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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Newsflash: Paul Pierce is Better Than Lamar Odom

Hoop Magazine editor Ming Wong reliably produces a subpar product, so it is not surprising that the newest issue includes an article comparing Paul Pierce and Lamar Odom. Never mind that they play different positions or that they have vastly different roles on their respective teams. Pierce is a future Hall of Famer who won the 2008 Finals MVP, has earned four All-NBA selections, made the All-Star team seven times, received MVP votes in five different seasons, ranked in the top ten in scoring five times and ranked in the top ten in steals four times (Pierce has also ranked in the top ten in free throws made seven times, leading the league in that category in 2002-03); Odom is a role player who has never received a single MVP vote, nor has he made the All-NBA or All-Star teams even once and he has ranked in the top ten in a major statistical category (scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocked shots, field goal percentage, three point field goal percentage, free throw percentage) just once (his 10.6 rpg ranked seventh in the NBA in 2007-08).

Odom is a solid player but it makes no sense on any level to compare him to Pierce--yet Hoop's goofy article rambled for two pages before concluding that Pierce only narrowly comes out ahead!

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posted by David Friedman @ 11:40 PM



At Monday, November 02, 2009 9:35:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

i wont even comment on the idiocy of comparing the two.

At Monday, November 02, 2009 2:02:00 PM, Anonymous Dmills said...

Wow. So it seems that sports media is just as superficial and pretentious as so-called mainstream media.

On another note, I just don't see Paul Pierce as a hall of famer.
IMO a hall of Famer is someone that has unequivocally woven themselves into the fabric of the tapestry of the sport through both performance as well as spokesman-ship.

Paul Pierce has some good career numbers, but he hasn't made the sort of historical impact on the game that would merit hall of fame status. Is he in your top 5 small forwards of all time? Top Shooters? Top shooting guards? In my opinion he is in the class of a Mitch Richmond. Very good player with nice stats, but not a hall of famer.

At Monday, November 02, 2009 3:53:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


The sports media world is filled with writers who cannot write, editors who cannot edit and people whose ignorance/bias/apathy negatively impacts their coverage. Many of these people are also hypocritical fakes who will smile in your face before they stab you in the back (I know this from personal experience). I am not afraid to take on anyone but I do it publicly; I won't smile in someone's face and then stab that person in the back.

As for Pierce, the question of who should be a Hall of Famer is very interesting once you get past the handful of candidates who are no doubt, first ballot honorees--members of the basketball Pantheon.

There are several ways to look at Pierce's candidacy:

1) Based on who has already been inducted, Pierce is a shoo-in: Basketball Reference's Hall of Fame Probability statistic suggests that there is better than a 94% chance that Pierce will be inducted; among active players he trails only Shaq, Duncan, Kobe, KG, LeBron (100% each), Nowitzki, Nash and Kidd.

2) Pierce is one of the most potent and versatile scorers of his era and he has proven that he can produce in crunchtime. He is also a good rebounder and playmaker and in recent years he has shown that he can be an above average defender as well. His accomplishments and skill set have earned him Hall of Fame recognition.

3) You are correct that Pierce is not one of the top five small forwards of all-time. He is not a Pantheon player, a top 10 (or top even top 30) player of all-time. Some people believe that only a very small number of players should be selected to the Hall of Fame; one writer suggested that the Baseball Hall of Fame should only have 25 members and that no one should be voted in to that group without someone being voted out. I disagree with that approach. Just because someone is not a Pantheon member does not mean that he is not a Hall of Famer. The Basketball Hall of Fame has hundreds of members but that only represents a tiny percentage of the people who have played and coached the sport.

I agree with you that Pierce is not a Pantheon caliber player but I disagree that this means he should be excluded from the Hall of Fame.

At Monday, November 02, 2009 7:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would depend on your definition of "deserving."

Both players have never been in the All-defensive team. Allen has one 3rd-team selection while Pierce has 3. Both have one 2nd-team selection.

You insist that Boston has 3 future hall-of-famers and cite basketballrefrence.com as evidence.

First of all, even basketballreference does not call them likely hall-of-famers yet.
It states:
Likely HOFer > 135
Pierce has 128, Allen has 123.

Most importantly, they got scores this high because they won a championship. They approached "Likely HOFer" after Boston won. Boston didn't win BECAUSE they had "3 HOFers".

They have one future hall-of-famer and 2 all-star level players.

Yes, Pierce is a complete player who can take over but he is not one tier ahead of players like Vince Carter.

I'm on the fence with Pierce because he is arguably the second or third best SF in the league, but I disagree with the idea that Allen is a hall of fame level player.


At Monday, November 02, 2009 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Dmills said...


I once read a book entitled the E-myth by Michael E. Gerber. In it he talks about why people go into business for themselves and why they more often then not they ultimately fail.

He talks about how some people may have the technical skills and know how to do the nut's and bolts of a particular business, he/she may not have the business acumen and savvy to succeed in their endeavor. So for example; a lady may try to open up a bakery because she knows how to make great pies, but a year later her business is closed because she didn't understand how to properly run a business.

I truly believe that most people in sports media get involved because they believe that they have what it takes. They may even know a great deal about sports, but that doesn't make them a great writer. I for one am very knowledgeable about the Lakers, but could never even fathom becoming a full time writer/blogger because I don't feel that I have the necessary skills to succeed at it.

As for hall of fame credentials, Perhaps I do take a more conservative approach to these types of questions. Although I have to agree with you that Mr. Gilmore deserves to be in the Hall.

At Tuesday, November 03, 2009 5:56:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Odom is not an elite player, period. That should go without saying, though many people do not seem to understand this--including the folks at Hoop.

During the early part of Pierce's career the Celtics relied on him very heavily as a scorer and his defense was inconsistent at best but in the past few years he has performed better at that end of the court.

I call KG, Pierce and Allen future HoFers not primarily because of anything that Basketball Reference says but because of my assessments of their skill sets and my knowledge of basketball history regarding previous HoF inductions. I only cited Basketball Reference's HoF Probability stat as a secondary piece of information to confirm the fact that KG, Pierce and Allen have each well exceeded the norms set by previous HoFers. By the way, the site that you mentioned is not the original Basketball Reference but rather a knock off; I don't know what goes into the knock off site's HoF monitor but the one at the original Basketball Reference makes a lot more sense and that is the one that I cited.

Ray Allen is a nine-time All-Star. The only nine-time All-Star who is eligible for the Basketball HoF but has not been inducted is Artis Gilmore (five-time ABA All-Star, six-time NBA All-Star)--and it is an absolute travesty that Gilmore has been left out in the cold. Allen is a premier shooter who has also ranked in the top ten in scoring four times. Allen had a HoF caliber career even before joining the Celtics but if there ever had been any doubt then playing a key role on a dominant championship team pushed him over the top.

The only way that you can logically argue against Pierce and Allen being HoFers is if you contend that only the Pantheon level players should be inducted in the HoF, but it is clear that the HoF itself has never adopted such a standard. To cite just a few examples, Earl Monroe is not only a HoFer but also a Top 50 player; he made the All-Star team four times and the All-NBA Team once. HoFer Calvin Murphy made the All-Star team once and never made the All-NBA Team. HoFer/Top 50 player James Worthy made the All-Star team seven times and the All-NBA Team twice. All-Star selections are interesting to consider in these cases, because most of the above players generally were not selected as starters by the fans and thus were chosen as reserves by the coaches; this provides some insight into what the opposing coaches thought about these players during their careers.

At Tuesday, November 03, 2009 6:59:00 PM, Anonymous Dmills said...

I have no problem with Ray Allen getting into the Hall of Fame. The Man is quite simply one of the greatest pure shooters in the history of the NBA. He passess the smell test in both statistical output as well as historical significance. When people discuss the great shooters of all time, two names automatically come up. Reggie Miller and Ray Allen.

On the other hand, when talking about individual greatness I can't think of a single reason to bring up Paul Pierce in any manner of historical significance.

At Tuesday, November 03, 2009 7:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? Can you give us the link to the original Basketball Reference site that you are using? I wasn't aware there were knock-offs...

> Odom is not an elite player, period. That should go without saying, though many people do not seem to understand this--including the folks at Hoop.

I didn't even mention Odom in my comment.

I'm not saying that we should only let "Pantheon-level" players into the HoF, but for most of their respective careers, Pierce and Allen were not even regular All-NBA second and third team members. Duncan, Shaq and Kobe are in a class of their own (you could add LeBron). The next tier would have KG, Dirk, Wade, Iverson, Kidd and other regular all-NBA and/or all-defensive team members.

Pierce and Allen have been multiple all-stars like Vince Carter, Amare Stoudemire, etc..

I have never seen Artis Gilmore, nor do I claim to know much about him. A quick search comes up with mutiple all-defensive team selections and an all-star MVP. He is clearly a tier above Pierce and Allen.

Granted, both Pierce and Allen may very well get in the HoF but that would be because of Boston winning a title.


At Wednesday, November 04, 2009 5:22:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Pierce has established himself as a big-time scorer and an excellent performer in clutch situations. As I mentioned above, his skill set and accomplishments certainly pass the bar for HoF induction.

At Wednesday, November 04, 2009 5:40:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

http://www.basketball-reference.com/ is the link to the original, real Basketball Reference. The other site is a knock off that stole the name Basketball Reference but was forced to change its name to databaseBasketball, though its url still says Basketball Reference. Whenever I mention Basketball Reference I am referring to the original site.

I reiterated my point about Odom because this post is about Odom and Pierce, not Pierce and Allen.

Although this has nothing to do with the post and will likely provoke a storm of outcry, I actually do think that Vince Carter is HoF-worthy--Rookie of the Year, eight-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, 10 straight seasons of 20-plus ppg, 22nd highest scoring average in NBA/ABA history, received at least one MVP vote in four different seasons, could pass the 20,000 career point mark this season. Carter ranks just behind Pierce and Allen in Basketball Reference's HoF probability stat, clocking in at just below 90%. I suspect that the HoF voters would not support Carter unless he wins a championship but Carter actually has built a HoF worthy resume. As for Amare, he has not been active long enough to be considered a HoFer (BR lists his HoF probability at just under 21% but that number will increase with each productive season that he has).

The Basketball HoF is supposed to consider accomplishments at all levels of the game, so Gilmore should have made it to the HoF based solely on his collegiate and ABA careers--and then he had a very good NBA career as well. There is no credible reason or excuse to explain why Gilmore is not in the HoF.

Winning a championship obviously boosted Pierce and Allen's HoF chances but I think that they were on the HoF track even before that. Let's see how quickly Reggie Miller gets in, because his career stats/honors are not any better than Allen's. If Miller is a first ballot or early ballot HoFer then Allen would have received the same consideration even without winning a championship.

At Wednesday, November 04, 2009 9:49:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

DMills....how do you see Ray Allen as a HOFamer and not Paul Pierce? Pierce is more complete scorer, better clutch scorer and better defender. Ray Allen is a one dimensional scorer. Ray Allen is more Mitch Richmond not Paul Pierce. Allen and Richmond are both great shooters but thats it. Neither one is known as a clutch player. Pierce is clutch and has a more complete offensive game than Richmond or Allen.

Calvin Murphy is a tricky one because he should be in the Basketball HOF but if there was a Pro Basketball HOF he shouldnt be in. He is probably the only NBA player with only one all star appearance in the hall. Was he a great player? Very quick, a great shooter and enforcer. But an all time great? In the game of tall players, Murphys size actually helped him get in the hall.

At Thursday, November 05, 2009 7:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This might interest you!


At Friday, November 06, 2009 5:54:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


The Painted Area may actually be the only first rate blog in the bloated True Hoop Network (including True Hoop itself!); the Painted Area features coherent writing and interesting analysis.

At Friday, November 06, 2009 10:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try www.48minutesofhell.com as well. I would say it's the best team blog in the TrueHoop network hands down. The writers do a tremendous job covering not only the Spurs but also their D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros and international scouting as well.

www.forumblueandgold.com is another good one.

I wouldn't call TrueHoop bloated since it does have to include 1 blog for each team.


At Saturday, November 07, 2009 4:11:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Why does THN "have" to have one blog for each team if there is not a good blog for every team? The idea of a blog network sounds good in theory but I am not impressed with the execution of that idea.


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