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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lindy's Pro Basketball 2006-07 is in Stores Now

For the second year in a row, I wrote the Denver Nuggets preview for Lindy's Pro Basketball; for the 2006-07 edition I also did the Sacramento Kings preview and a cover story titled "Who's the Boss?" That article looks at the timeless question that has been debated for generations in bars and at office water coolers: who is the best player in the NBA? After offering a nod to some of the greats who held the (unofficial) title in the past and stating some ground rules for the selection process, I rounded up the "usual suspects"--Kobe, LeBron, Wade and a few others--and offered my take. You can have your say on this issue by clicking the following link to Lindy's NBA page:

Who Would you Consider "The Man" in the NBA?

Just scroll down slightly when you get to the page and make your selection.

posted by David Friedman @ 1:01 AM


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At Tuesday, September 19, 2006 12:27:00 PM, Blogger alternaviews said...

not to switch the subject...but Terrell Owens hasn't done anything in 2 games, & now he's hurt, AGAIN.

but heck, he's brilliant at getting on SportsCenter & in the papers -- & I guess that's what counts...

At Tuesday, September 19, 2006 3:52:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

How exactly is it TO's fault that (1) he gets saturation media coverage and (2) that he broke his finger? He apparently suffered the injury early in the game but continued to play, drawing double team coverage that enabled other receivers to have big games. When Brett Favre played with an injured thumb a few years back he received so much praise that I thought a statue was going to be built in his honor.

Steve Smith has yet to play this year because of a hamstring injury and Hines Ward's effectiveness has been limited by a hamstring injury but the media attention during the preseason squarely focused on TO's hamstring. Yet, TO was ready to play when the season started and played effectively until he broke his finger, drawing double teams and nearly matching his reception total from his first two games with the Eagles (his TDs and yardage are down , a function of field position and Bledsoe's inability to connect with him accurately on deep patterns).

At Tuesday, September 19, 2006 5:09:00 PM, Blogger alternaviews said...

valid points, but let's see how TO's ego reacts to being on a team that (a) features the run, (b) has another top-tier WR (Glenn), and (c) has QB issues, with the Bledsoe/Romo transition.

if he can't stomach this situation, then it's on him -- life's a bitch, but no so much when you're an $8m NFL WR... and yet TO has been a malcontent in SF and Philly...

Parcells might be able to keep him in line temporarily -- a la Jordan with Rodman -- but TO appears to lack the mindset of a focussed star, such as Marvin Harrison, who just beats you and then walks away with little fanfare, other than his footprint on your chest

At Tuesday, September 19, 2006 7:56:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

So far, the only problems that TO has had in Dallas relate to being injured. I don't think that he will have any problems with Glenn or because the Cowboys are a run oriented team. The Bledsoe/Romo QB situation does not look promising, though.

Harrison is a great player but I'd take TO over him: TO is bigger, stronger, faster and more explosive. Harrison is surely a focused player but I see no evidence that he is more focused or more dedicated than TO; both have worked diligently to become great players.

TO has made big plays to win playoff games--including the TD catch that beat GB in the playoffs and several big catches versus the Giants in a big comeback. TO also came back from a broken leg and had a great performance in the Super Bowl. I am struggling to recall a signature catch or performance by Harrison in the postseason. He and Peyton Manning have great chemistry and if they stay together long enough they may very well rewrite all of the regular season records, but their playoff record leaves something to be desired.

At Wednesday, September 20, 2006 4:43:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

For those who are reading these comments and wondering what any of this has to do with basketball, here is a brief explanation:

Last year, Alternaviews and I discussed Shaq, Kobe and Wade. Alternaviews suggested that Kobe Bryant acts in a way that is detrimental to team harmony and compared him to Terrell Owens, opining that a coach like Bill Belichick, who prides himself on building his teams with players who have character, would never sign someone like Owens.

I disagreed with this assessment of Kobe and of TO. The fact that Belichick's mentor signed TO is an indication that Belichick would not be unwilling to do the same thing. Belichick also traded for Corey Dillon, who has had criminal charges filed against him in the past (unlike TO) and was considered a bad apple in Cinci. Dillon played a major role in the Patriots' last Super Bowl campaign. TO is a guy who works hard, plays hard and plays hurt--traits that Kobe shares.

So that is why TO has made an appearance (again) in 20SecondTimeout.

At Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:50:00 AM, Blogger alternaviews said...

I thought that you were the one who invoked TO. You had criticized Shaq for being phony, in his praise of Wade -- and I disagreed. Then you listed your favorite type of athletes, many of whom are outspoken, with TO as your example -- and Favre as the example of what you dislike. As I recall, I only criticized TO in response to your first mentioning him.

As for the Colts, it's not Harrison's fault that their passing game isn't oriented towards the post-season, when precision gives way to roughness. Also, it's not Harrison's fault that Indy's defense was so lacking in past years (e.g., 41-0 loss to NYJ). I really think that the judging of individual players by team performance gets absurd -- esp. in football, where the player ISN'T EVEN ON THE FIELD for much of the game.

I suppose Tom Brady intercepted Peyton in the 2004 AFC title game? I suppose Tom Brady kicked game winning field goals in 3 Super Bowls? By that logic, yeah, Harrison hasn't won the big game. And when you find me an NFL player who can play on offense,defense,&special teams, well enough to win a title, then please let me know.

Basketball is a different game, where there are only 5 players, and they play both offense & defense (except for Allen Houston). So let's be careful with mixing our metaphors -- yeah, in basketball, winning a title is SOME measure of greatness, because a great player shd be able to impact a game as one of five players on the playing surface. Not so much in football -- 22 offense & defense players, up to 33 with special teams. Nor with baseball -- 9 or 10 (DH), but the pitcher as more significant than any other by far, and the other team with the ability to walk any dominant hitter, in a playoff situation.

Basketball is unique in that an individual's talent to lift a team can carry the team ... so long as that individual has other stars (Pippen), & great role players (H Grant, Rodman, Paxson, Armstrong) who go largely unrecognized by the mainstream media & public.

At Wednesday, September 20, 2006 3:37:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

You are correct that I first invoked TO's name in the original thread. However, in my previous comment here I was not trying to take "credit" or assign "blame" for first mentioning TO but merely trying to eliminate any confusion among readers who are arriving late to the discussion. The original post about Shaq's modesty--and the ensuing 49 comments--can be found on June 25, 2006. It was the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen who suggested that Shaq's modesty in deferring to Dwyane Wade would be more commendable if Shaq didn't feel the constant need to publicly take credit for it. I agreed with Feigen's take, Alternaviews disagreed and away we went.

My take on atheletes' humility is that I can respect someone like David Robinson, who is very unassuming, and I can respect someone like TO, who is boastful but backs it up with his performance. My criticism of Shaq and Favre is that they incessantly tell everyone that they put the team first, but their actions don't always match those words. For example, Shaq waited to have his foot surgery on "company time," as he put it, a few years ago, setting in motion the chain of events that ended the Lakers' dynasty; Favre stuck his nose in the middle of Javon Walker's contract dispute and told him to come to camp. Walker did and promptly got hurt, potentially costing himself a lot of money. In contrast, look at how Tom Brady handled the Deion Branch situation: he publicly supported Branch's holdout. Meanwhile, Favre kept the whole Green Bay franchise on hold this summer while he sat in his tent like Achilles deciding whether or not he wanted to go to battle this year. He also has said that he is not a coach and it's not his job to help make backup Aaron Rogers a better player--Favre doesn't exactly take players under his wing like Erving, Dumars or David Robinson did. None of this takes away from the fact that Shaq and Favre are obviously great players; no one can deny that.

As for TO vs. Harrison, I didn't criticize Harrison for not winning the big game. After all, TO has not won the big game either--the only big game in the NFL is the Super Bowl and neither player has won one. I said that TO has had big performances in playoff games, including one in a losing effort in the Super Bowl. I am struggling to remember off the top of my head a big Harrison playoff moment. I'm sure that someone will write in and point one out but I can't think of one off the top of my head. Owens has had at least three: the catch against GB, multiple big plays against the NYG in a come from behind win and a great Super Bowl on a broken leg.

I agree that an individual player can have more impact in basketball than football. This is obvious by sheer numbers--five players on the court versus 11 on the field. Still, NE and Indy were playing by the same rules. NE did not have big, physical receivers, so Indy could have done the same thing to NE that NE did to Indy. The real point is that this kind of defense is less effective against TO because he is so big and strong. If a DB tried to chuck him at the line, TO would bowl him over and make a big play. TO had an excellent game against NE in the Super Bowl and he was playing on one leg. Harrison is great but I would take TO over him.

You will get no disagreement from me that Pip, Grant, Rodman and others from the Bulls' title teams are underappreciated. Pip is one of the great players of all-time but he will always be in Jordan's shadow.

At Wednesday, September 20, 2006 3:43:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

As for an NFL player excelling in all three phases of the game, Sammy Baugh is the only player to lead the NFL in an offensive, defensive and special teams category. Of course, he played six decades ago :)

At Wednesday, September 27, 2006 2:32:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Just a note:

While I have been indulgent in this thread regarding non-basketball content and content not related to the main post, future comments that do not relate to basketball and/or the specific post that they are under will be deleted.


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