Friday, June 19, 2009

14 comments What's Irritating Me Today

Now that we are (supposedly because it is not up yet) the proud owners of David Eckstein's Baseball Reference page, I feel like I should step up my game and make my writing even more exciting and sexy. I have found I am not capable of that, so we are all stuck with what we usually get from me. I promise I am not going to talk about steroids today at all. What I am going to talk about is articles that have irritated me.

-Scott Howard-Cooper just has this all wrong.

It's just all wrong.

Point guards also are expected to dominate the first 10 or 12 picks in the draft next week.

There are several point guards in the draft that seem like they can really help a team, that is very true.

And then there's Derek Fisher. He of the season averages of 10 points and three assists. He of the 40 percent shooting in the playoffs.

And he of the four rings.

He won those four rings with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, arguably two of the top 20 players in NBA he also had the immortal Robert Horry on his team as well, who by his own admission, should be in the Hall of Fame. Find me a Shaq or Kobe in this draft and then I will admit he has a point. Hell, find me a Pau Gasol in this draft and I may concede the point he is going to try and make that the point guards drafted will not be elite and win a championship.

There's your reality check. At a time when point guards are generating so much attention, a convergence of circumstances from the 2008-09 season into the draft into free agency next month, the reminder note being distributed after the Lakers-Magic series is that it does not take a great talent at the point to win the title.

No, it doesn't take a great point guard. That is absolutely correct. It takes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, or Michael Jordan as well. In lieu of finding these players in the draft, I would take a great point guard like Tony Parker to pair up with another great player. It really can't hurt...but yes, if you have Hall of Fame type players at a couple of positions, then you don't need a great point guard. This doesn't seem to require a long drawn out article, but mostly just a little bit of common sense. You surround great players with role players, if you have great players at every other position, you find a point guard to serve a role. If you don't have great players everywhere, you find an elite point guard and build around him.

But Fisher has never been in the debate for an All-Star spot, let alone actually made the Sunday game. In his best statistical season, he averaged 13.3 points and 4.3 assists with the Warriors in 2005-06.

I don't think we need further proof Derek Fisher is not a great point guard. We all know this. What I would like to understand is why Howard-Cooper is trying to show a team doesn't need a great point guard by showing that Fisher won 4 titles with Shaq, Kobe, and Gasol on his team and THIS is proof a great point guard is not needed to win a championship. I just feels like this flies in the face of logic. As if a team of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard would not have a good chance of winning a championship if you build around them.

Again, you don't need a great point guard if you have Shaq and Kobe. There is no arguing this. You do need a great point guard if your team doesn't have these two players, which is true for many other teams. For example, if the Magic had a great point guard then they may not have had to have Hedo Turkoglu taking the ball up the court during some of the Finals games and they could have exploited the fact Fisher is not a great defender anymore. A great point guard got Denver to the Western Conference Finals, but there has to be more players around that point guard. The fact Derek Fisher won 4 championships with Shaq, Kobe, and Gasol does not mean a great point guard is no longer needed.

The bottom line is that you need elite players to win a championship, it just so happens the elite players have not been point guards that often as of late.

Consider the point guards who have won in the Finals recently, and it's clear teams seldom need great point guards to win a championship, and teams where the best player is a point guard rarely win.

I don't get what he is getting at here. Fine, the best player is not the point guard most of the time on a championship team. That is absolutely no reason to not draft a point guard in the first round. Howard-Cooper is going to list the teams that have won the championship and I am going to list who else they had on the team, which is why they did not need an elite point guard.

I am not saying a team needs an elite PG to win the championship, I am saying unless you can find a Hall of Fame type player in the draft or already have one then it still makes sense to draft a PG. It's not like it is impossible to win a championship with an elite PG.

2009 -- Fisher.

Had Kobe and Gasol

2008 -- Rajon Rondo,

I would put him pretty close to one of the best PGs in the league. The Celtics would not have won without him. Theory buster.

2007 -- Tony Parker,

Theory buster.

2006 -- Jason Williams

Had Shaq and Dwyane Wade...not to mention Gary Payton got minutes as well.

2005 -- Parker.

Theory buster.

2004 -- Chauncey Billups

Theory buster. It's not looking really good right now.

2003 -- Parker.

Theory buster.

2002 -- Fisher

2001 -- Fisher.
2000 -- Harper

Had Shaq in his unstoppable prime and Kobe on the team as well.

1999 -- Avery Johnson, Spurs.

Had Duncan and Robinson on the team.

1998 -- Harper
1997 -- Harper.
1996 -- Harper.

Had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Did not need a great PG.

1995 -- Kenny Smith
1994 -- Smith

This was when Jordan wasn't playing and Olajuwon was unstoppable and really Sam Cassell contributed to the point guard position as well.

So basically what we have learned is that in the past 15 years if you don't have Shaq, Kobe, Wade, Jordan, Pippen, or Olajuwon on your team, then you need an elite point guard.

No Hall of Famer was in the role since Isiah Thomas with the Pistons in 1990.

Tony Parker very well could be making a bee line for the Hall of Fame, you have to count him. Elite point guards have won championships in the past, it just so happens the elite players have been big men or wing men of late.

Just look at the difference Derrick Rose made this year for the Bulls. An elite point guard is not necessary to win but if you have an elite point guard that means you don't need an elite player at another position.

Now Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry and Jonny Flynn lead a point-guard parade in the draft. A few days later, Andre Miller, Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby and Ben Gordon, a combo guard who handles the ball a lot, become free agents with the ability and experience to make a difference.
So Howard-Cooper's point is that there are a lot of point guards that can make a difference available...and this is somehow supposed to help support his theory a great point guard is not needed to win an NBA Title?

The draft and free agency alone will alter the league for years. It just may not deliver a title. Because it doesn't take a dominant point guard to win.

If you have elite players at other positions, then no it won't take a point guard to win a title. If you don't have elite players at other positions, like San Antonio or Detroit, then an elite point guard may be required to win a championship. I think the point of this article should have been that it takes elite players to win a championship, but they just haven't come from the point guard position as much lately.

-When Bill Simmons called his own article from ESPN the Magazine bad, I could not agree more.

That article was the kind of article that I would not dare post. I would proofread it and if I put it up, make sure it gets covered up by something very, very quickly. I hope someone here covers it at some point, but I am not even in the mood to try and go through it at this point.

-Donte Stallworth getting suspended is a great move.

Regardless of Florida law, he killed someone while driving intoxicated. I don't make a lot of money, yet when I am going out to drink I manage to get the money for a cab ride, so why can't football players do that as well? It makes no sense to me. I hate paying for cabs when I am out drinking but I am also not egotistical enough to believe I should be able to drive drunk when I want. If I don't want to pay for a cab or can't afford it, I either don't drink that much or don't go out. It's pretty simple. I think the suspension is a good move.

-Another thing that irritates me, and this is me being a grumpy old man, is all the fucking animation and video on ESPN's site. Right now I am listening to a break down of the Stallworth case on ESPN and it annoys me. I don't want animation on a site, I want links to articles that I want to read. Animation and video slow my computer down and just generally piss me off. If I don't click on it, I don't want to hear a fucking breakdown of the Stallworth case. It takes both my home and work computer more time to load when I am trying to find a Wallace Matthews article to write about because there is so much shit on the page.

I know I sound like an old man, but I don't need all that. I want information given to me and I don't need to hear the SportsCenter break down when I click on an AP article that ESPN has linked. Stop it.

-I remember Josh Hamilton growing up here in North Carolina and hearing the stories about him and how great he was going to be. I can't help but feel like the situation Bryce Harper is in is similar.

I understand his father's need to give him more competition but I believe Gregg Doyel is actually right in this situation. I just hope that Bryce Harper doesn't go through the same problems that Hamilton did. It pisses me off a little bit when parents put this amount of pressure on their child. I realize he is a special talent but he also needs a chance to grow up a little bit. There is such a thin line between setting expectations for an athlete and setting that athlete up to fail. I don't know which one is going to happen to Bryce Harper.

-Now that I have said Gregg Doyel was right, let me tell you how he was wrong.

Kobe v. Shaq

Kobe wins.

This is a stupid argument in the first place. I don't know if you can even compare the two. They won three titles together and one title apart. It just seems kind of even and when you start breaking down the teammates for each it just seems dumb. It also seems pointless as well.

Shaquille O'Neal has never won an NBA title without a Hall of Fame teammate. For his first three rings, all in Los Angeles, that teammate was Kobe. For his fourth ring, in Miami, that teammate was Dwyane Wade

You can't really compare just one teammate on each team. Perhaps the third and fourth guys on Shaq's Heat team were as good if not better than Kobe's Laker's third or fourth guy. It doesn't matter because Gregg is not going to compare them. He thinks basketball is a two-on-two sport. There is more to look at when comparing two teams than just the best two players on each team.

Shaq won all his NBA titles without having to carry the biggest emotional burden -- late-game heroics. In the final minutes of a close game, Shaquille O'Neal was a liability for his own team because of his foul shooting. Literally, one of the best scorers in basketball could not be trusted with the ball because the opposing team was just going to send him to the foul line, where Shaq has always been comically futile.

Somehow his futile foul shooting did not stop him from winning 4 NBA Championships and never, that I can recall, cost his team an NBA Championship. You can't really call Shaq's foul shooting a liability if it was never a liability.

Greatness didn't come to Shaq. He had to move about to find his greatness.

I mean, really? These points are feeling weak right about now.

First he left Orlando one year after the Magic were swept 4-0 by Houston in the 1995 NBA Finals. Shaq left in search of a great teammate, and what do you know? He found one in Los Angeles. Named Kobe. Then Shaq left again, a power-struggle loser who ended up in Miami with another great teammate, Dwyane Wade.

The Lakers were in no way a complete team when Shaq joined up. It's not like he joined a great team and put them over the top. He was the reason they went over the top. Also, the reason he got traded to Miami was because Kobe wanted him gone, so that's really not his fault. I don't see how exactly you can blame him for that and he certainly did not have Kobe get him traded in his search for a good team to chase a title on.

But what we know is this: Kobe started his career in Los Angeles, he stayed in Los Angeles, and the titles have flowed through Los Angeles. He didn't have to exercise free agency or go out on the trade market. He just stayed where he was, and he won.

To be fair, he actually was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets so under Doyel's theory he chased a ring by being traded to the Lakers.

This one is a matter of taste, I guess, but to me Kobe Bryant is the better player because he's the better player.

Oh, I get it. That makes little to no sense now.

At his best, Shaq was as unstoppable a force as the NBA has seen, but let's be honest: Shaq was a physical mutant. He was bigger than everyone else in the paint. Stronger.

Sure Shaq had physical advantages but how many big, tall strong guys have done absolutely nothing in the NBA? It's about learning to improve your game and wanting to win and Shaq had both of those characteristics. He was bigger, stronger, and quicker because he made himself be that way through his will, he didn't just take his genetics and sit on his ass.

Say what you want about Shaq, but don't say he has Hall of Fame skill. He doesn't.

Because posting up, rebounding, and all the other things a center has to do just always come naturally. That's why Diop, Patrick O' Bryant, and Yinka Dare became All-Stars. Right, Gregg?

-This is a Lakers fan site but they do a great breakdown of Bill Simmons and some of his predictions being wrong.

I don't necessarily like the Lakers but this writer does a great job of pointing out Bill's errors in predictions and how he never says he is wrong. All this stuff is at the bottom of the post after they have dissected Kobe.

“The ‘09 Cavs are the ‘91 Bulls reincarnated… everyone keeps underestimating them and nobody realizes that they are about the blow thru these last 2 rounds.”

“The Magic just needed 7 games to beat a Celtics team that had 2 scorers with dead legs, Scalabrine/Marbury/House as their bench and actually ran a game-ending play for Glen Davis. Don’t start thinking Orlando is good please.”

In fairness to Bill, the Cavs did blow through the first two rounds.

Whenever Simmons is wrong, he always follows the same pattern: (1) blame the failed team’s coach, and (2) use hindsight to tell us what the losing team should have done to win. Just admit you blew it, Bill. Admit that you misread Cleveland, Orlando, and LA. Admit that instead of blaming Cleveland’s loss on bad coaching and the failure of Cleveland’s role players you should have considered these facts before making your predictions – that Brown’s offensive lack of creativity and the playoff inexperience of Cleveland’s role players might be a problem after all. Monday morning quarterbacking doesn’t become front page espn writers.

When I have something to add I will tell you. I have nothing right now. He does tend to follow these two patterns. In fact, hindsight tends to be Bill's best friend.

And, while you were quick to point out that LA didn’t have to play Boston in this years finals (which is assuming a lot), you failed to note that Boston was lucky not face Ariza or the one-legged Bynum. Do you have any idea how painful it was to watch Radmanovic guard Pierce as opposed to Ariza? I would gladly replay the 2008 and 2009 finals, both against Boston, with LA’s current team.

I would want to see this and would indeed tune in. Ariza on Pierce would have been a much better match up.

But, please, give us Laker fans the courtesy of relying on actual facts and evidence to support your arguments. Don’t rewatch the finals celebration a dozen times searching for one missed high five or false smile. Don’t read Phil’s mind.

I have been surprisingly not disliking Simmons as much lately, but I do have to admit though Bill knows more about the NBA than a lot of other people do, he does tend to read minds and look for high fives to make his predictions. He also blames the opposing coach when the team loses and it seems to be a formula he uses. He won't admit he is wrong...ever.


Fred Trigger said...

you know who else was on that Heat team with Shaq? Antoine Walker. Yup. Couldnt've won it without him throwing up bricks and doing his little shuffle. These are solid facts.

Bengoodfella said...

Alonzo Mourning was also the backup to Shaq. There was some talent on that team. I don't think it is a fair comparision to Kobe's teams and even if I did try to compare the two I may end up saying Shaq's Heat team was better.

I did always hate the shuffle he did. He would brick 8 three point shots, then hit one and act like he had done something wonderful.

AJ said...

I could not agree more with you on the Bryce Harper thing. Just let the kid do what normal kids do, stop putting all this pressure on him and fast track him. Its amazing that these parents want to speed up their kids life, let them be kids...if he is gifted enough he will be able to play MLB in due time. I dont know about you guys, but I wouldnt want to miss out on my teen years so I can go straight to the majors. This kid has talent and in a few years will have all the money in the world...why rush it?

I will not go into Bills article other then this...and yes I am pointing out the Boston referance cuz it is so ridiculous...but he says that one of the eras didnt count cuz Boston didnt have a black player on the team. He failed to mention all the other teams that didnt either. Why single out Boston? Well we all know why ,but whatever.

I love the PG thing and not having to have a great one to win a title. I think you are spot on in what you said, these teams didn't really need great PG's in order to win cuz they had 2 HoF'ers. And you could argue that Wade played PG more then Williams. And Parker will go down as a great I believe, but he still was not the best player on the team...and I think that says it all.

Sure you don't need a great PG when you have some of the best players in the league on your team. That should be obvious.

The Casey said...

The other thing about Howard-Cooper's article where he shoots himself out of the water is that he points out how, on many of these teams, you had SGs & SFs running the point for good stratches of time. Pippen, Wade, and Kobe all handled the ball for long portinos of games, and I think that even if they had better quality PGs on their teams, they still would have. Guys like that are guys you want to have the ball in their hands as much as possible.

And I completely agree about ESPN's site. I am generally on at work, and I don't need to suddenly hear SportsCenter anchors or commercials when I'm pretending to work.

Bengoodfella said...

I am all for Bryce Harper being a phenom and I won't deny he seems to be a great player, but I don't know if the better competition is worth him missing two years of high school. I think the parents are running a real risk of him growing up too fast and burning out. I hate to agree with Gregg Doyel but baseball is very mental as well. Players get in slumps and have to figure out how to get out of the slumps and not go crazy. I can't help but think having a grounded support system will help with that. I am not sure jumping to junior college and then immediately to MLB is the best idea to achieve his ultimate goal. It reminds me of Josh Hamilton a whole lot and he finally got back on track but it was a near miracle he was able to do so.

Since Bill Simmons pretty much hated the column he wrote, I can't criticize it too much but I thought it was very lazy. He just wrote off eras for random reasons. We all know everything revolves around Boston, so I can understand why he brought them up...because he always does.

You need great players to win a championship, it just so happens when you have elite players at other positions you don't need an elite point guard. If you have Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, you may not need an elite swingman, but that doesn't mean they are not important.

I still love Ty Lawson and John Hollinger had an article up but it was on the Insider page but I think he said Lawson would be good in the pros. I believe it. I think he will be great in the NBA. That's just a random aside.

Casey, you have a point about the great players having the ball in their hands as much as possible. Even LeBron James handled the ball alot, and Mo Williams is not elite, but he is not as bad as Fisher either.

The pop ups and all that crap make me feel old, but they could all go away. What irritates me is that ESPN links their own commentary to freaking AP articles they link. You can't even read an AP article without SportsCenter's "take" on the issue. Wallace Matthews page takes forever to load as well. It makes me grumpy.

Jeremy Conlin said...

Of COURSE Kobe is better than Shaq! That's why Kobe was the best player on one championship team and Shaq was the best player on three. Why didn't I think of that?

Jesus Christ.

By the way, if anyone else hates Kobe as much as I do, I have a list for you.

List of top-20 NBA players that have single-handedly cost their team three championships:

1. Kobe Bryant (2003, 2004, 2008)
2. (empty)
3. (empty)
4. (empty)
5. (empty)

{Tiger Fist Pump}

Chris W said...

Not to mention teams like the Heat and the Bulls had Jordan and Wade more or less running the point....

I mean, I guess that might suggest that all you need is a talent like Jordan or D Wade to run the point and you don't need to draft a PG....but if you have Jordan or Wade you probably weren't gonna draft a PG anyway.

Point is, almost every good team has someone capable running the point. Hell, the Lakers often have Kobe bring the ball up.

Martin said...

Well, Kobe has Kobe bring the ball up.

Fred Trigger said...

Okay, I just figured out I'm a dumbass. I forgot to finish by clicking on the "complete sponsorship" button. We should see the results tomorrow sometime.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeremy, I had a feeling you would enjoy the Shaq is not as good as Kobe argument from Gregg Doyel. If I remember correctly, and I do, Shaq was easily the best player on those teams and he was unstoppable. I don't know about Kobe costing his team a championship but I do know he didn't win a championship for any of the Lakers teams Shaq was on. Doyel's measurements for this were stupid.

Chris is right as well. The great wingmen tend to run the point at crucial times, so it is not always necessary to have an elite PG. Basically, just make sure you have a guy who is an elite player and can run the PG position if need be...and yes, if Kobe wants himself to bring the ball up, it happened.

Fred, you are not a dumbass, you are just making us grit it out. It's perfect.

Chris W said...

But it's not that "it's not necessary to have a great PG".

It's not necessary to have a great PG IF you have one of the best players in the game.

Also, you still need someone (i.e. one of the best players in the game) to run the point.

So inevitably the lesson is:

1.) If you don't have someone who can run the point, you need one.

2.) If you have a chance to draft someone who will become a MJ, Lebron, Kobe, DeWayne Wade, etc. you should draft them instead of a PG

3.) If you can't get one of those you should probably draft a PG or wait until next draft to be a competitive team.

Which is pretty much "duh" territory. All this article is saying is that it's better to draft the Kobe Bryant and LBJ's of the world than the CP3, Derek Rose, and Deron Williams's of the world.

Which is once again, pretty much "duh" territory.

Bengoodfella said...

I thought the premise was pretty obvious as well. It pretty much takes elite players to win an NBA title and if you already have an elite wingman or another elite player at another position, you may not need an elite PG.

It's all pretty obvious, but I don't think it is every proven that just any point guard can win an NBA title, there has to be other guys around him who are elite. It is all obvious.

Jeremy Conlin said...

Well, let's put it this way. The Lakers had the most talented team in the league in 2003, 2004, and 2008. In all of those cases, the Lakers were also heavy favorites heading into the round in which they were defeated. And in all of those cases, Kobe's performances were like Michael Jordan in the '93 Finals, only the exact opposite.

Martin said...

The Lakers weren't the most talented team in 2008. They were a team with injuries to two key players, that was still coming together after the trade for Gasol. I'd rate both Boston and Detroit as more talented then the teams the Lakers were sending out, and if Manu had been healthy, would rate that Spurs team right there. And while Kobe maight have cost them a game with solo gunning, he sure wasn't the reason they lsot the series, anymore then he is the reason they won this year. Last year the support guys didn't come to play, as witnessed by how much more effective the Celtics bench was last year. This year the Lakers reserves and support guys played much better. Lamar Odum showed up for every game in the Finals this year. That's a heck of a lot better then last.