A decade of working in downtown Chicago has taught me two things: 1) Don't give money to people begging on street corners (you're better served making donations to a shelter or a food kitchen), and 2) don't respond to crazy people. These lessons have served me well, but I'm going to make an exception to rule number two in the case of David Friedman. This is because, of all the people who have commented on our site, he has the most rockin'est mustache*. Seriously, David, if you ever run into Ron Jeremy on the street or your local adult bookstore, he may very well murder you and have your mustache grafted to his face. So, you know, consider yourself warned.

*I apologize in advance if this statement has offended any of our mustachioed readers. If you believe your mustache kicks more ass than David's, please send us a picture and we will seriously reconsider our evaluation. Best Mustache Contest winners receive an unautographed t-shirt commemorating Greg Ostertag's career-high 18-point game.

David found my analysis laughable. I, on the other hand, found his analysis of my analysis -- and his mustache -- laughable. One of his sticking points was my contention that Phil Jackson used to hide Michael Jordan on defense during the Bulls' second threepeat:

"Did you actually watch any of the games that you are talking about? Pippen guarded Foster at times when the Bulls went with a small lineup and Pip was at the four spot. I don't think that MJ ever guarded Foster, except on a switch. Far from hiding MJ or Pip (or Kobe), Jackson liked to have them guarding the other team's top threat, the only exception being if they were in foul trouble. MJ and Pip took turns on Magic in the '91 Finals and Jackson loved to put MJ or Pip on Price, Stockton or Mark Jackson during key stretches of playoff games to disrupt the other team's offensive execution."

I own all of those games on either VHS or DVD. In fact, I have a copy of every NBA Finals game (and most other playoff games) on video from 1990 to the present. So yeah, I've watched and rewatched them several times. And honestly, I didn't pay much attention to whom Jordan was guarding back in 1997, but I've spent a lot of time analyzing those series since then. And in the '97 Finals, Jordan guarded Greg Foster whenever he was in the game. Hey, feel free to fly out to Chicago and I'll gladly watch the games with you and your mustache.

It is indeed true that Jordan guarded Magic during parts of the '91 Finals, and he was used as a lock-down defender at various other times in the early 90s (when his defensive prowess was justly recognized). But Jordan was not a great defender early in his career (I can show you plenty of videographic evidence of guys like Danny Ainge simply walking by Jordan on their way to the basket), and Jackson protected him late in his career. Pippen and Rodman were the lock-down guys during the second threepeat. It was Pippen (at times) guarding Mark Jackson and John Stockton in 1998, not Jordan. And Jordan only ever guarded Reggie Miller on switches and, of course, that classic end-of-game situation where Reggie hit a three-pointer over Jordan to lead the Pacers to victory.

"Back to Kobe; the Nash/Kobe defensive numbers that you cited are completely meaningless. Was Nash actually guarding the nominal point guard in the games that you cited or was he guarding someone else? How much help did he get when he was beaten off of the dribble? What do the players that he guarded normally average?"

Thanks to the wonders of NBA League Pass and TiVo, I do catch most of the Suns' games, so I'm accutely aware of whom Nash guards. I even compiled the stats of both starting and backup point guards when the starter got into foul trouble. Mind you, I don't think the numbers are infallible (there are, as you point out, numerous variables to consider). They weren't meant to be. But they're hardly meaningless. They provide a general snapshot of what opposing point guards have been doing against the Suns (in general) and Nash (in particular). The fact is, despite what the Anti-Nashers say, opposing point guards aren't lighting the Suns up on a nightly basis.

Honestly, I don't have the time or inclination to rewatch every Suns game and track every single defensive position. Unlike some people, I don't have a mustache to keep me company and therefore must go out into the world to seek companionship. But at least I'm citing some kind of evidence. All the Kobe Lovers ever seem to do is show up and make blanket statements about how Nash "gives up more points on defense than he produces on offense." Yet, as far as I can tell, there isn't a single shred of evidence that this is the case, other than heresay. How about you, oh great basketball guru? What evidence did you show up with? Other than the ever-insightful "You're Wrong" argument.

"As for Kobe, one of your previous commenters already mentioned that Bryant was not burned one on one by Arenas or Wade or the others in their big games; those guys got their points because the Lakers bigs don't know how to defend the screen and roll."

Well golly gee, if one of previous commenters said it, it must be true! Let me ask a question you keep asking me: Did you watch those games? I know I did. Take the game in which Arenas scored 60. He did, in point of fact fact, burn Kobe one-on-one -- more than once -- which is why Kobe was (rightfully) embarrassed afterward. Bryant then tried to dismiss the scorching by claiming that he just wasn't prepared to defend Gilbert's "bad shots." You might remember this choice Kobe quote: "Some of the shots he took tonight, you miss those, and they're just terrible shots. Awful. You make them and they're unbelievable shots. I don't get a chance to play him much, so I haven't gotten used to that mentality of just chucking it up there. He made some big ones, but I'll be ready next time."

Those last couple sentences sure sound like an admission of guilt to me. And did you watch the Cavs/Lakers game prior to the All Star break? Kobe tried to lock down Lebron James and failed. It wasn't just Lebron's 38 points, either; James controlled that game, and, not coincidentally, the Cavaliers won. In L.A.

It completely amazes me that you have the balls to call my analysis laughable and then simply dismiss Kobe's poor defensive outings as a result of Kwame Brown's and Andrew Bynum's inability to play screen roll. Oh, it's that simple, is it? Kobe's mistakes aren't his mistakes, they're somebody else's mistakes...why didn't I think of that?! You and your mustache truly understand the game of basketball!

If you want to play that way, then let's apply the same logic to Nash on defense. If you've bothered to really watch the Suns play over the last three seasons, you'll know that they employ a team defensive scheme that calls for Nash to sink in and cheat on the opposing teams' big men when the ball goes in the post. This also happens when anyone else gets beat off the dribble. As a result, Nash ends up surrending a lot of open threes and drives to the basket. Yet, according to Seven Seconds Or Less, that's exactly what coach Mike D'Antoni wants him to do. So, if you honestly don't fault Kobe for giving up points on screen rolls (and whatever else you want to blame the Lakers' big men for), you need to go back and subtract every point scored on Nash when he's providing help defense (which is often).

"One more point about Kobe's defense: the All-Defensive Teams are voted on by the coaches, not the media or the fans. When you say that he is getting by on his reputation you are saying that NBA coaches that see Bryant on a nightly basis know less about the defensive capabilities of NBA players than you do."

Wow. I didn't realize that NBA coaches get to watch Kobe Bryant on a nightly basis. That's pretty nice of the team owners to give their coaches time off to watch Kobe play instead of, oh I don't know, coaching their teams. Look, every account I've ever read of NBA coaches (such as in Seven Seconds Or Less and The Pivotal Season) seems to indicate that these men are very busy minding their own team. Coaching in the NBA is more than a full-time job. Somehow I doubt they spend much time breaking down tape and doing in-depth analysis after they get their All Defensive Team ballots in the mail.

This isn't to say they don't know what they're doing, but do you honestly think coaching selections are infallible? The coaches select the reserves for the All Star Game. Do you agree with every selection they've ever made? You're telling me you've never questioned coaching choices for All Star Reserves, All Defensive Team honors, or anything else? Come on, now. Whatever you may think, coaches are not machines churning out flawless analyses of NBA teams and players. There are many reasons, poth personal and political, that they make the choices they do.

And yeah, I do think that players do get by on reputation. It happens all the time. Most people agree that Gary Payton was getting All Defensive honors long after he'd lost six or seven steps on D. And according to Peter May's The Big Three, Kevin McHale himself admitted that his selection to the All Defensive First Team in 1988 was due mostly to reputation. Hell, Larry Bird, whose individual defense has been routinely criticized over the years, made the All Defensive Second Team three straight times. You don't suppose the fact that he was Larry Bird had anything to do with that, do you?

"Hey, Kobe and Nash are both great players. I have Kobe, Dirk and Nash 1-2-3 in that order for MVP. If someone else has them in a different order, fine. But you simply hate Kobe, as you admit, so why don't you just leave it at that rather than throwing out a bunch of spurious, misleading numbers?"

I didn't realize that I'd been hiding the fact that I hate Kobe. I figured the words "Actually, I do hate Kobe" in my last post were pretty obvious. As for my "spurious" and "misleading" numbers, I don't think you have much room to talk. After all, you just wrote an article titled "60 More Reasons That Kobe Bryant is the NBA's Best Player." According to your article, scoring lots of points over the course of a handful of games, and doing so at a high percentage (higher, by far, than his season average, I should point out), is all the evidence we need that Kobe is the best player in the league. Scoring = The Best? Talk about spurious and misleading.

(By the way, do you know who Kobe was guarding last night? Mike Miller. Mikey scored 33 points on 11-16 shooting. But it's okay to give up points as long as you're scoring a lot, right?)

The fact is, there is no one statistic, no two statistics, no ten statistics that prove who's the best. And there's no statistic that, by itself, proves anything at all. Red Auerbach once pooh-poohed scoring averages because the number, by itself, doesn't tell you whether the player scored the most points versus good teams or bad teams, whether the points were scored during the game or in the clutch, and so on. At the end of the day, all you can do is review all the evidence you can, watch the games, and make your decision based on what you see and what you think you know. And I stick by my choice: Nash over Kobe.

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Blogger TheHype said...

Basketbawful, you are magnificent... let this be a warning to the children: don't even think about sporting a mustache.

Blogger David Friedman said...
Glad that you like the mustache. You know that you are dealing with high level basketball analysis when the mustache is the dominant point in your argument. I feel bad for any short or overweight people who post comments here but, hey, to each his own.

Anyway, MJ won a Defensive Player of the Year Award and a decade's worth of All-Defensive Team selections. He led the league in steals, ranks among the career leaders in that category and when players were polled (I believe by SI) at the height of his career he was selected as the player most feared both taking the last shot and guarding the guy taking the last shot. So, how many times he guarded Foster is not that big of a deal, in the big picture. My recollection, without going back and looking at the DVDs, is that MJ and/or Pip tended to only guard big guys if the Bulls were using a small lineup without a center and/or Rodman. Maybe I'm wrong on that one; I suppose if it is really necessary, sometime we could break out the DVDs, watch them possession by possession and analyze what was actually happening, as opposed to you simply implying that MJ could not guard anybody.

Back to Kobe and Nash. If you are trying to assert that Nash is a great defender, even his own coach won't go there. I interviewed Coach D'Antoni, and he told me that Nash is a good team defender even though he can be overmatched in certain one on one situations. You are the first person who I have seen suggest that Nash is actually equal to or better than Bryant as a defender. The raw numbers that you cited are indeed meaningless without knowing the context of their teams' defensive schemes and the averages of the players in question. Shooting guards would tend to score more than point guards. The other thing that you completely failed to mention is that Kobe can guard ones, twos or threes. That kind of versatility is very valuable if he or someone else gets in foul trouble and also in defending pick and rolls (provided the other guy on his team also knows how to defend pick and rolls, which is not always the case).

As for Arenas, he does take bad shots. That's a fact and that is why he has more sub .300 shooting games than anyone in the league other than Mike Bibby (min. 10 FGA in each game). Arenas scored a ton of points from the free throw line in the game against the Lakers, too. How did Arenas do in the next game against the Lakers? He scored well, but shot a much worse percentage and the Lakers won.

Of course, I do not always agree with the coaches' selections for the All-D team or the All-Star team--and I understand that they are not just sitting back watching Kobe's games. The point is that they make up game plans for every team in the league and they know which offensive and defensive players are weak links (or strong links) on each team. Bird and McHale's All-D selections, whether you agree or disagree with them, happened 20 or 30 years ago. How many of those coaches are part of the current voting process?

I did not say that the 60 points are the reason that Kobe is the best player. I said 60 MORE reasons--as in, 60 reasons plus the other reasons that I have listed in various posts.

If you can look past my mustache, here are some actual basketball related questions that you might address regarding Kobe/Nash: 1) if Nash's points/assists combos are more impressive than Kobe's scoring explosions, how come Kobe's scoring explosions are much more rare in NBA history (Kobe is doing things that have not been done since MJ and only been matched by Elgin and Wilt)? 2) Your ppg+apg "analysis" in a previous post puts Kobe and Nash in a dead heat at around 41 or 42 points produced, which is about the same as last year's numbers. Last year Nash won the MVP and Kobe was a distant fourth. Since they are producing about the same amount, why aren't you outraged that the voting was not closer? 3) If Nash is more productive and/or efficient than Bryant, how come both Hollinger's PER and the NBA's efficiency stat rate Bryant higher than they do Nash? 4) If Kobe's scoring is bad, selfish or irrelevant, how come his team has a better record the more points he scores? The Lakers are 55-24 when he scores 40+ (9-3 this year), 13-4 when he scores 50+ (4-1 this year) and 4-0 when he scores 60+ (2-0 this year) 5) Kobe won three rings while being an All-NBA and All-Defensive Team player and he led those teams in assists as well. Nash and Nowitzki have yet to win a ring--and they were on the same team at one time. Looking at their overall careers, why should we believe that Nash or Nowitzki are more "valuable"? 6) Nash receives a lot of credit for making Amare and Marion better and to a degree this is certainly true; a great point guard does make his teammates better. But Nowitzki has "gotten better" despite losing Nash, as have the Mavericks. How do we know that Amare and Marion would not also have "gotten better" even without playing with Nash?

There are some more questions, if you are actually interested in talking basketball as opposed to personal appearance, but I think that those are a good start.

Blogger Unknown said...
Move over SLAM and Dime! Basketbawful vs. Friedman is the new NBA blogosphere beef!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Good article.

David- Did you even read the article before you responded?

"As for Arenas, he does take bad shots."

And occasionally he scores 60 points, wins games for his team, and carries them through the odd playoff game here and there. Sound like someone?

You ever wonder why there's only been 1 player (Shaq) have a fantastic season alongside Kobe?

Kobe is A.I. only taller.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
dude, even though i fear it takes a mild form of obsessive compulsive disorder to spend so much time on a blog I really need to applaud you. Always a treat dropping by, in fact this is the best i've come across on the web for a long time, porn included. I know you can appreciate that one. Keep it up
one german basketball aficionado

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Relax, Dave. Hasn't anyone enjoyed your mustache before? If you don't appreciate my comments or analysis, well, you really don't need to share.

Please David, tell me: when did I say MJ couldn't guard anybody? Please quote me that line, because I must have developed amnesia. Jordan wasn't a talented defender when entered the league. He transformed himself into one of the best of his era (you'll note I said that in the early 90s his defensive rep was justly deserved). But, in the later stages of his career, Phil Jackson started protecting him, probably to conserve his energy for offense. Yet, due largely to his defensive rep from the early 90s, everyone still felt he was a great defender (although he wasn't proving it on a nightly basis because he didn't have to). Being able to player great D and actually doing it night in, night out are two different things. Mike was taking the D off in his final years.

You'll also need to quote the sentence where I said Nash was a great defender. Never said it. In fact, what I said was that he is not an accomplished individual defender. He plays above-average team defense in a scheme designed by his coaching staff. YET...despite the CONSTANT ragging by his detractors, he is not routinely lit up by opposing PGs. I was defending the assertion that he gives up more points than he produces. He does not. Period. Do you have some evidence to the contrary? Does anybody?

Seriously, when did I say Nash was as good a defender as Bryant? What I *said* (if you would actually take off your Kobe Glasses and read) is that Nash's rep as a "horrible" defender is overstated, and Kobe's rep as a great defender is also overstated. I know Kobe has the capacity to be a fantastic individual defender. I've seen him do it. But I've also watched him regularly lose focus on the defensive end (particularly in the last few years). Which is understandable, given the offensive burdens he carries. But again, just because he *can* be a great defender doesn't mean he always is. In fact, often times, he isn't.

Anyway, in your discussion of Arenas and his shot selection, you totally disregard the fact that, for that game at least, Kobe could not contain him one-on-one, whether it was a screen roll or no.

Yeah, the McHale selection was almost 20 years ago, but Payton's last selection was in 2002. Many of those coaches? Still coaching. Besides, the point is: stuff like that still happens. What, the ability and integrity of coaching has just radically improved since Bird and McHale were playing? Coaches are now flawless, analytical machines?

1) Unless you have access to information I don't, we don't know where Nash's high points/assists combos rank in NBA history. As far as I know, that doesn't get tracked the way scoring gets tracked. How many 28/22 games do you suppose have happened in the history of the league?

2) If you actually read my site, which you don't, you would have seen the article I posted a few weeks ago concerning precedent in MVP voting. Since the NBA has never defined specific criteria for what makes a player the "most valuable," I looked at every MVP award that been given out. 46 of the 51 MVP awards have been given to the best player on one of the best two or three teams in the league (by won-loss record). So, based solely on precedent, my conclusion was the the voters have equated value with winning, regardless of circumstances (such as injuries, quality of teammates, etc.). In the absence of a specific definition, which we're never going to get, I'll go with precedent. Besides which, the point of my point production analysis was to provide another way of looking at scoring. I really don't think gaudy statistics necessarily equate to value. I have a feeling you do.

3) If you want to get into complicated statistical measures, go over to 82games.com and you'll discover that Nash's True Shooting Percentage (for example) is 62, whereas Bryant's is 50. That's a pretty wide disparity. So based on that, we can conclude that Nash is a much more productive and efficient shooter/scorer than Kobe, right? I'm sure we could go round and round using different stats to "prove" our points, couldn't we?

4) Oops! You're doing exactly what you accused me of doing: providing numbers without any framework or perspective. For instance, what teams were the Lakers playing when they won via a Kobe scoring explosion? His last three have come against lottery teams, one of which (the Grizzlies) are the worst-rated defensive team in the league. How was Kobe defended (i.e., did the opposing team employ a man-to-man scheme, essentially conceding Kobe's points in hopes of containing his teammates)? Was the opposing team on a long road trip, or playing the second game of back-to-backs? How many days off did Kobe have before each game? Was the opposing team dealing with any major injuries at the time...maybe the player who would have been guarding Kobe was out, or maybe they didn't have the depth to waste fouls (and therefore they had to play him "soft"). Do you have any of this information? Because I believe it was YOU who told me that, without the necessary peripheral details, my "analysis" (you love to use quotation marks, don't you) was meaningless? Well, back at you.

I'll address the other points later.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow. While Basketbawful made comments about your mustache, it was just an aside. There was a lot of arguments you didn't respond to, and some of your other arguments were about things Basketbawful didn't talk about (MVP voting, for instance. The 'stache jokes were to lighten things up. Just like Super Troopers. (Who wants a mustace ride? Ooh, I do, I do!)

Nash is like all good (and great) point guards - he makes everyone on his team better. Of course they can improve without Nash; that's called development. But remove Nash from the Suns and replace him with an average PG, and you get a team struggling to make the playoffs in the West AND players that can't be traded for more than a set of Groucho Marx glasses. Take Kobe from a team and you get players with better performance and a team with more losses. As for Kobe's rings - I think it's safe to say Shaq is the reason for those.

Mr. Friedman, what I really want to know from you is one thing: 1) How does scoring make for the best player?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Can we all just agree that Jordan definitely was not guarding JEFF Foster in 1997? He wasn't even in the league til 99. I'm just sayin...


first time reader, enjoyed the last 7 blog entries..

but i did get to your page through a link about MJ missing 3 out of 4 in an instructional video, come on son, you can't possibly even entertain the though that he should be criticized for missing those shots..

he probably just walked on cold from his busy schedule. no one said he was the best coach or teacher ever.. hes a human not some perfect machine

Blogger Basketbawful said...
You're right, Mr. Anonymous. I meant Greg Foster, not Jeff Foster. My bad.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Your analysis is pretty scattered, picking and choosing stats that you like to make your argument.

I wouldn't have so much of a problem with it, except you picked your horse (Nash) before you started making any analysis.

As such, you knew your answer before you made any "analysis." This is the anthesis of good analytical thought. Is there any way you would have found Kobe to be a better player than Nash? I submit the answer is a firm "no." As such, what is the point of all of your preening analysis?

Blogger David Friedman said...
Last things first, I assumed that you meant Greg Foster (Jazz), not Jeff Foster and I really don't recall MJ guarding him (Pip did guard him and also Ostertag when the Bulls went to a small lineup). Also, the Lakers are 5-1--well, 6-1 after Friday--when Kobe scores 50 this year; I shortchanged him a win in my last comment.

As for not addressing the main points or just making a side remark: I addressed all of the main points in my post if you go to my site. I explain why Kobe is my MVP choice, why his scoring explosions are more impressive than Nash's points/assists combos, etc.

I really don't care if you talk about my mustache or not, but when it's in the title and sprinkled throughout it's not a throwaway remark. It's OK; I understand that it is difficult to make your case using facts alone, so a distraction is useful for you.

MJ won Defensive Player of the Year in 1987-88, his fourth year in the league. When you say that P Jax was hiding MJ, to me that means you are saying that MJ was a subpar defender; otherwise, why is he being hidden? The Bulls of the second three peat era--which is the time frame that you are referencing--had several excellent defenders: MJ, Pip, Rodman and Harper. They were all about the same height. So when they were on the court at the same time they could not all be guarding top scoring threats because few, if any, teams have four top threats. P Jax was not hiding MJ or anybody else as much as he was looking for the best matchups overall. MJ lost a lot as a defender by the time he was a Wizard but by then he was 40 years old and playing on one leg.

What I am attempting to correct here is your statement that P Jax typically "hides" his best player on defense, whether it was MJ or Kobe, because the truth is actually the opposite. MJ loved the challenge of guarding the top players as does Kobe. Do they guard the top scorer every possession of every game? No, but MJ and Kobe guard top scorers more often than other top scorers do. That is the larger point that you have gotten completely wrong. For instance, when the Lakers play the Heat, Kobe guard Wade but Kapono guards Kobe. The Heat get Kobe off of Wade by using screen and roll plays that the Lakers bigs defend very poorly.

If all you are saying is that Nash is a good team defender, I can go along with that--but Bryant is a good team and one on one defender who can guard three positions.

Arenas was not guarded by Kobe for most of that game, hit a few tough shots on Kobe and made a ton of free throws. That is great for Arenas. The next time they played, what happened? Arenas shoots a bad percentage overall and has more really bad games (15 of below .300 shooting, as I mentioned) than any top player. Why does his one 60 point game outweigh 15 horrible games? I had a similar debate with a commenter at my site, who said that Arenas does not really shoot a bad percentage when you factor in the threes. Well, if Arenas goes 6-9 from three one night and 1-9 the next that is a good overall percentage but his team will definitely lose the second game (and probably the first since the Wiz play no D). Arenas is nowhere near the same category as Kobe. Look at Kobe's body of work, his scoring average, his top games, the percentage of those games his teams win, etc.

I don't think that the coaches are "flawless" but why should I think that you are "flawless" or that you know more about teams' game plans than they do?

Regarding Nash's 28-22, I already showed that Stockton had several games that match or nearly match that just in one season--and he had three better scoring seasons for which I could not find boxscores. AI had a 44-15 recently and there have been three other 40-15 games in the past 17 years. So, without much research I found four games that are "better" (more total points by your way of counting points plus assists) and several Stockton games that are in the same ballpark. I'm willing to bet that Oscar Robertson had a ton of better games, since he averaged about 30-12-11 one year. Hey, Nash is great. I think that he used to be underrated and is now a tad overrated, being a two-time MVP when he should be a two-time MVP runner up.

I don't think that "gaudy" statistics equate to value. I look at the game like a scout, perhaps because I have actually interviewed and talked to NBA scouts. Kobe's game has no weaknesses--I notice that you have not addressed that point. Kobe can shoot from all distances, dribble and finish with either hand, rebound, pass and defend. He has great footwork and ball fakes. I am not as impressed by his numbers as by how he plays, how fundamentally sound he is. I don't hate Nash--unlike you, who admittedly hates Kobe--so I can appreciate what both players do. Nash is a wonderful point guard in the mold of the great 80s/90s point guards, a few of whom should have received greater MVP consideration.

I don't know why you and so many others confuse shooting percentage with efficiency. Go to NBA.com or Hollinger's page at ESPN and you will see that Nash is ranked below Bryant in efficiency--as hard as it is for you to accept, Nash is not as effective as Bryant overall, purely by the numbers. If you are going to rank guys by shooting I suppose you think that Steve Kerr is better than MJ and Kobe.

If you go back and read my posts you will see that for the games that I have seen I have talked about how Kobe scores and what defenses are being used. Also, what Kobe has done in the past four games is unprecedented, so don't try to diminish it by bringing up the teams' records. Every other great player had a chance to play against bad teams and no one (other than Wilt) has put up 50 four straight games.

Anyway, the Lakers are not a great team, either--their record is not that much better than the teams they are beating and they might be down there with the Grizz without Kobe.

You and others believe that the MVP should go to the best player on the best team. That's fine. But that is different than saying that Dirk and Nash are better than Kobe. Kobe is a better player but he does not have the same supporting cast. I think that MVP should go to the best player, period--the one who has the most complete game.

Since you are so interested in the records of the teams that Kobe has torched recently, go look up Nash and the Suns' record against Dall, S.A. and Utah. The Suns have a great regular season style that overwhelms most teams but it doesn't work against the best teams. If I bought into the best player on the best team idea then I would vote for Dirk, who I would place second anyway based on how complete his game is and how tough he is to guard.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
DAMN IT !! Kobe scored 50 AGAIN!!
This is just unbearable, I can't live in a world where Kobe is hailed MVP because he's score 50 a bunch of times against mediocre teams with mediocre teammates unable to take any offensive burden of off him!!!
EVEN WORSE, the Lakers are playing Golden State and Memphis AGAIN next!!
This is never gonna stop! Basketball Gods, please Helps us!

ps: to all the Kobe fans, lets just point out the fact that he dropped his 50s on players like the fearsome Devin Brown...
Ricky Davis a man who was elected 12 times in 8 pro years to the All Defensive Team...
Jarret Jack... man, who the fuck is this guy?
And the Grizzlies defensive backcourt, a cast of nobodies I'm not even going to lose my time checking their names for.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
We knew you meant Greg, right fellow Jazz fans? Right? Hello...? Oh yeah.

Blogger S.O.L. said...
I just wanted to weigh in on your blog. Your stuff about Kobe vs. Nash is right on. I think it's silly to call David to task for his Kobe For MVP nonsense because if he doesn't get it now, he'll never get it. Some people love the sizzle. Others like the substance. Kobe is sizzle. Nash is substance. Kobe is a great offensive player. Nash is a great player who makes his team great. I used to be a sportswriter. I know both Nash and Kobe and I know many players, coaches (past and present) and most of them would follow Nash anywhere. Not so with Kobe.

Your stuff about Kobe and Nash and the players they defend is great. It IS a cop out to say Kobe's middle defenders aren't as good as Nash's. Nash MAKES his interior defenders better by how he plays his man, forcing them to a position where the Matrix and Amare and the others could make the most of their ability. This was more evident early in the season when Amare was still testing his knee. It's the same thing he does on offense distributing the ball.

And when you talk about Kobe's "brilliance" on offense, you have to mention the times when his ball-hogging loses games for the Lakers. I watch almost all the Lakers games and a dozen times during the latest losing streak, Kobe took three-pointers way back behind the line or with a guy in his face and way early in the clock. He missed them. The other team turned the rebound into a fastbreak, points or a foul situation. Just like that the Lakers are out of the game. Look at the final minutes of the game against the Sixers for one example of this.

I could go on. Keep up the good work. Someone somewhere has to talk some sense about this stuff.

By the way, anybody who picks Kobe over Dirk and Nash for MVP is related to Kobe or a football fan.

Blogger David Friedman said...
Someone asked the difference between Kobe and Arenas. Arenas dribbles up the court and jacks up three pointers with 15 or more seconds left on the shot clock. Kobe does not do that unless it is at the end of a quarter for a 2 for 1 possession. If you go to my site, I charted what Kobe did when he had the ball for the entire third quarter of his most recent 50 point game. Obviously, he doesn't always shoot 6-7 from the field, but the moves were fairly typical. He catches the ball, reads the defense and shoots within one or two dribbles (or passes when he is double-teamed).

You're right, though. Arenas does "occasionally" win playoff series. He also "occasionally" misses two free throws after LeBron psyches him out. Last I checked, Kobe was an All-NBA and All-Defensive Team player while he was a member of three championship teams. Good luck to Arenas on matching that.

As for Nash's "64 point game" and his 28-22 game and how common those feats are, I already told you that Kobe's 50 point string--now at 4 and counting, exceeded only by Wilt all-time--is much more rare and difficult. Basketball Reference.com has all the boxscores since 1986-87. There have been 34 20 point/20 assist games since that time. Some notable ones include 32-20-11 (rebounds) by Magic, 30-21 by KJ, 29-21 by Magic, 31-20-16 (!) by Fat Lever, 29-21 by Magic (no, I'm not stuttering; he did it again), 37-20 by KJ, 30-20 by Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. What about the exact 32-16 combo that Nash had? There have been 22 other games since 1986-87 in which a player had at least 32 points and at least 16 assists. I'm not trying to take anything away from Nash; 32 and 16 and 28 and 22 are excellent--but they are neither as rare nor as difficult as 50-plus points in four straight games.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Rock on Basketbawful. I like your blog. Friedman is a hater. I commented on his blog once and he threw the 'Kobe hater' label at me too, even though he totally missed the point of what I'm saying. Maybe he's got some Kobe DNA on his mustache.

Blogger scoots said...
Full disclosure: I'm a huge Mavericks fan, and I'm kind of bitter that Nash never did any of this kind of stuff when he played for us. But there's no denying he has done some amazing things.

Here are a few Nash facts that might rival the scoring numbers Kobe’s putting up. These are from nba.com’s Nash bio page.

In last year's playoffs, Nash “Became just the third player (Magic Johnson seven times, John Stockton three times) to post double figures in assists in seven consecutive playoff games (May 12-26, 2006).”

And a few accomplishments from 04-05:

“Became only player in NBA history to record double figures in assists in 11 consecutive victories.”

“Joined Wilt Chamberliain and Michael Jordan as the only players to score 40-plus points in one playoff game and then collect a triple double in the next game.”

And the most impressive, in my opinion: “Became the first player in NBA history to record four consecutive games with at least 25 points and 10 assists in the postseason.”

And those weren't four meaningless games, either. If I'm remembering correctly, the first two were to beat Dallas, and the other two were against San Antonio in the western conference finals.