Tuesday, January 1, 2013

NBA All Decade Team 1990s

PG John Stockton-Gary Payton has a strong case as well
SG Michael Jordan--Don't forget Reggie Miller
SF Scottie Pippen--Dominique Wilkins was right there with him
PF Karl Malone--Beats Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman and Chris Webber
C Shaquille O'Neal--Really close with David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing

21 comments:

  1. 90s were a black hole for PGs, so might as well go with Stockton. And it was Olajuwon over Shaq - he destroyed Ewing and Shaq in consecutive Finals and you can't forget what he did to Robinson in 95.

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    1. The 1990s were not a "black hole" for point guards in the least. Indeed, to make that claim suggests that you just know the game through hype and notoriety. Throughout the 1990s, you not only had Stockton and Payton, two Hall of Fame point guards, but also Kevin Johnson, whose prime or peak value was arguably better than that of any point guard in history short of Magic Johnson. Then there were were Mark Price, Tim Hardaway, Rod Strickland, Terry Porter, Derek Harper, Kenny Anderson, Damon Stoudamire, Jason Kidd, Nick Van Exel, Mark Jackson, and others. Indeed, the point guard position in the early nineties was better than in recent years. The 1991 Western Conference All-Star team featured five point guards: Magic Johnson, Kevin Johnson, John Stockton, Tim Hardaway, and Terry Porter. Then there were Isiah Thomas and Mark Price in the East (although neither played in that year's All-Star Game due to injury). The position proved so deep that neither Strickland nor Harper ever garnered an All-Star appearance.

      In 1991, Stockton averaged 17.2 points, 14.2 assists, 2.9 steals, a .507 field goal percentage, an .836 free throw percentage, and a .604 True Shooting Percentage, yet only made the All-NBA Third Team. Tim Hardaway enjoyed his best season with 22.9 points, 9.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds, a career-high 2.6 steals, a career-high .476 field goal percentage, a career-high .385 three-point field goal percentage, and an .803 free throw percentage, yet he failed to make any All-NBA Team. The same was true of Terry Porter that year, who averaged 17.0 points, 8.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals, a .515 field goal percentage, a .415 three-point field goal percentage, an .823 free throw percentage, and a .632 True Shooting Percentage for a team that won a league-leading 63 games. In fact, Porter would never make an All-NBA Team of any sort, despite arguably being a better player than Chauncey Billuups. And Isiah Thomas last made an All-NBA Team in 1987, a season when he was twenty-five, because the point guard position subsequently became so deep and strong with the likes of Stockton, K.J., Price, Hardaway, and Porter.

      Additionally, Olajuwon did not "destroy" Shaq in the 1995 NBA Finals. Their statistical lines actually proved pretty even, and although Olajuwon constituted the leading scorer in that series and he may have been the best player on the court, Shaq certainly held his own. The Rockets swept the Magic due to the difference in experience between the two clubs.

      That said, Olajuwon indeed amounted to the decade's premier center.

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  2. have to disagree, with scottie pippen as the sf. I would go with dominique there. Even in his final year his averages were still better then scotties in his prime. I think you can go either way on the malone/barkley debate but in terms of consistency malone is superior. Reggie shouldnt even be listed after michael jordan. It was an exciting era of basketball with the big man being valuable.

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    1. There is more to the game than shooting and scoring, which you don't seem to see. Indeed, Reggie Miller wasn't nearly the all-around player that Clyde Drexler happened to be, which helps explain why Drexler led three teams to the NBA Finals in the nineties, compared to none for Miller (and don't play the Jordan card because Miller's Pacers only lost to Jordan's Bulls once in the postseason).

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  3. Could definitely make the case for Wilkins over Pippen, but most of Dominique's best seasons came in the 80s. Pippen's scoring numbers pale in comparison but he was a better passer. He helped Jordan win six championships and was an elite defender. In the 90s he was worth more than twice as many win shares as Wilkins though their PER is almost identical.

    It's really close, but people will always remember Pippen as MJ's sidekick. Wilkins was a great scorer, but Pippen has the better legacy.

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    1. Win Shares and PER both constitute fallacious, unreliable metrics that need to be disowned. For instance, according to Win Shares, Amare Stoudemire usually amounted to a more valuable player than Steve Nash on the Suns (a preposterous notion disproved by the 2006 season), while according to PER, Terrell Brandon in 1996 was a better point guard than Magic Johnson in 1986 (and Chris Paul, according to PER, is perennially a better point guard than Magic). Among other problems, PER commits the clueless yet fashionable error of applying team pace factors to an individual star's performance, which is a fallacy. There is no evidence that in modern times, a faster pace results in better numbers for a star, and if anything, there is evidence suggesting that a slower pace is more beneficial to a star's numbers because it allows him to dominate the ball more and control the possessions (case in point: when Robinson led the NBA in points per game in 1994 and scored 71 in the season finale, the Spurs' pace had slowed considerably that year compared to what it had been in previous seasons and what it would be over the next couple years).

      Advanced metrics need to be deconstructed with critical thinking, not mindlessly accepted.

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  4. Pg: Stockton-Payton
    Sg: Jordan-Richmond
    Sf: Pippen-Rice
    Pf: Barkley-Malone
    C: Olajuwon-Ewing

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    1. Kevin Johnson constituted a better point guard than Gary Payton: a much better playmaker, a much better jump-shooter, a much better free throw shooter, a more efficient scorer, a more explosive scorer, and an underrated defender.

      For peak or prime value, I'd actually take K.J. over Stokcton, too: almost as efficient, but way more explosive and both a better scorer and a better defender, while being just as devastating as a pick-and-roll playmaker.

      And David Robinson was a better passer, athlete, and all-around center than Patrick Ewing; Glen Rice was a rather one-dimensional player; Karl Malone was a much better defender than Charles Barkley and thus ultimately the better (if less talented) player; and Clyde Drexler amounted to a superior all-around shooting guard compared to Mitch Richmond, helped lead three teams to the NBA Finals in the nineties (1990 Blazers, 1992 Blazers, 1995 Rockets). Richmond was a better shooter, but Drexler was a much better slasher, passer, rebounder, and athlete.

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  5. Glen Rice and Mitch Richmond were absolute scoring machines in the 1990's yet no one talks about them.

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    1. There's also more to the game than scoring.

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  6. 3 teams : c-robinson, cf-olajuwon, sf-pippen,g-jordan,g-stockton
    c-oneal , f-malone,f-wilkins,g-drexler,g-payton
    c-ewing, f-barkley, f-mullin, g-miller, g-price

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    1. Having Mark Price over Kevin Johnson is ridiculous. Also, Kevin Johnson constituted a better point guard than Gary Payton: a much better playmaker, a much better jump-shooter, a much better free throw shooter, a more efficient scorer, a more explosive scorer, and an underrated defender.

      For peak or prime value, I'd actually take K.J. over Stokcton, too: almost as efficient, but way more explosive and both a better scorer and a better defender, while being just as devastating as a pick-and-roll playmaker.

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  7. I like someone else's idea of having Robinson and Olajuwon play together. They had the skill sets to play together and would make a defensive juggernaut. Robinson's career is unfairly judged by a single series and often a single play against Olajuwon. Over the course of their careers, Robinson outplayed the Dream more times than not and had much better team success as well. And don't forget his 72 point game. What's unique about it is that it did not come in a random game like all the rest. Others got hot and went with it while Robinson woke up and said "I am going to win the scoring title today." Actually, pace adjusted back to the ridiculous pace of Wilt's 100 point game, Robinson's was the equivalent of about 100 points and was done with a much higher fg%.
    I never got those that cut down Pippen. He is judged as a sidekick and judged for not winning a title without Jordan. I mean they lost the best player in the league without any compensation and had nearly the same regular season win total in those two years without Jordan. Give him a break. Look at how Cleveland fell apart without Lebron or the Hornets without Chris Paul.
    I personally would take Payton over Stockton especially if you were going to make a real team. Those other players wouldn't need Stockton's play-making ability. Payton was an efficient scorer, excellent rebounder, good passer, and all time great defender. He also was an all time great with respect to turnover%. His career turnover% was 12.8%. Compare that to the roughly 20% rates of Magic, Stockton, Nash, and Kidd. Only Chris Paul is better in regard to turnovers.
    My all 90's team is Robinson, Olajuwon, Pippen, Jordan, and Payton. Good luck scoring against that lineup.

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    1. Payton also never averaged more than 8.987804878 assists per game in a season, so one would expect fewer turnovers from him. Indeed, you need to consider assists-to-turnover ratio, where Payton falls a little below Stockton, Magic, Kidd, Nash, and Kevin Johnson (who you failed to mention, which suggests that you know the game through mainstream media brainwashing rather than independent thinking).

      Also, Payton was not that efficient of a scorer. He shot good field goal percentages for awhile, but them sank into mediocrity as he became an indiscriminate, high-volume three-point shooter who shot below the league average on threes every year except one. He also constituted a poor free throw shooter for a point guard (career .729) and his .528 True Shooting Percentage (the best gauge of scoring efficiency) ranks far below Magic, Stockton, Nash, K.J., Mark Price, Paul, and some other others.

      Kevin Johnson constituted a better point guard than Gary Payton: a much better playmaker, a much better jump-shooter, a much better free throw shooter, a more efficient scorer, a more explosive scorer, and an underrated defender.

      For peak or prime value, I'd actually take K.J. over Stokcton, too: almost as efficient, but way more explosive and both a better scorer and a better defender, while being just as devastating as a pick-and-roll playmaker.

      Also, if you were constituting a "real team," you would not want Payton with all those other scorers because he did not move the ball on the elite level of Magic Johnson or Kevin Johnson (Stockton was actually very dribble-heavy, like Chris Paul, but he certainly possessed a much better radar and a more unselfish approach than Payton). And while Olajuwon was certainly versatile enough to match up at power forward, citing him there is a cop out: he constituted a center.

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    2. Robinson scored 71 points in that game (not that it makes a difference) and adjusting individual performances based upon team pace factors is a fallacy. There is no evidence that in modern times, a faster pace results in better numbers for a star, and if anything, there is evidence suggesting that a slower pace is more beneficial to a star's numbers because it allows him to dominate the ball more and control the possessions (case in point: when Robinson led the NBA in points per game in 1994 and scored 71 in the season finale, the Spurs' pace had slowed considerably that year compared to what it had been in previous seasons and what it would be over the next couple years).

      Also, you may like the idea of Robinson and Olajuwon playing together, but given that Olajuwon almost never matched up at power forward in the 1990s, the argument is utterly non-historical and thus irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion.

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  8. Kevin Johnson constituted a better point guard than Gary Payton: a much better playmaker, a much better jump-shooter, a much better free throw shooter, a more efficient scorer, a more explosive scorer, and an underrated defender.

    For peak or prime value, I'd actually take K.J. over Stokcton, too: almost as efficient, but way more explosive and both a better scorer and a better defender, while being just as devastating as a pick-and-roll playmaker.

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  10. Tyler,

    Why would O'Neal rank ahead of Olajuwon? Not only did Olajuwon play all ten seasons in the decade compared to only seven for O'Neal, but in the 1990s, Olajuwon led his team to two championships (zero for O'Neal), received two NBA Finals MVP Awards (zero for O'Neal), an NBA MVP Award (zero for O'Neal), and two Defensive Player of the Year Awards (zero for O'Neal). Unlike O'Neal, Olajuwon possessed no weaknesses to his game, whereas Shaq constituted a severe liability both in defending the pick-and-roll and at shooting free throws. Olajuwon could be as unstoppable offensively as Jordan, while playing perhaps the best defense of anyone since Bill Russell. Certainly, Olajuwon was a better defender than Shaq.

    Frankly, for the decade of the nineties, I would rank O'Neal below Robinson and Ewing, too.

    And ranking Reggie Miller above Clyde Drexler is ridiculous. Miller was a better shooter; Drexler was better at everything else and thus led three teams to the NBA Finals in the decade.

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  11. I have to agree with everyone else about the C position. Hakeem was so much better defensively, it makes him tower over Shaq's slight offensive edge. Slight, because Olajuwon was a very good FT shooter.

    I never liked Reggie Miller, and I thought it was a joke when he got into the HOF. But...

    I looked back at the teams he played on, and it's ridiculous that he led a team of one-dimensional players into contention year in and year out for 18 years. Smits was the closest he ever got to playing with another all-star teammate (no offense OLD Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson).

    I give the guy his due, now. Way better than Richmond.

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  12. Hakeem Olajuwon is indeed the center of the 90's.

    And the Malone, Barkley debate is a difficult one.
    Chuck Daly, the head coach for the USA Basketball during 1992 (Dream Team) Olympics, was quoted as saying Charles Barkley is the worlds second best player.
    I would choose Barkley in his prime over Malone in his prime every time. Though, before the end of the decade Barkley's body was broken down and therefore forced into retirement while Malone was still healthy & well-conditioned.

    Pg: Stockton-Payton-K.Johnson
    Sg: Jordan-R.Miller
    Sf: Pippen-G.Hill
    Pf: Barkley-Malone-Rodman
    C: Olajuwon-Shaq-

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    1. Oh man, oh could I forget 'the Rain Man' Shawn Kemp!?

      Pg: Stockton-K.Johnson-G.Paton
      Sg: Jordan-R.Miller
      Sf: Pippen-G.Hill
      Pf: Barkley-Malone-Kemp-Rodman
      C: Olajuwon-Shaq-

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