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JasonEvans
04-12-2011, 12:55 PM
a few days ago I came across this comment about Gerald Henderson’s recent play in the Dukies in the NBA thread. I thought it would make for an interesting separate thread.


I think Gerald will be... eventually one of the top 2 Duke players all time in the NBA.

Whoa. Those are some pretty heady expectations you are putting on Henderson.

That said, the quest to be the #2 Dukies of all-time in the NBA is currently not a huge mountain to climb.

There is no question that Grant Hill, future Hall of Famer, is #1. Grant is a 7-time All-Star who was well on his way to being one of the 30 or so greatest players of all-time prior to his injury. Post-injury, he has still been a consistently very good player. He will be in the Hall of Fame.

Grant is the leading career scorer from Duke. In fact, here is the list of the top NBA scorers from Duke --

1. Grant Hill - 16500
2. Elton Brand – 15000
3. Jeff Mullins – 13000
4. Corey Maggette - 12600
5. Jack Marin – 12500

So, after Grant, who is #2.

Lets put Gerald aside for the moment, as his career has simply been too short to make any meaningful judgment. It is possible that Bobby Hurley or Jason Williams could have been a part of this conversation, but injuries took care of that.

So, who are the other contenders?

Mike Gminski had a very good career (14 years, almost 11k points, 6k rebounds) but never made an All-star game. He was a solid player, to be sure, but never one who was the kind of player who would lead a team to the playoffs or make a deep run. I don’t think he is #2 all-time.

Christian Laettner's career was very similar to G-Man in terms of total stats (13 seasons, 11k points, a bit less than 6k rebounds). But Christian arrived at those stats by a strong start to his career followed by a gradual decline into mediocrity. Through 5th season in the NBA, Christian had been a mid-upper teens scorer with around 8 boards per game. He made an All-star game his first full season with Atlanta and seemed primed, at age 26, to be a consistent all-star over the next half decade. But something happened and his career went downhill. His scoring average dipped into the low teens and then into the single digits. His career decline coincided with the birth of his first child and there are some NBA observers who have said that he became more focused on his family than on basketball. Hard to fault the guy for that if that is indeed the case. Regardless, his career is not the 2nd best of any Dukie in the NBA.

One could make an argument for Shane Battier, the king of the intangibles, as the second-best all-time Dukie. But Shane’s overall statistics are so middling that it makes this a tough argument to make. Could we possibly say that a guy who has averaged double digit scoring only 3 times in his 10+ year career is the second best Dukie of all-time in the NBA? I just don't think so.

It is possible to see Luol Deng contending for this honor. His career is still fairly young and he is yet to make a single all-star game, but he appears to be a key player on a Bulls club that is rapidly turning into one of the NBA’s elite. Luol’s career scoring average of 16.0 ppg is 7th best all-time among Dukies in the NBA. His 6.4 rpg is also 7th best. He’s only 25 so it is very reasonable to expect him to improve those numbers over the next few years. I think it is too early to anoint him with this honor, but he is very much in the conversation.

Corey Maggette is another possibility. From his 4th thru his 11th season in the NBA, he was a big-time scorer. You could pretty much book him for 17-22 ppg per season, which is quite impressive. But, his rep is that of a gunner who puts his head down and barrels to the basket when he gets the ball. He’s been effective at it (one of the best at drawing fouls in the league), but I don’t think his game is complete enough to really be the #2 Dukie of all-time in the NBA. It is also worth noting that Corey has played on a series of really bad teams. He’s only made the playoffs once in his career. While I don’t want to hold that against him too much, it is a factor.

That pretty much leaves us with the two guys who I think are competing for the #2 spot behind Grant – Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer.

Elton is the 2nd leading scorer in terms of total points and 2nd to Bob Verga (only played 6 seasons) in PPG with a career 18.8 ppg average. Elton is first in total rebounds (7600), and 3rd in RPG with 9.6. He was a Rookie of the Year, made All-NBA 2nd team once, and has 2 All-Star game appearances. And yet, his career seems disappointing because of the injuries that have dogged him the past few years. Through age 27 (his first 8 years in the league), you could book him for about 20 ppg and 10 rpg… which is really hard to achieve and puts you among the elite power-players in the game. But then he got hurt and his production has really declined the past few seasons. Elton is another Dukie who has been cursed to play on really bad teams. He too has only one playoff appearance in his career. It is just hard to etch your name in stone on the Greatest of All-Time honor role when you rarely play a meaningful game after February.

That is why my vote for the 2nd best Dukie all-time in the NBA goes to Carlos Boozer. His stats are very comparable to Elton’s (4th in PPG, 2nd in RPG). Like Elton, he has played in 2 All-star games and was a 3rd team All-NBA player one season. But, unlike Elton, Carlos has been able to bounce-back from injuries and maintain his stellar play. He continues to be an 18-20 ppg and 10 rpg player to this day and would seem to be on course to continue that pace for the next several years (he’s not yet 30 years old). But, significantly, he has consistently played on winning teams. He’s been in the playoffs, often deep in the playoffs, in each of the past 4 years and is on one of the championship favorites this season. I fully expect Carlos to be wearing a championship ring at some point in the next few years… and he will have been one of the best players on his team to get them to that ring.

--Jason "So, that is why I vote for Carlos. Who do you vote for?" Evans

Indoor66
04-12-2011, 01:13 PM
Might want to check out Jeff Mullins' career writeup (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Mullins_%28basketball%29) before you vote. He accomplished a lot in his NBA years.

Starter
04-12-2011, 01:27 PM
I think Jason Evans laid everything out pretty nicely, and it's a good point about Mullins. I didn't know he accomplished that much.

I voted for Boozer for everything he's done and still can do, but with a note that it would have almost certainly been Brand had he not had two catastrophic injuries to his Achilles and shoulder. Elton willed the Clippers to the playoffs that one year, and he was a serious problem in the playoffs, averaging 25 points per game. He was legitimately one of the top big men in the NBA, and probably a top 10 overall player. Even after all the injuries, Elton is having a pretty nice season for the Sixers this year, and is set to make his second playoff appearance. But I'll always wonder what could have been there.

superdave
04-12-2011, 01:34 PM
There is no question that Grant Hill, future Hall of Famer, is #1.

Grant is #1 among Dukies in the league. I'm not so sure about his Hall of Fame chances though. Too much missed time. Here's his stats on Basketball-Reference.com. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hillgr01.html)

If you scroll to the bottom you can see how they rank his HOF chances (.413 odds of getting in; 20th among active players (http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/hof_prob_active.html)). Notably, he's ahead of 2-time MVP Steve Nash, and everyone ahead of him stands a pretty good chance of getting in. I'd probably actually call Hill's odds the pivot point between in and out. Another season or two and maybe 2,000 more points scored and he could put some of the "missed too much time" argument to rest.

Here's a few stats and Hill's career rankings in NBA history - points - 86th; assists - 96th; minutes - 97th. Hardly among the best ever. But the argument that will certainly be made for his late 90s play and his late-career contributions is practically the same as what people argued on behalf of Bill Walton, although Walton had an MVP and title in 1977.

Super "Sorry for the detour but I could not avoid exploring that idea a little" Dave

roywhite
04-12-2011, 01:47 PM
Grant #1

Carlos Boozer #2

Jeff Mullins #3

Tip: Buy the Kyrie Irving futures.

InSpades
04-12-2011, 01:53 PM
Grant #1

Carlos Boozer #2

Jeff Mullins #3

Tip: Buy the Kyrie Irving futures.

Maybe hedge that bet w/ a little Austin Rivers as well :).

JasonEvans
04-12-2011, 02:10 PM
Grant is #1 among Dukies in the league. I'm not so sure about his Hall of Fame chances though. Too much missed time. Here's his stats on Basketball-Reference.com. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hillgr01.html)

If you scroll to the bottom you can see how they rank his HOF chances (.413 odds of getting in; 20th among active players (http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/hof_prob_active.html)). Notably, he's ahead of 2-time MVP Steve Nash, and everyone ahead of him stands a pretty good chance of getting in. I'd probably actually call Hill's odds the pivot point between in and out. Another season or two and maybe 2,000 more points scored and he could put some of the "missed too much time" argument to rest.

Here's a few stats and Hill's career rankings in NBA history - points - 86th; assists - 96th; minutes - 97th. Hardly among the best ever. But the argument that will certainly be made for his late 90s play and his late-career contributions is practically the same as what people argued on behalf of Bill Walton, although Walton had an MVP and title in 1977.

Super "Sorry for the detour but I could not avoid exploring that idea a little" Dave

Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well known is this: "The basketball Hall of Fame is not just about the NBA!"

The Hoops Hall considers all kinds of stuff outside of the NBA, such as NCAA basketball careers. As a result, Grant is not just one of the better basketball players of the 90s who hit an injury and then played for a long time at a very high level... he is all that plus a 2-time NCAA Championship winner who played in 3 NCAA title games (a tie for the most all-time, I am fairly sure). He also won some college POY awards, I think (or did Big Dog sweep them all?).

Anyway, when you look at his college career, his pro career, and his image/rep/impact off the court as well, I think you are looking at a Hall of Famer.

--Jason "good discussion and not much of a sidetrack from the main point of this thread" Evans

superdave
04-12-2011, 02:22 PM
Anyway, when you look at his college career, his pro career, and his image/rep/impact off the court as well, I think you are looking at a Hall of Famer.

--Jason "good discussion and not much of a sidetrack from the main point of this thread" Evans

Oh I agree with you. I think he reached heights few NBAers ever did. Look at that 21-9-7 he averaged in 1997. Daaaang. He was 1st team all-NBA that year. And he's got maybe 2 more seasons playing 30-plus minutes in him and can realisticly reach top 50 all-time in career points. The Duke years are all icing on the cupcake.

But I'd be very interested in what some non-Duke fans thought, as well, because there will be skeptics.

Super "Insert Grant Hill iconic plays here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv1bXGEzEfQ) and here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY-iq58_oz4)...and here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlSLP3H4jPY)" Dave

roywhite
04-12-2011, 02:26 PM
Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well known is this: "The basketball Hall of Fame is not just about the NBA!"

The Hoops Hall considers all kinds of stuff outside of the NBA, such as NCAA basketball careers. As a result, Grant is not just one of the better basketball players of the 90s who hit an injury and then played for a long time at a very high level... he is all that plus a 2-time NCAA Championship winner who played in 3 NCAA title games (a tie for the most all-time, I am fairly sure). He also won some college POY awards, I think (or did Big Dog sweep them all?).

Anyway, when you look at his college career, his pro career, and his image/rep/impact off the court as well, I think you are looking at a Hall of Famer.

--Jason "good discussion and not much of a sidetrack from the main point of this thread" Evans

Don't forget Olympic Gold Medal winner.

True also for Jeff Mullins (1964) and Carlos Boozer (though it took 2 tries).

Duke: A Dynasty
04-12-2011, 02:36 PM
I put Boozer for now since as you said Henderson's career has been to short. But I still have a lot of faith that he will be top 2.

superdave
04-12-2011, 02:39 PM
At one point, both these guys had career averages of 20-10 and the list of people to have done that for a career is quite low: Here's a list (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_NBA_players_have_averaged_20_points_and_1 0_rebounds_for_their_career)of that feat (although I'm not sure the accuracy).

Brand is now at 18.8 and 9.6.
Boozer is now at 17.3 and 10.1.

I dont think either one makes it for the career as their numbers are only going to fall a bit each year into their 30s. I still cant vote in this poll until I think it through some more.

Super "Hmmmm, Luol Deng in 10 years maybe?" Dave

OZZIE4DUKE
04-12-2011, 03:03 PM
I went with Boozer by a hair over Brand, mostly because he stayed at Duke longer. Their pro careers are very comparable, although Booz has had the good fortune of not playing for the Clippers, i.e. playing for winners as Jason pointed out, and Elton took too long getting out of there.

phaedrus
04-12-2011, 03:05 PM
Super "Insert Grant Hill iconic plays here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv1bXGEzEfQ) and here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY-iq58_oz4)...and here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlSLP3H4jPY)" Dave

I like this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccQGOg8tIUM&feature=related

Voted for Elton because Elton at his peak was one of the top players in the league.

BobbyFan
04-12-2011, 03:25 PM
At this point, Brand still gets the nod over Boozer because at his peak he was just a better player with more defensive impact.

Greg_Newton
04-12-2011, 03:37 PM
Hmmm, I voted Brand for the same reasons, but I didn't realize how close it was. Both are 2-time all-stars, and Brand was all-NBA second team while Boozer was all-NBA third team one year.

vlove
04-12-2011, 03:49 PM
..But Christian arrived at those stats by a strong start to his career followed by a gradual decline into mediocrity. Through 5th season in the NBA, Christian had been a mid-upper teens scorer with around 8 boards per game. He made an All-star game his first full season with Atlanta and seemed primed, at age 26, to be a consistent all-star over the next half decade. But something happened and his career went downhill...

well in fairness to Christian, the mid-career "something" referenced was a ruptured achilles in 98 (during the work stoppage), which pretty much robbed him of his post-up effectiveness, & made him strictly a complementary high post player from that point onwards.

what made the injury even crueler was that christian was a free agent the summer he was injured, IIRC. he was also just named to the US national team set to compete in the world championships in 98, although due to the NBA work stoppage didn't make the trip (which ironically opened the door for trajan langdon as one of the small handful of collegians to represent the US senior team in a major tournament since the door was opened to the NBAers in 92).

jv001
04-12-2011, 05:41 PM
gets my vote for #2 behind Grant. Jeff played at Duke for 4 years, had a very good NBA career and coached in the college ranks as well. One of my all time Duke favorites. GoDuke!

yancem
04-12-2011, 06:35 PM
I voted for Brand because he was more dominant before his injuries and I don't think that he is done yet. He has made strides this year and is a big reason that the 76's are in the playoffs. Boozer isn't far behind though and could pass him in a couple of years. Actually, there are a number of guys that could catch Brand before they hang up their sneakers. Deng still needs to up his game a little to reach Brand and Boozer but not by that much. Henderson is showing some real promise but needs a few good years to even be under consideration. And like a few have mentioned Irving and Rivers are coming down the pike and if they can stay healthy (a big if) they both could challenge for #2 or possibly even #1 but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

sagegrouse
04-12-2011, 09:47 PM
Olympic Gold, Duke's first two Final Fours, three-time all-star, averaged 20 ppg in his top seven years, won an NBA championship with the Niners in 1975. Intriguingly, he was the third-place finisher in the (first and only?) NBA one-on-one contest, losing to the eventual winner, size-22 Bob Lanier of the Pistons. No, Jeff was not just a shooter.

Jeff is a prince of a guy, as is Elton, and as class president was a worthy successor to Charlie Rose and the late actor, Sean Flynn.

We'll see, however, how Elton and Boozer finish their careers. And then there are all the rest of the candidates, who are just starting out, comparatively speaking.

sagegrouse

JasonEvans
04-13-2011, 09:40 AM
Boozer, Brand, Mullins, and Battier are only guys getting more than 2 votes so far.

Here is an interesting question-- does Christian Laettner have a shot at the Basketball Hall of Fame?

-Jason "if they take an enlightened view and weigh college success as they should, I think he does" Evans

Kdogg
04-13-2011, 09:53 AM
Boozer, Brand, Mullins, and Battier are only guys getting more than 2 votes so far.

Here is an interesting question-- does Christian Laettner have a shot at the Basketball Hall of Fame?

-Jason "if they take an enlightened view and weigh college success as they should, I think he does" Evans

I believe he will make the Basketball Hall of Fame. Most basketball people would have him ranked in the top ten of all time for college players. He's had a respectable NBA career plus he's already inducted as part of the Dream Team.

SupaDave
04-13-2011, 10:01 AM
Danny Ferry is the only one with the shine! Left the game on top. How can you leave him off of THIS list!!? :)

13 year pro career and NBA exec - he's left more than one kind of stamp on the NBA.

Supa "I don't think Ferry is second best but he's definitely ahead of quite a few folks on this list" Dave

The Gordog
04-13-2011, 12:38 PM
I too voted for Elton as he was, at his peak, the more feared player among those listed.

I have high hopes for Kyrie, of course.

JasonEvans
04-13-2011, 07:24 PM
Danny Ferry is the only one with the shine! Left the game on top. How can you leave him off of THIS list!!? :)

13 year pro career and NBA exec - he's left more than one kind of stamp on the NBA.

Supa "I don't think Ferry is second best but he's definitely ahead of quite a few folks on this list" Dave

I really thought about Ferry, but longevity does not equal greatness when much of the longevity comes as a limited role player.

Still, his ring counts for something. I have a feeling that Deng and Boozer will join him with shiny hardware in the next few years.

-Jason "who should I have left off the list to add Ferry?" Evans

Duvall
04-13-2011, 07:26 PM
Here is an interesting question-- does Christian Laettner have a shot at the Basketball Hall of Fame?

-Jason "if they take an enlightened view and weigh college success as they should, I think he does" Evans

Has the Naismith Hall of Fame ever done this - inducted a player from the modern era with an outstanding college career but an average professional career?

superdave
04-14-2011, 03:30 PM
I finally settled on Brand for my vote:

Finished seventh in voting for the 2005-06 MVP award.
All-NBA Second Team honors in 2005-06.
All-Star in 2002 and 2006.
Co-Rookie of the Year with Steve Francis.

Of course a Boozer championship ring this year could change my mind.

SupaDave
04-14-2011, 05:06 PM
I really thought about Ferry, but longevity does not equal greatness when much of the longevity comes as a limited role player.

Still, his ring counts for something. I have a feeling that Deng and Boozer will join him with shiny hardware in the next few years.

-Jason "who should I have left off the list to add Ferry?" Evans

I've gotta say that Ferry comes before JJ and G right now simply b/c you asked who IS and not who will BE. Ferry had to play some tough gritty basketball in his 13 years.

JasonEvans
04-17-2011, 11:59 AM
Well, it looks like we can put this debate to bed for now. Boozer won the vote by a comfortable margin over Brand and then Mullins.

--Jason "rooting for Los and Deng to get a ring now!" Evans

CDu
04-17-2011, 03:31 PM
--Jason "rooting for Los and Deng to get a ring now!" Evans

They're going to both have to step it up to get that ring. The guys they were guarding (Granger and Hansbrough) lit them up for much of the second half. Thankfully, the Bulls responded just in time.

This year's Bulls are an interesting case study. Offensively, they're fairly limited outside of Rose (who is otherworldly). Boozer can still have the occasional monster night and Deng is a solid complementary offensive player, but pretty much everyone else is very limited on offense. Korver is an amazing shooter, but can't do anything other than catch-and-shoot. Noah, Bogans, Gibson, and Brewer are basically there to defend/rebound and not get in Rose's way. Watson can occasionally score as Rose's fill-in, but he's not a great scorer and he's not really good at creating for others.

They play tough defense and Rose is really, really good. I don't know if that'll be enough as they get deeper into the playoffs, but I hope it will be.