Dallas Mavericks

Final Thoughts on the 2011 NBA Finals

Question: Which event compelled more citizens around the world to unite against a common enemy while expressing their disdain for past crimes, injustices, and grievances –  The Capture of Osama Bin Laden? Or the unification of hate against Lebron James and the Miami Heat during 2011 NBA Finals?

I’m going with Lebron and the Heat. At least Osama had pockets of support from the international community as well as a wife who was willing to serve as a human shield instead of allegedly serving up Rashard Lewis. But then again, what do I know?

Please tip your waitresses on the way out.

Some Final thoughts around the 2011 NBA Finals as the riot police monitor the streets in every city BUT Miami:

LeBron James, His Legacy, and Chasing 23

Before I begin, can I also throw my hat into the ring as the 1,345,567,945th person to claim ownership of the “Never ask LeBron for change for a dollar, because he will only give you 3 quarters” joke that has been making it’s way around the internet? No really, I’d like to join the masses in shamelessly pawning that one off too.

Quite an odyssey for the self-anointed King, huh? No player in the history of the NBA endured more scrutiny, operated under a tighter microscope, or wore a bigger bulls-eye.

After taking his talents to South Beach, LeBron went through the numerous highs and lows that came with playing alongside a second Alpha Dog. At the start of the season, when both LeBron and Dwyane Wade struggled with chemistry issues, Lebron was deemed a bum. By mid December, the Heat put together a nice string of wins, LeBron became the Alpha Dog, and suddenly he was a hero. By March, both Lebron and Wade missed a series of Game Winning/Game Tying shots,the team was reduced to crying in the locker room, and questions once again arose as to whether LeBron and Wade could share the ball – Lebron was once again a bum. Then, by season’s end, the Heat hit their stride and as they dispatched the Bulls in 5 games, LeBron was not only a hero, but evidentally chasing the Michael Jordan legacy.

Now that the Finals have ended, LeBron has not only once again been deemed a bum, but if at all possible, an even greater bum than when the season started. During the Finals, LeBron averaged only 18 points per game (9 below his season average), 4 Turnovers per game, performed miserably in the clutch, and was often tepid during critical moments. Make no mistake, this was a series that he should have won. His performance was absolutely inexcusable and his demeanor on the court became the non-basketball equivalent of when my buddy Scott learned that his wife dated Tommy Lee back in 2003…. I’m telling you, it was that same exact glazed look of bewilderment.

Lebron didn’t simply play poorly, he checked out, and this loss will forever be an irremovable stain on his resume. The 2009 loss to Orlando, despite having home court advantage, could be forgiven; He averaged 39 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, had a True Shooting percentage of 63%, and literally did everything humanly possible to win, but his teammates simply let him down. The 2010 loss to the Celtics, while mystifying, was nonetheless something that we were willing to overlook this year. He had a bad series – everyone has a bad series sometime in their career, and we were willing to accept that this was an anomaly so long as history never repeated itself. And then, it repeated itself. He checked out… AGAIN!

This one is going to be tough for LeBron to get over. He was oftentimes disengaged and confused, and his lack of a post-up game came back to bite him in the end. So what have we learned over the course of 11 months? Probably nothing. By my count, LeBron has gone from Bum to Hero, or Hero to Bum, 4 times in 9 months, which leads me to 2 points:

1.)   LeBron’s legacy, as long as he wins a championship, will be just fine.

2.)   The LeBron vs. MJ discussions are nowhere close to being over.

Contrary to popular opinion, Lebron James can absolutely recover from this meltdown and once again partake in the “better than Jordan” discussions (not that I believe this to be true). And do you know why? Because NBA fans not only have selective amnesia, but are also desperate (and I mean desperate) for that next Jordan. In about 10 months, Lebron will once again have a great regular season, and  everyone will conveniently forget his past failures while chomping at the bit to once again anoint Lebron as the next MJ..

You don’t believe me? Just look at the history.

After winning a championship and delivering arguably the greatest individual performance in NBA Finals history in 1980, Magic Johnson was suddenly cast as a bum 4 years later during the 1984 NBA Finals after he committed a series of errors in Games 2, 4, and 7, and was labeled a “choker” and “Tragic Johnson”. Everyone declared that his legacy was forever tarnished, and that he would never be able to overcome such a momentous playoff failure. One year later, his Lakers achieved redemption with an NBA Championship during the 1985 Finals, and 2 years after that, Magic closed the 1987 season with one of the most dominant start to finish individual seasons in NBA history. By 1988, Magic was considered the best player in the NBA, and in some circles, the greatest to ever play the game. From hero to bum to hero again – how quickly people forget.

In 2004, Kobe Bryant was largely blamed for the demise of the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons after taking a series of ill-advised shots during crucial moments of games. During a pivotal Game 3, he provided an uninspired effort in which he shot 4/13 with 11 points and 3 rebounds, and during a Game 5 elimination game, he shot 7/21. Kobe finished the series shooting only 38% and averaging 22.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists (well below his regular season averages), and the chase for GOAT was officially declared dead.

The chase was then resurrected prior to the 2008 Finals, but Kobe once again played poorly, shooting only 40.5% for the series,  6/19 during a monumental Game 4 collapse, and 7/22 in a Game 6 Elimination game. Once again, everyone had declared the chase for GOAT to officially be over, and we were certain that we heard the last of the Jordan vs. Kobe comparisons.

Fast forward one year later when Kobe averaged 32.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assist during the 2009 NBA Finals, entering into a select group of 30-5-5 NBA Finals performers,  and suddenly, the race for 6 rings and the Jordan legacy was back on. From hero to bum to hero to bum to hero – how quickly people forget.

Trust me folks, the Lebron for GOAT discussions may be dead for now, but come the 2012 playoffs, they will rear their ugly head just like they always do. The fans and the media are desperate for another Jordan, and will not quit until they find him, even if he is only 70% of the real thing. With that said, Lebron James now has 2 choices – either:

a.) Develop a high/low post-up game to better cope with sophisticated defenses, or

b.) Commit 100% to the role of Scottie Pippen 2.0.

Its that simple.

The Legend of Dirk Nowitzki

How surprised am I that the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship? On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m a 20.

In the history of the NBA, there have been 4 other instances where a single Alpha Dog willed – literally willed – his team through the playoffs en route to a NBA Championship without a true #2, and nothing more than a bunch of role players.

#1: Rick Barry and the 1975 Golden State Warriors

#2: Bill Walton and the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers

#3: Hakeem Olajuwon and the 1994 Houston Rockets

#4: Tim Duncan and the 2003 San Antonio Spurs

Dirk Nowtizki’s performance in 2011 is #5 and arguably the most impressive of all. His Mavs had absolutely no business beating the Miami Heat, nor the Defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers for that matter. Moreover, he also  beat a Portland Trail Blazers team that many of us expected to upset the Mavs, as well as an up and coming Oklahoma City team with 2 young stars.

What more can you say about Dirk? Once known as the consummate choker, we can now officially declare the Ghosts of 2006 and 2007 to be exorcised as he comfortably surpasses both Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, as the second greatest Power Forward of all time. Dirk is no longer simply a champion, he is now an unequivocal legend, and his performance was absolutely mindboggling.

An unbelievable run. Congrats Dirk: You represent everything that is right about the NBA.

Lastly, my personal congratulations to the following:

  •  Mark Cuban – No single owner exemplifies the word Maverick better than you do. Granted, you change players as often as Brett Farve changes retirement plans, but no owner offers fewer reasons to fail. With the exception of Dan Gilbert’s open letters and pricing strategies on bobble head dolls, you remain the most entertaining owner in the NBA.
  • Scottie Pippen –  Despite being retired for 8 seasons, and never playing a single minute in the 2011 NBA Finals, you still nonethless managed to change the course of history by placing the age old MJ curse on Lebron James. After that, Lebron was never the same.
  • Kobe Bean Bryant –  Arguably the biggest winner of all. Those Lebron vs. Kobe discussions have suddenly shifted back in your favor. Lebron can no longer hide behind the excuse of having inferior teammates and while you yourself have had your share of playoff failures, you have still proven that you can lead a team to a championship when given the weapons.  Score one for the Bean. I look forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve after a full summer of rest.
  • Tyson Chandler – When the Chicago Bulls drafted you back in 2001, you were a 7’0 center who was extremely raw, shot free throws poorly and had no offensive game. 9 years later, you have evolved into a 7’0 center who is extremely raw, shoots free throws poorly, and has no offensive game. However, what you do have is heart, a true understanding of your role, and one of the best defensive presences in the NBA. As long as you can stay healthy, you will continue to make an impact.  
  • Shawn Marion – Weren’t you once the hot potato of the NBA? Didn’t the Heat once trade you to the Raptors for Jermaine O’Neal in 2009? And weren’t you then shipped off to Dallas only 5 months later? And didn’t you just lock down Gerald Wallace, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Lebron James in 4 consecutive series? Do you want to flip Pat Riley the bird or should we?
  • Jason Kidd – You spent the bulk of your career known as “ason Kidd” because you had no ‘J”. Now, at age 38, you suddenly develop a consistent jumpshot. Can you imagine if you had this type of range during your prime? Life is cruel. Trust me, I know the feeling. My folks waited until AFTER I left for college before they brought a dog home for the first time. Regardless, you now have that NBA Championship under your resume.  
  • Cleveland Cavs Fans – Your enemy’s enemy is your friend and I am now certain of one thing – the outcome of these NBA Finals brought you more joy than anything that would have ended with “The Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions”.  
  • Rick Carlisle – Didn’t just outcoach Erik Spoelstra but also outcoached Nate McMillan, Scott Brooks, and the legendary Phil Jackson. I mean, you outcoached EVERYONE. You may have even outcoached Bill Parcells.


  • Chris Bosh – Your season may be over, but congratulations – you have been awarded the lead role in Avatar II. No computer animation necessary.  

  • NBA – You just completed a magnificent season with the highest ratings in years. Darth Vader has been defeated and we can’t help but crave more.  Don’t blow it with an extended lockout. Just don’t.




127 Responses to “Final Thoughts on the 2011 NBA Finals”

  1. I should also be anointed a “winner” as I destroyed your Le Bron “clutch” theories/ article and exposed Le Bron for who he is: one dimensional in the clutch. If the lane is closed, then he has no “move” to get him clutch baskets. But, you can just access his stats 5 years from now and declare that he shot over 50% and thus, the Game 6 loss was not his fault. Dallas came up with a very simple device for shutting down Le Bron: close off the lane and let him shoot his 3s. If Le Bron is hitting his 3s, the other team will lose, oh well. But considering he hits like 31% of his 3s (just made that up, not really sure), you’re likely to win if you just close off the lane. Getting a lead will expose this truth even more. At least when Kobe was throwing up bricks in G7 last year, he decided to rebound and play D, where was Le Bron? Playing hot potato with the ball, that’s where.

    Posted by Dirty South | June 13, 2011, 2:38 pm
    • Thanks for the read D.S., but I have no idea which “clutch” theories article you are talking about since the only article I published was on game winning shots where LeBron is 5/12 and Kobe is 6/23.

      Moreover, you do realize that Kobe Bryant is no longer in the playoffs right? And that he shot miserably in 4th quarters against this same Dallas team? Are we really going to try and play the lesser of 2 evils game? They both stunk. Lebron was simply worse.

      Moreover, what I saw wasn’t Lebron’s inability to create shots, it was his inability to make them or even a willingness to take them. For example, the Bulls employed the same exact strategy by closing the lane, yet LeBron torched them. He missed in one series, and made in the other.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 13, 2011, 2:51 pm
    • i anoint you “winner” of biggest kobe sunshine pumping homer of all time. even bigger then brown mamba. congrats!

      Posted by He Hate Me | June 13, 2011, 5:15 pm
  2. I couldn’t read this, because I woke up today and I have the same life I had before I woke up today. I have the same personal problems that I had yesterday. I need to get back to the real world, but before I do, I’d like to congratulate the self-help guru King James on offering up a choke job for the centuries.

    I’d like to thank LeBron for his advice to all of us mean haters, and I would personally like to thank LeBron for making me feel a lot better about myself, and allowing Eddie House and Mario Chalmers to feel better about themselves – because those two guys showed more balls and heart than King James did.

    LeBron, you might want to knock off the King stuff, because you played like a clown. The last time I saw such a puzzled expression on an athlete’s face is when Sugar Ray Leonard forced Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran to quit and utter these immortal words, “No Mas.”

    Posted by Dave Sheridan | June 13, 2011, 2:48 pm
    • Thanks for the read Dave. Unfortunately, I too have the same life today as I did yesterday which probably means I will once get hammered, hit on semi-attractive woman, and black out before 1AM. Wait, does that make my life better than Lebron or worse?

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 14, 2011, 5:07 pm
  3. Um…I remember you straight up spouting the ridiculous theory that LeBron is clutch, and then you listed a myriad of worthless stats. You also stated, “it’s what I’ve been saying all along, LeBron is clutch” during the Bulls series. The Bulls did not play the same strategy down the stretch, and lost its defensive identity at the end because the moment was too big for it. You also dispelled my theory that Le Bron is Le Choke when he can’t barrel down the lane in crunch time. How many charges was he called for yesterday? Kobe at least tried, LeBron didn’t. LeBron also had Wade and Bosh to rely on (who showed up, sort of), unlike Kobe who was abandoned by Gasoft. Own it, just like Lebron’s gonna have to own it (but won’t) during the summer.

    Posted by Dirty South | June 13, 2011, 5:02 pm
    • Wow, amazing how the Lebron bashers are just coming out of the woodwork. Look, I am just as happy as anyone else that Lebron failed. It is fun and allows us to add a myriad of words after ‘Le-‘ to partake in the Pinata party that his Lebron bashing. But lets put this in some perspective shall we? It always amazes me how quickly naive fans such as yourself conveniently forgetten the past.

      Lebron historically has absolutely been clutch in the past, and given the fact that I anticipate you probably have watched him play in only a limited number of games, I suggest that you look at the game tape, read the recaps, or look at the stats.

      Did Lebron play well in the Finals? No. He was miserable. But don’t just cherry pick on games – if we do, we can assassinate every single great player (including Kobe) that has ever played. Instead. look at the overall picture and his overall career. And try not to reduce yourself to ring counting while you are at it.

      Was Lebron clutch against the Bulls in the ECF? Absolutely. And I am not sure which games you were watching, but the Bulls played the exact same pack-the-paint defense as the Mavs. Lebron simply hit his outside shots. In fact, if you watch the tape, ALL of his clutch shots were from the outside.

      Did Lebron come through in 2009 ECF against Orlando? Absolutely. He did everything possible and hit a number of big shots in the closing moments. In the end, his teammates let him down. Did he come through the year before in 2008 when he fought like hell in Game 7 against the Celtics and scored 45 points in a pressure packed elimination game? Absolutely. Was he clutch in the ECF the year before that during the 2007 playoffs when he single handedly willed the team to the NBA finals. Absolutely.

      To sit here an forget all of the big games, and big shots that he has made is ignorant. I guess I can’t say that I am surprised. It is typical of the casual fan who has very little sense of history.

      Regarding Kobe: Pau Gasol may have played horribly, but does Kobe Bryant missing a game winning shot in Game 1, having extremely poor fourth quarters in all 4 games, averaging only 2 rebounds and 2 assists and shooting only 44% against the Mavs really serve as clutch in your mind? Really? What did he do in that series?

      Was Kobe’s performance against Boston in 2008 or Detroit in 2004, or Dallas in 2011 really clutch? Yet, he managed to win a couple of rings, and fans such as yourself have applied selective amnesia. This is the first year that Lebron has had a championship caliber team with an actual #2. Kobe on the other hand had has had 9 such teams. How about we give Lebron a couple more years to judge?

      The point here is that unless you are Michael Jordan or Hakeem Olajuwon, you are going to have a certain number of disappointing playoff series on your resume. Funny how winning a championship seems to erase people’s memories doesn’t it? If you are going to argue that Lebron has historically been unclutch, you need to look at the entire body of work, not just the last 2 years.

      Regardless, I appreciate you proving the my point of article – the average NBA fan has selective amnesia. Just as you have completely overlooked or forgetten Lebron’s past accomplishments, you too will be the first who forgets 2011 should he win a championship.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 13, 2011, 5:48 pm
  4. I just want to know why so many people are concerned with young players and their “legacy”, whether or not the will be considered the GOAT, or be the next MJ… Sure, these discussions can be fun to have now and again, but they seemingly dominate the discussions that we as fans have.

    I am just glad we had an exciting NBA playoffs and finals (exciting for more reasons than the basketball!). There were a lot of stories here… The underdog / over-achieving Mavs, the Axis of evil in Miami, the Lakers early exit, The Bulls alomst going the distance…


    It is going to be a long time before the NBA post season is this good again.

    Great read Realist!

    Posted by drubacca117 | June 13, 2011, 5:34 pm
    • Couldn’t agree with you more Drubacca. I am really going to miss the playoffs. It’s aweful that we are about to embark on a work stoppage because the NBA is more popular than it has been since 1998.

      Thanks for the read.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 13, 2011, 6:56 pm
  5. I’m pretty sure I just read those recaps in other articles. The only thing that will be forgotten, is that the next time you compile metrics of “clutchness,” you will include Game 6 as a clutch performance because he shot a good percentage.

    Posted by Dirty South | June 13, 2011, 5:57 pm
    • Not sure what to say D.S.

      You are either referring to a completely different article that from another site, or perhaps you didn’t read my article carefully. The metric was for GW/GT shots at the end of games. So I am not sure how Game 6 would be included in any metric. But thanks for reading nonetheless.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 13, 2011, 6:02 pm
  6. From May 4th exchange: me:”Le Bron can’t do the barrel-through the lane last second shot anymore. Now we’ll see what his ability to make and create easy shots is.”

    You:”Not sure what your assumptions are based on, but 9/11 shots were the “barrel-through”type and his most recent attempt against Phili in the 1st round of this year’s playoffs was no different – he simply missed the shot. So I am not sure what your logic is based on.”

    He couldn’t barrel through the lane (hence the many charges) and was left standing around playing hot potato. The articles I was referring to (where you talk abt Orlando, Boston, etc), I’m pretty sure I read that today on other sites. Not sure what to say Realist. Also, 2011 will never be forgotten because LeBron will likely always defer. Yes, this is the year when LeBron had an actual number #2, and that #2 was him.

    Posted by D.S. | June 13, 2011, 6:28 pm
    • Now I’m really confused. That article, and my response was about Lebron’s ability in Gw/GT shots. Which GW/GT shot did he take in the Finals in which he was unable to “barrell through”? The only attempt this series was by D.Wade in game 1.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 13, 2011, 6:37 pm
  7. One simple question…. why are you such a Lebron homer? All of the stats you use are ridiculously selective… you have some sort of problem with Kobe, Kobe has won six rings, with the team that drafted him, without chasing superstars… You calling others ‘naive’… priceless. Like everyone else who has visited this blog, I will not be back.

    Posted by GlassMan | June 13, 2011, 7:06 pm
    • Glassman. Thanks for the read and sorry to see you go.

      I am not a Lebron homer. In fact, I am happy to see him fail. However, I simply think that he does not get the benefit of the doubt that other players get. Kobe Bryant is just the most recent example (I can list failures from the playoff resumes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem, etc.. if needed). Kobe is a great, great player who has won 5 (not 6) rings. However, when he failed in 04 and 08, he never had to endure the same level of scrutiny. Nor did he endure the same level of expectations.

      Lebron failed, and failed miserably. However, the point that I am trying to make is not to single out Kobe, but to point out that several other legends have failed on multiple instances as well. Lebron’s career is one championship away from redemption in the eyes of most.

      Also, if there are stats that we should be looking at instead so that we are not being selective, let me know. I am always open.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 13, 2011, 7:14 pm
      • The only “stat” you’re not considering is how Kobe makes people like Glassman feel deep inside. Who effing cares.

        You are so right about LeBron not getting the benefit of the doubt. Of all NBA players, it seems LeBron alone cannot exercise his free agency as he sees fit, struggle in important games, or fail before he succeeds without calling down upon himself the moral consternation of working-class America. It’s effing weird, man.

        Of course, he (along with the whole Miami organization) did kind of set the stage for this fiasco. They hammed it up a bit too much. I will say that.

        When I look at the Heat this year, I see a phenomenal success. They cobbled together a team over the summer, many important pieces of which were injured and most of whom had never played together before. They played all season under unprecedented pressure and scrutiny. In the midst of important starting line-up changes involving 2 players who basically hadn’t contributed all season long, and without a strong point guard or a true big man, they made it to the Finals. Where, admittedly, they biffed it. But the whole thing was pretty effing impressive if you ask me. And it does not bode well for the rest of the league over the next several years.

        But haters do not begin with reasons and hate accordingly. They begin with hate and find reasons accordingly. Also, many of them seem not subtle enough to appreciate any accomplishment not commemorable by a big shiny trophy or some form of jewelry.

        Finally, although LeBron did choke in the Finals when he was needed the most, the more important breakdown in that series was that of the Heat’s suffocating defense. If the Heat had maintained focus on that end of the floor, they would probably not have felt LeBron’s absence so acutely.

        Posted by Joel | June 14, 2011, 12:05 am
        • Joel, I completely agree on every one of your observations, and I’ll add one more to that – it always irks me how people completely and utterly disregard the history of the game. At some point in their careers, each of the following players have failed and/or underperformed during the playoffs, and some have even grossly underperformed: Magic, Duncan, Bird, Kareem, Wilt, Russell, Moses, Kobe, Shaq, Wade, Oscar, Dr. J….. the list goes on. By my count, the players just mentioned are arguably within the Top 15 of all time. The only exceptions to the list are Jordan and Hakeem who when they lost, only lost to the teams that were supposed to lose to.

          Trust me, if Lebron wins a championship next year, it will be forgotten. This too shall pass.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | June 15, 2011, 12:03 pm
    • Kobe has won 5 rings, and he wasn’t drafted by the Lakers, and he demanded a trade after Shaq left and the Lakers sucked. But I’m not a LeBron apologist, I hate the guy. I’m glad he sucked in the Finals, and he should be criticized for his crapiness. Too bad he’ll never hear it, because he’s in the real world, while all of the fans are not, apparantly.

      Posted by Chad Mullen | June 13, 2011, 7:14 pm
    • Glassman is out to lunch. Kobe threatened to walk from the Lakers if Mitch Kupchak didn’t re-tool the team to Kobe’s satisfaction.

      Also, Glassman should recall that Kobe refused to play for the team that drafted him – the Charlotte Hornets. How is that so different than LeBron choosing to play in Miami?

      And the Lakers don’t chase superstars – uh … Shaq. How about their rumored interest in Dwight Howard?

      Trading for Gasol wasn’t about acquiring a superstar for Kobe to play with?

      Posted by Dave Sheridan | June 14, 2011, 7:05 am
  8. That Chris Bosh/ Avatar thing was funny shit. Too bad he is actually the only one of the big three that isn’t a douche.

    Posted by Chad Mullen | June 13, 2011, 7:07 pm
  9. I’m glad your alias agrees with you. Premise is same, are you denying that? Forget the article for a second and just focus on being a pressure player in the playoffs/ Finals. Your premise is shortsighted and pedantic.

    Posted by DS | June 13, 2011, 7:16 pm
  10. An excellent and well written article, NBA Realist. This was a close series, even if the Mavs won in 6 and Lebron played horribly.

    The only thing I would challenge you on is your assertion that the Mavs are #5 on that list. The Mavs weren’t just the Dirk Nowitzki show. Jason Terry was a good #2 option in all the series – Shawn Marion, DeShawn Stevenson, and Tyson Chandler played superb defense; and what can you say about Jason Kidd? The 38 year old was supposed to be”out matched” in all 4 rounds and yet still got it done. Effectively guarded Kobe, Wade, and Lebron – among others.

    While Dirk was the best option on the Mavs to score – He wasn’t doing it as alone as the other 4 were on your list.

    Posted by Adam | June 13, 2011, 7:28 pm
    • I think what Realist was saying is that the Mavs had a bunch af great parts / role players, but they didn’t have that “true” #2 option that most championship teams have. No doubt that the entire Mavs team stepped their game up, especially Terry who was a beast, but the Mavs true #2 was lost early on.

      Posted by drubacca117 | June 13, 2011, 7:49 pm
      • While Caron was the more typical #2 for the Mavs – Jason Terry put up 17ppg throughout the playoffs and 18ppg in the Finals. He was, even if it was just this year, a bona fide #2 guy.

        Posted by Adam | June 13, 2011, 10:05 pm
        • Jason Terry was not a starter, so I find it a bit far-fetched to say he was a bona fide #2, even if his playoffs were great.

          Though I definitely agree that this is a team effort more than just a Dirk effort. Ignoring clutch stats and free throw percentage, Dirk actually played a relatively lackluster finals – 26 ppg sounds good, but 41.6 FG% really puts that into perspective. Looking at primary stats, Wade was better. The Mavs played great team defense and they had a lot of scoring options beside Nowitzki, even Chandlers offense wasn’t that bad… he actually made 8 points more on free throws than LeBron with the almost exactly same percentage 😉

          Posted by Cirdan | June 14, 2011, 2:25 am
          • Being a bench player doesn’t mean you’re not the #2 option. The Spurs showed that with Manu Ginobli. He was still the 2nd highest scorer (at 17ppg for the playoffs and 18ppg in the Finals) and always was on the floor at the end of the half and games. He was a #2, starter or not.

            Posted by Adam | June 14, 2011, 8:41 am
          • I think this is a good point. Nowitzki failed miserably in the first half of game 6. If the rest of the Mavs team didn’t have an insane shooting night, Miami would have easily won that game to force a game 7 (where the away team, Mavs, *never* wins) and we would still be calling Nowitzki a choker.

            It’s funny how Nowitzki’s legacy did a 180 because of how his team picked him up.

            Posted by Neazy | June 14, 2011, 11:23 am
    • Thanks for the read Adam.

      Actually, each of the 5 instances mentioned, the Alpha Dog had help during the playoffs, and there is no doubt that they would have been unable to win otherwise.

      Dirk had help from Terry, Kidd, etc..
      Hakeem from Mad Max and Cassell
      Barry from Wilkes
      Walton from Mo Lucas.
      Duncan had Parker and a young Ginobili.

      Those role players made contributions, and arguably to the level of what a #2 would have given. However, in my opinion, none of these guys could be relied upon consistently, and that places increased pressure on the Alpha Dog – hence making it even more impressive. The common theme within all 5 examples was that someone, at some point, stepped up, and it was not usually the same person. This was the only way in which they could win.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 14, 2011, 6:08 pm
      • I guess I just can’t take that same leap with you. I can’t put Dirk’s 2011 playoff run ahead of the other 4 on the list. Even at best he’s 5th.

        Posted by Adam | June 14, 2011, 7:48 pm
        • Completely understand. I am not advocating Dirk 100% either. I thought that it was “arguably” the most impressive given his performances in crunch time. However, you can certainly make strong arguments for the other 4 as well.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | June 14, 2011, 8:07 pm
  11. Fantastic article as always Realist. I’d gloat more about picking Dirk as my regular season MVP if I hadn’t proven my lack of insight by picking against his team in each of the last 3 rounds. I couldn’t be happier to not only see such a historically great player finally get the recognition he deserves but to do so by punking both Kobe Bryant and Lebron James in the process.

    Posted by Lochpster | June 13, 2011, 10:24 pm
    • Lochpster – Appreciate the Kudos. The interesting thing is that if you actually look at Dirk’s career carefully, he has performed extremely well in the playoffs more so than often. Everyone points to the 2006 Finals loss, but conveniently forgets that he lead the Mavs as an underdog past the Spurs during the WCF.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 14, 2011, 6:18 pm
  12. Another thing that I found interesting is that Kobe has averaged more points in the NBA Finals than LeBron, but his shooting percentage is just about the same (KB: 41.2, LBJ: 41.7). That means Kobe simply took more shots than LBJ did (and almost certainly got to the free throw line more). It really speaks to LeBron’s passivity on the biggest stage. Kobe might pout and kill his own team sometimes, but I’ve got to credit him for at least showing some passion out there. In this series, it was almost like LeBron didn’t care.

    About the Mavs, they really overcame all obstacles to win this title. It was a true “team of destiny” performance. They even overcame the huge free throw disparity and questionable calls (the delayed call against Terry when Chalmers got wobbly behind the three-point line was a standout one) that favored Miami for the majority of the first three quarters (I suspect the league gave up on the push for a seventh game when it became clear that the Heat themselves didn’t seem willing to put forth the effort). Fortunately, Dallas was determined to close it out, and close it out they did. Jason Terry’s performance in particular is one that I won’t forget (and Dirk hitting clutch shots at the end despite having been out of rhythm the entire game was nice too). Ultimate vindication.

    Posted by Jose | June 14, 2011, 12:28 am
    • You are correct. Lebron’s stage fright and lack of effort is the biggest criticism and for the most part, Kobe gave effort (although I am convinced after watching the tape that he packed it in during Game 3 of the 04 Finals).

      When evaluating the Finals performances of both Lebron and Kobe, both have played poorly for the most part, but there is no question that Lebron’s performances are significantly worse, and arguably the worst ever for an Alpha-Dog. Kobe actually had a great Finals in 2002 averaging 27-6-5, shooting 51%, and has shown that he has the ability to perform well on the big stage. However, the book is still open on Lebron – he is now 0/2. Regardless, I anticipate that Lebron will have more cracks at the Finals in the future, and we very easily could be rewriting history.

      Great win for Dallas. What else can you say but the good guys won this time.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 15, 2011, 12:27 pm
  13. I generally agree with the article, with 2 reservations:

    1) No matter how good LeBron plays in regular season or even in play-offs, any Jordan-debate will get shot down very quickly until he wins a ring.
    2) Even a ring might not be enough if someone else (Wade) dominates the finals. A series that goes somewhat similar to this one only with better role players and a luckier outcome for the Heat would probably not be enough to repair the damage to LeBrons legacy.

    Though I fully expect that he will get his ring and do it in convincing fashion in one of the next seasons.

    Posted by Cirdan | June 14, 2011, 2:38 am
    • Good points Cirdan. I think that the point that I was trying to make wasn’t necessarily that the Jordan debate was valid, nor that it was close, but that it would occur no matter what, particularly if Lebron has another great regular season. Its simply the way that the public and media are geared. After all, we thought we had shot down the Jordan comparisons last year after Lebron lost to the Celtics in the ECF. Then we thought we shot them down again after the Decision during which we declared Lebron could never be Jordan because he teamed up with Wade. Yet, they continually reappear.

      Also agree that Lebron’s margin for error is very thin now. He needs to absolutely dominate the next Finals in order to have any legitimate claim to a discussion.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 15, 2011, 12:44 pm
  14. Lets put the past aside for ten seconds and consider the fact that it is going to be near impossible for Riley to find 3-5 other guys who want to play with the Heatles for the next year, two or three.
    They have Anthony, Miller and Haslem under contract and Big Z and House will likely pick up their options since the new CBA will likely kill whatever they could get. Chalmers is a restricted FA, so lets assume they keep him since he actually showed up in the Finals
    Here’s the fun part they need a solid veteran PG (Bibby was awful), a forward/center who can rebound and play defense and a few glue guys.
    I can’t imagine a scenario where any legit FA’s would want to enter this toxic environment and play along side the drama that is Lebron. Ultimately, this team is a time bomb and the clock is ticking.
    And no way D-Wade goes through another season of Lebrons post-season misery..it looked like he just realized he got the old bait and switch.

    Posted by Anti Bill Simmons | June 14, 2011, 8:06 am
    • No offense, but I don’t think any potential FA’s will give a shit about any of that. The Heat are guaranteed to be contenders for at least the next 3 years, and anyone who wants to win a ring will go there first because it’s easy to put aside petty differences (I dont like Lebron boo hoo) if you’re trying to achieve something great.

      The real reason people won’t go there… money.

      Posted by Neazy | June 14, 2011, 7:06 pm
      • With the contracts and the amount of money they have tied up, assuming the new CBA is more restrictive than it is today, they have no ability to sign players who fill their needs. Meaning, Lebron, Wade and Bosh will NEED to play 38-42 minutes per game and play well consistently. No more ‘one of them having a bad night and its all good’ they were able to get away with. Teams around the league just saw the blueprint on how to beat them, doesnt mean it will always work, but its a start. Pack the paint and push LBJ around.
        And I totally disagree, savy vets who want rings…are going to join teams like the mavs, bulls, thunder whose superstars believe that the team is greater than the sum of its parts.

        Posted by Anti Bill Simmons | June 15, 2011, 7:26 am
    • Disagree ABS. Quite the contrary. In fact, I honestly believe that veterans will be clamoring to play with Bron and Wade believing that they can be the missing piece. Call Bron whatever you want, but most teammates have typically called him unselfish, and everyone wants to play with an unselfish player. The real question is whether the new CBA will continue to allow for the mid-level exemption (36M over 6 years) and veteran’s exemption (1.5M per year). If so, I have very little doubt that the Heat will be successful in addressing their Center/PG issues.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 15, 2011, 1:00 pm
  15. Simple question:

    If you have no post-up game (@6’8”), no mid-range game, no signature move to free you up – how can you be compared in anyway to a guy who had it all, did it all, and won it all, and dominated all he that he won?

    Posted by bringbackmalcolm | June 14, 2011, 9:56 am
  16. Lebron can easily overcome his latest “obstacles” if you can call them that because he lives such a great life and we have everyday problems. I can only imagine how this guy’s shooting % will sky rocket if he brings in some of those 3 point attempts inside a few feet. That’s pretty scary.

    James also has to realize that he’s the most gifted player walking the face of the Earth and that he’s the only one in his way. Not the media, not the people of Cleveland, not Dan Gilbert, or any of the people in his Twitter-verse.

    The GOAT discussion is his for the taking, at this point though it seems he’d rather take his talents somewhere else.

    Posted by J.T. | June 14, 2011, 10:35 am
  17. Rick Barry is the ONLY guy who did it alone! Wilkes was his #2 and I believe he was decent but a rookie and a true role player. This Dallas team is deep. 10-players deep, even without Butler, a 2-time all-star and steals champ. Hakeem had Otis Thorpe, an 18-10 guy, plus Sam Cassell, leadership, Horry, clutch, Kenny Smith/Vernon Maxwell, range. Duncan’s team was stacked. And Walton had Lucas who did 20-11. What more can you ask for (probably the 2nd closest to doing it on your own)? Goes to show, you only have to win 4 games out of 7 to be legendary…Not a fair assessment on the greatness meter. And Kobe is not as clutch as Lebron. I’ve seen him play his entire career out here in LA, from his rookie year 3 air balls in a deciding game against the Jazz through Artest and Gasol cleaning up his messy misses against the Suns, OKC, and the Celtics last year. Kobe is the more artificially-made superstar in NBA history, even moreso than the gifts of special treatment the NBA gave to Jordan.

    Posted by daff | June 14, 2011, 11:24 am
    • Olajuwon had Thorpe, Cassell and Horry in 1994. Duncan had Robinson, Parker and Ginobili in 2003. So I would take those two off the list. Walton did have Lucas in 1977, but Walton came close to carrying that team as Dirk did. Walton had some monster numbers in the series against Dr. J’s 76ers, which also had Doug Collins, Darryl Dawkins and George McGinnis. Walton had 28 points and 20 rebounds in game 1; 20 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists in game 3; and 23 rebounds and 8 blocks in game 6. His team somehow beat Dr J’s by 32 points in Game 4.
      Barry also carried his team in 1975 to an impressive sweep of the favored Bullets, which had Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. But even he had a few really good players such as rookie of the year Jamaal Wilkes and Phil Smith.

      Posted by ks | June 14, 2011, 3:28 pm
    • Thanks for the read Daff, but I’m not sure I agree. Wilkes may have been a rookie, but still provided 15-7 which is a decent contribution.

      Moreover, Otis Thorpe was not an 18-10 guy in 94 – he was an 11-10 guy throughout the playoffs. Moreover, the second leading scorer during the playoffs on that Rockets team was Mad Max at 13 ppg. Cassell was a rookie.

      Ducan’s team was as stacked as you think. Robinson was well past his prime and averaged only 9 points and 8 reb, Parker was still very young averaging 15-5, and Ginoboli only averaged 7 points off the bench. These guys may have developed afterwards, but were certainly nowhere their peak.

      Walton had Lucas, but I would hardly consider him a typical #2.

      I do however, agree with you on Kobe as I tried to highlight in a couple of my articles:

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 15, 2011, 1:22 pm
  18. The best example to use in order to prove that NBA fans have selective memory is the finals MVP himself Dirk. Before these playoffs he has had a reputation (unfair in my view) of being a choker and unable to close games. Now that he has won a title everyone is calling him an amazing closer. I am a Kobe fan and I don’t like LeBron (to avoid the I am a LeBron homer Kobe hater comments) but Kobe’s clutch ability is slightly overrated and LeBron’s is slightly underrated. Our human perception is flawed and like the article states, if LeBron wins a title like Dirk everyone will laud him as a fantastic closer and a legend of the game, simple as that.

    Posted by D.Brown | June 14, 2011, 6:51 pm
    • It’s funny because Dirk almost choked it all away again. 1/12 shooting in the first half. That’s how I know they were destined to win, because the rest of the team insane shots.

      Belief, willpower & confidence > talent.

      Posted by Neazy | June 14, 2011, 7:10 pm
    • Thanks for the read D.Brown. Completely agree. History rewrites itself quite often.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 15, 2011, 1:26 pm
  19. I have always said, stats don’t tell the whole story. Anyone can select specific variables in their stats to make a player look good or bad.

    Posted by James | June 14, 2011, 7:07 pm
  20. and the LeBron vs. MJ discussions need to stop.

    Jordan’s first three Finals vs. LeBron’s first two Finals (just for fun)


    31.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 11.4 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 56% FGs, 50% 3Ps, 85% FTs.

    35.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 53% FGs, 43% 3Ps, 89% FTs.

    41.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 51% FGs, 40% 3Ps, 70% FTs.


    22.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 35% FGs, 20% 3Ps, 69% FTs.

    17.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 47% FGs, 32% 3Ps, 60% FTs.

    It really isn’t fair. Please top the dicussions. I know that there are MJ haters and Kobe haters that hope to god that LeBron ends up being better than Kobe or both of them, but the reality is that for right now, it looks like it isn’t going to happen for either.

    Posted by James | June 14, 2011, 7:10 pm
  21. I forgot to add Kobe’s stats.


    31.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 11.4 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 56% FGs, 50% 3Ps, 85% FTs.

    35.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 53% FGs, 43% 3Ps, 89% FTs.

    41.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 51% FGs, 40% 3Ps, 70% FTs.


    15.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 38% FGs, 20% 3Ps, 91% FTs

    24.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 42% FGs, 33% 3Ps, 84% FTs

    26.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 51% FGs, 55% 3Ps, 81% FTs


    22.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 35% FGs, 20% 3Ps, 69% FTs.

    17.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 47% FGs, 32% 3Ps, 60% FTs.

    Stop with the LeBron vs. Jordan please.

    Posted by James | June 14, 2011, 7:13 pm
  22. Jordan

    31.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 11.4 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 56% FGs, 50% 3Ps, 85% FTs.

    35.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 53% FGs, 43% 3Ps, 89% FTs.

    41.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 51% FGs, 40% 3Ps, 70% FTs.


    15.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 38% FGs, 20% 3Ps, 91% FTs

    24.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 42% FGs, 33% 3Ps, 84% FTs

    26.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 51% FGs, 55% 3Ps, 81% FTs


    22.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 35% FGs, 20% 3Ps, 69% FTs.

    17.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 47% FGs, 32% 3Ps, 60% FTs.

    Posted by James | June 14, 2011, 7:14 pm
  23. “41.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 51% FGs, 40% 3Ps, 70% FTs.”

    My god… That is amazing.

    Posted by boypetey | June 14, 2011, 7:20 pm
  24. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztlnKZSPtcw

    Game 1 – 46 points, 9 assists, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 21-34 FGs (62%)
    Game 2 – 33 points, 6 assists, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 12-23 FGs (52%)
    Game 3 – 56 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 20-30 FGs (67%)

    Those are some of MJs games if you want to watch.

    Posted by James | June 14, 2011, 7:36 pm
  25. Give Tyson Chandler credit – it’s a minor miracle how he turned himself into a decent free throw shooter this year.

    Posted by Jonas | June 15, 2011, 11:30 am
  26. I have to say i enjoyed the article but was caught off guard at the Dirk part. I mean don’t you think that you kinda jumped the gun with the second greatest power forward of all time statement? We’re talking about a guy that was the weakest defender in the starting line-up. A guy that is almost relieved of rebounding duties with players like chandler, marion and the always great kidd. A player that really only scores for his team (and did an exceptional job). I dont see how thats an Alpha-Dog willing his team to the title especially when he has so much relieved off of him. Didn’t these finals show us how much more important a complete team is than two all time greats, an all star and a bunch of scrubs (well not literally)?

    Posted by stillshining | September 22, 2011, 12:34 pm
    • Stillshining,

      Thanks for the read and kind words. To answer your question, I do think that I may have jumped the gun: not in positioning Dirk higher than Malone or Petit, but Barkely. After careful reconsideration, I stand corrected and would rank Dirk 3rd ahead of Petit but behind Barkley.

      On a side note, I agree with you that Dirk was certainly the weakest defender in the starting lineup, but nonetheless underrated given his decent-to-good help defense and 7’0 length. Dirk willed his team in much the same way that Rick Barry willed the 75 Warriors: By leading with intensity and hitting an inordiante number of clutch shots whenever his team needed it, despite not having a 2nd All-Star on his team. The supporting cast raised their level of play because of Dirk, not the other way around.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | September 22, 2011, 5:31 pm
  27. No problem bro, I’ve read quite a few of your articles and enjoy your passion for the game.

    I must say though that I think Dirk is becoming one of the more overrated players because of this playoff run. We can’t say this mavericks team wasn’t one of the deeper champions we’ve seen in a while. I don’t see why having a bonafide number 2 star is better than having a deep team 6-8. I mean didn’t we see who was better during these finals?

    Anyways the two teams that the Mavs shouldn’t have beaten (well at least IMO) had two unexplainable disappearances from one half of their big 2 (Pau for the Lakers and Lebron for the Heat). As much credit as the Mavs defense deserve you can’t tell me that Dirk could guard Pau in the post effectively and you can’t tell me the same Lebron who got what he want in the bulls series couldn’t do that against a weaker defense in the Mavs. Add that to the fact that Terry outplayed every second option on the opposing team except for maybe the Thunder (even then guys like Marion and Kidd stepped up for some games). I just don’t see how Dirk willed this team in any way shape or form. Was he the best player throughout the playoffs? Was he the Mavs MVP? Yes and yes but I think the blinding hate for the heat and Dirk being the one to slay them has made this run a little extra undeserved shine IMO

    Posted by stillshining | September 23, 2011, 4:52 am
    • I disgaree. I mentioned this in my article, but history has shown that teams winning without 2 stars is more of an anomoaly than the norm. By my count, it has happened only 5 other times in 60 years which is I will take stars over depth.

      I also disagree that this Mavs team was paticularly deep. They are no different than the Mavs teams in prior years, with arguably less talent. As previously mentioned, “deep” teams rarely win Championships. It is possible, but rare. In my opinion the makeup of this teams was similar to several prior championship teams with the exception that this team had no real #2.

      The better team is always the team that wins in the end. So in that sense, you are correct: the MAVS were better. However, they were not the more talented team and if the Heat did not underperform to their capability, they would have won the series.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | September 23, 2011, 4:08 pm
  28. Shine,

    I agree with that assessment. What was more galling in the wake of the Mavs winning was the ESPN talking heads stirring the pot with the “Mavs are poised to repeat” fantasy.

    The stars aligned for Dallas and their terrific players, Nowitski, and Kidd got some overdue praise for their roles in the flag raising.

    The reality is that the Heat, despite not cashing in the first year of the LeBron era, are poised to take several titles in the next few years.

    History is on the side of James, as no player with his skill level has been denied a title and when you consider EVERY decent to good role player and contributor will head to Miami to get a piece of the Ring.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 23, 2011, 9:49 am
  29. Theres a difference between having two stars and then having a bunch of average to below average players supporting them than a team with two stars and a bunch of scrubs. This Heat team had three but a bunch of below average players supporting them. We can’t say the 09 and 10′ Lakers didn’t have adequate support for Kobe and Pau. The Celtics were ridiculously deep in 08, the Spurs of 07 and 05 had three all stars but the perfect supporting cast with Bowen, Barry and Horry. The 04 pistons didn’t even have a true alpha dog. The 03′ spurs had duncan with a young parker and ginobli, a bowen in his prime and solid contributions from guys like Malik Rose. The 2000-2002 Lakers had a top 3 duo of all time along with arguably the greatest coach ever. That dynasty along with the 06 Heat (that team had a star who had one of the greatest finals performances of all time and literally willed his team to the promise land) are the only two teams i can remember in this decade with two stars and a bunch of below average players. The bulls of the early 90’s had the GOAT in his peak form along with an all star in Pippen to offset the weak supporting cast. We all know how stacked the Lakers, Pistons, Celtics and Sixers were in the 80’s.
    My whole point tho is that a team with two stars had more than enough help from the supporting cast which still makes it a real team with players that could be counted on for their respective responsibilities. The few times there wasn’t enough help for the two (or one) stars they were usually REALLY good. You couldn’t say that for the this Heat team who had two liabilities starting for them.
    Give me a star and a deep team with no clear #2 option over a team with a couple of stars and a bunch of scrubs any day of the week

    Posted by stillshining | September 23, 2011, 4:47 pm
    • I think that we generally agree. The teams that have typically won with 2 Stars have usually had a strong supporting cast that complimented their lineup nicely. Moreover, given a choice of 2 stars and no depth vs 1 star and depth, I will take 1 star and depth unless those 2 stars happen to be Top 15 All-Time like the Shaq/Kobe Lakers – although history had shown that neither typically wins. However, history shows that teams have needed BOTH : depth and 2 stars.

      I disagree with you on 2 points:
      1.) The Heat supporting cast was not entirely a bunch of scrubs. I consider Udonis Haslem an excellent “glue guy” a very good defender, and perfect compliment at PF (and in fact a better fit for Lebron and Wade than Bosh). He brought toughness ot that team down low and I have always considered him to be one of the more underrated players in the NBA. Based on his production, he would have average 11 points 11 reb had he started. I aslo consider Chalmers an underrated defender and the fact is that he actually played well in the 2011 playoffs. Lastly, Mike Miller is no scrub. He is a guy who would be averaging 13/6 40+% shooting from 3-point land if he started on another team. Miller however, was injured, and need measure to his potential. I will agree that Illgauskas, Anthony, and Bibby were liabilitis.

      2.) The 2003 Spurs looked nice on paper, but no way were they close in talent to the other teams and in no way did they have anything close to a bonafide #2. David Robinson averaged a measly 7 points and 6 rebounds and was well, well past his prime. A rookie Ginoboli wasn’t even the 6th man off the bench, he was the 7th, averaging 7 points, 2 reb, 2 assists ( a shell of what he would later contirbute). Likewise, Stephen Jackson was a shell of the Stephen Jackson today, and a considerable defensive liability in 03. Their second best player was only in his 2nd year Tony Parker who wasn’t close to his peak averaging only 15.5 points and 5 assists vs. 19 points 6 asissts that he would average as an All-Star. That Spurs team had no business beating the 03 Lakers who would have won at least 61 games and home court had Shaq not missed 16 games, had 2 of the13 greatest of all time in their prime come playoff time, and the same solid supporting cast that they had in years past with Fisher, Fox, and Horry.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | September 23, 2011, 5:17 pm
  30. I could agree with that statement.

    To address the heat part, we have to remember that this is the same Haslem that came back from a season ending injury only a series before and wasn’t really the glue guy we’ve all grown to appreciate and admitted to coming back from the injury a bit too early. Shooting 50+% in only 1 of the 6 games and grabbing 6 or less rebounds in 5 of the 6 games would attest to that. Mike Miller was as you said injured the entire year basically and never really recovered with problems with his shoulder and wrists. Chalmers played well in about half of the series but is no way shape or form a legitimate starting point guard for a championship caliber team YET. He’s far too inconsistent.

    I’m not sure we’re talking about the same 2003 Lakers because Fox was injured for all of that series, replaced by an inexperienced George. Fisher was not better than Parker even at that young age. George severely sprained his ankle in game 2 and played hobbled the rest of the series so the Bowen matchup can’t even be taken seriously. Scrubs like a 32 year old Shaw, Medvedenko, Madsen and Pargo were playing big minutes for a team without home-court advantage. If that’s not two stars and a bunch of scrubs I really don’t know what is

    Posted by stillshining | September 23, 2011, 7:25 pm
    • I still would not consider the Heat Roster as filled with scrubbs – although I understand your point. Based on injuries, youth, etc.. they played like it.

      Re: 2003 Lakers, I completely forgot about Fox’s absence in that series. Thanks for keeping me honest. Regardless, I still strongly disagree that these were 2 evenly mathced teams and believe that Duncan greatly overachieved in this series with his performance. Trying to compare position by position is a flawed approach. Based upon this logic, the 2002 Nets who win the battle at PG (Kidd), SF (K.Martin), and PF (Van Horn) have the better team than the 2002 Lakers and I think we would both agree that that series was a complete mismatch. Instead, we need to look at the overall makeup and overall talent pool. As such, in looking at the Lakers and Spurs players 2-5, I will take Shaq-Fisher-Horry-George over a 2nd year Parker-Malik Rose- Bruce Bowen- and Jackson any day of the week.

      Moreover, as I previously mentioned, the Shaq/Kobe combo is overwhelming and far more than just 2 mere All-stars such as Josh Smith and Joe Johnson. Shaq/Kobe are 2 of 15 greatest to ever play the game and the only ones within the Elite GOAT class who actually played together in their prime. Pair them up with any cast of characters and they will serve as favorites just as they did 2000-2002. I don’t buy into any notion that those teams overachieved in anyway.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | September 23, 2011, 9:45 pm
  31. Kobe was 24 in 2003 and was 21 when they won their first championship together, I wouldn’t say he reached his prime just yet. Shaq was 30 that year and was never in shape that season add that to the injuries he amassed and he wasn’t really himself. Shaq was absolutely amazing in their three peat one of the most dominant playoff runs we have ever seen but that wasn’t the same Shaq this series against a team that was known to slow him. He scored 27 or less (season average) in four of the six games and in one of the two games he scored over 27 he shot 35%. When you have the twin towers in the paint and no other post teammate to take pressure off of you it gets tougher. The spurs also had arguably the best perimeter defender guarding Kobe in Bowen.

    I really didn’t get how you matched up the line-ups too. Aren’t we supposed to take all the stars out and strictly compare the supporting cast out, Shaq was definitely still a star. Anyways I don’t even have to list the spurs supporting cast to know that they beat the likes of Fisher, a hobbled George, Samaki Walker, Mark Madsen, Janerro Pargo, Robert Horry and 32 year old Brian Shaw.

    As for the Nets Tidbit, if you take out Kobe and Shaq along with Kidd and Martin the Nets supporting cast WAS better. It was just that they had absolutely nobody even remotely close to stop Shaq or Kobe and they overwhelmed them. Kidd and Martin weren’t the scariest offensive threats as well

    Posted by stillshining | September 24, 2011, 3:36 am
    • I still do not think that you are understanding my point. Whether we are measuring the 2003 Lakers against the 2003 Spurs or 2002 Nets, the combination of Shaq and Kobe overwhelmes any depth or supporting cast that any other team can provide. I will take Shaq + Kobe and any other scubs that you can provide against anything that the 2003 Spurs or 2002 Nets had to offer. Yes, their depth players 3-8 may have been better. But in my opinion, the Lakers aresenal with their 2 best players more than compensate – they overwhelm. Add to it that Fisher and Horry were respectable roll players, the overall talent is better on the Lakers. It is the fundamental reason why they won 3 championships in the first place and why 2003 was a failure.

      The twin towers excuse is flawed considering that David Robinson only played 27 min/game and was a shell of himself at 37 years of age. I simply do not buy, particularly given the fact he could barely muster 7 points/8 reb a game.

      I think that you are also looking at a different series becase Shaq only shot below 50% from the field in only 1 game (Gm 4) – not 35% in 2 games. For the series, he averaged 25.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks on 56% shooting.Moreover, of course he averaged fewer points than in prior years- Kobe bryant, not Shaq, was the focal point of the offense in 2003 as evidenced by the shot distribution. Nonetheless, Shaq was still the 3rd best player in the NBA.

      Regardless, the original discussion was not to guage who had the better supporting cast players 3-8 since I will freely admit it was the Spurs. It was to determine who had the better talent Top to Bottom, including the #1 and #2 slots. Therefore we cannot “take out” Shaq AND Kobe + Duncan and declare the Spurs to have a better team just because they were better 3-8. I still stand by the notion that the 2003 loss to the Spurs was a failure. With the exception of the 5 other teams mentioned, this 2003 Spurs team was the only team that won the championshp despite not having that second star. In 65 years, nearly every other team had that 2 second star which I believe is essential to winning a championship. There are of course exceptions, but more often than not, 2 stars is the norm. They did not have a single All-Star other than Duncan and their second best player was Tony Parker.

      Thanks for the discussion, and I’ll let you have last word.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | September 24, 2011, 12:27 pm
  32. realist,

    Your point regarding the phenomenon of having two of the top 15 (or 13) players ever at (or very near) their peaks is an interesting one.

    Could it be that this circumstance does NOT lead to titles as the neither of the top players knows when to or is willing to subjugate his shots for the betterment of the team?

    We have often seen a top 15 player teamed with a #20-50 player and that seems to work very well. I would consider Lebron and Wade to be a tandem like that.

    Curious if we will see that again.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 24, 2011, 1:13 pm
    • Paulie,

      If memory serves me correctly, prior to Shaq/Kobe, the last time we had two extremely successful Alpha Dogs at or near their prime was West and Baylor during he 60s. And even though they failed to win a championship against the Celtics, they played together quite nicely. However, I think that you are generally correct in that having two Alpha Dogs without a heirarchy or defined roles can be very stifling. I wrote about this during the middle of last season as it related to the Miami Heat and they later seemed to turn the corner against the Bulls. Regardless, I generally agree with your theory.

      The difference with the Lakers is that for the most part, Kobe Bryant DID subjegate his game in deference of Shaq. They certainly had Alpha Dog contention at certain moments, but for the most part, Kobe became a super-duper #2 or “1A” as some like to refer. As a result, the Lakers had a 1/1a combo that no team had every possessed. It is a tribute to Kobe, Phil or perhaps even both.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | September 29, 2011, 9:27 am
      • Realist,

        I agree with that statement regarding Kobe. After re-wathcing the 2004 Finals, I was suprised to see:

        1) How in at least game #1, Kobe did the right things by deferring when he was well guarded

        2) How Shaq was very passive and really only made offensive impact when on put backs and bunnies in the paint and seldom created his own space and demand the rock.

        I think it was somewhere between games #2 and #3 that the Kobe/Shaq affair ended; and with a big thud.

        Interesting that LeBron James has led the league in FGM thrice while never leading the FGA. Likewise, King James, has led in FTM, but never in FTA. I also like that James’s 3 pt. attempts dropped last year. I would much rather have King James going to the rim.

        Bryant has led the league in FGM thrice as well, but led the league in FGA 5 times. A disappointment I have always harbored for Bryant was his eagerness at age 26 to start jacking up threes. In the years 1998-2001, Kobe kept his 3pt attempts to around or less than 3 a game; that total started to really rise in 2002-03 and hit a whopping 6.5 per game in 2005-06, when Kobe was still only 26 years old. He still averages over 4 threes a game. I would have thought that given his skill set, attacking the rim would have produced much better results.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 1:35 pm
  33. Does it mean anything when you can’t even win an exhibition game when your teammates are multiple time all-stars, and the other team has none? Does that sample, along with the Heat Finals loss indicate anything for Lebron? Anything at all?

    Posted by Gil Meriken | September 25, 2011, 9:12 pm
  34. No. It does not. Key word: Exhibition.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 26, 2011, 8:42 pm
  35. Gil,

    While still waiting for you to explain to me the superior methodology you have to the results that are NBA data, I have realized that your opinions, while intriguing are pretty much moronic and short sighted. Mostly, you just wish to deny any evidence that contradicts your preconceived notions.

    Posted by paulie walnuts | September 28, 2011, 8:53 am
  36. The question is: What evidence do you have; for anything?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 28, 2011, 2:25 pm
    • Let see if we can agree on something basic.

      The individual statistics of points, rebounds, assists, steals, FG%, can run the spectrum of being truly an individual outcome out to being a wholly team based outcome. Each play can and does have a different level of “individualness” or “team-ness”. Agree or disagree? This level does not necessarily even out over time.

      For this reason, two players can have the exact same points, rebounds, assists, steals, FG%, over the same number of minutes for a season, even a career, and yet have had a completely different impact and contribution to winning, both in style and magnitude. Agree or disagree?

      Therefore, to compare players versus each other based on those individual metrics can be meaningless. If all the stats are equal, and you can’t differentiate, how can you differentiate between players with different stats?

      Of course, people will take this to the extreme, and say “Well then I can say the guy who scores zero points is as good as the guy who score thirty!”. I say that while it is unlikely, there can be very plausible scenarios where that could be true. But still, very unlikely. But that is the extreme case. When you are comparing a guy who shoots 45% versus 52%, it’s meaningless. What’s more important is how much the player contributes to the team’s performance. I have yet to see a pure statistical model that accounts for this any better than (or worse) than reasoned, experienced observation (the reason being that they are just some manipulation of the record individual points, rebounds, assists, etc). It’s no better or worse on a large scale.

      Anyway, the burden of proof is on you to show that these methods work in evaluating players. My stance is that they are no better or worse than good observation. It is on you to show that they are better. Apart from being a GM and making personnel decisions to show you have an advantage, I don’t see how you can prove it works. Unless you think you can apply it to gambling, in which case I would say, show me the money and your consistent, long-term winnings over Vegas. I know for a fact that a model like Wins Produced does not do better than Vegas in predicting team win totals, using Wins Produced projections AND various player minute allocations.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 28, 2011, 7:04 pm
    • As I prepare for your response, let me clarify a few things in advance:

      I shouldn’t have said the individual stats are meaningless.Of course, there is some correlation to those stats and winning. A winning team will inevitably have to have players with good individual stats, because the team has to have good stats to win. But those correlations aren’t strong enough to use the individual stats a point of comparison to make fine distinctions between players.

      Next, the “proof” I’m looking for is not some statistical threshold that shows statistical correlation. All that proves is that the model is consistent within itself. It doesn’t mean it’s right in practice.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 28, 2011, 9:14 pm
  37. I can agree that each NBA team will score X points per game and that given the talent disbursement on the roster, certain players have greater opportunity to score more than others. We will call this the Jalen Rose Rule.

    I can agree strongly that there is a contextual element that can be totally ignored when comparing the simple numbers. I have had this debate with Lochpster on the merits of Artis Gilmore and as to whether McHale or Parrish truly were better options than Bird. I think that some lean too heavily on raw totals or dig too deep into minutia. The truth is what I seek and it likely lay between those points combined with another angel of measurement.

    Yet, there can be no disagreement that when a player over the course of his career has performed at X level that the numbers do in fact reflect his abilities.

    Many players in the NBA could score 25+ points per game if they were talented and their teammates stunk and the talented player took the lion’s share of the shots.

    There are some players that score a high average per game, Allen Iverson, for example. there are others that score very efficiently, Steve Nash, for example. Then, there are the rare great players that can both score at a high volume and with great effectiveness. The list is small and it includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Micheal Jordan.

    Kobe’s career FG% puts him at the low end of this talent group. Kobe had the benefit of playing on talented teams that won titles. Kobe was a big part of that. The difference between Kobe and Jordan is that Jordan got greater results in every measurable way. Every measurable way.

    If you back out Kobe’s first two seasons, the gap is closed a little, but Jordan’s efficiency combined with the greater team results cannot be ignored, denied nor debated. It just can’t.

    I can understand when someone watches Kobe play that they could be reminded of Jordan, but this does not make Kobe an equal nor even similar to Jordan. there are countless guys in the NBA that are great athletes that don’t get the results.

    As to James, it is comical to me to hear people talk about how a 25 year old man is a failure in his profession after his team loses in 6 games in the Finals. Would he have been less of a loser or a choker had they lost in 7?

    James was not given the luxury that Kobe had of having the greatest coach in the history of the game, a top 15 player in his prime as a teammate, the best GM in the game in West, and a franchise with a history of greatness. Having that Magic guy around probably doesn’t hurt either.

    James has had none of that, until now. Historically, players with James’ ability win titles. It is only the circumstance that denies them temporarily. The Heat will likely be poised to win multiple titles in the next 5-6 years as the Heat learn to play together and add better role players. James’ career measurable stats are only matched by an elite set of players and given that James is 6’8″, a dogged defender and more inclined to attack the rim than Bryant, it is unlikely that James’ production will wane. Jordan had none of that until 1989 or 1990. Jordan’s team never missed a post season and the Bulls were hardly the Lakers.

    There is some value in the “eye test”, but it is not more valuable than taking 41,000 minutes of data and dismissing it for an ESPN highlight reel. the results are the results and they happened in the same league in the same era, with the same rules that had been in place since these guys played HS ball.

    It’s not meaningless when you compare a guy with a 45% career FG% and another with a 49% career FG% when they each played 41000 minutes.

    What is unfair, is to claim that Kobe will always be better than James. Let James play another 15,000 minutes and then decide. There may be some new developments in that time.

    To summarize, I think that you turn a willful blind eye to evidence that you don’t like or that doesn’t line up with what your desired result is.

    Personally, I don’t care if you like Kobe or dislike James. I am more interested in what can be measured and proven with the data.

    Simple logic tells me that a player that plays 41,000 minutes averages 30 points a game, leads the league in scoring average ten times, shoots at or near a 50% clip, shoots 80% from the foul line, is acknowledged as the top defender of his day and wins 6 championships and wins 5 MVP awards is really hard to dismiss as the best of all time.

    Put it this way, you want to talk about a team context? Put 27 year old Shaq on the ’88 Bulls and ask yourself what happens.

    Then put Bill Cartwright any time in his career with a 20 year old Kobe on the 1999 Lakers and ask what happens.

    If you arrived at any conclusion other than the Bulls totally dominate the NBA for at least 6 years and the Lakers don’t get past the Blazers, then you are just kidding yourself.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 28, 2011, 9:54 pm
  38. It also doesn’t prove that the model is wrong in its practice, either. It does mean that it is measurable. and subject to misinterpretation which is why I try diligently to look across several planes of measure and comparison before making a conclusion.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 28, 2011, 9:57 pm
    • Two players can have the exact same points, rebounds, assists, steals, FG%, over the same number of minutes for a season, even a career, and yet have had a completely different impact and contribution to winning, both in style and magnitude.

      Do you agree or disagree?

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 1:33 am
  39. No. I don’t agree. That scenario is too simplistic. The environment needs to be considered. What is the level of the team that surrounds the two players? What is the level of the competition of the two players? Do they play the same position? Do they have the same defensive responsibilities?

    Perhaps you didn’t understand when I cited the Jalen Rose rule: (or the Gilbert Arenas rule, if you like) Even a selfish talent that is ultimately disruptive and not interested in team performance can accumulate numbers.

    Posted by paulie walnuts | September 29, 2011, 8:30 am
  40. Can they have the same stats and have different impact?

    Is that a real question?

    Is that based upon an actual scenario?

    Is that question completely theoretical?

    A better question is: HAVE two players had the exact same stats and had different impacts?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 1:08 pm
    • No, it would be a rare occurence to find two players with the same exact stats.

      But I do know of pairs of players with very similar stats that have had different impacts on winning.

      And I do know of two players with very different stats that have had very similar impacts on winning.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 2:22 pm
      • I woulnd’t say it’s a rare occurrence; I would say it is a non existent occurence.

        Being similar is not being the same.

        Which example do you wish to use: similar or same?

        Similar is pretty ambiguous. What do you mean by similar? In what ways? How large of a separation? Where is the separation? What do you consider similar? I know what “the same” means, I do not know what “similar” could mean.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 3:16 pm
  41. What I conclude from your statements is that you make a decision and work backward to frame arguments that support that decision.

    You then dismiss or attempt to marginalize any and all evidence to the contrary.

    You also try to use very vague and ambiguous hypothetical questions and statements in order to elicit the existence of even the remotest possibility that your theory so that you have a chink in the armor of logic to offer as proof of the fallibility of measurable stats.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 1:42 pm
    • What I conclude is that you tend to answer a question with a question.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 2:17 pm
    • What are those individual stats measuring?

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 2:19 pm
      • They measure results. One can misinterpret or incorrectly apply the data and reach false conclusions. That is why I endeavor to use multiple methods of measurement.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 3:12 pm
        • What kind of results do individual stat measure? I will answer: all different kinds, individual results, team results, a blend of individual and team results.

          For example, if you get a 1 steal, it could have been a steal that was wholly because of you, it could have been helped by your teammate, it could have been helped by the opponent, or a blend of all three. All that variation in the data point of “1 steal”.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 4:12 pm
  42. Tell me your examples of similarity and I will offer my analysis. Provide both sets that you mentioned.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 3:26 pm
    • Similar statistically, but very different impact: Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter (see above for logic behind “similar”)

      Not Similar statistically, but very similiar impact: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 4:18 pm
      • Jordan is scored at a 705 in statistical similarity (see link above). Carter is scored at a 915 to T-Mac. But Kobe is closer in true impact to Jordan than Carter is to T-Mac.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 4:20 pm
  43. What is meant by “impact”?

    Is the implication that McGrady or Carter are heartless and that the similarity shows this?

    I don’t think the difference in McGrady or Carter’s teams performance is too different at all. Neither has contributed to a team advancing too far in the post season.

    I didn’t need that insight.

    I am also well familiar with Bill James’s similarity scores and the creator for the basketball scores “guessed” at the scoring. I looked at his calculations and they don’t seem to jibe with what James created.

    When we see the similarity scores the author has, they have Chuck Barkley (752 and 789) with Bryant and Jordan. Chuck Barkley? Seems as if there are factors that the author didn’t account for that are unique to hoops but not so in MLB. Also, unless the similarity score is over 900, it should not be considered as similar.

    Also, baseball comparisons are far easier as each player has the same exact method for scoring in that they go one on one against the pitcher.

    No one has ever claimed that Kobe didn’t greatly impact his teams. What has been said is that Jordan (and the other 12 players I would rank ahead of Kobe) had greater impact than Bryant.

    That Bryant impacted his team does not make him a comparison for Jordan.

    Can you provide me with some insight I haven’t already examined?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 4:49 pm
  44. The site your directed me to had similarity scores that had not accounted for position difference. That system is really arbitrary in its present state and needs some tinkering to get the adjustments correct. If it can be done at all.

    If you wish to play the “not similar stats, but similar impact”, then what about say, Bruce Bowen to Kobe Bryant?

    Bowen sure had big impact on his teams and his stats aren’t similar to Jordan’s.

    That site had Bruce Bowen most similar to Danny Ferry with a score of 915. Danny Ferry!!! What is similar about Danny Ferry’s game and Bruce Bowen’s? Ferry was an absolute sieve on defense that could act as a facilitator on offense. Bowen was a lock down defender with a great percentage shot from distance when given a clean look.

    It also has Rodman as being most similar (910) to Larry Smith. Rodman with leading the league in RPG 7 times and 28839 minutes with 5 title teams to Larry Smith, who’s only black ink is ORB in 1985-86 while playing 22879 minutes. Rodman also had 4789 playoff minutes and Smith 657. Are those two that similar?

    The system does not take into account playoff performance, which is a big piece of the puzzle in the NBA.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 29, 2011, 7:47 pm
    • I believe you are confirming my point. Even if the stats are similar, it doesn’t mean the players are similar. I think T-Mac had a larger impact on a team winning than Vince Carter. And even if the stats are different, it doesn’t mean the players’ impacts on winning are different.

      So… when see people on the internet start posting individual stats in a comment, like for example:

      Player X

      31.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 11.4 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 56% FGs, 50% 3Ps, 85% FTs.

      35.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 53% FGs, 43% 3Ps, 89% FTs.

      41.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 51% FGs, 40% 3Ps, 70% FTs.

      Player Y

      22.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 35% FGs, 20% 3Ps, 69% FTs.

      17.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 47% FGs, 32% 3Ps, 60% FTs.

      It’s almost funny, because the author is implying, hey, compare these numbers! But the only number you can compare in a fair manner is FT%! To analyze those numbers by comparing one to the other is folly. Because of the wide variation I’ve told you about in individual stats, they’re actually close enough that you can’t make fine distinctions using a stat based argument.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 10:11 pm
      • Okay maybe the gap in points is wide enough that you could say that Player X is a better scorer with some certainty. But the rest, even FG% are all contextually created, so that you can’t really glean anything by comparing the two numbers.

        I can’t tell you with any certainty who is the better outside shooter, rebounder, passer, stealer, blocker, without including a heavy dose of observation. In fact, pure observation would serve you much better than these pure stats in evaluating the players. Stat supplement, not the other way around. Put it this way, if you had to make a trade for one of these two players who are on two different team, which would you rather have, the stats on a sheet of paper, or raw game tape of each player, where you weren’t allowed to record the box score stats? This tells you how far basketball stats have to go, and how specific they have to be for them to be useful as evaluation tools. In baseball, I’d bet you could do pretty well using the raw stats vs using only raw game tape, if you were so limited. Basketball is whole different story. The weighting of goes so far toward observation, with the stats being one tool (although it can be powerful) only useful in certain controlled situations.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | September 29, 2011, 10:25 pm
  45. it’s not just the gap in scoring, it’s the gap in all the shooting efficiency numbers as well.

    I can’t buy your belief of the variance of the result numbers. The circumstance of the numbers is divided into ability and circumstance. Yet, when using steals to scoring you have to recognize that those environment s are not congruent.
    Scoring has a greater need for individual ability; if a player demonstrates that ability, the team gives more opportunity. Teams will not draw up plays to get a player a steal, and steals in of themselves are not a true reflection of defensive ability. Bobby Jones comes to mind as one that suffered in steals totals because he played such in your shirt defense.

    In the example you give above, Player X is superior in a wide margin in all the scoring and close enough in the assists and defensive metrics to be clearly considered the superior player.

    The numbers can tell me that a players low FG% translates into poor shot selection. Any player in the NBA has the ability to knock down open jumpers (with very rare exceptions), and when you shoot 38% (McGrady), you are taking bad shots. Combine that data with FTA and you can develop a picture of how the player

    Again, your instance of the effect of minutia on the numbers (in the example you offered of a steal) gets washed out through volume.

    After 25,000 minutes,(let alone 40,000) there can be little illusions created by environment
    or circumstance.

    I have written, repeatedly, that the numbers need to be used in conjunction with other forms of measure. Observation would be one. Yet, observing a player is far more fallible than having measurable data at hand. If, after observing player Y, I saw that he was a great defender and an opportunistic shooter then I would certainly consider him an asset.

    I would agree that with observation we could better determine who value players are; that being the players that conform to roles and do the “dirty work” for team betterment.

    The point I think you missed regarding the similarity scores is that the formulas are not complete because the author for basketball had not done enough work. Always a danger when you are implementing someone else’s process.

    You can’t tell who is a better outside shooter from stats? Why can’t you? You can’t tell that Jordan, West, Robertson, James are better shooters than Bryant as evidenced by the similar shot totals, similar FTA and then using the FG%? You couldn’t’ tell or at least intuit that conclusion? If that is true, then my assessment that your refuse the evidence is true.

    Believe me, there have been no measures of logic application to which you have guided me that I had not already considered.

    Still nothing new here.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 30, 2011, 8:45 am
    • You can’t tell who is a better shooter just from FG%. I can’t believe you seriously believe that. Is chandler a better than Kobe? Kobe is highly regarded by most true NBA experts as a great shooter, though his FG% is probably below the league average for FG%. Is lebron a better shooter than Kobe from 3 pt.? Of course not, but lebron has a higher pct.

      If you actually watch the games, and not rely on faulty perception or faulty bias, you will see that most of the time Kobe plays within the offense and shoots good shots, and that most of the time that when he shoots as some would say ‘bad’ shots, it’s when when his teammates can’t do anything, and he gets the ball with less than 3-4 sec. on the shot clock, shoots a buzzer beater at the end of quarters, or his team is down big with 1-2 min. left, and he’s jacking up 3’s because that’s the only chance his team has to win. It’s interesting, I’ve seen it numerous times, but lebron often will just hold the ball at the ends of quarters and not shoot, so his shooting pct. doesn’t decline. I can’t believe you think that just looking at FG% you can tell if the player is shooting good shots or is a good shooter. That is faulty logical based basketball analysis that too many so-called experts and fans alike are using these days.

      And often, this goes for any player, when the player drives to the basket, he will draw multiple defenders, and often his best play is to shoot the ball, even though it’s a very low pct. shot, often resulting in another teammate getting the off. rebound and the putback.

      And for the most part, jordan, west, oscar played in different eras, when scoring was up and FG% was up, but you didn’t consider that, did you?

      Posted by boyer | September 30, 2011, 10:32 am
      • Also, just 3 pt. shooting overall. Guys who shoot more 3’s than others will most likely have worse FG%’s. Nash is an extreme case, he almost always only shoots wide open looks, turns down many high pct. looks for himself for a harder shot for a teammate. He often doesn’t make the right play, but since often this wrong play is by passing, he isn’t labeled selfish, since he’s not shooting, but in fact, he’s being more selfish by not shooting. Hence, his assist totals are usually high as is FG%, but he cannot take over the game like the elite players.

        Also, let’s take someone like Ray Allen, who creates very few shots for himself. He’s basically just spotting up, catching, and shooting, the easiest way to make a shot that isn’t in close to the basket. Naturally, his FG% will be higher. You often see a lot of these standstill, spot up shooters around 40% or higher for 3’s, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better shooters than someone who only shoots 33%, it’s just that they can’t do anything else, can’t create for anyone else. And then when that spot up shooter isn’t open, then the primary ball handler is forced to shoot the ball often since the shot clock is winding down, and it’s better to shoot a very low pct. shot than turn it over.

        Posted by boyer | September 30, 2011, 10:58 am
    • I cannot teach a blind man to see.

      I cannot teach the dumb to be wise.

      I have shown you new new new.

      You wish to deny any evidence that is contrary to your preconceived notions.

      You wish to dwell in your faulty logic. That is no longer my concern.

      Also, I am much smarter than you.

      Goodbye, and good luck with your mediocre intellect.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | September 30, 2011, 10:45 pm
      • Gil,

        that was a very good introspection.

        Well done.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | October 1, 2011, 9:12 am
      • Gil,

        In your statistical examples above you have Player X 40% on 3 pointers and 70% on FT.

        I am not certain that any player in history has had that type of disparity from shooting 3’s and FT’s.

        Since you are so much smarter than I, couldn’t you have at least contrived a believable example?

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | October 1, 2011, 12:19 pm
  46. Boyer,

    You are not too bright and I can usually dismiss your rants, but I will offer this to you.

    It’s really ignorant to say that when a player has higher percentage on a three that the player with the lower percentage is BETTER. If he were better, the results would reflect that.

    I would really question the statement that “James holds the ball to not lower his percentage”. I doubt any player (other than maybe Jerry Lucas) would have ever done that.

    Scoring was not higher in Jordan’s day and even if it were I have taken the era bias and context into account.

    Also, when players drive to the rim, they typically will draw more fouls and thus shoot more FT. This has the double effect of providing scoring and weakening opponents defensive aggressiveness.

    I also understand that shooting more threes will reduce your overall FG%, but there are measures that account for that as well.

    Lastly, for the FINAL time, no one has ever ever said that Kobe Bryant wasn’t a good shooter. What has been QUESTIONED are the choices Kobe makes on offense, like shooting 6.5 three’s per game or the turnovers with his high dribble trying to split defenders.

    Please read carefully: Kobe Bryant is a terrific player and no worse than the 13th best of all time and likely poised to move ahead to about #11. That is not an insult nor is it a result of “Kobe hatred” or bashing or some imagined bias.

    All of your comments that rationalize Kobe’s game could easily be used to support Jordan. You think that Bulls had a better option to score than MJ at the end of quarters? You don’t think MJ took shots when they were down and his teammates weren’t performing?

    Do you really believe that Jordan or West or Robertson or Magic, or Bird couldn’t create their own shots? If you do, you really should stop posting until you do some research.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 30, 2011, 3:56 pm
  47. Boyer,

    Have you ever noticed that you are also very contradictory.

    You write things like:

    “Kobe is highly regarded by most NBA experts as a great shooter” and then will write this:

    “that is faulty logic based basketball analysis that too many so-called experts and fans alike are using these days”

    So, where do you find the “true experts” and how do you differentiate from the “so-called” experts?

    Are the true ones identified as the ones that agree with you?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 30, 2011, 4:05 pm
  48. To clarify regarding league shooting in present day vs. the mid to late 1980’s; did you take into account the increased rate at which three pointers have been attempted? Dr, Dunkenstein made more three pointers BY HIMSELF in 1983-84 than any other TEAM. Mike Dunleavy almost did it (Bullets with 70 and Detroit with 72) in 1982-83.

    Did you take that shooting dynamic into account when you made your statement that “FG% was up?

    By your own statement, when more threes are attempted, the lower the field goal percentage overall.

    Is that correct or is that more “faulty logic basketball analysis”?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 30, 2011, 4:46 pm
  49. I ran across something interesting that again put duncans 2003 run a tad bit down (for me at least). Duncans 03 team arguably had the EASIEST path to the championship since the start of the decade and it is arguable it was the easiest out of all the western finalists.

    – 2000 Lakers: played Sac (44 Wins), Phoenix (53), Portland (59), Pacers (56)
    – 2001 Lakers: Portland (50 wins), Sac (55 wins), Spurs (58), Philly (56 wins)
    – 2002 Lakers: Portland (49), Spurs (58), Kings (61), Nets (52)
    – 2003 Spurs: Suns (44), Lakers (50), Mavs (60*), Nets (49)
    – 2004 Detroit: Bucks (41), Nets (47), Pacers (61), Lakers (56)
    – 2005 Spurs: Nuggets (49), Sonics (52), Suns(62), Pistons (54)
    – 2006 Heat: Chicago (41), Nets (49), Pistons (64), Mavs (60)
    – 2007 Spurs: Nuggets (45), Phoenix (61), Jazz (51), Cavs (50)
    – 2008 Boston: Hawks (37), Cleveland (45), Detrtoit (59), Lakers (57)
    – 2009 Lakers: Jazz (48), Rockets (53), Nuggets (54), Magic (59)
    – 2010 Lakers: OKC (50), Jazz (53), Phoenix (54), Boston (50)
    – 2011 Mavs: Portland (48), Lakers (57), OKC (55), Heat (58)

    As you can see the teams out of the east all had at least 2 40 win teams and the only team out of the west with 2 40 win teams were the spurs. The only other contenders in 2003 were the Lakers (who were real banged up), the Kings (who lost C-Webb in the Mavs series) and the Mavericks who lost Dirk (who was injured through 1.5 games against the spurs with the Mavs actually winning the first one).

    So by my count thats a 44 win Suns team, a Laker team that was not the same team during their three-peat (6th seed in the west), a Dirk-less Mavs and the 49 win Nets. Sure the Spurs were that strong but so wasn’t the competition…

    Posted by stillshining | October 30, 2011, 2:27 pm
  50. My biggest knock on Lebron in the 2012 finals is that he was satisfied with letting Wade and Bosh do all the work as if they were the stars and he was only a role player.

    Posted by Ikenna Nwaghanata | August 9, 2012, 11:10 am


  1. […] written about this before and I’ll write is again – the Mavs 2011 season was a fluke, and serves as one of those rare […]

  2. […] performance against Dallas certainly lent credence to the notion that he has used the experience of last season’s Finals to improve his game and is determined and ready to exorcise his demons. But the question remains: […]

  3. […] had become a person who managed to turn the other cheek, rise through rubble of the one of the most embarrassing performances in NBA Finals history, and begin a transformation from villain to victim similar to only Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, a […]

  4. […] which no other 2010 suitor could match. But this blessing became a curse last June when the Heat lost to the Mavericks in the Finals, because it meant that LeBron had nowhere to hide and no one else off of whom to deflect blame. […]

Post a comment