My NBA fandom is up for sale Pt. 3 – East candidates

Who in the east should really be a candidate? … plus finishing the west.

My fandom is up for sale Pt. 2, West candidates

What Western Conference teams should be in the conversation?

Example Phoenix uni from the era in discussion.

Rip City origin: 

Image result for wells blazers jersey

Denver to Wyoming or vice versa; Mike Lansing: Rawlins, WY 

Bill Bradley spoke to the Knicks this week: 

’03-’04 Timberwolves

 

Podcast #1: Hardly Harden

The first of what will hopefully be many podcasts focuses on Mike D’Antoni saying James Harden is the best offensive player he has ever seen. I am not a D’Antoni hater by any means, but I did take “offense” to this one.

Brandon Armstrong impersonating James Harden.

Armstrong on Kimmel.

James Harden basketball reference page.

NBA On NBC Theme 1991-2002

NBA will be back next week. If this doesn’t get you pumped, what does?

Perhaps it’s nostalgia, but this is back when players still had pride in winning regular season matchups, especially on national TV.

Many fans just wait for their teams to tank out or the playoffs to begin. Here’s to all those fan bases somewhere in the middle. Say a Glen Rice Charlotte Hornets versus Detroit Pistons Grant Hill back in 1997 …

Michael Jordan was Overrated Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5oCGz32_Zg

I am not as much of a Michael Jordan criticizer as the poster of this video, however there are many facts in this video that are not “alternative” in any way. For any true basketball fan, familiarizing yourself with many of these will help you understand more about the game, but still draw your own conclusions. It is true that there were a lot of pretty good teams in the 90s, but very few true contenders. There were few “superteams” at any point, and perhaps this is covered in part 1, but the 80s Jazz were better than the 90s version for sure. Bailey and Eaton or Ostertag and Russell? C’mon!

There are a few things to remember, this video is not saying Jordan “sucked” but simply is not the Greatest of all-time “GOAT”. It’s like when someone asks you if a particular food is awesome, and you say it’s “good” yet they come back thinking you hate it. No, this is not that Jordan was bad it is that he was not the best ever.

Let me take a moment to highlight some things that were not covered here, pros and cons.

1. Jordan “leading” North Carolina. Forget that Dean Smith led North Carolina, this is not like the Cavs now where LeBron is in effect a player-head coach. JORDAN UP

2. The main way you identify who are good players for a particular team, role players, is to have guys to build around. Jordan gave the Bulls a place to plant their flag and then add pieces around him. Shooters, defenders, big guys, even if he didn’t make them as much “better” as Bird, he did enough to know that Steve Kerr and Kukoc were a better fit on Chicago than elsewhere and therefore worth more to Chicago than Utah for example. JORDAN SLIGHTLY UP

3. Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals 1998. The Bulls were banged up with less depth than the Indiana Pacers a true “team” with Reggie likely at his peak. Jackson, Rose, a 7’4 center in Smits, interior depth, they were a poor man’s 2015 Warriors, yet an aging Jordan and Pippen willed themselves to victory somehow. Not the prettiest game, but the Bulls survived and advanced. They did this better than any team in NBA history than the 60s Celtics, particularly the 69 Celtics in Russell’s last game, who somehow found a way. JORDAN UP

4. The league was watered down for everybody else! You still had the top 16 in the playoffs with plenty of hall of famers in that era. But no, he never had to defeat a superteam like LeBron is facing in 2017. They could have risen up, too! Only one other team did in an 8 year span, the Houston Rockets. If they were so good, where were they for a three-peat in ’96? The Bulls had two 3 peats! This leads to another topic about how in certain eras a finals appearance means more, whereas in the era of superteams it’s Larry O’Brien trophy or bust (aka 2017). JORDAN EVEN

5. Rule changes. This is where if you look at the greatest athletes to ever play, (Wilt, Jordan, and LeBron) the Dipper is WAY ahead of the others. First of all as a young player illegal defense was not the same. Jordan had plenty of time to get a shot before a help defender came. Second, Wilt was able to offensively goaltend and score literally at will, post up in the smaller key which was outlawed, and in effect dunk free throws also outlawed. So three major changes hurt him negatively, whereas the most major rule change in the Jordan era was to reduce handchecking. This was basically done so the 90s stars could score more easily, hurting defensive minded clubs like San Antonio, the Knicks, and ok yea, everyone else was pretty much offense first hence the change! If they didn’t allow handchecking and called the fouls today when Wilt played, or if Wilt played today, he would literally be unstoppable. It would take a flagrant to prevent a dunk (Shaq 2000 but more agile) JORDAN DOWN

6. “Making the team better”, this can mean so many things, passing, attitude, competitiveness, instruction, defensive help, drawing attention. As much as I love Wilt, he did go for stats in regular season which may not have let his teams get as good as they could have been. Bird didn’t take “games off” but he was more assertive at times and in his book admits if they really tried, could have won any game they wanted in the ’85 or ’86 season, but they didn’t. Jordan was able to harness the energy and team buy in for the playoff run 6 out of 7 years basically. Only Bill Russell was truly able to do that otherwise. Throw some of the shooting % out the window, he did win, a lot. How much better can your team get when you won 6 of 7 titles? JORDAN UP.

7. Defense. Sure you could argue Jordan took some gambles, but sometimes it worked, like stripping Malone in Game 6. Bird took gambles too, and those usually worked out. Larry didn’t have the recovery speed of a Jordan either. And on the ball, a clip of Allen Iverson crossing you up, I’m sure every player in the history of the NBA would get their ankles broken by AI at some point. On the ball, no two guard in the history of the NBA was as effective as MJ. And in an era that favored shooting guard, a major reason few others are HOF is because MJ owned every one of them. A similar phenomenon exists today where LeBron wrecked every small forward to the point the position no longer exists, team’s went back to playing 3 guards unless you have KD or Kawhi. Today is a point guard driven league so the equivalent would be if a guy came along and completely shut down Harden, Westbrook, Curry, Wall, etc. Imagine how that would change the game. Jordan did. JORDAN UP

CONCLUSION: Jordan is overrated, but still a top 5 player in my opinion. At absolute worst if we had more advanced metrics that can computer simulate and break down film and re-asses decades of NBA, he’s still top 10. And for entertainment value, he may be number 1. For the casual fan he is definitely number 1.

If the ball bounces a little luckier for the Bulls in ’95, Jordan could be LeBron with 7 straight finals appearances. Even if they didn’t win, it’s 6 titles to 3 (maybe 4 if LeBron goes Superman in 2017). Compare MJ to Kareem and say the Bulls have Magic in his prime instead of Pippen, Bulls still win. Jordan replaces Bird on the 80s Celtics, they still probably win 3 titles, even though they might not have been the same years Larry did. Don’t replace Jerry West with anyone, but simply give the 68, 69, 70 Lakers Rodman as their 3rd wheel, Wilt has more titles. Replace Jordan with LeBron on the 90s Bulls they might not win unless you factor in instead of Rodman, Chicago gets a two-guard defender to replace MJ. So at the end of the day, great players are great in every era and are so versatile that it doesn’t have to be a specific positional swap to work.

Cousins and the Ewing theory 

What’s the Ewing Theory? Where did it come from? The theory was created in the mid-’90s by Dave Cirilli, a friend of mine who was convinced that Patrick Ewing’s teams inexplicably played better when Ewing was either injured or missing.

I know that occasionally addition by subtraction does work, and these guys have a lot of examples of it, but we find out later is not always perfect.

I do owe them props for predicting Drew Bledsoe, even though they couldn’t have predicted 5 rings for Brady. And if you look at their other predictions they are all incorrect, unless you give half a point for Kobe winning a title 5 years after Shaq was gone.

The Unluckiest NBA Franchises of All-Time! DURANT! JORDAN! BIRD! CHRIS PAUL!

Another one very well done, but I won’t mess around and will rank them.

  1. Clippers – Olowokandi, could have had Kyrie, just every time they have hope a rival gets good (Warriors the recent example, plus Paul/Blake injuries last year), top picks are usually in bad drafts. Benoit and Darius Miles picks look bad but otherwise made the “smart pick” Ferry, Manning, Cummings and still didn’t work out.
  2. Kings – sure their picks have not been great, but they guys they didn’t pick (like Steph Curry were not sure things), no top 3 since 1991 despite how few playoff appearances? What?!?!?! Rigged 2002.
  3. Timberwolves – should be good now AND with Kevin Love, KG won elsewhere, in the tough west. Worst winning percentage of all-time despite less stupid picks than the two teams above. Lose points for the Rubio/Flynn stupidity, Wesley Johnson, JR Rider. Other can be forgiven, Donyell Marshall should have been Rasheed Jr, Marbury more physically gifted than Ray Allen, how is Derrick Williams not better based on pure physical ability? Despite the most athletic young team in the NBA, still suck now.
  4. Orlando (other than 3 lottery wins or else would be higher), Shaq leaves town, Penny gets hurt, Dwight Howard attitude problems. T-Mac and Grant Hill best signings ever in one season (other than LeBron/Bosh) with no injury history. Everyone else with that many lottery wins has won a title (I think).
  5. Denver – David Thompson/ Alex English deserved better, McDyess injury, Melo not practicing like the others. Just always seeming to be a young rebuilding franchise. K-Mart trade much like Pierce/Garnett was one that made sense at the time. Great fan base.
  6. Charlotte Hornets 1/ Pelicans – did not win Shaq draft lottery and got ‘Zo who defected, Paul defected also. LJ didn’t reach expectations. Traded Kobe for Divac because ‘Zo left. (seemed ok at the time) Team skips town and then all the guys around Anthony Davis don’t pan out. Baron Davis never becomes Wade or Westbrook level (save a playoff series with another team).

Not on the list and why

  1. Nets – you draft the original Boogie (Derrick Coleman), keep Kenny Anderson over Mookie Blaylock?, draft Kerry Kittles fearing a Kobe holdout which we find was a smokescreen, your center shoots someone (Jayson Williams), the Pierce/Garnett was your own doing, and you traded Dr. J, you lose! And they did make 2 finals.
  2. Knicks – Did win two titles, traded for Charles Smith, injuries to guys who were injury prone or old (McDyess, Ewing, Doc, LJ, Houston, Bernard King – sort of), stupid trades Steve Francis, Marbury, Eddy Curry, etc. Just too many quick fix fails.
  3. Warriors – pathetic drafting and titles in 2 eras. Many teams never won one. Hitting on Curry, Klay, and Draymond is a little lucky. Had Run TMC then Webber and couldn’t capitalize.
  4. Portland, covered in luckiest high all time winning percentage. Traded Moses! Did everything but win a title in 80s, 90s, 00s other than ’77.
  5. Rockets – Dwight Howard your fault, you had the #1 pick and got Sampson, Yao, AND Hakeem. and won 2 titles. And you had Moses Malone once.

 

The Luckiest NBA Franchises of All-Time! DERRICK ROSE! JORDAN! DURANT! LEBRON!

Note this video lists the top 5, but Nick does not say they are in order for him.

I just posted commentary on a rigged draft video, but have to say the Cleveland Cavs winning so many lotteries have to be on here. The Bulls had Jordan fall into their lap as well, but you can’t fault Houston with Hakeem. Portland deserves some flak because when their GM hearing from Bobby Knight to pick Jordan no matter what, they broke hoops and life karma.

The Spurs made many smart moves (Manu, Parker), plus developed a culture of winning so guys want to come there (Diaw, Aldrige), but you have to say that Robinson AND Duncan were two of the most surefire hall of fame picks ever (ewing, olajuwon, wilt, kareem, magic, lebron the others). Couple that with Duncan not having any other possible competition for that spot (Van Horn #2) and they didn’t have much of a choice. It was lucky too that Robinson away from the game in the Navy, pulled a Staubach and came back awesome.

Seattle/OKC, Durant falling to them was luck. Beyond that, I think they were mostly smart and forward thinking. 5th best winning percentage all-time?

Lakers. This is obvious that other teams always F up and give them star players coupled with the desire of players to go there (Shaq). Yet when they are patient, that usually works out too (the Magic pick). Seriously 7 top players of all time on your team, that’s a little lucky. Milwaukee could have traded Kareem to New York!

Bulls, Jordan working out was lucky, the potential Rose conspiracy (luck?), Pippen (smart and little luck) but they could have had Reggie Miller! Rodman acquisition (smart), Kukoc pick (smart), Rose injury (bad luck), make me think there could be a better #5 for this list.

The 76ers might qualify gambling on Iverson, Barkley, tanking but not being punished, getting Dr. J, Moses, Wilt when their teams needed to make a move. A recent add might be Toronto (VC, T-Mac, Bosh, Lowry/DeRozan) having all those guys pan out better than expected. Portland might also qualify because their bad luck (Walton, Bowie, Jermaine/Sheed, Roy, Aldrige leaving) always seemed to end up still keeping them competitive historically.

Miami i would not say is lucky because one pick (Wade) was semi-lucky and the rest was good recruiting and cap management (Shaq, Zo/Hardaway, LeBron, Bosh). Boston would be lucky for one reason, they stole Red Auerbach. A second half-lucky reason was getting Garnett in a steal, but all the other players that made them such a great franchise were smart but not ridiculously risky moves (Bird, McHale/Parish, Russell, territorial picks). They also had bad luck Bias and Reggie Lewis deaths, Antoine Walker selfishness, Bird’s career being short, the 90s Kentucky early exitees (Mercer, Walker, Anderson) not being as good as the recent variety.