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Sunday, May 04, 2008

David West Dominates as Hornets Throttle Spurs, 101-82

David West scored a playoff career-high 30 points on 13-23 field goal shooting as the New Orleans Hornets beat the defending champion San Antonio Spurs 101-82. Chris Paul struggled with his shot for most of the game but he finished with 17 points on 7-16 shooting in addition to having 13 assists, four rebounds and four steals. Peja Stojakovic scored 22 points and a had a game-high +17 plus/minus rating. Tony Parker (23 points, five assists, five rebounds) and Manu Ginobili (19 points, seven assists, six rebounds) performed at their normal levels but Tim Duncan tied his playoff career-low with five points, shooting just 1-9 from the field and grabbing just three rebounds in 37 minutes. Duncan's performance reinforces a point that I made in a recent post, namely that an MVP-level player will rarely put up such numbers but that if he does it is virtually impossible for his team to win; on the other hand, the Spurs can--and have--won when Ginobili has that kind of stat line.

New Orleans jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 3:13 of the game but Parker's reverse layup at the 6:04 mark tied the score at 10. In my preview article about this series I suggested that Ginobili may be the X factor, so it was interesting to hear that TNT's Kenny Smith shares that point of view; we agree that the Hornets do not have anyone who can guard Ginobili. He first entered the game when the score was 8-2 New Orleans and he provided an immediate lift with 11 first quarter points. The Spurs led 27-23 by the end of the first quarter. There was a 19 minute delay before the start of the second quarter due to a bizarre mishap: the Hornets' mascot jumped off of a trampoline and through a ring of fire to dunk a basketball but when the game operations crew could not extinguish the ring of fire some firefighters stepped in and doused the ring with their fire extinguishers (instead of the CO2 that is normally used in these situations); that left a slippery residue all over the court. The NBA game is highly competitive and entertaining, so the sideshows that take place during timeouts are not only unnecessary but--in some instances--actually pose a health hazard to the league's most valuable asset, its great athletes. Players were still slipping around after play resumed and the officials stopped the action briefly midway through the second quarter so that the court could be swept again; the regularly scheduled halftime show was canceled so that the entire halftime could be spent cleaning the court. A team like the Phoenix Suns would no doubt use a disruption like this as an excuse if they lost but that is not the way that the Spurs operate; when Bruce Bowen was asked about it at halftime he said that both teams are playing under the same conditions, concluding, "You can't have any excuses."

The Spurs pushed their lead to 48-37 at the 2:46 mark of the second quarter and they still led 49-43 when San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich made the questionable decision to intentionally foul Tyson Chandler. I explained in my recaps of the Spurs-Suns series that Popovich believes in the strategy of intentionally fouling poor free throw shooters and that he especially likes to use this technique if his team is ahead; I also noted that if the fouled player makes just half of his free throws then the numbers work against the fouling team because an NBA possession is typically worth about one point. Chandler made both free throws in this instance and then the Spurs, operating against an entrenched New Orleans defense, ended up with a contested three point shot that missed, resulting in a 49-45 halftime score. Those two free points may not seem to matter in light of the final score but if the Spurs had defended, gotten a stop, pushed the ball and scored then they might have led by eight or nine at halftime. Intentionally fouling is not a good strategy, unless it is done to prevent a poor free throw shooter from converting a dunk or easy layup. West and Stojakovic each had 13 points in the first half, while Paul and Duncan only had three points each; Bruce Bowen had all 17 of his points in the first half.

West scored 11 points in the third quarter as the Hornets took a 74-66 lead. Michael Finley opened the fourth quarter with a three pointer to make the score 74-69 but New Orleans steadily pulled away after that. The Spurs' quarter by quarter scoring went 27-22-17-16 while the Hornets scored at least 22 in each quarter.

When the Hornets led 96-82 with less than two minutes remaining Paul only had 12 points on 5-14 field goal shooting but he split a pair of free throws and had a layup and a dunk that padded his scoring and shooting numbers; the reality is that on this night West was clearly the best player on the court. West created most of his shots on his own, using an impressive array of moves, finishing in the paint with either hand and also showcasing his deadly midrange jumper. He is a very difficult cover; the Spurs tried to protect Duncan from foul trouble by assigning this task mainly to Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto but Kenny Smith rightly noted after the game that Duncan is an All-Defensive Team player who sooner or later in this series will have to take on that challenge.

I received quite a surprise when I looked at the official play by play sheet and discovered that Paul was credited with assists on seven of West's 13 field goals. Rick Barry once told me that the only statistic that he trusts is free throw percentage and Oscar Robertson has complained many times that the definition of an assist is much more liberal now than it was during his playing days. I went back to the tape to look at each of West's field goals. His first three scores came on driving moves for which no assist was credited. Then things get very interesting. West's fourth field goal came at the 1:02 mark of the first quarter. Paul passed to Bonzi Wells, who swung the ball from the right elbow to West on the left baseline. West caught the ball at 1:06, took two dribbles and lofted a tough floater over Duncan. An assist is supposed to be awarded only if the recipient immediately shoots, not after he takes multiple dribbles, so there is no way that an assist should have been awarded--and if an assist was awarded it should have been given to Wells, not Paul.

Robertson would have a fit if he saw West's fifth field goal: Paul passed the ball to West at the 1:51 mark in the second quarter. West made a jab step to the right, drove left, stopped and shot a tough fadeaway jumper over Oberto and Thomas. West made a fake, took a dribble and then shot a fadeaway, so there absolutely should not be an assist awarded for that shot. Sloppy scorekeeping like this makes it easier to understand how guys like Paul and Steve Nash are racking up such lofty assist numbers and why people are convinced that West and Amare Stoudemire could not tie their shoelaces if their point guards did not help them. West displayed excellent footwork and ballhandling but people will look at the play by play sheet and boxscore and say, "Look how Paul is making West better."

West's sixth field goal was a hook shot for which Jannero Pargo received an assist, which is pretty strange considering that West received the ball on the left wing at the 1:13 mark, faked a jumper, took one dribble to the left, dribbled between his legs, drove across the lane to the right and shot a hook over Oberto at the 1:08 mark. How exactly did Pargo "assist" West?

At the 7:43 mark of the third quarter West made his seventh field goal, a dunk after a nice feed from Paul, the third time that Paul was credited with an assist on a West shot but the first one that actually was a legitimate assist by Paul.

At the 3:51 mark of the third quarter, Paul passed to West, who was stationed on the left block. West faked a drop step move, took two dribbles and then delivered a left handed hook. Again, no assist is supposed to be awarded on such a play but Paul was credited with one.

Less than two minutes later, Paul passed to West on the right wing. West faked a jumper, took two dribbles into the lane and made a tough runner. Shockingly, the friendly New Orleans scorekeeper did not give Paul an assist on this play.

About a minute later, Morris Peterson passed to West on the left wing. West faked a jumper, took two dribbles and made a fadeaway jumper. Naturally, Peterson was (wrongly) credited with an assist.

At the 10:17 mark of the fourth quarter, Paul passed to West on the right wing and West immediately raised up and made a jumper. That was correctly scored as an assist for Paul.

At the 9:36 mark of the fourth quarter, Paul passed to West on the left wing and West executed a reverse pivot before firing a fadeaway jumper. Paul was awarded an assist; West made a move after receiving the pass but he did shoot almost immediately, so that assist is marginal but acceptable. West's 13th field goal was a dunk off of a nice Paul feed.

So, of Paul's seven assists on West's field goals, three were clearly wrong, three were clearly correct and one was marginal. I have no idea whether or not this ratio is typical or a one game aberration but there is no question that the play by play sheet and boxscore from this game tell a much different story than the naked eye does.

Paul is a very good point guard and he hardly needs to have anybody padding his statistics. What's more, this is not fair to West--who is generating a lot of his offense on his own--nor is it fair to the players whose assist records Paul is breaking.

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posted by David Friedman @ 9:57 AM



At Sunday, May 04, 2008 4:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

west impressed me last night he created most of the shots on his own for the first time i seen. he was the best player to a certain degree chris paul controlled the pace of the game and his presence helped west get one on one play they werent double west too mcuh in the game take nuthing away from west he totally out played duncan for one game and thats all it is trust me tim duncan will be back next game. chris paul should of got co mvp even when he doesnt play well he is dominant player he has one guy who can create his own shot and that is only sometimes, he is the everything for that team he had 13 assists and 17 points in a bad game for him after dismantling dallas by himself he is looking to dismantle spurs by himself he is becoming a great player in the game take him away this team win 32 games this year chris paul is mvp.

as much as kobe jordan lebron robertson are super great players most valauble player in league this year is chris paul he like isaih thomas nate tiny archibald type now he not as good yet but he comes from that pedigree west was good but i could be david west if i had chris paul and a good jump shot.

At Sunday, May 04, 2008 7:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

paul doesnt need to be credited for west asissits or anybody asists paul is the reason anybody knows west who was west last year did you know he played on the hornets? come on david trying to make chris paul steve nash is crazy he way better than nash and better than you give him credit for he doesnt need to pad stats he paddding his teammates stats.

At Monday, May 05, 2008 7:06:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


This game is not the first time that West has displayed this skill set; that is what I've trying to tell you for some time now. I've watched West play for years and he has really developed a nice game: he has great footwork, a deadly jumper and he can finish with either hand. The idea that he is wholly dependent on Paul is just wrong. That takes nothing away from Paul's skills; I don't understand why people feel the need to downgrade Amare and West in order to praise Nash and Paul.

West put up better numbers than Duncan in this game but he did not do his scoring damage versus Duncan; the Spurs guarded him with Oberto, Thomas and others. Maybe in game two they will put Duncan on him at least part of the time.

If you take any of the top five players in the NBA off of their teams those teams would obviously suffer, so that is really an irrelevant consideration--and if one MVP candidate has a better backup player than another does that make him less "valuable"? All of that stuff is sideshow garbage. I evaluate players the way that scouts do: Kobe is a better scorer and defender than Paul, he rebounds better for his position and Bryant creates a ton of offense for his teammates as a shooting guard, which is really remarkable. Paul's height is a disadvantage in certain situations (finishing at the rim, some defensive matchups) but Kobe has no corresponding weakness.

A month or so ago, you spent a lot of time saying that if NO has the best record in the West then Paul has to be the MVP. Well, Kobe's Lakers beat the Hornets and the Spurs at the end of the regular season to claim the best record in the West and Kobe not only outplayed Paul head to head but he outperformed him throughout that crucial closing stretch of the season. By your own standards you have to say that Kobe is the MVP. If you say anything else then you are just completely contradicting yourself.

Isiah and Nate Archibald never won MVPs and you admit that CP3 is not as good as they were so by your own logic how can CP3 be the MVP? Again, your own logic betrays you.

At Monday, May 05, 2008 7:32:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Assists are a very subjective stat and I just showed that several of Paul's 13 assists in the previous game were scored incorrectly. You are looking at bogus numbers and then coming to false conclusions. When Paul throws the ball to West and West scores five seconds later after taking numerous dribbles, faking guys out and shooting over people that is not an example of Paul making him better. That does not take anything away from Paul's skills nor does it mean that he never makes West better but West is a much better player than you think.

Last year, West played in only 52 games. That is why people did not know who he was. Please try to get your facts straight.

I have already said that Paul is the best pg in the NBA now; the comparison with Nash is that Paul's fans downgrade West's skills the same way that Nash's fans downgrade Amare's skills.

I did not say that Paul intentionally padded his stats but the fact is that he had 13 points on 5-14 shooting before he made two shots that had no bearing on the final outcome of the game. NO had that big lead because of what West had done earlier.

At Monday, May 05, 2008 9:07:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

I hate doing the this player reminds of this player but West reminded me of Mark Aguirre the other night. His game is from 18 feet and in. He had the jump hooks. He can post up anyone. He had the step back shot. He had the turnaround. He is a very good player and a good rebounder as well. There is no one on the Spurs or Lakers who can deal with him. The Spurs are in trouble. Paul definitely has not made West better but Pauls 'organized playground' as Popovich calls it makes it a lot easier for all of the players to get shots.

I dont know why Scott didnt have his starters on the court after the 19 minute delay.

And look of course Paul isnt better than Bryant...Bryant has been the best in the league the last 4 years or so. And its stupid to compare and point guard to a shooting guard. They do different things. Bryant cant run the offense like Paul can (Im sure you will disagree) and Paul cant rebound like Bryant can. You cant go wrong with either player when starting a team from scratch.

At Monday, May 05, 2008 1:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

it is the first time he displayed this i seen chris paul changed the game in the second half why they won and the reason they won the dallas series as well take him out the hornets lose the game. as kenny smith said he changed the pace in the second half of the game and that is why they won if he wasnt out there and west number 1 option they would of got killed.

you down grade the lakers roster and players when trying to make kobe better than he is. act like he carry a bunch of stiffs when odom and pau have had great years without him and are very good players. and every shot farmar and sasha make is because of kobe and most of the time sasha comes of picks and had 11 stragiht points yesterday when kobe was on the bench and he has done that numerous times this season and so has farmar driveing to the basket and creating his own shot when kobe on the bench.

i never argued kobe a better player than paul that doesnt determine mvp it is wins and value to team. paul is more valuable to his team than kobe is clearly and kobe had more wins i would of gave the mvp to kobe which he will win he had more wins than paul and did outplay in that stretch that is fair no doubt he been great all year he played team ball all year he deserves it.

i said he comes out of the isiah and tiny mold he only played 3 years he not as good as those guys yet you need to read what i write correctly sir get your facts straight. and them winning the mvp in there careers has no bearing on chris paul winning one in his he should be disqualified becasue isiah and tiny never one won get real fam.

west played 52 games noone knew who he was and you forgot the previous 3 years as well david he been in the league 5? come on david that was one play alot of times paul throws the ball to west he is shooting a wide open 17 footer or has a guy running at him after haveing to double paul.

i noticed paul had a triple double vs dallas 32 17 and 35 10 you didnt post nuthing praiseing paul soon as west has 30 and 9 your saying how great he is and every game kobe scores 10 you say how great he is a little double standard there, oh no you apply the same standards to everybody right?

At Monday, May 05, 2008 5:37:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I don't agree with the Aguirre comparison; Aguirre is 6-6 (at best; if anything he seems a bit shorter in person), he used his ample backside to create space in the post, he had three point shooting range and he was a better passer than West, who is longer and has a more traditional big man's game. West is obviously a much better rebounder.

I don't dispute Paul's talents at all. He is the best pg in the league now, but Kobe and LeBron are better overall players. I don't understand why people rag on West and Amare in order to elevate Paul and Nash. Anyone who is being objective can see that West has developed into quite a player and he is not dependent on being spoonfed in order to score; he creates his own shot very effectively and he can score against double teams, too.

Also, people need to stop acting like CP3 created Chandler in a lab on his own; Chandler averaged 9.2 ppg in just 24.3 mpg in his second season so I am not sure what all the fuss is about now that he is averaging 11.8 ppg in 35.2 mpg. Yes, CP3 and Chandler led the league in alleyoops but that amounted to about one play per game; that has more to do with Coach Scott trusting Chandler and putting him in that position than anything else; Coach Skiles in Chicago did not have a great rapport with Chandler, plus Chandler was fresh out of high school at that time.

Paul is a great player and it is not necessary to make up things in order to praise his greatness.

I agree that you could build a team around either Bryant or Paul but Bryant is a better and more dominant player. It would not make sense for Bryant to run an offense the way that Paul does because even though Bryant is a great passer he is an even greater scorer and a player should always perform to his strength.

I don't think that the Spurs are in trouble just yet. Let's see what happens in game two. I think that in general teams should stop double-teaming Paul and force him to score, because his mentality is pass first. The Spurs actually did this during game one and Paul did not really hurt them but their problem was that they could not stop West's one on one moves and Duncan had a miserable offensive game. Assuming that Duncan bounces back and they make some adjustments on West the Spurs can win game two and, eventually, the series.

At Monday, May 05, 2008 6:14:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Please be serious; West did not suddenly learn crossover moves, jab steps, pump fakes and a left handed hook just before game one. All of those things have been in his repertoire for quite some time. It's not like West was throwing in lucky shots; he was making sound moves using good footwork. As I noted, one of the assists that was credited to Paul came after Wells passed to West and two others came on plays when there was a huge lag between the pass and the shot, with multiple moves and fakes delivered in the interim. The scorekeeping in that game was atrocious and I doubt that this was a one-time thing; the Big O has been complaining about similar things (not just in New Orleans) for years. Paul is a great player whether he had 13 assists, 10 assists or seven assists but the boxscore numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt (and not just for Paul but for all players).

I never said that the Hornets could beat Dallas without Paul. You are the one who is making claims about who could beat whom without their star player. All I am saying is that West is a very good player who creates his own shot and that Paul has not singlehandedly "made" him.

Kobe did carry a bunch of stiffs in 2006 and 2007, so I am not making anything up. Let me know the next time that Smush or Kwame start a playoff game, let alone on the same team.

I never said that Gasol, Odom, Vujacic or Farmar are stiffs. Gasol is a one-time All-Star. However, in the West alone Amare, Dirk, Duncan and Boozer are better pfs and West is at least as good as Gasol. Odom is a good third option; I said that he is overmatched as a second option and that is obviously true since every pf listed above (plus a few others) is better than he is. Vujacic is a nice bench player. Of course he can sometimes create a shot on his own; he is an NBA player who used to be a point guard so I would hope that he has some off the dribble game. You said that West's performance was a one-time thing, which is not even true, but do you really think that it is typical for Vujacic to score 9 quick points at the start of the second quarter? His 15 points versus Utah is more than he scored in all but 8 of 72 games during the regular season and more than he scored in games three and four versus Denver combined. Vujacic averaged 8.8 ppg this season. Take Kobe off of the team and Vujacic is now the starting shooting guard. Good luck with that; do you really think that he can consistently (the key word here) create his own shot against good shooting guards?

Farmar is a solid bench guy; if he were good enough to be a starter then I'm sure that Phil Jackson would be starting him, so try not to get carried away in your praise.

How is Paul "clearly" more valuable to his team than Kobe? Kobe carried a horrible team to the playoffs two years in a row. Paul has never done that. Kobe was the leading playmaker on three championship teams. Paul has won one playoff series so far.

As I showed in my article about point guard MVPs, other players have put up numbers like CP3s--and even better in some cases--without getting close to winning an MVP. The voters keep changing their standards. I would say that Paul had an MVP caliber season this year but Kobe and LeBron had even better seasons and are better overall players.

As for your comments about me allegedly not judging Kobe and CP23 the same way, please cite even one example that shows that "every game Kobe scores 10" that I say how great he is; you are going to have trouble finding many examples of Kobe scoring 10, let alone finding posts about that: the only time Kobe had less than 10 points in a game this season is after he injured his finger.

Also, during the first round I covered Cavs-Wiz in person and focused most of my other coverage on Lakers-Nuggets and San Antonio-Phoenix but I did do a post about the "other" playoff matchups in which I wrote that the key issue in the Dall-NO series was who would be the dominant player and that at that point it "has clearly been Chris Paul, who is averaging 33.5 ppg, 13.5 apg and 3.5 spg while shooting .641 from the field. Needless to say, those numbers are insanely good."

My article about point guard MVPs placed Paul's achievements in the context of other great point guards from previous eras, so it is not at all correct to suggest that I either ignored him or downplayed what he has accomplished.

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 9:04:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

Aguirre is not known as a three-point shooter that was Blackman and Davis. Some of their offensive movements on the court are similar. And I definitely dont consider Aguirre as any type of passer. Of course last night West played like Mark McGwire but Paul picked up the slack.

You say Bryant is more dominant but Paul is dominating the defending champs and one of the best defensive teams like he is in high school again. True indeed its the first two games of the series at home but its easier for Paul to dominant since he dominants the ball.

You cant go wrong with either player since both Bryant and Paul need help to succeed. They are both equally valuable to their teams. And it helps to have better players and players individual play improving when making players better. Its easy to see Bryant and Paul making players better when he has better players.
Bryant did have stiffs but if your are as great as you are supposed to be you can make stiffs better. Of course a stiff is a stiff and Kwame and Parker are two of the worst so I dont blame Bryant too much.

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 4:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

west is a very good player i tend to think pau is better than he is because he carried a team before it's not by alot or anything but i think all around he better i agree dirk stouadmire duncan is better boozer maybe he is a good player he better probably than pau not by much. sasha a good bench player my point was every time he and the lakers make a shot isnt becasue of kobe i know he not as good as kobe or west so what youre saying there was moot and ridcoulous i know he not a great player you said he couldnt create his own shot and every shot he ever made was because kobe was on the floor getting doubled. farmar is solid bench player i know when did i say he was a great player i said he can create his own shot you said him and sasha couldnt and when they do let me know i seen them do it so im letting you know.

west had 10 and 10 and they still won by 18 paul had 30 12 and 17 13 and clearly is the diffrence in the series west is good player youre getting carrried away acting like he a legend man.

if kobe had 32 and 17 and 35 10 and triple double than 30 12 you would say how great he is and how he was the reason they won and if you make gasol or odom the one option they are no good it's glass half empty ask anybody who follow you. you over praise and overrate kobe like he is way better than jordan it is comical really without gasol they are no good he is a very good player and so odom and kobe won one playoff series since shaq and last time i checked paul only played in one playoff series so what are you talking about its not like he been in the playoffs for ten years?

those point guards didnt play on teams like chris paul has they had way more around them isiah had hall of famers even though i dont really think he was joe dumars had vinnie johnson the bad boys is way better than new orleans kevin johnson had tom chambers charles barkley dan majerle magic had you already know the big o had better teams and players. only isiah had 20 10 and 2.5 with paul so keep it in presepective here.

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 5:43:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Aguirre ranked seventh in three point shooting percentage in 1982, eighth in three pointers attempted in 1983 and 10th in three pointers attempted in 1988. Blackman never ranked among the league leaders in either of those categories and he only made 20 three pointers in his first seven seasons; he added the three point shot to his repertoire late in his career and was not "known" as a three point shooter during his prime. One of the reasons that Det traded for Aguirre is that he had more shooting range than Dantley (an even more important reason is that he was a better passer out of the post). Aguirre made 392 three pointers in his career, Blackman made 229 and Davis made 270. West has made 19 three pointers in five seasons.

Bryant is a player who has to be double-teamed or he will score 40+, while the best defense against Paul is to single cover him and not let him pass. Paul is a great player but Bryant causes more problems for a defense.

No one can "make stiffs better." That is why MJ did not win a championship until he had Pip and Grant and why he went 1-9 in his first 10 career playoff games. Let me know when Kwame and Smush start together for a playoff team alongside anyone other than Kobe. Until that happens I maintain that Kobe is the only player who could take a team to the playoffs with those guys as starters.

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 7:32:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


West is an excellent player whose game has grown by leaps and bounds. It is not necessary to downgrade him to praise Paul; Paul's greatness is a completely separate issue.

I did not say that everything that Vujacic and Farmar get is from Kobe. Those guys are solid bench players but I think that the media has overrated how good the Lakers' bench is. They almost always come into the game with the team leading and they often have Kobe (or Gasol) on the court with them. My point is that they benefit greatly from their circumstances. Kobe and Gasol are players who can perform well regardless of the situation; the other players on the team, including even Odom to some extent, are dependent on circumstances to do well.

I never said that West is a legend. I am merely refuting your notion that he is some average player who would be nothing without Paul; that is absurd.

You act like I am disrespecting Paul in some way. I have said that he is the best pg in the league and that he is better than two-time MVP Nash ever was. What's the problem? I just don't think that Paul is the best or most valuable player in the NBA.

You really need to get over your MJ obsession. I have never said or even "acted like" Kobe is better than MJ. You are the only one who keeps bringing up MJ's name in connection with Kobe and LeBron.

My point about Paul and the playoffs is that we need to see him play a little longer before we start calling him an all-time great. Paul is the best pg in the NBA right now. Why is it necessary to anoint him beyond that at this point?

Isiah put up 20-10 for years and he led two championship teams. Paul has put up 20-10 once and won one playoff series. You are the one who needs to apply some perspective here.

At Wednesday, May 07, 2008 8:51:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

MJ made plenty of stiffs better. You mean to tell me Paxson or Grant werent stiffs. Will Perdue was a stiff. Please those Bulls teams only had a few good players who probably wouldnt even play today. Bill Wennington was good at St Johns but he was a stiff in the league. Jordan made him better. And Jordan didnt win a chip because of the Celtics and Pistons. Now...I know Kwame is probably one of the worst players to play which adds to Bryants achievement.

Aguirre as you have tallied has more threes made his Mavs teammates so thats a good job outta you. But I dont think of him as a three point shooter. Since hes made at least 50 in a season I guess you can say he has three point range. Even though Blackmans best season with the three was better than Aguirre's.

I like the little scenario between you and Reggie with the MJ and Bryant. Of course you both have obsessions with each (i know you will never admit it as you always say you report accurately about the best player) so it makes it entertaining. The comparison is annoying anyway...we should all enjoy Bryant because there will never be another player in the future as good as him.

At Wednesday, May 07, 2008 5:30:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Grant grabbed 9443 rebounds in his career and he was an outstanding defensive player who could also nail the midrange jumper. He was definitely not a stiff--and the only year he made the All-Star team was after MJ retired for the first time.

John Paxson was a role player but he was not a stiff. He was an outstanding shooter who spaced the floor very well. You'll laugh at this, but he was more athletic than you might think (try to find the footage from the McDonald's High School Game circa 1979 when he threw down a two handed dunk at 6-2).

I'm not saying that MJ did not make other players better but he did not win championships with stiffs. He had a Top 50 player in Pip, a very good power forward in Grant (and later a HoF caliber pf in Rodman) and other players who were very good at certain roles.

Aguirre was not primarily a three point shooter but that was definitely a part of his arsenal, unlike West (to whom you compared him). Blackman added the three to his repertoire near the end of his career (kind of like Sikma did).

I don't have an obsession with any player but I am much more inclined to write about the players who I consider to be the best than other players. I don't know what the deal is with Reggie and MJ: I've never said that Kobe is as good as MJ, let alone better than MJ, so I don't know why Reggie keeps bringing MJ up in the context of discussions about Kobe, particularly when he says or implies that I have made such a comparison.

I guess if you are entertained then that is good, but my primary goal is to inform...

At Wednesday, May 07, 2008 5:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

horace grant john paxson steve kerr bill wennington luc longley jud buchler bj armstrong stacey king toni kucoc ron harperon bulls was a stiff as well he made stiifs into players what did any of those players do after mj nuthing you dont even no what team they played on. only jordan and wilt can win with stiffs i think bird could he did his rookie year.

i agree west and pau are very good players and paul and bryant are great players as well i think bryant is better clealry but that is not what determines totally mvp bryant won it and deserved it so it's over.

to you and madnice i am a mj truth teller alot of people have said kobe and lebron are close to mj that is absurd mj has kobe in everything but 3 point and fg % lebron played 5 years he been a legend in 5 years no mj though is my point.

At Wednesday, May 07, 2008 6:15:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Grant was an All-Star in 1994 without MJ, as was B.J. Armstrong. Harper was a 20 ppg scorer long before he played with MJ and he sacrificed his scoring average to become a defensive specialist and win championships. Paxson and Kerr were solid role players who spread the court by making outside shots. Buechler and Wennington hardly played, so why even mention their names? Kobe made the playoffs twice with Kwame and Smush as starters.

If you think that MJ won with stiffs when he had guys like Pip, Rodman, Grant and Kukoc then there is something seriously wrong with your understanding of basketball. Some of Wilt's "stiffs" included Hall of Famers Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. Chet Walker and Luke Jackson were also excellent players. No one has ever won a championship with "stiffs." Rick Barry (75 Warriors) and Dr. J (76 Nets in the ABA) came the closest to being one man championship teams but even they had some good role players who made key contributions during those playoff runs.

"A lot of people" may have said things about MJ and LeBron but I am not one of them, so why do you act like I made that comparison? MJ was better than LeBron as a jump shooter, a free throw shooter and a defender and he was at least comparable as a rebounder and passer.

At Thursday, May 08, 2008 10:23:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

If Kwame and Smush are the definition of stiffs then true indeed Grant and Paxson arent (Jim was definitely the better Paxson). But Jordan did make them tremendously better.

No one is MJ but for the youth of today who didnt watch him they have Bryant. David, you inform very well and there is nothing wrong with an obsession with Bryant. You do write about him a lot but its warranted. So Ill back off a little when thinking that you are his love child because he is a great player.

Reggie...it doesnt matter what the other media clowns think because they all have short memories and like to hype the now thing. James is a good player but he is no where near Bryant. Forget the numbers...James doesnt understand the total game yet. Its amazing he is so young and puts up crazy numbers but he still has a lot to learn. I dont know if he has the drive to learn it because his game hasnt changed since he entered the league. Plus the outside interest and the killer instinct doesnt seem to be there with him. Of course he has 20 years left to play so we will see. Also Bryant never had a shooting percentage like MJ. Mike was a career 50% shooter and even better if you subtract the Wizards years. Bryant has never shot 50%, but you have to factor threes into that percentage. Bryant shoots threes better but thats the way the game is played now.

And these clowns fakexperts need to calm down thinking that Paul has reinvented the position.

At Thursday, May 08, 2008 8:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

horace was a descent nba player im anamored with ppg his ppg was 10ppg career he was okay he was not great like pip was thats all he had was pip ron harper in chicago was a average player kerr and paxson and armstrong average players so was kucoc really that was not bird or rusell teams or magic teams mj did more with less than any nba player ever. shaq carried teams lebron carried teams kobe has alot of help the lakers are such a dangerous team kobe can score 20 and they can win easily kobe went out the game for six minutes yesterday they were up 15 at the end of the first when he came back they were still up 13 and half the quarter went by. i rember when shaq use to leave when he played for the lakers the team could barely score without him same for mj and lebron.

kobe a great player i think lebron is slightly better actually he showed a killer instinct agianst detriot last year scoreing 25 straight he is a better rebounder and passer driver jumper kobe just a better long range shooter clearly to me kobe is better defender better post moves and foul shooter as well kobe a great great player probablt top 5 when it said and done but i think people in mainstream media doing a little over praiseing of him madnice.

At Friday, May 09, 2008 10:14:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I agree with just about everything you said.

At Friday, May 09, 2008 3:56:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Johnny Bach, the Bulls' "defensive coordinator" during the first three-peat, used to call Pip and Grant his "Dobermans" because of the way they attacked on defense. Grant was great at trapping guards on pick and roll plays and then rotating back to his man. Grant was not just an "average" player. You have to look at more than scoring, though he was a solid double figure scorer, too: Grant rebounded, defended and shot a high percentage.

Harper was an excellent defensive player who sacrificed his offense to fit in with Chicago. The Bulls lost two games to Seattle in the 1996 Finals when Harper was not able to play due to injury.

Citing one example of Kobe sitting out for a couple minutes and the lead not completely disappearing hardly proves anything about Kobe, MJ, the Lakers' bench or anything else. That is what is known as a small sample size.

Again, I don't know how or why we keep ending up talking about MJ because I have not said that Kobe or LeBron are better than MJ. Perhaps you should direct your complaints about this to the people who are actually saying it.

If you still think that LeBron is better than Kobe after watching LeBron being completely incapable of making an outside shot then I don't know what else to say.


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