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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Friday, Feb 15 2013)

  • [New York Post] Stalling at break, Knicks now go into overdrive (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 04:11:06 -0500)
    3 Things that need to happen for knicks to make the Finals:
    1. Raymond Felton to start defending like he means it and shut down quick point guards without worrying about his pinkie.
    2. Carmelo Anthony has to take fewer shots, trust his teammates and focus more on defense.
    3…

  • [New York Post] Source: Melo expecting to play in All-Star Game (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 04:06:43 -0500)
    Carmelo Anthony arrived in Houston yesterday, and a league source said the NBA has been told the Knicks’ injured superstar is expecting to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game.
    Anthony injured his right biceps during Wednesday’s 92-88 loss to Toronto during which he shot just 5-of-24. Anthony said he…

  • [New York Times] LeBron’s Top-Flight Play Continues as Streak Ends (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 08:21:54 GMT)
    With a single meaningless miss, LeBron James’ unprecedented run of high-scoring efficiency officially came to an end.

  • [New York Times] Clippers Rout Lakers 125-101, Clinch Season Series (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 07:33:52 GMT)
    The Los Angeles Clippers have no banners on the walls or in the rafters at Staples Center. They would need decades to measure up to the Lakers’ history.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Heat’s LeBron James Has 39 in Victory, but Shooting Streak Ends (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:50:18 GMT)
    LeBron James led the Heat to a 110-100 win at the Thunder, but a late miss dropped his field-goal percentage below 60 for the first time in seven games.

  • [New York Times] Keeping Score: Keeping Score – Best Dunk and 3-Point Specialists? No Contest (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:42:37 GMT)
    The N.B.A. will have its 3-point and dunk contests on Saturday in Houston, and Ray Allen and Dwight Howard have dominated those categories in the last decade in regular-season play.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: N.B.A. Flopping Rule Seems to Be Effective (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:39:31 GMT)
    The N.B.A.’s new antiflopping policy against defenders overacting physical contact appears to have cut down on the rampant acts.

  • [New York Times] James’ Record Streak Ends as Heat Overcome Thunder (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:36:39 GMT)
    LeBron James continued his sizzling form with 39 points in the Miami Heat’s 110-100 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday but missed a late three-pointer to bring his record scoring streak to an end.

  • [New York Times] LeBron’s Streak Ends, Heat Pound Thunder 110-100 (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:33:53 GMT)
    With LeBron James playing at his best level yet, the Miami Heat powered into the All-Star break with a reminder to the Oklahoma City Thunder that the NBA championship still resides on South Beach.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Knicks’ Anthony Shows No Pain at All-Star Gathering (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:15:07 GMT)
    Despite a biceps injury, Carmelo Anthony kept shooting at a fan event Thursday, just as he did the night before in the Knicks’ loss to the Raptors.

  • [New York Times] Report: Jerry Buss Hospitalized With Cancer (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 03:45:59 GMT)
    Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been hospitalized with cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A.’s Site to Feature Updated Stat Database (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 03:35:11 GMT)
    The N.B.A. is unveiling a redesigned, fully sortable engine â?? free to the public â?? that contains every box score, allows fans to analyze lineups and includes advanced metrics.

  • [New York Times] Law Firm Withholding Information on N.B.A. Union’s Contract (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 03:21:03 GMT)
    Because of an investigation by prosecutors, the firm charged with auditing the N.B.A. players union is withholding further information about a contract between the union and a financial services company.

  • [New York Times] Like Mike? Peers See LeBron for Own Greatness (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 01:31:09 GMT)
    LeBron James changed his jersey number, won an NBA championship and still gets inevitably compared to Michael Jordan at nearly every opportunity.

  • [New York Times] Yao Talks Animal Rights at Zoo Visit (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 00:28:37 GMT)
    Yao Ming fed a giraffe, petted a rhino and watched an elephant do a headstand during a visit to the Houston Zoo on Thursday.

  • [New York Daily News] Even with bruised arm, Melo sees Stars (Fri, 15 Feb 2013 03:49:58 GMT)
    Carmelo Anthony is expected to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game despite suffering a bruised right arm in Wednesday’s loss to Toronto that had him hinting that the injury could keep him out of the NBA’s winter classic.

  • 63 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Friday, Feb 15 2013)

    1. flossy

      Can anyone deny at this point that the Heat were just on cruise control for the first half of the season? It’s a little depressing to realize that the Knicks couldn’t keep pace with the Heat in the standings even back when we were unsustainably hot and Miami was hitting the snooze button.

    2. d-mar

      flossy:
      Can anyone deny at this point that the Heat were just on cruise control for the first half of the season?It’s a little depressing to realize that the Knicks couldn’t keep pace with the Heat in the standings even back when we were unsustainably hot and Miami was hitting the snooze button.

      I think the game on March 3rd at MSG will tell a lot. If they come in and spank us, you can throw out our two earlier wins as anomalies and just concede that they are vastly better than every other team in the East, and probably the NBA.

    3. Juany8

      flossy:
      Can anyone deny at this point that the Heat were just on cruise control for the first half of the season?It’s a little depressing to realize that the Knicks couldn’t keep pace with the Heat in the standings even back when we were unsustainably hot and Miami was hitting the snooze button.

      I always found it weird that people thought otherwise, it was pretty blatant that they weren’t trying as hard. That being said, the gap isn’t actually that big and they might get bored again. They’ve made it pretty blatant that they’re the team to beat going into the playoffs even if they go .500 the rest of the way

    4. Frank

      flossy:
      Can anyone deny at this point that the Heat were just on cruise control for the first half of the season?It’s a little depressing to realize that the Knicks couldn’t keep pace with the Heat in the standings even back when we were unsustainably hot and Miami was hitting the snooze button.

      There are ebbs and flows to every season. Right now LBJ is playing out of his mind, and assuming things will even out, he will have a cold streak eventually. Hopefully that happens while we’re playing them in the playoffs. I still think the Heat need LBJ to be playing at a superhuman level for them to even get out of the East. If he has anything less than that, or gets injured, etc, they’re very beatable.

    5. flossy

      Frank: There are ebbs and flows to every season. Right now LBJ is playing out of his mind, and assuming things will even out, he will have a cold streak eventually. Hopefully that happens while we’re playing them in the playoffs.I still think the Heat need LBJ to be playing at a superhuman level for them to even get out of the East. If he has anything less than that, or gets injured, etc, they’re very beatable.

      I don’t know, I really think every team but the Knicks will be a cakewalk for the Heat if they stay healthy. Obviously there are ebbs and flows to performance throughout the season, but LeBron seems like he can just decide when to dominate and chooses not to bother for Tuesday night games in December (which is totally reasonable).

    6. ruruland

      flossy: I don’t know, I really think every team but the Knicks will be a cakewalk for the Heat if they stay healthy.Obviously there are ebbs and flows to performance throughout the season, but LeBron seems like he can just decide when to dominate and chooses not to bother for Tuesday night games in December (which is totally reasonable).

      Let’s not forget, however, that Miami lost to a very mediocre Bostom team 3 straight times in the playoffs, and needed a 45/15/5 from Lebron in game 6.

      They also lost two in a row to Indiana, and it appeared as though they were on the verge of self-destruction with Wade and Spoelstra nearly fighting on the court.

      Sure, Bosh missed a few of those games, but if Miami cruises through the playoffs it will be because Lebron plays out of his mind and there’s nothing any team can do about it.

      Right now Lebron might be having the greatest stretch for any player not named Wilt Chamberlain.

      Last 16 games: 30/7/7/2steals/1block .700 TS

      The shots he hit last night were incredible. Step-back jumpers against great length.

      When one of greatest players of all time is having his greatest stretch, and he’s got a very good team around him, the Heat are basically unbeatable.

      They’d buzzsaw any team in the west if Lebron plays like that, as you saw last night in OKC.

    7. thenamestsam

      At the very least we do match up with them very well.

      The first and most important key to beating them is to limit turnovers. If you give them transition and semi transition opportunities they will absolutely crush you with dunks and open 3s. If you stop that you give yourself a chance, and we’re good at avoiding turnovers for the most part.

      2nd key is to have a lot of guys who can both pass the ball and knock down open shots. They’re going to aggressively help on defense and count on you not being able to beat their rotations. So far in the two meetings this year the Knicks were able to do this to a tee. They got the defense moving, they swung the ball, and they knocked down shots. Those rotations are obviously going to be that much quicker in the playoffs, but if you do it well you can still make it work. Dallas did it, Boston did it, and this Knicks team is capable of doing it. They’ll need to have hot shooting games (as they did in both Ws this year) but they’re capable of doing it.

      Lebron and Wade will get theirs no matter what, but if you don’t turn the ball over and you shoot well you cut off the transition game, and they’re still not THAT great in the halfcourt. Lebron’s post game has made them much better than they were when Dallas took them out, but I don’t think they’re unbeatable if you make it that kind of game.

    8. DRed

      Yeah, I don’t get this ‘they obviously weren’t trying earlier’ idea. What’s going on now is that Lebron is playing about as well as it is possible for a basketball player to play. It’s not like the rest of the team has raised their game dramatically. Every time OKC tried to get back into the game last night Lebron made a play. Every time. He’s just been amazing for the last few weeks.

    9. thenamestsam

      ruruland: Let’s not forget, however, that Miami lost to a very mediocre Bostom team 3 straight times in the playoffs, and needed a 45/15/5 from Lebron in game 6.

      They also lost two in a row to Indiana, and it appeared as though they were on the verge of self-destruction with Wade and Spoelstra nearly fighting on the court.

      Sure, Bosh missed a few of those games, but if Miami cruises through the playoffs it will be because Lebron plays out of his mind and there’s nothing any team can do about it.

      Right now Lebron might be having the greatest stretch for any player not named Wilt Chamberlain.

      Last 16 games: 30/7/7/2steals/1block .700 TS

      The shots he hit last night were incredible. Step-back jumpers against great length.

      When one of greatest players of all time is having his greatest stretch, and he’s got a very good team around him, the Heat are basically unbeatable.

      They’d buzzsaw any team in the west if Lebron plays like that, as you saw last night in OKC.

      Bosh missed a few of those games. Like both losses to Indiana, and 2 of the 3 losses to Boston. And played 14 minutes in the Game 5 loss against Boston. I think we can beat them, but we shouldn’t fudge the record. In games where Bosh was healthy (25+ minutes) they went 10-2 in last year’s playoffs. It’s not 2001 Lakers, but that’s pretty dominant. And they’re better now.

      But I think you’re basically right that if Lebron is playing like this we can basically call the whole thing off. 10 point win on the road in OKC with the Thunder getting a GREAT whistle. Wins don’t get much better than that. If he’s playing like mortal Lebron we’ll have a chance if we play our best.

    10. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Don’t forget that Chris Andersen is now on the Heat, so you can expect them to get several additional possessions each game in which he gets significant burn.

    11. BigBlueAL

      ruruland: Let’s not forget, however, that Miami lost to a very mediocre Bostom team 3 straight times in the playoffs, and needed a 45/15/5 from Lebron in game 6.

      They also lost two in a row to Indiana, and it appeared as though they were on the verge of self-destruction with Wade and Spoelstra nearly fighting on the court.

      Sure, Bosh missed a few of those games, but if Miami cruises through the playoffs it will be because Lebron plays out of his mind and there’s nothing any team can do about it.

      Right now Lebron might be having the greatest stretch for any player not named Wilt Chamberlain.

      Last 16 games: 30/7/7/2steals/1block .700 TS

      The shots he hit last night were incredible. Step-back jumpers against great length.

      When one of greatest players of all time is having his greatest stretch, and he’s got a very good team around him, the Heat are basically unbeatable.

      They’d buzzsaw any team in the west if Lebron plays like that, as you saw last night in OKC.

      Michael Jordan had an 81 game stretch (the entire 1988-89 season) where he averaged 32.5 pts, 8 rebs, 8 asts and 2.9 stls per game but his TS% was “only” 61.4%.

    12. flossy

      BigBlueAL: Michael Jordan had an 81 game stretch (the entire 1988-89 season) where he averaged 32.5 pts, 8 rebs, 8 asts and 2.9 stls per game but his TS% was “only” 61.4%.

      Yep, and this was during the era of hand-checking, too.

    13. Frank

      flossy: Yep, and this was during the era of hand-checking, too.

      And where you could basically assault players when they went to the rim. Jordan would have been the victim of about 80 flagrant 2’s per season (75 of them from the Knicks and Pistons) if they called the game back then like they do now.

    14. nicos

      flossy: Yep, and this was during the era of hand-checking, too.

      I tend to think that hand-checking gets balanced out by the elimination of the illegal defense call. How often did the Bulls completely empty one side of the court and let Jordan go one on one with no one remotely close enough to rotate into the paint and challenge the shot without picking up an illegal defense call? Enough that they changed the rules to keep it from happening. If LBJ could have done that the Cavs might have won a championship.

    15. flossy

      nicos: I tend to think that hand-checking gets balanced out by the elimination of the illegal defense call.How often did the Bulls completely empty one side of the court and let Jordan go one on one with no one remotely close enough to rotate into the paint and challenge the shot without picking up an illegal defense call?Enough that they changed the rules to keep it from happening.If LBJ could have done that the Cavs might have won a championship.

      I don’t know, I tend to side with Frank above in #14. The Eastern Conference in the late 80s/early 90’s not only permitted hand-checking, but fouls in the paint that bordered on assault. Let’s not forget that LBJ has 3″ and probably 30ish lbs on Jordan.

      I’m pretty sure Jordan in his prime could average like 45/game in today’s NBA.

    16. max fisher-cohen

      The Knicks are the type of team that can give Miami problems, just like Dallas was. The problem is Kidd is 2 years older, and IMO more importantly, the Knicks lack the Shawn Marion type player, one of the few players who can really slow lebron down. Anthony hasn’t been bad at guarding lebron, but you really don’t want him having to concern himself with that, and Shumpert just doesn’t have the size to matchup with LBJ.

      Last and most important is that Lebron is BETTER than he was in 2010. He can shoot from outside now, making the prevent style defense Dallas played with Marion and Chandler’s excellent help defense less likely to help. LBJ also seems to have overcome the playoff choking issues, which were teams’ best hopes when it came to beating MIA.

      As far as Boston taking MIA to 7 games goes, Bosh was out in 2 of those 3 games and was bad and on a minutes restriction in the third. Your real hope for beating MIA is that one of their three good players gets hurt. Wade has always been injury prone and is pretty old now, and Bosh is no iron man either. Still, I’d put the odds of Stoudemire, Chandler, Kidd or Shumpert missing time as MORE likely than Miami losing anyone who matters.

    17. thenamestsam

      nicos: I tend to think that hand-checking gets balanced out by the elimination of the illegal defense call.How often did the Bulls completely empty one side of the court and let Jordan go one on one with no one remotely close enough to rotate into the paint and challenge the shot without picking up an illegal defense call?Enough that they changed the rules to keep it from happening.If LBJ could have done that the Cavs might have won a championship.

      I think you’re right that illegal defense is a bigger deal than people make it out to be. Jordan was the PERFECT player for the no illegal defense era. Completely unstoppable 1-on-1 scorer even with handchecking and an absolute lockdown 1-1 defender.

      That said, I really think Lebron is basically the perfect superstar for this era of overloaded strong side defenses. Also a dominant one on one scorer (not Jordan good, but still amazing), but also an amazing passer. Nobody I’ve ever seen is as good at seeing over the defense and picking out those skip passes that are critical to beating the Thibodeau style man-zone hybrids that are so popular now. And defensively the same thing. His big strength is how amazing he is at rotating. Good one on one defender as well, but not dominant. But in rotation, he’s pretty flawless. He closes out and contests without fouling or getting blown by, he can guard guys on the perimeter or in the paint, and he rarely misses an assignment.

      I really don’t think it’s as simple as saying one era was harder or easier. They’re different. Jordan wouldn’t have been the same player in today’s league. He’d face near constant doubles and adapting to that would have changed his game. He still would have dominated, but in a different way, not just by doing the same thing only more.

    18. BigBlueAL

      Frank:
      speaking of Jordan – that article from Outside the Lines is so unbelievably depressing.For me – who loved Jordan even while hating him and the Bulls so much in the 90s – it’s a real shock to hear him talking like that. Highly recommend for anyone in their 30s or older who really remembers those wars.

      http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/page/Michael-Jordan/michael-jordan-not-left-building

      I can’t believe he’s 50.

      I guess all the Knicks have to do is force LeBron to go left and hope he misses most of his pull-up jumpers.

    19. nicos

      He’d still be the best player in the league but I’m not sure how much his numbers would change. It’s much less physical but it’s also so much easier to double team guys now- hell the Spurs were double teaming Melo BEFORE the catch this year something you couldn’t have done in Jordan’s day. And it’s not just hard doubles- you can cheat off of guys all you like- once Jordan beat his man he generally had a clear path to the basket (where he got hammered but still) now there’d be two guys cheating over to help before he even got into the lane. Teams certainly tried to cheat over on Jordan back in the day but were limited in how far they could stray from their men. I don’t think there’s any question he’d have a harder time getting to the rim now- if they choose to, defensive teams can just create so much traffic in the lane that you’re forced to shoot over the top of it.

    20. BigBlueAL

      One other thing about Jordan’s era that he played in was the amount of very good to HOF caliber Centers and PF’s that were around at that time. Big difference from today’s NBA.

    21. Frank

      BigBlueAL: I guess all the Knicks have to do is force LeBron to go left and hope he misses most of his pull-up jumpers.

      Actually on that note – does it make anyone else crazy that the Knicks don’t seem to do simple but detailed things like force guys to their weak hand etc.? Stuff that Clyde calls them out on during every telecast? I remember reading an article about Thibodeau (was it Zach Lowe? can’t remember) and how he absolutely harps on NEVER rotating away from a corner shooter (unless it’s Ronnie Brewer) even if it means giving up a wide open wing 3 pointer. It makes perfect sense, but we do that kind of stuff constantly. Details details details.

    22. Owen

      It’s an interesting thing to think about, comparing the league in the 80s and now. It strikes me the talent pool is so much bigger than it used to be, with all the international players in the league. That would be something i would say in Lebron’s defense.

      Hard to say anyone other than MJ was the greatest. Lebron has some time to make his case though….

    23. BigBlueAL

      Frank: Actually on that note – does it make anyone else crazy that the Knicks don’t seem to do simple but detailed things like force guys to their weak hand etc.?Stuff that Clyde calls them out on during every telecast? I remember reading an article about Thibodeau (was it Zach Lowe? can’t remember) and how he absolutely harps on NEVER rotating away from a corner shooter (unless it’s Ronnie Brewer) even if it means giving up a wide open wing 3 pointer. It makes perfect sense, but we do that kind of stuff constantly. Details details details.

      Yeah I remember reading quotes from Battier after they lost to the Bulls at home this season and he was talking about this. He would get the ball at the 3pt line from the wing wide open and would look to swing it to the corner but they wouldnt rotate to him and leave the corner 3pt shooter open and he said it really confused and messed him up.

      Jeff Van Gundy always says that a big part of playing good defense is knowing the personnel of the other team and specifically knowing their strengths and weaknesses. You would think especially now with all the specific stats and video available that you can truly figure out a player’s strengths and weaknesses on offense teams would be that much better prepared on defense to take advantage of this. The Knicks at times seem stunned when they leave certain players wide open for 3 and they continue to make them lol.

    24. DRed

      Owen:
      It’s an interesting thing to think about, comparing the league in the 80s and now. It strikes me the talent pool is so much bigger than it used to be, with all the international players in the league now. That would be something i would say in Lebron’s defense.

      Hard to say anyone other than MJ was the greatest. Lebron has some time to make his case though….

      You can probably make an argument for Magic being the greatest.

      1979-80: 20.6 Wins Produced, 0.353 WP48
      1980-81: 14.6 Wins Produced, 0.512 WP48
      1981-82: 29.6 Wins Produced, 0.475 WP48
      1982-83: 29.3 Wins Produced, 0.484 WP48
      1983-84: 24.5 Wins Produced, 0.459 WP48
      1984-85: 24.3 Wins Produced, 0.420 WP48
      1985-86: 22.8 Wins Produced, 0.425 WP48
      1986-87: 26.9 Wins Produced, 0.444 WP48
      1987-88: 18.9 Wins Produced, 0.345 WP48
      1988-89: 28.4 Wins Produced, 0.472 WP48
      1989-90: 26.1 Wins Produced, 0.426 WP48
      1990-91: 26.7 Wins Produced, 0.436 WP48
      1995-96: 4.6 Wins Produced, 0.231 WP48

      There, I just made a very crude version of that argument.

    25. flossy

      Frank: Actually on that note – does it make anyone else crazy that the Knicks don’t seem to do simple but detailed things like force guys to their weak hand etc.?Stuff that Clyde calls them out on during every telecast? I remember reading an article about Thibodeau (was it Zach Lowe? can’t remember) and how he absolutely harps on NEVER rotating away from a corner shooter (unless it’s Ronnie Brewer) even if it means giving up a wide open wing 3 pointer. It makes perfect sense, but we do that kind of stuff constantly. Details details details.

      It makes me crazy that our guards, particularly Kidd, JR and Prigioni, seem to have carte blanche to leave their man whenever and just double randomly or try to play the passing lanes for steals. Between that and the constant switching, it seems like a minor miracle that we can stop anyone from scoring. It almost seems like our defense is intentionally undisciplined.

    26. BigBlueAL

      Owen:
      It’s an interesting thing to think about, comparing the league in the 80s and now. It strikes me the talent pool is so much bigger than it used to be, with all the international players in the league now. That would be something i would say in Lebron’s defense.

      Hard to say anyone other than MJ was the greatest. Lebron has some time to make his case though….

      Is the talent pool really stronger now?? In the late 80’s and early 90’s there were only 27 teams compared to 30 now. Also again the amount of quality big men back then was staggering compared to today (although the perimeter players certainly seem to be much stronger and athletic today).

    27. Frank

      flossy: It makes me crazy that our guards, particularly Kidd, JR and Prigioni, seem to have carte blanche to leave their man whenever and just double randomly or try to play the passing lanes for steals.Between that and the constant switching, it seems like a minor miracle that we can stop anyone from scoring.It almost seems like our defense is intentionally undisciplined.

      The thing that annoys me the most is when they casually double the post even when the post defender is Melo or Tyson, who are both great post defenders. That has to be by design, doesn’t it? Whatever it is, I can’t stand it.

    28. Owen

      Yeah, Magic didn’t play long enough, perhaps. But he is in the pantheon. You can make that argument easily….

      I don’t know vis a vis the talent pool. It just seems logical with the growth of the game, here and internationally, that the players must be significantly better. The basketball population probably has doubled right?

    29. Z-man

      I believe that the truly all-time greats would have adapted to any set of rules. This includes Wilt, MJ, Magic, Kareem, Bird, LeBron, Russell, West, Hakeem, Oscar, etc., etc. To say otherwise is demeaning to those great players.

      In my opinion, Jordan is the better player. It’s not just about stats, its about intangibles. It’s about knowing what to do to win in the most difficult situations, and then inspiring your team to execute. There is no question in my mind that Jordan would have won 8 consecutive titles if he did not quit in the middle of his run (do you really think Hakeem’s Rockets beat Jordan’s Bulls in 94 and 95?) And he went through some really, really good veteran teams to do it, e.g. Phoenix, Houston, Seattle, Utah in the WC, Knicks, Pistons, Cavs, Pacers in the east. LeBron has not faced any serious competition in the playoffs with the Heat yet, and folded like a lawn chair vs. Dallas in 2011.

    30. thenamestsam

      BigBlueAL: Is the talent pool really stronger now??In the late 80?s and early 90?s there were only 27 teams compared to 30 now.Also again the amount of quality big men back then was staggering compared to today (although the perimeter players certainly seem to be much stronger and athletic today).

      That’s probably partially just randomness, but there’s also a couple other factors in play. For one, there are more big men who have such diverse skillsets now that they are barely considered as big men. Aldridge, Bosh, Love, Lebron, and Durant all have the size to be considered “Big Men” and are all tremendously skilled but have skills that go way beyond traditional big man games.

      When people bemoan the lack of big men in today’s game it seems like they really mean a lack of traditional post threats. And that again has a lot to do with the illegal defense rule. Throwing the ball down to a guy in the post is MUCH harder to do with the way teams are allowed to double now. On top of that the defensive demands that playing that type of defense place on a center require a level of mobility that a lot of guys in that era weren’t capable of. So big men now are just very different players than they were then. More quickness, more floor spacing, more dive men, but less traditional post games.

      Again, to me, it’s about evolution more than better or worse.

    31. BigBlueAL

      Z-man:
      I believe that the truly all-time greats would have adapted to any set of rules. This includes Wilt, MJ, Magic, Kareem, Bird, LeBron, Russell, West, Hakeem, Oscar, etc., etc. To say otherwise is demeaning to those great players.

      In my opinion, Jordan is the better player. It’s not just about stats, its about intangibles. It’s about knowing what to do to win in the most difficult situations, and then inspiring your team to execute. There is no question in my mind that Jordan would have won 8 consecutive titles if he did not quit in the middle of his run (do you really think Hakeem’s Rockets beat Jordan’s Bulls in 94 and 95?) And he went through some really, really good veteran teams to do it, e.g. Phoenix, Houston, Seattle, Utah in the WC, Knicks, Pistons, Cavs, Pacers in the east. LeBron has not faced any serious competition in the playoffs with the Heat yet, and folded like a lawn chair vs. Dallas in 2011.

      Who says MJ wouldve beat the Knicks again in 1994?? :-)

    32. Z-man

      Also, I believe that a lot of your game is developed according to who you emulate as a kid and the amount of assets…training, nutrition, coaching, etc…that are at your disposal. Jordan grew up at a time when kids were not practicing the 3-point shot. I coach elementary and middle school basketball now and all kids want to do is shoot 3-pointers, even the tall kids who should be working on a post game. Watch a Celtics-Lakers playoff game from the ’80’s and see how few 3-pointers are taken even when players are left wide open! And you RARELY saw anyone over 6-10 shoot a 3-pointer. Michael rarely took more than 2-3 a game then. If he played now, he’d just refine that part of his game.

    33. BigBlueAL

      thenamestsam: That’s probably partially just randomness, but there’s also a couple other factors in play. For one, there are more big men who have such diverse skillsets now that they are barely considered as big men. Aldridge, Bosh, Love, Lebron, and Durant all have the size to be considered “Big Men” and are all tremendously skilled but have skills that go way beyond traditional big man games.

      When people bemoan the lack of big men in today’s game it seems like they really mean a lack of traditional post threats. And that again has a lot to do with the illegal defense rule. Throwing the ball down to a guy in the post is MUCH harder to do with the way teams are allowed to double now. On top of that the defensive demands that playing that type of defense place on a center require a level of mobility that a lot of guys in that era weren’t capable of. So big men now are just very different players than they were then. More quickness, more floor spacing, more dive men, but less traditional post games.

      Again, to me, it’s about evolution more than better or worse.

      Oh yeah to me its not about players today being better or worse, its really about the style of play and the way the game is now compared to back then and what style is harder to play against in terms of what LeBron is doing statistically now and what MJ did back then.

      I love today’s NBA, the great shooting and more free-flowing game is a pleasure to watch. Part of me obviously misses the style of play I watched growing up especially during the Riley Knicks years. But its not something I necessarily wanna see now, I love watching the current Knicks play offense compared to the Riley/JVG years. Defense is another story though lol.

    34. thenamestsam

      BigBlueAL: Oh yeah to me its not about players today being better or worse, its really about the style of play and the way the game is now compared to back then and what style is harder to play against in terms of what LeBron is doing statistically now and what MJ did back then.

      I love today’s NBA, the great shooting and more free-flowing game is a pleasure to watch.Part of me obviously misses the style of play I watched growing up especially during the Riley Knicks years.But its not something I necessarily wanna see now, I love watching the current Knicks play offense compared to the Riley/JVG years.Defense is another story though lol.

      Sounds like we’re basically on the same page. I just think it’s weird that people use the lack of post up centers in today’s game as an argument for why the game is supposedly weaker now, but never go to the reverse argument. Where were the stretch 4s in the 80s? Where were the 3 point specialists? The game has changed a ton and all the ways in which it has changed are so complicated and interwoven that trying to say “MJ would have put up X, Y and Z in today’s NBA” is completely flawed.

    35. DRed

      thenamestsam: Sounds like we’re basically on the same page. I just think it’s weird that people use the lack of post up centers in today’s game as an argument for why the game is supposedly weaker now, but never go to the reverse argument. Where were the stretch 4s in the 80s? Where were the 3 point specialists? The game has changed a ton and all the ways in which it has changed are so complicated and interwoven that trying to say “MJ would have put up X, Y and Z in today’s NBA” is completely flawed.

      It’s way too complicated-I agree. The lack of post up centers is always going to fluctuate. Big, athletic men who are 7′ are just always going to be in such small supply that it’s has very little to do with how the game is played at a certain time.

    36. yellowboy90

      Speaking of Jordan: Is it weird that one of my top plays from him is when he was a Wizard? The play he made on I believe Ron Mercer Where he blocked/grabbed the ball with two hands is one of my all time plays.

    37. Juany8

      nicos: I tend to think that hand-checking gets balanced out by the elimination of the illegal defense call.How often did the Bulls completely empty one side of the court and let Jordan go one on one with no one remotely close enough to rotate into the paint and challenge the shot without picking up an illegal defense call?Enough that they changed the rules to keep it from happening.If LBJ could have done that the Cavs might have won a championship.

      Thank you nicos, this never gets mentioned. Although fouls were harder to come by and it was easier to play defense one on one, team defensive concepts weren’t as complex back then, and zoning up like pretty much every elite defensive team does was not allowed back then. Jordan could essentially post up one on one every single time. Now teams force it out of player’s hands pretty quickly, which isn;t a problem for Lebron because he’s one of the better passers in the NBA.

    38. Z-man

      BigBlueAL: I love today’s NBA, the great shooting and more free-flowing game is a pleasure to watch. Part of me obviously misses the style of play I watched growing up especially during the Riley Knicks years. But its not something I necessarily wanna see now, I love watching the current Knicks play offense compared to the Riley/JVG years. Defense is another story though lol.

      I liked the game better in the late 80’s-early 90’s. I hated the Celts and Lakers but those guys played the prettiest basketball ever. One of my favorite Knicks playoff wins was the game 5 clincher vs. the Celts where Ewing hit the 3.

      Today’s game is to 3-pt shot dependent for me. You call it free flowing, I call it an ugly chuck-fest. I would love for them to move the line to 25 feet and widen the court 6 feet or so. IMO, the 3-pt shot should be reserved for specialists and late-game situations like it was in the past. The 18-20 ft shot is now the worst statistical shot in basketball, but it’s one of the best parts of the game for me. I also love the mano-a-mano post game from the old days (Bernard King’s game). And I’m not a big fan of the zone defense teams are allowed to play now because it has hurt the post game. But that’s just a matter of taste, there’s no right or wrong I guess.

    39. BigBlueAL

      NBA TV during the months when the lockout cancelled games last season they showed for over a month just strictly games from the 1993 playoffs. There were some amazing games (didnt enjoy Jordan scoring 54 vs the Knicks on Memorial Day lol), not sure there has ever been a series as fun to watch as the 1993 NBA Finals between the Bulls and Suns.

      But I think overall today the NBA is funner to watch. By the time I was old enough to really enjoy/appreciate the NBA Magic retired and Bird was on his final legs. I feel fortunate enough to remember the early 90’s Bulls which was when MJ truly was at his greatest but basketball from the mid 90’s to mid 00’s was real tough to watch at times with final scores routinely having both teams in the 70’s and 80’s.

    40. jon abbey

      I think the NBA is definitely more fun to watch now, but I’d always take a 120-118 game over an 82-80 one.

      maybe I’m just not reading them, but is no one stating the obvious about those Jordan comments? he doesn’t really think that Kobe is better than LeBron, he thinks that LeBron still has a chance to topple him from his position as the best perimeter player ever and everyone knows Kobe doesn’t have a chance to do that, so of course he goes with Kobe publicly.

    41. Z-man

      24 would be even better…one of the drawbacks of the current league is that teams don’t play each other enough. But that probably ain’t ever gonna happen.

    42. Owen

      Yeah, that’s right. It’s the only game MJ has left to play….

      And Lebron has a chance to rival him, although I think he probably waited a little too long to get his first ring.

      The whole, never lose in the Finals thing, always going to look pretty good on Jordan’s resume….

      jon abbey:
      I think the NBA is definitely more fun to watch now, but I’d always take a 120-118 game over an 82-80 one.

      maybe I’m just not reading them, but is no one stating the obvious about those Jordan comments? he doesn’t really think that Kobe is better than LeBron, he thinks that LeBron still has a chance to topple him from his position as the best perimeter player ever and everyone knows Kobe doesn’t have a chance to do that, so of course he goes with Kobe publicly.

    43. Z-man

      jon abbey: I think the NBA is definitely more fun to watch now, but I’d always take a 120-118 game over an 82-80 one.

      I disagree here, there are great games and shitty games of both genrea. I personally love a great defensive game where points are at a premium. BTW, the ’60s-’70s games were generally high scoring affairs, but you wouldn’t have known it back then.

    44. nicos

      The Honorable Cock Jowles:
      Here’s a question:

      Would you guys support relegation or contraction?

      Interesting question- I think to make a real perceptible difference in league-wide quality of play you’d probably have to eliminate four teams which would be be pretty tough to do- the players association would have a fit. I’d say there’s a chance you could get rid of two- Sacramento obviously and possibly either Charlotte or New Orleans by plying the players assoc. with some give backs but I’m not sure how much difference that’d make as you’re only making 3-4 difference making guys available to the remaining teams- play would improve but I’m not sure if you’d notice it that much on a nightly basis. Get rid of four or six and I think the product would improve dramatically but you’d have a much tougher time getting it done.

    45. Unreason

      BigBlueAL: basketball from the mid 90?s to mid 00?s was real tough to watch at times with final scores routinely having both teams in the 70?s and 80?s.

      Hmm. What about them Glove/Reignman Sonics, run TMC Warriors, J Will, Webber, Divac Kings, …. seems to me there were some squads during those years that filled it up with con brio pretty regular.

      Though Payton never played MJ in his prime, I appreciated the semi crazed overzealous I-don’t-care-if-the-whole-world-worships-you-I’m-gonna-rip-your-f*%n’-heart-out attitude. Too many players at the time seemed overawed by Jordan.

      The talent level was just as great, I think, and like now often lay fallow. Kemp, Webber and earlier, Coleman, for example all left you wondering what might have been if they’d had half of Jordan’s fire and discipline, right? Maybe not Lebron’s, but something a good deal more special that what they decided to settle for.

    46. jon abbey

      Owen:
      Yeah, that’s right. It’s the only game MJ has left to play….

      And Lebron has a chance to rival him, although I think he probably waited a little too long to get his first ring.

      The whole, never lose in the Finals thing, always going to look pretty good on Jordan’s resume….

      Jordan’s first ring was at 28, about a year older than LeBron’s first.

      and it wasn’t that he didn’t lose in the Finals, it’s worse to lose before the Finals like he did in his first six seasons. it was that after that he essentially won six years in a row when he was actively competing for it, and people forget there were only 8 teams in the league when Boston and Russell won all those titles in the sixties.

    47. Unreason

      Z-man: I would love for them to move the line to 25 feet and widen the court 6 feet or so.

      I like this. I’d also like it if they raised the rim and backboard about 6 inches. Same logic as you point about the 3ptr. Make the dunk less of a staple for tall guys and leapers and make the leaping ability required to do it more special. There’d only be a few guys in the league who could hit the 3 or dunk regularly enough to make a living that way. So my guess is it would incentivise development of more complete skill sets, and when everybody is more versatile and complete good things happen.

    48. BigBlueAL

      jon abbey: Jordan’s first ring was at 28, about a year older than LeBron’s first.

      and it wasn’t that he didn’t lose in the Finals, it’s worse to lose before the Finals like he did in his first six seasons. it was that after that he essentially won six years in a row when he was actively competing for it, and people forget there were only 8 teams in the league when Boston and Russell won all those titles in the sixties.

      MJ won his first ring in his 7th season, LeBron in his 9th. Also LeBron won his ring by leaving his own team to play with 2 other All-Stars on a different team.

    49. BigBlueAL

      Unreason: I like this. I’d also like it if they raised the rim and backboard about 6 inches. Same logic as you point about the 3ptr. Make the dunk less of a staple for tall guys and leapers and make the leaping ability required to do it more special. There’d only be a few guys in the league who could hit the 3 or dunk regularly enough to make a living that way. So my guess is it would incentivise development of more complete skill sets, and when everybody is more versatile and complete good things happen.

      I dont want the NBA to become the WNBA, sorry.

    50. Unreason

      jon abbey: Jordan’s first ring was at 28, about a year older than LeBron’s first.

      It’s true. And he certainly getting stronger, more confident, and dominant. Still hard for me to image he can keep up the way Jordan did. That was the most impressive as you’re saying. That he did it year after year. It was just hard to believe when you were watching it happen. Apart from the talent and athleticism, does Lebron have that in him?

    51. mokers

      The Honorable Cock Jowles:
      Here’s a question:

      Would you guys support relegation or contraction?

      I always thought baseball and basketball would work with a relegation and promotion system. I don’t know if you take it down 7 levels like some countries do for soccer. I would also think it makes sense to rid the pretense of student athletes and let the pro leagues play for player development after high school.

    52. Brian Cronin

      While obviously a part of me would enjoy the increased competitiveness of teams that we’d get from contraction, I just don’t think it is a realistic option. After all, cities are dying to get INTO the NBA. After the last lockout, this shit is PROFITABLE, ya know?

    53. Unreason

      BigBlueAL: I don’t want the NBA to become the WNBA, sorry.

      Well that’s not a very appealing prospect, I agree. Maybe that’s what it would be like. I tend not to think so. I was thinking it’d be more like when Julius and David Thompson were the exceptions not the rule, but who knows.

    54. jon abbey

      BigBlueAL: MJ won his first ring in his 7th season, LeBron in his 9th.Also LeBron won his ring by leaving his own team to play with 2 other All-Stars on a different team.

      age seems to matter a lot more than experience, and who cares about the second thing? Jordan didn’t have to go anywhere because he had Pippen and Grant already there, I don’t think either had an especially good supporting cast (Pippen is wildly overrated by people now, a choking dog on offense his whole career) like Magic or Bird or Kobe when he played with Shaq all did.

      I don’t think any comparison can be made until LeBron wins at least two more titles, but there’s no need to give Jordan even more credit than he deserves. he had a sociopathic need to win coupled with almost unparalleled talent, but LeBron is a better passer and a more versatile defender (maybe not better, but he can guard the post if necessary which Jordan couldn’t).

    55. Z-man

      jon abbey: (Pippen is wildly overrated by people now, a choking dog on offense his whole career)

      I disagree about Pippin, he’s possibly overrated but not wildly overrated. I saw him take and make many a big shot over the years, including against the Knicks. However, there was a time when people were debating whether Pippin or Jordan was better (towards the tail end of the champ run) which was a joke.

      Agree, though, that the Bulls teams were generally not as deep at Magic’s, Bird’s or Kobe’s, but this Heat team is not deep either.

    56. Juany8

      You know speaking of supporting casts, Kobe actually had a pretty weak group for that recent 2 championship run the Lakers had. Everyone always wants to make Gasol out to seem like a second Shaq, but he had literally never won a game in the playoffs until he came to the Lakers. You know how people still give Melo shit because the Nuggets gave him up and didn’t get any worse? Well Memphis has had vastly more success after the Pau Gasol trade than before, the cap space they freed up got them Randolph for practically nothing, and the Lakers just threw in Marc gasol, who at this point is probably better than Pau.

      Now Pau Gasol was awesome during those championship years, but in terms of big men he wasn’t any better than guys like Dirk, Duncan, Garnett, and Dwight. Bynum was injured and playing part time minutes throughout those 2 championship runs, I still remember the Lakers Rockets series in 09 where Bynum threatened to get more fouls than points against Yao Ming. Odom was their 3rd best player, and he never made an all star team (an imperfect measure, but he was a pretty uneven player throughout his career) after that, their main contributors were Derrick Fisher and Artest/Ariza. Their bench consisted of guys like DJ MBenga, Jordan Farmar, and Shannon Brown. They missed Luke Walton when he got injured, because he was their best backup wing.

      Comparing that Lakers team to this Heat team, are Odom and Gasol better than Wade and Bosh? You could possibly make that case, even if you ignore that Wade had an incredible series against Dallas 2 years ago and that it was Lebron who choked away a ring. Go a little deeper though, and Miami has guys like Chalmers, Haslem, and Battier while the Lakers had to pray an ancient Derrick Fisher and guys like Ariza and Artest could make 3’s consistently. Even the Shaq Kobe Lakers had guys like Robert Horry and a young Fisher himself off the bench.

    57. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Juany8: Everyone always wants to make Gasol out to seem like a second Shaq, but he had literally never won a game in the playoffs until he came to the Lakers.

      LeBron had never won a game in the Finals before he had Wade on his team. Can’t be that good.

    58. flossy

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: LeBron had never won a game in the Finals before he had Wade on his team. Can’t be that good.

      He had literally never won a game in the playoffs, period. That’s a far cry from putting a talent-deficient Cavs team on your back and dragging it to the finals. People give Melo shit for not having gone farther in the playoffs, but Gasol had never won a single postseason game before becoming Kobe’s wingman.

    59. Owen

      I would say a frontcourt rotation of Gasol, Bynum, Odom, and Artest is pretty good. They weren’t completely dominant it’s true. Without that Perkins injury they probably lose one of those Finals.

      But still, it’s not like Kobe was riding solo. Frankly, I think the WP and WS types make a pretty good case Gasol was the most important part of that team, with the game 7 performance in 2010 being perfect message board fodder for that argument….

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