Hip or happy to see Howard

Today's pic was sent in by the Headless Chicken, who was puzzled by the giant bulge in Kendrick Perkins' shorts. Did he dislocate his hip or was he just really happy to be bodied up to a "dominant" center? You be the judge.

The Boston Celtics: Well, nobody said defending the NBA title would be easy...but the Celtics are making it look REALLY hard. Last year, they lost in Boston only once during playoffs (in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals). As of last night's 95-90 loss to the Magic, the Celtics have now opened two consecutive playoff series by dropping Game 1 at home.

I don't know if there was a physical and emotional hangover from the Bulls series or what, but the Leprechauns came out flat-footed on offense and a step slow on defense. The Magic led by 18 at the half (54-36) and went up by 28 points (65-37) early in the third quarter, thanks mostly to some truly bawful shooting by the Celtics (38 percent for the game). But, of course, Orlando is one of those "let 'em back in the game" teams, so...

The Orlando Magic: It can truly be said that no deficit is safe against the Magic. They simply will not allow their opponents to get blown out. So that shoulda-been-safe 28-point lead got whittled all the way down to four with less than a minute to play and then to only three when Paul Pierce drilled a three-bomb with 6.6 seconds left. But Orlando got the ball to J.J. Redick, and he kicked in a couple fouls shots to seal the deal.

Despite the win, Stan Van Gundy was understandably unsettled. "The last 16 minutes was a debacle. We were sort of trying to run out the clock, and you can't do that in games like this. Especially in the playoffs, teams are going to keep fighting and keep coming back." Added Dwight Howard: "We got complacent as a team, stopped doing what we did to get the lead and against a good Celtics team you can't do that." Those are nice sentiments and all that, but this is the third time the Magicians have coughed up a 20-point lead in the playoffs. It might be time to, I don't know, make some adjustments.

Paul Pierce and Glen Davis, regret machines: Said The Truth: "We can't wait until we're down 25, 26 points until we wake up. There's no excuses for us not to be ready." Added Big Baby: "If we had played the rest of the game like the second half...it's hard to play from behind. That's what we did and we lost."

Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen: They combined to shoot 4-for-24 (including 1-for-9 from downtown). That's 16 percent field goal "accuracy" from two of your primary scorers, which probably isn't going to get it done. I mean, they made Stephon Marbury (4-for-6) look positively en fuego. Most interesting, to me, is the Curious Case of Rajon Rondo. He was on fire through the first five games of the Bulls series, going 48-for-94 (51 percent) from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. But since then, he's 8-for-37 (21 percent) and has missed all four of his three-point attempts. Maybe this is the Revenge of Brad Miller in action, because Rondo hasn't been himself since all the brouhaha surrounding the flagrant-that-wasn't-a-flagrant.

Update! Rajon Rondo's airballed free throw: I really can't believe I forgot about this one. Fortunately, eileen had my back and said: "Rondo's airballed free throw was the ugliest shot I've seen in a long, long time." (Huh. I guess eileen hasn't seen this.) Anyway, onto the video...


The Los Angeles Lakers: It all the hurry and hubub to crown the Lakers "The Lords of the West," someone forgot to tell them that they still have to win a certain number of games to reach the NBA Finals. I don't get it. It's like they haven't shifted into their playoff gear yet. Not consistently, anyway. They don't seem any more intense than they did during most of the regular season...and not even half as intense as they played during their two games against the Celtics. I mean, I know all that winning can get really boring, but c'mon.

Now Basketbawful reader Joseph T. feels there was a more sinister reason for L.A.'s Game 1 flopparoo. "I am a Lakers fan, and I admit they stunk up the joint last night. Kobe and Gasol couldn't find the bucket with a flashlight and a map. BUT...they didn't lose because of that. They had more rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, made more shots, and had 3 fewer turnovers. How did they lose do you ask? Reverse Home Cooking. A MASSIVE 12 foul difference. Houston was called for 14 fouls, L.A.? 26. Houston also shot 10 more free throws as a direct result." I'm not sure I saw much of a problem with the officiating myself, particularly since Houston's last eight FTAs were the result of intentional fouls.

Meanwhile, Basketbawful reader Karc is predicting sweet, sweet oblivion for the Lakeshow: "And now the Lakers are officially in trouble. I mean, seriously, the Lakers had more shot attempts (+15), more rebounds (+2 total, +6 offensive), more assists (+1), fewer turnovers (-1), more blocks (+1), more steals (+3). And they still lost. Of course, that usually happens when a physical team psyches you out into fouling more (+12), making your best player take bad shots all night (14-for-31), and making the rest of the team live and die by the three (2-for-18). And this is not like the usual case where LA blows a huge lead. They never led in the second half. Not once. [Editor's note: L.A. actually did briefly take a one-point lead in the fourth.] Credit the Houston defense, or Kobe Bryant blowing a save (he is 'The Closer' after all). I almost want to say Houston will sweep them, because nothing that the Lakers did indicates that they can bounce back from this. And even if they do, Denver and Cleveland are ready to dish out the same, only with a better point guard (Billups) and the MVP of the league (James). Adios, Los Lakers."

Me, personally, I don't think the refs stole the game from the Lakers, nor that L.A. is in serious trouble. Yet. But they do need to amp up their intensity and (single entendre comig) keep it up, or they're going to fall into a pothole on their road to the championship...and break their face.

Lamar Odom: If you know anything about Odom, it's that once the playoff pressure is on, he's going to start shanking his foul shots. And, sure enough, he went 1-for-6 from the charity stripe last night.

Kobe Bryant: Stephanie G sent me an email that said: "Kobe is a dick. Just sayin'." And while that statement doesn't necessarily require any hard proof, she provided the following animated .gif as evidence anyway:

Photobucket

Phil Jackson: My buddy Craig from The Association sent me the following text last night: "Phil Jackson is showing his age. It took him 10 minutes to figure out that [Derek] Fisher can't guard [Aaron] Brooks." That made me realize, Phil hasn't been himself lately. I mean, playoff time is usually Jackson Time. That's when he finds new and interesting ways to inspire the troops, makes countless sly adjustments, works the refs, lobbies with the press and basically stays one mental step (or 10) ahead of his coaching counterparts. Maybe it's his physical health, or maybe he's just ready for retirement, but P-Jax doesn't seem to have the same 15+ pieces of flair he usually has. (And 15 is the bare minimum.)

Lacktion report: Last night was a little light on the lacktion, but Chris still came through with a few tasty morsels: "In Houston's somewhat shocking victory at Staples Center, Von Wafer -- the only lacktator tonight -- served up a delicious +5 suck differential in 7:50 via foul, two giveaways, and two bricks!"

Cleveland: Congratulations, folks. Your superhero is the NBA MVP and your basketball team is already getting finger measurements for their championship rings. But I have some bad news for you...you're still Cleveland. Yeah. Sorry 'bout that.


Accomplishments without perspective: By the way, some of you have been commenting or emailing me about all the noise being made about D-Wade's 100-block, 100-steal season. Here's a list of the 133 times that feat has been accomplished since the NBA started keeping track of blocked shots. (Otherwise I'm sure we'd see names like Wilt, Russell and Oscar -- among others -- on the list.) Not to demean what Pookie did, because it's pretty darn rare, but finding out that guys like Clarence Weatherspoon, Dan Roundfield and Oliver Miller have already done that sure take a little shine off of the apple, doesn't it?

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71 Comments:
Blogger Basketbawful said...
Hey everybody. The animated .gif of Kobe was busted, but it should be fixed now.

Blogger GonzoPal said...
On the 15 pieces of flair: Damn it feels good to be a gangster! ;)

Blogger Steve said...
DWade is 6'4". I know that some of the taller guys with a 100 steals may not be as quick, but it seems easier for a taller guy to get 100 steals than a shorter guy to get 100 blocks. That has to count for something, even in perspective.

Blogger reuben said...
Oh man that gif was awesome.

Anonymous Ruben said...
The Perkins photo of him pulling a VDN is puzzling. I mean, At least Vinny del Negro might have had a cellphone in his pocket. Or, is Perkins the first player to be twittering while playing in a game?

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
How does Cleveland-Houston sound for a final? Exciting to us, but I'll bet that somebody be mashing the Stern button in game 2 of LA-Houston.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
You can put height into Basketball Reference and see that the original version of the headline is true: For Players UNDER 6'4" in the NBA, Dwayne Wade is the first to have a season of 100/100. Here's a list of 6'4" guys with 50/50, and as you can see even with that relaxed query the list is pretty short. (6'6" guys get more 100/100 seasons, as shown here.)

Blogger eileen said...
Some observations:

Rondo's airballed free throw was the ugliest shot I've seen in a long, long time.

The Magics uniforms are cut weird, almost like a women's tank top.

I said this yesterday, and now I am starting to belive it- the mighty Lakers may well fall to the Rockets. The Rockets seem to have hit their stride at the best possible moment, and they've got Artest to contain Kobe. Looks like the Lakers don't have a good match-up against Yao. Additionally, I would love to see more Yao and Artest joint press interviews. I expect the Lakers to win Game 2 but lose again on the road.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, when you quote readers who send you in stuff, you might want to check to see if what they say is accurate: "this is not like the usual case where LA blows a huge lead. They never led in the second half. Not once." Wrong, LA led in the 4th quarter 77-76 with just over 8 minutes remaining. Sorry, Karc.

That aside, I agree with you Mr. Bawful, that the refs certainly didn't job the Lakers last night. The Lakers lost because Kobe had one of his stereotypical awful games in which he decided to try to do it all himself. Whether you credit Houston's defense for not allowing Kobe to do it alone, or whether Kobe's shot was just off, it doesn't really matter. Last night's game is a prime example of why Jordan was a better player than Kobe is. Kobe fans get hung up on whether Kobe can do more things that Jordan can as evidence for their Kobe > Jordan debate, but the real evidence that this is wrong is because Kobe is frequently just not very smart out there on the court. In a series in which the Lakers have advantages at a number of different areas, Kobe decided he wanted to instead embrace "the challenge" of going at two guys who defend him better than almost anyone out there. While Kobe might be good enough to win that battle some of the time, the point is that it's just not smart for him to even try, not if he wants the Lakers to win.

So Kobe took 31 shots, 26 of which were jumpshots, and nobody else got going for the Lakers and they lost. It remains to be seen if Kobe will learn from his mistakes from Game 1, or if he will look at it as some failure he needs to overcome by still trying to prove he can score on Battier and Artest. If Kobe goes that route, then the Lakers' chances of getting out of this round are entirely dependent on whether Kobe's jumpshot is falling or not, and LA is too good a team to be relying entirely on that.

In any event, you have to give the Rockets a lot of credit last night, cause they played great at both ends of the floor. That Derek Fisher - Aaron Brooks matchup is real trouble for the Lakers. Shannon Brown did a good job defensively, but Fisher is just way too slow to stay with Brooks. I almost think the Lakers might be better in this series to sit Fisher down and go with Brown and Farmar at PG. Fisher is better suited to stay with bigger, stronger PGs like Deron Williams or Chauncey Billups; but he is just too slow to stay with Brooks, who carved the Lakers up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Blogger watching.skies said...
Let me start off by saying that yes, I am a Laker fan. Still, I believe that I am being completely impartial when I say that Karc is an idiot for spelling certain doom for the Lakers after one very poor performance.

Phil Jackson said that the Lakers couldn't really play any worse than they did in Game 1, and for the most part that's true. The Lakers are going to shoot better than 11% from the three-point line. They played right into the Rocket's pace and reverted back to watching Kobe take long, contested jump shots over two defenders in the fourth quarter. And honestly, how often is Ron Artest going to shoot that well from the field?

Even playing as poorly as they did, the Lakers DID have a one point lead in the fourth quarter. The Lakers can play much better than they did in Game 1, I'm not sure the Rockets can. After coasting through the Utah series, hopefully this will be the wake-up call they need to start playing with some semblance of intensity.

Blogger David said...
D-Wade's 100 block 100 steal season was a big deal only because that's very rare for a player 6-5 or under.

It wouldn't be nearly as amazing if he were a bigger guy.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Um, hey guys:

Wasn't that Char-hales Barkfuly guy or whatever his name was 6'4"?? Can't remember too well, but I'm pretty sure he used to play basketball. He was 6-4. He's also on the list. How about some recog-freakin-nition for the round mound?

In fact, when they do T-Mobile commercials, it looks like Wade is taller than Chuck.

I LOVE the cleveland video- I've posted it to my Facebook page. The world must see this. "Don't stop in east Cleveland OR YOU'LL DIE!!" lol

Blogger mg said...
Reverse home-cooking at Staples Center!!!??? Against the Lakers!!??In playoffs!!!!??? You gotta be kidding me, man.
Yeah, sure. And all those calls against the Kings in that WCF were clear fouls...

By the way, am I the only one here who feels extremely happy every time the Lakers lose, specially if Mamba gets pissed off by Battier and Artest??

Blogger David said...
Actually, now that I think of it, hasn't it been said that D-Wade set the all time record for most blocks by a player 6-5 or under this season?

Blogger Iceberg said...
My favorite thing about that list is the presence of Knee-Mac, Shawn Marion (5 times) and Charles Barkley (3 times), but NOT Ron Artest.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
Provided Artest doesn't get into a shootout with Kobe Bryant every other game(and what are the odds of that not happening, really?), the Rockets maintain their relatively disciplined "spread the wealth" offensive attack and Yao keeps getting double digit shot attempts, this could actually turn out to be a competitive series. Houston matches up very well with the Lakers on both ends of the court and they play contrasting styles which could make for some fun games. The Rockets will definitely miss Mutombo though if Yao gets into early foul trouble again.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
GonzoPal -- It sure does.

Steve -- Dude. OLIVER MILLER. I'm just sayin'.

But you do make a good point. Note that Chuck Barkley did 100 blocks-100 steals three times, and that dude seriously was around 6'4", 6'5"...and like Wade, freaky athletic.

Ruben -- Tweeting? Maybe. But if so, I don't think that word means what you think it means...

Lord Kerrance -- Funny you should mention the Stern Button. BadDave called me and said that the SB must be why the Magic got called for that almost-never-whistled eight-second violation near the end of last night's game in Boston.

Oh, and HOU-CLE would make me drown myself in a toilet.

AnacondaHL -- That should be "listed as" with regards to height. And I never said that the statement wasn't (essentially) true, only that when you consider that, say, OLIVER MILLER also once had a 100/100 season...

eileen -- WOW. I totally boned the Rondo airball. Updated!

Yams -- My bad. I too forgot that L.A. reclaimed a brief lead. Shoulda checked up on that. We've obviously discussed Kobe's sometimes errant decision-making, and he seems to take games against Artest and Battier as a personal challenge to his abilities. He'll probably need to get past that in this series. I mean, the Lakers can probably win despite him, they have the talent. But it might be a dogfight otherwise.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
I was surprised to see Von Wafer on the bench so much in game 1. I would have thought that his 3-point shooting would have been needed; but when Artest's pull-up 3 is going down, who needs him I guess.

I have to say this though- Yao was awesome. I'm not a Yao fan, or I wasn't, until last night. He was obviously in a lot of pain when Kobe went knee-to-knee with him, but he went back in the game and hit a big shot and some free throws to basically win the game for Houston. He never disappeared in that game (as he is wont to do), played big minutes, and Houston ran a lot of offense through him. It also looked like the Lakers were afraid to take it to the hole against him.

It was a gutsy win for Houston, and I never liked them before, but by god, I have been won over, much the same way that the Bulls won me over after the trade, and the way that the Nuggets have won me over in the postseason. For the first time since Hakeem's days, I'm a Rockets fan. That said: Lakers in 6-7. Eileen: I hope you're right, but something tells me that LA has another gear and they're about to find it.

I guess we can stop making fun of Kenny Smith for his prediction now.

As for Boston, I mean, yeah they came back, but only because Orlando got happy jacking up 3's. I have been saying for years that Rashard Lewis is one of the best players in the NBA, but when he's jacking up 3's, he is wasting his talent. Orlando got up big when Rashard was posting up and driving, and they blew the lead when Rashard reverted to the old Rashard and just jacked up 3's early in the shot clock. Honestly, I feel like Orlando should have played Gortat, Pietrus, and Redick along with Hedo and Anthony Johnson when they had that lead. Those guys did a fantastic job at the end of the 3rd to pull away, and the starters ended up blowing the lead and playing the whole game because they got complacent halfway through the 3rd. Bench guys are often better when the team is up big, because any minutes they get are important to them, and they at least try hard. The starters just got lazy with the lead.

Blogger DDC said...
The 100 blocks, 100 steals number is cool and all, but check out what Hakeem Olajuwon did in the 1988-1989 season. Goodness gracious, that guy was a beast.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Clearly there are a lot of people chomping at the bit to throw dirt on the Lakers' graves right now, but a word to the wise: it's just one game. Would anyone really be totally stunned if the Lakers won the next two games? LA played extremely poorly and the Rockets played extremely well, and the Lakers were still right there the whole game. It is possible that the reason the Lakers played so poorly is because of Houston's defense, and that LA simply won't be able to adjust or recover, but we haven't seen anything yet to say that's the case. It was just one game and the Lakers still have a lot of advantages going for them (one of which was going 2-0 in Houston this year). Don't be so quick to bury the Lakers just yet. After all, they didn't win 65 games this year and go 4-0 against the Rockets during the regular season for no reason.

BTW, regarding Kenny Smith and his prediction, since he brought it up again last night; considering the guy has been saying for a few months now that nobody in the West is going to beat the Lakers, can he really go back and pretend like he's stuck by his pre-season prediction all along? Before this series started I picked the Lakers to win in 5. If today I say "Oops, I mean Rockets in 6" and then the Lakers win the next 4, can I come back and then say "see, I said it would be Lakers in 5"? I don't think so.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Damn it, I knock out a couple responses and several more comments come in. Meh...I'm always behind. More replies later, but for now...

DDC -- Holy wow. Hakeem THE DREAM. That link is gonna make BadDave soil his panties.

Blogger Headless Chicken said...
Oh, proudness. I made it. Thanks.

I guess Perk just has a cold and brought his old little handkerchief. And he has a heavy cold.

But imagine this speech by Dwight when he discovers the truth:

Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;
Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my wak'd wrath.
Btw, I have a twit. Too. lol


WV: molanks.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
DDC - That's a 2000/1000/200/200 season... what the [word KG mouths on the sidelines]...

On a not related note, I think the Oden should be an adjustment to the Voskhul metric. Oden seems keen at obtaining Voshkuls with 5+ PFs, so any performance like this or this would be known as an Oden-Voskhul of 7:6, or a 9:5 Oden level Voskhul, respectively.

Blogger Headless Chicken said...
Bawful, same here. when I have typed all I want, there's a whole bunch of new comments up already.

WV: stram. Yay!

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
I knew it was trouble for the Celtics as soon as I heard Brian "Ginger Avenger" Scalabrine was set to be a key factor. Not good, Doc.

Blogger Headless Chicken said...
Spirit the Hawk has something to say about King Crab.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Edit: I'VE FOUND IT.

Greg Oden lead the league in 2008-09 for most games playing less than a quarter but gaining 5+ PFs! Even 4+ PFs!

The only downside is this metric relies on minutes played, and I don't know how many MP Oden will get in the future. But then again, even if he's Portland's future as a starter, if he continues his blistering foul rate, maybe his MP will be limited to under 12 minutes anyways.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Still behind, but regarding Yams comments about the Lakers loss being just one game. One of my biggest pet peeves is how people in general and experts/analysts in particular make too much of a single playoff game. If one team dominates the other in, say, Game 3 (like when the Celtics clobbered the Bulls at the UC), everybody decides immediately that must be the definitive game of the series and now the winning team is going to DOMINATE. But unless a team is just grossly overmatched (like the Pistons versus the Crabs), it's highly unlikely that one playoff team will utterly dominate another playoff team. Even short series (like 4-1 or 4-2) tend to be closer than people remember later.

For the most part, Worst of the Night is just that: Who was bad on a particular night. I try not to do too much prognosticating, because making playoff predictions is like asking to be wrong about something. The best anyone has ever been able to say is that they got "a lot" or even (maybe) "most" of their predictions kinda sorta close. Until I perfect my time machine -- which will be powered by Scarlett Johansson's 1.21 gigawatts of hotness -- all we know is what DID happen, not what WILL happen. To that end, I honestly half-expect the Mavericks to win (or at least come close) in Denver tonight.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
Agreed Basketbawful... this happens every freaking year. All the pundits take one game, analyze it death and decide that it has some great meaning... when it almost never does.

Blogger BadDave said...
I did cream my pants. And now I'm sleepy and warm.

This helps verify my point that Olajuwon is *the* best center of the modern age (once stats started in earnest - i.e. after Wilt and Russell). The dude simply could do anything except shoot the three consistently. He was literally unstoppable in the paint, could pass with amazing accuracy, dribble like a guard, steal with crazy-quick hands, and was just a defensive stopper and rebounding black hole. Too bad ritual starvation, lockouts and age took that away from him.

I'd also like to argue the Barkley thing. He may be 6'4", but he was always listed in programs as 6'9". Bawful and I used to laugh about that when they showed the lineup stats at the beginning of the game.

Blogger Preveen said...
eileen : go to youtube and search for Shaqs air balled free throws. Saw one of him recently in a Basketball Bloopers vid, who that was from his Laker days.

Anonymous Karc said...
I'm sorry everyone. I was watching the Lakers-Rockets game, but as Wild Yams and Bawful mentioned, in my haste to rip the Lakers, I was wrong about the Lakers not having the lead in the second half. Turns out that they led by one midway through the fourth. For 12 seconds. Then Houston went on a 7-0 run which basically ended the game. Add that in with the 30 or so seconds that the Lakers had the lead in the first half, well you see where I am going with this. Houston dominated that team. Lakers led for less than a minute, the whole game. But I will man up and admit that I overlooked 12 seconds. Like when Hatton got that decent headshot on Pacquiao in the first round. I don't remember it either, all I saw was Hatton on the ground having no clue where he was.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
I've never understood why players are sometimes listed inaccurately like that. Am I missing something obvious?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Someone needs to coin a term that refers to a player going down for what looks like a season ending injury and then miraculously returning unharmed (e.g. Paul Peirce, Yao Ming)

Not only inspiring their own team but perplexing and confounding the opposing team.

something along the lines of "Resur-injury" or Miracle-something or the other.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: Who are the other names to be placed alongside Mr. Geritol on the 5+ fouls in a quarter-or-less list!?

Anonymous Andy said...
Karc - It was still a close game, wire to wire. When I hear "dominate" I think 10-20+ point leads, most of the game. With less than 4 to go, that game could have gone either way. And as bad as Kobe was, Artest is not going to shoot that well again, and Gasol is not going to shoot as bad as he did either.

Blogger BadDave said...
Caleb - I think it was a pride thing - both for the 76ers/Suns/Rockets and for Barkley. How the eff is a power foward 6'4?" Simple! He's not!

Blogger stephanie g said...
No one mentioned Battier opening a ketchup packet with his face. There are some good pictures out there too.

Caleb Smith: Must resist...obvious penis joke...

But yeah, most NBA players have their heights inflated by 1-2 inches minimum. It mostly started in college I think with schools wanting their prospects to look good. Barkley was joking the other day that Beasley lost 3 inches when he went to the NBA. But not really, because the NBA goes along with it as well because they want to seem like a league of genetic mutants so they still list him as 6'10" even though he was measured in a combine at 6'7".

Kobe and Jordan aren't 6'6", Kobe admitted his wife measured him at 6'4".

AI is 6'0" in heels.

I grimace every time Odom, Big Ben and Varejao are referred to as "7 footers" by announcers. Big Ben is barely bigger than LeBron.

Hakeem wasn't one either.

Sometimes it doesn't matter though because guys have ridiculous wingspans + standing reach so you can say they play "like" a 7 footer. Sure D-Wade is a combo guard size but who cares? He has Jerry West arms. Bynum has about the same standing reach as Yao, who is half a foot taller, plus Bynum has a larger vertical, so in some ways you could say Yao plays shorter than he is (or Bynum plays like a 7'6" guy). But then again Yao's t-rex arms are a running gag.

Blogger Cortez said...
"He was on fire through the first five games of the Bulls series"

Sir, please don't ever again in life refer to Rondo as "being on fire" as I am sure ther is some rule somewhere in the basketball universe, written or unwritten, that excludes successful layups from counting towards being one being "hot".

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Anonymous: the man who really made this act of which you speak famous was the one, the only, the godfather of soul, the hardest working man in show-buisiness:

JAMES BROWN!!

Get UP-AH!! (get on up!) Stay on the SCENE! Like a sex-ah ma-CHINE!!

So maybe we call this "the Cape Routine" or "Going James Brown"? Just a suggestion...

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page- I couldn't find any decent video of this, but it was a cornerstone of Brown's act, and fits perfectly with what a lot of these athletes do- a dramatic exit and even more dramatic entrance when they're not hurt at all.

Cape routine

"A trademark feature of Brown's stage shows, usually during the song "Please, Please, Please", involved Brown dropping to his knees while clutching the microphone stand in his hands, prompting the show's MC to come out, drape a cape over Brown's shoulders and escort him off the stage after he had worked himself to exhaustion during his performance. As Brown was escorted off the stage by the MC, Brown's vocal group, The Famous Flames, continued singing the background vocals "Please, please don't go-oh-oh".[40] Brown then shook off the cape and staggered back to the microphone to perform an encore. This act was often repeated several times in succession. The Alan Parker film The Commitments features the would-be Dublin soul musicians watching the act on video for inspiration.

Brown's cape routine was inspired by a similar routine used by the professional wrestler Gorgeous George.[38][41]"

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Karc - I gotta agree with Andy on this one. The reason I (and others) refuted what you said about LA not leading is because, much like your last comment, you said it in such a way as to convey that the Lakers were dominated last night, when that simply isn't the case. Yes, Houston played very well on both ends of the floor, scoring efficiently and defending well enough to really disrupt the Lakers. But that said, the game was close the whole way. It's very plausible that the Lakers will make some adjustments and play much better in Game 2, just as it's very plausible that the Rockets won't shoot like that again in this series.

I know you're in a hurry to bury the Lakers and are clearly real excited that they lost Game 1, but this series is one game from being all even. Don't read too much into one game, especially when I'm sure most experts would tell you they still expect the Lakers to win the series. If you're this excited over one Laker loss, odds are you're going to be hugely disappointed and/or furious if the Lakers do advance. Better to be cautiously optimistic, IMO.

BadDave - I'll go along with anointing Hakeem the greatest center of the modern age if the modern age doesn't include Kareem. You could make a strong case for Kareem being the greatest center of any age. Hell, you could even make the case for Kareem being the greatest player of all time (though personally I'd rank him second behind Jordan). But since Hakeem came into the league, or at least since his second season, I think he's probably been overall the best center the NBA has seen.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- I expect a post of some kind. Speaking of which...

chris -- Your post goes up tomorrow!

stephanie g -- See the most current post. Now...who loves ya baby?

Cortez -- "Sir, please don't ever again in life refer to Rondo as 'being on fire' as I am sure ther is some rule somewhere in the basketball universe, written or unwritten, that excludes successful layups from counting towards being one being 'hot.'"

Hot jumpshooting is pretty relative. And, as I mentioned, he was 4-for-7 from three in Games 1 through 5. He knocked down six jumpers in the first game, canned three in the second and third, admittedly stunk it up from the outside in the fourth, and went 5-for-11 in the fifth. And while his outside shooting percentage was only around 40 percent, that's a pretty standard FGP for decent outside shooters. And as somebody who has watched most games Rondo has played and expected him to knock down MAYBE six or seven jumpshots in the series, his early shooting performance was stunning. The Bulls certainly didn't expect him to hit any jumpers, considering that not once did his defender ever fight through a screen.

Blogger David said...
Stephanie G, I think it's the other way around with Kobe.

Just look at the guy when he's standing next to the likes of Perkins, Gasol, Odom, and others. That's a really tall dude.

In reality, I think Kobe is more like 6-8 in shoes.

He came into the league out of high school listed at 6-6. No doubt he grew some as he entered his twenties (just like LeBron, who now stands at least 6-9).

Blogger stephanie g said...
David: There are some pretty obnoxious forum threads out there every once in awhile where people have pedantic arguments trying to figure out how tall players really are, including anecdotes and really bad pictures with celebrities or whatever. People will say things like "Jordan isn't 6'5"! He's more like 6'4.75" AT MOST!"

So yeah...no thanks. It doesn't matter how tall a player may or may not be, really. But for Kobe specifically:

http://www.ocregister.com/sports/kobe-bryant-make-1956078-a-wish

Upon meeting Bryant two Fridays ago, O'Neal Mitchell of Tenaha, Texas, surmised that Bryant wasn't as tall as advertised. Bryant, listed at 6-foot-7 when he entered the NBA and now listed at 6-6 (without the Afro, apparently), came clean with a grin: "I'm probably 6-5 in sneaks."

Bryant's wife, Vanessa, was there and had prodded him by saying she suspected the same thing — and measured her husband at home one day at 6-4 3/4

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/sports/basketball/24cheer.html?_r=2&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/B/Bryant,%20Kobe&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Daniel said: “Hey, Kobe, you’re tall.”

Bryant, still holding Daniel, told him: “Everyone thinks I’m 6 feet 7 inches tall. But just between you and me, I’m really 6-4.”

Blogger Glenn said...
Finally someone doesn't get a high five after a missed FT. OK, it was an airball, but there are times when someone will brick a FT into the stands and the teammates will high five the guy. I never understood that.

--GCII

Blogger David said...
Stephanie, if that's true, then how does one explain the obvious height disparity between Wade and Kobe when they stand next to each other?

Wade measured in at 6-4 at the draft combine, so we know his true height. Kobe clearly has several inches on him.

Blogger David said...
Erm, ok. I guess my memory deceived me. A quick google image search shows that Kobe is taller than Wade... but not that much taller.

He looks 6-5 or 6-6, if Wade is really 6-4.

Whatever, like you said the discussion is mostly academic since these guys play bigger than their listed heights anyway.

Blogger Drake said...
The key, I think, is whether they measure the players in their shoes or not. Kobe's wife probably measure him sans shoes - hence, why she measured him at 6'4". He would be 6'5" with his shoes.

The most egregious example of this that I can remember of is the one, the only, Jason Collins. When Mutombo was his teammate on the Nets, Mutombo said that Collins was nowhere near the 7'0" height he was listed at. And Collins admitted it himself - with his ankle brace, two pairs of thick socks, and his sneakers, he was maybe 6'11. Without all that crap, he was only 6'8" or so.

The two examples I can think of somebody downgrading their height is Shaq and KG. Garnett is at least a couple of inches taller than his listed 6'11", which makes him about 7'1". And if you've ever seen pictures of Shaq and Garnett standing side-by-side, you'll notice Shaq is about an inch taller than Garnett - that makes him 7'2" or taller.

Blogger BadDave said...
[Editor's note: I've decided to work my capcha right into my dialogues from now on. It's much more fun - kinda like Where's Waldo!]

Yams - I think we might have a case of comparison-error here. Lifetime achievement or accomplishment? I'll give it to Lou. One year snapshot of who's better? My boy from Phi Slamma Jamma would have eaten Alcindor alive.

Seriously - AK Dave hit part of it on the head. Lou was just lazy. Even when he hustled he didn't do it all game, even in big games. On defense he was solid, but not spectacular, especially for his size. He had sssllllooooowww footwork and drop-steps and turn-arounds usually left Lou lurching about 2 seconds behind. Rebounding? Akeem would have plabsted Lou. He was a master of position and getting his elbows up. Most of all, is all of the other things that Olajuwon did that really are considered "intangibles" for centers. Crazy quick hands. Awesome passes. Hustle on picks and cuts to the basket. Medium to long range shooting. And best of all, a smile to put Gilderoy Lockhart to shame.

No arguments about career performance though. Ol' Lou was a crazy scorer, and knew how to use his height to his advantage. He *could* play amazing ball when he felt like it, and he was aided by having a consistently solid (if not amazing) team around him for most of his many years on court.

I have a job and kids, so I'll rely on one of our resident stat geeks to prove my point about best-year performance if they want. Oh, and Hakeem wasn't a 7 footer even in the listings - he was always 6'11". But he'll always be My Giant at heart. <3

Blogger Cortez said...
"with his ankle brace, two pairs of thick socks, and his sneakers, he was maybe 6'11. Without all that crap, he was only 6'8" or so"

You don't really believe this stuff could give you three inches of height, do you?

What is he wearing? Stripper platforms?

"Hot jumpshooting is pretty relative."

You got me there. He was "hot" relative to being Rondo.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
BadDave - "Lou"? You mean Lew Alcindor? You think Hakeem had one season which was better than any one of Kareem's? Tell me which one. Cause I've compared their two careers and trust me, Hakeem doesn't come close. Look at Kareem's averages from 1970-1976 (six seasons): 30.2 ppg, 15.7 rpg, 4.5 apg while shooting an average of 55% from the field. The NBA only started tracking steals and blocks in 1973, so he only has stats in those categories for three of those six seasons, but his average steals per game for those years was 1.3 and his average blocks per game was 3.7.

That's a six season average, and keep in mind that Kareem went on to win the MVP award two more times after those years (he won it 4 times in those seasons). But if you compare what Kareem averaged in those seasons to any stats Hakeem ever put up, it isn't close. Hakeem only averaged over 27 ppg twice, in 93-94 and 94-95, when he averaged 27.3 ppg and 27.8 ppg, respectively. Hakeem only secured more than 14 rebounds per game in one season, in 89-90 when he got exactly 14.0 rpg. Hakeem dished out more than 3.5 assists per game in 4 separate seasons, but never more than 3.6 per game, which he did twice, in 93-94 and 95-96. Hakeem only shot better than 53% from the field for a season once, and he did it in his rookie year. You could make the case that Hakeem was a better defender, as he recorded more than 2 steals per game in five separate seasons and he recorded more than 4 blocks per game in three separate seasons; but like I said, they didn't keep those stats for the first 4 years of Kareem's career, which were some of Kareem's most dominant and during which he won two MVP awards.

So once again I ask you: what is this one season that Hakeem had which would have "eaten Alcindor alive"?

Kareem's dominance, especially during his first 10 years or so, I think often gets overshadowed by his longevity, which is equally impressive; but people really should go look at what Kareem did in his prime to see just how good he was. I think people gloss over his record-setting 6 MVP awards, chalking that up to him just playing for such a long time, but they fail to realize he won all 6 of those in his first 11 years in the NBA; so if he'd retired after the championship season in 1980 he'd have finished with one of the most incredible individual careers anyone's seen in the NBA, with 2 championships and 6 MVP awards. That he then went on and played for 9 more years and was a part of 4 more championship teams only makes his career more impressive. There's a reason that he finished in the top 5 voting for the MVP award an incredible 15 times. That's why I think he's the only player who really deserves to be in the conversation with Jordan for Greatest Player Ever.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
That "Airplane" scene is the highlight of Kareem's career, followed closely by his fight with Bruce Lee.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- I don't really want to get into a Kareem versus Hakeem debate, but I will ask you to consider the difference in eras when comparing stats from their primes. (Although how you calculate Kareem's prime when he played 47 seasons is beyond me.) Like it or not, Kareem's early stats (in those years of the 1970s you mentioned) were inflated by the league's lack of defense as well as the dearth of comparably-sized centers. Furthermore, many teams (such as the Celtics) felt like it was "bad form" to double-team in the 1970s, so Kareem often had the added benefit of going against single coverage game after game. (In fact, Tommy Heinsohn's reluctant decision to double Kareem in Game 7 of the NBA Finals is often cited as the main reason the C's overcame the Bucks in that do-or-die game in Milwaukee.)

I'm not stat geeky enough to do some kind of statistical comparison that would take pace and league averages into consideration, but stats from the run-and-gun 70s should not be compared one-to-one against the slow-it-down, grind-it-out 90s. That's pretty unfair.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - You're right in that it really is hard to compare stats from one era to another, but BadDave did say "One year snapshot of who's better? My boy from Phi Slamma Jamma would have eaten Alcindor alive." So come on, let's see him explain how that's the case.

That was why my initial link above on Kareem (here it is again) is one of the best ways to compare players across different eras, because it's just comparing how they fared in MVP voting, which of course is always relative to how good a player is when compared to everyone around them. Like I said, not only did Kareem with 6 MVPs in a 10-season span (Hakeem only won 1 in his career), but Kareem also finished in the top 5 in MVP voting an astounding 15 times in his 20 year career. Hakeem only finished in the top 5 in MVP voting 6 times in his 18 year career. By comparison Michael Jordan was in the top 5 in voting 10 times in his 15 year career.

There are also "advanced stats" you can use, like comparing Win Shares (which couldn't be tracked for Kareem till the 73-74 season due to blocks/steals not being recorded), but Kareem comes out better there as well. In fact, if you compare Win Shares, it shows that Shaq had a couple years that were better than any Hakeem had (specifically his one MVP year in 1999-2000), so if you just want to go by one-season snapshots you might could say that Shaq was the best post-Kareem center. But since I've long thought Shaq was a guy who did so little with so much (that one season notwithstanding) and because Shaq was so one-dimensional, it's not even a question to me to say that Hakeem is the best post-Kareem center. But compared to Kareem, Hakeem just does not measure up. Sorry. The only centers in that discussion are Wilt and Russell, and I'd personally put Kareem ahead of either of them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yams-

I think you're missing the point that Basketbawful made about comparing eras:

Of COURSE Jabbar was top-5 in MVP voting 15 times or whatever- he played in an era where he was bigger and a better athlete than most of the people around him, and teams were reluctant to game-plan for him specifically with double-teams. So basing your conclusion (that Jabbar was better than Olajuwan) on a comparison to the players around Kareem is not a very convincing argument.

Personally, I don't think it's *possible* to compare players from different decades/eras. The league evolves constantly and rule changes, along with increasing depth/competition, change the way a player is perceived, and change the TYPE of player that can flourish in the league AT THAT TIME. 15 years ago, a Steve Nash would have been smacked around by the Knicks and Bulls (before the hand-check rule), but in today's NBA, his style wins the day.

Kareem was awesome, and I wish he and Bruce Lee had fought for reals- that would be the raddest fight ever.

But Olajuwan will always be my favorite, too, and for 2 years, he had MJ status in the NBA- I can't name another center who can say that.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- Like I said...don't want to get into a Kareem versus Hakeem debate, but I still have a few observations.

First off, I don't trust MVP voting, which usually is a combination of "Who's on the best team?" and "Who's the most popular?" Also, five of Kareem's MVPs were awarded during an era in which MVP was decided by player voting. It's really no surprise that during the 1970s players would vote repeatedly for the guy with the best stats.

(Also note that during Kareem's final MVP season, 1979-80, the Lakers won the championship in Game 6 on the road without him. Kinda puts a dint in the whole notion of "Most Valuable," doesn't it?)

So not only does the difference in the WAY that the MVP was awarded make such comparisons spurious at best, it also fails to consider that Kareem stood alone as the most dominant player of his day, whereas Hakeem was at his best in an era of Magic, Bird, Jordan, Barkley, et al...players who not only were statistically dominant AND happened to be on the best teams, but also were wildly popular with fans. And those sportswriters who were voting, obviously, are fans, despite their claims of objectivity.

I'm also not sure that I necessarily trust Win Shares, because I beleive there are way too many variables in wins and losses to effectively measure the percentage of a win that a player is responsible for.

Anyway, I'm really not comfortable judging this because other than a small handful of "Greatest Games" and highlight videos, I didn't get to watch Kareem during the 70s, whereas I watched Hakeem's entire career. I will say that for the 50 percent of Kareem's career that I did see, it seemed to me that Hakeem was, consistently, a better two-way player than Kareem. On the other hand, Kareem's body of work pretty much speaks for itself. (Although Hakeem never got to play with Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson. The best he ever had was a slightly past their primes Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley.)

Blogger BadDave said...
Ok, ok, so I admit the eaten alive comment was me getting caught up in the moment. Despite that, I still believe after watching games, Hakeem was so much more capable of being unstoppable during his prime than Jabbar. Even after all of the stuff below.

You again changed my point. I only argued that Kareem was better in his one or two years of his prime. You argued that who's better over time. I won't argue that. If I were building a team to be successful for generations, Gom Jabbar is my man. But for any one year, I take Olajuwon. So, keep in mind the question when you debate it.

So I went ahead and did the statistical analysis. And hey - I was hytarsoned and suprised:

I took the 76-77 year for Jabbar and the 88-89 year for Hakeem. Jabbar was better in most categories: he was 1.5 pts/gm better, a 5% better shooter, and had 2 APG more than my boy.

Hakeem had 1.5 more SPG, 67 more fouls (probably because he played defense), and 1.5 more FTA per game. The other stats were really all a wash (rebounding overall was equal, with Hakeem being better on the offensive boards). Turnovers weren't tracked then for Jabbar - bummer.

So, I'll eat a little crow on a bit of this. However, just like "eating alive", I contend with your "does not measure up" bit. Note the real differences in those stats are piddly, even if they are the most significant differences. They do indeed measure up.

Bawful already made my next point, so +1. I still think that in a one-year span, Olajuwon was more talented in all facets of the game, and a bigger factor in the team's success. For one year, I'll take him.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Anon & Mr. Bawful - No offense but you seem to be reaching pretty hard to refute some fairly concrete evidence. First of all, Kareem didn't play in "an era" he played in several. Second, Kareem didn't win most of those MVPs while playing alongside Oscar or Magic (at least not while Oscar was in his prime). Robertson retired in 1974 and Magic wasn't a rookie until 1980 (and the mid-70s were Kareem's best statistical seasons). Third, Kareem was not on the league's best team for most of the 70s, and in fact spent much of the 70s on Bucks and Lakers teams that were near the bottom of the league. Fourth, I'm not talking just about MVP awards, but how the players finished in the voting (in the top 5 vote getters). While the person who wins the award may be slanted by popularity or stats or how their team did, generally the top 5 vote getters are agreed upon as deserving those votes. So while you can say that the voting process changed or that at different times there was another more dominant player out there (Jordan) who took away potential trophies, the fact remains that Hakeem only finished in the top 5 vote getters for MVP one third of the years he played in the league, while Kareem did it three-fourths of the years he was in the NBA.

So by all that criteria, along with the fact that Kareem's stats and longevity blow Hakeem's away, combined with three times as many championships, etc, etc, etc, how can you possibly argue that Hakeem was a better center? I mean really, rather than just trying to deflate the mountain of evidence in favor of Kareem being the hands down better center, can you offer up anything to support the stance that Hakeem was superior? Telling me that Kareem in his mid to late 30s didn't look as good as Hakeem in his prime is suspicious at best. We may not have gotten the chance to watch Kareem in his prime, but it seems like the general consensus of the people who did see him (and who played against him) thought he was the most dominant force in the game for a solid decade.

BTW, Mr. Bawful, your argument that the Lakers winning the 1980 title w/o Kareem there for Game 6 somehow disputes his value to the team might hold water if it wasn't for the fact that the team also had Magic Johnson, and that Magic had one of the greatest games by anyone in playoff history in that Game 6. Maybe Kareem's importance to the Lakers was overemphasized a bit because people weren't ready to recognize Magic's greatness when he was just a rookie, but do you really think Kareem missing one game somehow means he wasn't the team's most valuable player? I don't think so, and that's doubly true when the team won the game on the strength of such an amazing performance by one of the game's all time 5 best players.

Blogger D. Klein said...
That Cleveland video was pretty hilarious. They may not be Detroit, but at this point, there ain't much difference. Signed, Detroit native.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- "No offense but you seem to be reaching pretty hard to refute some fairly concrete evidence."

I'm not "going out of my way" to refute anything, per se. I just don't happen to agree with some of the proofs you're offering. You never watched Kareem play during his best years and you basically used stats (which are spurious because they don't take into account difference in eras), the results of MVP voting (which don't even match in method, since players voted Kareem to 5 of his MVPs while media members voted for MVP during Hakeem's career), and a statistical measure (Win Shares) that may be becoming somewhat accepted among stat geeks but which I seriously question. (I mean, seriously, we can accurately decide upon the percentage credit a player earns for a win? Really?!)

To be frank, I think that measuring Kareem's best versus Hakeem's best would absolutely require not only seeing both players perform during their primes but having a solid sense for how basketball was played and the relative ability of their competition while they played.

"First of all, Kareem didn't play in 'an era' he played in several."

Correction: He played in two.

"Second, Kareem didn't win most of those MVPs while playing alongside Oscar or Magic (at least not while Oscar was in his prime)."

Correction (or semi-correction): Kareem won three of his MVPs while playing with Oscar (who, while not in his prime, was nonetheless widely considered one of the best players in the league right up until his retirement) and his last while playing with Magic (who was a rookie). I would call four out of six "most."

"Third, Kareem was not on the league's best team for most of the 70s, and in fact spent much of the 70s on Bucks and Lakers teams that were near the bottom of the league."

Tying this into your "MVP proof," Kareem won MVPs in 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1980. His teams' records in those years were 66-16, 63-19, 59-23, 40-42, 53-29 and 60-22. Oh, and the Bucks had a 60-win season in 1973 when Dave Cowens edged him out in MVP voting because the Celtics won 68 games. Yes, he spent a few years on bad teams (sans Oscar and Magic), but to make the claim that he spent "much of the 70s" on bad teams when, in fact, he enjoyed THREE 60-win seasons, a 59-win season and a 53-win season during that decade (not to mention on another 60-win team in 1979-80)strains credulity a bit, don't you think?

"Fourth, I'm not talking just about MVP awards, but how the players finished in the voting (in the top 5 vote getters). While the person who wins the award may be slanted by popularity or stats or how their team did, generally the top 5 vote getters are agreed upon as deserving those votes. So while you can say that the voting process changed or that at different times there was another more dominant player out there (Jordan) who took away potential trophies, the fact remains that Hakeem only finished in the top 5 vote getters for MVP one third of the years he played in the league, while Kareem did it three-fourths of the years he was in the NBA."

Take a few seconds and consider Kareem's competition for MVP in the 1970s. Seriously. Who was he competing against? Now look at the many MVP candidates Hakeem had to go against during his years: Bird, Magic, Michael, Barkley, Malone, Drexler, Ewing, etc. It sure seems to this observer that Hakeem had more varied and stronger competition than Kareem.

"So by all that criteria, along with the fact that Kareem's stats and longevity blow Hakeem's away, combined with three times as many championships, etc, etc, etc, how can you possibly argue that Hakeem was a better center?"

I feel like you've gone all Hollinger on me Yams. First off, I wasn't inviting a debate. I've stated that four times now. I simply disagreed that dumping a bunch of numbers on the argument (as you're doing) is the way to go. I watched a LOT of Kareem in the 80s, and I've gobbled up all the Kareem from the 70s I've been able to get my hands on. I was a huge Hakeem fan in the 80s and 90s. I'm telling you from my own personal observations that, to me, Hakeem was a superior two-way player...based only on the basketball I saw them play.

"BTW, Mr. Bawful, your argument that the Lakers winning the 1980 title w/o Kareem there for Game 6 somehow disputes his value to the team might hold water if it wasn't for the fact that the team also had Magic Johnson, and that Magic had one of the greatest games by anyone in playoff history in that Game 6."

What does that dispute, Yams? I mean, wasn't my claim that I don't trust MVP voting? And I felt that was supported by the fact that the Lakers lost the league's Most Valuable Players...and had a rookie step in, take his place, and win a championship in enemy territory. One would think that regardless of a rookie sensation, losing the league's "MOST VALUABLE" Player would cripple a team in a do-or-die playoff game against a team that had gone 35-7 at home during the regular season. But the fact that they could still win in that situation without him makes me raise an eyebrow at that particluar MVP.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
BadDave - I thought I did a pretty good job of pointing out that just wanting to compare one season of Hakeem to one season of Kareem is hugely lopsided in Kareem's favor. I even took six seasons from Kareem and compared them to Hakeem's best marks in each category across his entire career and Kareem still came out ahead. But OK, you wanna just compare one season to one season, let me show you how silly that is:

"I took the 76-77 year for Jabbar and the 88-89 year for Hakeem. Jabbar was better in most categories: he was 1.5 pts/gm better, a 5% better shooter, and had 2 APG more than my boy."Way to take what you feel is Hakeem's best season and avoid comparing it to one of the six seasons I chose above. How bout we compare that season from Hakeem to what Kareem did in 1971-72, just for kicks:

Hakeem in 88-89:24.8 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 1.8 apg. 2.6 spg, 3.4 bpg, .508 FG%

Kareem in 71-72:34.8 ppg, 16.6 rpg, 4.6 apg, .574 FG% - They didn't keep blocks and steals stats back then, but you could throw in his numbers from the first year they did and you'll get 1.4 spg & 3.5 bpg

So I ask you, is Hakeem recording 1.2 steals per game more than Kareem did more impressive than Kareem getting 10 more points per game, 3.1 more rebounds per game, 2.8 more assists per game. .1 more blocks per game while also shooting 6.6% better from the field? Still think the differences there are "piddly"?

Having hopefully put that silly argument to rest, I'd like to close with this absurd statement: "I still believe after watching games, Hakeem was so much more capable of being unstoppable during his prime than Jabbar." Make no mistake, Kareem's skyhook was the most unstoppable shot in NBA history, simply because there was no way to defend it. Because of that shot Kareem was arguably more unstoppable well past his prime than Hakeem ever was any any point in his career. This is not to take anything away from Hakeem, who was a truly great player and was probably the 4th or 5th best center in NBA history; but comparing him to Kareem is one of the few guys where he'll come out on the short end of the comparison.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - I think ultimately we're gonna probably just agree to disagree on this, but I will say two final things. First, while you claim to not be inviting a debate, you are in fact debating just as much as I am (though all you're doing is trying to deflate my arguments rather than making even one argument in favor of your position). Second, by your own admission you're basing your opinion by comparing having watched Hakeem in his prime versus a Kareem who was past his. Also, you're an admitted Hakeem fan while also an admitted Laker-hater who thinks Kareem was "a ninny" so forgive me if I take your opinion on this matter with a grain of salt.

Really it doesn't matter if you agree or not. You're in a very, very small minority here vis a vis the basketball world, and you have yet to offer any evidence to support what you're saying. But it's your right to be stubbornly wrong if you so choose :)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams --

"So I ask you, is Hakeem recording 1.2 steals per game more than Kareem did more impressive than Kareem getting 10 more points per game, 3.1 more rebounds per game, 2.8 more assists per game. .1 more blocks per game while also shooting 6.6% better from the field? Still think the differences there are 'piddly'?"

Again, you fail to take pace of game into account. In 1971-72, teams averaged 95.5 shots per game, attempted 31.5 free throws per game, and grabbed 51.1 rebounds per game. Compare that to the 1988-89 numbers of 88.9, 28.8 and 43.9...and that should at least partially account for Kareem's higher stats. I'm just saying, if you're going to use numbers for proof, please provide the proper perspective.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"...so forgive me if I take your opinion on this matter with a grain of salt."

If you really believe that my personal feelings have rendered me incapable of intelligent discussion, than I really don't have anything else to say on this subject, or any other. Seriously, that's as offensive and insulting to me as it is for you when you get lumped in with typical Laker fans.

Blogger Victor said...
If you're going to compare players across eras, bust out the rate stats.

Hakeem Career Rebound %: 17.25
Kareem Career Rebound %: 15.66

Ideally, we should take a look at Rebound Rate (preferably regressed), which is the % difference of rebounds from when the player is on/off the court but I don't know where to find the historical data of that (if it even exists).

Hakeem Career Block %: 5.39
Kareem Career Block %: 3.80

To me, I always felt that Kareem was the most unstoppable scorer, while Hakeem was the better defensive player.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Hey man, you lumped me in with John Hollinger, so don't play like you didn't go there first. Them's fightin' words :)

Is anyone else even reading this anymore?

How bout this: you tell me the best way to compare players from the 70s to the 80s/90s and then we'll use that to see how Kareem and Hakeem stack up, cause honestly I don't know what else to point to. Championships, MVP awards, voting in MVP awards, stats, longevity. What else is there? Kareem did make 11 1st or 2nd All Defensive teams, so he wasn't exactly a slouch on defense (Hakeem made 9, FWIW). All you've offered me is your subjective opinion based on watching one guy in his prime and another one who was past it. And being that it is subjective, you don't think your biases could have played a part? I don't think that your personal feelings have rendered you incapable of an intelligent discussion on this matter, but since your whole argument is based on your perceptions of watching a guy you loved and a guy you hated play, isn't it just possible that clouded your perceptions of both players while you were watching them and now you just remember how you felt about each?

The games were different, the paces were different, the league was different. Fine. I'm just going by what evidence there is combined with what seems to be the overwhelming opinion on the matter, in that Hakeem is generally thought of as battling Shaq and Mikan for the mantle of best center who wasn't Wilt, Russell or Kareem.

Look, I don't know what other evidence to offer to you, and you're not giving me anything I can refute either, so I don't know where else we can go with this. Do you?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I think Victor's probably right, about Hakeem being the better defensive player and Kareem being the better offensive player. It's too bad they didn't keep stats on stuff like blocks, steals and turnovers for the early parts of Kareem's career, since those were seemingly his best years, statistically speaking. It really is tough to compare guys across eras like that.

Kareem made bigger changes to his name than Hakeem did. That has to factor in somewhere.

Blogger BadDave said...
Sorry - in meetings. No, we can't go that much farther, and frankly, be realistic. How many blog arguments really change minds? We're really arguing for the folks on the fence or mildly interested so that they can think like us. So remember readers, I'm right. Don't make me toport THE HYPNOTOADS.

Bawful is much more willing to argue with great data in NBA live. However, I'll just say this. One reason that skyhook is literally extinct now is that anyone that reliably used that shot would be double-teamed to death from a guard from behind. That's why post players have to use baby hooks that start from their midriff with both hands instead of sweeping the ball outside where some guard can swipe at you with impunity, and not get called in today's day and age.

Hell, my argument for best center and player of all time is and always will be Russell. One reason - all of those rings are hard to argue against.

Anonymous Ak dave said...
Yams-

"Is anyone reading this anymore?"

I AM! This is awesome- like Tyson/Holyfield awesome. And it's getting dirty (the Hollinger reference was a low-blow)! Keep it up guys!!

Blogger beep said...
I'm with Bawful on that, although I think it's nigh on impossible to compare players from different eras in their primes.
You couldn't ever know how Kareem would have adjusted to tougher competition or double teams.

An argument about majority thinking the same way is just stupid. Far too many people is easily convinced by mass media one way or another without a thought.

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