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 #4: The Price was right, 20 years early

The third NBA (fourth overall) of what will hopefully be many podcasts focuses on a guy who was ahead of his time. 10 years ahead is like light years in modern NBA thinking.

Mark Price highlights, does Steph Curry not use the exact same moves?

Abusing rookie Iverson.

Stockton compared to Mark Price. Closer than you think.

I gave Nash too much credit on defense, Price was probably better.

 

Franchise moves: eight fateful team relocations (and two clubs that moved twice)

Baseball was remarkably stable for half a century. Then came a mass shakeup of markets, which included two teams escaping from New York. A look at the eight that fled.

Source: Franchise moves: eight fateful team relocations (and two clubs that moved twice)

The Raiders are headed to Las Vegas. The Warriors are headed across the bay. The A’s are heading to Howard Terminal or Laney College.

For Oakland it is a time of change, but this is not fully unprecedented. What have we learned from some of these moves of the past, especially in baseball?

Davis breaks Wilt’s ASG scoring mark, wins MVP

Anthony Davis set an All-Star game record with 52 points — 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star mark that had stood for 55 years — and was named the game’s MVP in his home arena.

Source: Davis breaks Wilt’s ASG scoring mark, wins MVP

Anytime a record of Wilt’s falls, it is important to look at the context, whether it reflects well or badly on the Stilt (usually good).

First of all, I am happy for Anthony Davis. The kid comes out of nowhere as a high school senior where his only offer was Cleveland State before ending up the number 1 recruit in the country and subsequent #1 draft choice. Then he ends up in an organization trying to find itself that has in retrospect executed some of the worst trades in recent memory (not quite as bad as SAC, ORL, or a few others) despite having an all-world player to build around. He ends up getting perhaps the most talented player, though we can’t be sure yet, the same day he wins ASG MVP in his home city.

Let’s look at the performance though. Davis score a record 52 points on a record 39 shots in a 192-182 (combined record for points in any NBA game surpassing the 186-184 nuggets win in the 80s) all-star spectacle. Wilt’s record of 42 points held for 55 years though it was challenged several times. But Wilt’s 42 points came on 17 of 23 shooting (8-16 FT). Perhaps the Dipper could have hit a few more from the stripe, but that is incredible efficiency along with 24 rebounds.

On the other hand, The East lost 150-130 and Wilt was not even the rebound leader in the game as arguably most underrated NBA player of all-time Bob Pettit grabbed 27, while 6-11 Walt Bellamy added 17 even though his job was to just get in the way of Goliath. The West also got so many caroms because the Celtics stars Cousy, Heinsohn, Sam Jones, and Russell combined to shoot 14 of 44. That wasn’t even the worst on the team, Hal Greer 3 of 14 and Paul Arizin 2 of 12 were also bricking everything. In fact Wilt and Richie Guerin hit more field goals than the rest of the team combined (27 to 26) on only 30.7% of the shot attempts!

So for those who criticize Wilt for taking too many shots, here’s an example where he could have taken more as the opponent dared his teammates to shoot. His team lost though which is why I’ll entertain a comparison between AD and Wilt for greatest ASG performance of all-time, even though I’ll still err on the side of the Dipper.

Wilt Chamberlain vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Like many YouTube videos, this has a lot of excellent content. Sydney Myers also has a pretty good narrating voice/style you hear on all the Mixed Tape videos.

My personal assessment as you can guess by the name of the site I side with Wilt. That said, the more research John Blaze and I have done in compiling the lists of greatest of all-time, I like Kareem more than I did in the past. The blocks records in NBA history are a joke because any games they were ever kept that Wilt played in, he easily had 4 per game. If he knew they were being tracked, you could see him having EVEN more.

Hal Greer, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich were good players, but not point guards. Had Wilt had a Hall of Fame point guard like Magic, Oscar, or Cousy, he wins more titles. Kareem’s total of six over such a long period of time is impressive. And even at his peak, Wilt is not blocking every sky hook (though some of them). He was stronger and had a longer reach.

As I mentioned in the 1967 playoff commentary recently, even Bill Russell had no chance these rebounds in Wilt’s area. Kareem, Shaq, and maybe Moses Malone are the only guys who would have ANY chance of getting those. Shaq did not have great rebounding stats, but notice that his man wouldn’t even try and just box him out. It would be interesting to see how Wilt would handle Shaq on those shots. Kareem had good jumping but was not as quick a jumper as Wilt so I think Wilt controlled more airspace than any other player in NBA history. Moses was such a bull and quick that he would have a chance to hustle and get some.

And the most underrated aspect of Wilt is that if he actually tried, he could have killed someone. The NBA was building it’s brand and he surely did his part. If he breaks some guy’s hand, skull, or rips down the baskets every game, there is no NBA! When he did face a guy who was also strong and fast he would take it up a notch. He was getting hacked but never fought back. His ability to not foul would be valued even more today since you aren’t even allowed to touch people.

1967 Philadelphia 76ers Full Season Highlights

A great view of a great team from the people who were there and it was all fresh.

Takeaway 1: Don’t hang on the basket if you are a member of the crowd storming the court. (17:45)

Takeaway 2: Even as an old player coach, Russell was pretty good at hoops, this being his only loss EVER in an elimination game, being 11-1 in his career averaging 30 rebounds per game.

Takeaway 3: This version of Wilt may be the most impressive season of a center in NBA history. He even hits clutch free throws underhand (22:30 mark). Then at the 23:02 mark, HOFer Nate Thurmond who is a massive guy 6’11, 250+ goes sprawling away from Wilt just on contact with Wilt’s chest, not even a push. Wilt had his arm on Thurmond’s back a few seconds prior but clearly has both hands up when Thurmond falls.

Takeaway 4: Rick Barry is really, really hard to stop. Unless you force him into help from Wilt Chamberlain (23:12) mark which Wilt switches (not a double team). What other center in NBA history is going to be able to stop a small forward 16 feet from the hoop? Maybe Hakeem only or a young David Robinson/ Patrick Ewing, but no other 31 year old 300+ pounder!

Takeaway 5: Hal Greer, Wali Jones, and Chet Walker can get incredibly hot at any give time, and are perhaps the original “microwave”. But what is Bill Russell going to do, leave Wilt alone under the basket?

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.

 

NBA Legends: George Gervin and Alex English

While watching the Warriors and Pelicans on ESPN after seeing Brooklyn knock off Indiana, I was re-amazed by Kevin Durant’s effortless mid-range game. The pull up jumper has begun to fade in today’s game with all the stat people explaining the game theory pay off of getting to the rim for ticky-tack AND 1 fouls or kicking it out for 3 pointers. As a result of this, defenses often surrender open mid range shots to avoid the upside and of momentum changing three pointers and dunks. This trend actually began in my memory as a fan in the 1990s as Duke rose to prominence under Mike Krzyzewski, their undoing in the ’99 title game against one of the most automatic pull up shooters ever, Rip Hamilton who took advantage.

And after re-watching TNT’s all-time draft, it got me thinking, who would be considered the greatest mid-range or pull up shooter in American basketball history? If these GMs are really looking for scoring off their bench who probably won’t be at risk for being ice cold, that can hit shots without trying to challenge the Kareems, Wilt, Russell, Shaq, Olajuwons etc at the rim, who would that be?

The first thoughts i had were players who were primarily known as mid-range shooters, Alex English and “The Iceman”, George Gervin. In NBA history, English ranks 18th in points while Gervin when combining ABA/NBA ranks 16th. More interestingly, English ranks 9th all-time in two point field goals. And despite being a great leaper as a young player, like Gervin, I’d venture to believe all the guys in front of him had significantly more dunks in their respective careers.

A great interview by a young Michael Jordan with Gervin. And if you didn’t know, they were actually teammates briefly in Chicago. 

Next time we’ll take a different paradigm at the same question.