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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    I'd argue that if the argument is "best" player, then there should be recency bias. If the argument is "greatest" player, then there should not be recency bias.
    I can certainly see your point. Although it is maybe a little semantic?

  2. #42
    While Larry was hobbled, I think the whole Magic/MJ dream team experience (right at MJs championship ascension) is a great lens to look back at MJ (and Pippen really) These guys were unreal and clearly took/earned their throne and from two of the best ever. And then they sustained the excellence.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tappan Zee Devil View Post
    I can certainly see your point. Although it is maybe a little semantic?
    I don't think so. I took your post as an opportunity to lean on a point I made earlier in this thread. I'm in the camp that the average competitor in any sport is better, stronger, faster, more fit, has more endurance, better fed, better trained, etc than his/her predecessors. I'm also in the camp that the average generational talent is better, stronger, faster, etc than the generational talents that came before him/her. It's obvious in sports like weightlifting, sprints, swimming, long distance running, etc that are based on time and strength. Feats once thought impossible continue to be broken, barriers surpassed, records demolished. So, yeah, I'm in favor of recency bias!

    I think the same is true in team sports but it's just tougher to quantify the difference. Folks usually are with me up until I say things like the MJ Chicago Bulls would struggle to win championships in today's NBA --- or, guys like Lebron and Curry, all else staying the same, would destroy the past leagues more than they already do in the modern NBA. I think the Redeem Team would beat the Dream Team and it wouldn't be all that close. JJ Redick made the point in one of his podcasts that he LAUGHS at how bad 90s defenses were compared to modern defenses. They didn't know what the right reads were, the smart decision in a given situation, etc.

    TL;DR: Count me in the camp that the old guys can be considered great but of course they're not the best, today's players are better because the first iPhone might have some nostalgic value but, well, progress.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post

    TL;DR: Count me in the camp that the old guys can be considered great but of course they're not the best, today's players are better because the first iPhone might have some nostalgic value but, well, progress.
    Mr. Chamberlain says hello.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    I don't think so. I took your post as an opportunity to lean on a point I made earlier in this thread. I'm in the camp that the average competitor in any sport is better, stronger, faster, more fit, has more endurance, better fed, better trained, etc than his/her predecessors. I'm also in the camp that the average generational talent is better, stronger, faster, etc than the generational talents that came before him/her. It's obvious in sports like weightlifting, sprints, swimming, long distance running, etc that are based on time and strength. Feats once thought impossible continue to be broken, barriers surpassed, records demolished. So, yeah, I'm in favor of recency bias!

    I think the same is true in team sports but it's just tougher to quantify the difference. Folks usually are with me up until I say things like the MJ Chicago Bulls would struggle to win championships in today's NBA --- or, guys like Lebron and Curry, all else staying the same, would destroy the past leagues more than they already do in the modern NBA. I think the Redeem Team would beat the Dream Team and it wouldn't be all that close. JJ Redick made the point in one of his podcasts that he LAUGHS at how bad 90s defenses were compared to modern defenses. They didn't know what the right reads were, the smart decision in a given situation, etc.

    TL;DR: Count me in the camp that the old guys can be considered great but of course they're not the best, today's players are better because the first iPhone might have some nostalgic value but, well, progress.
    To your point, defense is too often ignored in these conversations. And as Duke fans we should know on a molecular level that defense is played as a team. Any player laying claim to the top 10 ever better be elite on both ends of the floor, not just individually, but as a leader on a killer two way team.

    Everyone understands that Michael Jordan and LeBron James could dominate on both ends of the court, in any era, rules be damned.
    Carolina delenda est

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by cato View Post
    To your point, defense is too often ignored in these conversations. And as Duke fans we should know on a molecular level that defense is played as a team. Any player laying claim to the top 10 ever better be elite on both ends of the floor, not just individually, but as a leader on a killer two way team.

    Everyone understands that Michael Jordan and LeBron James could dominate on both ends of the court, in any era, rules be damned.
    I think one of the major arguments for MJ over Lebron is exactly this - defense. And while LeBron could dominate on D, MJ always dominated on D.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Mr. Chamberlain says hello.
    I stand by my point. Now, if Wilt started over and was allowed to go through the modern basketball development process with its skills camps, AAU competition circuit, elite high school and college conditioning and nutrition programs, NBA personal chef and medical care routines, and tap into the current, MUCH progressed knowledge of basketball, then, sure, he'd be even better. But that's not what these lists/debates are about. Drop Wilt into the current NBA exactly as he was and he wouldn't be the best player in the league and some of his contemporaries like Shaq (obviously now 2020 Shaq ) or Giannis would best him.

    For some reason, basketball seems to be the only support where we regularly debate the earlier players being better than the current players...

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by JayZee View Post
    I think one of the major arguments for MJ over Lebron is exactly this - defense. And while LeBron could dominate on D, MJ always dominated on D.
    They were both great defenders in their prime, but I'd give the edge to Lebron as Jordan gambled a bit too much defensively, which frequently hurt the Bulls. See the defensive section of this article: https://backpicks.com/2018/04/08/bac...ichael-jordan/ . In general, Lebron's superior court vision translated defensively to make him a better defender than Jordan as Lebron was able to make the correct, instantaneous reads in the more complicated modern defenses.

    I realize that MJ made 9 NBA defensive first-teams to Lebron's 5, but that is more about sports media having improved their knowledge of the game over time in conjunction with the advanced stats era. Back in the day, superstar players would often get too much credit for their defense. See Derek Jeter winning 5 Gold Gloves.

    I would rank Jordan higher than Lebron on my GOAT list, but it's not because of defense. Again, both great defenders, but on a scale of 1 to 10, Lebron was a 10 and Jordan a 9, imo.

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    I don't think so. I took your post as an opportunity to lean on a point I made earlier in this thread. I'm in the camp that the average competitor in any sport is better, stronger, faster, more fit, has more endurance, better fed, better trained, etc than his/her predecessors. I'm also in the camp that the average generational talent is better, stronger, faster, etc than the generational talents that came before him/her. It's obvious in sports like weightlifting, sprints, swimming, long distance running, etc that are based on time and strength. Feats once thought impossible continue to be broken, barriers surpassed, records demolished. So, yeah, I'm in favor of recency bias!
    I must take issue. It has been mentioned earlier: Wilt Chamberlain says hello.

    With an assortment of
    fadeaway jump shots, his favorite one-hand finger-roll and powerful dunks in the low post,[2][3] he scored 31,419 points, grabbed 23,924 rebounds, averaging 30.07 points (second-best all time behind Michael Jordan) and 22.9 rebounds (all-time leader) and was also very durable, standing on the hardwood an average 45.8 minutes.[4]

    He also averaged 2 fouls per game and never fouled out.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indoor66 View Post
    I must take issue. It has been mentioned earlier: Wilt Chamberlain says hello.

    With an assortment of
    fadeaway jump shots, his favorite one-hand finger-roll and powerful dunks in the low post,[2][3] he scored 31,419 points, grabbed 23,924 rebounds, averaging 30.07 points (second-best all time behind Michael Jordan) and 22.9 rebounds (all-time leader) and was also very durable, standing on the hardwood an average 45.8 minutes.[4]

    He also averaged 2 fouls per game and never fouled out.
    It is a big deal when someone scores 50 in one game and Wilt averaged 50 for a season.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indoor66 View Post
    I must take issue. It has been mentioned earlier: Wilt Chamberlain says hello.

    With an assortment of
    fadeaway jump shots, his favorite one-hand finger-roll and powerful dunks in the low post,[2][3] he scored 31,419 points, grabbed 23,924 rebounds, averaging 30.07 points (second-best all time behind Michael Jordan) and 22.9 rebounds (all-time leader) and was also very durable, standing on the hardwood an average 45.8 minutes.[4]

    He also averaged 2 fouls per game and never fouled out.

    Iím not saying Wilt wasnít great, he was. But would he have been as effective in todayís NBA? Of course not.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    I stand by my point. Now, if Wilt started over and was allowed to go through the modern basketball development process with its skills camps, AAU competition circuit, elite high school and college conditioning and nutrition programs, NBA personal chef and medical care routines, and tap into the current, MUCH progressed knowledge of basketball, then, sure, he'd be even better. But that's not what these lists/debates are about. Drop Wilt into the current NBA exactly as he was and he wouldn't be the best player in the league and some of his contemporaries like Shaq (obviously now 2020 Shaq ) or Giannis would best him.

    For some reason, basketball seems to be the only support where we regularly debate the earlier players being better than the current players...
    Chamberlain was physically dominant in his era -- I expect he would do just fine today.

    Willie Mays, "Say hey!!"
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Chamberlain was physically dominant in his era -- I expect he would do just fine today.

    Willie Mays, "Say hey!!"
    Oh boy, baseball. Loved the "say hey kid".

    Wilt and Russell would compete in any generation and I loved the NBA back in those days. Not so much today.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Chamberlain was physically dominant in his era -- I expect he would do just fine today.

    Willie Mays, "Say hey!!"
    Article in the NY Times (hopefully not behind a pay wall) on the Say Hey Kid, who just turned 89

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/13/s...mays-book.html

  15. #55
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    Why Jordan?

    I dont think Espn laid out their criteria, but I think you've got to lean on three things here -

    - Individual accomplishments
    - Longevity
    - Winning

    The only knock on Jordan really could be longevity, but if you add back the baseball years, kept the Bulls together for two more years in 1999 and 2000, then Jordan probably adds at least another title if not 3-4.

    But the biggest thing that set him apart, from Lebron specifically, is Lebron crapped out in the 2011 Finals vs. Dallas. I think if Lebron had won that title then it's a much better argument. But he won 3 Finals and lost 4. I dont think you can be the greatest with that on your resume.

    Now, if Lebron wins another title and another Finals mvp then you can start to make a better case.

    On the Kareem - Wilt - Shaq argument, Kareem wins on winning and longevity. On the Wilt - Russell argument, how do you counter the fact that Russell was better head to head? Bill was 57-37 in the regular season and 29-20 in the playoffs over Wilt. Throw in 11 titles vs. 2 and you really cannot argue Wilt should be ahead of Russell or Kareem.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdave View Post
    I dont think Espn laid out their criteria, but I think you've got to lean on three things here -

    - Individual accomplishments
    - Longevity
    - Winning

    The only knock on Jordan really could be longevity, but if you add back the baseball years, kept the Bulls together for two more years in 1999 and 2000, then Jordan probably adds at least another title if not 3-4.

    But the biggest thing that set him apart, from Lebron specifically, is Lebron crapped out in the 2011 Finals vs. Dallas. I think if Lebron had won that title then it's a much better argument. But he won 3 Finals and lost 4. I dont think you can be the greatest with that on your resume.

    Now, if Lebron wins another title and another Finals mvp then you can start to make a better case.

    On the Kareem - Wilt - Shaq argument, Kareem wins on winning and longevity. On the Wilt - Russell argument, how do you counter the fact that Russell was better head to head? Bill was 57-37 in the regular season and 29-20 in the playoffs over Wilt. Throw in 11 titles vs. 2 and you really cannot argue Wilt should be ahead of Russell or Kareem.
    Permit me to offer a couple of observations. You say, "No!" That is very good judgment, but I will anyway. The Wilt vs. Russell debate has been going on for 60 years and will go on for decades more. Your three sentences won't do the trick, partly because there is the vastly superior Celtics "TEAM" involved, with other players and Auerbach on the bench. Also because "greatest players of all time" is not about championships, although they do count for something. Then there's the Chamberlain trump card: Wilt once averaged 50 points in an entire season. I am not inclined to pick one vs. the other, but both are in my "Top Ten" NBA list.

    I understand why the media do top tens of rankings from 1 to 100 -- or top 25 in college sports. That's how articles are laid out -- in linear fashion. Some kind of scatter chart in multiple dimensions would be a lot better, but I and many others have trouble seeing in more than two dimensions. So, it will always be a subject of dispute -- not just Wilt and Russell, but the whole subject of ranking NBA players.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdave View Post
    I dont think Espn laid out their criteria, but I think you've got to lean on three things here -

    - Individual accomplishments
    - Longevity
    - Winning


    The only knock on Jordan really could be longevity, but if you add back the baseball years, kept the Bulls together for two more years in 1999 and 2000, then Jordan probably adds at least another title if not 3-4.

    But the biggest thing that set him apart, from Lebron specifically, is Lebron crapped out in the 2011 Finals vs. Dallas. I think if Lebron had won that title then it's a much better argument. But he won 3 Finals and lost 4. I dont think you can be the greatest with that on your resume.

    Now, if Lebron wins another title and another Finals mvp then you can start to make a better case.

    On the Kareem - Wilt - Shaq argument, Kareem wins on winning and longevity. On the Wilt - Russell argument, how do you counter the fact that Russell was better head to head? Bill was 57-37 in the regular season and 29-20 in the playoffs over Wilt. Throw in 11 titles vs. 2 and you really cannot argue Wilt should be ahead of Russell or Kareem.
    I think you nailed these three criteria. What's amazing to me is MJ only played 15 seasons in the NBA, and that includes the '94-'95 season and the '01-'03 seasons (so really 12 competitive seasons). Lebron has already played 17 seasons, and you know he's got at least 3-4 seasons in him left. And what MJ accomplished in those ~12 seasons is absolutely incredible compared to Lebron's 17 seasons.

    I'm not saying Lebron isn't great; he is and he clearly changed the sport. But MJ was on another level.

    Side note: I don't think Karl Malone gets enough credit for longevity. He played 19 seasons in the NBA, and this is after playing 3 seasons of college. That's 22 years of highly competitive basketball where he never missed more than 2 games a season until his last season when he was 40 years old.
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  18. #58
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    I think the simple argument is that Wilt's individual accomplishments dont overcome Russell big advantage on winning.

    I would argue winning is far more important than longevity and individual accomplishments, which were the three categories I mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Permit me to offer a couple of observations. You say, "No!" That is very good judgment, but I will anyway. The Wilt vs. Russell debate has been going on for 60 years and will go on for decades more. Your three sentences won't do the trick, partly because there is the vastly superior Celtics "TEAM" involved, with other players and Auerbach on the bench. Also because "greatest players of all time" is not about championships, although they do count for something. Then there's the Chamberlain trump card: Wilt once averaged 50 points in an entire season. I am not inclined to pick one vs. the other, but both are in my "Top Ten" NBA list.

    I understand why the media do top tens of rankings from 1 to 100 -- or top 25 in college sports. That's how articles are laid out -- in linear fashion. Some kind of scatter chart in multiple dimensions would be a lot better, but I and many others have trouble seeing in more than two dimensions. So, it will always be a subject of dispute -- not just Wilt and Russell, but the whole subject of ranking NBA players.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdave View Post
    I dont think Espn laid out their criteria, but I think you've got to lean on three things here -

    - Individual accomplishments
    - Longevity
    - Winning

    The only knock on Jordan really could be longevity, but if you add back the baseball years, kept the Bulls together for two more years in 1999 and 2000, then Jordan probably adds at least another title if not 3-4.

    But the biggest thing that set him apart, from Lebron specifically, is Lebron crapped out in the 2011 Finals vs. Dallas. I think if Lebron had won that title then it's a much better argument. But he won 3 Finals and lost 4. I dont think you can be the greatest with that on your resume.

    Now, if Lebron wins another title and another Finals mvp then you can start to make a better case.


    On the Kareem - Wilt - Shaq argument, Kareem wins on winning and longevity. On the Wilt - Russell argument, how do you counter the fact that Russell was better head to head? Bill was 57-37 in the regular season and 29-20 in the playoffs over Wilt. Throw in 11 titles vs. 2 and you really cannot argue Wilt should be ahead of Russell or Kareem.
    Agreed. I asked up thread what LBJ would need to do to be considered clear GOAT ahead of MJ. I noted he already missed 1, maybe 2, championships with the Heat. Now, he'd need to add a championship in LA and become the all-time leading points scorer and top 5 all-time assist ahead of Magic, both of which are achievable. He does that, I think he at least moves on par --- if he did that AND hadn't lost Heat championships...well, MJ might have to come out of retirement again!

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    Agreed. I asked up thread what LBJ would need to do to be considered clear GOAT ahead of MJ. I noted he already missed 1, maybe 2, championships with the Heat. Now, he'd need to add a championship in LA and become the all-time leading points scorer and top 5 all-time assist ahead of Magic, both of which are achievable. He does that, I think he at least moves on par --- if he did that AND had the lost Heat championships, the narrative would shift to him as GOAT, methinks.
    He missed 2 with the Heat.

    In the 2011, the Heat were off to a slow start (like any Lebron team that comes together). But Miami won three straight playoff series 4-1, including wins over the Celtics (who had a very similar record to the Heat) and the Bulls (who were top in the East with a 62-20 record). The Mavericks were third in the West with a 57-25 record. It was a huge upset as the Heat were peaking and the Mavs were expected to lose badly.

    And in the 2013-2014, the Heat's core had been together for 4 years and had Battier and Ray Allen for multiple years. Yes, the Spurs still had Duncan, Manu, Parker, and added Kawhi, their core was passed their primes and Kawhi was the best player in that series despite being only 3 years in the league.
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

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