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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Disgruntled Marion Seeks Trade

If you picked up a copy of Lindy's Pro Basketball, then Shawn Marion's trade request did not surprise you. In my Phoenix Suns preview, I wrote, "There is a tendency to overlook his all-around contributions--and Marion has a tendency to pout at least once a year about that." Later, I added, "One would think that anyone would want to play for Coach D'Antoni and with Nash but periodically, Stoudemire and Marion grumble about their roles and/or how much credit they receive (or don't receive) for the team's success."

However, you may be surprised to hear Marion's preferred destination: the L.A. Lakers. Marion told Sean Deveney of SportingNews.com that he and Kobe Bryant have talked about this possibility, adding, "I've been friends with Kobe for a while, so we talk here and there, anyway." Marion told Deveney that he is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to team up with Bryant: "Why wouldn't I be? You have a great organization, great ownership there with the Lakers. I don't see no problems with playing there." Marion disagrees with anyone who contends that he would not put up his usual numbers in Phil Jackson's triangle offense: "I think I would fit right in. People talk about the triangle offense all the time, like it is impossible. But it's an offense. Wherever you play, you have to learn the offense. It's not that complicated. You pass, you cut, you slash. Offense is offense. And I would love to play with Kobe."

That last statement--and the fact that Marion mentioned that he has been friends with Bryant for quite some time--flies in the face of the belief that many fans have that Bryant is disliked around the NBA; that is an image that many members in the media have tried to portray--going so far as to intimate that good players would not want to come to L.A. to play alongside Bryant--but it is not true. Bryant is widely respected around the league as the best player in the game. I don't know or care exactly how many friends that he has in the NBA or if he has more or less friends than a typical NBA player does, but portrayals of him as some kind of pariah are untrue; if that ever had any veracity, it was only in the immediate wake of his arrival in the NBA straight out of high school, when there was an obvious age gap between Bryant and the other players--but that was a decade ago and is hardly relevant now when Bryant has established himself as the league's best player and a three-time champion.

The Marion story flies in the face of two pieces of "conventional wisdom" that the mainstream media touts: 1) Everyone in the NBA would love to play with Steve Nash and would accept less money to do so; 2) Nobody in the NBA wants to play with Kobe Bryant. Therefore, rather than simply reporting the facts, it will not be too long before many media outlets spin this story to fit in with "conventional wisdom." It will be interesting to watch this unfold and see if the spin becomes an attack on Marion for being "selfish," an attack on Marion for not being that valuable of a player or if somehow someone figures out a way to blame this all on Bryant. Rest assured that the face value facts--Marion wants to be traded from Phoenix to the Lakers--will not be simply reported as such for very long.

posted by David Friedman @ 6:04 PM



At Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:55:00 PM, Blogger element313 said...

kobe lover:

you always say I lack stats to support Nash's MVP credentials. here's the stats: at http://82games.com/nichols3.htm

Nash at #2 in league in offense. that is MVP level, most definitely. meanwhile, notice another player who is not in teh top 10 (instead he's 97.9% percentile -- still pretty darn good, but not the best).

I know, it's just an offensive stat, and you'll say the stat is wrong (b/c if your guy isnt top-rated, the system is wrong).

but kobe's offense is not as good as you think --as posters have pointed out, by showing his FG % is lower than the rest of his team

face it, you're way off

At Wednesday, September 26, 2007 11:55:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


The stat that you have cited is simply a cobbled together mishmash of several systems, with no explanation of why combining these systems is more accurate than simply considering the results of each system separately. Therefore, I question the accuracy of this methodology. It seems on the surface that he added apples, oranges and bananas together, so to speak. Also, this "system" does not account at all for defense. Finally, there is something called the "laugh test" that can be applied to basketball statistics, meaning that if the results make you laugh out loud then something is probably wrong. I love David Lee's energy and hustle but a system that ranks him more highly as an offensive player than Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd is missing a larger truth, to say the least. I'd take a team of Kobe (55.2 in this system), Kidd (47.7), T-Mac (45.0), Elton Brand (46.6) and Nenad Krstic (15.6) over Jason Terry (60.6), Dwyane Wade (64.7), Vince Carter (48.9), Lee (56.7) and Erick Dampier (37.2). I would also enjoy bringing Deron Williams (28.8), Caron Butler (27.4) and T.J. Ford (12.0) off of the bench. The system you cited seems to really favor point guards, who comprise five of the top ten players (Nash, Billups, Arenas, Terry, Paul).

Meanwhile, as I have noted here on several occasions, NBA EFF, Hollinger's PER and Roland Beech's Roland Rating do not rank Nash as the best player in the NBA or even particularly close to that status. As I have said on many occasions, statistical arguments for Nash as an MVP are very weak. The strongest case for Nash is based on his intangible effect on his teammates.

My method of evaluating players does not depend entirely on stats or intangibles. Stats are a tool but it is also important to watch games with an understanding of what is actually happening on the court and what each player's strengths and weaknesses are--what one might call a "Scout's Eye View of the Game," to borrow the title of one of my articles.

Bryant is a complete player who has no weaknesses from a scouting point of view, as I explained by using this list of important attributes for a basketball player to possess:

1) Finishes at the hoop with either hand
2) Dribbles well with either hand
3) Has excellent post moves and footwork
4) Draws fouls and shoots FTs very well
5) Has three point range
6) Can get off a good shot attempt even against good defense
7) Rebounds well for his position
8) Reads double-teams well and makes the correct passes, which don't always lead to assists for two reasons: the second pass out of the trap often leads to the assist and it is not possible for anyone to get an assist if the shot is not made
9) Excellent defender, as acknowledged by the league's head coaches in All-Defensive Team voting
10) Tremendous inner drive and will to win

Bryant's mastery in these areas is why he was instantly acknowledged as the leader of Team USA by the other members of the squad, who themselves comprise a substantial portion of the top players in the league. That respect is not accorded lightly. Coach K echoed those sentiments as well.

I am not a "Kobe lover" or a "hater" of any player; I simply watch basketball and report what I see.

At Thursday, September 27, 2007 3:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

kobe is not the best player in the league ill rate him 3rd ill take lebron 2 tim duncan number one both of their teams were in the finals last year. and both have better numbers than kobe and duncan 4 rings lead guy, kobe 3 rings 2 option and lebron LED team to finals didnt have a very prime shaq to carry him there.

as far as marion it's not that he doesnt like steve nash or nuthing he just needs his ego stroked as well nash and stoudamire get alot of the credit from the media so he's kindof saying what about me. and also a contract dispute from him and the organization as well.

i just think he mad right now more than anything he really dont want to go to the lakers because he has alot better chance to win with nash and amare than kobe in la. theyll work this out and he'll be fine to me it's just frustration right now more than anything.

as far as noone wants to play with kobe probably not true i think most players might like kobe as a player and a person. i simply believe he has to have a super star super star to win a ring he not jordan or wilt who could carry a team by themself with just a star or lebron or duncan as well.

At Thursday, September 27, 2007 5:13:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


LeBron himself said (during the FIBA Americas tournament) that Kobe is the best player in the league. This sentiment is echoed by many other players and coaches. I think very highly of LeBron and Duncan, too. I have already said that Duncan is the greatest power forward of all-time. A great big man, because of his proximity to the hoop, can have more impact in many cases than a great perimeter player, so I would not disagree with the thought that he is more dominant than Kobe--but if you look at the list of traits that I cited in my previous comment, Kobe is more complete in terms of basketball skills. Moreover, Kobe is such a weapon both as a scorer and defender that his impact goes far beyond that even of other excellent perimeter players.

Anyone who watched LeBron in the Finals--and I covered two of the games in person--could see that LeBron does not have a consistent perimeter jumper. He did a tremendous job leading Cleveland to that point--something that I predicted before the playoffs began--but he cannot be considered a better player than Kobe because Kobe's game is still more complete. Kobe has a good outside shot and is still a much better defender than LeBron.

I know that you are fascinated with this number one star, number two star business but you need to take a closer look at the teams that have won NBA titles. For example, let's take two of the players who you cited: MJ and Wilt. MJ played alongside Scottie Pippen, who is on the 50 Greatest Players List. Before Pip joined the team, MJ's record in playoff games was 1-9 (worse than Kobe's record without Shaq). Wilt played on two championship teams. The first one had Billy Cunningham and Hal Greer, two members of the 50 Greatest Players List; the second one had Jerry West, also a member of the 50 Greatest Players List. Then there is Oscar Robertson, who some still consider to be the greatest all-around player of all-time; he did not win a ring until he teamed up with Kareem.

The list of great players who could legitimately be said to have led a team to a title without being paired with another truly great player is very short: Rick Barry ('75 Warriors) and Dr. J ('76 Nets in the ABA). Championship teams typically have either at least two great players or an ensemble cast of consisting of many All-Stars (Detroit in 2004).

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 1:30:00 AM, Blogger element313 said...

kobe shoots too much, as he has publicly admitted (e.g., http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/grizzlies/article/0,1426,MCA_475_5434585,00.html ("I shoot too much").

so other players (outside of Olympians) cant play w/him, because they dont get any shots... impedes their development

that's why caron butler flourished only when he left

then he goes and blasts his teammates for not being better -- this past offseason -- when he's the cause of that. I'd like to see how he would've developed if he'd had to play with a ballhog (like his current incarnation) when he was younger.

he's a self-centered hypocrite, and an overrated baller, whom the Lakers appease because their fan base is a bunch of Hollywood idiots, who are more interested in celebrity than winning bball

(I say that after having given him a full second chance last yr -- and rooted for him hard, all year, including when he praised Lamar & Luke, after Kobe's 50 point games... only to retract it all later. I really tried to root for the guy -- but the turnovers, and the personality are too much. The Lakers had better not wait much longer to trade him, or they'll get pennies on the dollar for him, just like with Shaq)

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 2:18:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Instead of either acknowledging my scouting report evaluation of Bryant or attempting to refute it you simply ignored it in favor of a dead link to an article from which you offer a snippet of what sounds like an out of context quote. Every All-Star level shooting guard in the NBA shoots too much at times and most have probably stated this at some point or another--but not every shooting guard has won two straight scoring titles or scored 81 points in a game (while leading his team to a win after facing a big deficit) or averaged 40 ppg for a month multiple times, etc.

Bryant is a shooting guard, so the word "shooting" is literally in his job description. Yet, whether you prefer NBA EFF or Hollinger's PER or the Roland Rating, Bryant is more efficient and more central to his team's success than two-time MVP Steve Nash, as I pointed out in my post about defining the value of a superstar. I don't believe that those ranking systems are the final word in evaluating players--but it is very difficult to make a statistical case that Nash is more efficient than Bryant.

Since you have no refutation for the scouting report approach or the statistical bottom line, you have now shifted back to one of your earlier prized case studies: Caron Butler. Supposedly, Butler's emergence in Washington "proves" something bad about Bryant. It should be obvious that different players have different growth curves. Some are stars immediately. Others are relatively late bloomers; Nash did not start winning MVPs until he had been in the league for quite some time, for instance. Butler averaged 15.4 ppg while shooting .416 from the field as a Miami rookie. Injuries limited him to 9.4 ppg and .380 shooting in his second season. The next year, his lone season playing alongside Kobe, Butler averaged 15.6 ppg, .445 field goal shooting and 5.8 rpg, all career highs at the time. The next year in Washington, his numbers increased again, to 17.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg and .455 shooting. Last year, he averaged 19.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg and shot .463 from the field. Other than his injury-filled second season, Butler's numbers have been increasing at a steady rate since his rookie season. The fault here lies not with Bryant but with Mitch Kupchak or whoever decided to trade a developing young forward for Kwame Brown. Bryant has said that Butler is one of his favorite teammates of all-time. The idea that Bryant held back Butler's development is simply ridiculous.

Bryant was instantly acknowledged by other Team USA players as the leader of the team because of his work ethic and his effort at both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. He was the leading playmaker on three championship teams, so the idea that he is a ballhog does not fly; Bryant is his team's primary scorer. Anyone who watched the Lakers the last couple seasons knows that when he passes out of double teams his teammates are generally unwilling to take or unable to make open shots, often resulting in him getting the ball back with the shot clock running down. That is why he sometimes resorts to taking shots early in the shot clock, before the double-team can arrive--but he generally does not do that in a game until it becomes clear that no one else is stepping up on a given night.

If Bryant is "overrated," then the high ranking that he has is shared by the coaches (who voted him to the All-Defensive First Team), many beat writers (who voted him third in MVP balloting) and the players, who generally list his name first when the subject of best player in the game comes up. Hollywood has nothing to do with any of that.

Bryant does not have a high turnover rate for a player who logs as many minutes and has as many touches as he does. Last year, Bryant had 255 turnovers in 3140 minutes (in 2006 he had 250 turnovers in 3277 minutes). That works out to 3.9 TO/48 Min., which is markedly less than Nash's 5.1 TO/48 Min. Yes, Nash gets more assists but Bryant scores significantly more points. Both players are performing necessary roles for their teams. By the way, LeBron averaged 3.8 TO/48 Min. in 2007 and Wade averaged 5.4 TO/48 Min. If you go through the NBA Guide and look up the records for most turnovers, you will see the names of many of the game's greatest players; the guys who handle the ball the most also commit the most turnovers but Bryant's numbers are well within the acceptable range and at least as good as the game's other top perimeter players.

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 5:32:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I was finally able to get the link you cited to work. As I suspected, the quote you mentioned is taken completely out of context. The bulk of the article is about how Kobe is singlehandedly carrying the Lakers; the opening sentence reads, "He is putting to rest a controversy and re-affirming the greatness, jump shot by jump shot." The "controversy" concerned Bryant being suspended twice earlier in the season for his wayward elbows. The writer documented Kobe's record setting scoring pace, which included making 40 of his previous 74 shots, including 12 of 21 from three point range. Phil Jackson approved of all of this shooting: "We talked about going to Kobe early in games and not waiting. He had been playing the team role, feeling the game out and waiting 'til the second half to get going. But there's just not enough time right now in the season to develop that."

After documenting that Kobe is playing fantastically well and has increased his shooting at his coach's request, the writer spends the second part of the article talking about Kobe's suspensions. Mike Miller, who had been elbowed by Kobe, denied that Kobe is a dirty player. Interim Memphis Coach Tony Barone also denied that Kobe is a dirty player.

The final words of the article consist of this quote from Kobe:

"If somebody wants to criticize me for the way I play on the basketball court, at least make it something that's somewhat realistic. Say I shoot too much."

So Bryant did not actually directly say, "I shoot too much," as you asserted. He said, in response to allegations that he is a dirty player, that if anyone wants to accuse him of something to at least make it "realistic."

The way you took a throwaway line from the end of an article and grandiosely turned it into an "admission" by Kobe (as if he is guilty of some great sin) is worthy of the New York Times and other media outlets that specialize in such quote doctoring.

Then you tried to construct an entire argument around this out of context quote, alleging that it proves in some way that Kobe is a bad teammate.

My position on Kobe does not require torturing quotes until they agree with me or citing mishmashed statistics; it is based on watching Kobe play and assessing his performance in key areas that scouts evaluate. NBA players and coaches recognize that Kobe excels in the areas that I have delineated and that is why Kobe was accorded so much instant respect by the members of Team USA.

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 8:39:00 PM, Blogger vednam said...

I think if the Suns trade Marion, they'll still be a very good team, but they'll slip noticably.

Although most experts agree that one of the Suns' biggest failings is their defense, Marion's value continues to be downplayed. Marion is probably their best defender. It's funny that with two All-Defense caliber players, Marion and Raja Bell, the Suns still have problems playing championship-level defense. That says a lot about the failings of Nash and Stoudemire, and should allow people to see that it's foolish to credit Nash and Stoudemire and just downplay the rest of the team.

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

i never heard alot of players and coaches say kobe is the best player in the game, some have most people say he is one of the best players in the league. more complete than duncan all he do is score and shoot free throws better duncan is way more dominant and has more impact on the game than kobe does and his team.

kobe doesnt have great fg% at all 45% career average jordan at 50% and lebron 48%. kobe is better pure shooter better long range slightly but lebron better shot selection same with mike. kobe is a little bit better defender than lebron now not way better guarding the guy from the suns aint like guarding wade or james or the really good players in nba.

i just think lebron was being humble like he always was about kobe the best player no player of his stature really thinks that and it's not true.

as far as jordan and wilt. wilt carried his team to game 7 conference finals in 1962 that team was not very good at all and he barely lost to the celtics who had 7 hall of famers on them and he was the catalyst to the 67 team and 72 team cunningham and hal greer were fine players but without wilt they dont make the playoffs.

jordan was 1-9 without pippen who was he playing agint those years um 86 celtics 87 celtics. they won 67 and 59 games jordan team 38 and 40 yeah he was supposed to beat those teams? and also they didnt have anybody on the bulls teams than but every year jordan played his team improved. and in 87-88 and 88-89 pippen was not big part of the team jordan won 50 games and 47 and went to the conference finals put kobe on those teams no way he goes to the conference finals and second round. and pippen averaged 7.9 and 14.4 those two years not that great really and only averaged 16ppg career come on jordan carried those teams.

At Monday, October 01, 2007 1:24:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


If the Suns trade Marion for Odom straight up then, all other things being equal (such as no injuries to other key players), I would expect the Lakers to win at least 5 more games and the Suns to win at least 5 fewer games. The Lakers could actually increase their win total this year by more than 5 games if they not only add Marion but are also able to keep Walton and other frontcourt players reasonably healthy. Obviously, every team deals with some injuries during the course of the season but last year the Lakers were without several key members of their projected frontcourt rotation for an extended period of time.

Amare makes some spectacular blocked shots on the weak side but overall he is a terrible defensive player. Everyone talks about how many points he scored in the 05 playoffs versus the Spurs but meanwhile Duncan was eating him for lunch at the other end of the court and the Spurs won the series without much difficulty. Nash at least tries to play good defense but he simply is not strong enough or quick enough to contain his man one on one so he has to resort to trying to take charges and/or go for steals (in game one this year versus the Spurs his nose got bloodied when he was trying to stay in front of Tony Parker).

At Monday, October 01, 2007 2:02:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


If you've never heard a lot of people--players, coaches and media members--say that Kobe is the best player in the game then you simply are not paying attention. Even the voters who selected Dirk or Nash for MVP often said that Kobe is the best player; they just did not feel that they could vote for someone from a 42 win team. LeBron has said that Kobe is the best player. Nash has said it. Basically everyone who was on Team USA said it. I agree that as a great big man that Duncan is more dominant; he still does not possess the all-around skills that Kobe has. Back in the early 80s, writer Pete Axthelm said that Larry Bird might be the best player in the league but that it was equally possible that Robert Parish, because of his defense and rebounding, was a more dominant presence. I don't know that I agree 100% with that example but that is basically how I perceive Kobe and Duncan today; another way to put it is that Kobe has the best pure basketball skills--shooting, passing, rebounding (for his position), defense, ball handling. Duncan, by virtue of his size, is more dominant, but he does not have the shooting range that Kobe does and is a poor free throw shooter.

We've been over the field goal percentage issue here so many times.

1) Kobe shoots many more threes than MJ and LeBron, so you have to look at his adjusted field goal percentage to gauge his effectiveness as a shooter.

2) Defenders have to guard Kobe out to the three point line, which gives him driving lanes and angles that are not there for LeBron (look at a tape of how the Spurs guarded LeBron in the Finals, walling off his driving lanes and conceding perimeter jumpers that LeBron simply could not make; you can't guard Kobe that way unless you are willing to have him drop 50).

3) I still don't know why when I say that Kobe is the best player in the game today that people keep bringing up MJ's name. I have never said that Kobe is better than MJ. Still, if you want to compare the two in terms of shooting percentage then you simply have to factor in the extra point from the three point field goals; otherwise, the comparison is dishonest and meaningless.

Kobe is a much better defender than LeBron, although LeBron has made great strides in that area. Look at the All-Defensive Team voting, which is done by the coaches. Kobe made the First Team; LeBron did not get a single vote.

You've switched your argument about "carrying" a team. You originally said that MJ and Wilt carried teams to titles by themselves but that Kobe is not as good and has to be paired with another star to win a ring. After I refuted that now you say that Wilt carried the Sixers to the 1962 "conference" finals. Of course, there were no "conferences" back then, just two divisions, and the playoffs consisted of just three rounds: division semifinals, division finals, NBA Finals. Wilt's 1962 Philly team had the third best record among nine NBA teams (49-31) and beat a 41-39 Syracuse team 3-2 in the Eastern division semifinals before losing 4-3 to Boston in the Eastern division finals. The second leading scorer on that team behind Wilt was Paul Arizin, who made the All-Star team that year and is on the 50 Greatest Players list. The second best player on Kobe's Lakers, Lamar Odom, has yet to make an All-Star team even once in his eight year career. The point guard was Guy Rodgers, who did not make the All-Star team that season but did make it four times during his career. He had 6917 career assists, which still ranks 14th all-time 37 years after he retired. Those Sixers also had excellent role players in Tom Meschery, Al Attles and Tom Gola. To compare Wilt's supporting cast that year to Kobe's is simply ridiculous.

I like how you say that Cunningham and Greer were "fine players." No, they are on the 50 Greatest Players List and are in the Hall of Fame. Odom is a fine player--and there is a big difference between being an all-time great and a "fine player." Those Sixers also had Chet Walker, who probably should be in the Hall of Fame, and Luke Jackson, a great power forward whose career was later cut short by a serious injury. That Sixers team was stacked with talent; Billy C is an all-time great and he came off the bench!

I know how many games MJ's teams won without Pip--you are proving my point when you say that. You're the one who insists that MJ could carry a team by himself but as you point out his teams were sub .500 without Pip. You also left out the little detail that MJ's teams did not win even one game against Boston (0-6); their win came against Milwaukee in a 3-1 loss in 1985. When MJ had little or no help he went 1-9 in the playoffs. When Kobe has had little or no help he has gone 4-8 in the playoffs. I've never said that Kobe is as good as MJ but you are making a decent case that Kobe has done more with less than MJ did.

Pip played a key role in the '88 and '89 playoffs as a defender and playmaker and he also made some key shots down the stretch in some of those playoff games. Pip's career scoring average is not relevant; he had a vital role on all six championship teams as the leading playmaker, top defender, second best rebounder and the second leading scorer--in those years he averaged 18-20 ppg in addition to all of his other duties. There is no way that the Bulls win those titles without Pip--and, other than the examples I cited (Dr. J in the ABA in '76, Rick Barry in the NBA in '75) you would be hard pressed to find a credible example of a championship team that could truly be said to have been "carried" by one guy. The reality is that even Erving and Barry received help at key stretches from other players, though they did a lot of the heavy lifting.

At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 6:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

lebron a better passer better rebounder can score as good if he took as many shots as kobe do. as far as duncan simply the best player in the game has a freethrow weakness kobe is not a great fg% shooter thats his weakness. he needs to learn bettershot selection thats why lebron has better fg% not that kobe takes 3's he takes alot of bad shots as well look at lakers games you might learn something i live in compton i watch every laker game.

steve nash has never said that kobe was the best player in the game who are the several coaches and players? i remeber steve nash saying he said kobe was one of the best not the best duncan never said it wade never said it t mac never said who are you talking about.

odom has the same per as pippen did in 89-90 but jordan team won 55 got to game 7 of the conference finals kobe wins 42 games. in 1986 and 87 jordan played the celtics why he 0-6 those teams had 3 or 4 hall of famers jordan had nobody kobe wouldnt of beat those teams or even won a game aginst them either, and i know that jordan would be 4 -8 or better with these lakers aginst the suns and only got 3 of the 4 wins because stoudamire didnt play the year before your comparing apples to oranges man.

i said wilt and jordan won with just a star read carefully he needs a super star super star like shaq to win jordan and wilt didnt as much help to win. and cunningham and greer were good but went nowhere without wilt before they got there wilt carried a team in his rookie year to the brink of the finals. kobe has never carried a team anywhere.

pippen was not a big contributor to the sucess of the bulls the first couple years go look it up in the playoffs either he averaged 7.9 ppg and 14 ppg jordan carried the team in 87-88 and 88-89 pipen came off the bench matter of fact in 87-88 his rookie year the bulls won 50 games and got to the second round. and i remeber clyde frazier doing a gmae on tv when the bulls were playing the hawks 88-89 year and him saying jordan had no help and needed other player to contribute pipen was on team then buddy.

i know pippen was vital on the six championships teams but jordan still got the the second round and third round without him doing much at all there goes the theory of jordan didnt do nuthing without pippen basiscally his 4th and 5th he didnt have pippen especially pippen 1st and jordan 4th year.

in 62 wilt had to score so much just for them to be relevant paul arizin was good player but no better than odom, and wilt still carried them almost to the finals. bottom line you cant be the best player in the league if your team wins 42 games and 45 games and you get bounced in the first round every year. james has no better team than kobe but they win 50 games and they beat kobe twice last year and get to the finals and i know that if you put kobe on cleveland he doesnt score 48 agisnt detroit to win east. i said that jordan and wilt didnt need a shaq level star to win they could win with just a regular star all pippen was and greer and cunningham basically kobe needs even more help because he is not as good as those players.

to me they put kobe on a pedestal he doesnt belong great players make the players around them better. players he hasnt done that so far in his career he was very fortunate to play with shaq wear he didnt have to do that but now that everything falls on him he has been exposed great indivudual talent not a great team player like bird wilt and jordan.

At Wednesday, October 03, 2007 2:03:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


You made a long comment but you did not specifically address, let alone refute, most of my very specific points. LeBron is not a better scorer or shooter than Kobe and the numbers clearly show that; this is also readily apparent to anyone who watches them play. I already explained why field goal percentage is not the relevant stat here.

As for players/coaches saying that Kobe is the best player, LeBron just said that during the FIBA Americas tournament. Many other players have said this as well, on or off the record. Remember, we're not talking about who is the MVP; many people believe that you cannot give the MVP to a player whose team does not win 50 games. We are talking about which player has the most complete all-around skills. Don't forget that even Shaq called Kobe the best player in the league--and that was five years ago. However, I'm not just talking about public statements by guys like LeBron, Shaq and Barkley; I am also talking about what I hear behind the scenes from coaches and scouts. When I was working on my article about the "Accelerated Growth Curve of LeBron James," which I will be reprinting here shortly, I asked Ron Harper to compare James' rapid development to some of the superstars that he played with and against during his career. Harper said simply, "Kobe is the best player in the game, period. There is not a player who comes close to doing what he does on the floor. He wants to guard the best ball players, he wants to take the hardest jump shots, and he wants to do the things he wants to do to win the ball game. There is not a player in the NBA who comes close to doing what he does." I hear much the same thing from scouts and other coaches around the league.

If you really believe that Odom is even close to as good as Pip was then you need serious help. In his prime Pip was All-NBA, All-Defense and--in several years--a legit MVP candidate. He is one of the 50 Greatest Players. Odom has not even made one All-Star team. This is where stats can be really misleading, because Marbury has put up some point/assist stats that put him with Oscar, Isiah and other all-time greats but no one in his right mind believes that Marbury is a great player. You have to watch the games with understanding, not just read stats or mouth back what some talking head says.

LeBron's team was better than Kobe's at virtually every position and played in an easier conference. Kobe has put up numerous 40-plus point games in the playoffs and had multiple Finals in which he put up better stats than LeBron did this year. Kobe had 48 points and 16 rebounds in game four versus Sac in 2001 and then had 45 points and 10 rebounds in the Lakers' next game, a game one win in San Antonio. There are many other examples. To suggest that Kobe has not performed at a very high level in the playoffs is absurd.

Let's be clear. I'm not saying that Kobe is as good as MJ and Wilt--but you are completely wrong to suggest that Arizin and the others were just regular guys. Again, I listed in my previous comment all the laurels that they won during their careers. Odom is vastly overrated by fans.

You still have not cited one example that proves your contention that a great player can singlehandedly lead a team to a title, so please admit that you are completely wrong on this point. Wilt won titles playing alongside HoFers and Top 50 players, as did MJ and Bird. Also, MJ played on teams that won less than half their games, so by your standard he must not have been great.


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