4.12.2006

When citizenry got settled again



If you’ve been with us long enough to remember this, then what I put forth on McSweeney's today should come as little surprise. But instead of merely flicking twigs at 2003 Royalty, I’ve opted to state an anti-Wade case that sparkles with rigor while leveling even more serious accusations against him. More importantly, my beef with him has gone from a matter of taste to a truly conscientious fear for the sturdiness of the roof towering over FreeDarko headquarters.

Central to this exhausting project, which ended up being as much about the Class of ’03 as Wade’s particular contribution to the liturgy, was the dog-earred-to-death “next Jordan” era, when designating a worthy heir was nearly as important as enjoying the Creator’s later reign. So indelible a mark did Jordan leave on this league that, until the recent dawn of faith, he continued to stand as a despotic prototype for the look, presence, style, and credentials of NBA stardom. Iverson came closest to an epochal shift, but he met with such resistance from so many quarters that, in the end, he was filed away as “special, but not Jordan material.” Whether this was because he defied the Jordan Norms or refused to assert himself hoodlessly depends perhaps on which foot you put forth first.



When trying to get my thoughts in order about Bosh (or, in all truth, trying to make him fit my argument), it dawned on me that Garnett has cast a similarly long shadow over a certain segment of Association forecastdom. Hardly exercising the quasi-religious hold of the MONMJ, but also yards apart from the tactical maneuvering of the MONJO, MONDN, and MONGA, this belief that the league was bound to see another Garnett provided refuge from the post-Jordan doldrums. If Jordan represented an impossible archetype—as well as an impossible standard against which to judge subsequent high-test guards—perhaps the answer lay in the front court, where the Wolves' star offered up a vision of the future that was nothing less than prophetic in its scorn for existing systems. Whether this impulse manifested itself in the balls-out boosterism of other, often overrated, KG-esque figurines, or the radical overstatement of the usefulness of Garnett as a scouting template, the supposition that he would recur was at least as laughable as the league’s refusal to recognize Iverson’s import.

We have dishonored the feet of Odom, Kirilenko, and D-Miles, gravely miscasting them perhaps at the expense of their true selves. . . and we have likewise reluctantly waited on Chandler, Villanueva, Blatche, and others to prove that lightning can and will strike multiple tones. As if to underscore the comedy of the situation, lately none other than Dwight Howard has suggested that he needs to start cultivating a diversified game befitting that of his idol, Garnett.

Rising star Dwight Howard aspires to be like Minnesota power forward Kevin Garnett, who is provided the freedom to post up or roam the perimeter as a means of getting open shots. Meanwhile, the Magic would prefer Howard to be more like San Antonio's Tim Duncan, a back-to-the-basket force who pounds foes down low and occasionally drops in the midrange jump shot.

"They really want me to be a power player, which is cool, but I know I don't want to just bang with somebody and fight the whole game," said Howard, whose Magic (29-44) host the Milwaukee Bucks (37-36) tonight at 7. "You don't get to do a lot down there (in the low post). Right now, I'm not one of those big guys like Shaq (O'Neal) who can just hold somebody off. Right now, I'd say I don't have the education to know how to maneuver my body around down there."




Perhaps all of this is disgustingly arbitary. Certainly, Duncan in his own way has liberated the seven-footer, as has Nowitzki. And the pick of Bosh over Amare or Howard as his generation’s most forward-thinking pivot man is largely symbolic; it follows primarily from his ’03 status, and has a ton to do with his having shown us where the bright path leads. Howard remains a work in progress, and Amare, alas, may yet go down in history as either one of the NBA’s most decisive forces or cruelest wastes. Only with Bosh have we seen a young player nurtured under the sign of El Ticketo devote a clear excess of kinetic spirit and nimble technique to life in the post, heaving with the possibility of following KG (more so than Howard, certainly) but adapting himself instead to the role he was meant to play. His game may not induce the shock of LeBron or Melo’s, but in his decision to resolve the post-Garnett era, it is no less of a benchmark in this long-term shift in priorities and call of possibilities. And while I may castigate Wade for defiling the memory of those that came before, Bosh's willingness to acknowledge the elusiveness of Garnett's example is perhaps the fondest, most lasting tribute one could pay.

59 Comments:

At 4/13/2006 11:53 AM, Anonymous TZ said...

... Wade is straight-up revisionism, right down to the relative joylessness with which he pulls off some of the most freakishly unattainable moves this side of the Carter.

Kobe is also rather joyless in his execution since reaching the higher plain. Of course, KBB's inner joy is watching opponents suffer inner pain, so permanent scowl could be lying.

Seeing Howard's quote the other day was one of the saddest moments of the season. He's officially wasted, and you are correct that it makes Bosh all the more weighty.

 
At 4/13/2006 12:05 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

terrifyification and brutality are their own joy. and i'm not talking m.o.p.=amare.

at the risk of getting nasty, we shouldn't be surprised that kobe relishes wearing a black hood on the court. though i also think he's into the first-half bouts of FBP-like cool.

 
At 4/13/2006 12:16 PM, Blogger c-los said...

Bosh will really turn into KG if he stays in Toronto....the quiet superstar who plays in a crap city for a garbage franchise....no 7 footer has come close to doing the things Dirk does...his pullup would make Pauly Walnuts jealous

 
At 4/13/2006 1:57 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i want to sincerely welcome anyone who is finding this post through a real gm thread, and make the painfully obvious confession that I WRITE LIKE THIS ON PURPOSE. let that marinate for a second, youngblood. blame russia if you want.

 
At 4/13/2006 2:20 PM, Anonymous lube said...

It's not obvious, actually. Obfuscatory, thesaurus worship without a hint of irony is rather prevalent when it comes to blogs and yours is no exception. Since you're admittedly aware of this however, I'll refrain from referring to you as a pretentious self-flaggelator on RealGM henceforth.

tz, I think it's a bit premature to write Howard off as a lost cause. He's young and stupid. It's surprising that he hasn't said anything more damning to date, come to think of it. Besides, once Darko decides to start chucking 3 pointers with regularity, Howard will have no choice but to play in the post if he wants the ball :o)

 
At 4/13/2006 2:25 PM, Blogger T. said...

I think it's because Wade is cold blooded. He's the real Mamba.

Actually, I alluded to this a month or two ago. We want our heroes to be flawed - Odyssesyus, Achillies - and especially in light of FreeDarkoism, Arenas.

I think that despite Shaq's career long Superman fetish, that Wade actually is Superman. The most boring superhero ever. One stupid weakness. No hint of a darkside. No tragic backstory (yeah yeah, Planet Krypton - he was barely there). He's not compelling because he has so few flaws.

That aside, having seen him play in person three times - he is amazing to watch. And the best in the Association at splitting the double team. I don't know how he fits his 6'6" in-between players. It's like he just shows up on the other side of the trap. And he's also the best at those looks-like-a-layup-but-is-actually-a-posterizing-dunk dunks. He got someone real good the other night.

If I'm going to be honest here, I think I'd take him right now - over DasBron. Seriously.

 
At 4/13/2006 2:28 PM, Anonymous TZ said...

lube,

The problem is that Howard is not stupid. He's been by far the most mature HS->L kid since Ticket. Without getting back into a faith discussion, which is so two months ago at FD, he's devoutness provides some solid grounding.

So knowing by sight that he could be Duncan with Stro's wings and Iggy's launchpad and Grant Hill's morality - yeah, it's frustrating to see him renounce his destiny. Whatever though.

(This development also bumps Oden's stock a tick higher - not that he needs any additional stock or anything.)

 
At 4/13/2006 3:15 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

boundless uppage to the guy on real gm who says i read like babelfish; that's probably one of the strongest influences on the way bethlehem shoals writes. in fact, when THE ORIGINAL big baby and i did some real-print pieces that are FD's other pre-history, we used to run text through babelfish a couple times for added simmer.

they don't know about "return of the battle of the nba moral frankensteins."

 
At 4/13/2006 3:29 PM, Blogger Dr. Chestnutt said...

biggest ups to Shoals for the first ever reference to Secret Wars II to appear in a column about the NBA.

 
At 4/13/2006 3:42 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Real GM thread linkage?

 
At 4/13/2006 3:45 PM, Blogger c-los said...

Yessss T....With all respect to his Majesty the King, Wade is better right now....he's the only star in the league with turns his weakness(no 3ball) into a strong point (ability to get to the hole). One on one there is noone that can contain him. As much as I love Gil's game i'll admit that at crunch time Wade has an inane ability to go to the hile and get a good shot where Gil will put the pressure on the refs to make a call 75% of the time. Wade also finishes above the rim more.

 
At 4/13/2006 3:58 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i just wanted to say that raymond felton is a mini d-wade, except he has a passion to win that rivals KG and MJ. once he gets his bigs healthy, watch out for the kid.

 
At 4/13/2006 4:13 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

Great pair of posts. I actually feel like I understand the FD-anti Wadeness now, though I don't particularly share it. I love AI for being who he is without softening for anyone, why is it wrong to love D-Wade because he won't harden himself to improve his 'cred'? Unless you think that he's intentionally unoffensive, and then we get into Tiger-bashing territory, I think.

 
At 4/13/2006 5:24 PM, Anonymous illwafer said...

the dwight howard stuff kind of touches on how shitty coaches are in general. if you are big, you must play close to the basket. period.

it is at every level. if you're over 6' tall in high school, you must be a forward.

imagine if dirk played for another team? i don't think he'd be the player he is today.

dwight is smart, and he knows that a life of banging in the posts is going to be boring and short-lived.

speaking of tall people and the twolves, mark blount can really shoot the basketball. consistently. seriously.

 
At 4/13/2006 5:54 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

wade isn't boring, he's an assassin. the fact that he doesn't look excited does not make his play any less exciting. his quietness is not the akward, i-like-science kind of duncan. his is the coolness of capability, concentrated down into its white hot essence. He (and to a less extent ben gordon) is cool hand luke meets ghost dog.

I too would take him over king james.

(and a side, note, c-los said wade is "the only star in the league with turns his weakness(no 3ball) into a strong point (ability to get to the hole)." mark blount, mentioned somewhat sheepishly by illwafer, is the exact opposite. He is the only player in the league who manages to take an unimpeachible strength (an ability to shoot absolutely unrivaled among nba big men, not counting dirk) into a horrible, unredeemable weakness (a refusal to do absolutely anything other than take the aforementioned jumpshot).

 
At 4/13/2006 6:59 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

wade may not be awkward, but his demureness drives me nuts. assassins should have take pride in the kill, if not the killing.

t. can probably speak to this better than i can, but damn, rafer alston might be the best interview in the game. every time he comes on sportsradio here in houston he drops numerous gems, of both the wise and endearing nature.

samples:

"it's the nba; we do everything the wrong way."

"every guy has a different approach to the game. after a loss, some people will bang their head against a locker, while other guys will drink some juice and think about it."

i hate to to say it, but if he had "better" english he'd have quite a future in broadcasting. i guess there's always the local market.

 
At 4/13/2006 7:00 PM, Blogger T. said...

Did y'all see Hollinger's column where Chris Paul had the 3rd best rookie year by adjusted PER for a guard, behind Oscar and 23. . . and ahead of Magic.

And that's where stats fail.

Seriously? Chris Paul ahead of Earvin?

That's almost as Chris Bridges as when Sport Magazine declared that Byron Scott was better than Jordan (June 1988 - I still have that issue).

 
At 4/13/2006 7:04 PM, Blogger T. said...

Regarding Rafer - I did mention he's my favorite player to work with because he's so amazingly outgoing. He will talk to ANYONE and EVERYONE. Janitors, security, fans . . .even staff members of the team - which is pretty unusual.

Shoals - should you catch one of the last 3 Rockets games - Jon Barry is working television and that's a guy who has a future in broadcasting.

 
At 4/13/2006 7:19 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

anyone who would take Wade over the young King must be watching another sport that i'm not aware of.

 
At 4/13/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

Shoals, I really enjoyed your McSweeney's piece. However, I must take issue with something you wrote regarding the "mole".

Wade may seem robotic from time to time, and even joyless. And yes, I do find him boring at times. But, to say that he constantly lets his drive to win get in the way of showing someone up or doing a sick move just for the sake of doing a sick move, is a bit overstated. Remember the crossover on Eric Snow (the one that made Snow fall), Wade took a full second coldly watching Eric crumble to the floor before launching the jumper (I'm pretty sure he missed the shot). And he does exhibit a few theatrics after some of his ultra-spectacular shots and plays. But he does lack a certain je ne sais quoi.

Also, I'm not sure he's capable of reaching that rarefied air of "explosive superhumanity". Only two, maybe three guys in this League can get there : Bryant, Iverson and maybe even James. Wade isn't limited by his stoic professionalism, it's more of a case where he (a)simply can't dominate like those other guys or (b)is on a such a balanced and well-oiled team that it's not possible for him to dominate and fully showcase all of his talents. Bryant kind of went through the same thing during his days with O'neal.

The anti-Spurs/Pistons basketball enthusiast in me can't wait to see Wade on his own team (and hopefully a struggling one). And with Shaq's impending retirement, we'll all see what he can do as "the man".

I am afraid, though, that some have sadly forgotten "the G.O.A.T.'s real meaning", but that's neither here nor there.

 
At 4/13/2006 9:40 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

mutoni, I think we already saw what Wade can do on his own team in the pre-Shaq-on-the-Heat playoffs. And I'd support what somebody stated before, that Wade always seems to get it done at the most crucial time of the game. It's like the ball gravitates to him, for example when grabbing huge offensive boards and single-handedly securing the win during the first Kobe-Shaq christmas game.

Anyway, there have been some great points made about Wade's ability and personality or lack thereof. I'd come down on the side of his demeanor fitting his dominant style of play.

But to maybe approach him from another angle, I'd look at it like this: if you think about what you don't like about Wade's greatest adversaries (limited to the wing/scoring positions), Wade is exactly the opposite.

For example I'd support the notion that Kobe settles for the jumper way to often (maybe to prove a point?) when he could use his superior athleticism to get easier shots in the low post or going to the basket. Wade: exactly the opposite.

LeBron, I personally can't stand his grimacing and gestures after his (admittedly spectacular) dunks, they just seem fake to me - as if he were practicing them in front of the mirror. Wade: exactly the opposite.

Iverson, although obviously getting hit a lot, still is complaining to the refs a tad too much for my taste. Some games it seems he is looking for a foul on every drive to the hole. I haven't seen that tendency with Wade at all.

I'm pretty sure Wade would never publicly complain about Bowen's defense like Ray Allen does, he'd rather go out and try to kill him the next time on the court. Then you have VC, who obviously doesn't give his all every game and who - like Barkley masterfully said about David Robinson some time - doesn't seem to play basketball because he loves it but rather because he's good at it. I have never had that feeling with Wade as he always seems the be the one competing the hardest.

I could probably find some more examples, but I hope it's clear what I'm trying to get at. Wade is not the perfect package, but if his flaw is this weird combination of lack of emotional expression and just being to sleek to raise interest - I'll take that flaw over the aforementioned ones any day.

 
At 4/13/2006 9:45 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

at best, it seems like wade is of the josh smith school: game that swaggers like a motherfucker but heart that refuses to admit it. generally, i think he's in denial on a much deeper level.

is that last line about FD?

 
At 4/13/2006 9:52 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

To me Wade seems perfectly aware of what he can do on the court and what exactly he is doing to his opponents. To allude to a movie I didn't like, he's more like Neo fighting the agents in the last 'Matrix' movie then the one not yet knowing what he's capable of in the original film. Like he knows he is superior in every way. But was has been the moment when Wade went "Whoa!" and just realized? Any ideas?

 
At 4/13/2006 9:53 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i mean is mutoni's last line about FD.

wade: scores at will off the jumper or driving.

lebron: scores at will from anywhere on the floor, can rebound over 1-4's, and happens to be a pretty good passer.

wade has the advantage of having been showcased in the playoffs already. and having superior personel around him even without shaq. lebron might already be the best basketball player ever; wade will only ever be a more polite jordan.

 
At 4/13/2006 10:00 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

"I am afraid, though, that some have sadly forgotten "the G.O.A.T.'s real meaning", but that's neither here nor there."

That's not about FD. If anything, the people who run this site might be some of the few who truly understand MJ's real meaning (flaws and all).

The media is so busy drinking Larry Brown's play-the-right-way koolaid that they forget (and as a result, the casual fan does as well) that sometimes players need to get ill just to see how far they can push the limits of their games. That's what MJ managed to do and win at the same time. Can Wade do the same? We'll see. So far he's only managed to win a few ballgames but has yet to reach that "whoa" moment as Kaifa calls it.

 
At 4/13/2006 10:06 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

One more thing about Dywane (can his parents spell?)

That playoff run he had as a rookie is similar in my eyes to Penny's wildly enjoyable and short-lived postseason run when Shaq left (remember the back-to-back 40 point games vs. Miami?). If Wade doesn't go down to injury --which isn't as inconcievable as you may think when you consider just how awkward he tends to land after his drives to the cup--he has a chance to finish what Anfernee was just starting.

 
At 4/13/2006 10:29 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Because this rightfully drifts in the direction of Wade vs. LeBron, I just looked at their respective career averages:

Wade: 23ppg, 5.0reb, 6.1ast, 1.6stl, 0.8blk, 48.3fg%, 24.1 3pt%, 76.9ft%

LeBron: 26.5ppg, 6.6reb, 6.6ast, 1.8stl, 0.7blk, 45.8fg%, 33.0 3pt%, 74.6ft%

Equal in steals and blocks, not too much difference in points and assist, LeBron being the much better 3point-shooter and rebounding better (although at 4 inches taller), Wade the more efficient shooter from 2 and from the line. Even enough to neglect any numbers-based argument between the two in my opinion.

Shoals, attaching the label of 'best basketball player ever' to LeBron already seems way to early for me, at least the way I would define it. He still needs to win on the big stage, although LeBron may start this chapter in the next few weeks. But while he does what he does at a younger age than anybody before, I'd say there still are enough players in the Association that are quite close to him statistically so that he's not in a league of his own.

 
At 4/14/2006 12:16 AM, Anonymous Torgo said...

Going back to Dwight for a second, he should learn a decent mid-range jumper. If he has that there, his life will be a lot easier. For us, there are two possible outcomes: He becomes Mark Blount (or dear God, the worst villain of all, Robert Horry), and we suffer, or he picks up the mid-range as a way of making defenders respect him outside, while still playing down low. A decent jump shot would allow him to play the pick and roll more, and could open up a new world to his game. We all win.

About Wade, I like him. One of the only commercials I've seen recently of his is the Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8, which I thought was a great statement. Should Iverson have patented it first? Yeah, but there's something to the determination on Wade's face when he rises. Iverson is chest pounding joy, telling the world "This is what I have done, and it is good" and I love him for it. Wade, though, he knows. He knows that people can see. He hears people's jaws dropping. And when he gets up, it's time to go back to work. And if you want flair, check out the And1 move along the sidelines (on Youtube, linked by Truehoop) where he dribbled the ball between the sideline and the defender's right, then went to the defender's left, and never missed a step. Genius.

And Shoals, never more than a polite Jordan? I've read the arguments, but I'm not buying it. G.O.A.T. = Jordan. You can't say that the league was diluted when the Bulls threepeated twice. The number of players at their peak during that era, all the ones going into the HOF ringless, Jordan is the reason.

 
At 4/14/2006 12:21 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i was saying that about wade. as in, a polite jordan would be something less than jordan. lebron has the potential to maybe be even more than mj.

 
At 4/14/2006 12:43 AM, Anonymous Torgo said...

Shoals, I see your point, my bad. But you made me think. Since the final retirement, stories have come out about Jordan that put him in a much less favorable light (the one that comes most to mind the fastest is the shooting competition with Rip Hamilton while the team was waiting on the bus). While Jordan's vindictiveness made him special to watch, from these stories that come out, it also seems to make him kind of petty. What if Wade is above that? Jordan took delight in slapping down every "next Jordan" that came out, maybe because he needed to prove his G.O.A.T.ness. What if Wade is just doing what he wants to do, and the glory, for him, is all in the doing? What if, rather than a more polite Jordan, he's a Jordan who gets the job done, and if the result is stunning, he lets the world talk about it, because he's already onto the next thing?

 
At 4/14/2006 2:11 AM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Torgo, that person isn't the GOAT and can't be.

Besides, LBJ answered this question tonight and he didn't even have to pick up a ball. Two words: yellow vest.

word verification: kjjyyt

 
At 4/14/2006 7:00 AM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Somehow I don't feel at ease with all that "potential GOAT" about LeBron at this point of his career. For argument's sake, just imagine him and Kobe switching teams before this season. Would the Cavs be worse off than they are now? Would the Lakers be vastly improved?

I say Kobe would do such a switch in a heartbeat, play in the inferior Eastern Conference (only 4 teams playing above .500 ball) and have heartless Drew Gooden and slow-footed Ilgauskas instead of Kwame and Mihm. In my opinion even the Cavs minus LeBron and Hughes would beat the Kobe-less Lakers 9 out of 10 times.

While LeBron is doing outstanding things on the court - especially now as he's starting to figure out this crunch time thing - his team has just 6 more wins than the Lakers playing more games against inferior competition. This at least figures into my argument about any GOAT candidate. Granted, in this argument team success can only be measured by playoff performance, so you can't judge LeBron on that ground. For me, what he has done so far leaves open the possibility that he may end up as GOAT, but is nowhere as clear-cut as several people have suggested.

 
At 4/14/2006 9:33 AM, Blogger c-los said...

Lebron: Average defender, poor shot selection, defers to much at crunch time

Wade: Better defender, can force shots at times, crunch time assassin.

Their career #s are very similar but dont be fooled by the steals per game stats. Its the most overrated stat in basketball. It doesnt mean your a good defender , just that you are good at anticipation. Look at Larry Hughes last year. Got first team all-defense because of his thefts but got bitched in the playoffs by the aformentioned Dwade.

 
At 4/14/2006 9:35 AM, Blogger c-los said...

@Kafia....the lakers also have a coach who knows what hes doing...Mike Brown looks lost out there sometime

 
At 4/14/2006 2:08 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

What if Wade is just doing what he wants to do, and the glory, for him, is all in the doing? What if, rather than a more polite Jordan, he's a Jordan who gets the job done, and if the result is stunning, he lets the world talk about it, because he's already onto the next thing?

Exactly. Wade doesn't need to tell us to look at him because he knows we're looking already. Honestly, there might be a bit of "The Gambler" in him - he knows there will be time enough for counting when the dealing's done.

 
At 4/14/2006 2:24 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Man, Simmons kills KG today. It's a joke to suggest that Minny's cast is anywhere near as good as the Grizz cast, but I can't argue him on the Chris Paul point. Or the Barkley point.

 
At 4/14/2006 2:32 PM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

Going back to T.'s comment on Hollinger's Chris Paul piece, I'm fucking through with the guy. Fuck efficiency as a notion throughout all industries. I seriously feel getting on some barbarous shit. I'll be honest, I don't know how to calculate PER, nor do I care to learn. If these are the type of results that it produces, then obviously it is the spawn of some hellacious beast I'd prefer to not acquaint myself with. Immediately after reading the preposterous notion that Chris Paul has had the 3rd best rookie guard season in League history, I thought "didn't Steve Francis have about the same #s his rook campaign?" Here's Paul vs. Francis:

Paul Francis
MPG 36.4 36.1
FGAPG 12.3 14.5
FG% 43.2 44.5
3FGAPG 2.3 4.0
3FG% 28.3 34.5
FTAPG 6.1 4.7
FT% 84.5 78.6
RPG 5.3 5.3
SPG 2.3 1.5
BPG 0.8 0.4
T/OPG 2.4 4.0
APG 7.9 6.6
PPG 16.4 18.0

History of the L be damned, I think it's absolutely debatable about whether or not Stevie had a better rookie year statistically. Paul distributes better, Francis scores better; I don't see a huge disparity in performance here. Taking all of Steve's virtues into account and completely ignoring his shortcomings, I don't think anyone has ever had the audacity to intimate that Steve even breaths the same air as O, "Quilt" (my personal nickname for Jordan), or Magic.

I'm going to create my own new way to evaluate players, it going to be called The Sim-Francis-litude Scale. I'm going to compare players to Stevie at different points in his career to assign overall historic value. For my first foray into SABRmetrician-dom, I going to evaluate Paul vs. Stevie's rookie year. Here we go:

.5mpg + (-2.2FGA) / (-1.3FG%)^(-1.7[3FG])+ (-6.2[3FG%]- 1.4FTA * 5.9FT% (0RPG) - {Stardust and the need to write something controversial even if it makes no imperical or psychological sense} = Chris Paul, 3rd best rookie guard ever.

Oh well, I guess Hollinger was right. Stats don't lie.

 
At 4/14/2006 2:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

simmons is calling out kg for being too intense and "homicidal?" not to call race riot here or anything, but if he were a shaggy dude on the celtics. . .

the problem is with kg's game, not his attitude. as i meant to say yesterday, the kg/kg-ish players just don't work that well unless they pick a role a stick to it. garnett, as much as i love him, just isn't consistently scary enough at any one thing (as opposed to odom, who is scary because he seems to be doing everything at once).

oh, and lebron is entirely too sober and practical to be kemp 2. plus it's kind of sacreligous to compare someone to kemp while amare's future still hangs in the balance.

 
At 4/14/2006 3:53 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

dead on with the shaggy white celtic line.

even though it would be catastrophic for my Spurs, i keep catching myself dreaming about a KG-Kobe pairing that would turn the league upside down. the playoffs are just better when KG's involved and the Lakers matter. can't stern make this happen already?

on the bright side, we're still looking at a Lebron-Gilbert shootout that threatens to make Shoals' year.

and while i completely agree with rocco that the Hollinger article was a joke, i'm not willing to put paul and francis on even footing. call me old-fashioned, but i want nothing to do with a point who averages 6 assists and 4 turnovers a game.

 
At 4/14/2006 4:43 PM, Anonymous Smalls said...

The idea of Kobe and KG works, and truth be told, the possibility delights me to no end. However, both stars are so cosmically aligned yet opposed that once the experiment exists outside of its vacuum, one consumes the other, and likely, all we are left with is stand-up comic KG.

Tragic hero.

 
At 4/14/2006 11:49 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

simmons implies that kg is a bad teammate, and is disliked by other players. Has anyone ever heard anything like that before? is this based on anything? kg has got to be the most unanimously liked-by-fans player in the league. (is there anyone else who hasn't caused a paroxysm of denunciation at some point on these boards?)

 
At 4/15/2006 1:41 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

wpdk, that couldn't be more true. it's pretty much made me question whether simmons actually gets the association the way many of us suppose (or hope) to.

 
At 4/15/2006 7:01 AM, Blogger mutoni said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4/15/2006 7:03 AM, Blogger mutoni said...

yeah, that stuff by Simmons about KG being too intense was completely nonsensical. KG isn't too intense, if anything, he's not intense enough. Why doesn't he call for the rock EVERYTIME down the floor in the fourth quarter? What happened to the Garnett who terrified LA in the 2k4 playoffs and demolished Sac-Town in that epic game 7? What a shame this guy's career is turning out to be. Glaring, chest pounding, pointing to and animatedly hugging everyone in sight doesn't count for shit if games aren't being decided on your terms (and worse of all, if they're being decided on Ricky Davis' freaking terms. UGH).

But it was no where near as insane as this paragraph : "Maybe I'm biased as an unabashed NBA junkie, but I truly believe that the collective emergence of LeBron, Wade and Melo could eventually become the most significant thing that ever happened to this league -- bigger than MJ, bigger than Bird and Magic, bigger than everything. I guess we'll see."

Um. No. I just don't see that happening. Those three cats (Bron and friends) are nice and all, and will probably end up in the Hall when it's all said and done, but saying they'll eclipse MJ's group is more than a little crazy. Get a hold of yourself, Bill.

It was, however, a really enjoyable read. Glad to see his basketball knowledge take precedence over his anti-Mamba views and recognize that #8 is the clear-cut choice for MVP. That made my day.

 
At 4/15/2006 4:44 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

simmons implies that kg is a bad teammate, and is disliked by other players. Has anyone ever heard anything like that before?

A buddy of mine is good friends with Szcerbiak, so yes, I have heard this. But then that's also Wally who I think has rubbed many the wrong way.

Though there have been rumblings that since Seally died, KG hasn't been especially close with anyone on the team other than perhaps Joe Smith.

And to be fair to KG, I can't imagine bookending him with worse personalities than Wally and Olowasucki for 2.5 years...(add Sprewell feeding his family, a GM who drafts Ndudi Ebi, and the warmth and sunshine that is the Eddie Griffin experience...)

 
At 4/15/2006 4:59 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

at the end of the day, what is kg? a player who can guard 4 positions on the floor, score from anywhere inside the three point line, dish the ball like a guard, create mismatches and draw the double-team, bring it every night, play through injury, and just generally make everyone else want to show they care. to me, sounds like a more customized version of shawn marion, who we've currently been talking about as an mvp candidate if only they knew.

garnett is not a point guard, a clutch shot-creator, or a low post menace. but he's everything in between. and as for his teammate-ship--duncan doesn't lead in a traditional sense. kobe's chewed out his teammates. iverson's attitude sucks. dirk can't speak english. t-mac's confusing. i don't even think it's nit-picking to hold duncan to some absolutel, brady-esqye standard of what he should act like on a team. it's apples and oranges. and btw, peep the role i just laid out; hardly the "center of attention, follow me now" spotlight. that's why he so readily ceded it to cassell.

put him--nay, keep him--with a talented guard his whole career and this would be a non-issue. it's pathetic that people like simmons can't see that garnett is basically brand--a player universally renowned for "all the little things and putting in selfless work"—on 12,000 sheets of acid in a galaxy far, far away.

 
At 4/15/2006 5:26 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

my problem with KG is the fact that despite all of the great things that he does, very rarely have I felt that games he plays in are decided on his terms. To me, if you're a superstar, games should be lost and won on your count. KG doesn't make me feel this way. Maybe he's too perfect a player, too unselfish, and simply not cold-blooded enough to engulf an entire game (which he's obviously capable of doing, ask LA and SacTown in the 2k4 playoffs). The fourth quarter is where you make your legacy, and he has not been able to do this. Maybe I just don't appreciate what he does all game long and simply focus on money time, who knows. Either way, I feel cheated by him. Call me crazy.

 
At 4/15/2006 5:46 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

you're asking kg to be brand/marion and kobe/t-mac at the same time. that's a little unreasonable.

 
At 4/15/2006 6:01 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

he doesn't have to be the latter (of which, it's an insult to put Mac's name next to Bryant's at this point, but whatever), all I want is for him to rise to the occasion when the game's hanging in the balance. No way Ricky Buckets should be getting those touches in the fourth. I will never forgive Garnett for this. I don't care what miracles he's been performing through 3 quarters. He's too great a talent to be a non-factor at money time.

 
At 4/15/2006 6:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

garnett is not a scorer. he scores a lot, but he's methodial and in the flow of things. we talk about duncan as arguably the best pf of all time, and he need horry or stephen jackson to get those shots/runs in the playoffs; he builds the base they stand upon to reach the heavens.

i think that, as with many things involving garnett, he's shown us just enough of that over the years to make us forget how amazing he's able to do it at all.

 
At 4/15/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger T. said...

You know, in a way, the collective thought process is coming to the same conclusion that Simmons has been hammering for years.

KG is the greatest second banana of all-time.

I mean, even Worthy (1988 Finals), Pippen (1994/1995) and McHale (whatever that playoff series was that he played through a broken foot - 1988 Finals?) have put together transcendant years/playoffs that have temporairly given them lead dog status (over the Holy Trinity, no less).

I don't think KG has ever done that. Not even when he won MVP.

 
At 4/15/2006 10:30 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Actually, I think you've boiled it down to the two central questions about Mr. Ticket (although maybe these are the questions about many great players who didn't dominate at the championship level):

Is he the greatest second banana of all time (GSBOAT!) who never got his lead dog? Or was he a potential GOAT who never got the right support?

Getting rid of Marbury was a wise decision; I at least doubt he was, even with KG, going to lead the Wolves to real success. And they got Terrell Brandon in return. TB, lest we forget, was playing great ball at the time. If not for his injuries, he could have provided a sound PG to run with KG. Then it was just a matter of plugging holes around them, which McHale screwed up in possibly the most absurd manner of any GM in the last decade.

Without some bad luck and bad decisionmaking, KG at least would have had a sound support group that would make it possible to figure out whether he really was a Big Ticket. I'm not sure how to judge him because of his teammates. On the other hand, comments up page about what Barkley had to work with in Philly and KG missing the playoffs two years in a row do strike a chord.

 
At 4/17/2006 12:44 AM, Anonymous Pooh said...

I don't buy the "What Barkley had to work with" line. The two years Barkley missed the playoffs with the Sixers were 88 and 92.

in 88 he had Mo Cheeks, Andrew Toney (though clearly broken and decrepit sadly...) and Mike Gminski

In 92, he had Hersey Hawkins, a legit AS, Johnny Dawkins, who wasn't quite the player as before he wrecked his knee, the Hammer and young Jayson Williams.

And even when the 76ers DID make the playoffs post Erving they went 1st round, 2nd, 2nd. In a 24 team league when 16 made the playoffs

When has KG had comparable pieces? Marbury was never good with the Wolves, he just looked like someday he might be. How'd that one work out? Billups (who they stupidly let go just when he got good. Though that was also the season that Will Avery's dad repeatedly called into local radio to bitch about both young Will's PT and the media criticism...), the one year Wally was good, and the MVP year, when he won the MVP and went to the West Finals, where they got beat by the Mailman/Glove coronation express (oops).

Sorry for the epic length, but I find Simmons KG hating a little tough to swallow.

 
At 4/17/2006 9:10 AM, Blogger c-los said...

As much as I enjoy the Sports Guys columns I think he couldnt be more wrong about KG. He has been surrounded by a good cast once and they went to the Western Finals losing to a team with 4 Hall of Famers. His franchise needs to be criticized more. They tried to give Joe Smith a max contract under the table and got caught. I'm from Maryland and I can fully admit that he is a bum. KG can be a bit passive at times but its part of his nature just as much as its a part of Brons. He's got too much pride and love for that shitty city and he's never gonna win there. And since when do people criticize NBA players for playing "too emotional". If anything the knock on the league is that guys dont care but all of sudden KG gets hammered because he plays as hard in Game 74 as he does in Game 1. I dont get it at all. You go out there and take care of yours Duncan and dont show emotion and people say you dont care or you get yours like KG and show emotion and its excessive all of sudden.

 
At 4/18/2006 2:43 AM, Anonymous qonmpehl said...

I've switched to just looking at the pictures on freedarko.

 
At 4/18/2006 10:11 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i can't tell if that's a compliment or an insult. and if it's supposed to reflect on you or us.

 
At 4/18/2006 12:40 PM, Blogger barkan said...

McHale - 2nd Worst GM in the Leauge?

Management has everything to do with a franchise talent making his / missing the mark, GSBOAT, GOAT or otherwise. Simmons article is enough to make Harrison Ford throw Nazi's out of a Derrigable.

Also:

Dwyane: age 24, playing with Shaq.
LeBron: age 21, playing with Ilgauskas.

Imagine if their situations were reversed.

Dwyane: age 21, playing with Ilgauskas.
LeBron: age 24, playing with Shaq.

I'm just saying.

 
At 4/18/2006 5:28 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

The age difference is a valid argument in favor of LeBron, although I believe there is a ceiling to the numbers he will be able to reach in the NBA. I'm pretty sure he will never average 40 points for a season because the level of athleticism in the NBA is so high that even he doesn't have a huge physical advantage over his defender. Add athletic help defenders to the mix and defenses adapting to LeBrons strengths, even him becoming more efficient and more versatile only goes so far. In my opinion he'll average between 30-37points (depending on his supporting cast) and somewhere between 7-11 rebounds and assists per game over the next few seasons. If anybody can top these predictions, it's him, but I seriously doubt it.

As for the Shaq/Ilgauskas argument, I certainly see your point. But neither LeBron nor Wade are the type of players that benefit from Shaq's strenghts all that much. What he'll give them is an extra assist or two by just taking their entry pass and rolling in for a dunk. As far as points go, Shaq obviously does a lot for guys like Damon Jones, Horry, Dennis Scott, but he certainly doesn't pad the stats of those who live and die by the drive. You can position him on the weak side to create some space in the lane, but Shaq will only stay there for so long (remember, "the dog has to be fed" - or something to that extent). He can certainly make it easier to have playoff success. But when we talk about LeBron vs. Wade and what they bring to the table, it's at least debatable whether Shaq's presence figures as a positive or negative influence.

 
At 4/18/2006 6:25 PM, Blogger barkan said...

Advantages of Playing with Shaquille O'Neal:
- less attention from opposing defenses
- more open perimeter shots
- more easy shots when cutting through the lane
- more gambling/steals possible on D (also due to Zo)
-more fastbreak oppotunities due to shotblocking/intimidation/quality outlet passes (also due to Zo)

I'm not sure he would gain more assists from Shaq than he loses from Z as a pick-and-pop option, but the only things Wade has over LeBron right now are his efficiency and his postseason play, both attributable to the AOPSO.

And yes, I know Wade broke Baron Davis' brittle ankles in the first round of '04, but he wouldn't have had that chance if he were playing with Ricky Davis instead of Lamar Odom.

And on that note (as if this thread weren't wearing thin enough), is it prophetic that we tend to refer to LeBron James as :LeBron" and almost every other player by either both names or his last name? Dwyane is certainly "Wade" if one had to choose which of his two names to rattle off. It often depends on how generic one of your names is--Bosh or Webber rather than Chris, Rasheed rather than Wallace--but is that all there is to it?

Shaq is Shaq, Kobe is Kobe; is there something in first-name-ability that gives a star a transcendent edge? Jordan was often Michael, but rarely is Garnett Kevin. And, dare i say, Darko is often simply Darko...

 

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