Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard’s Mini Decision

After a year of vague, hieroglyphic warnings, drunken late night phone calls from the General Manager and top of the hour news updates in panicked font regarding what was then and is now, a non-story, Dwight Howard signed a waiver to remain with the Orlando Magic another year.

Despite his talent for cleaning the boards and inciting apprehension in driving guards, speculation on Howard’s employment seemed drummed up, a sort of mini-Decision, just without the interest, intrigue and villainous blood coursing through the blue veins of its thin narrative. Why the media seemed so desperate for another variety hour where a grandiose millionaire selected his place of employment on live TV, I’ll never know.

It also doesn’t help that Dwight’s desire to leave his team was fundamentally different than LeBron’s Cleveland gut kick over a year ago.

We cared where LeBron went because he embodied the new generation of NBA player – more interested in how the media and public perceived them and their “brand” than with actually winning games. James wanted to be a global icon who played basketball instead of the global icon of basketball. We never really trusted him, could never get inside him. His protection could equally be attributed to the team who manages his career as it could ESPN and other media outlets (many of which are so kind as to splice the game winner he hit against the Washington Wizards a few years back so the viewer can’t see he took five steps to score).

Despite his talent as a gifted ball player, there was an overarching argument perched above The Decision that made us confront the way we perceive sports. Does a superstar need to sacrifice himself for the game, to put aside all personal goals and motivations to sublimate himself into our perception of what a heroic sports narrative should entail or are athletes simply hyper-reflexive freaks who are paid vast sums of money to play a semi-complicated game 82 days a year?

There was nothing of the sort surrounding Howard’s contract player option.

He is simply a frighteningly athletic, affable basketball player, the best player at a very weak position, who wishes to work in a different organization than he does currently. That’s it. There’s no scandal. There’s no intrigue. His way of advertising his unhappiness was unnecessarily public but if there is one thing we know about Howard, it’s that he thrives on public attention. He wants to fill the spot of Wacky Big Dude that Shaq vacated after he became petulant and vengeful.

But as much as Howard craves the spotlight, he’s never looked entirely comfortable beneath its heat. He tries hard, don’t get me wrong, but most of his attempts at humor, to me, have fallen flat (I’m thinking especially of the Clark Kent/Superman interview segment from the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals). So it comes as no surprise that his latest attempt at taking center stage was so ill-fated and confusing.

———

Howard should have known better. LeBron’s one-hour abomination last year was a conclusive lesson to athletes that public fuck yous to your team don’t go over well with the general population. For better or worse, sports fans care way too much about where athletes work. Sure, it’s understandable for Orlando residents to not want to see yet another center leave for greener pastures instead of building a winning team on the Magic Ironically, the most Dwight-flavored vitriol comes from people who aren’t even Magic fans.

And aside from going public with his desire to seek alternate employment, and the boneheadedly crypto-threat that Orlando should “roll the dice”, Howard went about this pretty ok as far as public spats go. He gave Orlando more than a year’s notice that he wanted to win a championship and if management would not build a winning team around him, he’d go somewhere else to find it. When you see that Otis Smith’s idea of building a championship squad was trading for a pregnant Gilbert Arenas, a banished Jason Richardson and a broken-down, already overrated Hedo Turkoglu, maybe Dwight is right for not trusting the front office.

Howard is the best singular defensive presence since Ben Wallace (on a team that expects Ryan Andersen to flank Howard in the post and trusts Richardson and Turkoglu to lock down the wings, it’s a testament to Howard that the Magic are 4th in points against per game) but he hasn’t shown he will ever dominate offensively (though he is slowly improving) like O’Neal or Hakeem Olajuwon or David Robinson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Howard still finds a way to score (22.9 PPG last season, 21.1 PPG this one) although the way he gets points aren’t always pretty. With a game predicated on raw power and a rightful aversion to the free throw line (.485 this season), Howard needs help, particularly in the last minutes of tight games. Andersen and J.J. Reddick aren’t going to cut it as the top scorers on a championship team.

 ———–

To put it more it more clearly, the league average for shooting percentage is .446, the only Magic player with over 300 minutes who shoots better is Howard himself. That’s a problem. For Howard, for Orlando, for everyone who believes the league is already respectable (yes you, Jason Whitlock), and, most importantly, for Howard’s personal trainer.

So why did Howard choose to stay? The roster hasn’t changed, their payroll is still quite high and the holes and gaps in the rotation will only grow as their already old players get even older. In the end, Dwight just wanted his moment in the hot Orlando sun.

He should have learned from LeBron James however, that if you want to go heel, you can’t go half way.

Related posts:

  1. Adrian Wojnarowski: Why the Orlando Magic Can’t Trade Dwight Howard
  2. 2011 NBA Defensive Player Of The Year: Dwight Howard – Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks
  3. Dwight Howard For MVP?
  4. Tim Povtak: Will the Orlando Magic trade Dwight Howard? (1/22/12)
  5. Why A Dwight Howard To Chicago Bulls Trade Makes Sense

Discussion

39 Responses to “Dwight Howard’s Mini Decision”

  1. Daniel, as many have noted, it wasn’t the “The mini-Decision”, it was “The Indecision.” Dwight Howard made it quite clear that he doesn’t really know what he wants, and his opt-in was merely an extension of time for him to try to figure that out before he, and the Magic, go through all of this again, perhaps as early as this summer. It was the public indecision, during the season, that turned many people off, to the point where many were saying that he was actually making LeBron look good in comparison.

    Speaking of LeBron, it looks like he hasn’t quite figured out the moral of your last paragraph either. I lost some respect for him during the whole “maybe I’ll come back to Cleveland someday” episode. It looks like he might be having some second thoughts about the move to Miami, which is unfortunate because he should understand that for someone in his position, the only thing that matters is winning. Being well liked is secondary at best, and in any event will take care of itself with winning. It doesn’t seem like he understands that yet.

    Posted by E-Dog | March 23, 2012, 3:58 pm
  2. I’ll also add that I don’t think Howard doesn’t have the cajones to execute on any of this. Orlando called his bluff, and Howard couldn’t stand up for what he wanted. He also doesn’t want to be hated.

    This again, is one of the factors people miss when they ask what is the difference between the true greats: Jordan, Magic, Kobe – and the also rans. The true greats DEMAND greatness. And seem able to will the energy/talent/environment around them until they get it.

    Posted by Brown Mamba | March 23, 2012, 4:10 pm
    • Presumably, then, you totally support Lebron James’ move to the Heat?

      Posted by Lochpster | March 24, 2012, 10:38 am
      • Here’s my issue with Lebron’s James move the Heat.

        (1) Lebron was on a team with the best record in the NBA. The year before he left, they lost to a Celtics team they should have beaten, primarily due to Lebron, well, pulling a Lebron.

        (2) I believed Lebron had a shot to be the best of all time. By doing what he did in terms of pairing with another alpha dog, it’s difficult to see how he can make that argument, even if he wins a few rings. On this note, it was disappointing to see him punt on this chance for what seems like a “safer” choice. (i.e., his testament to being the greatest ever, in my mind, would have been a lot stronger if he won a few titles with a historically miserable Cavs franchise)

        All this being said, I agree with E-dog here where if Lebron is able to win 4-5 championships or more, we rewrite history and declare his Decision a smart one.

        Posted by Brown Mamba | March 24, 2012, 12:40 pm
        • 1) The Bulls are likely to have back to back best regular season records to. I guess we should trash Derick Rose because the Bulls regular season record PROVES he has a good enough team to win the title? Sorry to bust your bubble. It’s a TEAM sport. Everybody has to do their job. If Lebron was being Lebron, then the team with the best record should have someone else step in and cover his inconsistency. You know, like how Gasol took over game 7 in the Finals when Kobe played like total sh*t?

          2) Lebron tried to get Bosh to come to Cleveland and he refused. Let’s be honest here. It’s not the hottest market and funnest city to play or live in. Hard to lure players to play in Cleveland. He was loyal for 7 years and finally had the opportunity to play on a team with a true #2. Nothing wrong with that. After beating Boston last year in the semis, he admitted he could have never done it by himself.

          I’m a big fan of this site and i generally enjoy reading comments from you, lochpster, nba realist #2, KS and others. Your comment is something I expect from a casual fan…not the “moderately intelligent”

          Posted by Mike | March 24, 2012, 2:40 pm
          • Mike — thanks for the comment about the site. But, I think you’ve taken some of what I’ve said out of context.

            1) I never said Lebron should have won either of those years. What I was implying was that he was very close to taking the Cavs to the championship, and if he could have executed on it, that would have been a tremendous accomplishment (and frankly probably more impressive than any of the rings Magic, Jordan, Kobe won) Additionally, I would do a fact check on Gasol taking over Game 7. Kobe had 10 points and 4 boards in the 4th quarter of that game when it counted the most.

            2) Again, Lebron made the move to get him the easiest shot at a ring. I’m not begrudging that as obviously I’ve pointed out great players will figure out how to get rings. What I’m saying is the disappointment comes in that this handicaps Lebron in the GOAT discussion. If he could have somehow won multiple rings with the Cavs, I think his path to being the GOAT would have been much clearer.

            Posted by Brown Mamba | March 24, 2012, 8:52 pm
          • The difference between Rose and lebron is that lebron continually celebrates himself, even though he hasn’t won anything, acts like he’s entitled, and said he’d win a title in cleveland, which he didn’t. And then he took a dump on cleveland on national TV, which was a huge disgrace. And nobody really thinks Rose is the best player in the nba. He did win MVP last year, but that doesn’t mean voters thought he was the best player, more like the best story. The onus is on lebron because he’s failed to give max effort in 2 consecutive playoffs.

            It’s still quite humorous to see how much people overrate Pau, while continuing to underrate Lebron’s cavs teammates in 09/10. The cavs had the best reg. season record 2 years running, and were the favorites. If we actually compare Jamison’s career to Pau’s career, not much difference. Pau was a 1x AS and 0-12 in the playoffs in 7 seasons in memphis. He then has made 3 AS teams with the lakers, not including this year. Jamison has 2 AS teams and most likely would’ve made at least 1 more if paired with Kobe.

            Not sure if Lebron ‘really’ tried to get Bosh to cleveland. But, what is evident is that lebron is recruiting players to come to miami a lot harder than he did when he was in cleveland. If he committed to the cavs fully, tried to get players to come to cleveland as hard as he is doing in miami, and didn’t quit on his teams in the playoffs, then he most likely would’ve or maybe already have won multiple titles in cleveland, then yea, he would eventually be in the elite of the elite discussion, but there’s not much chance for that anymore.

            But, good pts. mamba. And I’ve never seen a team that won 66 and 61 games in back-to-back seasons as not being that good. Kobe had a great 4th in that game 7, and outrebounded the c’s starting bigs combined. Gasol had an awful shooting game in that game as well: 6-16 and 7-13 FTs, despite getting better looks than Kobe from the defensive attention primarily focusing on Kobe. Kobe was by far the best player in that series. But, interesting how we never hear of Terry or Barea saving Dirk in last year’s finals.

            Lebron’s now has 2 other 10-15 teammates, all in their primes, plus a very talented and deep team overall. The only question that remains is just how much help does he need? It’s getting almost comical how good of teams he’s been for 4 straight years and nothing so far. And his heat teams still haven’t equaled the winning pct. of his last 2 cavs teams.

            Posted by boyer | March 24, 2012, 9:47 pm
          • Who here thinks that Boyer would honestly give LeBron James any credit in a game where Dwyane Wade outassists him, outrebounds him, turns over the ball less, scores four less points while only taking eight less shots, and also outscores him late in the 4th quarter when the game is close? Especially if that game is Game 7 of the NBA Finals? You think he’d be quick to recognize his other “contributions”?

            Because that’s what Pau Gasol did to Kobe Bryant. Instead, Boyer would rather tell us about how people overrate Gasol and that he’s not that much different from Antawn Jamison.

            Enjoy talking to the Kobe fans on this website, Mike.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 25, 2012, 8:14 am
          • An

            Posted by boyer | March 27, 2012, 7:01 am
          • Who said I didn’t give Pau any credit? Pau gets his credit in that game, but it’s not like he phenomenally in that game. Relatively speaking compared to everyone else, sure, Kobe and Pau were the best players in that game, so they get huge credit for that. Kobe was the best player in that series by a wide margin. But, it makes no sense to continually give false narratives that Pau somehow saved Kobe and that Pau is better than Kobe according to several statheads and ignorant fans.

            Actually look at Jamison’s and Pau’s careers, and maybe you’ll get it. 1 AS appearance and 0-12 in the playoffs(3 sweeps) in 7 years in memphis, see that unrealist #2, time to wake up.

            Oh, I see Magic just called on the heat after the thunder game, saying they ‘quit’. And last night didn’t look much different. Man, lebron starting this quitting business early this year, not even waiting for the playoffs.

            Nightblader, nobody is saying the reg. season doesn’t matter, at least I’m not. What I’m saying is that James still hasn’t enjoyed the same amount of success in the reg. season with the heat in 11 or 12 as compared to 09 and 10 with the cavs. As it seems so far, he left the cavs for a lesser team. However, when the heat stumble, the excuses are mostly about wade not playing as well, or bosh sucking, or spoelstra not being a good coach, or the bench not being good enough, or james is playing too many minutes, or some phantom elbow injury(with clev.). Did I miss any? Please fill in the rest.

            Posted by boyer | March 27, 2012, 7:11 am
          • Your moronic comparisons to Antawn Jamison notwithstanding (and to think that you would fan-based AS game selections and TEAM sweeps at the hands the ’06 Finals Mavs, prime Spurs, and Nash Suns to “narrow” the obvious chasm that exists between Gasol and Jamison), you clearly didn’t address the main point of my post.

            Typical Boyer.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 27, 2012, 9:40 am
          • Actually I did, but thanks for your comment.

            Fans only pick the starters, and they rarely ever pick a starter who isn’t a top 12 player in their respective. I only found 3 possible egregious picks over the past 11 years. The coaches pick the rest of the AS, and those picks are actually usually spot on. Dirk may have been a bad pick this year, but as we now see, he’s back to establishing himself as a primetime player this year.

            My pt. is that Pau was hardly an all-nba performer or perennial AS player by any mean. He is nowhere near capable of leading a team anywhere deep in the playoffs, and that should be obvious, even for you. The reason that anyone wants to elevate Pau is a higher level than he is, is to denigrate Kobe and make Kobe let worse than he is, whic his what you and others are trying to do, I’m just calling you out for this nonsense. Jason Terry arguably played just as well, if not better in last year’s finals as Pau did in the 2010 finals, but I’ve still heard no nonsense of anyone thinking Terry ‘saved’ Dirk or should’ve been finals MVP.

            Posted by boyer | March 27, 2012, 10:55 am
          • “Actually I did, but thanks for your comment.”

            Actually, you didn’t.

            “Fans only pick the starters, and they rarely ever pick a starter who isn’t a top 12 player in their respective.”

            Not really. They will get some picks right, but whiff on other picks because they gravitate towards 1) “highlight-reel”-type players, 2) players from large-market teams, 3) players with high points per game numbers (which is among the most flawed way to pick starters) or 4) players with AS game reputation who are not currently playing well. There have been lots of snubs.

            Using AS nods to compare Gasol and Jamison’s actual play on the court is flawed. As is also using team playoff records.

            “The reason that anyone wants to elevate Pau is a higher level than he is, is to denigrate Kobe and make Kobe let worse than he is, whic his what you and others are trying to do, I’m just calling you out for this nonsense.”

            Did you ever stop to think for a second that you might be overrating Bryant? Or is that outside the realm of possibility in your delusional world? Heck, you’re willing to reduce Pau Gasol to Antawn Jamison status (which is against all the evidence that points to Gasol being a superior player to Jamison) in order to protect the urban legend of Kobe Bryant.

            I’m didn’t even state that Kobe didn’t “deserve” his Finals MVP (although Gasol certainly outplayed him in Game 7). But your “Gasol = Jamison” posts stop here.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 27, 2012, 12:02 pm
          • I’ve talked about the AS game many times, and have looked at the last 11 years at starters, and only found 3 egregious picks. Why don’t you go back and look at the past 5 AS teams, and come up with some bad picks, but then you also have to come up with replacements. It’s easier and sloppy to say, oh, such and such shouldn’t be there, but then that person rarely comes up with a replacement player. Like I’ve said before, no matter what system you use, there’s always going to be debate over the last 4-5 guys to get into the AS game, but the top 20 players or so in the league are always there. I don’t understand why and you others think otherwise. I think you see 1-2 AS that you don’t think belong there, and thus conclude the whole system is a sham. Maybe some think Love should start over Griffin, fine, I’ll give you that, but Griffin should still be in the AS, which is why I say AS appearances, not AS starts.

            Did you actually look at the respective careers of jamison and pau or not, probably not, or are you blinded by denigrating kobe by elevating pau? Fine, I’ll compare the 2.

            Pau has averaged 19,9,3. Jamison is at 20,8,2. Not much difference. Both have been pretty durable. Jamison has had a longer career, but still has scored about 4,400 more pts. than Pau. Pau shoots a higher pct. and is more efficient, which greatly improved immediately since joining the lakers, much like Odom and others. Jamison is probably the better overall shooter from all areas on the floor. Pau is better from close range and slightly better in FTs.

            Pau is a little better of rebounder, and probably a marginally better passer. Neither are particularly that good of defenders. While jamison is more versatile and athletic, Pau makes up for it in height. Though, Pau struggles with any kind of mobile PF and strong/physical/athletic C’s. Pau is better at blocks, while Jamison is better at steals. Probably a wash in defense, maybe slight edge to Pau.

            Pau has had the benefit of playing with an elite player for 4.5 years, which Jamison has not the luxury of this, except for a brief stint playing with james in 2010. Pau FG pct. and off. rebounding have increased a lot while playing with kobe, this is not a coincidence. And we’ve seen the same thing with many other players who have played with Kobe.

            Jamison is a little better scorer and more versatile, but Pau is better in other areas. I think Pau is the better player, but like I said before, there’s actually not that much difference, once/if you actually look into both players’ careers, instead of just going off the false narrative that Pau is some type of savior to Kobe and that lebron had crap teammates in cleveland.

            Pau wasn’t a nobody before joining the lakers, but it wasn’t like he was some type of great player. The grizz realized this, that he couldn’t be their franchise player which they could build a team around. Pau may have played against 3 good teams in the playoffs with the grizz, but come on, win at least 1 game. 0-12 is pathetic.

            Kobe had much worse suppporting casts in 06 and 07, and his lakers played against one of the powers those years: the suns, and the lakers went 4-8 in those 2 series. Do you actually understand that? There’s just no comparison between the 2. Kobe is ridiculously better than Pau. The lakers were rolling with Bynum finally becoming a competent player in 08 before he went down. Bynum wasn’t some great player then. All he needed was a competent big, which Kwame certainly wasn’t. Nobody has led their teams to 3 consecutive finals with as little help as Kobe had in 08-10.

            Posted by boyer | March 27, 2012, 1:40 pm
          • “…but the top 20 players or so in the league are always there.”

            No, they’re not. And for all the reasons that I previous stated.

            “Fine, I’ll compare the 2.”

            To think that the same poster who will be quick to dismiss stats when any player is compared to Kobe is the same poster who will type a lengthy paragraph comparing Gasol and Jamison using stats – and with per game averages, to boot.

            I always see you arguing with people who have the “audacity” in your mind to rank players in front of Bryant, but anyone who thinks that Gasol hasn’t been a significantly better player than Jamison (and Antawn has been a solid but not great player over his career) is probably the one who hasn’t been “watching the games”, as the Kobe fans love to say.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 27, 2012, 2:11 pm
          • Again, all you say is ‘no they’re not’ without actually telling who you think then deserves an AS nod over certain players. I doubt if you have looked up past AS games. This year is as messed up as any year in nba history with the lockout, and there was only maybe 4-5 questionable AS at most. But, believe what you want you want to believe.

            It’s just one example of many of the false narrative that lebron had crappy teammates in cleveland. Jamsion has averaged nearly 20ppg during his career and will eventually get to 20,000 pts. for his career. He has been a very good player, and lebron had very good teammates, you don’t just magically win 66 and 61 games in back to back seasons with crap teammates. Again, I think Pau has been better, but marginally better. You should go back and read all the articles during the 09 season and right after the cavs got jamison in 10. About the only thing we were hearing was how great the cavs were and how they would steamroll through the playoffs.

            Well, when you’re going to rank someone like West ahead of Kobe, it makes no sense, just on the simple fact alone that West admitted he couldn’t dribble very well with his off hand. I choose to rate players based on skills (which Kobe is the most skilled player I’ve ever seen – he has no weaknesses – only player that I’ve seen that I could say that for), impact, athleticism, and accomplishments for the most part.

            Posted by boyer | March 27, 2012, 6:15 pm
          • Not sure why it matters to you to know which players should have been elected to the AS game. You’re not exactly someone who is willing to think outside of the box, as evidenced by your use of cumulative points scored to somehow put Jamsion and Gasol in the same category as players.

            If you actually think that Jamison is near Gasol’s equal, you’re not watching the games.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 27, 2012, 7:20 pm
          • “I only found 3 possible egregious picks over the past 11 years.”

            That’s because you either didn’t look very hard or aren’t very good at looking.

            Carmelo Anthony’s selection in 2012 is a well-chronicled joke. Any player shooting less than 40% from the floor and playing matador defense is not by any measure a top 20 NBA player. There is a long line of players who would have been better selections-Josh Smith, Tyson Chandler, Ryan Anderson, Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving, Greg Monroe, and many more.

            Tim Duncan’s game fell off a cliff in 2011-there’s no way he belonged in the ASG, let alone as a starter, as he was really only the third most deserving player on his team at that point. But even he belonged more than Yao Ming, who was voted a starter despite playing 5 games. Somehow Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Monta Ellis and Steve Nash didn’t make the game, despite all 4 being at least close to top 20 status and definitely better than either Yao or Duncan. (Love eventually snuck in as an injury replacement.)

            Allen Iverson was voted in by the fans as a starter in 2010, when he was averaging 14 PPG and 4 APG in 19 games with shooting percentages in the toilet. Josh Smith and David Lee were far and away better choices. Also, Tracy McGrady-who’d played 45 minutes all season, was almost voted the 2nd guard in the West before a late surge by Steve Nash gave him the spot. What a relief for those of us who care about such things.

            In 2007, an out of shape Shaquille O’Neal had played, not particularly well, in 13 games, yet he was voted in by the fans. He never played himself into shape that year, missing half the season, and the Heat really struggled as a result. This was clearly a lifetime acheivement award. Luol Deng, for one, was clearly was more deserving, and Dwight Howard and Jermaine O’Neal clearly could have filled out the Eastern Conference center spot better than Shaq.

            In 2006, the coaches ridiculously rewarded the Pistons with 4 starters, including Rasheed Wallace, who was too busy jacking up 3s (5.4 per game) to rebound (6.8 per game) or establish a post presence (15.1 PPG on 43% shooting). Vince Carter should have been a slam dunk, and Michael Redd and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (among others) were also both outplaying Wallace by a wide margin.

            Allen Iverson was playing wretched ball leading up to the 2004 ASG while other players, such as Richard Jefferson, were having sterling years. Iverson’s selection that year was based on nothing but brand.

            Antoine Walker’s 2003 selection exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the All-Star game selection process. His 20-7-5 looks good at first glance, but when you consider his shooting percentages of 39/61/32, his 3 TO per game and his matador defense, it’s easy to see how he was 7th on his own team in win shares. At the same time, Michael Jordan was still putting up 20 PPG at age 39 in DC, but his shooting percentages were abysmal (TS% of .491) and he had become a defensive target for other teams. Yet his name was enough to get him a starting nod on the team. There were numerous more deserving players than either in the east-Eric Snow, Brad Miller, Jefferson, Sam Cassell, Michael Redd, Allan Houston and Shareef Abdur-Rahim, to name a few.

            The bright side to Walker’s 2002 selection-he was slightly less bad. The downside-he was a starter. Jordan was also a starter despite shooting 41% from the floor and 19% from the arc en route to 3.3 win shares over the course of the season. Egads! Among better players that year who didn’t make it but were far superior include Reggie Miller and Ben Wallace.

            But the worst ASG of the past 11 years was the 2001 ASG. Grant Hill made it despite playing 4 games all year. Alonzo Mourning, similarly, was an All-Star despite playing in 13 games, starting 3. Both players wound up with less than 1 win share for the entire freaking season. Out West, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess and an ancient Karl Malone were picked over a legitimate MVP candidate in Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk’s 14.9 win shares are the most for any All-Star snub since the 1970s.

            That’s a lot of really atrocious All Star picks. Not just questionable ones, but hideous ones. Care to rethink your argument?

            Posted by Lochpster | March 27, 2012, 7:22 pm
          • You shouldn’t had to take all that time to explain this to Boyer, Lochpster. Great post as usual!

            Just from the 2012 AS game alone, you have players like Kyle Lowry, Nick Batum, James Harden, Thaddeus Young, Brandon Jennings, and Paul Millsap who were all well-desrering of nods based on their play going into AS game weekend. Of course, most fan voters and coaches aren’t looking at players who don’t have the high points per game output – and I don’t think Boyer is either.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 27, 2012, 8:29 pm
          • Loch, I appreciate you actually looking up some players and finding replacements.

            Maybe I wasn’t clear, but when I said 3 egregious players over last 11 AS games, it was concerning only starters: Iverson’s last 2 appearances and probably Melo this year.

            You’re right about Hill in 2001, but I didn’t look at that game, only last 11 games, starting with 2002. But, while he gets incorrectly credited with another AS game, his place didn’t snub anyone as he didn’t play and the nba replaced him with another player. I’ll give you Shaq in 07, and yao in 11, but Yao was basically retired by then, so his case is basically moot.

            First to humor you and for argument’s sake, let’s just say everyone you have a problem with being in the AS game is a correct analysis. You roughly came up with 19-20 bad AS selections, which comes out to averaging less than 2/game, which really isn’t that bad. If the fans/coaches are getting 22+ players correct out of 24, that is very good.

            Duncan probably didn’t deserve his 11 bid, but he was on the best team in the west, not a horrible pick. None of the 4 replacements you mentioned were substantially, if, better than Duncan.

            The pistons had just come off of back-to-back finals appearances in 06, almost winning both. These guys played like a ‘team’ which so many fans scream for. They might not have had popping up offensive stats, but they were the key players in a vaunted defense. I don’t see much problem with them, maybe 4 was too many, but at least 2-3 should’ve been there. And if we sent the pistons to the 04 olymics and 06 world championships, the usa probably would’ve had better results.

            Iverson may have struggled in 04 some, but still at least a top 12 player in his conf. I disagree with Walker, too. He was the #2 guy on a team that lost in the conf. Finals in 02 and then lost in the 2nd round in 03. He’s a borderline AS at worst those years, as was Jordan. It wasn’t the Jordan of old, but still probably worthy of making the team.

            Again, I didn’t touch on 2001. But, Malone averaged 23, 8, 5, while shooting 50% and playing 81 games in 2001, so he definitely deserved a selection that year, and his #’s marginally get worse in 02, as he deserved an AS selection that year as well.

            Most of these AS selections that you have a problem with aren’t hideous at all, but very borderline at worst. Like I said before, the last 4-5 selections are always going to be questioned. You’ve thought up of around 20 bad selections, which I would put at much less, but that still means if we take your word, that’s less than 2 bad selections/year, so no, I don’t need to change my stance, but yet, it’s even more solidified after your analysis here.

            Posted by boyer | March 28, 2012, 10:48 am
          • Boyer, fans and coaches don’t get 90% right every year. Even you point out, there are a lot of borderline cases every single year. If there are 4-5 questionable picks every year, how could this ever be a valid measure of a player’s worth?

            I have neither the time nor energy to go point out every small injustice. I’m wasn’t going bring up every time a Ray Allen made it over a less big name guy having a better year, like Raymond Felton, so I merely pinpointed the ones about which I thought a reasonable observer would have no doubt.

            You tried to dismiss my Jordan, Wallace, Walker, Duncan and Iverson arguments out of hand without any statistical support, which I guess is smart, because actually digging through the numbers would leave no doubt. And as good as Malone was that year, Dirk outperformed Malone, McDyess and Wallace-the numbers are easy to look up. As has been argued ad nauseum on this site, I think using team results to justify an individual player is worthless-you’d have better luck talking to a brick wall with that type of logic. It’s clear neither of us will make an iota of headway with the other here, so I’ll leave it up to the other readers to decide what they think.

            Posted by Lochpster | March 28, 2012, 12:45 pm
          • Boyer, didn’t I tell you earlier that providing AS alternatives to you would be a waste of time? Lochspter did you a kind favor and looked up all the MOST noteworthy snubs to the AS Game over the past decade (and trust me, if he wanted to, Lochspter could list a lot more names where that came from), and you even explain THOSE away with per game averages and the even more faulty “team record” stat. Like I said before, you’re not someone who is willing to outside of the box.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 28, 2012, 1:19 pm
          • I used some stats, just not stats you like. And you used some stats, just not stats that I think are very relevant. You can’t use WS or something like that, and then automatically conclude that one player is better than another. Maybe Dirk deserved to make it in 2001, but him having a better WS doesn’t tell us that he deserved it over the other players you questioned.

            I’m being generous saying there’s 4-5 bad picks/year. I think it’s much less. I almost never see more than 2-3 bad selections/year, if that. And even then, most of those guys do at least have some claim to being in the game, like Duncan last year.

            But, let’s say there is 4 bad picks/year on average, that means 20 of the 24 picks are correct. The AS game is featuring pretty much all of the best of the best players in the game. All of the elite to near elite players in the league are going to be in the game every year. When is the last time one of these guys didn’t make the AS game? All of these guys you think should replace certain AS during some years are all borderline AS, not bonafide elite/near-elite players.

            Felton over Allen in 2011, huh? I don’t see what the problem is there? You could disagree with the pick, but many more would disagree with you as I would. But, that’s one of those last picks’ situations. In the whole scheme of the AS game, almost all of the picks are spot on. Always a few exceptions, and every single person is probably going to disagree with at least 1 pick each year. So, just because you disagree with a pick doesn’t mean it’s a bad pick, and that the game is a farce, and listing how many AS appearances some players have is irrelevant.

            Posted by boyer | March 28, 2012, 1:34 pm
          • “And you used some stats, just not stats that I think are very relevant.”

            So as a result, you decided to use per game averages and team W-L records instead, which tell you less about a player’s performance than any other stat. And you wonder why using fan-based AS game selections to support your payer A vs. player B comparions is flawed?

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 28, 2012, 2:26 pm
          • You are correct, Boyer. His having more win shares doesn’t automatically make him a better player. However, in 2000-2001 the Mavericks improved significantly, winning 13 more games than they had the year before despite losing 3 of their top 5 scorers and adding only one major player of note, a good but certainly not great Juwan Howard. And with all due respect to an improving Steve Nash, who was not yet a superstar, and the very solid Michael Finley, the main driver was Dirk’s evolution into an elite force. He set career highs in FG% (.474), FT% (.838), and 3P% (.387) while scoring 21.8 PPG with a scorching .601 TS%, averaged 9.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 SPG and 1.2 BPG with only 1.9 TOPG. Not only was he third in win shares that season (none of the other 3 cracked the top 10), but his PER that year was an impressive 22.8 and bested both McDyess and Wallace-a high PER and WS is indicative of high usage and very good efficiency as well. In fairness, Malone had a higher PER that year and his team finished with the same record as Dirk’s-Malone was less efficient but slightly more productive, so if you prefer him, I won’t argue that (Dirk did get the better of him in the playoffs, which I suspect would matter more to you than to me). But McDyess and Wallace put up worse for worse teams at a worse rate. Whether you’re using conventional stats, advanced stats or team records, it’s absolutely nuts to say that they were more deserving than Dirk that year. To continue to insist that there’s an argument here is nothing more than stubbornness.

            Posted by Lochpster | March 29, 2012, 10:07 am
          • Like I said before severalt times now, I only covered the last 11 AS games, starting with 2002, didn’t cover 2001. Dirk certainly has a case for his 01 bid, but so do Mcdyess, Sheed, and Malone, who all had AS caliber years that year.

            Dirk certainly improved from 00 to 01, but it wasn’t all him. Howard was brought in and had a very good year, and Nash improved a lot and became a relevant PG in the NBA for the first time.

            First, I wasn’t really arguing with you on this. I only mentioned Malone, who certainly deserved AS consideration that year. It would also be interesting to see the first half of the season’s splits before the AS game. The ‘nuts’ thing is that all of the guys you mentioned that Dirk would replace all had at least near AS caliber years that year. It’s not as black and white as you make it out to be. You may be right, but that’s another of those borderline misses.

            Take for example some player who’s consistently around the #20-#35 in the nba for 5-7+years, he probably won’t make the AS game every year, but he’ll make it a few times probably, which is usually what we see. Now, think about a top 10-15 player, they’re in the game every single year. Kobe, lebron, durant, wade, howard, paul, dirk, etc. – always there. And this is what we see with the all-time AS game lists.

            Kobe, shaq, KG, TD were the top players during their era, and they have the most AS game selections amongst their peers, and so on. There’s always exceptions, though. Someone like Rodman should probably have more than 2 selections, but headcases do get the shaft sometimes. Odom has been a borderline AS maybe 2-3x during his career, and he correctly never made it.

            If we scan the all-time AS selection lists, pretty much all the all-time greats are at the top, and so forth. It’s not an end-all definitive conclusion, but it’s silly to just completely dismiss AS selections as irrelevant. No matter what system you create, there will always be disagreement on some selections, and disagreeing on who should be 11th or 12th man one each team doesn’t make the process a sham, but those selections are the last couple of guys, in the 20-30 range.

            Posted by boyer | March 29, 2012, 12:27 pm
        • “If we scan the all-time AS selection lists, pretty much all the all-time greats are at the top, and so forth. It’s not an end-all definitive conclusion, but it’s silly to just completely dismiss AS selections as irrelevant.”

          No one said that they’re irrelevant, just that it’s not a great way to make an objective comparison between two players. Like you did with Gasol and Jamison.

          I already pointed out the flaws that are inherent with fan-voting. But it’s clear that you will keep tooting your horn about AS picks because you can’t stand the fact that Gasol has been among the top players at his position over the past decade, and we all know why that’s the case…

          Posted by The Realist #2 | March 29, 2012, 12:55 pm
          • Sure it is. But, it’s just one way of many to compare Gasol and Jamison. For whatever reason, probably mostly denigrate Kobe, Gasol was suddenly regarded as a much better player than he was once he arrived in LA in 08, but while he was regarded as a decent player before that in memphis, not many people were foolish enough to proclaim him some franchise player or a savior. And Gasol appropriately was only awarded 1 AS appearance and no all-nba teams while in memphis.

            We still hear reports of Gasol being the most skilled big man in the game, which is not true. While he is a good player and quite skilled, he has never even been close to being the most skilled big man in the game. He’s not more skilled than Dirk or Bosh, for sure. He wasn’t more than Duncan at the time, but now he probably is. Probably not more skilled than Amare, and definitely not more skilled than Love. So, yea, he’s on the short list, but definitely not #1.

            While you and others whine about the fan voting, the fans at the very least correctly choose 95%+ of AS caliber players. I’m not sure why you have a problem with that. I found 3 errors from the past 11 years, Loch found another in shaq, and maybe you could say Yao in 11, though he was already basically retired, so I consider him a moot pt. But, let’s count him anyway. That’s 5 over 11 years, which is 95.5% correct. Why do you have such a problem with this.

            FYI, I like Gasol a lot, but I’m not stupid enough to say he’s better than Kobe or that he’s a savior or that he’s a franchise player, etc., which many statheads and fans proclaim. Like I said before, which I doubt you’ve done, actually go look back and try to completely analyze jamison/pau’s careers. Jamison does stack up very well to Pau. I would still take Pau, but it’s not as black and white as you’re making it out to be.

            Posted by boyer | March 29, 2012, 1:48 pm
          • “For whatever reason, probably mostly denigrate Kobe…”

            I just stopped reading there. Watching Gasol play well (key word there, Boyer: WATCHING), giving Gasol credit for playing at an all-NBA level and being the missing piece to the Lakers championship puzzle “denigrate(s) Kobe”?

            Yep, you’re a piece of work. Like I said though, you’ll do whatever it takes to maintain Kobe’s “I won this title all by myself” myth, even if you have to discount any shred of evidence that shows the man has – gasp! – played with great teammates during the post-Shaq era, including the playoffs. Talk about “denigrating” players, right Boyer?

            Or maybe you prefer the days when the Lakers actually *didn’t* have a lot of offensive talent around Kobe and were perennial first-round playoff exits. Someone call up Mitch Kupchak and ask him if he can trade back Gasol for the offensive juggernauts Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittendon…

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 29, 2012, 2:40 pm
          • By the way, since you put me up to the task for this, I went back to see if Gasol’s superior regular/playoff seasons (ESPECIALLY the playoffs) to Jamison’s were still available on the Internet for comparison.

            Yes. Still there. But why even bother with all of that in the first place? Can’t I simply say that Gasol is way better than Jamison because Gasol has two rings and Jamison doesn’t? Shouldn’t that settle it? I thought Kobe fans swore by the (laughable) ring argument – “who cares about stats” when it’s all about “winning”?

            Posted by The Realist #2 | March 29, 2012, 2:59 pm
  3. Brown Mamba, I wouldn’t say the true greats demand greatness because D12′s demands and Lebron’s got a washed up agent zero and A. Jamison, or look at KG as most people would say he’s an all time great yet despite his dominance he went nowhere and I think it really has to do more with the competency of management than with some will to win. As Kobe eventually got Gasol due to the Lakers management KG didn’t get anyone because of Minnesota’s incompetency and spent most of his career in Minnesota till he went to the Celtics.

    Posted by Archer | March 24, 2012, 2:15 am
  4. Archer — how do you think Kobe got to the Lakers in the first place? Do you think Kobe would have spent the first 10 years of his career with a lousy organization?

    Posted by Brown Mamba | March 24, 2012, 10:05 am
  5. NBA Realist #2,

    I don’t post much here. I enjoy the articles and comments left by intelligent fans like yourself, KS and a couple of others. Sites and intelligent fans like yourself are hard to come by.

    I’ve seen the back and forth debates between Kobe and Lebron fans here. Very entertaining. I’ve also noticed how damn near every article eventually turns into a Kobe/Lebron debate…LOL

    I emailed the site owner and asked if they are planning to do a radio show or podcast in the future. I’d love for people like Boyer to call in. would be fun…LOL

    Posted by Mike | March 25, 2012, 5:11 pm
    • guys like boyer and brown shit stain mamba and should take their pro kobe anti lebron agendas to the bruce blitz hardcore podcast and see how well they do there, bruce is objective.

      Posted by samtotheg | March 29, 2012, 2:36 pm
  6. I love the people that slam lebron for not having the amount of wins with Miami that he had in Cleveland and then turn around and say in the same breath that nothing he does in the regular season matters. That is a double standard my friends.

    And Lebron and Miami are aware that nothing matters till the playoffs, which is why they aren’t trying to win the regular season night in and night out.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | March 26, 2012, 7:50 am
    • Nightblade/Realist #2,

      They’ve been pretty inconsistent this season. There have been so many up and down games. I’m tired of seeing them lose leads. This really worries me.

      You have Curry rotting on the bench when they need some size on the floor; you have one of the best 3 point shooters sitting on the bench when they need him the most (James Jones); Not a good sign.

      I’m not a big fan of Spoelstra. I think he was one of the main reasons this team lost last year. Bad subsitution patterns and unable to mentally get these guys back in the game.

      Last night, Lebron was so disengaged. Here’s a game on National TV, a team you could play in the Finals and you are nowhere to be found. here is your chance to make a statement and instead your hanging out on the perimeter.

      I dunno; I’m still not convinced this team will win the title this year. But if they make it to the Finals in June, I’ll be in Miami rooting for them.

      Posted by Mike | March 26, 2012, 8:55 am
      • Mike as someone that lives in South Florida and loves following the Heat, I am worried more then I would really like to admit to myself.

        What worries me more then the unengaged offense(that happens from time to time even on the best of teams, and its got a lot to do with Miami being tired I think), is the lack of effort on defense which again is explained by them being tired.

        But I stand by my statement. They are not trying to win the regular season. That is not a goal. The goal is to go into the playoffs healthy and ready to go.

        Winning the regular season means nothing. Chicago is putting out all this effort for that extra game at home. Its not going to matter because Miami can beat Chicago in Chicago and in Miami and they know it and the Bulls know it. And the Bulls aren’t fooling themselves thinking they have gotten that much better between now and then even if their fans think they have.

        I watched the Lakers struggle at the end of regular seasons year after year, only to turn it on in the playoffs. The Heat are more then capable of doing the same.

        Lebron is hurt, I think it might be a good idea to give him a couple of games off. I am not worried about statement games vs anyone, that is all hype, the playoffs matter, nothing else does.

        As much as I have fun when the Heat when and its fun to be at their games, the team hasn’t lost sight of the fact that it’s goal is to win in June.

        Lebron will be fine in the playoffs, so will Wade and Bosh. Then you will see Miami play at its most intense.

        I think losing last year in the finals taught the team a lot about when and how to put out effort.

        Coach Spro is a weak point, I agree, but hes done a good job of steering the ship through the media madness and hes done a really good job of getting everyone to buy into the team’s defense scheme. It helps to be coaching Lebron and Wade, but the rest of the team has bought in.

        I think the center Miami just signed will do a good job in the backup role. If Curry was ready to go, he would be playing, clearly hes not ready to go.

        I can’t see anyone but Chicago beating Miami in a 7 game series, and honestly I can’t even see that happening.

        Its not going to be easy but this is Miami’s year. I still believe that. They are haunted by their failure last season, when they let a series that they had control of slip away. Put in the same situation they will close this time.

        As long as they don’t try and play too much hero ball.

        Also balanced with losing leads, is the teams ability to climb out of deep holes, while they never should have been in those holes in the first place, they nevertheless battled back.

        I don’t think they will lose the same leads in the playoffs. At least I hope not.

        Posted by nightbladehunter | March 29, 2012, 6:39 pm
        • I agree. I don’t see anybody beating the Heat this year but weird things have happened in Sports so who knows. We had a 10-6 Packer team win the SB last year, a 9-7 Giants team this year and a Mavs team last year who weren’t supposed to get out the first round.

          Speaking of losing leads, here we are with the Heat up by 2 (35-33) against the Raptors when they were up by 14 about 5 minutes ago. Not good Nightblade, not good

          Posted by Mike | March 30, 2012, 4:49 pm
          • Yeah and tied 89-89 in the 4th, but after that Miami pulled away. Still it shouldn’t have been as much of a struggle vs the Raptors, I mean come on its the Raptors.

            On the plus side Lebron is starting to look a lot better. Bosh and Wade played well.

            Miami is starting to step on the throat of teams again.

            Posted by nightbladehunter | March 30, 2012, 6:54 pm

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