, LeBron is sitting at 15.1 BPM and ~7 wins after 15 games in the playoffs. Trying to choose between Jordan and LeBron gets harder every day.

    51. Z-man

      The 3-ball has totally changed the conversation about the GOAT. Who knows how great Jerry West would be in today’s era? Would Kareem be a stretch-5 today if he had grown up shooting 3’s in the playground like today’s centers? Would Isiah have been Steph Curry plus if he had grown up shooting 3’s in the playground like Steph did? Would Bill Russell have adapted his game to be a bigger, stronger, faster, smarter Draymond Green? Would Elgin Baylor and the Big O have been a shorter but mentally tougher and better shooting versions of LeBron?

      It’s really hard to compare players across eras. I think that there’s enough video evidence to conclude that Wilt is the greatest athlete to ever play basketball and holds so many records that will never be broken so he gets my vote, but you could make strong arguments for MJ, LeBron, Kareem and Russell (sorry, Ntilikilla, if you did the research, you’d discover that Russell’s desire to win and killer instinct were even more legendary than MJ’s. For example, he NEVER would have retired in his prime like MJ did.) After those 5, there are some honorable mention guys….Oscar, Bird, Magic, Duncan…but I think you can never definitively determine who the GOAT is to everyone’s satisfaction.

      All that said, if I’m picking teams for the Apocalypse game 7, I’m probably taking prime Michael Jordan.

    52. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, and Michael Porter are going to lead us to the promised land"

      I would take Jordan over Lebron every time.

      I think a reasonable case can be made that Lebron is a more complete package because he’s bigger and has a bigger playmaking role, but mentally, there are in different leagues. Jordan was WAY tougher mentally. I’ve seen plenty of instances where Lebron was clearly struggling with playoff pressure, free throws at the end of games, or just mentally zoned out for a couple of games. That never happened to Jordan. What you see from Lebron on his best nights (which are more consistent now) is what you would get from Jordan all the time. He was mentally fiercer and tougher under fire.

    53. Z-man

      The other thing about Russell is that he was not the most physically dominant player (even though a sensational athlete) and year after year got the better of Wilt except in 1967 when Wilt had great players around him. Russell was transcendent at making his teammates better, more so than any of the other 4 GOAT candidates. Only Magic and Bird compare in that regard. You think Kyrie begs off a championship caliber team with Russell, Bird or Magic in charge? I doubt it.

    54. rama, king of superfluous poppycock

      I’ve actually been thinking about mental toughness in today’s game. I don’t believe that any player today compares to the mentally tough players of other eras. Is it the money, the fame, how our overall culture has changed? A lot of those players were straight up killers, and I don’t think today’s best players have experienced anything like it.

    55. Hubert

      The thing that separated MJ from all of the rest, particularly a Chamberlain and even Lebron, was the fact the was a stone cold killer. I know its hard for people who didn’t watch him play during the late 1980s and 1990s to understand it, but there was no greater finisher in the history of professional sports than Jordan. He had an almost compulsive drive to dominate and defeat his opponents by whatever means was at his disposal. He was the meanest competitor I’ve ever seen. And I’ve never seen anything like it before or since in the game and probably never will.

      He was a psychopath.

      The fact that LeBron dominates to the same degree without MJ’s sociopathic tendencies is what makes LeBron superior, to me. LeBron and Magic (too often omitted from GOAT conversations, IMHO) dominated with a combination of physical and cerebral superiority. I personally find that more impressive than being able to destroy people because you’re borderline insane.

    56. Hubert

      And another thing: people talk about how you can’t touch anyone today without a foul being called. You couldn’t touch Jordan in the 90’s, either. Fouls were definitely harder when he played, but Jordan always had his own whistle.

    57. kevin5318

      Didn’t Russell have a cross burned onto his yard when he was a Celtic? Probably a rougher upbringing than any player in the league today.

    58. Hubert

      All that said, if I’m picking teams for the Apocalypse game 7, I’m probably taking prime Michael Jordan.

      Let’s do this. Snake style. You took MJ 1. I’m taking LeBron and Magic 2 & 3. Picks 4 & 5 to you.

    59. thenamestsam

      Pelton did a nice Jordan vs Lebron breakdown recently. His conclusion was that Jordan had the higher peak (although it’s not a blowout) but that Lebron has basically caught him in career value given his longevity and (barring injury or unexpected rapid decline) will clearly far surpass him during the next few years. That seems basically right to me. I still think Jordan’s best edges Lebron’s best but if I had to pick just one and I get to have his whole career I think I’d already take Lebron and I expect he’ll have a significant edge in that category by the time he hangs them up.

    60. Hubert

      @63 Barkley and Jerry West.

      Happy to do this with anyone else who wants to start with MJ. I’ve got fuck all to do at work.

    61. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I think Jordan had the single season highest peak of any player, but Kareem and soon LeBron will beat him out in longevity. LeBron probably has the most productive 8 season stretch of basketball ever, and Kareem is by far the most productive over the longest period of time. My top 3 in order (assuming LeBron ages gracefully)

      1. LeBron
      2. Kareem
      3. Jordan

      I pick that order because I value long term productivity. But if it’s game 7 of the finals, I’m taking Jordan every time. Who you want for what purpose is to some extent a pragmatic issues/relative to ones interests and values re: basketball, so I don’t think there’s a correct answer here unless lebron is posting the same stat line at 40 that he is now.

      I actually think Wilt is a bit overrated because of his gaudy counting stats. Most seasons he wasn’t amazingly efficient even for his time and he was very indifferent on defense while his style of offense was generally unjustifiedly ball stopping given his relative efficiency. Certainly an all timer, but maybe in the back half of the top 10 or early part of 10-15, to me.

    62. TheOakmanCometh

      Per Woj:

      Last year, I thought Phoenix had a chance to get Porzingis if they were willing to put the fourth pick in, which would’ve been Josh Jackson. Looking back, at the time, I kinda thought I would have done that. If I could get Porzingis to play with, and I didn’t have to give up Devin Booker, there was no one in that draft up there that…I would’ve gotten Porzingis. But I understood they were careful, they still believe in Josh Jackson, and Porzingis wasn’t super enthusiastic about Phoenix and what his future would’ve been there. They wanna be able to re-sign him, so I get showing some restraint there.

    63. nicos

      I’ve actually been thinking about mental toughness in today’s game. I don’t believe that any player today compares to the mentally tough players of other eras. Is it the money, the fame, how our overall culture has changed? A lot of those players were straight up killers, and I don’t think today’s best players have experienced anything like it.

      And previous generations didn’t have to worry about “managing their brand” 24/7. The level of scrutiny these guys face off the court now dwarfs anything that guys in the pre-social media era had to deal with. Those vague rumors about Jordan gambling would have been repeated ad infinitum on twitter and there would have almost certainly had to have been a very public accounting both from Jordan and the league office. Now the games are only one part of an entertainment package that is 24/7 365- it’s no wonder guys may not have the same level of focus game to game as they once did.

    64. ClashFan

      Instead of GOAT, how about…

      GOTE (Greatest of This Era)
      and
      GORN (Greatest of Right Now)
      and
      GIHOM (Greatest in His Own Mind), known in slang as the Melo. As in, Beasley is the Melo!
      :-)

    65. Ntilakilla

      The fact that LeBron dominates to the same degree without MJ’s sociopathic tendencies is what makes LeBron superior, to me.

      I am not certain I follow this train of logic. You are essentially penalizing a player for having a valuable trait over another player.

      I would also like to add another point in the case for Jordan, the fact that he was a guard who played in the most physical era in NBA history where handchecking was a daily reality for players at his offensive position.

    66. kevin5318

      In terms of longevity those guys also didn’t have the resources and modern medicine that Lebron utilizes.

    67. Ntilakilla

      I would have loved to have seen Steph Curry play in the handcheck era. Oh man that would be so amazing.

    68. Hubert

      I would also like to add another point in the case for Jordan, the fact that he was a guard who played in the most physical era in NBA history where handchecking was a daily reality for players at his offensive position.

      The 90s was not the most physical era in basketball. Not even close. The Knicks were very physical, precisely because Pat Riley thought the league had gone soft and could be roughed up. But they were by no means representative of the league. Indiana came along and imitated their style. That’s about it. The other top teams of the 90s were not physical at all.

      You had the Mark Price/Brad Daugherty Cavs.
      The LJ/Mourning/Kendall Gill Hornets
      The Dominique Wilkins/Kevin Willis Hawks
      The Derrick Coleman/Kenny Anderson/Drazen Petrovic Nets
      Penny and Shaq
      David Robinson with Sean Elliott & Vinny Del Negro
      Kemp and Payton

      Talented team. But the league cracked down on physical play, brawling, and hand checking DURING Jordan’s prime. They subsequently took it to new levels after he retired. But the 90s were nothing like the 80s when it came to physical play. And like I said above, he had a special whistle. Every year the dude shot as many or more free throws as all the centers who were getting killed in the post. Part of it was his driving, obviously. But part of it was the refs protected him and you couldn’t guard him like every other player.

    69. Donnie Walsh

      A team of Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Greg Maddux, Jimmy Connors, and Kim Il-Sung would find a way to win every game, whether it’s basketball, baseball, golf, or whatever.

      The secret to winning is hating to lose.

    70. Ntilakilla

      Talented team. But the league cracked down on physical play, brawling, and hand checking DURING Jordan’s prime.

      What? You do know that Jordan’s physical prime was in the 1988-1991 era when the Pistons played. The Bad Boy Pistons, which were the most physical team in NBA history. The same Bad Boy Pistons which invented the Jordan Rules to stop him.

    71. nicos

      I would also like to add another point in the case for Jordan, the fact that he was a guard who played in the most physical era in NBA history where handchecking was a daily reality for players at his offensive position.

      LeBron would have been absolutely unstoppable in the Jordan era. Too big and strong to be bothered much by hand checking and so quick that (like Jordan) he’d be at the basket before help could arrive given that other guys couldn’t cheat off their men (or straight up zone) they way they do now. Imagine if you could just clear the entire side of the floor and let LBJ either blow by bigger guys or back down smaller players- forget it. Jordan would have to adjust his game a lot more than LeBron.

    72. Ntilakilla

      Here is a better video on The Jordan Rules. I would love to see Lebron deal with this kind of stuff against a team with Lambier, Rodman, Dumars, Thomas, Dantley and Salley. Those Pistons-Bulls wars of the late 1980s early 1990s are what finalized Jordan’s conversion into a total cold-blooded killer on the court. He became meaner than they were to beat them. Its no contest. He was the GOAT.

    73. Ntilakilla

      Too big and strong to be bothered much by hand checking and so quick that (like Jordan) he’d be at the basket before help could arrive given that other guys couldn’t cheat off their men (or straight up zone) they way they do now.

      He would have been nailed everytime he drives to the paint like a freight train. Nailed hard. And back then you didn’t get flagrants for touching someone with the ball. Lebron would have been a lot more hesitant to drive and could have been more easily rerouted to where defenses wanted.

    74. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I’m of the opinion that the illegal defense rules of the 80s and 90s at least balanced out or even outweighed the minus that handchecking was for Jordan vis a vis Lebron. One reason iso basketball (and undoubtedly Michael is the greatest iso scorer in NBA history) in the late 80s and 90s was so successful is because you couldn’t overload the strong side the way everyone does nowadays (thanks to Thibs), constantly giving Jordan one on one opportunities and making doubles much harder to accomplish because any kind of zone defense was completely illegal. Imagine what Lebron would do if you effectively weren’t allowed to double him. So I think the NBA rule changes argument cuts both ways, rather than just in Jordan’s favor. At the very least it’s difficult to quantify which would’ve affected who more in the counterfactual scenarios.

    75. Ntilakilla

      One reason iso basketball (and undoubtedly Michael is the greatest iso scorer in NBA history) in the late 80s and 90s was so successful is because you couldn’t overload the strong side the way everyone does nowadays (thanks to Thibs), constantly giving Jordan one on one opportunities and making doubles much harder to accomplish because any kind of zone defense was completely illegal.

      That, to me, is negated by the greater leeway defenders were allowed to foul opposing players. Part of what made Jordan so great was that he would play driving hard to the basket knowing he was going to get hammered. Not only could you flagrant foul and still stay in the game, the rules for determining such fouls were so much more lax. And this was before the era of artform flopping. I really believe a flopper like Lebron would have had a problem with what merited fouling in those days.

    76. lavor postell

      Hard to believe any era could have more glorified ISO ball than I’ve seen the last few years in the conference finals and Finals series. The GSW/HOU series has literally just been an ISOfest. Start switching your weakest defender willingly on every possession onto Jordan, the actual greatest ISO player of all time, and see how that strategy works out.

      I still think Jordan’s best edges Lebron’s best but if I had to pick just one and I get to have his whole career I think I’d already take Lebron

      Maybe it’s just me but I would always rather have the career with 6 titles, 6 Finals MVPs, 5 MVPs, a DPOY, 9 First Team all NBA defense selections and 10 scoring titles over all of LeBrons truly considerably achievements. I get that LeBron has racked up some truly astounding numbers but I don’t think anybody’s career could hit the consistent heights on an individual and team level Jordan’s did, at least not in the modern era.

      If I’m ranking a top 5 it’d be
      1. Jordan
      2. Kareem
      3. LeBron
      4. Magic
      5. Bird

      With Duncan, Shaq and Hakeem pushing real hard.

      On another note Sidney Moncrief must be the most criminally underrated player in NBA history. How is that guy NOT in the hall of fame?

    77. thenamestsam

      I really believe a flopper like Lebron would have had a problem with what merited fouling in those days.

      I only watched the first minute of the video, but both I saw in that portion were clear fouls. Does Lebron snap his head back more than is natural? Maybe, but I also think slow motion HD replays have a tendency to make things look exaggerated. I’ve always seen it as the only recourse he has to get the refs to notice when he’s fouled given how much bigger and stronger he is than most players who play like him (i.e. guards).

      I think the more relevant evidence about Lebron if we’re discussing his ability to play in the late 80s/90s is the fact that he has an unbelievable record of staying on the floor. The guy is nigh-on indestructable. I’ve seen his suffer nasty ankle rolls that would have kept other guys out for two weeks, relace his shoes tighter and keep on playing. I find it hard to square the idea that he isn’t tough enough to play in that era with the fact that he pretty much never misses time for minor injuries of any type.

      To me the logical conclusion is that a guy whose arguably greatest attribute is his exceptional size, strength and athleticism would have thrived in an era where more physicality was allowed.

    78. lavor postell

      LeBron wouldn’t have had the space to drive that he has in this modern era though either. It’s not surprise some of the greatest shot blockers and defensive big men in NBA history existed during MJs career. It’s not just about being bigger, stronger and faster. Just getting to the rim woulf have been a much harder task then because of how much more cluttered the lane was.

    79. nicos

      LeBron finishes through contact better than anyone I’ve seen outside of Shaq. Does he occasionally exaggerate contact to get calls? Sure, but he’s been taking it to the rack aggressively for 15 years and absorbing as much contact as anyone in the league- he is in no way, shape or form soft. He’d have had no trouble adjusting to physical play and in a different era would probably have dished out his share on the other end as well.

    80. Brian Cronin

      Forgetting “who’s the best” or what, just imagine if you just took modern Lebron and just teleported him to 1992 and just had him show up for work one day. Can you imagine how the players of 1992 would react to, in effect, Karl Malone running the court like a point and taking one less three per game than the NBA’s leader in threes per game in 1991-92 (Vernon Maxwell)?

      I mean this not as any sort of statement about Lebron being better or whatever, just noting that that would be amazing, right?

    81. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      @81

      Sidney Moncrief really was amazing. Mind-boggling that he’s not a HOFer.

    82. Donnie Walsh

      Can you imagine how the players of 1992 would react to, in effect, Karl Malone running the court like a point and taking one less three per game than the NBA’s leader in threes per game in 1991-92 (Vernon Maxwell)?

      If LeBron travelled back in time to 1992, that Cavs team would have won 75 games and been considered an all time great.

      That team won 57 games already, with their top 3 minute guys all posting +.200 WS/48s (Price, Nance, and Daugherty). Adding James to that mix would have made them unbeatable, even by the Jordan Bulls and Riley Knicks.

    83. DRed

      just noting that would be amazing, right?

      It’s still amazing, we’re just used to it

    84. BigBlueAL

      I’ve read and seen alot of stuff about Golden St losing cause they didn’t have Iggy. He is their 5th best player, your’e telling me their big 4 of Curry/KD/Klay/Green isn’t enough without Iguodola?? GTFO

    85. Z-man

      LeBron, Jordan, Kareem, Wilt and Russell would have been immortals in any era. It’s possible that in the 1960’s, LeBron would have been forced by rigid HS and college coaches to be a back-to-the basket PF. He wouldn’t have grown up emulating Jordan’s every move to the point where he wore his number. Maybe in today’s game, Jordan is James Harden plus on offense and the best wing defender in the league.

    86. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, and Michael Porter are going to lead us to the promised land"

      I was too polite in my first post about James vs. Jordan.

      I think James would wilt the moment Jordan dunked over him and stared him down. If James dunked over Jordan first, Jordan would come back at him and score 5 times in a row, stare him down, and James would wilt. Again, you can argue that James has the better overall package and stats, but they aren’t even close as players and competitors. Jordan was definitely better. Jordan took pleasure in crushing other all time great players and would have sent James away whimpering.

    87. The Glass Half Rebuilt

      George Hill, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson should be enough to win a playoff series for a guy like LeBron, who normally makes his teammates much better. I guess LeBron has lost his touch, and/or he’s checked out in Cleveland and decided he’s going to let Ty Lue coach (clearly a terrible idea).

    88. Grocer

      @63 Barkley and Jerry West.

      Duncan and Malone are still on the board, and you pick Barkley to play the four? You have lost your GM job, sir.

    89. Knick fan not in NJ at this time

      I don’t know who the GOAT is, but I lean towards Kareem. However, another thing that makes it hard to compare different eras is the fact that in the past many players played four years in college before being in the NBA. Kareem did, for example. He was so dominant in college, they changed the rules to outlaw dunking. If he had gone straight to the NBA after one year of college or directly from high school, who knows what would have happened. He could have been dominant for even more years, or he could never have even developed the skyhook.

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