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  #151  
Old 01-30-2020, 02:12 PM
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Different eras have different playstyles. Yes, they could hand check then; they couldn't play zone defense. (Well, sort of.) Three point play wasn't as significant.

I personally don't really buy the notion that all time great players couldn't adjust to different playstyles. Maybe a very specific kind of role player could not adjust - a pure 3-point expert might have been out of luck prior to the 3-pointer - but the truly great players would adjust. Magic Johnson took very few three point shots (he played during the era it was a thing, but they didn't use it much) but I am one hundred percent sure that if he played today he'd be putting up 10 attempts a game and hitting lots of them. The very greatest players ever would have learned and adapted and excelled in any era.

Incidentally, it should be noted there was more to "The Jordan Rules" than just batting him if he drove to the basket; it was an entire game strategy based around focusing specifically on Jordan in every respect. Teams still do that sort of thing today; star-focused defense is now such a commonly applied strategy it doesn't even have a name. The Raptors employ this frequently and often to excellent effect, overfocusing on a star scorer on both ends of the court to harry and tire him and force the other opponents to handle the ball more.

The other neat thing about the Jordan Rules was that the Pistons would always try to force Michael to move to his left, his weaker side. That was smart and innovative; today pretty much every team applies this as a matter of course.
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Last edited by RickJay; 01-30-2020 at 02:17 PM.
  #152  
Old 01-30-2020, 02:23 PM
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Jordan is often referred to as the greatest player of the modern era (fyi: modern era supposedly started with Magic and Bird and the three point line back in the 79-80 season).

In my opinion Russell is the ONLY legit person you can put up against Jordan in the greatest of all time debate. Of course the argument then becomes modern era vs the previous era...but 11 is hard number to ignore.

I am starting to get entertained by your attempts to try get me to quantify that which cannot be quantified.
Even Celtics fans don't argue Russell was the GOAT. I've seen "greatest winner" tossed around a lot, but few people seriously argue that Russell was the best player of all time.

Winning titles matters when the other factors are close. But it's not the only measure or else we'd be talking about Steve Kerr and Robert Horry too.
  #153  
Old 01-30-2020, 05:09 PM
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Really? Did you read the first page of this thread? And no numbers proved me wrong.
When the facts prove you wrong, claim there are no facts. Brilliant idea, but it only serves to get any argument you put forth ignored from here on.
  #154  
Old 01-30-2020, 07:58 PM
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When the facts prove you wrong, claim there are no facts. Brilliant idea, but it only serves to get any argument you put forth ignored from here on.
Clearly there is a disagreement on what constitutes a fact. Would be great if you could be specific. I think most people have figured out the Donald Trump tactic of repeating the same thing over again so that half the crowd believes it. Add some value to this thread, please.
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  #155  
Old 01-31-2020, 07:04 AM
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Even Celtics fans don't argue Russell was the GOAT. I've seen "greatest winner" tossed around a lot, but few people seriously argue that Russell was the best player of all time.

Winning titles matters when the other factors are close. But it's not the only measure or else we'd be talking about Steve Kerr and Robert Horry too.
For the life of this Laker fan I have never been able to understand why you guys don't try to get more mileage out of Russell's 11. If any Laker from any era had 11 rings we would throw an annual parade just to pat ourselves on the back. We would be so much more insufferable than we are now it wouldn't be funny.

I can tell you that LakerNation still hates the fact that Boston:
- Kicked the shit out of West and Baylor throughout the 60s. Jerry West is still mad so we're mad right along with him.
- Kicked the shit out of Kobe and Pau in 08. Yes we got revenge in 2010 but we never had a tie breaker to settle the matter once and for all
- Have 17 total championships while we only have 16

We would hate Bird too but him and Magic seem to be the best of friends so for some strange reason not only does he gets a pass but he gets a shit load of respect and admiration too.

Last edited by BeagleJesus; 01-31-2020 at 07:05 AM.
  #156  
Old 01-31-2020, 09:05 AM
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Russell is just long ago, that's all. He is prior to the memory of most basketball fans today, so he is an abstract concept to many.

The age of the average NBA fan is, depending on what source you believe, between early 40s and 50. Magic, Michael, Bird, Hakeem, LeBron, Shaq, Kobe, all exist within the living memory of those guys. Russell doesn't.

This is a fairly common thing in sports; hell, even in baseball, which keeps its history alive and present more than any other sport.
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  #157  
Old 01-31-2020, 09:22 AM
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I personally don't really buy the notion that all time great players couldn't adjust to different playstyles. Maybe a very specific kind of role player could not adjust - a pure 3-point expert might have been out of luck prior to the 3-pointer - but the truly great players would adjust. Magic Johnson took very few three point shots (he played during the era it was a thing, but they didn't use it much) but I am one hundred percent sure that if he played today he'd be putting up 10 attempts a game and hitting lots of them. The very greatest players ever would have learned and adapted and excelled in any era.
I basically agree with this. The 1996-98 version of the Bulls in particular were a very versatile, very athletic group of interchangeable players. There's a reason the 1996 team won 72 games. The Warriors explosiveness on offense from 2015-19 was influenced a lot by Kerr's (a Jackson pupil) adapted use of the triangle offense. Jordan and Pippen, both of whom could run up and down the floor, would have fit right into the new era just fine. I do wonder how big men like Shaquille O'Neal would have factored, though, in this kind of wide-open game.

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The other neat thing about the Jordan Rules was that the Pistons would always try to force Michael to move to his left, his weaker side. That was smart and innovative; today pretty much every team applies this as a matter of course.
Dumars in particular was really, really good at attacking Jordan's strengths. He couldn't stop him, but he slowed him down. Jordan still made Jordanesque shots, but the percentage fell. When Jordan became better at distributing the ball and when he had other players who were comfortable stepping up and making plays, that's when the Bulls turned the corner.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:36 AM
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I basically agree with this. The 1996-98 version of the Bulls in particular were a very versatile, very athletic group of interchangeable players. There's a reason the 1996 team won 72 games. The Warriors explosiveness on offense from 2015-19 was influenced a lot by Kerr's (a Jackson pupil) adapted use of the triangle offense. Jordan and Pippen, both of whom could run up and down the floor, would have fit right into the new era just fine. I do wonder how big men like Shaquille O'Neal would have factored, though, in this kind of wide-open game.
Shaq was damn quick. There are a lot of really really big guys walking around in the world, but you can't just put a jersey on them and expect 28 points a game.

I mean, if nothing else, you have to admit today's teams would have to make major adjustments to guard a man like that, because they couldn't have as many guys attacking the perimeter. Shaq presents a defensive problem in any system.

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Dumars in particular was really, really good at attacking Jordan's strengths. He couldn't stop him, but he slowed him down. Jordan still made Jordanesque shots, but the percentage fell. When Jordan became better at distributing the ball and when he had other players who were comfortable stepping up and making plays, that's when the Bulls turned the corner.
Back in the 2000s I had a customer in the Detroit area. Joe Dumars was brought onto the board of directors; he was already in some business interests, so it wasn't a full time gig. According to the guys running the company day-to-day, everyone figured Dumars was a little celebrity flair they'd brought in for PR purposes. They figured wrong. He showed up on a regular basis, and he had questions, and expected answers, and by everyone's account was one of the smartest humans they'd ever met and helped the company get better.
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  #159  
Old 01-31-2020, 09:43 AM
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Shaq was damn quick. There are a lot of really really big guys walking around in the world, but you can't just put a jersey on them and expect 28 points a game.

I mean, if nothing else, you have to admit today's teams would have to make major adjustments to guard a man like that, because they couldn't have as many guys attacking the perimeter. Shaq presents a defensive problem in any system.
No disagreement about Shaq's ability on offense; I'm thinking more in terms of his defense and ability to defend against today's offenses that run the floor and spread the ball. I tend to think he would have been gassed if he had to run the floor and play the minutes he played when he was with Phil Jackson's Lakers.

Last edited by asahi; 01-31-2020 at 09:44 AM.
  #160  
Old 01-31-2020, 10:10 AM
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Russell is just long ago, that's all. He is prior to the memory of most basketball fans today, so he is an abstract concept to many.

The age of the average NBA fan is, depending on what source you believe, between early 40s and 50. Magic, Michael, Bird, Hakeem, LeBron, Shaq, Kobe, all exist within the living memory of those guys. Russell doesn't.

This is a fairly common thing in sports; hell, even in baseball, which keeps its history alive and present more than any other sport.
You're probably right on the money here.

I guess it's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that there is an entire generation of fans who never saw Jordan play much less Magic and Bird. The "new" guys are all they know. Hell, I would bet money that most fans under the age of 25 have never even seen a quality low post move pulled off in real time.

Thank god for YouTube I suppose.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:19 AM
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I basically agree with this. The 1996-98 version of the Bulls in particular were a very versatile, very athletic group of interchangeable players. There's a reason the 1996 team won 72 games. The Warriors explosiveness on offense from 2015-19 was influenced a lot by Kerr's (a Jackson pupil) adapted use of the triangle offense. Jordan and Pippen, both of whom could run up and down the floor, would have fit right into the new era just fine. I do wonder how big men like Shaquille O'Neal would have factored, though, in this kind of wide-open game.
Young Shaq was so fast, so quick and so strong for a 7 footer that I think he would have been fine. And Prime Shaq was such a monster that I can't think of anyone in the league today who could even come close to slowing him down much less knocking him off his averages. He would have owned the boards and Jesus Christ himself would have been scared to go down the lane while Shaq patrolled the paint. Sure the free-throws would have been an issue but they were always an issue so no big loss there. It's important to remember that the NBA started to allow zone defense specifically to try and slow Shaq down...and it didn't really work.

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Dumars in particular was really, really good at attacking Jordan's strengths. He couldn't stop him, but he slowed him down. Jordan still made Jordanesque shots, but the percentage fell. When Jordan became better at distributing the ball and when he had other players who were comfortable stepping up and making plays, that's when the Bulls turned the corner.
Jordan has often said that Dumars was his greatest challenge and once he figured out how to get the best of Joe the rest of the league didn't stand a chance.
  #162  
Old 01-31-2020, 10:34 AM
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You're probably right on the money here.

I guess it's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that there is an entire generation of fans who never saw Jordan play much less Magic and Bird. The "new" guys are all they know. Hell, I would bet money that most fans under the age of 25 have never even seen a quality low post move pulled off in real time.

Thank god for YouTube I suppose.
Basketball as a pro sports is much younger than the other big ones, and so we are just beginning to have an ancient history of it, for want of a better term. Baseball fans stil ltalk about Babe Ruth in their greatest-ever discussions; Ruth retired 13 years before the NBA existed. When Ruth was born most people didn't even know what basketball was, unless they were regulars at a YMCA in the eastern USA, and Ruth wasn't even a figure in the early days of baseball; he debuted in 1914, at which point baseball had been an important professional sport for decades. The NFL and NHL started around the same time Ruth's career began, so while not as old as baseball, they are older than the NBA, and were well established sports, of course, prior to the formation of those leagues.

I am 48, and I am a white guy who grew up in a small Canadian city, but even then we knew who Kareem and Dr. J were. When Jordan arrived he was a sensation. I doubt, though, that 1% of my peers knew who Bill Russell was or could tell you anything about him. Kids have a sense of the now, not history, and they carry those impressions with them the rest of their lives. Those impressions are not only of what figures were important, but of the STYLE of play. I tend to think of the way pro sports were played in my formative years of the 1980s as being the baseline against which the sports are measured; baseball had way more basestealing and 20-game winners, hockey had way more scoring, football was more conservative in the running/passing mix, and we've discussed 1980s basketball, which was rougher and 3-point shooting wasn't important.

I mean, will we ever see a low post man like Jordan again? A force of nature like Shaq? Maybe not. That's true of all sports; if you watch hockey for the next 200 years you might never see a guy with the behind the net play like Gretzky. You might never see a linebacker revolutionize the NFL like Lawrence Taylor did. You'll see something else cool though. As long as world-class athletes are competing for the riches and glory the NBA offers, SOMETHING amazing is going to happen.

I will say this; even if someone becomes a better player than Jordan, his importance in the game's history will likely never be surpassed. Jordan had impacts on the NBA and popular culture far beyond his playing ability. He is in that regard similar to Gretzky and Ruth in a way Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and LeBron James cannot be.
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Last edited by RickJay; 01-31-2020 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:02 AM
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I am 48, and I am a white guy who grew up in a small Canadian city...[snip]
As an aside I would like to take my hat off to all of the Canadians who have embraced the Raptors and the NBA in general. It looks like it took a decade or two for things to really get rolling and even longer to put yourselves in the championship conversation but you guys finally have a team that is worthy of the fan support that they have received for a good while now. Truly a well run organization and I love how you make a home for a lot of the international players in ways that most other organizations (not named San Antonio) don't.

I bet that ring last year felt really good and it was well deserved.

Of course, this is all assuming you're a Raps fan...if not then please pass along my sentiments.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:13 AM
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I bleed Raptor red.

The team has always been very, very well supported. The arrival of Vince Carter pretty much coincided with the "new expansion team" glow wearing off, so that was well timed.
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  #165  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:07 PM
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Raptor is the coolest NBA mascot. Only the best for our Canadian friends.
  #166  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:21 PM
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....I will say this; even if someone becomes a better player than Jordan, his importance in the game's history will likely never be surpassed. Jordan had impacts on the NBA and popular culture far beyond his playing ability. He is in that regard similar to Gretzky and Ruth in a way Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and LeBron James cannot be.
100% agree with this, which is why I acknowledged in my first post that Jordan is the GOAT. The disagreements have been about who's better, and I have yet to find a Jordan backer in the MJ vs. LBJ debate who has changed his or her mind about that. I do think the tide will turn after LeBron has retired and more people have had a chance to fully reflect on both careers.
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  #167  
Old 01-31-2020, 08:48 PM
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Raptor is the coolest NBA mascot. Only the best for our Canadian friends.
Honestly, he really is. Always has been.

I am a baseball fan first and foremost, but I will be the first to say that a live NBA game is a sports experience that must be experienced to be believed. If offered free tickets to a Raptors game or a Blue Jays game, I'll take the Raptors tickets every single time (and that's assuming no arbitrage; obviously, Raptors tickets are more expensive, so if you can resell it's the only logical choice but never mind that.) The energy is simply out of this world. The Leafs don't generate that kind of energy. Not even close. Anyone who hasn't been to an NBA game must, at least once in their lives, invest in really good seats and go experience it.

Anyway, the Raptor is a part of it and everyone loves him. When they chose "Raptors" as the team nickname they were rightfully mocked for basically riding off "Jurassic Park" but in retrospect, they're made the best of it - they actually make the exterior fan area "Jurassic Park," and use the dinosaur theme in a lot of cool ways.
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  #168  
Old 01-31-2020, 08:59 PM
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Going to Spurs-Hornets tomorrow!

(Both MJ and LBJ would destroy these teams, regardless of rule set.)

Guys, I still feel that if you took 12 1993-era MJ's and 12 2013-era LBJ's in a best of 7, MJ's would win.

I also still think the MJ vs LBJ discussion wasn't what was asked by the OP. And if I had to rank quality of opponents, I would say that MJ had the worse of it at the beginning of his career (started amazingly difficult and got easier into the late 90s) and LBJ had the worse of it nearing the end of his career (started off relatively easy, but then got worse when Durant, Westbrook, Curry, etc improved).

One thing in LBJ's favor: he dominated in far more different eras than MJ did. LBJ went from the hand-check ISO ball era of Iverson and early Bryant to the "lob it from 30 feet and fuxk the midrange shot" era of Thompson and Curry. MJ did not.

Though, again, Jordan purposely went 6-6 from the arc in a first half of a Finals game, so the man could make threes if that's what the style of the game... or his thirst for vengeance... demanded.

Last edited by JohnT; 01-31-2020 at 09:00 PM.
  #169  
Old 02-01-2020, 08:59 AM
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Today's version of the NBA is a superior version of the game than it was when Jordan was playing. Don't get me wrong: the individual one-on-one game was more entertaining, and the rivalries and physical intensity during the playoffs were must-see TV. It's strictly my opinion based on memory, which is admittedly fading, but it seemed that teams like the Knicks, Heat, Pacers, and others just started copying what the Pistons did, and it just made for a bad product in terms of fundamentals. The game devolved into hard fouls and dunking, but the perimeter shooting and passing was just crap.

Consider the example of the Lakers and Kings during their rivalry. Going back to the early 2000s, the Sacramento Kings nearly defeated the Lakers twice during their championship run. The Kings were not really cut out to compete in the more physical late 1990s version of basketball, and yet they still pushed the Lakers to a decisive game 5 in their first round playoff series. Two years later, with the introduction of the zone, the Kings nearly defeated the two-time champion Lakers in a controversial 7-game series that went into overtime, and some observers felt that had there been different referees on the court, the Kings might have actually won that contest. Those Lakers were in their prime, and yet they really struggled to keep up with a team that frankly didn't have any real superstars but instead had good players at each position who were skilled in the fundamentals and knew how to move the ball. When I look at the Kings-Lakers match-up, I can't help but think that a team like the Warriors from 2015-19 would have torched L.A.
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