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Basketball: Individusliam

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posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 09:18 PM
Is the nba lately, focusing on individual sucess rather than team work. It seems that way at times. Look at kobe on the lakers, sure he can bust out 40 or 50 points a night, but does that win games in the long run or in the playoffs. I wouldn't count on it.

Team work in the nba to me, is no longer existing because of all the individualism and the goal to score the most points in a game.

[Edited on 4/8/2006 by Ben]

posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 09:39 PM
Dear Ben,

I agree with what you're suggesting. I don't know if this place has a word-search feature, but I've made a post before about the NBA's the-glory-of-me culture. I rarely watch anything but the playoffs, and even then I usually watch just the last two rounds, but even then "the glory of me" is spattered all over my television screen.

I was strictly a baseball fan for a long time, not becoming a football fan until 1976, and not becoming a hoops fan until Magic and Bird came around. So I "grew up on" a very team-oriented type of hoops. This garbage makes me sick. It reminds me of a lot of people whose appeals I've had to handle. Other than a repeat sexual predator, the client whose appeal I've most hated winning was a cold-blooded murderer who killed solely because of a very slight form of "disrespect"--one which he totally deserved.

I watch these punks on TV, and I have absolutely no trouble picturing some of them doing the same thing. Stern's one hell of a hustler, but there's just no way to paint a happy face on that.

For that matter, let's take GOLF, which is an individual sport by definition. What do you suppose the PGA Tour would do if Tiger Woods started performing the Ickey Shuffle, or some of T.O.'s garbage, every time he made a good putt? I'm not a golf fan, but I can tell you what they'd do. They'd fine his %## off and tell him he'd serve a nice fat suspension the next time it happened. And yet in basketball, which the last time I checked was a TEAM game, all this chest thumping and look-at-me onanism is allowed?!!?

I don't get it. But what I DO get, from the posts at this place and talking to personal friends, is that it's killing the NBA. If the NBA ever does shut down, can you imagine these pituitary cases trying to make a real living at a real job, with their attitudes?


[Edited on 4/8/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]

posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 10:16 PM
I hate players like Kobe Bryant. I don't care if he scores 81. He will become a complete player when he can trust and use his teammates. LeBron James is a fine example of a well-rounded player. I think I heard tonight that he has 30 games with 30 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds. His assists are what attracts me. If you watch him play, you see that he typically passes alot in the first 3 quarters, and then turns on his own game in the 4th quarter, like he did tonight in a come-from-behind win tonight against the Nets. He even dished the ball off on a potential game-tying shot, which was missed, but it shows that he has confidence in his teammates, though he should have taken the shot himself as he typically plays very well in the 4th quarter.

posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 10:41 PM
Dear NYG,

I'm with you and I have a question for you (and others).

I've made no secret of the fact that my only famous friend was a hoops star on Kareem's (Lew Alcindor's) team at UCLA, under John Wooden. My friend has since had a career in acting, most notably on the popular series "Hill Street Blues," and John Wooden has repeatedly called him "the most intelligent player I ever coached"--which is easy for me to understand, knowing him as I do.

I once told him it seemed to me like Magic was a better player, in the context of basketball's being a TEAM game, than Michael Jordan. He talked me off of that position, but it took him awhile to do it, and if he were anyone else, I probably wouldn't have been persuaded to agree with him.

What do you think, NYG? Is there a case to be made for Magic as having been a better player--in the context you are talking about--than Jordan was?


[Edited on 4/8/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]

posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 08:20 AM

Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
Is there a case to be made for Magic as having been a better player--in the context you are talking about--than Jordan was?

Yes, there is a case. Magic was a better team player than Michael. Simple as that. Jordan may have all the stats, bu they are individual stats (scoring, steals, etc.) Johnson has more assists. The team statistic. Jordan has more rings, ture, but he had watered-down competition. Magic had the Celtics, Rockets, Sixers, and Pistons to deal with. The main competition that Jordan had was Utah, and I say that becasue they were the only team that the Bulls played more than once in the finals.

All that aside, yes, the individualism is killing the league, but there are enough LeBrons out there, and enough fans, to keep it on life support for a long, long time.

posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 10:15 AM
I chimed in on this topic earlier, as well. Stern's got a lot to do with this in that it's been his decision to market the NBA primarily by focusing on the individual stars.

Indulge me a moment. Here's a little experiment-

When someone says "NFL", what's the first thing that pops into your mind? [I'll wait...]

Okay, now when someone says "NBA" what's the first thing you think of? [No cheating... the first thing]

I'll bet for NFL, you think of a team like Packers, Bears, Giants, 49ers, Steelers, whatever. Maybe Superbowl or fall Sunday afternoons. But I'll bet few immediately think of a specific player.

Now for NBA, I'm guessing the first thing you think of is a player; Jordan, Bird, Bryant, Magic, whomever. But it's not a specific team that immediately comes to mind.

This is by design and due to the way David Stern [NBA commissioner, for those who don't know] has chosen to market his product. And it's been very very successful, up to now. The inherent danger is that when you're tying to individuals, and those individuals are not palatable to Corporate America [which, face it, is where the big bucks come from] you're on thin ice.

Kids buying signature jerseys and shoes are good for the overall exposure of the NBA, but the corporate sponsors are the ones that buy the suites and season tickets and spend the big advertising dollars. When the faces of your product [i.e. individual players] become undesirable for a BIG sponsor to associate with, you're in deep weeds pretty quickly.

About Magic and Jordan and who's the better player, there's just too many ways to measure that to come up with a definitive answer. Championships? Nope. On that measurement, Luc Longley's better than Oscar Robertson. Stats? Can certainly be valuable as a component of assessment, but I don't think you get a true picture there, either.

Let me ask this: you're going to play in a pick-up game and the stakes are your life. You get first pick between Jordan and Magic. The other players are all equal in skill and ability; maybe mid major college talent. Who do you choose? I'd take Magic. He could [and did] play all five positions, score, dish, rebound, make everybody else better. Even when he was having the rare off-night, he could still find a way to contribute in some area enough to beat you.

Anyone wants to say Jordan was the best ever, I won't vigorously dispute that. Mainly because there's no consensus on what "best" means.

posted on Apr, 11 2006 @ 10:59 PM
As far as the Jordan vs. Magic debate goes, I preferred Jordan vs. Bird, which I would beat anyone in a game in if ya'll still got the old nintendo. I think that when Jordan got huge it was the beginning of the game being marketed on an individual level. Jordan was the first athlete (not to mention being black, but I don't wanna turn this into sociological debate) to get a bunch of sponsorships (nike, wheaties, other things). As yeahright already pointed out, the NBA was intentionally marketed toward individual players, and its starting to pay its toll in that there is less interest in teams; therefore less viewers for the game.

I think the Glory-of-Me thing is rampant in every sport and also most aspects of US society (I can't speak for other countries). Bonds is the ultimate example, as he has done god knows what to become a monster player, but most people have no respect for him as an individual and he has never won a championship (correct me if I'm wrong, I only remember him getting close with Pittsburg when they lost to Atlanta) Also, the NBA will never shut down, they'll pull out of this decline in interest, I think the age limit thing will be good for the game. The only way the NBA ever goes under is if Isiah Thomas is appointed commisioner.

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 12:56 AM
I grew up in the 1980's and remember the great basketball that went on in that time. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson revitalized a league that was languishing. Because of their performances, the NBA got the television deals it needed and found its ambassadors for the game. Since the mid-1990's, though, the NBA has steadily declined in quality of play. Without a doubt, one of the influences was expansion, which watered down the league's overall talent. Certainly free agency played a part as well, preventing many teams from establishing any long term success. But I think the biggest contributor was the move toward younger and younger players. What was considered ground-breaking back in 1974 (when Moses Malone went straight from college to the old ABA) is now commonplace. Each year there seem to be more and more high school players turning pro. Also, there are an increasing number of college stars who are leaving after freshman and sophomore seasons. The level of talent in the NBA is just eroding.

Think of some of the greatest players in the last 20 years. Larry Bird played for Indiana State for three years (after sitting out a year as a transfer). Michael Jordan went to college for three years, as did Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. John Stockton and Karl Malone went the full four years. I find it no surprise that the player who has done the most winning in the last ten years--Tim Duncan--went to college four years. Do you think any of these players would have developed into the players they were without that college experience? Perhaps, but it would have taken them several years to do so. Jordan scored 28.2 ppg his rookie season; would he have done so coming straight out of high school?

Today's players come into the league younger, with less experience, and worse fundamentals than the greats of 10-20 years ago. Sure, there have been successes like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, but they took a few years to develop; their initial impact was not too noticeable. And while there have been players like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James who have had an instant impact, there is always a Kwame Brown for every LeBron. I don't think these players should be going pro so early. Their game is just not ready.

Today's players just cannot shoot--even the great ones. Look at some of today's high scorers. While Kobe and LeBron have impressive numbers, their field goal percentages are under 50%. Bryant has never shot better than 50% from the floor in his career. This season there are currently 22 players with FG% over 50. That's fewer than one per team! I remember back in the 1980's when the Lakers shot over 50% as a team. The 1982-83 championship 76ers team had four starters hitting more then 50% of their shots. Magic's career FG% was over 50, and Bird and Jordan were quite close (49.6 and 49.5, respectively). What has happened? Why do we now have players labeled as "stars", such as Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd, who have had seasons under 40%? It's pretty bad when your FG% resembles Ty Cobb's batting average.

One of the big changes in recent seasons has been the influx of European players. These players play a different kind of game than the predominantly African American NBA players. Their fundamentals are so much more sound: shooting, passing, ball-handling. Look at Dirk Nowitzki: a 7' man who can handle the ball and shoot like a guard. These players come over from Europe with some incredibly honed skills. Remember Arvydas Sabonis? He had to wait nine years to get into the NBA, and when he did--bad knees and all--he totally schooled the younger players with his shooting and passing skills. Today's players look like guys playing a pickup game. They just can't play as a team.

Concerning who is or may be the best player ever, I must say that a case can be made for so many people, including Jordan. If you compare him to Magic or Bird just based on stats, it's pretty even.
Jordan Johnson Bird
PPG 30.1 19.5 24.3
RPG 6.2 7.2 10.0
APG 5.3 11.2 6.3
SPG 2.35 1.90 1.73
BPG 0.83 0.41 0.84
FG% .497 .520 .496
FT% .835 .848 .886
3Pt% .327 .303 .376

In the case of Magic vs. Jordan, Jordan wins PPG, SPG, BPG, and 3Pt%, while Magic takes RPG, APG, FG%, and FT%. In Bird vs. Jordan, Jordan wins PPG and SPG, while Bird takes RPG, APG, FT%, and 3Pt% (they are approximately even on FG% and BPG.

While these three players were amazing individually, they were even more amazing as a member of a team. These three players have 19 combined Finals appearances, with 14 titles between them. They knew how to be member of a team and lead a team to victory. That is the reason they were on winning NBA teams. All three of them could have scored much more per game than they did, but that would not have helped their teams win titles.

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 02:37 AM

Does basketball not have a stat equivalent to baseball's immensely valued new stat--created by Bill James, I believe--called "Runs Created?" I continue to believe on-base percentage is the biggest stat, followed by slugging percentage, but then I've never read an expert's lucid, detailed account of how "runs created" is calculated, much less of exactly how much weight is given to various stats in calculating "runs created."

From what I have seen, it looks like "runs created" has a LOT to do with the era in which one plays--e.g., sky-high figures in the 20's, 30's and steroid ball years--and the team one plays on. So perhaps there needs to be something which does for "runs created" what "Adjusted ERA" does for "ERA," neutralizing both the era and the home ballpark. But again, I don't know how "runs created" is calculated, and I've not seen a decent attempt at explaining it, to my great regret, so perhaps I'm being unfairly harsh to the stat.

Anyway, once someone here--or at another site--with the requisite knowledge posts a clear account of what "runs created" is made up of, everyone else here who reads the thread will know the same thing I will. And the question then will be:

CAN'T BASKETBALL DO THE SAME THING, and create a stat which validly puts all these stats together, weights them appropriately (the big task, requiring real basketball expertise, of which I possess zilch), and make a good rating based on such a morass of contradictory numbers?

I think that could happen. Of course, hoops fans will argue about the weighting and the ratings, saying assists are overrated or underrated in the weighing process, etc., etc. But the absolutely most expert minds will be put into creating the formula--and I don't mean just a bunch of couch potatoes with Ph.D.'s in Mathematics. It's obvious that in Runs Created, they weighted a whole load of stats to come up with their formula; hoops stats strike me as a lot simpler than baseball stats, but even if that's not true, this process should be similar and real workable, given the necessary expertise.


posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 09:02 AM
I apologize for making an error in my previous post. In the shower this morning I remembered that the Lakers made it to the Finals in 1991, so that makes 20 Finals appearances between Bird, Magic, and Jordan.

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 01:54 PM
The television deals that brought the NBA to prominence in the 80's also brought its downfall. (This has all probably been pointed out before). Television changed the marketing strategy, gearing it toward a younger audience. The younger audience connects with flashy, young stars; not so much with the fundamentals of a team based game.

I agree that its probably better for the game if there is an limit and future draft picks have more years of college behind them. However, can you blame the young guys for jumping the gun with all the money involved. In college, they run the risk of injury, which could destroy their future value in the NBA (Danny Manning for example).

Shooting percentage is down, but some might argue it's due to an increased amount of attention paid to defense. The players are able to study offenses and tailor their defense in accordance better now than they ever could before.

A stat similar to runs created in baseball would have to take defense into consideration. For example, if player A scores 24 but the player he is guarding scores 36, than player A had a negative effect on the outcome of the game. I don't think basketball stats are easier to analyze than baseball, as in basketball it's harder to guage the collective productivity of the individual player and the team player. Hope that made sense, I unfortunately don't have the math skills to give a deaper analysis.


posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 03:26 PM

Baseball's "runs created" DOES take a player's defensive stats into account, or at least, so I understand. The runs he takes away from other teams with above-average defense are added to his runs created. I can only imagine--given his other-worldly defensive stats--how many defensive "runs created" Richie Ashburn is credited with. As James says, he has the greatest defensive stats of all time, and it's not close.


posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 04:04 PM
BHN etal,

When (if?) I get a home again, and some free time to play on the internet and and with a good computer (mine's on the fritz), I'll attempt to create a stat for basketball, that seems kind of interesting. Of course, I've given many qualifiers here, but, you'll all know when I get a house, and then you can remind me that I've said this...


posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 07:26 PM
First, let me apologize to BaseballHistoryNut about some previous comments I made. I have a problem that has plagued me all my life, where I have a desire to put people in their place and gain an upper hand over them. Currently I am in counseling and hope to make some progress really soon.

There actually are some basketball stats similar to the Runs Created in baseball. Take a look at this website: Efficiency is computed as: (Pts + Reb + Ast + Stl + Blk - FG Missed - FT Missed - TO)/Games Played. There is also a formula for Approximate Value (AV) which is the numerator of the Efficiency formula raised to the 3/4 power, then divided by 21. This provides a number from 0 to 20 for each player, but only for regular season (career AV is much higher).

Here is how Bird, Jordan, and Magic stack up with these stats. Career Efficiency: Bird 29.77, Jordan 29.19, Magic 29.10. Career AV: Bird 99.5, Jordan 112.0, Magic 98.5. Best single season Efficiency: Bird 34.31 (84-85 season), Jordan 36.97 (88-89), Magic 33.31 (88-89). best single season AV: Bird 18.0 (84-85), Jordan 19.2 (88-89), Magic 17.1 (88-89). The only big flaw I can detect in the formula is that it does not take into account 3-Pt shooting percentage.

For BHN--and alll of you--here is a site explaining Runs Created:

I hope that helps!

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 08:01 PM
How does Wilt Chamberlain rank on this thing? MANY people still rank him as the greatest player ever, and my famed friend won't commit to Jordan over Wilt. And, of course, Wilt is basketball's Babe Ruth, with all the "can you believe THIS?!!?" stats that would blow up computers. (With Ruth, e.g., see three seasons in a 9-year span where he hit more HR's than any other AL TEAM.)

I saw some of Chamberlain in the 1960's, on TV, and it was--as was true of Ruth--as case of man vs. boys.


P.S. I assume you mean their perceived-by-you places? If that's what you mean, I accept your apology and we can start anew.

[Edited on 4/12/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]

[Edited on 4/12/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 08:20 PM
Chamberlain's stats in these areas are off the charts! His career Efficiency is 41.50 and career AV is 143.1. His best single season Efficiency is 52.29 and his best single season AV is 24.8 (both in 1961-62, the year he had 50.4 ppg). And remember that Wilt played before steals and blocked shots were recorded. However, I do think we all need to remember the characteristics of the era he played in. For one, the style of play was much different; it was more fast paced and higher scoring. At the same time, though, the shooting was relatively poor. Because of these two factors, teams scored a lot of points but they also missed a lot of shots. Wilt averaged over 20 rebounds a game, but remember that teams usually grabbed 70-80 rebounds a game. He got a quarter of his teams rebounds, which is comparable to a player pulling down 15 a game today. Also, he was big even by today's standards (7'1", 275 lb). Back in the 1960's, he was a behemoth, simply overpowering everyone.

Personally, I think you can make a case for Chamberlain as the best player ever. In addition to his points and rebounds, he was an excellent passer. He averaged 4.4 apg in his career, and had two amazing seasons in 1966-67 and 67-68 where he had 7.8 apg and 8.6 apg, respectively (he actually led the league in assists in 67-68). He was a great defender as well, although that may have been mainly due to his immense size advantage.

What makes things difficult when we discuss Wilt is that we always wonder how he would have stacked up against the more recent greats. How would he have performed against Shaq? Or what about Olajuwon; how would Wilt have done against such an amazing lightning-quick athlete who was a defensive genius? I think we need to take his big numbers with a grain of salt, but also realize that he was incredible and just as worthy of our praise as Jordan, Bird, or Magic.

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 08:31 PM
Well, you're way ahead of me on basketball, and my friend was a collegiate superstar in the late 1960's, so he's perhaps biased in favor of the 1960's greats. But he thinks Wilt would have swallowed all moderns centers alive except for Shaq, and would have fouled Shaq out in no time if the zebras called the game properly.

He basically thinks modern centers are cr@p. He also thinks Wilt would have physically dominated Mark Eaton, however, and I find that a little hard to swallow.

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 08:57 PM
That's understandable about your friend. Often people who grew up in certain periods of time are biased toward the stars of their time. Steve Sabol of NFL Films feels Jim Brown is the greatest running back of all time, head and shoulders above the rest. Of course, Sabol grew up in the 1960's. When I was at another job, I remember one guy who was convinced that Wes Unseld could have controlled Shaq. He failed to recall that Unseld was only 6'7", but he remembers Unseld from his own youth.

Personally, I feel Chamberlain could have been a very good center in the 1980's and 1990's, and an even better center in the 21st century. He would have had to work a lot harder for his points, though. I think Olajuwon would have given him fits. As for Shaq, there would probably be bad calls on both sides. Shaq gets away with murder, but as a star, Wilt would have as well. I agree with you about Mark Eaton. He was not the most mobile guy, but in his prime, he could control Kareem Abdul-Jabbar one-on-one. And Kareem's sky hook was more lethal that Chamberlain's finger roll. Also, Eaton was three inches taller and at least 15 pounds heavier than Chamberlain. In 1984-85 he had 456 blocked shots, an NBA record. I have no doubt he could have handled Chamberlain. Not "controlled" or "shut down", mind you, but handled.

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 09:44 PM
Wilt DID get away with murder. Are you aware that he never fouled out of a game? He had five fouls countless times, but no zebra ever blew #6, even though it was committed plenty of times. People who talk about the "Jordan rules" should have seen the "Wilt rules."

posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 10:05 PM
Thanks. I have seen very little footage of Chamberlain, but I always suspected he got away with a lot. I had forgotten he never fouled out of a game.

Just so you know, the term "Jordan Rules" refers to a type of defense the Pistons played in the late 1980's. From 1988-1990, Detroit faced Chicago three straight times int he playoffs, beating them each time. They had a defense that focused on Jordan. Although you had to play man-to-man defense back then, the four players who were not guarding Jordan all had secondary assignments pertaining to him.

I will admit, though, that in some games, he seemed to be under a different set of rules thatn everyone else.

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