Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NBA Less Prone to a Steroid Scandal

When I was a young boy I received a copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia for my birthday. This was in the days before the internet, when if you wanted to find out the answer to a question you would need the appropriate book in hand. if you had a book report on space instead of using wikipedia, you needed to have the 30 or so volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica. Instead of google, your parents had to know the answer to all of life’s questions (or at least pretend to).

I was a baseball fan for as long as I could remember. Growing up, everyone on my block was a Yankee fan, primarily due to their dominance of the era (or the Mets futility). And since my father was an immigrant with no love for the game, I followed suit. I learned about the game as much as someone could on the street, in little league, and in front of the tv. But it wasn’t until that Baseball Encyclopedia fell on my lap that I could truly delve into the history of baseball. All of a sudden players that were dead decades before I was born came to life. It was easy to imagine Ty Cobb frequently circling the bases when you saw his career numbers: .366 BA, 295 3B, 892 SB. The dominance of Babe Ruth was clear looking at the numbers. His 54 homers in 1920 were more than any other team in the American League. For each era, there were numbers that stood out among the rest: Ted Williams’ .406 BA, Koufax’s 1.73 ERA, McLain’s 31 wins, Ryan’s 383 Ks, and Henderson’s 130 SB to name a few.

Like no other, baseball is ultimately a game of numbers. Just about every fan knows most of the important baseball records by heart, and baseball’s lexicon is filled with statistical references. There are .300 hitters, 20 win pitchers, 100 RBI guys, and the 40-40 club. In baseball statistical accomplishments are on par with championship moments. Kirk Gibson’s home run and the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” are just as historically significant as Aaron’s 715th home run and Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak. For baseball fans, there are just as many important events that helped to decide championships as there are numerical accomplishments.

The importance of numbers to baseball is why the steroid scandal is so damaging. The last few years baseball players have done things that for decades seemed impossible. It took Marris 34 years to break Ruth’s mark, and no one else was able to hit 60 in the 37 years since that event. For years very few pitchers reached the age of 40, and those that did where either knuckleballers like Hoyt Wilhelm or Phil Niekro or former fireballers reduced to marshmallow tossers like Jim Kaat and Tom Seaver. But then all of a sudden the game changed. The 60 home run mark is surpassed 6 times in 4 years. And Roger Clemens kept his fastball and won two more Cy Youngs past his 40th birthday. In baseball numbers that were holy had become desecrated, and the result is that baseball’s numerical legacy, which helped endear it to so many people, had become meaningless.

While it would be naive to think that baseball is the only sport that has players who are abusing steroids, it is probably the only mainstream sport that would suffer greatly from a steroid controversy. An NFL player is more likely to improve due to steroids, but the sport barely blinked an eye when one of it’s marquee players was caught using. Shawn Merriman was suspended for a few games, but was still voted to the Pro Bowl.

But I think basketball would be less immune to a steroid scandal than either baseball or football. The main reason is that basketball doesn’t lend itself to numbers like baseball does. Unlike baseball where there are many great statistical historical moments, in basketball there are very few. Other than Wilt’s 100 point game, and maybe his 50 ppg season, there aren’t many basketball numbers that matter. Without looking it up, I couldn’t tell you who has the NBA’s single season high in assists, rebounds, blocks, or steals. Instead basketball’s history is defined by events like Willis Reed’s game 7, Jordan’s shot against the Jazz, and “Havlicek Stole the Ball”. The NBA is also defined by their rivalries. Wilt vs. Russell. Bird vs. Magic. Shaq vs. Duncan. Jordan vs. Everyone.

So what would happen if the NBA were hit with a steroid scandal similar to the MLBs? In baseball it seems that steroids does two things: slow down the aging process and increase the potency of power hitters. But in basketball it’s hard to imagine that steroids would have as large an impact. While there are some areas where an increase in strength would be beneficial, there is still so much else required to be successful in basketball. In other words steroids isn’t going to make you deadly from 18 feet, allow you to make behind the back passes, or add 50 points to your free throw average. The player type that is most likely to improve their on the court performance due to steroids is the aging vet looking for the fountain of youth or bigmen that rely on their physical strength and have little skill.

So although basketball is hindered by not having a rich statistical past like baseball, it helps inoculate the sport from the steroid scandal baseball is currently suffering through. Additionally basketball is reliant on skills that aren’t aided purely by brute strength. Which means steroids can’t turn Dwight Howard into Wilt Chamberlain. And after witnessing what McGwire, Bonds, and Clemens did to baseball, that’s a good thing.

79 comments on “NBA Less Prone to a Steroid Scandal

  1. holzmans ghost

    Steroids would definitely help basketball players. Faster recovery time would be an immense help–how often do we hear of the grind of back to back games wearing out players. Additionally, the steroid often cited as giving baseball pitchers and sprinters more fast twitch speed could improve someone’s first step in basketball, enable a jump shooter to add a few feet to his effective range, etc. And certainly the money is there in the sport to incentivize the same behaviors in basketball that we see in baseball.

  2. Dan Panorama

    Am I crazy or do steroids reduce mobility? A Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens type body would be unworkable in the NBA given the pace of the game and its emphasis on agility and movement. This is why often the biggest players, despite their strength, are not major factors. See James, Jerome.

  3. Brendan

    I’d agree on the bulk-retards-mobility point, and note as well that it may also increase injury (as with, say, Robert Swift) in terms of wear and tear on knees and ankles. The fast-twitch idea is interesting, but I’m not sure a quicker shot is a more accurate shot, or a quicker first step produces a more favorable outcome. If you possessed good accuracy or finishing skills the ‘roids might help you use them better, but if not it might just encourage guys to keep trying to do things they aren’t good at.

    I’d say as much the major reason for a minimal use of steroids in basketball would be the question of what athletic attributes the sport selects for. Baseball and especially football select for strength preeminently; basketball selects more for agility and height. I think if someone could produce a performance enhancer which added 6 inches to a guy’s height the NBA would be full of users, but with the way the game is played and officiated today though the selection emphasis just isn’t there for what ‘roids can offer.

  4. Charles Oakley

    I don’t think steroids on their own decrease mobility, except sperm mobility. You have to do other things like have knee surgeries and eat like pigs. Jeromes James is the way he is because he is a lazy, injured, Burger King overeating sack of crap.

  5. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    holzmans ghost:

    There’s no doubt that steroids might make a player quicker (see: Ben Johnson.) But I think that at the NBA level there is so much skill required that it wouldn’t make an earth shattering difference. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens went from “great for their era” to “the greatest of all time.” I just don’t see steroids having that effect on basketball.

    But, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that steroids could make a majority of players markedly better. The end result wouldn’t be as bad as baseball, because no one will touch Wilt’s single season records of pts/rebs. I don’t see steroids increasing ast/g either. And for most of the NBA’s history blocked shots weren’t kept. In baseball the numerical records are so integral to the game, that players on steroids breaking them has fouled the game. But in basketball, partly due to Wilt’s dominance, that problem will never occur.

    Additionally you would imagine if steroids were widespread in the NBA (ie. that players on all teams are using them) because the NBA is judged on matchups (and not historical milestones) then it shouldn’t matter as much because athletes that are cheating are playing against each other.

  6. Riley

    There are certain types of steroids that benifit you in different ways. For instance, Wally Joyner, a shortstop that played for many teams in the 1990s, was a slim quick guy. He used steroids to help improves his quickness and speed. Basketball invloves alot of quick movement, cutting and jumping. Performance enhancing drugs can benefit all basketball players in that way.

  7. jon abbey

    Wally Joyner played 1B.

    yes, the NBA is less prone to a steroid scandal, but Tim Donaghy, the awful-to-the-point-of-cheating refereeing in the Miami/Dallas Finals and the remarkably stupid suspension of Stoudemire in last year’s playoffs have irrevocably tainted the last two years anyway.

  8. Riley

    There are lots of circumstances for which power is essential in the NBA. MJ himself was suspected of steroid use when he bulked up over one summer. And if endurance is what these athletes also need, there are other drugs that would help that. It’s unlikely that the NBA remained above all the other sports when it came to PED’s during the last 15-20 years.

  9. Z

    “The player type that is most likely to improve their on the court performance due to steroids is the aging vet looking for the fountain of youth or bigmen that rely on their physical strength and have little skill.”

    So will you raise an eyebrow when Jerome James gets activated and puts up 20 and 10 in his first game back?

  10. KD

    Not only was Joyner a 1B, but weren’t he and Mark Grace two of the slower position players of the last 30 years?

  11. oboogie

    there is no way steroids can improve a players game in the nba. the loss in agility due to increased bulk and ticky-tack injuries would outweight the muscle gains.

    i find it awfully suspicious q-rich got as bulky as he did after watching his skinny frame over in depaul and the clippers. now he is very injury prone and doesnt generate the lift he used to on dunks. clearly the added muscle did not help his game.

    a better choice of drugs for the nba would be epo for increased endurance or amphetamines for a boost in energy level.

  12. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    “Yes. Of COURSE it is happening. The NBA has one of the weakest drug policies known to man.”

    Everybody knows the NBA’s drug of choice is not HGH, or The Cream, or The Clear—

    It is the leafy green stuff.

    “AI was a mile high before he got to Denver.” -Confucious

  13. Patrick Ewing

    This is from an article on AOL, Could Hoops Have a Doping Problem?:

    “Unfortunately, steroids could help a basketball player,” says Michael Boyle, a strength and conditioning coach who has trained a number of professional athletes, including the NHL’s Brendan Shanahan and Ray Borque, MLB’s Nomar Garciaparra, and the NBA’s Gilbert Arenas and Andris Biedrins. “I’d love to tell you no to perpetuate that myth, but yes, (steroids) would help a basketball player.”

    In fact, a look at what steroids can do for an athlete might lead one to think that basketball players could benefit as much as, if not more than, any other athlete.

    “The strength gained from taking steroids could help with speed and jumping ability, and those are two things that’ll help you in sports pretty much universally,” says Boyle. “But they could definitely help in basketball.”

    Steroids aren’t the only substance that could be utilized by basketball players to help them play at a higher level. Human growth hormone is a substance whose physiological effects are similar to those found in steroids. In fact, according to Boyle, the popular belief that HGH is used primarily to help athletes heal is a con.

    “Put it this way, bodybuilders have been using HGH for 30 years, and that’s not because they were hurt.”

    Boyle goes on to say that even amphetamines could help a basketball player.

    “For a player suffering from combat fatigue, who’s playing night in and night out? Amphetamines could help.”

  14. Ess-dog

    Just look at Jamal Crawford! That guy’s frickin’ huge! A ripped steroid mass of man!!! And look at Eddy Curry with all his ‘roid rage… what an animal! So ferocious. He looks like he could bite the head off of a live chicken and spit it at you and scream!
    Seriously though, I could see HGH being used to come back from injury especially in older atheletes (actually, Stephon has bulked up, and he’s got a pretty big head, metaphorically and literally.)
    I don’t see constant roids being used though.

  15. Patrick Ewing

    Mark Said:
    ?The policy also FAILS to cover a vast number of drugs. There are literally dozens of steroids and stimulants that are outlawed in Olympic competition that are still legal for use in the NBA.” and because of the lack of testing, ?even if we did have a problem, it would be hard to pick up.?

    Those two points seem to be the biggest reason why steroid use is “minimal” in the NBA. 1) Their policy doesn’t cover anything, and 2) they don’t test.

  16. Matthew

    Amphetamines? Isn’t that a close cousin to methamphetamines? What kind of world are we living in when people might possibly be smoking crystal meth in order to improve their athletic ability.

  17. T-MART

    Isiah said “lineup change” not “lineup changes” in his pre-game press conference, if the lineup “change” he makes, singular, is substituting Malik Rose for Eddy Curry, Im going to beat myself to death with a spiked bat.

    Also, hate to be knitpicky here, Ty Cobb is my favorite ballplayer of all time, anyone who hasnt read the Al Stump bio, and who enjoys 400 page books which take seemingly 45 minutes to read, read it, BUT his major leauge leading all time career batting average is .367, not .366.

  18. Matthew

    “Those two points seem to be the biggest reason why steroid use is ?minimal? in the NBA. 1) Their policy doesn?t cover anything, and 2) they don?t test.”

    You don’t need testing to know that people are juicing up. Everyone and their brother used to joke about what roid freaks the baseball players in the mid-90s became. Testing only started to confirm what everyone already knew (even though the league played dumb for several years).

  19. Capt. Merlin

    espn just reported that lee would be starting in place of randolph, and curry would still start too, but left everything else in the dark…prob the same

  20. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    I remember reading rumors that Marcus Camby was taking HGH a year or so after the Knicks traded Ewing (training camp 2001, I think). Camby showed up in camp considerably stronger (15 lbs of muscle if memory serves and, most damningly, with a lantern jaw/bigger head a la Clemens, Bonds, Canseco, etc.

    The fact that he missed 60 games due to injury that year only fueled the speculation.

  21. T-MART

    1- Jamal Crawford 2- Quentin Richardson 3- Jared Jefferies 4- David Lee 5-Eddy Curry

    This lineup would seem to be a great idea if it werent for the fact that JJ is starting at 3 instead of Renaldo Balkman. But there are clearly advantages that have become knickerblogger-rhetoric at this point on this website. Eddy Curry plays best with David Lee and Jamal Crawford on the court because of their passing. We’re going to finally see Q at the 2, which is something people have seemingly been calling for in hypothetical lineups since the paleolithic era. So we keep two of our decent 3-point shooters on the floor to spread the permiter, we have Curry at maximum capacity due to whose on the floor, Owen’s man crush scooping up rebounds, and then uhhhh JJ, lets hope this is offically proof that Renaldo is hurt.

  22. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Tonights lineup

    PG Crawford
    SG QRich
    SF Jeffries
    PF Lee
    C Curry

    Uh. Ok Zeke. I think Isiah watched the Seinfeld episode where George tries to get fired from the Yankees and is seeing if he can pull it off. Maybe Zeke’ll show up on the sidelines in a flesh-colored bodysuit. Go bodysuit man!

  23. caleb

    Of course steroids could aid performance, by adding strength, enabling more intense workouts or – most important for basketball, I’d think – speeding recovery from injury, or just the grind of an 82+ game season.

    HGH is more interesting… while working on a recent project I learned that there is actually no clinical research to show that GH improves muscle strength, though it does increase bulk (especially in people with abnormally low levels to start with). The bulking up effect is one reason bodybuilders use it (the other reason being that those morons will chow down anything).

    Hypothetically you’d think it might have a strength/performance effect but that hasn’t been shown, the way it has for steroids (both in the lab, and through “informal” on-field use).

  24. KnickKnack

    Is anyone liking what they see tonight? Once Curry went out they started to click. If Zeke had some guts, this would’ve been the starting 5:

    PG Crawford
    SG NRobinson
    SF QRich
    PF ZRandolph
    C Lee

    Balkman would be 1st off the bench (when’s he ever going to play again?) and Curry would need to work his fat rump back into the rotation.

    By the way, what’s the deal with Marbury? My company gives employees up to a week for bereavement. It’s been almost a month! This angers me more than anything he’s ever done because he’s using his dead dad to stick it to the Knicks who fined him for cutting out on the team.

  25. T-MART

    How many fucking airballs are enough for a player to realize he should stop shooting for the night anywhere outside of the paint?????

  26. caleb

    I just think it’s weird that Balkman has disappeared from the face of the earth. If we had a normal coach who sees what other people see, you’d assume he was hurt.

    With Zeke Ahab, who knows?

    If RB is ever healthy I think he’ll make a big difference, as will Marbury’s return. (it’s all relative – he may bot be the best PG in the NBA but when the backups are who they are…)

    Getting those two back are probably enough to move us out of top-3 lottery contention, down around #10. sigh.

  27. T-MART

    Jared Jefferies has taken two 3 pointers?????? Got a stupid technical foul. Q has shot 4 air balls?? Malik Rose sucks. Why have any of these people even been in the game after these serial stupid plays.

  28. jon abbey

    Lee is easily the Knicks’ best player, but he sure complains a lot.

    Caleb, no worries, this team will finish with one of the worst three records in the league.

  29. DRed

    QRich is absolutely killing us. I hate seeing it, because he’s one of the few Knicks I still like, but he’s just a shell of his former self out there.

  30. oboogie

    qrich did nothing for us. if balkman was in there he would at least caused rashard lewis some problems and maybe cause some turnovers. however, i like the energy coming from our new rotation. funny how our offense sped up and looked light years better once curry was out of the game.

  31. Brendan

    I said to my roommate before tonight’s game that I would put the over/under for combined margin of loss for the Knicks and Nets tonight at 33. Actual result: 34.

    How many games this year have the Knicks thrown away late? I hate to over-emphasize psychological factors, but I honestly wonder if either the pressure gets to them, or else other teams just don’t take them seriously at the start and only play hard if it’s close late in the game.

  32. Z

    At one point tonight the courtside mic picked up Lee begging Randolph to help him on D:

    “Help, help, Z-Bo! Baseline!”

    Z-Bo stayed glued to his man (the guy setting the pick). Wide open three. BANG!

    Story of the 2007 Knicks…

  33. gmal

    Q isn’t what he once was but he aint this bad,
    for one he should never play the SF, at the two in a backup role is where he should be.
    two – a slow down game for spot up 3’s is also playing against his weakness cause there isn’t enough crisp ball movement to get him open looks. his game is much more suited for an uptempo run and shoot style like the 3 at the end of the first half.
    Add Nate, Balkman, Lee, Jones, Marbury, Crawford, Jeffries and possibly Wilson who I think also have games best suited for open and uptempo, so now you got 8 out what, 13 guys who for the most part on are forced to play a half court game.
    Realy, whats the point of getting all these athletic players if your revolve your game around the Zach or Curry? One thing is sure to come out of this and thats more ping pong balls.

  34. matty

    Tonight game was a great game
    every game should be like this
    the new york style of basketbal is tough and scrappy. get muffins out of there forever put him in the black hole and teach zach randolph to dunk the ball. Patrick ewing was a good shooting center as well a z-bo but patricks downfall was his dunking z-bo dunk it down!!
    tonights game pointed out each ones flaws

    z-bo, -no defense refuses to finish hard

    curry- lack tenacity,style,confidence and the most important he has butter fingers and that you cannot teach him to grab the dam ball

    Isiah- when jeffries and dh sparked up the game he needed some one to finish hard or drive in and pass it out to cut down the defense he instead goes with malik who was slow and made up for it with his hands bad subs late in this game

    marbury – his absence was missed tonight with out anyone breaking down the d in the paint

    d-lee just stole some ones job.

    z-bo nate crawford lee balkman the new york knicks

    bye bye muffins
    forever haha

    isiah please watch this tape over and over till your eyes bleed it was tell you sooo much

  35. T-MART

    “Q isn?t what he once was but he aint this bad,
    for one he should never play the SF, at the two in a backup role is where he should be.”

    I agree with your backup 2 suggestion I guess, but only if it comes with a bonehead-play-immediate-removal-from-the-game clause. Does anyone even remember the last time an NBA game had one player shoot 4 air balls? I understand you have to try and shoot your way out of slumps, but that was just selfish and irresponsible. He HAS been this bad lately. I think im going to call Madame Cleo inquiring about Renaldo, this is getting ridiculous. Quotebury must have shared his top secret blackmail cache of Isiah dirt with QaiR-ball.

  36. Owen

    Not the triumphant performance I might have liked from Good Things in his first day as the starter, but not too bad either. Looks like Craw had a pretty decent game. Why exactly did Curry only play five minutes?

  37. jon abbey

    “Why exactly did Curry only play five minutes?”

    he got two fouls in the first two minutes so Randolph came in for him, and they were playing well without him, shockingly shutting down Howard even, so he sat out the rest of the half. I think Isiah was afraid if he put Curry back, Howard would erupt. he came back in at the start of the fourth, looked rusty, and sat back down quickly.

  38. Ess-dog

    Yeah last Magic game Howard handed Curry his enormous lunch. This time, he was pedestrian. I mean z-bo’s not really a center, but he can’t be worse than curry. I mean, even when curry was at his best last year, he was only good for 6-7 rebounds a game. His points are replaceable. He’s not really a 30+ scorer b/c he drops too many balls. Aside from his bulldozer in the paint move, what else does he bring to the table? z-bo’s no alcindor, but shit, it’s better than what curry brings. Maybe Balkman got caught with the ganja on the team plane? Can’t figure why else he wouldn’t get minutes. Maybe they are “showcasing” Jeffries right now…
    This team needs to lose the dead weight asap. That means Q-poor, Malik, and Curry for starters. Buy out J.James and get another body in there. Steph is trouble too, but we could use him right now. Why not go with Nate, Craw, Fred and I guess Q/Steph as the guard rotation, Balkman, Chandler at SF, and Lee, Z-bo and anyone else down low. I’d rather see honest mistakes and intensity than lame duck vets.

  39. Bob Cook

    Et-Tu National Public Radio?
    Frank Deford has a weekly “column” on NPR where he discusses some sports topic. On Friday, he considered the issue of sports owners and after discussing some past colorful ones (Finley, Septien), he decided to name the WORLD’S worst professional sport team owner. And, drum roll, the envelope please, it was OUR OWN JIMMY DOLAN. He apparently beat out a Zimbabwean Cricket team owner who employs a Chimpanzee as wicket keeper.

  40. njhoops

    Actually, T-mart, I wasn’t that unhappy with Jeffries T. At least he showed a little fire, which no one else on this team ever shows. And that was an unbelievable no call by the ref on Howard, he is now getting superstar treatment, which I guess he deserves.

  41. Donald Trump

    Missed the game but saw late night ESPN highlights….announcers crucified Isiah Thomas for never getting up from his seat the entire game…true? Is he asking to be canned?

  42. Mr. Black

    Steriods.

    Of the major sports, basketball is the least likely to benefit from steriods. Basketball is much more a skill game than it is a physical game. Compare basketball with sports such as track and cycling. Those sport do not require as much technical skill as they do physical strength and endurance.

    I don’t see steriods helping your timing on a jumpshot. Steriods won’t help you handle the ball any better, or pass the ball at the right time. for example: I work out with guys that are in top shape, yet in a pick up game of basketball they get killed by those pudgy middle aged guys who play pick and pop all day. Since this is the case, I say that because basketball is so dependent on skill and becuase steriods do not enhance skills, there is no reason for basketball players to use steriods.

    Now the obvious response to my position is: “Baseball is just as much a skill game as basketball.” Yes, it is true that baseball requires a number of skills unrelated to size and strength. However, the benefits from size and strength are much greater in baseball than they are in basketball.

    Twenty extra pounds or muscle will take a player with warning track power and make them a 40 home run hitter. Twenty extra pounds of muscle will not help a player, lets say Jared Jefferies, hit a three pointer at a 38% clip. Nor will steriods help Redd or Allen hit more three pointers. Twenty extra pounds of muscle may very well help a pitcher by power to his delivery. But the same will not help a point guard drop the perfect bounce pass in traffic.

    “Well, won’t extra muscle help big men?”

    I don’t think it will. The best defensive big man in the game, in terms of defensive boards and blocked shots, just happens to weight less than many starting guards. That player is Marcus Camby. Camby is a top notch rebounder and shot blocker and he does it with a frame that would make a runway model jealous. No steriods there. Besides, big men in basketball don’t use steriods when they want to add size, they use White Castle. See Jerome “Burger King” James, Oliver Miller, Shaq (after the 2nd LA title), Curry, ect.

    In football (American) the benefits are obvious. Football is all about trying to out run or out muscle your opponent. The faster stronger guys get open for receptions or beat a lineman to get sacks. This is not the rule in basketball. In basketball you can use skill to make up for physical limitations. Look at Steve Nash, does any one think that he is faster or stronger than Marbury? Of course not. Would anyone want Marbury over Nash? Of course not.

    Having said that, I acknowledge that everything I have ever said on the site has been wrong. Lets see if my streak stays alive.

  43. jon abbey

    “I acknowledge that everything I have ever said on the site has been wrong. Lets see if my streak stays alive.”

    well, you just spelled steroids wrong nine times, a word in the headline of this thread, so congrats!

  44. sam

    Mr. Black,
    How can you say that twenty extra lbs of muscle isn?t going to help a basketballer? Have you heard of LeBron James? James seems to have a little/ a ton more muscle than most players, and it doesn?t seem to be slowing him down too much.

    Even if James himself isn?t juicing, and if steroids are somehow not already a problem in the league (and based on earlier comments in this discussion, they almost certainly are), LeBron is the reason that players are going to start taking ?roids if they don?t all ready. Because James shows you what 20 lbs of extra muscle does, and what it does is good. I would also say that the tendency towards (and success of) huge, muscular point-guards such as Chauncy Billups or Deron Williams indicates the value of bulking up for basketball players.

  45. caleb

    Do you really think Steve Nash is slower than Steph? Are you kidding?

    I’d also guess SN is one of the stronger PGs around – he’s got pretty good size… outside Marbury, Billups, Kidd, maybe Deron Williams, can’t think of anyone stronger, tougher to move in the post. (an aside – this is why Nate should be able to be a decent defender – he looks like the footballer he was; he should be the quickest AND strongest guy out there, which would make up for being 5’8… if he knew what he was doing…)

    With steroids, it’s not like you pop a pill (or take a shot) and watch muscles pop out like adding water to a sponge. I think he biggest tthing is durability, recovery time and strength in the sense of resistance to injury. That would be huge in basketball – think of all the guys who wear down as the season goes, or on the second night of back to backs. Look at Quentin Richardson’s game – if he were healthy, he’d be playing like last year. If he took steroids, he’d probably be “healthy” (in the sense of “not taken down by nagging injuries”)

    You’re right that football is more “pure” athletic ability – just strength and speed – but it’s hard to argue that basketball is less dependent on athleticism than baseball, where you see all the John Kruks, 50-year-old Julio Francos, etc.

  46. Frank O.

    Classic jon abbey response…

    Mr. Black:
    What I know about steroids is that the use is not only about bulking up.
    Remember, many of the folks being caught using steroids in baseball were pitchers, guys who were not muscular.
    Aside from the muscle building aspect, steroids are remarkably effective in aiding recovery. Remember, these people play 82 games of an intensely grueling sport. The cutting, short sprints, explosive leaping and the pounding you take from other men who are classified as giants all take a terrible toll. They have muscle soreness, joint aches, and contusions of all kinds. Steroids help people recover more quickly.

    Also, there are plenty of people who take steroids who are able to bulk up and still be skillful. Steroids won’t make your shot more accurate, but if you already had an accurate shot, having increased strength helps you against tough defenders and they help you overcome fatigue more quickly so that you are still able to effectively shoot.
    Take Barry Bonds. He has always been a great hitter. Arguably hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing to do in the world of sports. His ability to hit was never affected. He just hit the ball farther. Certainly, steroids helped him maintain excellent running speed late into his career. He did all the skill things well, he just did them more powerfully and for a longer period of time.

    As for your Camby argument. I love the guy, but his skinny rangy body was effective mostly as a weak side defender, a help defender. He had a very tough time guarding one on one strong power forwards and centers. He would get pushed around. Also, his skinny frame is another reason why he is so injury prone. His body breaks down more quickly than most players in his position.

    So if you are already good at shooting, driving dribbling and passing, steroids helps you to stay on the court with less pain and helps you be stronger. You need strength to finish shots, back defenders down, or prevent offensive players from gaining penetration.
    Steroids also strengthens legs which improve explosiveness, speed and quickness.

    It seems logical to me. Think of the sports where HGH, steroids and other drugs have been used to aid performance: track and field; baseball; soccer; tennis; football; wrestling (real wrestling); and boxing to name a few.

  47. Mr. Black

    Sam,

    How can I say that twennty extra pounds will not help a basketball palyer?

    Go back about three years and look at Kobe Byrant. He put on about twenty pounds of muscle in the off season, then after playing a full season with the extra bulk decided that his game was better without it. He found speed and agility to be better weapons than power. Gee what happened, KOBE DROPS 81. Look at what the Blazers are asking Channing Frye to do. They want him to drop the bulky muscle he put on. In basketball you can win with either speed or power, I think speed is more important.

    Sure I acknowledge that there is always an exception to the rule e.g. LBJ. But as a general rule, the extra muscle didnt make LBJ any better of a ball handler, or free throw shooter, or three point shooter, or passer. I am willing to listen if you can expalin how extra muscle helps in those departments. And my point is that LBJ has ability that doesnt require muscle. If you put twenty pounds of muscle on Rudy Gay would he become LBJ. Heck no.

    ——–

    Caleb,

    Yes. I DO really think Marbury is faster than Nash. Nash makes up for it becuase he is MUCH better at creating space. Nash lulls you to sleep with his moves then blows past when you are trying to recover. Marbury, like Paul and Iverson just go past whether you are ready or not. That is the point I was trying to make, skill trumps strength in too many areas of basketball. This is not the case in other sports.
    ——-

    john abbey

    Oh well thats embarrassing, to have so many speeling errors on a blog site. I thought I spelled steeriods rigth that last tyme. Boy, I am so glad that I use spellchaeck at my job as a highly paid attorney. I better go spell check that multi-million dollar contract I just drafted.

    Thanks.

  48. Mr. Black

    Frank O.

    I agree that steeriods have a purpose unrealted to bulk. Pitchers have a need for the reduced recovery time that stareoids offer. This is due to the great stress pitchers place on their arms. I dont see a similar situation in basketball. Is it not well known that pitching places stress on the arm due the unnatural motion that is required? How does the natural motion of running and jumping compare? Why would a point need stairroids?

  49. caleb

    marbury can’t stay in front of jerome james much less the quick PGs out there.

    and don’t let the white fool ya’… stevie might not be Barbosa or Chris Paul or Nate Robinson quick, but he’s plenty quick.

  50. Frank O.

    I have to say, Nash, a natural soccer player, is one of the quickest, fastest guards in the NBA. Maybe Marbury was quicker in his prime, but right now Nash is quicker and faster.
    Now, Nate is a freak. Love to watch him mix it up, strength, speed and explosive. He may be physically one of the strongest guards in the NBA.

  51. Frank O.

    Mr. Black:
    Running and jumping may be natural, but it’s certainly not natural at the NBA level, where you are playing against giants, at that pace, for that duration, over a long season.
    I’m sorry, it’s not natural.
    And have you ever heard what some of these guys need to eat just to keep weight on during the season? It’s remarkable.

  52. Mr. Black

    Now I got to talk about fast white guys so people dont call me racist.

    for you Caleb,

    The following are amazing white basketball palyers (not an exhaustive list):

    Stockon was plenty fast.

    Pistol Pete was blazing fast.

    Nash is fast, just not as fast as Paul, Nelson, or Marbury.

    Kurt Rambis was a beast.

    Chris Caveman is a beast.

    Brent Barry was a slam dunk champ.

    His father could shoot like nobody on earth.

    David “Cotton” Lee is da man.

    Larry Bird was legend.

    Havlicek stole the ball!

    But most important, these guys did it all without stareods. Damn, spelled it wrong again.

  53. Mr. Black

    “Mr. Black:
    Running and jumping may be natural, but it?s certainly not natural at the NBA level, where you are playing against giants, at that pace, for that duration, over a long season.
    I?m sorry, it?s not natural.
    And have you ever heard what some of these guys need to eat just to keep weight on during the season? It?s remarkable. ”

    So what does Jerome James do to keep weight on? Lord, he must consume half the gross domestic product of Paraguay

  54. Mr. Black Guy

    Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Said:
    December 27th, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    re: spellchecker – get firefox – it has one built in!

    firefox is for hoomos.

  55. matty

    wow i keep checking back here to see some insite and analysis but all i get is gorilla talk where are the educated people

    Do you think curry should ever play in another knicks game??

  56. Mr. Black

    I be very educated. My G.E.D. be proof of that.

    Eddy Curry should play for the Knicks. I don’t see any other way to make sure we get the second pick in the 2008 draft.

  57. L.A.

    Curry is doing his best to play his way out of the rotation. In the Magic game, he came in to start the 4th with the team down only 3 points. In 3 minutes he missed a pass, missed a shot, gave up a point blank shot to Foyle and then missed a reboud. By the time he was back on the bench we were down by 10 and the game was over. He couldn’t blame it on Randolph who he did not play with at all. Overall, he is to slow in too many areas to play effectively in the NBA. He will get his minutes though as we spent so much to get him and there isn’t enough there to win without him. Mr. Black is right though, Curry’s one strength will be to get a better draft pick this year. Let’s hope we keep it.

  58. Ben R

    L.A. – The Knicks were actually falling apart before Curry entered the game. To end the third quarter the Magic went on an 11-3 run with the only Knick points being Q’s three pointer at the buzzer. So the momentum was with the Magic when the fourth quarter started and while Curry’s bad play did nothing to change that it was hardly all his fault. Also once he left the Magic continued to score the next seven points and get up by seventeen.

    As for Curry he is only useful when the offense is running through him. If we are not going to feed him in the post he should not be in the game, because he is a poor defender and rebounder.

    At least Curry can be good if used right, Zach is never good, with only rare stretches of above average offensive efficiency coupled with incredible selfishness on both ends of the basketball court Zach is the kind of player that pulls teams apart.

    Zach is the next coming of Antoine Walker with gaudy offensive numbers but a consistant negative impact on the teams he plays on. We need to trade him before everyone figures out how harmful he is, if it hasn’t already happend.

  59. L.A.

    Yeah, it wasn’t all Curry’s fault, but his play still did nothing to help the situation. I was hoping for more when he entered the game but got the usual. As for Randolph, I am sure everybody has figured out his worth which is why we got him for Fancis’ contract and Frye. Just about our only hope of getting rid of these guys (Curry, Randolph, James, Jeffries) is if Isiah’s fired and he lands up with another team somehow and we trade them to that team. OK, a guy can dream, right?

  60. matty

    are you people serious eddie curry was a mistake he can barely catch the ball he is slow he make the same move over and over hes a never was zach is his prodigy no brains but all the skills

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