Knicks Morning News (2015.03.02)

  • [New York Times] Former European Champion Welp Dead at 51 (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:10:12 GMT)

    German center Christian Welp, who won the European championship with Germany and also played in the NBA, has died of heart failure aged 51, the University of Washington said on Monday.

  • [New York Times] Saunders Ponders Whether NBA’s All-Star Break Is Too Long (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:16:17 GMT)

    In a season full of injuries, many hoped that the new, longer All-Star break would help NBA players catch their breath and recover after a grueling first 3 1/2 months.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Game of the Week: Rockets at Hawks (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:27:57 GMT)

    Atlanta, still the class of the Eastern Conference, faces a Houston team that has weathered the loss of its star center, Dwight Howard.

  • [New York Times] Pelicans Hold Off Nuggets 99-92 for 5th Straight Win (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:46:20 GMT)

    Heal fast, Anthony Davis. In the meantime, know this: Your teammates are holding things down just fine until you’re completely mended.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: LeBron James’s Struggles at the Line Cost Cleveland (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:20:39 GMT)

    James Harden scored 33 points for Houston, and James missed two free throws with 4.2 seconds left in overtime as the Rockets held on for a victory over the Cavaliers.

  • [New York Times] With No Durant or Westbrook, OKC Still Tops Lakers 108-101 (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:07:20 GMT)

    D.J. Augustin was still in Detroit when the Oklahoma City Thunder played 14 games without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook earlier this season.

  • [New York Times] Sports of The Times: Anthony Mason Fulfilled a Dream That All Too Many Have (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 02:43:55 GMT)

    Mason, who died Saturday at 48, had the tenacity and talent that made him one of the select few to achieve the dream of becoming a professional athlete.

  • [New York Times] Curry Scores 37, Leads Warriors From 26 Down to Beat Celtics (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 02:34:24 GMT)

    When you’re sitting on the NBA’s best record like the Golden State Warriors, you don’t have to stress over every single game.

  • [New York Times] Roy Hibbert Leads Surging Pacers to 94-74 Win Over 76ers (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 02:34:14 GMT)

    Roy Hibbert had 14 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 94-74 on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Williams Helps Charlotte Hold Off Orlando 98-83 (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 01:55:13 GMT)

    Mo Williams had 23 points and 11 assists, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Orlando Magic 98-83 on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Lillard, Aldridge Leads Blazers Past Kings for 3rd in a Row (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 01:52:28 GMT)

    Damian Lillard scored nine of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Sacramento Kings 110-99 on Sunday for their third straight victory.

  • [New York Times] Harden’s 33 Points Leads Rockets Over Cavs 105-103 in OT (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 01:25:15 GMT)

    James Harden has been putting up MVP-caliber numbers all season for the Houston Rockets.

  • [New York Daily News] EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Mason’s four kids at his side until end (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 07:37:34 GMT)

    As he took his final breath in a New York City hospital, Knicks star Anthony Mason was surrounded his biggest fans — his three sons.

  • [New York Daily News] With dreadful Knicks, Derek Fisher remains positive (Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:15:59 GMT)

    A straight-faced Derek Fisher addressed a room full of reporters in the Knicks’ interview room at the Garden.

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    Mike Kurylo

    Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

    84 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.03.02)”

    1. My top three for this draft are as follows:

      1.Towns
      2.Cauley-Stein
      3.Johnson

      I’m hesitant on both point guards as of now as well as Okafor. Dude can’t make free throws!
      If we somehow miss out on Towns, I think there’s a good chance we could trade down with the Sixers and pick up their later 1st, especially if we’re at 2 or 3 and Mudinay is still there for them.

    2. My top three for this draft are as follows:

      1.Towns
      2.Cauley-Stein
      3.Johnson

      I want an impact defender, and those three are the best defensive players in the draft. So, yeah, I see where you’re coming from. I’d rank Johnson ahead of Cauley-Stein because Johnson has more potential as a two-way player.

      I do still like Okafor because dominating post-up centers are rare, and even with the low FT% he is still putting up a .641 TS%. He’s a brutally efficient offensive player. Russell is also no slouch– he’s a high IQ, box score stuffing combo guard who has great shooting range. My rankings look like this:

      1. Towns
      2. Johnson
      3. Okafor
      4. Russell
      5. Cauley-Stein
      6. Turner
      7. Mudiay
      8. Hezonja

    3. @4 yea that’s similar as hell. Just say you don’t like his face. Hahaha. But yea go back you your Melo obsessions

    4. not nearly as disgusting as Melo’s grin when 20 points down…

      I never did understand it. Can you imagine MJ, Bird or Lebron, or any winner, doing that?

    5. As long as we have a top 4/5 pick and take a big I think we will be getting an effective basketball player. Okafor, Towns, Cauley-Stein, Turner-I’d be satisfied with any of those guys.

    6. do anyone think Winslow is pushing Johnson for the top SF spot?

      I don’t. I think Johnson is better on both sides of the ball, and wins in the “intangibles” category as well.

    7. Pretty wild that we’re starting one player who was even on the active roster when the season started.

    8. I feel like I remember Lebron getting criticism for not wanting to win enough until he went to a team with other really good players and then won.

    9. I feel like I remember Lebron getting criticism for not wanting to win enough until he went to a team with other really good players and then won.

      Anyone who said that was an idiot. Lebron carried a beleaguered cast of role players on his back deep into the playoffs five years in a row before he left.

      Melo, on the other hand . . . .

    10. The idea that anyone has any idea how much a player “wants to win” is so freaking stupid. Even if Melo had no intrinsic motivation to win (whatever that even means), I’m sure he’d be desperate to do it just to shut up this type of crap.

    11. Melo does not really care about the team or winning.

      I’m sorry, but that’s just BS. You can say he’s a flawed player and will never win anything if he’s the #1 option, that’s fine, but this notion that he’d rather score than win basketball games is just dumb

    12. Lebron carried a beleaguered cast of role players on his back deep into the playoffs five years in a row before he left.

      Do you think that possibly has something to do with the fact that Lebron is exceptionally, exceptionally good at basketball, and is maybe unrelated to whether he “wants it” more than Carmelo?

    13. A funny comment about how Harden trolls for fouls, complete with a link to video to prove the point, prompts comments about how Melo doesn’t want to win?? I can usually figure out the connections between comments on this site, even the really tenuous ones, but this one has me stumped. Please explain.

    14. You’re nobody on Knickerblogger until someone tells you to drink bleach and die.

    15. Hah, personal. Captain Luke, I admire your civility, but you have not experienced personal yet. Wait ’til someone insists, yet again, that Carmelo’s double-teamed shot attempts yield more offensive rebounds at such a rate that his value is unfairly deflated by every metric available. Only then will you see “personal,” and it will be accompanied by Mike K.’s swift and final banhammer.

      When you play the game of advanced metric thrones … you win … or you are banned.

      ————————

      When you read “Player X doesn’t want to win,” you must realize that this is blatant hackery and should be ignored.

      There’s only one player on an NBA roster who demonstrably does not want to win: Larry Sanders. And good for him for having the stones to demonstrably not win.

    16. There’s only one player on an NBA roster who demonstrably does not want to win: Larry Sanders. And good for him for having the stones to demonstrably not win.

      Perfect cog in our tank machine. Let’s get him!

    17. In his defense, though, I must say that he has given the NY Knicks exactly what any objective observer should have expected: top-level scoring.

      +1000.

      Anyone buying an elite screwdriver should probably stock up on hammers, wrenches, and drills.

      Getting Melo to combine with Amare was dumb. Getting Tyson was better, but pairing up with JR, Felton, and gang was just dumb. You can elevate your IQ with people like Kidd and Sheed, but that ain’t sustainable.

    18. Loving this thread…

      I would also be inclined to draft the most defensively able big man. Let’s be honest, if we drafted Okafor Melo would never give him the ball anyway.

      The Iverson – Dikembe model is what we should aim for.

      And I am not sold on Okafor anyway…..

    19. Hey, I want to be somebody! Please tell me to drink bleach and die.

      Also, I think Jowles reverting to his THCJ moniker is akin to Jordan ditching the 45 to wear 23 again.

    20. The crazy thing about the bleach thing is that I totally missed it happening and after being notified about it later I was like, “How the heck did I miss that? I would have obviously deleted a comment like that.” And that’s when I found out why I didn’t see it – because it happened on a Christmas game thread, and I was not following the blog on Christmas. So Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men and Go Drink Bleach.

    21. Wow, JaVale McGee must be some kind of locker room cancer to get waived with all that money owed him. He always seemed like an at least decent seven footer to me.

    22. an we just offer support for our opinions (they are just that, right?) without getting personal?

      The reason I have no interest in that kind of post is specifically because neither you nor anyone else can offer any support for it. Really only Carmelo Anthony has any idea “how much he wants to win”, and since such a thing really only exists in a comparative sense, Melo may know how badly he wants to win, but has no possible way of saying whether it’s a lot or a little in relationship to how much Lebron wants to win. Basically there is not a single person in the entire world, Melo included, who could offer any meaningful evidence as to whether Lebron or Melo wants to win more. It’s just pissing in the wind.

    23. His acquisition was about two things – 1. Getting a draft pick in exchange for taking him and 2. Getting his money to bring them to the salary floor.

      So he was never in play for them.

    24. I know, but those two points doesn’t conflict wit the fact that he could be their back up big next year. The Sixers need live bodies!

    25. Man, what a different era in this board. When’s the last time this cock puffed out his plumy chest?

    26. The reason I have no interest in that kind of post is specifically because neither you nor anyone else can offer any support for it.

      From the other side of the narrow aisle: exactly. I assume that Carmelo Anthony wants to win because everyone in or associated with the NBA — really, everyone — knows that winning equals money. Winning is money in AAU, it’s money for college coaches, it’s (under-the-table) money for blue-chip NCAA recruits, it’s big money for players who make it to a Final Four (Ray Felton, y’all), and it’s obviously money for the players, agents, lawyers and entourages of every NBA player who has existed in the free agency era.

      Everyone wants to win. Some (LeBron, everyone on the Spurs) are smart enough to understand the economics of winning and take a slight paycut for a huge payday and/or a winning culture. Others (Carmelo) are unsmart enough to take token paycuts for a single-stream (i.e. Dolan-signed paychecks) payday. Lots of space in between.

    27. The reason I have no interest in that kind of post is specifically because neither you nor anyone else can offer any support for it. Really only Carmelo Anthony has any idea “how much he wants to win”, and since such a thing really only exists in a comparative sense, Melo may know how badly he wants to win, but has no possible way of saying whether it’s a lot or a little in relationship to how much Lebron wants to win. Basically there is not a single person in the entire world, Melo included, who could offer any meaningful evidence as to whether Lebron or Melo wants to win more. It’s just pissing in the wind.

      Very politically correct, but completely wrong.
      Sure, the ‘will to win’ may be intangible, but it can be very visible.
      Ever hear of a guy named Michael Jordan? Or Larry Bird? How about Pete Rose?
      Ever hear of Alex English? Or Mark Acguire? How about Carmelo Anthony?

    28. Melo wants to win. He may be a moron in many ways, but he plays hard. That’s why I always thought if he went to the Bulls, they would be unstoppable. On the other hand, imagine the Bulls got Melo, and lost Rose, Butler, Taj, and Melo this year to injury? Yeech.

      Like I said, Melo is an expensive screwdriver. We have had a half-assed variety in our toolbox for years, and wasted away Melo’s prime. It isn’t about who wants to win, it’s who’s talented in a well-built team that wins. EG- Spurs.

    29. I assume that Carmelo Anthony wants to win because everyone in or associated with the NBA — really, everyone — knows that winning equals money.

      Not really.
      Scoring, mistakenly, seems to be more rewarded than winning, both financially and popularity. Regardless, that’s what some players think.

      Cap Luke is spot on. Melo seems more content to be the leading scorer/alpha more than using his skills to get a win. And/Or he has an extremely low BB IQ.
      He gets his 25 and he’s a happy man.

    30. Pete Rose didn’t have a special will to win.

      Do you really believe that? You do realize everything you say on the internet is ‘forever’.

      He’s just a tremendous asshole.

      I can’t personally judge Pete Rose, but lot’s of athletes are assholes.

    31. Cock Jowels….. You are back!!!! I almost shed a tear. Missed you man, that #45 comment was perfect.

      Also this thread is hilarious to me, please carry on. never change

      As far as Okafor, every time I watch him play I want towns more and more I don’t know why.

    32. I’m not “obsessed” with Melo.

      that runs totally opposite to what you have posted here… have you had any non-melo comments?

    33. Whether people or okay with it or not, we’re not having comments just about making fun of another poster here, so I deleted a couple of comments. So don’t do that. Feel free to argue all you like, though, of course.

    34. Yeah, it is kind of weird. It really does seem like guys like Thibs and D’Antoni see the players as practically automatons.

    35. Thibs is some kind of crazy butcher. Doesn’t he see what happens every season?

      Trying to get into Thibs mind, I figure it’s some sort of combination of: these guys get paid insane amounts of money so he’s not going soft on them; if he’s plays his best players a lot of minutes, they’re more likely to win; and if his best players get hurt, he has an alibi for losing.

    36. Thibs shouldn’t be given the wheel of a contender until he learns what “running into the ground” means. Until then, he should coach a team of Bargnanis.

    37. Yea DRED I think he may get fired this season. Management already hates him and he ruins his good players by running them into the ground.

    38. riley had the same strategy here when he was with the knicks… and to a certain extent the heat… he used to run real short rotations for long stretches to squeeze out every win possible and in the playoffs it ran even shorter… remember the houston series? that was a 6 man rotation every game…

      this is a different era tho and i think the faster pace and faster athletes have to do with it… you see a lot of the smart teams with strategic resting schedules.. and i think you’ll start seeing studies done on player health based on their minutes usage over the course of a season… sort of like how baseball is now in the pitch count era and football teams run rb committees…

    39. Coaches don’t care about next season, let alone players’ next contract.
      They care about their record this season, and their own next contract.

    40. Very politically correct, but completely wrong.
      Sure, the ‘will to win’ may be intangible, but it can be very visible.
      Ever hear of a guy named Michael Jordan? Or Larry Bird? How about Pete Rose?
      Ever hear of Alex English? Or Mark Acguire? How about Carmelo Anthony?

      All I take away from your list is that guys who win more tend to get a lot more stories written about how much they wanted to win. But the guys who win more also tend to be the better players. And to have the better teammates. I place a lot more stock in those things than I do in the fact that Michael Jordan punched his teammates in the face in practice when they messed up (if he wasn’t a 6-time champion I suspect such incidents would be viewed as team cancer behavior rather than legendary drive and leadership).

    41. Yeah, it is kind of weird. It really does seem like guys like Thibs and D’Antoni see the players as practically automatons.

      Not a single player on last season’s championship Spurs team averaged more than 30 mpg. Gotta believe other teams have started to pick up on that although Thibs and Fisher (Melo) ::sigh:: clearly have not. Here is the link.

    42. riley had the same strategy here when he was with the knick

      Yup. I was about to post this same fact.

      Riley used to say that players were less likely to get hurt if they were putting 100% effort in. I don’t know if he was right, but to call Thibs a butcher for trying to win games (his job), that’s a bit unfair.

      I am skeptical that there is correlation between chronic injury and minutes-per-game. Players bodies are built differently, and they break down under Thibs, Pop, Jackson, whoever.

      NBA players should be able to play 36 minutes of basketball every three days. That’s what the schedule asks, and that’s what they should be able to give.

    43. I think the whole Thibs wears his players out meme is mainly bc of Derrick Rose, which is ludicrous.

      And Deng and Noah.

    44. This thread has been pretty hilarious. I love how the most tenuous links can be made between subject x and criticism of Melo these days. “Jimmy Butler having shoulder surgery kind of reminds me that Melo sucks”.

      I tend to agree that Bulls management have got to start looking at Thibs at the end of the season. Obviously a great coach considering how he gets the most out of his players, but the Bulls roster looks more like a M.A.S.H. unit at times rather than a basketball team.

      Not a single player on last season’s championship Spurs team averaged more than 30 mpg. Gotta believe other teams have started to pick up on that although Thibs and Fisher (Melo) ::sigh:: clearly have not.

      You are spot on with how the Spurs are doing it, granted a lot of that has to do with the age of their roster, but it makes sense. Thibs could definitely implement that at the Bulls, but I really don’t know that a lot of other teams have that same luxury to distribute minutes. I feel that Fish is in between a rock and a hard place. Obviously given the year we are having, playing Melo less prior to him being shut down would have been the way to go, but I think you also have to take into account the fact that Fish is in his rookie year and is making a name for himself as a HC. By not playing Melo he is prone to getting whipped by even more on a nightly basis, which can’t be good for his credibility. I know that may seem like a silly thing to say, given we all want a high pick etc. but I often don’t think we take into account coaches and players pride. It’s easy (and often correct for us) to say the team needs to do x, y and z to gain a better draft spot/put ourselves in better cap situation, but can you really expect a HC or star player to walk it in every night? I will agree that Fish probably could have played Melo less, but at the same time I can’t fault him too much in the sense that he is trying to win………he’s just not doing well at it yet…

    45. You know who really “wanted to win”? David Eckstein. He may have only been four feet tall, but he was gritty. Give me a team of nine David Ecksteins over nine A-Rods any day. Sure, the A-Rods would hit lots of home runs, but the Ecksteins would win just by sheer grittiness and knowing how to win. They would be really good at hitting behind the runner and they’d have dirtier uniforms than the A-Rods. Because Eckstein wanted to win.

      #firejoemorgan4eva

    46. For the record, I was the target of THCJ’s “drink bleach”comment. It was deserved. Jowles and I kissed and made up. I still think Kenneth Faried sux.

      It’s nice to be part of such an historic KB moment.

    47. On another note, Galloway is doing some Horry-fic shit out there these days. Is he destined to become the new Big Shot Bob?

      Big Tre Galloway?

    48. Every single hoolahoop post ever in the history of Knickerblogger:

      Melo is a ball-stopper, and a one-dimensional player, and he values scoring over winning, and you can’t win with a player like that. He could be as good as LeBron, but all he wants to do is score so instead he sucks.

      He posts exactly this thought several times per thread, and has been doing his for years. There must be thousands of “Melo only wants to score” posts in the archives at this point. When I see the screen name, I automatically know there is a “Melo only cares about scoring” post coming.

    49. “NBA players should be able to play 36 minutes of basketball every three days. That’s what the schedule asks, and that’s what they should be able to give.”
      Except that that is not at all what the schedule asks. Between March 19 and 28, the Knicks play 7 games in 10 days. The NBA schedule is grueling (especially when you take into account the travel involved) and, when you see up close slow motion replays, you start to realize the banging that guys take on a nightly basis. If any of us took a charge from someone like LeBron, we wouldn’t be able to walk for days. It is amazing that more guys don’t get hurt more often.

    50. Every single hoolahoop post ever in the history of Knickerblogger:

      Melo is a ball-stopper, and a one-dimensional player, and he values scoring over winning, and you can’t win with a player like that. He could be as good as LeBron, but all he wants to do is score so instead he sucks.

      He posts exactly this thought several times per thread, and has been doing his for years. There must be thousands of “Melo only wants to score” posts in the archives at this point. When I see the screen name, I automatically know there is a “Melo only cares about scoring” post coming.

      +1
      Maybe making sure newcomers understand his opinion every day?

    51. Fascinatingly, JaMychael Green signed an extension with Memphis. I really thought he’d test free agency this offseason.

    52. Why is that when I look through the historical record of great players, many (if not most) were able to play WAY MORE minutes per game than the players of today without having their coach called out for running them into the ground?

      Look at Wilt’s record.

      Look at Russell’s record.

      The league wasn’t as deep down the bench in those days. That’s probably why the starters played so many more minutes. But if playing more than 40 minutes is so horrendous for a young professional athletes, they all would have all broken down. Yet they didn’t. If you want to argue the schedule and traveling is tougher now, that may or may not be. Those guys were often traveling by bus. But being tired is different than breaking down.

      I don’t buy any of this stuff.

      It may be strategically correct to keep players fresh when they are already battling injuries or tired, but I think the injuries themselves are pretty random.

      Butler or Rose gets hurt – It must be Thibs

      Kobe gets hurt – It must D’Antoni

      Parker, Ginobili, Leonard, and Splitter get hurt – It’s random because he rests his players.

      I call BS.

    53. JaMychal’s got 40 minutes of NBA time. The Grizzlies gave him a deal for the rest of this season and the next two. He’d be crazy to go to free agency.

    54. stratomatic –

      I don’t think you should be so fast to call BS. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have as many back-to-backs in those days, and they didn’t have four games in five nights. I am 100% sure the game wasn’t as physical. Today’s game isn’t as rough as the 90s, but it’s still much rougher than in the 60s and 70s. Defense was a different thing back then – thus all the 120 point games. Combine that with the increased risk of injury because of muscle fatigue, and I have to disagree with you.

      I also suspect – though I have no evidence, of course – that PEDs do play a part in the increased number of injuries. All the joint injuries in baseball make it obvious that our bodies can’t handle the increased power and torque. PEDs in basketball may not be the rage (so to speak) they were in baseball, but some guys had to have explored them. People on the board have speculated on LeBron and others; who knows for sure, but the kinds of injuries most players are experiencing (Jimmy Butler aside), it does seem possible they play a factor.

    55. The league wasn’t as deep down the bench in those days. That’s probably why the starters played so many more minutes. But if playing more than 40 minutes is so horrendous for a young professional athletes, they all would have all broken down. Yet they didn’t. If you want to argue the schedule and traveling is tougher now, that may or may not be. Those guys were often traveling by bus. But being tired is different than breaking down.

      You make some good points in general, and it really adds some fuel to the “it was tougher in my day” rhetoric of sports, but I will say the following:

      1. Games are played at a much faster pace, thus having a greater physical toll;
      2. I think a lot of injury prevention is as much for the player in the short term and long term. A lot of those old guys can barely walk. Some wear it as a badge of honour (and maybe they should, they certainly worked hard), but realistically is the quality of life as good?;
      3. There is a whole lot more money invested in these guys.

    56. Since 1980 there have only been 119 player seasons where the player played in at least 55 games and averaged 40 or more minutes a night. If you go back to the start of the shot clock era, there have still only been 269 such player season. Guys generally did not, and still generally do not, play 40 minutes a night.

    57. Chris Paul has really been playing out of his mind of late. He and DeAndre are doing some serious heavy lifting out in LA.

    58. In a 14 year career, Wilt averaged more than 40 minutes a game for 79 or more games 11 times and had two more years of 72 or more 40 minute games. He averaged 45.8 mpg for his entire career and, one year, he played all but 5 minutes for the ENTIRE SEASON. His numbers were incredible.
      In other news, I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but over their last 10 games, Shumpert and JR have shot a combined 33% from 3.

    59. Wow, the Nets beat the Warriors? Ah, Klay scored 7 points on 17 shots. Hard to win when that happens.

    60. Watching Clips/Wolves. Woodson ditched the goatee and went full trimmed beard. The end of an era.

    61. I would beg to differ with anyone that thinks that the game is more physical today than it was in the early ’60s when Wilt played. Players then were allowed to hand check, and there were only 2 refs. They scored lots of points because the players were all 4-year college players with hard-ass college coaches teaching them fundamentals for 4 years.

      Players then didn’t have personal chefs, personal trainers or year-around fitness programs…many had to work in the off-season to make a decent living. They didn’t travel first class, Many arenas were not air conditioned. When players got injured, they had limited medical options. There was no arthroscopic surgery. There was no orthokine or whatever that shit is. Players wore inferior footwear (Chuck Taylors were the state of the art.)

      Wilt was a freak of nature. He was triple-teamed every night and took hard fouls for 48+ minutes every game (he averaged 17 FGA per game), scored 50+ points a game without 3-pointers and as a lousy FT shooter, and chased down nearly 26 rebounds a game. Yeah, there were lots of bad centers then, but there are lots of lousy ones today as well. He still had to make all those trips up and down the court, and I’m sure opponents tried to tire him out to no avail.

      I think that the 48.5 MPG (considering that he was essentially a 1-man team on both ends) is the most amazing physical feat in the history of team sports. Nothing really comes close.

    62. I think physical has sort of two different meanings.

      On the one hand, yes, obviously the game was more aggressive back in the day, violence-wise. People kicked each others’ ass constantly.

      However, I think the actual physical abilities of players were much different back then, as in they were worse. Players were smaller and slower. Lebron James would have been an All Star center fifty years ago. I love Richie Guerin, for instance, but Richie Guerin could not start in the NBA today. No way, no how (I think he could make it in today’s game, though, just not starting level).

      So did people kick Wilt’s ass? Sure, but he also didn’t have to exert himself nearly as much as he would in today’s game, so that is a huge factor with players’ minutes.

      That isn’t to say that Wilt was not a beast. As of course he was. He’d be a stud in today’s game. He just wouldn’t be averaging 48 minutes a game or those crazy rebound numbers.

    63. Pitchers in the 1970’s used to throw 300 innings on the regular, and racked up insane pitch counts during games. Are pitchers today less durable, or babied more or something? No. They’re asking more of their bodies. And the game has evolved so that relief specialists are more and more important. There are enough talented pitchers now for the really good teams in the league to load up their bullpens with nothing but flame-throwing strikeout artists, so nobody needs to go out and throw 180 pitches in a start like Nolan Ryan used to do.

      Nolan Ryan is an interesting case study though. He struck out and walked an enormous number of batters, and so would run up ridiculous pitch counts, yet he never got injured. If he came along today, he’d probably be removed after pitching 6 innings a lot of the time, and would be hard pressed to crack 220 innings in a season due to pitch count limits. Some pitchers today probably COULD throw 300 innings if they were asked to do so. It’s just not a good idea. On the opposite end of the spectrum think of Sandy Koufax– the best pitcher on the planet in the mid-1960’s. The Dodgers insisted on sending Koufax out for 40 starts and 300 innings even though his arm would be practically falling off after the games. If Koufax came along today, he’d have been on pitch count limits and would have had a much longer career.

      The parallel with basketball is obvious. Could Wilt Chamberlain have played a gazillion minutes if he was an active player today? Maybe. WOULD he have played a gazillion minutes? Probably not. People know better now.

    64. I completely disagree. Even in his final season at 36 years old after significant injuries (e.g. ruptured patellar tendon) he STILL averaged 43 mpg playing against a much better breed of C (Kareem, Willis Reed, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bob Lanier, to name a few) and STILL led the league in rebounds by a wide margin.

      One thing opposing teams said frustrated them about Michael Jordan was that he never got tired. Wilt was one of those freaky guys like Mike.

      Players today are in much better anaerobic shape due to the weightlifting (look at the biceps of the average player in any sport today relative to the ’60’s) and are generally taller. But players then ran their asses off, especially teams like the Knicks.

    65. I was trying to differentiate between players needing rest because they are tired from traveling, playing more backs to backs, etc.. and actually getting new injuries due to minutes.

      This is the way I see it.

      1. Most injuries occur while people are playing.

      2. If you play 36 minutes per night, your probability of getting injured is X.

      3. If you play 39.6 minutes a night, your probability of getting injured is 10% higher because you are playing 10% more minutes even if all else is equal.

      4. If you play 30 minutes a night your probability of getting inured drops.

      What I want is proof is that their bodies physically can’t handle those extra minutes, not that they are more likely to get hurt because they are playing 10% more minutes.

      What may happen is that they are trying to play through pre existing minor injuries and get hurt worse or they get hurt because of what I am describing above, but I don’t think Thibs and D’Antoni are running super elite athletes into the ground with an extra 5 minutes a night. We are talking about 5 minutes and super elite athletes.

    66. Now, I don’t have anything about studies, but I think it’s uncorrect to presume a linear relationship between minutes played and chance of getting injured. I’d say there’s an equal chance for minutes between 0 and 30, and then an exponential or geometric progression. So yeah, playing them 5 minutes more is much more than 2.5 times worse than if they played just 2 minutes more.

    67. So yeah, playing them 5 minutes more is much more than 2.5 times worse than if they played just 2 minutes more.

      You and everyone else is putting an awful lot of weight on 5 extra minutes of basketball when we are talking about super elite athletes that probably used to spend many hours a day practicing and playing pickup between regularly scheduled games in college and high school when they were just developing their skills. Now they can’t handle 5 minutes?

      Everyone may be right. I concede that. But I’m not sure people are even controlling for the fact that 10%-15% more time on the court automatically means 10%-15% more injuries.

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