Five clutch commandments

So I'm assuming that everyone want to talk about Robert Horry, even though the subject's alreayd been done to death. Clearly the draft is still over people's heads.

1. Why do I think Reggie Miller is a more distinguished clutch player than Horry? Because last night was the first time in Horry's career that he's had a sustained late game effort—a Miller-esque performance—as opposed to just one shot.

2. Hall of Famer, my ass. If you want to penalize Nash's MVP cred based on his lack of defense, surely Horry's chances of enshrinement are hurt by not trying until the last shot of a playoff series's decisive game. There's really never been a player like him in any sport—one who shows you next to nothing until it really matters, while plenty of more talented guys fold under pressure despite having played at a high level up to that point (whether you're talking late in game, late in season, or late in playoff series).

3. Horry's kind of clutch is not quantifiable. Except for last night's game, we're not talking about overwhelming late game efforts; it's hitting a shot in a game that happens to come down to one shot, a situation that's completely beyond his control (if anything, it's a failure on his part for not having widened the gap before then).

4. That said, Horry is ready and willing to take that shot and more often than not, hits it. That's the defintion of a role player: given a specific kind of situation, he can be inserted to do the job. Not, like a star does, set the course of the game himself.

5. If this series has been saved, it's because the game was entertaining, active, and close up until Horry took the final shot. Celebrate Horry for the second half, where he caught fire and kept them in the game, not the "historic" three. To their credit, the media seems to be doing this, but failing to note the basic difference between this Horry and the one that's up to this point defined his post-season career.


At 6/20/2005 1:51 PM, Anonymous brickowski said...

the draft isn't over anyone's head. we'll talk about it in due time. like when the NBA FREAKING FINALS ARE OVER.

knee-jerkedly rejecting horry from the hall is foolish. you showed this year that you're capable of thiking outside the box on these things with your nash for MVP campaign. by no means was nash a tradtional MVP, just as horry isn't a traditional inductee. doesn't mean he doesn't belong, though. he's a one of a kind player and i think you have to make an exception. baseball heads have had to change their thinking to include closers in cooperstown. why can't basketball do the same? horry is you don't think mariano rivera will be in the hall?

the basketaball hall of fame is filled with such unforgettable names as Leon Barmore, Dino Meneghin, and Drazen Dalipagic. it's populated with basketball executives, women and foreigners. Drazen Petrovic is a hall of famer. you're telling me Robert Horry hasn't meant more to the game than these people?

if winning truly is the most important thing in sports like everyone says it is, then there's no doubt that robert horry is a hall of famer. in a pivotal game 5 featuring the last two champs, the greatest power forward in the history of ball, several all-stars, and the best starting five in the league, robert horry managed to be the best player on the court.

At 6/20/2005 2:10 PM, Blogger Ken said...

The Draft? We're talkin about the Draft? Not the Finals...Not the Finals..The Draft?

After I read it my brain filed this Horry piece under "Hatin'".

At 6/20/2005 2:57 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

Ha! I was about to write about how this piece and the stuff about Manu last week was all about "hating" and then I realized that I actually agree with all 5 commandments. Still, you've clearly been drinking the Haterade lately.

The Hall of Fame question seems to be coming up a lot recently, so I'm throwing some names out - should they get in and will they get in.

Robert Horry (right now).

Ben Wallace (5 more years of current production, 1 more Defensive POY award).

Dikembe Mutombo.

Ray Allen (2 more years of current production, 3 years of Mitch Richmond as a Wizette production).

Grant Hill (3 more years of 60 games/season, 18 ppg).

Chris Webber (see Grant Hill).

Zo Mourning.

At 6/20/2005 2:58 PM, Anonymous brickowski said...

shoals is so high-level. it's nice that he tolerates our silly desire to talk about the biggest, and best game of the entire season.

At 6/20/2005 3:10 PM, Blogger emynd said...

I agree with the contention that Shoals's analysis of Bob Horry is wholly predicated on being reactionary. It's pretty sad.

To me, it's blatantly obvious that Bob Horry deserves to be in the Hall--and it was obvious before last night--if just for the fact that there's never been a player like him. And there probably won't ever be a player like him again. It's not like players like Horry are a dime-a-dozen. I mean, the fact that nobody fears this guy unless the game is on the line is hilarious, ridiculous, and yet poignant and unparalleled.

Has there ever been a player in the history of any sport where the everyone just sort've ignores him for most of the game (the opposing team, Horry's own teammates, and the fans), and and then be scared shitless of him for the closing moments?

Bill Simmons sums it up nicely when he says this: "When ESPN Classic shows Game 5 of the 2005 Finals some day and I'm calling my buddy House just to tell him, "Turn on Classic, they're showing the Robert Horry Game," I can pretty much guarantee his response:

"Which one?"

And let's be honest: the Hall of Fame isn't reserved for stars and juggernauts who dominate. It's reserved for special players who occupy a special place. How else can you justify the inclusion of some of these nobodies? I mean, Drazen Petrovic was likable and everything, but if he wasn't killed in a car accident, nobody would be wearing his throwbacks, let alone would he be in the gol'darn Hall of Fame. And what's the point of the Hall anyway? To commemorate the storied history of the NBA? How can Robery Horry not be one of these stories? He's absolutely GOT to be.

And, I must admit, I find the NBA draft to be terribly uninteresting.


At 6/20/2005 3:24 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

let me take this slow:

1. saying "horry is a hall of fame caliber player" is not the same as saying "horry belongs in the hall of fame because other 'special' players like meadowlark lemon and petrovic are in there." he's a treasure, a curiosity, the kind of person for whom the baseball hall invented the veterans' ballot. but he is not, i repeat, NOT, someone whose career allows him to measure up to the greatness we first think of when saying "Hall of Fame."

2. The argument for Nash as MVP is flawed, but not counterintuitive. That's the difference.

3. Not sure how I feel about the closer analogy, since someone like Rivera did it most every night, for all of the year. Not just a few times over his career.

4. Kellerman (back from the depths of FOX sports, making me realize that he, not Simmons, is my ESPN hero. . but more on that later) raised the point earlier today (subbing for DP) that Horry shouldn't be penalized for buying into a team concept during the year. Only so many people can score on a basketball team, and he let those who made them better on a regular basis do the scoring. Until they needed him to do what he did better than anyone.

5. Not hatin' on Horry. Notice, I said last night was amazing. But it was markedly different than what he's made his rep doing, what he'd go for the Hall for. I'm not saying that he hasn't been great at that, but people need to think about what clutch shots actually mean, how they come about.

6. I like the draft more than basketball itself. It's not basketball and has nothing to do with basketball.

7. I agree with emynd that there's never been another horry in any sport (i think i said it in my initial post), and timmy said it in the press conference. His story is amazing and improbable and there's probably no one else who could've pulled it off like he has (all the positives and negatives implied there); again, an impressive oddity who deserves its own, peculiar kind of dap.

(deep breath, then those HOF candidates)

At 6/20/2005 3:34 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

What may be even more remarkable about Horry is that even at the end of close games, opponents STILL don't pay any attention to him. Even after single-handedly keeping the Spurs in the game, during the most important possession of the season, the Pistons left him wide open so that they could doubleteam Manu (even though Rasheed claims he was doubling Duncan...EARTH TO SHEED! ARE YOU OUT THERE?). It's like no matter how many times he does it, he still doesn't get treated like a threat. I mean, how was he that wide open?

At 6/20/2005 3:37 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

By the by, when I used the phrase "hating" I was referring to your consistent treatment of the media, not of players like Horry and Manu.

At 6/20/2005 3:39 PM, Blogger emynd said...

"7. I agree with emynd that there's never been another horry in any sport (i think i said it in my initial post)."

Yeah, you did. Sorry. I read it early on in the day (when I was quite busy at work) and then responded in the afternoon (when I was not so busy). I still think that his oddity status (an "oddity status" that contributed consistently to winning HUGE GAMES), is enough to make him a legitimate HOF-er.

To me it's just a no-brainer. He is one of the most interesting stories about winning to ever hit NBA basketball (and sports in general), and if that isn't enough to push him into the Hall (God forbid, he didn't average 25 points a game!), then it'd be quite tragic for that storyline to be lost.

To me, it seems like this is precisely what the Hall of Fame is for: to canonized players like Robert Horry who--without proper canonization--might be forgotten.

If Big Shot Rob ain't in there, nobody should be.


At 6/20/2005 4:17 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Robert Horry (right now): yes, but with the understanding that he's not being considered for the pantheon. for all of these other ones, I'm assuming we've talking about them as bonafide HOF-er's, not "special" player.

Ben Wallace: I don't think Wallace belongs in any moreso than Rodman does (winner, amazingly skilled rebounder, heart). You could make the argument that Ben pre-Sheed might have had a better chance, when his stats were consistenly outrageous. maybe if they win another two titles, and he's understood as the heart of a dynasty. I guess that would put him ahead of Rodman.

Dikembe Mutombo: no. a seven footer should be a shot blocking force. Russell is the only center who got in primarily on defense, but come on, he's Bill Russell.

Ray Allen: absolutely. he's rising from the ashes of the 2-guard era to prove himself one of the most skilled, smartest players in the league. a player's player, one of those people who quietly essays a consummate HOF career.

Grant Hill: if he got in, it would be a Koufax or Sayers. Career destroyed by injury, but was he clearly headed toward all-time status before. He would, but not Penny. Hill certainly played enough time to show what he would've been about, unlike Herb Score or Pete Reiser in baseball. The question is whether he's more Koufax/Sayers or Terrell Davis.

Webber: I think it has to be yes. An underachiever, but still one of the major stars of his era. The injuries actually help his case, since it gives him an excuse for whatever mess the last third of his career turns out to be. But he'd already played long enough to make his case, and it's not like he's been absoolutely and totally useless since he started to fall apart. Still could reinven himself.

Zo Mourning: nine very good years, but not long enough to count as a full career, not amazing enough to get Koufaxed.

At 6/20/2005 4:43 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

Horry: No. If the voting took place today, he'd be in. But if he plays for another 2-3 years, then the 5 year wait...I think the impetus will be gone by then and everyone will look at his numbers and go, "What were we thinking?" In a perfect world, he's in because of his uniqueness. And I could even see an homage for a couple years at the HOF to him (and maybe other role players). But while Marc Stein might dredge up an article in support 8 years down the road, I don't think it's gonna happen.

Wallace - He's the toughest case to me. I think it all depends on the next few years. If the Pistons keep making the Finals (and maybe win one or two more) and he wins Defensive POY a couple more times, he's got a shot. If the Pistons fall from relevancy and he never wins another award, no way. Either way, I think things are going to have to fall into place perfectly for him to have a shot (but they could).

Mutombo: Those 4 Defensive POY awards look pretty good, but you're probably right - it won't be enough ultimately.

Allen: I just don't know about him. One thing is for sure, he can't be the third fiddle on some team next year. That could kill him. He's gotta be The Man for at least 2-3 more years. Even then, guys like Dominique Wilkins aren't even in the Hall of Fame yet! If Nique isn't in, how can Allen? I think he'll be like Adrian Dantley - great scorer, but no Hall of Fame.

Hill - I don't think he was at Koufax's level. He'll get some sympathy votes, but there just weren't enough years.

Webber - I'll disagree on this one. I don't think Webber will get in. His knees are done...he'll never be the same player again. He's not exactly young anymore either. Once the knees go on a big man, it's all over. He never won anything, will always be seen as an underachieving, cheating malcontent, and doesn't have the sheer stats to get in. Look at his totals in things like points and rebounds...he'll be lucky to break the top 30 all time in either category.

Zo - Not sure why I put him up there. He has no shot.

At 6/20/2005 4:45 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

One more thing: I wonder why no one really cares about the Hall of Fame in basketball all that much. I mean, if a baseball player had a career like Dominique Wilkins (say, over 3000 hits, one of the most dymanic players ever) and they weren't in Cooperstown, there would be an article every other day about it.

At 6/20/2005 4:48 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

They thing that you are discounting here is that the NBA HOF is not like the baseball hall of Fame or the NFL, it is much more inclusive. It means much more to be a hall of famer in baseball than in basketball. Keep that in mind. I compare Robert Horry to Arturo Gatti, the boxer, fighting this weekend against Floyd Mayweather. The thing about Gatti, is he's not one of the ten, 15, or even 20 best boxers in the world, but he's been in more memorable fights and is more of a singular figure than virtually any non-heavyweight since probably Ray Leonard. Gatti has lost 6 fights already, many to non-elite fighters, and has never really fulfilled the potential he had because of personal problems and lack of training. But the fucker has been in something like 5 fight of the year fights! Many greater fighters won't make it to the boxing hall of fame,(another Hall of Fame, like basketball that is not particularly hallowed) but you can be damn sure Gatti will. Horry is just like Gatti, a singular figure who never made the best of his ability, but has somehow managed to have a career of incredible, memorable highs. He's like the Zelig of the NBA. Or perhaps he's like Adam Viniateri. Viniateri is a probable hall of Famer for his clutch kicks, but without having great teams and being in dramatic situations, he's that guy who kicks for San Diego, know what I mean?

Horry is certainly not as great as any of the clutch players of all time, all you have to do is go over his career and see that on virtually none of his shots was there so much as a hand in his face because of the caliber of player he was playing with, and the caliber of player he is. But the fact is, it is a hall of FAME, and it's hard for me to deny a guy who has had so many moments of extraordinary drama.

By the Way, what a fucking game, huh? I was fucking screaming like a little girl. That dunk was fucking madness.

And I agree to a certain extent on the haterade factor, you don't want to become a guy like King Kauffman Bethlehem, the NBA is truly the beautiful game, as we saw last night, and you don't want to become one of these old curmudges who downplays greatness when it's in front of your eyes.

Wow, what a fucking game. Horry really saved Duncans ass wow.

At 6/20/2005 4:54 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

Also, I think all of those guys make it into the Hall of Fame eventually, Ben Wallace, Ray Allen, Grant Hill, Mutumbo, Zo. Webber is the one guy I don't know about, as I think there might be a media backlash against him for some reason, but other than that They all make it. Again, I think you guys are thinking of the NBA HOF as a little more elite than it acually is.

At 6/20/2005 5:10 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

OK, let's amend this to say, enshrined within a couple years of when they are eligible. In that case, it actually is very tough to get into the Hall. Here are the NBA players who have gotten in since 1995 (I only count them if they got in based on NBA stats only and only if they got in within 5 years of the end of their NBA career - guys like Petrovic, David Thompson, and Goodrich don't count):

1995 - Kareem
1996 - Gervin
1997 - Alex English (gives Ray Allen hope)
1998 - Bird
1999 - McHale
2000 - Isiah
2001 - Moses
2002 - Magic
2003 - Parish, Worthy
2004 - Drexler

That's it. Basically one a year. Now, it's true that some guys got in after the fact (McAdoo, Goodrich,a few old guys I've never even heard of), but they are few and far between. Does anyone believe that Chris Webber is gonna be that one guy when he retires or that he will be voted in by some Veteran's committee 30 years later? Please.

At 6/20/2005 5:35 PM, Anonymous brickowski said...

well said, shoefly. the point about the inclusiveness of the basketball hall is what i was trying to get at earlier. i disagree with mutumbo and am unsure about Zo (probably just because he flexes 8 times a game), but the others should all be in.

also, i think the comparison to Viniateri is apt. i didn't want to bring him up because i don't know enough about the Canton selection process and was worried i'd be weakening my argument by comparing Horry to a guy who might not get in (stenerud's the only pure kicker in Canton, right?).

i didn't want to turn this exclusively into a Hall of Fame debate. that game was so fucking amazing, and had so many moments worthy of discussion that to ignore it would be to miss out on a potential gold mine of darko topics.

-the possibility of sheed calling the timeout he didn't have, in the state of michigan, with CWebb in the building. i mean, you couldn't script this kind of shit. what's going through webber's mind when he sees that happening? relief or horror?
-sheed saying postgame that he left horry to guard duncan. wtf?
-the genius coaching move by pop waiting until the last 30 seconds of the game before switching bowen on chauncey. the pistons looked utterly confused by the switch. rip couldn't figure out if he was supposed to post parker or cut. missed shot. spurs ball with 14 seconds left in a tie game. pop had to have thought about defending the pistons like this for at least a week right? he didn't just think of this last night as chauncey was torching parker, hdid he? he just wanted to save it for a key moment when the pistons wouldn't have time to adjust, right?
-duncan's botched tip-in. my eyes were as big as saucers when i saw that develop. i thought it was over. and then he missed and i thought we had just lost the title.
-that dunk. i mean, wow! have you guys seen stills of that thing. horry got horizontal. (check the pic in e.neel's article on espn)

At 6/20/2005 7:36 PM, Anonymous mega montana said...

my whole thing with the hall of fame is that you should have made multiple all star games or done something pretty amazing consistently over a sustained period

robert horry is a basic role player during the season, during the playoffs, he's made countless big shots

is this enough to push him into the hall? I'd probably say no

yes to ray allen (although ben wallace is close) i'd leave ben off because he is just so awful outside of tips or alley oops on offense.

no to the rest of the list : deke motombo (way too 1 dimensional), grant hill (if he never got injured, yes), webber (close, but i cant vote him in) and zo (no way, i never thought of him as 'great')


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