Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, November 28, 2014

NBA Blog Previews: Pacific Division

Here are the previews for the Pacific Division.

ClippersClips Nation | SBNation Recap

KingsSactown Royalty | Cowbell Kingdom | SBNation Recap

LakersSilver Screen and Roll | Forum Blue & Gold | NBAtipoff | SBNation Recap

SunsBright Side Of The Sun | SB Nation Arizona | ValleyoftheSuns SBNation Recap

WarriorsGolden State of Mind | SBNation Recap

Recaps: All Previews

(Tardy) Knicks Preview: Straight Bangin’

23 comments on “NBA Blog Previews: Pacific Division

  1. BigBlueAL

    Seems to me like the Suns blogs are drinking some serious kool-aid to think the Suns will still sniff 50 wins and make the playoffs. I say the Lakers are the only team from this division to make the playoffs.

  2. Z

    Interesting stuff on the Warriors preview:

    On Randolph:

    “I chuckle when I read pieces about he’s likely to breakout this season or that the Warriors screwed up by trading this young player with unlimited upside (by people who probably have never even see him play). I prefer to reserve that projection for players who have some semblance of hoops IQ and fundamentals.”

    On Azabuike:

    “…Sadly he seems like damaged goods and the Warriors probably traded him at the right time.”

    On Turiaf:

    “I won’t miss the poor rebounding, poor shooting, and overall poor defense (simply trying to block everything in sight does not make for good D).”

    On David Lee:

    “The Warriors had essentially no chips this summer, but they walked away with a 20-12-3.5 All-Star big man. You do the math.

    Genius.

    Give Larry Riley (and whoever else made it happen) props. In 1 year as the GM of the Warriors he did something his 2 predecessors couldn’t do in (mostly painful) multi-year stints: add a legit power forward to this team.

    Warriors fans are going to like a lot about Lee. A LOT.”

  3. tastycakes

    Didn’t the Lee trade happen before the Warriors management turnover?

    I remember Golden State of Mind being in an absolute uproar over the Lee trade (hating it) back when it went down. Perhaps they’ve had some time to drink the kool-aid? (I’m drinking the orange and blue kind myself!)

    I hope Lee does great there, but I’d be shocked if the Warriors made the playoffs, so are they really taking a step forward? They may be one of my 7 teams on League Pass Broadband. Lee + S Curry should be fun to watch.

  4. Caleb

    I could see the trade being ok for the warriors, since no free agent will ever sign with them again, and here the get to lock up a good one for 5 years. No trade, and in 2-3 years they have no Randolph, no nothing.

    But much as I love DL, basketball-wise I’m very happy with a Lee for Randolph deal. Anything from the other players is gravy.

  5. ess-dog

    They say Tomayto we say Tomahto.
    G.S. has bigger problems, namely Biedrins and Monta Ellis. They should really move those guys, especially Monta.
    Lee should be ok with them as long as he as a big defensive center behind him.
    The only problem with Randolph is inconsistency, and guys like Felton and Amare should help him with that.
    I’m actually quite happy that we didn’t trade Randy and Gallo and will get a chance to see them go to work.

  6. Ted Nelson

    BigBlueAL: Seems to me like the Suns blogs are drinking some serious kool-aid to think the Suns will still sniff 50 wins and make the playoffs.

    Well, to make the playoffs in the West you likely have to win 50 games. So they’re kind of a package deal.

    They’re certainly in contention for the playoffs, but obviously depends how much some other teams have improved. If I were a Suns fan I’d be thinking playoffs, too.

    Caleb: I could see the trade being ok for the warriors, since no free agent will ever sign with them again,

    Why do you say that? The Bay Area is one of the most attractive areas of the country to live in and I’m sure the new ownership plans/hopes to eliminate the stigma of futility associated with the organization. Playing with Lee and Curry (and Biedrins, and Brandan Wright, and …) in one of the nicest areas of the country would probably appeal to some FAs if GS has the cap space.

    Z: Interesting stuff on the Warriors preview:

    Obviously a lot of homerism… Still, some valid points. What evidence leads him to call Azu “damaged goods?”

    ess-dog: G.S. has bigger problems, namely Biedrins and Monta Ellis. They should really move those guys, especially Monta.

    Ellis is a problem, but I think Biedrins problems were largely with Don Nelson… who is gone. Even Ellis might get along with Keith Smart better and regain some pre-injury form and/or maturity: apparently he will pass the ball to Curry now and apologized for being a total douche last season.

  7. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog: Lee should be ok with them as long as he as a big defensive center behind him.

    I would call him better than “ok.” Biedrins is more of a C than he ever played with in NY, but chances are he’ll also see time at the 5 with Brandan Wright (if he can stay healthy). Warriors defense is unlikely to be good, so they’re going to have to win on offense.

    ess-dog: The only problem with Randolph is inconsistency, and guys like Felton and Amare should help him with that.

    You could call it consistency–though b-ball IQ may be more fitting–but I’d say he has other problems as well. His outside shot is horrific, but he likes to float around shooting Js. It’s consistency on the shot, but it’s just stop doing it on the shot selection. Maybe the shot is improved this season, but even then it’s unlikely to be respectable. He needs to get with the program, and hopefully D’Antoni can give him a role he’s comfortable with (or make him comfortable with it) that maximizes his skills while minimizing his deficiencies.

    Maybe they step up in new surroundings or I’m uninformed, but of all the guys around the league I don’t think of Amare and Felton as amazing leaders.

  8. ess-dog

    You could call it consistency–though b-ball IQ may be more fitting–but I’d say he has other problems as well. His outside shot is horrific, but he likes to float around shooting Js. It’s consistency on the shot, but it’s just stop doing it on the shot selection. Maybe the shot is improved this season, but even then it’s unlikely to be respectable.

    I don’t know about that. What 20 year old has a very high bball IQ? Both his first year and his injury shortened second year at 19 and 20 respectively were arguably better than Steph Curry’s rookie year at 21… a guy everyone is drooling over with a very high “bball IQ”.
    Randolph does have to be able to make that face up jumper so he will have the ability to take bigger, slower guys to the hole off the dribble. He has to recognize and make the “open” jumper, and it seems, so far anyway, that his jumper is falling in camp.
    And Amare and Felton may not be ideal leaders, but Randolph had very little “leadership” in G.S. between Nelson and Ellis acting up. At least Amare gives him a successful veteran player at his position that takes some responsibility for the team on his shoulders.

  9. Ted Nelson

    “What 20 year old has a very high bball IQ?”

    Certainly players tend to learn with experience, but that doesn’t mean that all 20 year olds have the same b-ball IQ. They don’t. Different players start with different levels and improve at different rates.

    ” Both his first year and his injury shortened second year at 19 and 20 respectively were arguably better than Steph Curry’s rookie year at 21… a guy everyone is drooling over with a very high “bball IQ”.”

    B-ball IQ is not the same thing as performance. I think that AR can be a valuable player even if he never improves his b-ball IQ and that b-ball IQ is secondary to actual performance, but certainly it might be something that keeps him from reaching his ultimate potential on both sides of the ball.
    GS did not give up on him because they saw a smart, hard-working, extremely talented player about to put it all together… there are red flags.

    His jumper was only one example of what he needs to work on, an obvious quantifiable one that no one can argue with. It kills his TS%, but you could also argue shot selection does (hard to know unless you’re intimately familiar with Don Nelson’s game plan). His defense has also been poor, despite the gaudy TO-causing #s and huge potential. His playmaking is totally average at best, despite “point-forward” ability. I am optimistic, but there are enough red flags to be somewhat pessimistic.

    I don’t know that “leadership” has been proven to make players perform better or is an excuse for under-performing (everyone is the leader of him or herself and ultimately must accept responsibility for themselves… LeBron came into one of the most dysfunctional org.s around as a rookie out of HS and didn’t write off his performance on others).

  10. ess-dog

    Well,
    AR strikes me as a player that needs some guidance. He’s soft spoken and while gifted, is maybe not sure what to do with those gifts. As one of the few 6’11” guys who can cross up people with a dribble and hit a long jumper, I can understand him wanting to use those abilities. He just needs to learn what is helping the team when.
    Very few players are as self-directed as Jordan and LeBron, no matter how good they are. The other guys can either turn into successful team players like Lamar Odom or knuckleheads like Marbury. Or something in between like big baby Davis.
    Perhaps this is what you mean by not reaching his ‘ultimate potential’. I don’t think there was ever any notion of AR being a ‘heady’ AND physically gifted player like MJ or Tim Duncan. But maybe something more like a Shawn Kemp, Kirilenko or Odom type.

  11. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    I was not comparing AR to LeBron (nor MJ, nor Tim Duncan), merely using a very obvious example of a player who came into a weak situation and lead from day 1.
    What I mean by “ultimate potential” is simply the best player he is capable of being. Based on his performance at 19 and 20, that’s a very good player… David Lee is also a very good player, and that’s who he’s being held up against right now by both Warriors and Knicks fans.
    When a guy doesn’t think through the game and isn’t self-motivated and might not be aware of his own strengths/weaknesses, his chances of reaching his potential are lower than a player who does those things. All I’m saying is that there was a reason for GS to be down on AR. Again, if they thought he was a sure thing, slam-dunk perennial All-Star they would not have traded him or reportedly been looking to trade him for months. It would be very pessimistic to assume he has Darius Miles or Marbury or Curry level problems, but there’s certainly a chance he falls short of expectations due to intangibles.

    ess-dog: As one of the few 6’11? guys who can cross up people with a dribble and hit a long jumper, I can understand him wanting to use those abilities.

    Without knowing what Don Nelson was asking him to do (and how he was asking) and how AR was responding… we’re just speculating. (Fair to speculate that size and rebounding and defense are not as important to Nellie as scoring is based on his rotations in GS recently…) I have read some promising quotes from D’Antoni that he’s coachable and will be guarding 1-5… that’s big if it continues to be true. I can’t tell you why he was taking shots he had a very low probability of making, I can only tell you that players who do that are generally a liability. It’s not something that all players grow out of, and character questions have followed AR from LSU to GS.

    ess-dog: He just needs to learn what is helping the team when.

    I think there’s plenty of reason to believe he can do this, but it’s still not guaranteed. A lot of things go into knowing what is helping, wanting to do what is helping, and actually doing what is helping. You can get fouled up at any of those 3 steps. Luckily AR seems to be able to do in enough situations. D’Antoni is at least conveying the impression that he wants to do it. So… things are looking good. GS, though, seemed to think he wasn’t going to put all 3 together for whatever reason. Since they actually interacted with him on a daily basis for a good part of the past 2 years, I’m not willing to just write off their opinion since I have had zero personal interaction with AR nor a view into his work ethic and daily attitude v. other NBA players.

  12. Z-man

    I do think that young players benefit from good coaching and veteran leadership in accelerating their ultimate development. For example, I think Garnett helped some of the young Celtics develop more quickly than they might have otherwise because he brought a sense of urgency and a defensive mindset, was a vocal on-the-court leader and was a role model in terms of focus and work ethic. Amar’e has so far shown signs of these qualities. I agree that AR is still a huge question mark, and Amar’e is not Garnett, but it has to be a much better situation for AR’s development than GS was. I really see the potential for a nice synergy in this tall, athletic, enthusiastic and hungry front line. Turiaf doesn’t have to be the veteran leader as a reserve(Malik Rose proved that doesn’t work) because of Amar’e and perhaps Felton.

    This trip should really help the team grow and come together, and the atmosphere for the opening game in Milan sounds incredible…should especially be a boost for Gallo and D’Antoni. I also think the games vs. the Celts will reveal a lot about our team. Both teams have a lot to prove this season (Boston’s last hurrah, Knicks emergence from the shadows) and should take these games pretty seriously, considering they don’t mean anything. I think it is critical for the Knicks to play these games to win because 1) they can’t really afford another slow start, and 2) they want to find out asap whether/which of Gallo or AR is expendable in a potential Melo deal.

  13. Z

    Ted Nelson:

    Obviously a lot of homerism… Still, some valid points. What evidence leads him to call Azu “damaged goods?”  

    Yeah, it’s homerism, but the guy clearly pays a lot of attention to the Warriors so his opinions are useful, even if they are a bit sour-minded. I think, more than anything, his problem is that the Warriors have sucked the past few years, and he has no love for the losers that have been a part of it. Not all that different from us not shedding any tears over the 10 losers we jettisoned this summer.

    His evidence of azu being damaged goods is that Azu is hurt. I don’t think it goes any deeper than that. He actually seems to have really like Azubuike. The line beofe the one I quoted was: “Azubuike is the best D-League call-up in NBA Development League history and I don’t mean that in even the slightest antagonistic way.”

  14. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: I do think that young players benefit from good coaching and veteran leadership in accelerating their ultimate development.

    It probably does help to have an example and be held accountable, especially for an extremely young player. Still you have plenty of examples of guys who came into relatively bad situations and got it together, and plenty of examples of guys who came into ideal situations and didn’t. There are plenty of examples of young guys who came into the same situation and have gone in different paths. All of these guys are world class athletes who have already worked hard to get into the NBA and have plenty of resources at their disposal even in “bad” NBA situation. Ultimately the individual player is responsible for himself.
    I don’t think Rajon Rondo would be appreciably worse coming into the league on a lottery team, for example. He might credit his teammates and coach, but that’s human nature for a decent individual: the guy can straight ball, is a freak, and clearly works hard. (Plus he’s in the NBA at a great time for lightning quick PGs… you know, a time when you’re not even aloud to touch them.) His experience would clearly be different if his situation were different, so he might not know x and maybe even not seeing the Big 3 work would have negatively impacted his work ethic. Still, I think he’d be an All-Star PG and pretty indistinguishable besides maybe the team success.

    I do think the Knicks will be a better situation for AR if he can get on the same page as D’Antoni. Hopefully he’s got a little more urgency now that he’s on his second strike and has already tasted failure, as well. He doesn’t really have to play a whole lot better than he did in GS to be useful, though to be really valuable he will have to play better (primarily scoring and defense, playmaking would be a nice bonus).

    Z: more than anything, his problem is that the Warriors have sucked the past few years, and he has no love for the losers that have been a part of it.

    Good point. Still, though, the Knicks are losing more Turiaf’s and Azu’s at absolute best (say, Al Harrington and Nate Robinson and maybe Jordan Hill)… no Anthony Randolph’s. Of course blogs like these are biased towards the home team, but it’s nice to at least try to be rational. I feel like here at KB both the writers and commenters tend to mix in some sign they are in touch with reality alongside the ra-ra stuff.

    Z: His evidence of azu being damaged goods is that Azu is hurt.

    If that’s the case than it’s the worst use of the phrase “damaged goods” that I’ve ever seen. Again, some rationality thrown in with the ra-ra stuff would be nice. And you don’t even have to trash the Knicks haul to be happy about GS’ if you’re a Warriors’ fan… I think the Warriors did well to add Lee, but am still very happy with the Knicks’ side of the deal. We’ll see how it all turns out, but on paper I view this as a win-win.

  15. Z-man

    @14
    It hsa just been so long since the Knicks had an on-court leader that plays at the level that Amar’e does.

    Is the Milano game on TV?

  16. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: It hsa just been so long since the Knicks had an on-court leader that plays at the level that Amar’e does.

    It’s only been a few months since David Lee left…

    The whole team dynamic has changed this season. Obviously I can’t say with any certainty, but I doubt Amare would have faired much better in Lee’s situation as a Knick and I doubt Lee would fair much worse is Amare’s (though people would question giving him the $ Amare got…). Look who young Toney Douglas said he’ll miss most from last season. I hope Amare has matured and takes a leadership role, but he spent all his seasons in Phoenix as pretty much the polar opposite of a leader… he was often a malcontent and considered a bit immature. Nothing against him, just don’t know that his great leadership skills would have shown through on the Isiah or transition Knicks teams.

    I think it probably starts with Walshtoni, who have gone from “can’t wait to get to 2010″ to “it’s 2010.” Especially D’Antoni… Last season was a wasted year as was the previous one, but if the Knicks don’t win this season his job security is going to come into question. It’s put-up or shut-up time. He’s got his guy in Amare and some other talented players… time to do something.

  17. ess-dog

    Re: Azu, Unfortunately I kind of agree. His injury is pretty terrible. To think that he will come back with the same lateral movement on defense is a longshot at best, which is too bad because he could be the exact hustle/role player that we need at the 2. I just hope he has good rehab trainers.

    As a straight up trade, G.S. wins that trade, but we were losing an unrestricted free agent. Randolph, Turiaf, and Azu on cheap or expiring contracts for a guy that was basically gone anyway is a great haul, maybe unprecedented depending on what Randolph becomes. Again, Lee’s 22 yr old season was not as good as the 30 some odd games that Randolph played as a 20 year old. So there is a fair chance that Randolph could at least be as good as Lee (albeit, a fairly different player altogether.)

    Both teams win really. If I’m Golden State, I would’ve moved Ellis already say, to Memphis for Mayo, Thabeet and a 1st rounder. Or some other team. Once he’s gone, they have a real chance to get better.

  18. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog: His injury is pretty terrible. To think that he will come back with the same lateral movement on defense is a longshot at best

    We’ll have to see… Short-term certainly it doesn’t look great, but a slow start leading to low free agent interest might be the best thing for the Knicks long-term anyway.

    ess-dog: As a straight up trade, G.S. wins that trade

    Even for a straight trade, I don’t think GS necessarily wins. The Knicks took the package they did knowing Randolph had upside that he may or may not reach. That was a good risk in their situation (I’d argue better than re-signing Lee), while GS wanted the certainty of 20-10-3 per and an All-Star caliber player.

    ess-dog: maybe unprecedented depending on what Randolph becomes.

    I wouldn’t go that far considering that Detroit got perennial DPOY Ben Wallace for Grant Hill and the Bulls got Noah and Thomas for Eddy Curry. Really, this was more of an Eddy Curry situation where he was not a free agent as far as GS was concerned because they couldn’t sign him without the trade. If GS wanted David Lee they had to go through the Knicks.

    ess-dog: If I’m Golden State, I would’ve moved Ellis already

    His name has been constantly swirling in trade rumors and I’m sure they’d like to move him in a palatable deal. His value has been low ever since his injury, refusal to pass to Steph Curry, and crappy season, though, and maybe they think he can regain form two seasons after the injury (with less money on his deal) and they can sell high.

    ess-dog: Once he’s gone, they have a real chance to get better. 

    I tend to agree, but a. every team knows that and that’s why people aren’t beating down their door to give great packages for Ellis, and b. replacing Ellis with crap players doesn’t help them (unless they get cap relief too maybe).

    ess-dog: Again, Lee’s 22 yr old season was not as good as the 30 some odd games that Randolph played as a 20 year old.

    David Lee’s development throughout his 20s is much more of an outlier than the norm, in my opinion. I agree AR has a relatively good chance to be as good as or better than Lee, but not based on Lee’s development so much as Randolph’s strong performance, especially in categories that don’t tend to improve… the areas he needs to improve are areas that players routinely do improve in.

  19. Z-man

    @16
    We don’t know for sure, but it isn’t a stretch to think that a 7-8 year veteran is in a better position to be a leader than he was in his younger days, and that a new situation tailor-made for his becoming a leader helps. Is David Lee going to be in a position to lead in GS? Does he have the stature? Would he have had it here if he stayed?

    Lee is an excellent role model but I just don’t think he has the stature of an Amar’e, at least not yet. I wouldn’t put much stock into TD’s assessment, especially when there are only 4 guys from last year still on the roster.

  20. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    As you say: we don’t know for sure. I have only met a few current NBA players in my life, and most of those where when I was (and they were) in high school. I haven’t met either Amare or Lee. Even if you were best buds with both Lee and Amare, it’s a strictly hypothetical question. As far as my speculation/opinion:

    I don’t think leadership and “stature” just mean that you are the best player. Do I expect Lee to take a leadership role in GS? Absolutely. Who else is going to be a leader on that team? Vladimir Radmanovic? Monta Ellis?

    As you yourself say: “a new situation tailor-made for his becoming a leader helps.” That’s my point. Amare stepped into a situation where he was expected to be the leader. Whoever got paid $20 mill per this offseason was going to be expected to be a leader. I’m not saying Lee or Amare is a better leader, I’m saying that the situation is totally different and in response to “It hsa just been so long since the Knicks had an on-court leader that plays at the level that Amar’e does” that Lee was that last season. The rest of the team was just totally screwed up. There are different styles of leadership and motivation (look at Jerry Rice who never tried to lead but still inspired teammates with his work ethic), but the guy people miss playing with is David Lee. He was an All-Star that is not clearly worse than Amare.

    Z-man: I wouldn’t put much stock into TD’s assessment, especially when there are only 4 guys from last year still on the roster.  

    That just means there are more guys to miss… If you lose 2 guys in an offseason and someone asks you who you miss playing with… there’s a (theoretical) 50% chance you pick either player.

  21. Z-man

    Yes, there are different ways to lead. With a young, impressionable group, a forceful charismatic perennial all-star making $20 mil per who shows up first, leaves last, and has a long record of being a key player on a team that has played in 52 playoff games, not to mention the conference finals last year, is at an advantage over a guy who has never been to the playoffs, has never made the all-star game except once when a player dropped out due to injury, and didn’t get much love as a free agent. Mainly though, it is hard to lead if you haven’t played on successful teams.

    I also don’t think Lee played at the level Amar’e did last season, and I think he is clearly worse than Amar’e. It is a fairly widely-held opinion that Amar’e was the best player in the league in the second half of last year. But doesn’t matter in this argument. Lee just doesn’t have the star power that Amar’e does. It is pretty undisputed thus far that this is Amar’es team, and they haven’t played a game yet; it is also his team to lose. I never heard it said that this was Lee’s team, nor have I heard that GS is now Lee’s team (Monta would not be amused, I’m sure.) True, the Knicks might or might not have been any better last year with Amar’e vs. Lee, although it’s hard to believe they could have been worse. Not a single contending team considered Lee as a guy to acquire and/or pair up with a max player to put their team over the top, even at the bargain price of $13 mil for a 26yo “all-atar.” I would guess (and we are both merely guessing) that Lee will not be perceived as the team leader at first, but it is his to earn due to his lack of team success. On the other hand, Amar’e’s mantle of leadership (whether here or at GS if the situations were reversed, would be his to lose based on his stature and accomplishment. Just my opinion.

    As far as whether TD misses Lee, what does that mean? Is he implying that he doesn’t respect STAT or thinks Lee is the better player or leader? I’m not sure it has any relationship to this conversation at this early juncture.

    Re: Jerry Rice, he didn’t have much leadership status until after he had established himself as a HOF player on an all-time great team. Montana was that team’s undisputed leader on offense. Football is different in that leadership almost always comes from a couple of positions, whereas in basketball, any position can yield a total team leader.

  22. Ted Nelson

    Z-man: Mainly though, it is hard to lead if you haven’t played on successful teams.

    Z-man: But doesn’t matter in this argument. Lee just doesn’t have the star power that Amar’e does.

    I think you are overvaluing “presence” and disregarding my comment that there are different ways to lead as well as my comments about the state of this franchise this season v. the previous two seasons. You are right, though… clearly Amare is the greatest player ever to play the game and the greatest leader in human history. No doubt.

    Z-man: It is a fairly widely-held opinion that Amar’e was the best player in the league in the second half of last year.

    Whose opinion is it that Amare is better than LeBron or Dwight Howard? The guy is an amazing scorer and people tend to overvalue scoring, but one can argue that his deficiencies in rebounding and playmaking v. Lee, Lee’s scoring not being much worse, and both being poor defenders mean that Lee is about as good.

    Z-man: I never heard it said that this was Lee’s team, nor have I heard that GS is now Lee’s team (Monta would not be amused, I’m sure.)

    Do you believe everything you read in the media? And who cares what Monta Ellis thinks about anything? He didn’t want the Warriors to draft Curry, they still did. He refused to pass the ball to Curry, and Curry was still their PG and a top rookie. Ellis is a wart.

    Z-man: Amar’e’s mantle of leadership (whether here or at GS if the situations were reversed, would be his to lose based on his stature and accomplishment.

    I think you are confusing success with leadership. Just because your team wins, does not mean you were the best leader. It means you played on the best team. Often great leaders lead the best teams, but you can also be the best leader in the league and play on a totally crap team with little talent… you can still get those guys to work their hardest and outperform their talent level. Again, though, Amare was a well known malcontent in Phoenix and widely considered an immature prima donna. You simply cannot rest his leadership laurels on the success of a team where he was a thorn more so than a leader. He seems to have taken a leadership role here–the results of which haven’t actually been seen–but you yourself admit that this is a situation in which he was expected to be a leader. Had he not taken a leadership role, it would have been a problem.

    Z-man: As far as whether TD misses Lee, what does that mean? Is he implying that he doesn’t respect STAT or thinks Lee is the better player or leader? I’m not sure it has any relationship to this conversation at this early juncture.

    Obviously that is not what I’m saying. I am not even trying to argue whether Amare or Lee is a better leader. I am arguing that more important than either one’s individual leadership is the state of the organization and the overall talent level. I don’t really see why that is so hard to understand or why it’s even a debate.
    Toney Douglas missing Lee more than any other departed player means nothing besides him having the respect of his teammates. Respect often begets leadership. You said it’s been a long time since the Knicks had a player as good as Amare, I said no it hasn’t been because they had a comparable player last season.

    Z-man: Re: Jerry Rice, he didn’t have much leadership status until after he had established himself as a HOF player on an all-time great team.

    I guess you spent a lot of time in the 49ers locker room and training facility? Anyway, my point is specifically that even though Jerry Rice is a selfish guy who purposely avoided a leadership role on the team, you can still find a million quotes from his teammates about how his ridiculous work ethic raised the bar and made everyone on the team work harder… that is a type of leadership. Similarly, all reports are that Jordan was not the leader of the Bulls: Pippen was. Still, Jordan undoubtedly inspired and led his teammates in his own way. Again, there are different ways to lead. I don’t think you understand most of my points or even what I am arguing.

  23. Ted Nelson

    Ted Nelson: Z-man: It is a fairly widely-held opinion that Amar’e was the best player in the league in the second half of last year.

    Also, it is a “widely held opinion” that the Knicks overpaid for Amare and will be disappointed… that doesn’t really mesh with your image of him as the best player in the whole league. Even had he gotten $20 mill per, no rational person would call LeBron overpaid.

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