Bulls suck

The Chicago Bulls: The Bulls sunk to 1-3 on their annual circus road trip, with the sole win coming against the sadsack Kings and the three losses coming in hapless blowout fashion against the Lakers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers. Last night's game in Portland perfectly illustrated that the Bulls are marshmallow soft on the inside.

Chicago was outscored 50-32 in the paint and outrebounded 47-27 (including 14-8 on the offensive glass). Greg Oden committed only 4 fouls (is that a season low?) while matching his career-high by scoring 24 points (7-for-8 from the field, 10-for-12 from the line). Oden also snared 12 boards, blocked a couple shots and neutralized Joakim Noah (7 points, 8 rebounds, 5 fouls). Meanwhile, LaMarcus "I would have been a Bull if John Paxson hadn't traded me for Tyrus Thomas on draft night" Aldridge tortured his coulda-been team (not to mention poor Taj Gibson) with 24 points (10-for-16) and a game-high 13 rebounds. Hell, even Joel Przybilla (8 points, 3-for-3 from the field, 2-for-2 from the line) lit up the Bulls in limited minutes.

After getting outscored 35-23 in the second quarter, the Bulls came out smoking in the third, hitting their first nine shots to get back into striking distance. But the Blazers ended the quarter on a 10-5 run and then won the fourth quarter 32-18 to win by 24. Said Derrick Rose: "We have to find a way to polish the game off and finish. It's very hard to rebound when you have someone like 6-foot-6, 6-7 boxing out 7-footers. We have to find a way to get rebounds and run."

The Bulls bench: Chicago's reserve corps got outscored 47-24, and that number would have been even worse if Jannero Pargo hadn't had one of his patented scoring outbursts. It doesn't help that Tyrus Thomas is out with a fractured forearm. But still.

John Paxson: Remember when he traded Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas on draft night in 2006? I'm just sayin'.

Sacramento Kings: Only a few short games ago, they Kings were on fire. Now? Well, let's just say it turns out they are who we throught they were. Four -- count 'em -- four straight losses. Their opponent, the almost equally depressing Memphis Grizzlies, shot 54 percent from the field and had a 42-23 edge in free throw attempts. (The Griz ended up +14 in points from foul shots.) But the problem that's been plaguing the Sactowners -- turnovers -- once again reared it's ugly head. The Kings bobbled the ball away 21 times, including a game-high 5 for point guard Tyreke Evans (versus only 4 assists) and 4 each for Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes.

Kings fail
Fail.

Said Sacramento coach Paul Westphal: "If we can't throw the ball to our team, it's going to be a long year. We started out the game turning the ball over and kept it up for most of the first three quarters. ... We just couldn't get anything going because our ballhandling was so atrocious."

Kings-Grizzlies interior defense: The two teams combined for 122 points in the paint. Was anybody protecting the rim? Oh, wait, Zach Randolph was playing. Never mind, then.

Allen Iverson: Anybody else notice the Grizzlies have won four of their last five games? Ditching The Not Answer has actually improved Memphis in the short term. I say "short term" because it's a long season and they'll have plenty of opportunities to start sucking again. But for now, waiving Iverson sure feels like a case of addition by distraction subtraction.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Dan B. forwarded me this tidbit from Marc Stein in his ESPN.com Power Rankings:

"It must be worrisome for the Wolves, to say the least, that they've played
almost into Thanksgiving and somehow Ricky Rubio has tasted victory in the NBA
only one fewer time than fellow Wolves lottery pick Jonny Flynn."

Ouch. Major Ouch. But pretty much on the money.

If it weren't for the still-winless New Jersey Nyets, the Timberwolves would easily be the league's most pitiful team. If watching these guys play doesn't make you want to sit in a bathtub full of warm water, turn on Radiohead's How To Disappear Completely, and slit your wrists, I don't know what will. Last night's 91-87 loss to the Clippers was Minny's 13th consecutive loss. And Baron Davis -- who got benched for a couple turnovers in the third quarter and entered the final 10 seconds 0-for-9 from the field -- swooped in for the game-clinching layup with 8.5 seconds to go. DEFENSIVE FAIL.

Being a Timberwolf sucks

Kurt Rambis' offense is so bawful it makes me want to pour something toxic in my own eyes. The Timberwolves have been held under 88 points in six consecutive games since their 145-105 loss at Golden State back on November 9. And let's face it, scoring 105 points against the defenseless Warriors is like scoring 80, maybe 85 points against pretty much anybody else. But, as has been the case so often this season, Rambis was ready to place the blame squarely on...his young players. "We were taking sloppy shots during the fourth quarter and we were not executing. We tried to do too much at one time. We play as individuals and not as a whole team, and that's when we get into trouble." And by "we" he really means "they." Shot selection wasn't the only thing that was sloppy, as the T-Wolves gave up 22 points off 21 turnovers.

Triangle sucks
"You're offense sucks. You know that, right?"

Minnesota is now 1-13 and hasn't won since opening night. Oh, and in case you've forgotten, that one, lonely "W" was a two-point victory over...the winless New Jersey Nyets. Oh yes, it really is that bad. The T-Wolves have now matched the worst 14-game start in the franchise's 21-year history and they're closing in on matching their 14-game losing streak from last season and possibly surpassing their worst-ever losing streak of 16 games in the 1991-92 season. By the way, that '91-92 campaign also featured losing streaks of six (twice), seven, nine, and 11.

Mike Dunleavy: From the AP game notes: "The victory was Dunleavy's 200th as Clippers coach during the regular season -- against 307 losses -- and put him within two wins of 600 overall. He is one of only four coaches to guide the Clippers to the playoffs during their 26 years in Los Angeles, including Larry Brown and Bill Fitch." Coach of the Year! Coach of the Year! Yeah, right. Make no mistake, kiddies. His Clippers almost lost at home last night to as hapless a team as they're likely to face this side of the Nyets. Seriously, the Timberwolves took a lead into the fourth quarter for the first time this season. It was only one point, but still. I will never understand how Mikey Boy still has a job.

Lacktion report: From Chris: "Still on a boat...and still musing over the mind-numbing mediocrity that is today's lacktion."

Kings-Grizzlies: Ime Udoka can now sit in the same suites as the Maloofs, with a 2.7 trillion (2:41) for the purple paupers; for Memphis, Marcus Williams powered up his Game Boy Advance in a mere four seconds for a Super Mario!!!

Bucks-Spurs: Malik Hairston lost the rock once in 3:26 for a +1 suck differential.

Bulls-Blazers: James Johnson bricked twice (once from the Sears Tower) and fouled once in 7:20 for a spin into suck differential territory of +3.

Wolves-Clippers: Brian Cardinal dedicated two fouls for the Clotheslines for a +2 in 2:20, while Steve Novak bricked once from Broadway for a +1 in 3:04.
Bill Simmons: Wild Yams forwarded this one to me: ESPN grounded Bill Simmons from using Twitter for two weeks. Boston Bill referred to Boston radio station WEEI as "deceitful scumbags." (Here's some history.) However, they are deceitful scumbags that have a partnership with ESPN. Whoops. Not too surprising, really. Simmons is the same guy who bends stats and even reality to sync up with opinions he's alrerady formed, and who incorrectly reasoned he could talk himself out of any speeding ticket in Seattle because "Seattle loves me for defending its Sonics after Clay Bennett hijacked the team and moved it elsewhere." He can also turn water into wine...hadn't you heard?

Update! Here's Bill's side of the story.

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72 Comments:
Blogger 49er16 said...
Artest is at is again. He went on the Jimmy Kimmel Show in just his boxers.

http://thebiglead.com/?p=29292

Also, I'm just going to pretend that Kings game never happened last night, just like how last season never happened.

Blogger Dan B. said...
To be fair to Simmons, WEEI (allegedly) spent two solid hours calling him out and bitching about him. I didn't actually hear it, of course, but that's what I've read several times from different sources. Kind of a double standard from ESPN that they can complain about him, but not vice versa. Having said that*, he had it coming -- that speeding ticket thing was just ridiculous. What a dumbass.

*Yes, I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm this week. Why do you ask?

Blogger Jerry Vinokurov said...
I have to make the following public statement: I predict that the Nets will beat either Denver or LA on the road to avoid the worst start in history. Now, obviously this is an insane thing to say, but if I'm wrong, no one will remember it because it was so crazy, but if I'm right, I'll seem like a genius.

Blogger stephanie g said...
I didn't realize Minny's only win was against the Nets. This somehow makes the entire universe feel right. Everything is in balance.

Jerry: I hope they beat LA because I know it would cause lulworthy 30 page trainwrecks on bball forums everywhere.

Blogger Jonathan said...
Eddy Curry has just declared that he will guard Kobe.

"I'm so happy to be back, doesn't matter to me," Curry said. "I'll guard Kobe [Bryant]."

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/ll_guard_kobe_i9RbZwwur8LKyGZbHtRoCK#ixzz0Xn8O2Cws

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I've finally finished the Simmons book, and I'm going to fan the flames here.

Regarding Nash's MVPs, it is incorrect to say he's being hypocritical in comparison to Magic's MVPs, because he justifies it both by Magic's extraordinary offense, his ranking among the all time greats (i.e. Above Bird), and that Lakers team among the best in the history of basketball, including half covering up his atrocious defense.

For Allen Iverson, it's what he did that insane 2001 season with crappy crap for teammates. Simmons also mentions steals as an "atleast" condition for bad guard defense, which of course Iverson has led the league several times.

You can't really say the same things for Nash, or make any comparison.

However, a worstie mention should goto Simmons for his podcast with Landon Donovan, completely stat cursing him with talk of penalty kicks and the rise of soccer in America. High comedy all around, and should be mixed on YouTube with a continuous loop of his shanked shootout kick.

Blogger Dan B. said...
stephanie g -- I also noticed that stat the other day, and smiled. The Timberwolves are really, really, really bad. But slightly less bad than the Nets, so they've got that going for them, which is nice. And yes, I too hope they get a sloppy win against somebody like the Lakers and cause forums Internet-wide to melt down. High comedy.

AnacondaHL -- Thanks for mentioning that, I would have missed it otherwise. I tried to listen to that Landon Donovan podcast for about ten minutes at work the other day before I finally just had to say "I really don't give a shit" and turned it off. I just can't get into soccer at all.

OpenID NarSARSsist said...
From Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN:
MEMPHIS' FRONT THREE HAS ANOTHER HOT NIGHT
The Grizzlies' Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each scored at least 15 points and shot better than 50 percent from the floor in Monday's game. It was the second time in less than a week that all three starters in Memphis' frontcourt did that, after not having done so in more than two years.

Way to help set records Kings.
However, the Grizzlies were gracious in victory as well, showing their magnanimity by returning the favor for Sergio Rodriguez. Up till last night's game, Rodriguez had 24 points and 14 assists in 70 minutes of action. In 18 minutes against the Grizzlies? 6/8 for 16 points along with 7 assists. Gift accepted.
Aside: While looking through Rodriguez's game logs, I noticed an old game back on 10/30 where he had a 14 second Mario at the end of the first half (noted by chris). However, amazingly, in that 14 second stretch, he managed to shoot a layup, get blocked, grab the offensive rebound, and miss another layup. Now that's impressive.

OpenID NarSARSsist said...
Bawful - He can also turn water into wine...hadn't you heard? Psssh, that's nothing. He can turn Chris Duhon into Steve Nash...haven't you heard? There's the real miracle.

More Bawfulry:

Al Thornton entered the game with the Timberpuppies averaging a measly 11.7/3.9, including a forgettable 21 minute game against the Puppies where he scored 6 points and grabbed 2 boards. The Puppies, however, know no bounds to their sympathy (they employ lacktionary Brian Cardinal, who in turn makes sure chris never has to worry about being out of a job as lacktion reporter). Al Thornton managed to score 31 and grab 10 boards (both season highs). Good job Minnesota, glad to see you're still helping players drive up their contract bargaining powers.
Related is the fact that Sebastian Telfair scoring a season high 17. Telfair didn't even need to bother passing, and tied a season low with 1 assist (he played less than half the minutes in those other games).

Milwaukee had no trouble stopping Richard Jefferson in his first rematch game against his former team, holding him to 2/7 shooting for 11 points. However, they absolutely could not stop Matt "I am the Red Rocket, not Veal" Bonner, who torched them from downtown with 6/8 shooting there for a season high 23 points. His big night blew the game wide open, so Malik Hairston should probably buy him dinner to thank him for the 3:26 of lacktivity that he got.
Brandon Jennings may have shot 6/21 and got swatted twice by George Hill, but don't be fooled into thinking that Hill played good defense on Jennings. Despite his reputation as a good on-ball defender, Hill was criminally inept at defending the pick and roll, often getting completely picked off or running so wide around the pick that he's nowhere within 10 feet of the play. At one point, the Bucks must have ran 6-8 pick and rolls straight for Jennings. It was getting so comical I almost began a betting pool on whether he would run wide or get sealed off on each play.
For whatever reason, the Spurs completely blew up in the final 3:32 of the first half, leading to a bawful stretch where they allowed a 12-0 run by the Bucks to fall behind by 1.
The Bucks during this stretch: Jennings short floater; Bell misses jumper, but Gadzuric grabs board and gets putback; Ilyasova layup; Ilyasova misses long jumper; Delfino makes jumper; Ridnour makes jump; Delfino misses short shot, but is tipped in by Gadzuric. (Scored on 6 of 7 possessions)
Meanwhile, here are the Spurs possesions: Parker offensive foul; Parker misses jumper; Jefferson blocked by Delfino; McDyess misses jumper; Jefferson blocked by Gadzuric, grabs ball, then travels Parker bad pass stolen by Ilyasova; McDyess stripped by Ilyasova. (2 blocks against, 4 turnovers, 2 missed jumpers)

I would like to point out the thoroughness with which the Portland front line ate Chicago's lunch. Aldridge also had 24 points and 13 rebounds. Combining Oden and Aldridge's performance, we get 48 points and 25 rebounds. Here are the combined numbers for the opposing front courts for the 12 previous games this season:
18/20, 35/21, 15/13, 19/18, 44/17, 26/22, 33/14, 26/23, 27/23, 18/18, 25/8, 35/21.
The Blazers performance easily topped every other front court this season.

(continued)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- Bring it.

Regarding Nash's MVPs, it is incorrect to say he's being hypocritical in comparison to Magic's MVPs, because he justifies it both by Magic's extraordinary offense, his ranking among the all time greats (i.e. Above Bird), and that Lakers team among the best in the history of basketball, including half covering up his atrocious defense.

No, it's totally correct to say he's being hypocritical. After all, Nash's offense is nearly as extraordinary as Magic's was...despite the fact that Nash isn't playing alongside other Hall-of-Famers like Magic was, nor is Nash being directed by a HoF coach like Magic was. In point of fact, wouldn't that make Nash's offense more extraordinary?

Also, I don't get why Magic gets a partial out for his lousy defense just because Kareem or whoever was there to make up for his mistakes. How is that an excuse for Magic, who throughout his career was abused by small, speedy PGs who then got gobbled up by L.A.'s interior defenders? Simmons loves bringing up Isiah's brave 25-point one-quarter performance against the Lakers in the 1988 Finals...against Magic's woeful defense. You'll notice Isiah wasn't dropping bombs on Dennis Johnson when the Pistons were facing the Celtics.

So okay, if Nash was playing with Tim Duncan, we could excuse his defense, right? According to Simmons' logic?

And for the record, Magic's place in the all-time greats is partially dependent on his circumstances: he was an an amazing team with amazing teammates and an amazing coach in a very weak conference. Remember, any team coming out of the East back then had to batter their way through Boston, Milwaukee (they were good then), Detroit, Philly, and then later the Bulls. Who was putting the heat on the Lakers back then? Nobody.

I'm not saying that Magic isn't great. He is. But if the New Orleans Jazz hadn't traded the draft pick that became Magic Johnson to the Lakers for a washed up Gail Goodrich, I promise you Magic wouldn't be in Simmons' top five all time. Maybe not even the top 10.

For Allen Iverson, it's what he did that insane 2001 season with crappy crap for teammates. Simmons also mentions steals as an "at least" condition for bad guard defense, which of course Iverson has led the league several times.

That's a bogus explanation. A one-season wonder does not an all-time great make. Besides, as always, Simmons grossly underestimated how much Larry Brown coached the absolute living hell out of that team and how much the roleplayers busted their asses. But whereas Nash has been able to achieve similar success (at least during the regular season) with a constantly revolving supporting cash, Iverson not once -- NOT ONCE -- came anywhere close to achieving the team success he had for one season. To me, that's an abberation at best, a fraud at worst.

As for Iverson's steals, speaking as someone who watched the guy extensively, he gave up at least as many easy points as he gained or stopped through steals because the dude was a gambler. When he missed on a steal attempt, his man usually got an easy layup or dumped it off to someone else for an open look. Iverson's picks looked good on the highlight reel, but his efforts on "defense" more often than not broke down the team defense in the process. So that's not a reasonable justification.

OpenID NarSARSsist said...
By the way, almost left this out:
Al Jefferson posted some gaudy numbers yesterday, coming just short of a triple double. Oh wait, make that a triple bumble. Jefferson, who normally plays a low error game, matched his career high with 8 turnovers (last committed 2/24/07 against Utah). So far this season, his highest had been only 3, and last season, despite getting the ball so much, his highest was only 5.

Blogger Brandon said...
The Seattle speeding ticket thing isn't all that bad... he admits he was dumb to think he could talk his way out of it, and just the fact he mentioned it in a column when he could have easily swept it under the rug shows he can't be all that full of himself.

You're developing something of a vendetta against Simmons... not healthy, IMO. If he's terrible, let him be terrible without you boosting his ratings.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Wow Bawful, this is terrible.

In no way, statistical, common sense, team outcome, could you say Nash's offense is comparable to Magic. I'm so stunned by this, I don't know what to say.

As for the coaching argument, again, not hypocritical. Simmons's stance is that coaches don't matter except for very few cases, so if you believe otherwise you're putting words in his mouth.

As for future Hall of Famers, shouldn't that make it more impressive that 87 MVP Magic was the clear cut best player on one of the top 3 teams in NBA history? Take Magic off the team and do they beat Boston? Simmons suggests that contributes to outweigh bad personal defense. Nash has done nothing comparable.

And it's not like Nash was playing with a bunch of scrubs either. The synergy with Stoudemire and Marion, Joe Johnson is good on his own, hell even Shaq and JRich and earlier Dirk and co.

And I was only justifying Iverson's 01 MVP compared to Nash, not his career. One awesome season does an MVP make. As for steals, again, he states that Nash's lack of D without steals is worse than a lack of D, so not hypocritical.

In the end, Magic's MVPs and Iverson's MVP aren't questioned for reasons he outlines, while Nash's are questionable with the same guidelines. I think yelping his hypocricy in ths case is incorrect.

Look, I'm all for making fun of Simmons, but you all have been stretching recently on this site, to the point where I can't tell bad arguments from jealousy over his success and fame.

Blogger gordon gartrelle said...
"...with the sole win coming against the sadsack Kings"

^^^

I initially read this as "...with the sole win coming against the nutsack Kings"

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Additional: if 27 yr old Nash (Nash's breakout years) played with a 33 yr old Duncan (today), rolled to a championship, probably multiple, and made incredible teams comparable in NBA history, yes it would excuse his bad defence. Too bad it didn't happen.

Play What If all you want with this or New Orleans and Magic or whatever, I'm still failing to see the hypocrisy here.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I keep hearing how good Noah is while people poke fun at Oden, however Oden made Noah look like a second rate center with a bad attitude last night.... I'm just sayin.....

Blogger TK said...
I don't give a crap about Simmons, but in all seriousness, WEEI is the worst radio station in the universe. Particularly their morning show, which comes off as a like a sports-talk oriented Klan rally.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
AnacondaHL:

I'm certainly not going to say that Nash is a better player than Magic, but he has shot 50% from the field, 40% from three, 88% from the free throw line and averaged no less than 15.5 points per game and 9.7 assists per game every season since he went to Phoenix in 2004. He is also a very, very underrated clutch performer so I don't think it is completely out of line to compare his offense to MagicĀ“s. No, their career stats are not even close and he certainly hasn't had the playoff success Magic did, but they aren't exactly diametric opposites.

As for bad D with steals vs bad D without steals, that is just a completely ridiculous assessment. There are all kinds of bad D. Nash is a bad defender because he lacks lateral quickness and strength, which means he is susceptible to drives and to being posted up. He genuinely tries to stay in front of his man, even if he winds up failing. Iverson, on the other hand, had the quickness to stay in front of pretty much anybody but rather than exert himself he chose to roam the passing lanes, getting a couple of steals a game. For every steal he got though he gave up five or six open jumpers/layups. Nash's man is generally not open unless he gets himself open. Iverson's got open simply by catching the basketball. So yes, in terms of 1 on 1 defense they are both poor but give me Nash any day of the week. As far as team defense? Forget about it. Nash is a good team defender and Iverson was always godawful, as he was at anything that involves the word "team".

Speaking of Iverson: what is the proper term for the(temporary) Grizzlies resurgence? Can we call it remission, since a cancer was removed?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
In no way, statistical, common sense, team outcome, could you say Nash's offense is comparable to Magic. I'm so stunned by this, I don't know what to say.

Really, AnacondaHL? Really? Magic Johnson spent his entire career as the PG for a run-and-gun offense during an era where defense in general was not strong (and in many cases was simply pathetic). His career Offensive Rating is 121.

Meanwhile, Nash has averaged an Offensive Rating of 122 since joining the Suns, and the only time he fell below 121 (Magic's average) was last season...owing partly to Terry Porter's short-lived slow-it-down regime. And when you consider the fact that today's defenses are much more sophisticated than they were in the 80s, then I would say it is entirely fair to say that Nash's offense is at least comparable. I mean, you are the same AnacandaHL who is always preaching to me about the statistical relevence of Offensive and Defensive Ratings...aren't you? Or has that changed?

Plus, check out Nash's True Shooting Percentage (.604) and Effective Field Goal Percentage (.556) versus Magic's numbers (.610 and .533, respectively). That seems pretty comparable, statistically speaking, doesn't it?

Nash's career three-point percentage is .432, compared to .303 for Magic. Pretty wide disparity in Nash's favor there. Nash also wins in FT% (.901 vs. .848). And while Magic's career FG% (.520) is better than Nash's (.488), Magic's average benefitted greatly from the countless fastbreak layups he earned in his early days. In the latter half of his career, when he became more of a jump shooter, his numbers fell (sub-50% in four of his last five seasons), whereas Nash -- who obviously scores most of his points off jumpers -- has shot 50+ percent for the past six seasons...from age 30 through 35. Magic's 30+ shooting percentages were .480, .477 and .466. You'll notice the downward trend.

Nash's career assist percentage (39.5) also compares favorably to Magic's (40.9), and look at Nash's AST% during his Phoenix years: 49.2, 44.4, 50.1, 47.3, 42.4, 53.6. Magic's best five seasons in terms of AST% were 49.3, 48.6, 47.2, 45.5, and 45.4.

I would say those numbers are statistically comparable. And for the record, Nash's career TO% (18.6) is less than Magic's (19.4).

I would also like to point out that in the mid-80s (1985-86 in this case), the average pace was 102.1. The last few years, it has been around 92-93, so Nash's offense is actually more extraordinary compared against current trends (i.e., slower pace).

To be continued...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Continued...

I would assume you, of all people, wouldn't have bonked on the statistical components of this particular comparison. Team outcome was far different, yes, but so were their circumstances...and by a pretty wide margin. Unless you're going to compare STAT, Shawn Marion and Raja Bell to Kareem, Worthy, Byron Scott and/or Michael Cooper. And I hope for God's sake you aren't.

And I was only justifying Iverson's 01 MVP compared to Nash, not his career. One awesome season does an MVP make.

I never argued against that. But the same is true for Nash, is it not?

As for steals, again, he states that Nash's lack of D without steals is worse than a lack of D, so not hypocritical.

I consider it hypocritical because I believe Simmons knows enough about basketball to know and rully realize how badly Iverson's mad gambles for steals hurt Philly's team defense. So he is either being hypocritical and covering his ass with the steal excuse, or he is using flawed logic. Either way, he's wrong.

Look, I'm all for making fun of Simmons, but you all have been stretching recently on this site, to the point where I can't tell bad arguments from jealousy over his success and fame.

I'm tempted to give you the middle finger on this one. Jealousy? Really?! One of the true constants of this site has been my passionate defense of Steve Nash over the years. I haven't gotten any more fired up against Simmons than I have been against anyone else (e.g, David Friedman) who made what I considered to be bogus or short-sided anti-Nash arguments.

In the end, Magic's MVPs and Iverson's MVP aren't questioned for reasons he outlines, while Nash's are questionable with the same guidelines. I think yelping his hypocricy in ths case is incorrect. And as for bad arguments, I just gave you a heaping helping of stats that show Nash's offense was comparable, including some of the very stats you yourself trumpet to me, so please explain how my arguments were off kilter? I said Nash's offense was comparable to Magic's. I backed it up with numbers. Did I miss something?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I made a formatting mistake in my last comment:

In the end, Magic's MVPs and Iverson's MVP aren't questioned for reasons he outlines, while Nash's are questionable with the same guidelines. I think yelping his hypocricy in ths case is incorrect.

And as for bad arguments, I just gave you a heaping helping of stats that show Nash's offense was comparable, including some of the very stats you yourself trumpet to me, so please explain how my arguments were off kilter? I said Nash's offense was comparable to Magic's. I backed it up with numbers. Did I miss something?

And to me, using a specific argument against one player (Nash's bad defense) but then excusing it in another (Iverson) because he repeatedly compromised team defense by gambling for steals is either hypocrisy via retrofitting logic to support an existing opinion or simply faulty reasoning.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Speaking of things firing me up, I would like to point out something that's been bugging me. Wild Yams has several times brought up the 2003-04 Dallas Mavericks team that featured both Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash along with "All-Stars" Antawn Jamison (who didn't actually become an All-Star until the next season when he was playing in the East) and Michael Finley (who hadn't made the All-Star team since 2001) but still lost in the first round of the playoffs.

People seem to forget that the previous season -- before Mark Cuban started piecing the team together like he was constructing a fantasy squad and Nellie started mailing in games (as described in Phil Jackson's tell-all Lakers book, when he claimed Nellie would purposely get himself ejected so he could hit the bars) -- the Mavs won 60 games (tied with the Spurs for the best record in the league) and lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Spurs. And mind you, they pushed the Spurs to six games despite the fact that Dirk Nowitzki got hurt in Game 3 and didn't play again for the rest of the series.

The next season, the chemistry and depth got blown to hell because Cuban went all in for Jamison and Antoine Walker. Next thing you know, the Mavs win 52 games and get bounced in the first round. The next season, Jamison, Walker and Nash were all gone, and the Mavs won 58 games anyway...but lost in the WCFs to Nash's Suns.

I'm just saying...that 2003-04 Mavs season was flawed, but not because of Nash and Nowitzki.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You've got to make mention of this:

Via Dime: http://dimemag.com/2009/11/this-is-just-outrageous/

Blogger Basketbawful said...
By the way, if I'm crazy for comparing Nash and Magic, so is long-time SI writer Jack McCallum, who wrote this a few years ago:
while comparing the SSoL Suns and the Showtime Lakers"

"Magic is, in my opinion, the greatest point guard in NBA history, one whose size, brains, competitiveness and leadership abilities propelled the Lakers to the top. Nash, at least eight inches shorter, is not and never will be Magic, who won an NBA championship in his rookie season and was at the apex of his sport for well over a decade. Nash didn't make an All-Star team until his sixth season and was not added to the '04 squad. So, if the question is, does Steve Nash belong among history's greatest point guards, right there beside Magic, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, John Stockton and Isiah Thomas, my reply is: Not if the standard is longevity. But right now -- right now -- Nash is performing as well as any point guard who ever played the game. His playmaking and leadership speaks for itself, but no lead guard has ever shot as well as he, both from inside and outside the three-point arc."

He then rated Magic a 10...and Nash a 9. So I guess I'm not the only looney who thinks that Nash's offense is at least comparable to Magic's. Okay. I'm done.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Basketbawful:

While I do agree that Nash and Dirk weren't the problem, I also don't think they were as elite, made-for-eachother a combination as Stoudemire/Marion and Nash because they didn't quite maximize eachother's strengths. Dirk was never the speedy athlete that automatically benefits from Nash's breakneck pace and pinpoint passing, and he is at his best when he can hold the ball for a bit, use his (league best) headfake and get to the line. Nash is at his very best on the run, when he can break down defenses and give guys layups, or on the pick and roll where he either gets an open jumper or his partner gets a dunk. Since both were mediocre defenders, they also tended to duplicate eachother's weaknesses a bit.

However: with a good coach (Nellie's emphasis on not defending and his horrible playcalling, when he bothered to call a play, cost the Mavs more playoff games than can be counted) and a more balanced roster (with rebounders and defenders, as the Mavs have sought to add over the past 5 years) I think the pairing could have worked out fantastically in Dallas. Again, I don't think either of them were "the problem", but I am also not surprised both of their numbers went up when they split.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
When Cuban brought in Jason Kidd and fired Avery Johnson, that was when I stopped caring about the Mavs. It was clear then, as it is now, that he is no better than Daniel Snider running the Redskins. Owners who see their franchises as fantasy leagues, but get away with it because the teams are just enough of a tease to get sellouts every game.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
While I do agree that Nash and Dirk weren't the problem, I also don't think they were as elite, made-for-eachother a combination as Stoudemire/Marion and Nash because they didn't quite maximize each other's strengths.

Yeah. I agree.

OpenID NarSARSsist said...
How bizarre, an AnacondaHL and Bawful discussion in which Bawful is the one using Offensive Ratings and TS%. I keep having to look at the author of the comments.

Hellshocked - I like it. Remission 09-10 baby!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Honestly, I think all the debating about Nash around here probably should be shelved for a while. I'll just say this: IMO it's understandable that some people would feel Magic's 3 MVPs are more "justified" due to his being a part of five championship teams than Nash's back to back MVPs for having never even been to The Finals. Mr. Bawful thinks that doesn't matter, and that's fine, but to a lot of people, winning championships does "legitimize" players in a way that goes beyond their stats. No, this doesn't mean that then Steve Kerr is greater than Nash because he was on championship teams, but let's just say that Finals MVP trophies help make regular season MVP trophies seem more legitimate for a lot of people.

In the end we're probably all hypocrites. I don't see Bird getting questioned here the way Magic is even though he played with just as many Hall of Famers. Being on great teams and having the chance to showcase your talents on the game's biggest stage and being able to overcome all other teams in the league counts for something to many people. Magic was able to play on a team that used the fast breaking run-n-gun and was able to win 5 championships doing it. Steve Nash hasn't had the same success, and whether it's because Nash hasn't had as good a coach or his teammates haven't been as good or whatever other reasons there may be, the fact remains that people are going to continue to question his greatness simply because he's never been to The Finals. For people who do place great value on winning and on championships won when evaluating players throughout history, there's no argument that can be made which will change their minds. That's just the way it goes.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Iverson, on the other hand, had the quickness to stay in front of pretty much anybody but rather than exert himself he chose to roam the passing lanes, getting a couple of steals a game."

If he had actually exerted himself on defense in the proper manner then he would not have had the energy to jack up all of his horse blinder shots attempts and pull off his nifty double crossover wrap around moves when one move would have sufficed.

Plus, his aversion to practice (you know, the time you spend to get into sync with your teammates) would have been even more apparent.

But hey, he's rich doing it his way so I tip my hat to him!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Of course I'm still the same AHL. And you are sill the same Bawful that will incorrectly use advanced statistics to prove his points.

The better thing to look at here would be Win Shares. Since ORtg and DRtg account for pace, it doesn't make sense to point out their Rtgs with Pace. It just makes it impressive by Magic that his Rtgs were same or better at the increased pace via endurance.

The shooting comparisons are good, and so are the assist numbers (which still favor Magic). Nash is incredible with multiple 50-40-90s in his resume, but that's really where it ends. TO% is funny to bring up in an offensive stat comparison, especially using sweeping career numbers. I'll leave that one alone. And I don't need to mention that Rebs, steals, and defensive numbers just are unfair to compare.

Now then. Referring to the MVP seasons, Magic had a league leading 12.1 OWS and 15.9 total. Nash had 9.7 with 10.9 total. Looking at the team pages, you can see just how important STAT was to the Suns offense (11.3 OWS) with Marion (7.3) and Joe (5.8) while Worthy (5.9), freaking Byron Scott (4.8)(ps he wasn't good and is not a HOFer), and near retirement 39 yr old Kareem (4.5)(ps this was the start of his rapid decline) played with Magic.

So please, the whole playing with HOFers argument is weak. For all we know, Amare could develop into a HOFer. Snicker.

For their careers, Nash breached 10 OWS twice. Magic broke 11 4 times. He was really something special offensively. If you want to cherry pick seasons with Nash, look at Magic minus 88. Never dropped below 124 ORtg from 87-91. Can't say that for Nash 05-09.

So recap: Nash good, Magic better, Magic meant more to team, Magic clear cut MVP, Nash's MVPs questionable due to his performance and other candidates. Magic won titles, Nash hasn't got to the Finals. Nash peak career is very good (Simmons mentions Nash's benefit from hand checking rules here), Magic still better. Bawful grumpy towards Simmons, AnacondaHL still the master of advanced statistics. I'd probably give Nash a 9 and Magic a 10 too.

If LeBron is a 9 and Jordan is a 10, can we say they are atleast a bit comparable too? (is being facetious).

Blogger Cortez said...
"For people who do place great value on winning and on championships won when evaluating players throughout history, there's no argument that can be made which will change their minds"

That's true because Mike Chatfield is the best player ever...and he never even played in the NBA!

Moving on...

It hilarious how some people continuously misrepresent others argument.

No one EVER said Nash was better than Magic Johnson, or anyone else for that matter, only that he was comparable when weighing other factors outside of the indivdual players themselves.

Johnson's teammates >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nash teammate's, period.

Johnson's teammates positive effect on his game and career > Nash's teammate's.

And from a personal viewpoint...

I'll take Nash.

...with Magic's teammates!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- I said that Nash's offense was comparable to Magic's. Nothing you wrote really refutes that...despite your self-proclaimed master of advanced stats.

OpenID NarSARSsist said...
The thing I dislike about Bill Simmons isn't his blatant favoritism, is that he tries to hide it behind a paper thin veneer of objectivity or set rules that he'll change whenever he feels like to suit his needs. There's nothing wrong with being a fan with biases; we all do that. As the "Sports Guy", ESPN didn't hire him to be objective, and I can appreciate that. Writing articles pretending like he's objective, however, is rather detestable.

For example, take his article about being all sports-hated out (and a few of the articles before that). He specifically writes that he can no longer root against the Colts, because Peyton Manning has become so clutch that you can't bet against him. Yet, his recent article about how Bill Belichick totally blew it by going for it on 4th and 2 completely contradicted that, talking about how the Patriots lost the game (as opposed to the Colts winning it), and acted as if Manning had nothing to do with it. If he really never ever bets against Manning any more, shouldn't the answer look like: Punt - 0% chance of winning; Go for it - X% chance of winning better than 0? Instead, he talks about all the ways Manning would fail. Simmons still sports-hates him big time; he just pretends not to. Plus, also annoying to me is his very results oriented approach to everything. Who here would bet against Simmons writing an article about the savvy of Belichick and the clutchness of Brady if Faulk hadn't bobbled the pass and ruined forward progress? About how they shrewdly kept Manning off the field because he would have scored even if the Patriots had punted to the Colts 1 because Simmons called to attention how clutch Manning is? That he goes on to pretend like he knows stats for the ultimate purpose of mocking it is worse. Do we take a soccer fanatic seriously if he says, "Oh sure I watched quite a bit of American football. Trust me, it's stupid. A bunch of people stick their asses in the air and then run around blindly"?

I will say in the interests of full disclosure that I'm not a Nash fan from a rooting perspective, since I cheer for Dark Lord Mamba. I do appreciate his skills and what he brings, though I don't think he deserved to win back to back. I don't think that the Suns would have collapsed as badly as the Lakers had Nash been replaced by an average PG as opposed to Kobe by an average SG for that 05-06 season. (Similarly, I thought Kobe gypped Chris Paul two seasons ago, and Lebron gypped Wade, so I guess it worked out for the Mamba, but it sure sucks for CP3. That's just my standard, everyone's different.) However, I don't believe Nash's MVPs were complete shit.

AnacondaHL - Here's my question to you, since you're the resident guru. Performance-wise, how do Nash and Magic and AI stack up to their respective years' other MVP candidates, and how did their teams do? After all, in every year, someone HAS to win MVP, so just comparing their numbers to each other is not enough. Essentially, I want to see how much each outpaced their peers.

Blogger plonden said...
Anaconda: "The better thing to look at here would be Win Shares. Since ORtg and DRtg account for pace, it doesn't make sense to point out their Rtgs with Pace. It just makes it impressive by Magic that his Rtgs were same or better at the increased pace via endurance."

O-Rating and D-Rating take the pace out of the equation by normalizing everyone's numbers to per-100 possessions. With the two players playing at drastically different paces, it seems the only way to compare their efficiency on a per-possession basis.

I agree that Bawful may have made a mistake when justifying the differences using pace arguments, but that doesn't mean you can ignore the advanced metrics all together and cherry-pick the next metric that is more favorable to your case (Win Shares). If I'm not mistaken you fall into the same trap the very next sentence when you say his accomplishments are even more impressive because of the pace at which he played.

TO% seems perfectly relevant here when talking about starting point guards. One of the PG's duties on offense is to take care of the ball. If we were talking bigs here it would be less relevant.

Not trying to pick sides here but Bawful's use of O-Rating/D-Rating and TO% are all justified in my mind and you paper over them and all the shooting percentages metrics he presented without actually responding to anything.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Uhh.....did I not just break down OWS and ORtg and how besides shooting%s, Magic is pretty clearly better?

Besides, my original argument was defending Bill Simmons when you kept calling him a hypocrite, to show that he explained his choices why Nash's MVPs were questioned and Magic's and Iverson's were not, with the reason not solely based on being a defensive liability. You then strawman argumented it into a Nash vs Magic offense debate, and then tried to settle for a pedantic argument. You can compare Nash and Magic, but they aren't comparable. Unless the Suns win the next 4 championships with Nash going 20/4/12, Magic is a clear cut above the rest, including Nash. I'd take MVP Magic in a heartbeat over MVSteve.

I would like to point out that my personal opinion is Nash deserved the 05 MVP. Part of the Simmons argument was that Shaq should have won, and Shaq can suck my nut. But the 06 one is far more debatable, and Kobe prolly should have won it.

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
Mr. Bawful, I should point out that when Isiah went off against the Lakers in Game 6 of the 1988 Finals, Michael Cooper was guarding him. I should add that Isiah was completely insane in that game, even after twisting his ankle. He was hitting running 20-footers off of one leg, banking in 12-foot runners from straight on, basically just having a career game.

Luckily the refs decided to make up for an entire series of uncalled Laimbeer shoves in the back by calling him for a phantom foul on Kareem in the Lakers' final possession.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Ugh what the hell people, read:

Magic still had a better ORtg than Nash, which I outlined comparing their MVP stretches, but even just the raw total career average!

And when comparing effect on offense across full seasons and eras, I'm just saying it is better to look at Win Shares too, than just raw ORTg alone. And plonden, I think you are confused. Pace is an estimate of possessions per 48 minutes. What I wrote is correct. The earlier comparison of ORtgs with team Pace is incorrect, because the Rtgs already account for pace!

And since you are being thick, let me spell out why TO% was used incorrectly. Averaged over a whole career, the number usually doesn't mean much. Rookie seasons, different situations and teams, etc. Best to look season by season, or across meaningful stretches. Comparing Magic's TO% for his 87-91 MVP stretch vs Nash's 05-09 MVP stretch, Magic is STILL BETTER, by far (17.9 vs 20.5)

OpenID NarSARSsist said...
Oh, one last WotN nomination. Looking very rusty in his first game since the beginning of the season, Michael Redd had a mere 4 points, 2 assists, 1 TO, and 1 foul in limited time. Worse yet, he missed his first 4 free throws before hitting the 5th...then proceeds to miss the 6th. He looked so bad I started saying "good defense" when DeJuan Blair fouled him (Blair turned two fouls against Redd into two rebounds. I say that worked out for him pretty well).

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
NarS: That info is easily accessible at basketballreference, awards, mvp, click on the 'v's to see voting results.

But the short answer on which players and teams to look up:
1987 no contest (733 of 760 score, MJ 449, Bird 271),
2001 no contest (1121 of 1240 score, Duncan 706, Shaq 578),
2005 very close (1066 vs 1032 Shaq)
2006 not as close but less score (924, LeBron 688, Dirk 544, Kobe 483).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- You're arguing Magic is better using one specific metric of your own choosing. To strengthen your argument, you have chosen to blatantly ignore the fact that I never, ever said that Nash was better than Magic. If I did, please point that out. That's you're argument.

My argument is that Nash's offense has been comparable, and I've provided metrics to prove it. You claim I "cherry picked" Nash seasons for the Offensive Rating argument, but I stated my reasoning for doing so: Nash has spent only the last six seasons of his career in a fastbreak-centric offense, whereas Magic spent his entire career fastbreaking. It seemed more meaningful to me to discuss that cross section of Nash's career because it wasn't until then that a coach handed Nash the ball and said, "Go crazy." Whereas Magic was given the game ball and control over the Lakers offense immediately.

And, as I stated, many of Nash's metrics while directing an offense that is at least similar to Showtime are in the ballpark of Magic's. Offensive Rating, EFG%, TS%, shooting percentages, assist percentages are all there. You supposedly checkmated me with one metric of your choice. Fine, I'll give you win shares. But the rest of Nash's numbers are in Magic's ballpark.

Also, you and Simmons both cited the supposed "advantage" Nash has against opposing defenses (i.e., anti-handcheck rule) without addressing the fact that defenses are, by and large, far more sophisticated than they were in the 80s.

Besides, my original argument was defending Bill Simmons when you kept calling him a hypocrite, to show that he explained his choices why Nash's MVPs were questioned and Magic's and Iverson's were not, with the reason not solely based on being a defensive liability.

And I've answered that several times, and as far as I can tell, you haven't really answered it. Let me state again.

In discussing Nash, Simmons said, point blank: "I could not give my MVP vote to a defensive liability."

That was Simmons' standard. Boom. Done. He did not give any qualifying statements. It was flat-out: defensive liabilities cannot be MVP.

THEN he goes on to say, well, it was okay for Magic Johnson because Kareem or whoever gobbled up the many, many PGs that beat Magic off the dribble, and because, you know, Magic is one of the greatest ever.

Oh, and it's okay for Iverson too, because he had that one really neat season, and because he got a lot of steals, even if all that means is he played a "phantom defense" that many times succeeded only in forcing his teammates to cover for his many, many missed assignments.

So why is Nash penalized without a qualifier, but two other players are granted qualifiers? Just try for one minute to stop vomiting stats and answer that question.

And that's why I called Simmons a hypocrite. He wants to use an ironclad standard in Nash's case but then gives two other players an out because one is unquestionably great (Magic) and the other happens to be a guy he likes (despite the fact that said player is a me-first cancer and Simmons supposedly favors team-first guys who sacrafice stats and acclaim for the good of the team).

Look, if you have an ironclad standard, and based on that standard alone you discredit a player's MVP, either that standard applies across the board or it doesn't. You could easily qualify Nash's defense by saying, "The Phoenix coaching staff decided that the team was better off with Nash focusing his greatest effort and energy on the offensive end."

Blogger BadDave said...
What the hell - everyone's made their arguments and nobody's mind even wavered.

I'll take Stockton and screw the rest.

Anonymous Stein said...
BadDave -

Such is the way of the intertubes.

Give me Stevie Franchise any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Anonymous Don D said...
"Greg Oden committed only 4 fouls (is that a season low?) "

If only there were some blog with an "Oden Watch" kinda feature, this would be so easy to know. I've seen such a thing, come to think of it, but it has some sort of flaw that makes it delete itself unless PF>4, apparently.

Blogger Cortez said...
"What the hell - everyone's made their arguments and nobody's mind even wavered"

To be accurate and fair, some people are making up arguments as they go.

"I'll take Stockton and screw the rest."

Amen brother!

"Give me Stevie Franchise any day of the week and twice on Sunday."

Bury yourself in concrete.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Don D -- Actually, this is kinda funny. Oden has committed at least 4 fouls in 13 of 16 games this season. In those other three games, he committed 0, 1 and 2 fouls...and all three games were against the Timberwolves. Dismissed as coincidence.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
The Dude Abides -- You have a point.

Okay then, for further reading, go rewatch Game 5 of the 1991 Western Conference Semis between the Suns and Lakers. That was an MVP season for Magic, and the Lakers won 63 games and were heavy favorites to win the title despite the fact that Kareem had retired before the season.

Well, the mighty Lakers got beaten in five games by the Phoenix Suns, including losing the final game in L.A., mostly because Kevin Johnson scored at will against Magic...who no longer had Kareem waiting behind him to deny dribble penetration.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
1) You cherry picked out Terry Porter's season, so I cherry picked out the 88 season. Why are you ignoring that I've been trying to differentiate between whole career stats, MVP season streches, and individual years?

2) Sadly, most of the fancy percentages you provided don't show much. For
example, do you even realize you used Nash's 2010 season in your AST%
argument? lol. Or that while you poorly tried to use Pace as an argument,
you failed to mention that of course Magic would likely have less AST%
because of the increased team FGs due to Pace? And I already said the
shooting comparison was fine, Nash gets the edge. But your usage of TOV%
and ORtg were poor, TOV% I covered, but ORtg I'll get to.

3) I'm looking at page 246 right now, with the Simmons quote, and you are
blowing it way out of proportion and out of context. I mean, it's from a
tongue-and-cheek article about how THE FANS won the MVP vote from him,
which he admits in a roundabout way that even though Nash is a total
defensive
liability, he still got Simmons' vote for MVP. I think
the word "total" is key here, because he probably doesn't believe AI and
Magic weren't liabilities like Nash is. If you would stop taking his quotes
so out of context, I tried explaining in my very first posts that Simmons
does give reasons throughout the book of why Nash shouldn't have gotten the
05 and 06 MVPs. Shaq, then Kobe, the steals, the statistical domination
verses not, and leading of one of the greatest teams in NBA history versus
not. You keep building up Simmons like he has some agenda against Nash, but
he's actually pretty supportive. Do you want page references on all that
too? The real argument should have been "were AI and Magic total
defensive liabilites during their MVP seasons?".

Finally, I implore you to take more stock in the Win Share argument. It's
one of the only things we can use to compare across seasons and eras, and
really gives the overall look of a player's personal impact, offensively or
defensively. But just for you, I shall type out a summary of the relevant
numbers.

Magic Johnson, 87-91
ORtg: 123
OWS: 56
WS: 74.8

Steve Nash, 05-09
ORtg: 121
OWS: 46.5
WS: 53.7

I mean there's so many things to choose from, rebounding, turnovers, PER,
defence, but it's just not worth the time because it's just a quick glance
at the pages, the teams, the rings. Magic was just on another level.

Another Finally, don't you mean the 1990 West Semis? The year when Charles Barkley
clearly got the most 1st place votes, yet somehow lost the MVP race? I'd
bet on Charles too.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Cortez - "Johnson's teammates >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nash teammate's, period."

IMO this is a poor argument to make, not because it's not true (because yes it is in fact true), but because it really has more to do with the different eras. You could make the case that Magic was on the most talented team of his era (or some of them, anyway), but it wasn't like Magic's Lakers had such a huge disparity in talent over every other team in the league. I mean, check some of those early Sixer teams, the Celtics of course, and then later the Pistons. The Lakers were loaded, but so were a lot of teams in the 80s. It was the nature of that era.

Now look at the teams Nash has played on. Has he ever played with teammates as good as Magic's? Probably not. But you could make the case that just in terms of pure talent that Nash may have been on arguably the most talented team in the league in a couple different seasons. At the very least one of the most talented teams. I mean, Bill Russell was teammates with thirteen Hall of Famers in his 13 seasons in the league. Does this somehow invalidate what he did as a player? I don't think so, it's just the way the league was back then cause there were fewer teams.

So I don't think that just saying that Nash's teammates weren't as good as Magic's gets Nash off the hook, as it were, for not having more team success than he's had. I have similar problems with comparing the defensive liability that someone from the 80s might have been with what someone from this decade has been, simply because the game has changed so much, with defense being such a point of emphasis nowadays when it really wasn't back then. It's a different league and a different game nowadays, that's all there is to it.

Finally, I still continue to be confused about all the indignant moping around here vis a vis Nash and how he's viewed. The guy stands a good chance of finishing his career with as many MVP trophies as Shaq and Kobe combined, and he's got as many MVPs as Tim Duncan does, so I really find it odd that anyone would think he doesn't get enough credit for being as good as he's been. In that light he's really been showered with as much or more personal accolades than anyone else currently playing, so I have to ask, what more do you want for the guy? Is the impetus for all this that Simmons article from almost a year ago, or is this some campaign to get him another MVP this year? If it's the former, I'd just say "let it go." It's one wacky writer's opinion, and that opinion is from last season. Who cares anymore? If it's the latter, I'd just say that it's way too early in the year to be seriously talking about the MVP race. Why don't we re-visit this in March or something?

Blogger Evil Ted said...
I think one of my equations is in order:

Steve Nash + 8 inches + 30 pounds = Magic Johnson - Kareem

A far more interesting equation is:

Anacondahl + Win Shares + ORtg + DRtg + annoyed Basketbawful = enough pedantic detail to generate a very potent headache

Offensively, Nash is great, Magic is a little greater. Defensively, neither could stop the doorman in front of my building.
Bedtime, chillun.

ET

Blogger Clifton said...
LOUUUUUD NOISES!!

If anyone needs me, I'll be over here putting mayonnaise in a toaster. I wish I could get involved, but I don't watch enough b-ball outside of the Suns to bring anything to the debate (as I mentioned to Yams previously). Our arguments here at The Condo usually involve things like last year's "Is Mike Dunleavy Jr. a twin brother of Paul Rudd?" discussion.

At least your guys' quarrels are well-informed and thoughtful... much better than reading the usual "SUNZ R R0X0RZ BCUZ I HAV A SUNZ TATOO ON MY ASS!" debates. Speaking of which, what happened to the short-lived trolldom of Basketbawesome? Did he tire and move on, or was he blocked (both of which would be suitable outcomes)?

Blogger Cortez said...
"But you could make the case that just in terms of pure talent that Nash may have been on arguably the most talented team in the league in a couple different seasons."

No, no I couldn't.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I'm looking at page 246 right now, with the Simmons quote, and you are blowing it way out of proportion and out of context. I mean, it's from a tongue-and-cheek article about how THE FANS won the MVP vote from him, which he admits in a roundabout way that even though Nash is a total defensive liability, he still got Simmons' vote for MVP.

Please go back and reread your book. Simmons said Dirk, not Nash, got his vote. Here's the quote:

Did I vote for [Nowitzki]? In a roundabout way, yes -- Nash earned my vote for second place (I couldn't give my MVP vote to a total defensive liability) and the Fans earned MVP because we had endured one of the least entertaining seasons ever.

OMG!! LOL!! READING COMPREHENSION FAIL!! LOL!!

If you're going to belittle me, and accuse me of blowing something out of context, you should probably, you know, understand the actual context.

That said, I'm done dealing with your lols and your personal slams at my critical thinking abilities. You want to take Win Shares as the end-all, be-all, then fine. Your choice. That makes Kevin Garnett the 2005 MVP (over your choice Nash) and Dirk Nowitzki the 2006 MVP (over Nash or your pick Kobe) and Pau Gasol the best player on the Lakers last season.

As usual, you berate others (in this case me) for cherry picking and misusing metrics, but frankly, you do the same thing. You've now chosen Win Shares as The Stat of Truth. There isn't one, though, and there probably never will be. The best you can do is compile as many as you can and sort through them.

As for me, I'm done.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bawful, you got it completely wrong. There is no way that Nash is better than Magic. I don't know how you can make such dubious claims.

Magic had a 27.0 PER in the 1986-87 season. Steve Nash had a PER of 22.0 in the 2004-2005 season. There's no comparison.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Cortez, maybe you couldn't, cause you're just shooting from the hip and being a contrarian, but if you actually look it up, yes, yes you really could. For instance, the 2004-2005 Suns had Nash, Amare, Marion and Joe Johnson, all four of which have been on at least three All Star teams in the years including and since that year; and that season the Suns finished the season with the league's best record, three games better than anyone else. Honestly, you'd have to be either very biased or lying to say you couldn't at least make the argument that the Suns that year may have had the most talented team in the league. If you really disagree, tell me why you disagree and at least attempt to back it up.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I certainly wouldn't say Nash was on any of the most talented teams of his era. Phoenix's refusal to pay the luxury tax pretty much took care of that possibility a few times over. His teams have typically been unbalanced and had glaring holes in them.

Again, I don't think anybody here ever said Nash was better than Magic, but arguing that the idea of comparing them, on the offensive end, was far from ridiculous.

I'll also submit my vote for Stockton as best point guard ever.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
An MVP flame war 13 games into the season? Isn't this a little much...?

Blogger Cortez said...
"Cortez, maybe you couldn't, cause you're just shooting from the hip and being a contrarian,"

Yep, that's what I'm doing, being a contrarian. Even though I have been consistent in saying that the Phoenix Suns overall were a fraud of a [championship contending] basketball team incapable of winning anything in the playoffs.

"If you really disagree, tell me why you disagree and at least attempt to back it up."

Indeed I do disagree. From a few different angles, in fact.

1. I don't give too much of a shit about "All-Star" games in the same way that I don't give a rat's ass about "MVP" awards.

2. Since their scheme was based around out-scoring their opponents and playing token defense, that rules them out in my judgement as being the most talented anything.

3. Amare is an overrated bum who gives up as much as he gives in the big matchups, maybe more. Marion is a glorified role player who can't create his own shot and need a stellar point guard (like Nash!) to make up for his many, many flaws.

4. Joe Johnson is a nice 2 guard who, at this rate, won't merit any special mention after his retirement which will more than likely be with 0 rings.

5. This isn't really directly related but my original statement was that Johnson's teammates were better than Nash's (which, as you say, they were!) so even if Nash was on the best team in the mutli-verse during the times you mentioned that would have little bearing on my player comparision statement. (which you agreed with!)

Like my old G-Pa used to say...

The fastest turtle in the championship turtle race is still just a slow fucking turtle.

"Honestly, you'd have to be either very biased"

Biased for, or against who exactly? I like Nash!

"or lying to say you couldn't at least make the argument"

Someone could make the argument. My statement (or what you should have reasonably infered) was that...

I WOULDN'T MAKE THAT ARGUMENT.

Blogger Cortez said...
"I don't know how you can make such dubious claims."

These fucking reading 101 failures are driving me insane!

No one EVER claimed Nash was "better" that Johnson.

Jesus Fucking Christ!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Bawful, this is really sad how frustrated and bush league you've made this discussion:

1) Putting words in Simmons's mouth: Here's the article in question, scroll to bottom. I really don't know what else to say here. It's pretty clear Simmons favored Nash over Dirk, even with my kindergarten level reading comprehension. In the book, my crappy comprehension would interpret that he's just fighting his cognitive dissonance on the topic, he does that sometimes in his writing.

2) Putting words in my mouth: Did I ever say that Win Shares was the end-all stat, like Hollinger and his PER? Or maybe, did I show that it was the best stat for this particular application, when comparing star players on different teams across different basketball eras? And that maybe, I am an intelligent person mathematically and can see when some data has uses and when it doesn't? Thanks for assuming the worst in me though.

"OMG!! LOL!! READING COMPREHENSION FAIL!! LOL!!"
"As for me, I'm done."

C'mon Bawful, you should know that I, as a grizzled Internet veteran, knows exactly what this means. The sad thing is, I wasn't even trying to troll you, I was trying for an honest statistical debate. You trolled yourself.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Putting words in Simmons's mouth: Here's the article in question, scroll to bottom."

Wow. The old switch-a-roo!

"I love this crowd! Please, take my wife!"
~Henny Youngman

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
Mr. Bawful, the year that KJ went off against the Lakers was 1990, and it wouldn't have mattered even if Byron was covering him, because NOBODY could stay in front of KJ that season. In fact, Byron did try to cover him after Riley made adjustments, and it didn't work. Not only could KJ get to the rim at will against anyone in the league, but his pull-up jumper was flat-out lethal. Can't blame Magic for that one.

The Laker strategy regarding Magic covering the other team's PG was always to try and lure the PG into taking 20-ft jumpers with regularity. Byron would chase the bigger shooting guard around all the screens because the coaching staff didn't want Magic to wear himself out. They knew that Magic could just conserve energy by sloughing off the PG and daring him to shoot 20-footers and not involve his teammates. Check out the Lakers vs the Warriors in the 1991 playoffs. Magic dared Tim Hardaway to shoot long jumpers (and not involve Mullin and Richmond) the entire series.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Ana -- You made this dicussion bush league the minute you decided to start making personal attacks and snide little comments. That's the kind of b.s. I expect from trolls and assholes, not from guys I'm friendly with. Frankly, I should have cut this off before I let your antics get me so wound up. So, like I said, I'm done.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I changed my mind. I'm not done.

You don't respect my knowledge or use of advanced stats. Fair enough. It's not my "thing." In the same way, I believe your basic understanding of the game beyond crunching numbers is limited, fallible and in some cases simply nonexistent.

For instance, you argued, based on Win Shares, that Nash's teammates were either better or more important than Magic's during the two players' MVP years. To prove this, you provided a relative comparison of Win Shares (for example) of an in-his-prime Amare Stoudemire versus an admittedly aging Kareem.

But ask yourself this: would you rather go to war with an aging Kareem or a young STAT?

Based on your number crunching, you would probably choose STAT. And you would be wrong. Even aging, Kareem was a better, more complete player. He was certainly more well-rounded in terms of skill set. He was proven in the clutch. He had championship experience and pedigree that pre-dated his days with Magic on the Lakers.

For example, let's look at some key moments in Lakers history. Take Game 4 of the 1987 Finals. The Lakers were down two with 10 or so seconds to go. As you correctly pointed out, this was an MVP year for Magic, a time when he was by far the best player on one of the greatest teams in NBA history.

Guess who the final play was called for? Kareem. And because the refs gave Kareem the ultimate respect, they whistled Robert Parish for a ticky tac touch foul, sending Kareem to the line. He only made one of two, but the Lakers recovered the rebound. With one last chance to win it, Pat Riley again called the play for Kareem. According to the new Larry-Magic book, the only reason Magic made his famous drive-and-junior-skyhook move is because the Celtics collapsed down on Kareem, and so the big man wasn't open. The Celtics wanted Johnson -- not Kareem -- to shoot. They didn't expect the drive and skyhook.

That play doesn't happen without the respect granted to Kareem by everyone involved.

Now take Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. Similar situation. Lakers down one, time running out, Pat Riley calls the play not for Magic but for Kareem. The refs call a ticky-tack foul on Bill Laimbeer. Kareem cooly knocks down both FTs, Lakers win and go on to take the title in seven games.

To be continued:

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Continued:

And see, those are the things that can't be calculated by advanced stats. You aren't going to tabulate the respect given to Kareem -- by his teammates, opponents, and the officials -- in a Win Share. It's impossible. And yet it's what makes him infinitely more valuable than, say, Amare Stoudemire, who probably wouldn't touch the ball in a similar situation, and if he did the results would be vastly different. STAT doesn't have a skyhook that was unstoppable even in Kareem's dotage. In fact, Amare doesn't have a single post move, or any type of high-percentage go-to move that I can think of. And if STAT did take part in the final play, it would be only because Nash created a shot for him...whereas Kareem could have attempted a skyhook regardless of who passed him the ball.

So, by the numbers, Amare may have seemingly contributed more offensively than an aging Kareem, and he may have earned a bloated (and deceptive) Win Share, but he is still less than Kareem. The same could be said for James Worthy versus Shawn Marion, or whoever else you want to compare between the two teams. Can you see Marion earning Finals MVP like Worthy did in '88? An aging Worthy still scored 20 PPG the year Magic was forced to retire. We've seen that Marion's effectiveness is almost completely reliant on somebody getting him the ball.

You took it as some sort of grave insult when I said that Nash's effectiveness on offense was comparable to Magic's. But it is, in the same way that Dirk Nowitzki's offensive capabilities compare favorably to Larry Bird's. And, like Nash, one could argue that, because Dirk competes against bigger, stronger, faster athletes and more sophisticated defenses, his offensive accomplishments are more extraordinary than Bird's.

Does that made Dirk a better player than Bird? No. Larry's all-around greatness -- which includes areas you can't calculate with numbers, including heart, determination, killer instinct, the ability to perform under pressure, a knack for coming through in clutch situations -- is far beyond Dirk's mettle. The same cab be said in any comparison between Steve Nash and Magic Johnson.

But then, I never argued Nash was better. He had and has a similar effectiveness in a more limited way, on the offensive end...with lesser teammates. And they are lesser in more ways than stats can figure, just as Dirk and Nash are less than Bird and Magic in ways your numbers can't crunch.

You have more extensive experience crunching numbers. I have more extensive experience watching games. My knowledge is lacking in understanding how some of these numbers are determined. Yours is lacking in inherent understanding of how things happen in the ebb and flow of actual game situations. (Let's not forget all the statistical reasons you gave that the Suns would not get blown out by the Magic...) Plus, I'm guessing I've watched hundreds more games with Magic Johnson and his 'mates than you have. I know that makes you uncomfortable. It freaks you out because it can't be proven. But some things cannot, and you need to get over that.

We're never going to come together on this. You and I see and experience the world -- and the sport of basketball -- in very different ways. I would guess any further discussion is pointless.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Wow. You really should have stopped. Everything in your wall of text is so not on topic, and is still an egregious use of the stats.

First, why are you comparing Win Shares of the regular season, while giving playoff examples? You can get the playoff Win Shares lower on the page.

I'm sorry you got so butthurt about all this, but I'm about to take a six hour flight and I'm tired of battling your Cortez-esque nonsense. I hope you realize this all started because you kept pushing the line with your comments against Simmons, and someone needed to set you in line again. Of course, symptom 2 of being butthurt is only reading the first line of a rebuttal, so I hope you read this far.

Also, I'm only 25 and only watched games since 2002. I am sorry that my age and non-access to the NBA is inhibiting my rational thought.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Also, I'm only 25 and only watched games since 2002."

The source of the problem is now revealed.

You don't know shit about basketball, from playing or observation.

"I'm tired of battling your Cortez-esque nonsense."

That's the one thing you got right. Talking to you about basketball was nonsensical on my part.

My bad captain.

Hard to stay focused when you can't keep your references straight and constant misquotes.

Have a good flight chief.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I'm sorry you got so butthurt about all this, but I'm about to take a six hour flight and I'm tired of battling your Cortez-esque nonsense. I hope you realize this all started because you kept pushing the line with your comments against Simmons, and someone needed to set you in line again. Of course, symptom 2 of being butthurt is only reading the first line of a rebuttal, so I hope you read this far.

Wrong again. I got irritated because you couldn't just talk to me like an adult. You had to belittle me and demean me with snide little comments. That stuff, I expect from trolls, and it pretty much rolls off my back. You have my direct e-mail. You have my cell phone number. But you felt it was better and more appropriate to treat me like an idiot, to try and shame me into changing my behavior.

And, frankly, it's neither your responsibility nor your right to "set me in line" about anything. As a friend, I'd be happy to listen to your opinion, and I'll discuss things in a reasonable, rational way. But once you started publically lol'ing me all the other garbage, you crossed a line. My bad for not telling you that before things escalated...but really, you should have known better.

As for the rest, as I said, further discussion is pointless.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
What you keep calling snide remarks, I call corrections to your incorrect application of data, and using the data I provide out of context. The only reason why I'm still trolling the hell out of you is to see just how irrational you can become.

I mean, you already accuse me of proclaiming advanced stats as being some end all measure, and somehow Amare's 2005 OWS compared to Kareem's 1987 OWS shows how non important Kareem is. Just how far will you go?

Or, you could just settle the crap down, stop saying I'm making claims that I'm not. You seem to have this image of me like I'm on a statistical high horse and that anything can be proven with numbers. Don't think I can't read the undertones of your snide remarks either. I would tell you the truth, but damn is it interesting to see what other misconceptions you can spew out. And then you can attack me personally with more anecdotes built off these wacky assumptions. Hey, can you tell me a story about the 87 finals that will show taking Amare's Reb%, multiplying by the square root of negative 75 over pace, and plotting on the complex plane somehow doesn't prove Magic was awesome? Or take the LaPlace of Kareem's career, and determine his Re to show he was the most laminar player in NBA history?

Also Cortez, I hope you realize that I take everything you post and invert it so it makes sense. Thanks for understanding my stance, although wishing bad on a cross country flight is kinda mean.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
The only reason why I'm still trolling the hell out of you is to see just how irrational you can become.

I covered this. Re: "You have my direct e-mail. You have my cell phone number. But you felt it was better and more appropriate to treat me like an idiot, to try and shame me into changing my behavior. And, frankly, it's neither your responsibility nor your right to 'set me in line' about anything."

Hey, can you tell me a story about the 87 finals that will show taking Amare's Reb%, multiplying by the square root of negative 75 over pace, and plotting on the complex plane somehow doesn't prove Magic was awesome? Or take the LaPlace of Kareem's career, and determine his Re to show he was the most laminar player in NBA history?

The point was simple: total player impact isn't measured by numbers. Period. T'weren't more complicated than that. But I covered this to. Re: "As for the rest, as I said, further discussion is pointless."

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Oh no, not at all. I'm not trying to change you. I'm trying to mind control you.

All I have to do now is get you to compare Magic Johnson's AST% to Amare's REB% and show the seasons between Kareem's Finals MVP seasons proves the Riemann Hypothesis, and you will be under my control. Of course you could screw it up by stopping your assumptions of my views and use of stats. As long as you honestly believe any data can totally describe anything ever, let alone a basketball player, the plan is right on track.

You will no longer eat food and will have to look up PER stats for sustenance, and all anecdotes of basketball beyond stats will become forgotten from your memory sectors. ALL HAIL ADVANCED STATS!

Blogger chris said...
Okay, I just got back from my Hawaii trip and I see that we've had an epic, STATZ debate between Bawful and AHL.

Noted.

Now, the question that is on my mind:

Can someone explain to me, what the Jazz would've looked like in New Orleans if Maravich AND Magic were in the lineup? I know Pistol Pete was gone from the team at that point, but come on, think of the incredible entertainment potential! Should that happen, where do Malone and Stockton end up!? And, most importantly...OSTERTAG.

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