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Old 07-14-2011, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Wylie, Texas
1,690 posts, read 2,469,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg1977 View Post
This is the classic 'the players are more athletic today, so they're better' argument. I invite you to YouTube James 'flight' white. And once you've finished wiping the drool off your chin from his dunks, consider that this guy is probably packing bags somewhere, or whatever...... But he's not in the NBA. Just because today's athletes hold an athletic advantage over Bird,does not mean that they're any more likely to dominate him than the players who held athletic advantages from yesteryear. Again, Bird's advantage was his mind, his skills, his fundamentals. This will carry him in this era as it did his era. Would Lebron and Melo put up numbers on him? Sure, Dominique put numbers on him too, but you best believe Bird gives them numbers back.

And yes, it's the intangibles that Bird excelled at, that led to winning basketball. For all of Lebron's physical gifts, he hasn't proven himself to really have that 'it' factor, has he? So, matched against each other, yeah Lebron may get the statistical edge on him, but who you putting money on to make plays when it really counts, to do the little things that make the difference between winning and losing?

Here's what I'm struggling to understand from your argument. From your first post, you believe that John Stockton would dominate today. Yet Stockton would have the same athletic disadvantages today at the point guard spot, that Bird would have at the small forward position. What is your basis for your conclusion that Stockton still dominates, but somehow Bird gets creamed by the Lebrons and the Durants?
I said Stockton would do well because the point guard position has not changed to the degree that the small forward position has. A quick look at the top pgs today; Chris Paul is maybe 6'1, Rondo 6'2, Rose 6'3 Deron Williams 6'3....It's not like we have 6'8 pgs out there. So all things remaining equal Stockton would not be seeing a hugely different set of opposing pgs from what he saw with Isaiah, KJ and Mark Price.

But like I said, take a look at the small forwards today vs 1980. I dont know about you, but I would take Carmelo, Durant, LBJ over any of those guys from the 80s...wilkins, worthy, and yes, Larry Bird. You talk about fundamentals...um have you seen Danny Ferry's jumper? what about Brian Cardinal? they both have pretty jumpers, play the game the right way...but they are both bench players, nothing more. Fundamentals can only get you so far against raw talent. And I think the problem here is that many of us equate the physically gifted players today as being low IQ...well that is just not so...today's players can read the game and make the right plays too...I think you would be surprised...now granted a lot more of them coast on their physical gifts...but I dont think Bird could stroll into a game today and have a great game based on his IQ...not with the game planning that goes on in the NBA today...Opposing teams would target him relentlessly on offense...and then just sit in his shirt on d...he cant drive by anyone, and I would love to see him post up Kenyon Martin...not happening.

Understand that this is not an attack on Larry Bird. He's a legend in my book. Just a little discussion.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:00 PM
 
Location: Earth
3,653 posts, read 3,877,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biafra4life View Post
I said Stockton would do well because the point guard position has not changed to the degree that the small forward position has. A quick look at the top pgs today; Chris Paul is maybe 6'1, Rondo 6'2, Rose 6'3 Deron Williams 6'3....It's not like we have 6'8 pgs out there. So all things remaining equal Stockton would not be seeing a hugely different set of opposing pgs from what he saw with Isaiah, KJ and Mark Price.

But like I said, take a look at the small forwards today vs 1980. I dont know about you, but I would take Carmelo, Durant, LBJ over any of those guys from the 80s...wilkins, worthy, and yes, Larry Bird. You talk about fundamentals...um have you seen Danny Ferry's jumper? what about Brian Cardinal? they both have pretty jumpers, play the game the right way...but they are both bench players, nothing more. Fundamentals can only get you so far against raw talent. And I think the problem here is that many of us equate the physically gifted players today as being low IQ...well that is just not so...today's players can read the game and make the right plays too...I think you would be surprised...now granted a lot more of them coast on their physical gifts...but I dont think Bird could stroll into a game today and have a great game based on his IQ...not with the game planning that goes on in the NBA today...Opposing teams would target him relentlessly on offense...and then just sit in his shirt on d...he cant drive by anyone, and I would love to see him post up Kenyon Martin...not happening.

Understand that this is not an attack on Larry Bird. He's a legend in my book. Just a little discussion.

So you're going mainly off height as your basis? Well then in that case, Bird was 6'9, Lebron and Melo are 6'8, Durant is 6'9. Paul Pierce is 6'6, and he is both shorter and less athletic than Lebron, Durant, Melo. And Pierce is still one of the best small forwards, and can hold his own against those guys. Athletically, Rose, Westbrook, Rondo, Paul would pose the same kind of issues to Stockton that Lebron, Melo, etc would pose to Bird. Otherwise, Bird is the same height as those guys. It's not like Bird is 6'5 and so would have a size disadvantage AND athletic one. He doesn't, only an athletic one. Which has always been the case.... Not to forget that Bird has a high release point, which was an advantage before and would still be a strength today.

I don't see what Ferry and Cardinal has to do with this, their talent, skills, and overall ability don't compare in any way to Bird's, so why pick a random skill(Jumpshot) and say 'see, those guys ride the bench!' Come on now, that's not even a remotely plausible argument and I'm sure you know that.

Lebron's a more well rounded player that Wilkins, but is there a big difference between Nique and Durant and Melo? Hmmmm.... Not really. They're high scoring, average in ball handling, passing and playmaking, about equal as rebounders. There's not much separation between Dominique and Durant/ Melo. They're pretty much cut from the same cloth. And since you're very big on athleticism, Nique trumps them both athletically...

You don't think Bird could stroll in and be great off his IQ? What makes Steve Nash, at 37, one of the best point guards still? Blinding quickness? Size advantage? Athletic advantage? No to all, he's still great for the reasons Bird would still be great. Skills, IQ, fundamentals....high levels in each category. That is the same set of attributes that would make Stockton successful today, and the same set of attributes that would make Bird great today.

Not sure about the post up Kenyon Martin comment. Martin is a power forward, this is like saying Bird wouldn't post up Karl Malone. Well yeah, but do you think Kenyon Martin would be able to chase Bird around all game long, as Bird was excellent at moving without the ball? Of course not... this is a moot point really.

Have you noticed that out of all the great power forwards the past decade- Duncan, Dirk, Garnett, Webber, Stoudamire, Gasol, etc etc- that the greatest of them all, Duncan, is arguably the least athletic of the bunch? What makes him great? Skills, IQ, fundamentals.....

I don't think anyone is suggesting you're attacking Larry Bird. You have offered your opinion, and we're now counteracting that opinion. It would appear that, at least in this thread, your opinion is a minority one, so hopefully you don't take it personally. Most here simply don't see this the way you do, and funny enough, most of us are basically giving you the same argument as to why he'd be great.

Last edited by Roman77; 07-14-2011 at 11:16 PM..
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:56 AM
 
51,859 posts, read 41,758,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biafra4life View Post
I'm talking specifically about Bird's position, the small forward. If you actually read my post you would see that I said that all the other positions are relatively unchanged. It's the 3 spot that has changed. Take a guy like Josh Smith. I think we can all agree that he is a decent, but not top level player. He's got great hops, great shot blocker, can guard 3s or 4s, can handle the ball like a guard, ok passer, and can shoot the three. How many 6-9 guys in 1980 had his skill set? Most guys his height would be plodding power forwards banging in the paint. And this is just JOSH SMITH...never mind Durant, or Carmelo.

If you're trying to imply that in 1986 Bird was playing against the type of athletes we have today, then I have to ask WTH are YOU talking about????
So, tell me more about the slow plodding guys like Worthy, Nique and english?
You know, those 3 HOFers that wouldn't possibly be anything like Melo, Durant etc?

1986 all-star game small forwards.
Bird. 6'9
Worthy. 6'9
Alex English. 6'7
Nique. 6'8

Listed under SF/SG
Marques Johnson 6'7
Dantley 6'5

Other notable SF's of 1986 and prior making all-nba team appearances..
Bernard King 6'7
Dr. J 6'6 (sg/sf)
Buck Williams 6'8
Elvin Hayes 6'9
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,451 posts, read 8,149,978 times
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You know, it should be noted that when he was playing, Magic Johnson, like Larry Bird, was NOT regarded as a great athlete, but he, like Bird, sure as hell was a great basketball player, for many of the same reasons as Bird.

IMO, just about every player who was a great player sometime in the last 30-40 years would have been a great player today. Ironically, I think it is the guys back in the day who were standout athletes and relied on that ability to make them great, rather than the guys who had excellent basketball intelligence (assuming they didn't have both), who would struggle more in today's game. The athleticism of the game has gone up in my "sports fan" lifetime (i.e. since the early 1980s) but basketball IQ among the top players has remained roughly constant.

Incidentally, I'm of the opinion that George Mikan would be a very solid player, though not a star, if he played today. He was actually a skilled big man (really the first skilled big man), not just some stiff that was bigger than everybody else, and his skills would have allowed him to be a productive player today.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Long Island,New York
8,163 posts, read 13,178,373 times
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Bird was a great shooter and was always aware of what was going on around him. His instincts were unmatched. He would have still been an elite in todays game.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:30 PM
 
4,749 posts, read 3,606,588 times
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I saw Bird and Stockton play, and I can say without reservation that they would both be great players in today's game. They're underrated because they weren't able to dunk from the free throw line, but neither can Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzky and they're both unquestionably great players right alongside LeBron and D-Wade. In fact, the way Nowitzky dominated LeBron and the Heat is very, very, eerily reminiscent of the 1984 Celtics-Lakers series, in which the slightly less athletic (though underrated athletically, I'd add) and slightly more fundamentally-sound team defeated a Lakers team that was still coming into its own* (see note below). The Lakers did, of course, mature and they went on to beat Bird and company, but ask Magic or Michael if they think Bird would succeed in today's game and they'd probably laugh their @sses off that anybody bothered to ask the question.

How great Bird and Stockton are would be in today's game has nothing to do with the era in which they played, because the league was beginning to be pretty athletic then. Rather, the answer to that question of greatness has more to do with whether or not they would be as good had they played on different teams. A player of Bird's caliber in today's game would do much the same thing to opposing defenses -- if he had great players surrounding him like Parrish, D.J., and McHale surrounding him. The question is, how great a Bird-like player be if he had to carry Verajao and Ilgauskas (sp)? How many titles would a player like Bird win then? Hard to say. But he'd still probably be recognized as great, or at least extremely good.

*I emphasize the parallels between this year's NBA Finals and the 1984 series because there are some similarities. I do think that the Mavericks played a role similar to that of the 1984 Celtics: an experienced, fundamentally-sound, if slightly less athletic squad, that knew how to win close games. I do not think this is the last we've seen of LeBron and D-Wade in the Finals, and if they get back next year I think they'll be far more dangerous than they were this time around. I would be very surprised if Miami isn't a strong favorite to win it all next year. They might need some size and maybe another three point threat, but they're very close to putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 5,177,789 times
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I mentioned Bird in another thread about the top 10 players. I think he's a fantastic player......but.....things have changed A LOT at the 3 position.

-Guys have 7 foot wingspans, 40 inch verticals. There's more athleticism in general at the 3 spot. There are more young guys in the league than when Bird was playing (i.e. straight out of highschool, or limited college).

Right now,

Lebron - 26
Durant - 22
Melo - 27

I think you can boil it down to, Bird has an athletic disadvantage, at a time when there are younger, quicker player coming in the league. I think the Josh Smiths of the world would neutralize much of Birds advantage. More so than Nash.

I think there's a bigger difference between putting Bird in the 2000's vs Lebron, Melo or Smith than Nash in the 80's, vs Isiah, Mark Price or KJ. The 80's pg's weren't really explosive, they were playmakers with great court vision (like isiah). Very similar to Nash.

Was there anyone in the 80's who could cover Bird the way Josh Smith would today? Probably not. King, English, Nique were completely different defensively. There are more problems for Bird now, even with a high IQ and fundamentals. Players with Durants wingspan use to be power forwards or centers.

Would you agree, there are more "freakish" wingspans in the league now, vs Bird? (I.e. Rudy Gay, 7'3 wingspan, 6'8). Conseratively, I think his numbers would get knocked down at least a few points.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,451 posts, read 8,149,978 times
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I'm trying to figure out how guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are dramatically more athletic and skilled than guys like Julius Erving and Dominique Wilkins.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,451 posts, read 8,149,978 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenfriedbananas View Post
A player of Bird's caliber in today's game would do much the same thing to opposing defenses -- if he had great players surrounding him like Parrish, D.J., and McHale surrounding him. The question is, how great a Bird-like player be if he had to carry Verajao and Ilgauskas (sp)? How many titles would a player like Bird win then? Hard to say. But he'd still probably be recognized as great, or at least extremely good.
The Celtics went from 29 wins in 1978-79 to 61 wins in 1979-80, the latter of which was not only Bird's rookie season but also the season BEFORE Robert Parish and Kevin McHale joined the Celtics. Dennis Johnson didn't join the Celtics until (I think) 1983 when the Celts stole him from the Suns for Bird's drinking buddy (and modestly skilled power forward) Rick Robey. In other words, Bird's impact on the Celtics was immediate, even though they had a poor team when he joined them.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 5,177,789 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHIP72 View Post
I'm trying to figure out how guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are dramatically more athletic and skilled than guys like Julius Erving and Dominique Wilkins.
I think the arguement is, these guys are younger than 70's or 80's players. They play more of a slasher role. They're more agile. Guys with Durants wingspan use to be more like Kevin McHale.

The whole league has shifted down. There are more forwards with center like qualities, but there are fewer real centers...like ewing or olajuwon or david robinson.
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