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(Sportige)   For the first time in nearly 50 years, the NBA is going to have only 11 players scoring over 20 points per game, and none of them is a center   (sportige.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, NBA, LaMarcus Aldridge, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday  
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748 clicks; posted to Sports » on 19 Feb 2013 at 10:22 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-19 09:10:00 AM  
Paterson says out of 30,000 games they are asked to monitor about 250-300 are highlighted as being fixed.

My surprised face.
 
2013-02-19 09:49:07 AM  
That's why it's called THUGBALL, amirite?
 
2013-02-19 09:54:23 AM  
I miss MJ.

*sigh*

/Lawn, off, now!
 
2013-02-19 09:55:05 AM  
Maybe it is just me, but, scoring is just way down from 20+ years ago.

At least my fuzzy memories of youth, it seems like every game was like 123-109 back in the 80s and early 90s, and if the Nuggets were involved it was more like 145-138.   Now you are more likely to have 78-73 defensive battles.
 
2013-02-19 09:55:53 AM  

quatchi: Paterson says out of 30,000 games they are asked to monitor about 250-300 are highlighted as being fixed.

My surprised face.


Gawdammit so much that's supposed to go in the "fixed UAFA games" thread.

/All apologies.
 
2013-02-19 10:22:42 AM  

quatchi: quatchi: Paterson says out of 30,000 games they are asked to monitor about 250-300 are highlighted as being fixed.

My surprised face.

Gawdammit so much that's supposed to go in the "fixed UAFA games" thread.

/All apologies.


I was about to say.... while we certainly wouldn't have any disbelief in this for an NBA article... this article didn't have anything to do with games being fixed.
 
2013-02-19 10:33:52 AM  
If the NFL has become a "passing league," the NBA has become the opposite.
 
2013-02-19 10:37:36 AM  

dletter: Maybe it is just me, but, scoring is just way down from 20+ years ago.

At least my fuzzy memories of youth, it seems like every game was like 123-109 back in the 80s and early 90s, and if the Nuggets were involved it was more like 145-138.   Now you are more likely to have 78-73 defensive battles.


There was close to no defense played in the 80s. And the pace of play was much higher. Nowadays coaches want to have more control over each possession so they slow things down.
 
2013-02-19 11:05:29 AM  
Despite all those points being scored in the 80's, I don't miss that kind of basketball. I can appreciate teams like the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies, even if their basketball isn't too pretty on the eyes.
 
2013-02-19 11:15:15 AM  

dletter: Maybe it is just me, but, scoring is just way down from 20+ years ago.

At least my fuzzy memories of youth, it seems like every game was like 123-109 back in the 80s and early 90s, and if the Nuggets were involved it was more like 145-138.   Now you are more likely to have 78-73 defensive battles.


Pretty much. Between English and Vandeweghe they pretty much only used at :03 shot clock. Fun basketball, but no hardware at the end, alas.

/Go Nuggets.
 
2013-02-19 11:40:37 AM  

Howie Spankowitz: If the NFL has become a "passing league," the NBA has become the opposite.


SuperChuck: There was close to no defense played in the 80s.


Because this is Fark I'm just gonna pull a theory out of my ass, but I think they played defense when they could in the 80s; it just often wasn't an option.  Back in the day it was much harder to defend a scoring center, as well as certain plays like the pick-and-roll, because it's tough to double-team and/or cover passing lanes with a man-to-man defense.  You needed a center; teams like Seattle and Utah put up with otherwise useless 7-footers like McIlvaine or Ostertag because the alternative was just watching guys like Shaq or Olajuwon post up for 50-60 points a game.  As it is it was tough to limit bigs to 30.  A center that could score was valuable enough; a center actually played smart defense was worth a hundred times his weight in gold.  You could order your forwards to beat the center to the rim and foul, but that's generally dumb as you'd lose your scoring threats in the 4th quarter.  It was more economical to keep 2-3 centers on the roster with the sole purpose of making post players earn their keep at the FT line.  My fuzzy memory is that post players were in constant danger of fouling out as it was the only way they could stop each other.

The big change was the legalization of the zone defense.  Made defensive techniques like trapping and switching easier to implement, as you can sag off your assignments without getting whistled.  It also meant centers became a lot less valuable as quick help defense can pick off the passes inside or set up to take a charge.  If you're 7' you'll still get a look from scouts, but you can't just be a warm body in the paint anymore.  A lot of teams now don't even field a center because they can defend almost as effectively without and can therefore put their best five on the court.

I hear old farts complaining that today's players don't have post moves. . . why would they?  The most efficient response to a big that's 5' from the basket is to double-team him and make him shoot the jumper or pass back to the perimeter.  The reason why Dirk is so successful is because that plays right into his hands.  Dream Shake would be a lot easier to stop today because instead of going around a guy like Greg Ostertag, Hakeem would shake right into a trapping guard and get called for a charge.
 
2013-02-19 11:50:29 AM  

dragonchild: The big change was the legalization of the zone defense


very sharp post.....i think that's the key thing but also, it seems like the reffing has really affected the game too.  jordan got lots of calls but he'd get whistled, too.  nowadays, although I don't watch very much NBA, it seems like the star players don't get whistled, which lets them play more aggressively.  no one fouls out anymore, damn near.  or at least star players don't foul out.

isn't there some stat where LeBron has only fouled out like, 4 times in his ten year career?  that's insanity.  but it would be bad for business, i guess.
 
2013-02-19 11:57:24 AM  

dragonchild: Howie Spankowitz: If the NFL has become a "passing league," the NBA has become the opposite.

SuperChuck: There was close to no defense played in the 80s.

Because this is Fark I'm just gonna pull a theory out of my ass, but I think they played defense when they could in the 80s; it just often wasn't an option.  Back in the day it was much harder to defend a scoring center, as well as certain plays like the pick-and-roll, because it's tough to double-team and/or cover passing lanes with a man-to-man defense.  You needed a center; teams like Seattle and Utah put up with otherwise useless 7-footers like McIlvaine or Ostertag because the alternative was just watching guys like Shaq or Olajuwon post up for 50-60 points a game.  As it is it was tough to limit bigs to 30.  A center that could score was valuable enough; a center actually played smart defense was worth a hundred times his weight in gold.  You could order your forwards to beat the center to the rim and foul, but that's generally dumb as you'd lose your scoring threats in the 4th quarter.  It was more economical to keep 2-3 centers on the roster with the sole purpose of making post players earn their keep at the FT line.  My fuzzy memory is that post players were in constant danger of fouling out as it was the only way they could stop each other.

The big change was the legalization of the zone defense.  Made defensive techniques like trapping and switching easier to implement, as you can sag off your assignments without getting whistled.  It also meant centers became a lot less valuable as quick help defense can pick off the passes inside or set up to take a charge.  If you're 7' you'll still get a look from scouts, but you can't just be a warm body in the paint anymore.  A lot of teams now don't even field a center because they can defend almost as effectively without and can therefore put their best five on the court.

I hear old farts complaining that today's players don't have post moves. . . why would t ...


A well written, accurate and highly informed post.  What the hell are doing here, don't you know this is Fark?
 
2013-02-19 12:07:17 PM  

rickythepenguin: dragonchild: The big change was the legalization of the zone defense

very sharp post.....i think that's the key thing but also, it seems like the reffing has really affected the game too.  jordan got lots of calls but he'd get whistled, too.  nowadays, although I don't watch very much NBA, it seems like the star players don't get whistled, which lets them play more aggressively.  no one fouls out anymore, damn near.  or at least star players don't foul out.

isn't there some stat where LeBron has only fouled out like, 4 times in his ten year career?  that's insanity.  but it would be bad for business, i guess.


Lebron doesn't foul out mainly because he's a fantastic defender.  Stars get called for fouls all the time (not about to deny the existence of the "star call", but that's commonly a foul called against a defender on a star player's drive), he just typically doesn't foul people.

I watch a ton of basketball, and I gotta say for the most part the refs do a pretty good job.  Of course you get the occasional poorly handled game; the guys are human.  I really enjoy that they're buckling down on flops this season.  I'm really starting to notice guys thinking twice about trying to play up contact on jumpers at this point.  Also, while I'm on it, the NBA is doing a great job of integrating instant replay into the game.  They're not overdoing it like the NFL, but they're not being ridiculously archaic about it like MLB.  Obviously reviewing every foul should not be an option because of how badly the flow of the game would be interrupted, but the current standard of reviewing 3 pt shots and out of bounds calls makes a lot of sense and (most of the time) doesn't take much extra time since they usually take care of it during timeouts.
 
2013-02-19 12:12:55 PM  

logggur: Stars get called for fouls all the time (not about to deny the existence of the "star call", but that's commonly a foul called against a defender on a star player's drive), he just typically doesn't foul people.

I watch a ton of basketball, and I gotta say for the most part the refs do a pretty good job



i didn't mean "stars NEVER get fouls called on them", it just seems uncommon for them to foul out.  But i don't watch enough NBA to definitively assert that, it just seems that way but I'm the first to say I don't have enough eyeball time to say it and back it up.

the NBA is without a doubt the hardest sport to referee.  balls and strikes ain't shiat compared to "did he have position or was that a charge", and they make those calls instantly.  6'10" guy with 4.4 speed in the air vs 6'9" guy, and they get the calls right?  insane.
 
2013-02-19 12:13:08 PM  

dragonchild: The big change was the legalization of the zone defense. Made defensive techniques like trapping and switching easier to implement, as you can sag off your assignments without getting whistled. It also meant centers became a lot less valuable as quick help defense can pick off the passes inside or set up to take a charge. If you're 7' you'll still get a look from scouts, but you can't just be a warm body in the paint anymore. A lot of teams now don't even field a center because they can defend almost as effectively without and can therefore put their best five on the court.


That's not entirely true. The zone defense wasn't legal until the 2001 season and scoring was dropping well before that. 1994 was the last season that the average team scored 100 points per game until 2010. It had more to do with the style of basketball played and that came from the coaching.
 
2013-02-19 12:18:19 PM  
The stodgy college basketball fan in me wants to blame the fact that they don't get those extra years of proper coaching, but the more rational part of me has to believe a lot of it is a couple decades of improved coaching at the AAU levels.
 
2013-02-19 12:24:36 PM  

logggur: rickythepenguin: dragonchild: The big change was the legalization of the zone defense

very sharp post.....i think that's the key thing but also, it seems like the reffing has really affected the game too.  jordan got lots of calls but he'd get whistled, too.  nowadays, although I don't watch very much NBA, it seems like the star players don't get whistled, which lets them play more aggressively.  no one fouls out anymore, damn near.  or at least star players don't foul out.

isn't there some stat where LeBron has only fouled out like, 4 times in his ten year career?  that's insanity.  but it would be bad for business, i guess.

Lebron doesn't foul out mainly because he's a fantastic defender.  Stars get called for fouls all the time (not about to deny the existence of the "star call", but that's commonly a foul called against a defender on a star player's drive), he just typically doesn't foul people.

I watch a ton of basketball, and I gotta say for the most part the refs do a pretty good job.  Of course you get the occasional poorly handled game; the guys are human.  I really enjoy that they're buckling down on flops this season.  I'm really starting to notice guys thinking twice about trying to play up contact on jumpers at this point.  Also, while I'm on it, the NBA is doing a great job of integrating instant replay into the game.  They're not overdoing it like the NFL, but they're not being ridiculously archaic about it like MLB.  Obviously reviewing every foul should not be an option because of how badly the flow of the game would be interrupted, but the current standard of reviewing 3 pt shots and out of bounds calls makes a lot of sense and (most of the time) doesn't take much extra time since they usually take care of it during timeouts.


I'm thinking you aren't a Raptors fan/having been following them this season. The officiating was so bad, I couldn't recall the last time something made me want to give up on the NBA that much.
 
2013-02-19 12:31:24 PM  

rickythepenguin: jordan got lots of calls but he'd get whistled, too.  nowadays, although I don't watch very much NBA, it seems like the star players don't get whistled, which lets them play more aggressively.  no one fouls out anymore, damn near.  or at least star players don't foul out.

isn't there some stat where LeBron has only fouled out like, 4 times in his ten year career?  that's insanity.  but it would be bad for business, i guess.


Wilt Chamberlain fouled out ZERO times in his career. It's not like they just started making it so stars stay in the game. Similarly, as soon as Magic and Bird were out of the league, Jordan never fouled out again. It sure is fun when people pretend that this stuff starts after whoever their favorite player played.

logggur: Lebron doesn't foul out mainly because he's a fantastic defender.


Also, when he gets beaten he realizes that "well, sh*t, lost that one, help is coming so I better get to the help defender's man" rather than trying to reach for steals like so many players (thinking Westbrook and Rondo specifically who do that a ton). He basically doesn't accumulate dumbass fouls like a lot of players do.
 
2013-02-19 12:34:22 PM  

Fallout Boy: I'm thinking you aren't a Raptors fan/having been following them this season.


That would be a pretty safe bet for everyone in the world except MAYBE on a Raptors fan forum.
 
2013-02-19 12:36:21 PM  

UNC_Samurai: The stodgy college basketball fan in me wants to blame the fact that they don't get those extra years of proper coaching, but the more rational part of me has to believe a lot of it is a couple decades of improved coaching at the AAU levels.


AAU coaches are crap.

Most of these only spend a few weeks maybe months working with these guys.

I think the AAU has hurt big man development because now everybody in these leagues want to run and gun which benefits the boatload of wings and guards available but the 10-30 high school big men who actually have a chance to play college and then NBA are not getting that work in the post.
 
2013-02-19 12:39:30 PM  

rickythepenguin: isn't there some stat where LeBron has only fouled out like, 4 times in his ten year career? that's insanity. but it would be bad for business, i guess.


LeBron does a pretty good job avoiding contact on defense.  Sometimes that means he kind of gets out of the way and concedes the layup in plays where he's more likely to foul somebody than really contest the shot, but given how important he is for his team to have in the game that probably makes sense.

There are other good wing defenders who do the same thing who aren't superstars, unless you'd call Andre Iguodala a superstar.
 
2013-02-19 12:40:59 PM  

rickythepenguin: i think that's the key thing but also, it seems like the reffing has really affected the game too. jordan got lots of calls but he'd get whistled, too. nowadays, although I don't watch very much NBA, it seems like the star players don't get whistled, which lets them play more aggressively. no one fouls out anymore, damn near. or at least star players don't foul out.


They don't foul out because help defense can often prevent a player from shooting in the first place.  Zone defense makes defense much more about floor positioning than winning a one-on-one matchup.  Back in the early 90s it was unheard of to get a shot clock violation.  Now it's a goal of a good defense.  What people refer to as "fouling" is typically the offensive player getting into position before the defender and making contact on purpose for a free and-one.  It should be called as a blocking foul but often isn't because it's a cheap trick that slows down the game for what doesn't even result in a bruise.  It tends to get called more often during the playoffs when the stakes are higher.

Which is why I object to the idea that people didn't try to defend in the 80's.  Defense back then was much more of an all-or-nothing decision because nine times out of ten, help wasn't coming.  The offense would spread the floor so that help had to travel further to get there -- and leave someone hand-wavingly open in the process.  If you've got your man, fine, but if you're about to get burned, you have a very difficult choice -- foul or give up on the play?  As long as you're going to burn one of your fouls, you foul hard.  The best defenders typically had nasty reputations; if you drew a foul from someone like Charles Barkley or Karl Malone, you were gonna feel it for days.  This also explains the fast-paced play, as more possessions makes that foul-or-watch decision tougher.

MikeSass: A well written, accurate and highly informed post. What the hell are doing here, don't you know this is Fark?


Well the responsible thing would be to take points-per-possession stats from the same players before and during the zone defense era while accounting for year-to-year variance, team turnover and player age, but. . . this is Fark.
 
2013-02-19 12:48:56 PM  

dragonchild: MikeSass: A well written, accurate and highly informed post. What the hell are doing here, don't you know this is Fark?

Well the responsible thing would be to take points-per-possession stats from the same players before and during the zone defense era while accounting for year-to-year variance, team turnover and player age, but. . . this is Fark.


That's not easy to do. You'd have to consider that zone defenses were adopted gradually and many teams still don't play much zone. And a lot more switch between man and zone frequently. Ideally, you'd want to break it down by possession whether the defense was playing zone or not. But that data doesn't exist.

Like I said, most of the scoring decline occured before zone was legalized so I think you need to look somewhere else.
 
2013-02-19 12:51:59 PM  

SuperChuck: dragonchild: MikeSass: A well written, accurate and highly informed post. What the hell are doing here, don't you know this is Fark?

Well the responsible thing would be to take points-per-possession stats from the same players before and during the zone defense era while accounting for year-to-year variance, team turnover and player age, but. . . this is Fark.

That's not easy to do. You'd have to consider that zone defenses were adopted gradually and many teams still don't play much zone. And a lot more switch between man and zone frequently. Ideally, you'd want to break it down by possession whether the defense was playing zone or not. But that data doesn't exist.

Like I said, most of the scoring decline occured before zone was legalized so I think you need to look somewhere else.


Scoring decline, sure.  Center decline?  That did seem to coincide with zone, roughly.  You still had Hakeem, Shaq, Robinson... other guys, in the mid to late 90s.
 
2013-02-19 12:56:47 PM  

Dafatone: Scoring decline, sure. Center decline? That did seem to coincide with zone, roughly. You still had Hakeem, Shaq, Robinson... other guys, in the mid to late 90s.


I think there's some luck to that.  There's only so many 7 foot tall people out there and a lot of them are borderline cripples with knee problems.  Any of those guys could succeed in the NBA today, they just don't exist.  Oden made a decent impact in the 45 minutes he was healthy.
 
2013-02-19 01:00:03 PM  

Dafatone: SuperChuck: dragonchild: MikeSass: A well written, accurate and highly informed post. What the hell are doing here, don't you know this is Fark?

Well the responsible thing would be to take points-per-possession stats from the same players before and during the zone defense era while accounting for year-to-year variance, team turnover and player age, but. . . this is Fark.

That's not easy to do. You'd have to consider that zone defenses were adopted gradually and many teams still don't play much zone. And a lot more switch between man and zone frequently. Ideally, you'd want to break it down by possession whether the defense was playing zone or not. But that data doesn't exist.

Like I said, most of the scoring decline occured before zone was legalized so I think you need to look somewhere else.

Scoring decline, sure.  Center decline?  That did seem to coincide with zone, roughly.  You still had Hakeem, Shaq, Robinson... other guys, in the mid to late 90s.


You could be right. But I think that has more to do with the style of play in college basketball, which has had zone for a long time. there aren't lots of dominant college centers that are getting overlooked because the NBA legalized zone. Guys like that just aren't coming along like they used to.
 
2013-02-19 01:00:27 PM  

rickythepenguin: i didn't mean "stars NEVER get fouls called on them", it just seems uncommon for them to foul out.  But i don't watch enough NBA to definitively assert that, it just seems that way but I'm the first to say I don't have enough eyeball time to say it and back it up.

the NBA is without a doubt the hardest sport to referee.  balls and strikes ain't shiat compared to "did he have position or was that a charge", and they make those calls instantly.  6'10" guy with 4.4 speed in the air vs 6'9" guy, and they get the calls right?  insane.


Yeah, you typically don't see those guys foul out, I agree.  I'm not sure how much of that is the reluctance of officials to kick out a star and how much it is the guys dialing back their game in order to stay in (I see someone's already mentioned Wilt).  Almost certainly it's both that factor into it.  Basketball is definitely extremely difficult to ref.  It's amazing how watching something in real time will make you think "oh yeah, definitely got fouled on that shot." and a subsequent viewing of the same play in slow motion from a better angle indicates a clean block/strip/whatever.

Fallout Boy: I'm thinking you aren't a Raptors fan/having been following them this season. The officiating was so bad, I couldn't recall the last time something made me want to give up on the NBA that much.


I've been catching them on League Pass periodically (I'm a big fan of Kyle Lowry), especially since the Rudy Gay trade. But yeah, majority of the season I haven't been.  That being said, it's apparently been so bad I even picked up on that due to the residual biatching from the Raptors TV guys from the few games I have watched.  Like I said, it's pretty good for the most part, but it does get rough from time to time.
 
2013-02-19 01:11:17 PM  

SuperChuck: The zone defense wasn't legal until the 2001 season and scoring was dropping well before that. 1994 was the last season that the average team scored 100 points per game until 2010. It had more to do with the style of basketball played and that came from the coaching.


Actually, I blame Michael Jordan.  Before him, the philosophy was to get your points in the paint; some teams leaned on a guard but typically because they lacked a dominating frontcourt.  The who's who of 1990s superstars were mostly big men; the guards that became household names were few and phenomenal -- Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Gary Payton.  Jordan showed you could win championships by scoring from outside and -- here's the kicker -- without a big-time center.  Other guards in the league looked at MJ getting all this hero worship and started getting more aggressive themselves.  To make matters worse, Kobe Bryant comes along and now everyone wants to be the next young ball-hogging man-child thugballer leading the league in scoring by attempting 40 shots a game -- and teams were looking for them.  I don't think coaching changed in the late 90's; I think GMs let their fans influence their talent acquisition while coaches lost control of their guards.  Remember Allen Iverson?  Tim Hardaway?  Allan Houston?  Guards among the top 20 in FG attempts in 1997-98 even though the guys leading the league in FG percentage were still post players.  Many of these guys were playing alongside bona fide frontcourt players; they just stopped passing inside.
 
2013-02-19 01:28:58 PM  

dragonchild: Guards among the top 20 in FG attempts in 1997-98 even though the guys leading the league in FG percentage were still post players.


The guys that lead the league in FG percentage are always post players.

Also, I'd point out that the three years preceding that, with the shortened 3-point line, might have had to do with that as well. Made it a lot easier for guards to be scoring at a much higher rate.
 
2013-02-19 01:56:03 PM  

you have pee hands: There's only so many 7 foot tall people out there and a lot of them are borderline cripples with knee problems. Any of those guys could succeed in the NBA today, they just don't exist.


I daresay you have it backwards.  For starters I dispute that "they don't exist"; the NBA was only just starting to become global in the 1990s.  Nowadays if there's some guy in Elbonia who could play ball at 7', we'll find him.  Second, our medical knowledge, technology and conditioning techniques have vastly improved since the 1990s.  So not only can we find 7-footers worldwide, it should be easier to keep them healthy today while making them stronger and faster.  No, I just think being 7' isn't a guaranteed NBA paycheck anymore, and good riddance.  A guy like Hakeem Olajuwon would still be successful but that's because he was arguably the most complete player of his size, ever.  Take away the Dream Shake with a double-team (which is what teams often did) and he can still pass and play defense.  He'd adjust to the zone just fine.  But he's a no-question Hall-of-Fame player, so he's an exception.  More than half the centers the NBA kept in the 90s just to Hack-a-Shaq would wash out.  Nowadays to be an NBA center you gotta bring something genuine to the court.  Tyson Chandler is an excellent zone-era defender and Ömer Aşık is a monster rebounder.  A guy like Greg Ostertag would be passed up for a forward who can play.

I know a lot of old farts like to complain about how much better things were in their day, but I honestly think basketball is the best it's ever been in my lifetime -- or would be, if TV didn't made it unbearable to watch.  In the 80s it was too much about "big man" talent.  Obnoxious Bulls fans (including the ubiquitous gaggle of zit-faced kids who didn't know anything about basketball beyond "MJ is unstoppable" and "MJ can dunk" and "Space Jam") made the 1990s annoying even though some of the best all-around players came from that era.  The late 90s and early 00s had too many man-child thugballers trying to be the next Mike/Kobe.  Eventually I got sick of it all and stopped following basketball from the mid-00s until a couple years ago.  Today?  We got international ballers who can play, a D-League that gives guys like Jeremy Lin a second chance, teams that can play both zone and man defense, and a very rich assortment of styles and talents.  You can't just dominate the league with a single phenomenal player; everyone has to play, from starting center to bench.
 
2013-02-19 02:07:30 PM  

IAmRight: The guys that lead the league in FG percentage are always post players.


Generally, yes.  Which is why they should lead the league in FG attempts, ensuring an optimal points/possession.  In the late 90s, they often didn't.  The guards stopped passing to them.  It was a downright shiatty time to be a basketball fan.  Michael Jordan was great, and this really isn't his fault, but his success made basketball a load of unwatchable diarrhea for a good ten years.

You wanna know who was the exception?  Say hello to John Stockton and his .515 career FG% -- better than MJ, better than Tim Duncan, better than LeBron James.  Stockton was known as the king of assists but his passing was only surpassed by his decision-making.  The dude never wasted a possession.
 
2013-02-19 02:22:27 PM  
This kind of discussion makes me even more thoroughly despise the typical NBA talking points.  Good thread.  I don't have much to add.
 
2013-02-19 02:33:26 PM  

dragonchild: I daresay you have it backwards. For starters I dispute that "they don't exist"; the NBA was only just starting to become global in the 1990s. Nowadays if there's some guy in Elbonia who could play ball at 7', we'll find him. Second, our medical knowledge, technology and conditioning techniques have vastly improved since the 1990s. So not only can we find 7-footers worldwide, it should be easier to keep them healthy today while making them stronger and faster. No, I just think being 7' isn't a guaranteed NBA paycheck anymore, and good riddance. A guy like Hakeem Olajuwon would still be successful but that's because he was arguably the most complete player of his size, ever. Take away the Dream Shake with a double-team (which is what teams often did) and he can still pass and play defense. He'd adjust to the zone just fine. But he's a no-question Hall-of-Fame player, so he's an exception. More than half the centers the NBA kept in the 90s just to Hack-a-Shaq would wash out. Nowadays to be an NBA center you gotta bring something genuine to the court. Tyson Chandler is an excellent zone-era defender and Ömer Aşık is a monster rebounder. A guy like Greg Ostertag would be passed up for a forward who can play.


Just because we're more likely to find the guys if they exist doesn't mean they necessarily exist.  Being 7 feet tall and athletic makes you just an enormous outlier, and being able to stay healthy at that size is no guarantee even now (Oden and Bynum should be really good right now).  I think it's sort of like gambling on really long odds - if one ticket in a million wins you might get 2 wins in five million tries or 4 wins in two million tries and neither result would be that surprising.  I'm not looking at the Ostertag roster filler types (and those guy still might get a bench role somewhere), I'm talking about the current dearth of really good centers.  Just to pick a season at random, 4 of the top 8 scorers in 94-95 are centers.  Shaq, Hakeem, Ewing, and David Robinson.  Ignoring skills for a minute I just don't think there are 4 7 footers that athletic in the NBA now, period.  Sure those guys are all HoF outliers but that's sort of my point.

For what it's worth I agree with you on the overall level of play, I think it's the highest it's ever been.
 
2013-02-19 02:38:25 PM  

you have pee hands: dragonchild: I daresay you have it backwards. For starters I dispute that "they don't exist"; the NBA was only just starting to become global in the 1990s. Nowadays if there's some guy in Elbonia who could play ball at 7', we'll find him. Second, our medical knowledge, technology and conditioning techniques have vastly improved since the 1990s. So not only can we find 7-footers worldwide, it should be easier to keep them healthy today while making them stronger and faster. No, I just think being 7' isn't a guaranteed NBA paycheck anymore, and good riddance. A guy like Hakeem Olajuwon would still be successful but that's because he was arguably the most complete player of his size, ever. Take away the Dream Shake with a double-team (which is what teams often did) and he can still pass and play defense. He'd adjust to the zone just fine. But he's a no-question Hall-of-Fame player, so he's an exception. More than half the centers the NBA kept in the 90s just to Hack-a-Shaq would wash out. Nowadays to be an NBA center you gotta bring something genuine to the court. Tyson Chandler is an excellent zone-era defender and Ömer Aşık is a monster rebounder. A guy like Greg Ostertag would be passed up for a forward who can play.

Just because we're more likely to find the guys if they exist doesn't mean they necessarily exist.  Being 7 feet tall and athletic makes you just an enormous outlier, and being able to stay healthy at that size is no guarantee even now (Oden and Bynum should be really good right now).  I think it's sort of like gambling on really long odds - if one ticket in a million wins you might get 2 wins in five million tries or 4 wins in two million tries and neither result would be that surprising.  I'm not looking at the Ostertag roster filler types (and those guy still might get a bench role somewhere), I'm talking about the current dearth of really good centers.  Just to pick a season at random, 4 of the top 8 scorers in 94-95 are centers.  Shaq, Hakeem, Ewi ...


I don't think it's just now that there's a lack of good centers. It's always been that way. It's just that now you're seeing teams that are realizing that you don't have to have a 7 footer on your roster. Instead they'll get someone who has some value other than taking up space. Jake Voskuhl (!) lasted 10 years in the league averaging 4 points per game. There just isn't a place in the NBA for that kind of player anymore.
 
2013-02-19 02:55:47 PM  
Everybody talking about the lack of quality 7 centers; read this article on Roy Hibbert.  It more or less suggests that statistically it's very rare to find an extremely talented basketball player who's above 7 feet tall.  I'd guess an extension of that is that at any given time, the people who are 7+ feet tall in the NBA are likely not the most gifted players skillwise.  That being said, anyone who ends up being 7 foot + is probably going to end up receiving a lot more basketball training.  It's probably skewed compared to the average person's basketball skill.

FTA:  "Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control, Sports Illustratedestimated that there are fewer than 70 7-footers between the ages of 20 and 40 in the United States. Seventy 7-footers; 30 starting NBA centers. If you're Nate Robinson's height, you need to be an exceptional athlete to make the league. If you're Hibbert's, you just have to be pretty good."
 
2013-02-19 02:56:50 PM  

logggur: Everybody talking about the lack of quality 7 centers; read this article on Roy Hibbert.  It more or less suggests that statistically it's very rare to find an extremely talented basketball player who's above 7 feet tall.  I'd guess an extension of that is that at any given time, the people who are 7+ feet tall in the NBA are likely not the most gifted players skillwise.  That being said, anyone who ends up being 7 foot + is probably going to end up receiving a lot more basketball training.  It's probably skewed compared to the average person's basketball skill.

FTA:  "Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control, Sports Illustratedestimated that there are fewer than 70 7-footers between the ages of 20 and 40 in the United States. Seventy 7-footers; 30 starting NBA centers. If you're Nate Robinson's height, you need to be an exceptional athlete to make the league. If you're Hibbert's, you just have to be pretty good."


Not sure why I switched to italics at the end there... Comment thingie fail.
 
2013-02-19 03:51:14 PM  

dragonchild: Say hello to John Stockton


I would've but it would've felt awkward (actually did see him last December when I was visiting my in-laws in Spokane).

Fun thing to do is look at his assist numbers vs. say, Steve Nash. Nash was an amazing passer and he never had so much as 900 assists in a season. Stockton put up 1100+ in five consecutive years...and the first of those seasons, he shot .574 from the floor while leading the league in assists. Of course, Stockton wasn't f*cking around with 3-pointers in those days, so of course the shooting percentage goes up.

dragonchild: Which is why they should lead the league in FG attempts, ensuring an optimal points/possession.


Well, not really - if they're of the Dwight Howard mold where they can't make FTs, then they're not going to get a whole hell of a lot of FG attempts, since they'll be fouled and sent to the line, retaliate (or the refs will get tired of calling it), and they'll get in foul trouble or start to miss shots as they don't make plays.

You also have to do a hell of a lot of work to get these guys their easy shots - it's not like they're creating their shots themselves. Tyson Chandler has the best FG% in the league over the past couple of years - it's easy to do when you only "shoot" dunks because you're a limited offensive player. Before him it was Nene. If you really want to run an offense through Nene, your team is going to SUCK.

I'd really just say that the '80s/'90s happened to have a lucky amount of great big men - in the 2000s, those big men were gone and teams had to re-learn how to play basketball without having that easy go-to anchor (except teams with Shaq early in the decade).
 
2013-02-19 04:04:02 PM  

SuperChuck: dragonchild: The big change was the legalization of the zone defense. Made defensive techniques like trapping and switching easier to implement, as you can sag off your assignments without getting whistled. It also meant centers became a lot less valuable as quick help defense can pick off the passes inside or set up to take a charge. If you're 7' you'll still get a look from scouts, but you can't just be a warm body in the paint anymore. A lot of teams now don't even field a center because they can defend almost as effectively without and can therefore put their best five on the court.

That's not entirely true. The zone defense wasn't legal until the 2001 season and scoring was dropping well before that. 1994 was the last season that the average team scored 100 points per game until 2010. It had more to do with the style of basketball played and that came from the coaching.


Mid 90s was the push for athleticism and potential over actual ability as well.
 
2013-02-19 04:21:48 PM  
The 7 foot and over discussion kind of segways well with the green-lit article about the 7' 3" guy at LSU who was playing tuba and only recently started playing basketball for the team.  As I said, he looked pretty decent, and as people say... you can't teach height.   If you can get a 7' 3" guy who isn't totally uncoordinated, he'll probably be a decent asset on the court.   7' 3" is huge even for the NBA... there have been only 20 guys listed at 7' 3" or above in NBA history.
 
2013-02-19 05:27:26 PM  

you have pee hands: Just because we're more likely to find the guys if they exist doesn't mean they necessarily exist.


It's a numbers game dude.  We found the likes of Shaq and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out of a single country whose population was about 250-300 million (at the time).  Now, basketball's gone global.  You're saying the only reason why we don't see dominating centers today is because they don't exist anymore, out of a population of SEVEN BILLION?  Mathematically there's a chance you're right, but color me skeptical.  Like, VERY skeptical.

SuperChuck: Jake Voskuhl (!) lasted 10 years in the league averaging 4 points per game. There just isn't a place in the NBA for that kind of player anymore.


Exactly my point.  7-footers are easier to stop these days, which means it's both harder to dominate just by being 7 feet and that teams don't need to stock 7-footers just to stop other 7-footers.  If you're 7' tall and can really play, you're still a force on the court (Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki), but the days of some big dude using the NBA as a glorified entitlement system are over, and I do NOT miss those days.  If I ever see Greg effin' Ostertag on a TV screen again, it'll be too soon.  But thankfully it's something I don't need to worry about, because a 7' guy with a similar attitude today wouldn't make an NBA roster.  To add to that point, I daresay the clone of Patrick Ewing would be a mediocre player in today's game.  You can't dominate in today's NBA just by being tall.

IAmRight: Tyson Chandler has the best FG% in the league over the past couple of years - it's easy to do when you only "shoot" dunks because you're a limited offensive player.


I had a sneaky feeling you'd go there.  I like Tyson Chandler's style, but here's an example of a guy who could do a lot more on offense.  You have to be retarded to complain about having him on your team, but there's no question he could be better.  As a 7-footer he moves way too well to average five shots a game.
 
2013-02-19 05:35:36 PM  

dletter: 7' 3" is huge even for the NBA... there have been only 20 guys listed at 7' 3" or above in NBA history.


See, the thing is, if he lacks strength, durability or speed, he'll get destroyed.  Conditioning has improved to the point that a 6'9" forward can:
A) Beat the 7'3" guy into position on both ends of the floor,
B) Jump high enough to block his shot in the unlikely event that he's late, and
C) Trap him, steal the ball, pick off the pass or do any number of things to shut him down with superior speed.

Modern trainers can make up for that 5" difference in height.  It doesn't matter if you're 9' tall these days; if you're the last one down the court in transition, you're a liability.  Look at Shaq's last few seasons.
 
2013-02-19 06:12:00 PM  

dragonchild: It's a numbers game dude. We found the likes of Shaq and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out of a single country whose population was about 250-300 million (at the time). Now, basketball's gone global. You're saying the only reason why we don't see dominating centers today is because they don't exist anymore, out of a population of SEVEN BILLION? Mathematically there's a chance you're right, but color me skeptical. Like, VERY skeptical.


There's millions of dollars in finding them, so if they exist, where are they?  The Magic built a 50+ win team by putting interchangeable jump shooters around Howard, and his offensive game is effective enough but not exactly polished.   Hibbert is a max guy.  Bynum is probably going to be a max guy and it's not clear he's ever going to be healthy.  If your opinion is that those guys are better than Ewing/Robinson but the league has changed so much they look worse in a relative way, you're entitled to it, but I'd disagree.

There are still guys who are basically just big who kick around on NBA benches, like Hasheem Thabeet and whoever the Heat kept running out behind Haslem when Bosh was hurt last year.
 
2013-02-19 08:52:23 PM  

you have pee hands: There's millions of dollars in finding them, so if they exist, where are they?


Unemployed, or rather, not playing NBA basketball.  Eventually saying the same thing over and over again with you not getting it will qualify as insanity, so this'll be the last time.

you have pee hands: The Magic built a 50+ win team by putting interchangeable jump shooters around Howard, and his offensive game is effective enough but not exactly polished. Hibbert is a max guy. Bynum is probably going to be a max guy and it's not clear he's ever going to be healthy. If your opinion is that those guys are better than Ewing/Robinson but the league has changed so much they look worse in a relative way, you're entitled to it, but I'd disagree.


Bynum and Howard are paid primarily because they're strong and fast for their height.  Today's centers aren't polished because they don't need to be polished; the game has gone away from 7-footers scoring 30ppg on post moves in the paint.  It's way, way, WAY more important today that the big can cross the court quickly and get into position to make any sort of difference at all.  It's more a huge feat of speed and endurance than a game of finesse.  Now, to be fair, if you flipped it around, today's centers (with skill sets as-is) would struggle if they time-warped back to 1990 because their games lacked polish against the greats of that era.  But it's also likely Howard (if he time-warped to 1990) would spend much more time on his footwork than endurance because that's how the game was structured back then.

The centers back in those days weren't bad.  The best were great at what they did.  It's just that what they did doesn't work anymore.  Now, to be an NBA center, you need a different set of talents that are harder to find -- namely, enough speed and endurance for whatever skills you DO have to matter.
 
2013-02-20 09:20:42 AM  

dragonchild: If I ever see Greg effin' Ostertag on a TV screen again, it'll be too soon.


What's bad is that Ostertag was far from the worst of the "you're in because you're 7 feet tall" crew.

BTW, how much do I love that they still have a HOF Probability for him on his basketball reference page? (The probability is 0.000, BTW, and that's an actual number, not what I made up.)
 
2013-02-20 09:26:30 AM  
Also, I love that the chart for HOF Probability (career) includes guys that are IN THE HALL OF FAME that have less than 1.000 chance of being in there (it makes it easier to compare guys' careers to guys who are still active, so it makes sense...it's just silly given the title of the stat).
 
2013-02-20 09:42:30 AM  

dragonchild: Unemployed, or rather, not playing NBA basketball. Eventually saying the same thing over and over again with you not getting it will qualify as insanity, so this'll be the last time.


Well aren't you quite the condescending ass.  It's not that I don't get what you're saying, it's that everything you're saying is idle conjecture, and I think you're flat wrong.
 
2013-02-20 09:54:51 AM  
BTW, those 50-win Magic teams had three max-contract guys every year. People really need to stop acting like Howard carried those teams to anything.

/most overrated player in the NBA
//easy to dominate centers in the East, where there is literally no competition
 
2013-02-20 09:55:13 AM  

you have pee hands: Well aren't you quite the condescending ass.


You earned it.  You displayed enough intelligent thought to make a discussion seem potentially fun, but when it came time to counterpunch you just kept asking the same damn rhetorical question (where are teh centers?  where are teh centers?) as if it stood on its own even though it was being repeatedly answered.  If a rhetorical question has an answer, it doesn't work as a tool for rhetoric.  Once that's established, asking it over and over is just dry-humping the dead horse.

I feel more pity than scorn for those who are incapable of independent thought, but you're obviously better than that.  I saw your case as punching below your weight.
 
2013-02-20 12:42:02 PM  

IAmRight: BTW, those 50-win Magic teams had three max-contract guys every year. People really need to stop acting like Howard carried those teams to anything.


Rashard Lewis isn't getting your team to 50+ wins.  Who was the third?  I know they had whatever was left of Arenas at some point but that hardly counts.
 
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