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Old 04-04-2018, 09:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
Jordan as "unquestionable GOAT" was always a fairy tale bound to dissipate. The NBA and Jordan became global icons in the 90s. Distance offers greater perspective. Of course, MJ was never distant from Magic, Kareem, and Russell. LBJ is in their arena, as well. The 6-0 argument looks silly in the face of Bill Russell's 11 titles. Jordan of course belongs on basketball's Mt. Rushmore. His talents, production, and winning justify it. He is a basketball legend. But he is not--and never was--the first among equals on that mountain.
Good post, I've long held that view....just impossible to compare such rare gems.

It really boils down to SUBJECTIVE criteria like if you value career totals, or championships or all-star games (lol just kidding on that one) etc.

I just remembered, forgive me...I'm pushing 50 lol....but if anyone here remembers the big knock AGAINST Jordan was that he didn't have any rings.

The fans of Bird, Magic, Kareem, Wilt etc. would downgrade his accomplishments because he's not won one.

So, just something to consider, the whole "rings thing" was never set to admire Jordan but to dismiss the newcomer threatening their own favorites.
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
He couldn't win until the Lakers, Celtics and Pistons got old. There were no great teams during his 90s reign. Not one. None of those Knicks teams was better than Dwight Howard's Orlando Magic.

I believe there are four reasonable answers to the GOAT question: Wilt, Kareem, MJ and Lebron. No wrong answers there, but Six-Rings Dogmatism is silly. The rings don't tell the story.
In other words, he couldn’t win in 6 seasons between the ages 21-26. Would you believe that players like Curry, Westbrook, Durant, Harden, and Lebron have a combined ZERO championships before age 26?

I don’t think 6 rings tells the whole story either. The fact that those 6 rings includes TWO 3peats does say a lot. Taking a few years off between 3 peats says a lot. How many players could take time off in their 30s, come back and settle into MVP form/win 3 straight?

In 50 years “rings” will probably still be part of the criteria used to judge players. You can argue particulars about how they’re obtained until the cows come home, but at the end of the day Jordan got 6 as the unquestionably “the man” - probably 7 or 8 if he wanted (‘94 or ‘95 maybe ‘99). This much winning along with elite stats puts him in super rare territory with very few players (maybe Kareem although Kareem was past prime for many of his rings) ).

Last edited by eddiehaskell; 04-04-2018 at 09:25 PM..
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
In other words, he couldn’t win in 6 seasons between the ages 21-26. Would you believe that players like Curry, Westbrook, Durant, Harden, and Lebron have a combined ZERO championships before age 26?
Jordan made his first finals appearance and won his first championship at 28. LeBron, Durant and Curry won their first titles at 27 (Lebron, in his third Finals appearance). No one is arguing that Curry, Westbrook, Durant or Harden are GOAT, but they all reached the finals earlier than Jordan did.

Jodan’s two three-peats become less impressive when viewed through the context of playing on a stacked team, in a weak league. Jordan boosters like to dismiss the 95 season by saying that Jordan was rusty. Truthfully, he was better by nearly every statistical measure, in those playoffs, than in the second three-peat. The Bulls lost to Orlando that season because Orlando had Horace Grant, and they’d yet to acquire Dennis Todman. Without a stacked team, he couldn’t win.

Again, you could argue that all of the other players I named won (and lost) with stacked teams, and that would be fair. The big difference is that none of them played in a weak era.
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Old 04-05-2018, 11:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
Jordan made his first finals appearance and won his first championship at 28. LeBron, Durant and Curry won their first titles at 27 (Lebron, in his third Finals appearance). No one is arguing that Curry, Westbrook, Durant or Harden are GOAT, but they all reached the finals earlier than Jordan did.

Jodan’s two three-peats become less impressive when viewed through the context of playing on a stacked team, in a weak league. Jordan boosters like to dismiss the 95 season by saying that Jordan was rusty. Truthfully, he was better by nearly every statistical measure, in those playoffs, than in the second three-peat. The Bulls lost to Orlando that season because Orlando had Horace Grant, and they’d yet to acquire Dennis Todman. Without a stacked team, he couldn’t win.

Again, you could argue that all of the other players I named won (and lost) with stacked teams, and that would be fair. The big difference is that none of them played in a weak era.
Curry is the oldest of the four you listed, and he just turned 30. It's not realistic to compare players in the center of their prime to a retired legend. LBJ is (he must be, right) approaching the end of his prime. While his body of work is not complete, we can see most of it: just a few brushstrokes remain.

Every great player has been surrounded with talent. The point of basketball is to win, and the title is the goal of every NBA season. I doubt there has ever been an era with more than 3 or 4 real contenders. And every team simply has to play the team's in front of them. The Rockets were probably the second-best team of the 90s, but Jordan just never saw them in the Finals--and his Bulls might not have beat them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
In other words, he couldn’t win in 6 seasons between the ages 21-26. Would you believe that players like Curry, Westbrook, Durant, Harden, and Lebron have a combined ZERO championships before age 26?

I don’t think 6 rings tells the whole story either. The fact that those 6 rings includes TWO 3peats does say a lot. Taking a few years off between 3 peats says a lot. How many players could take time off in their 30s, come back and settle into MVP form/win 3 straight?

In 50 years “rings” will probably still be part of the criteria used to judge players. You can argue particulars about how they’re obtained until the cows come home, but at the end of the day Jordan got 6 as the unquestionably “the man” - probably 7 or 8 if he wanted (‘94 or ‘95 maybe ‘99). This much winning along with elite stats puts him in super rare territory with very few players (maybe Kareem although Kareem was past prime for many of his rings) ).
Rings will always be a part of the argument because winning is the point of the game of basketball. Winning always requires great teams--no player can do it alone. In addition to titles, Jordan had phenomenal seasons, over and over. His numbers were gaudy, and his teams won because he was a brilliant basketball player.

Kareem at 39 was better than most players ever are. He won 4 of his 6 while being one of the best--if not the best--players in the league. The guy was absolutely unstoppable in his athletic prime, but had the IQ and work ethic to age like fine wine.

We can always play "What If"? What if Magic hadn't left the league due to HIV and was still playing MVP-caliber basketball in '92 & '93? Do the Bulls go 3-0 against those Lakers? What if Jordan didn't leave basketball? What if LBJ hadn't yet won one in Cleveland because Andrew Bogut didn't get hurt & Draymond didn't get suspended?

As it stands, I think LBJ, MJ, Russell, Magic, and Kareem are unquestionably among the GOAT.
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Old 04-05-2018, 01:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
Curry is the oldest of the four you listed, and he just turned 30. It's not realistic to compare players in the center of their prime to a retired legend. LBJ is (he must be, right) approaching the end of his prime. While his body of work is not complete, we can see most of it: just a few brushstrokes remain.

Every great player has been surrounded with talent. The point of basketball is to win, and the title is the goal of every NBA season. I doubt there has ever been an era with more than 3 or 4 real contenders. And every team simply has to play the team's in front of them. The Rockets were probably the second-best team of the 90s, but Jordan just never saw them in the Finals--and his Bulls might not have beat them.



Rings will always be a part of the argument because winning is the point of the game of basketball. Winning always requires great teams--no player can do it alone. In addition to titles, Jordan had phenomenal seasons, over and over. His numbers were gaudy, and his teams won because he was a brilliant basketball player.

Kareem at 39 was better than most players ever are. He won 4 of his 6 while being one of the best--if not the best--players in the league. The guy was absolutely unstoppable in his athletic prime, but had the IQ and work ethic to age like fine wine.

We can always play "What If"? What if Magic hadn't left the league due to HIV and was still playing MVP-caliber basketball in '92 & '93? Do the Bulls go 3-0 against those Lakers? What if Jordan didn't leave basketball? What if LBJ hadn't yet won one in Cleveland because Andrew Bogut didn't get hurt & Draymond didn't get suspended?

As it stands, I think LBJ, MJ, Russell, Magic, and Kareem are unquestionably among the GOAT.
There's the pesky fact that Russell was a TERRIBLE offensive player. Truly dreadful. People like to point out the fact that Wilt played against undersized, unathletic centers, but then, so did Russell. Not once, did Bill Russell shoot .500 from the field. In fact, he only cracked 45% in three seasons. In 13 seasons, he cracked the top-10 in fg% four times. That sounds good until you remember that he played in an eight-team league. People like to say that he was the only great defender, but who was guarding him? Were undersized, poor defenders holding him below 45% fg? He just sucked offensively.

Sure, he was a winner, but EVERY Russell championship team features four to seven (that's right, SEVEN) hall-of-famers. Bill Russell was Dennis Rodman with emotional maturity and leadership skills. That makes him a GREAT player, but not a GOAT candidate.
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Old 04-05-2018, 01:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
Jordan made his first finals appearance and won his first championship at 28. LeBron, Durant and Curry won their first titles at 27 (Lebron, in his third Finals appearance). No one is arguing that Curry, Westbrook, Durant or Harden are GOAT, but they all reached the finals earlier than Jordan did.

Jodan’s two three-peats become less impressive when viewed through the context of playing on a stacked team, in a weak league. Jordan boosters like to dismiss the 95 season by saying that Jordan was rusty. Truthfully, he was better by nearly every statistical measure, in those playoffs, than in the second three-peat. The Bulls lost to Orlando that season because Orlando had Horace Grant, and they’d yet to acquire Dennis Todman. Without a stacked team, he couldn’t win.

Again, you could argue that all of the other players I named won (and lost) with stacked teams, and that would be fair. The big difference is that none of them played in a weak era.
Durant, Westbrook and Harden reached the finals....while all being on the same team. Durant won his first ring at 28...by teaming up with Curry/Klay/Green.

With all this concentrated talent on a few teams you now want to bring up stacked teams? If that’s the case, maybe Dirk is the last player to truly win a ring. Lebron’s Heat, the Durant/Curry/Klay/Green Warriors and Lebron/Kyrie/Love Cavs have all been stacked teams in the top 1-2 favored to make/win the finals.

I’m not a Jordan booster, but I think any rational fan of basketball knows that team success doesn’t just magically appear by reinserting a player into the lineup with 17 games left in the season. Despite good stats Jordan wasn’t at his best in 95 - he had a career high 4.1 turnovers per game in the playoffs. You don’t take a few years off, come back for 17 regular seasons games and instantly become ready for playoff basketball. Team chemistry needs time to build too. To base a player’s entire career (i.e. “Jordan needs xyz to win”) off such a rediculously small sample size is silly.

When did the weak era end and the strong era begin? I’m wondering when championships actually started counting as championships? 2010 maybe?
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Old 04-05-2018, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
s.

I’m not a Jordan booster, but I think any rational fan of basketball knows that team success doesn’t just magically appear by reinserting a player into the lineup with 17 games left in the season. Despite good stats Jordan wasn’t at his best in 95 - he had a career high 4.1 turnovers per game in the playoffs. You don’t take a few years off, come back for 17 regular seasons games and instantly become ready for playoff basketball. Team chemistry needs time to build too. To base a player’s entire career (i.e. “Jordan needs xyz to win”) off such a rediculously small sample size is silly.

When did the weak era end and the strong era begin? I’m wondering when championships actually started counting as championships? 2010 maybe?
Again, I'm not knocking Jordan, but there simply weren't many great (or very good) teams in his era. Between 1988-1995, the league added six teams, increasing its size by 26%. In that same time, the league went from about 1.5% to 7.5% foreign born, meaning the balance of rosters were filled by American scrubs. The league didn't hit 20% foreign-born until around 2002. If you really want to pick a starting point for the beginning of a stronger era, 2002 isn't a bad choice. Both teams in the 2002 Western Conference finals would have fared well against Jordan's Bulls.

The number of foreign-born players in the NBA appears to have reached a plateau - Business Insider.
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Old 04-05-2018, 02:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
Again, I'm not knocking Jordan, but there simply weren't many great (or very good) teams in his era. Between 1988-1995, the league added six teams, increasing its size by 26%. In that same time, the league went from about 1.5% to 7.5% foreign born, meaning the balance of rosters were filled by American scrubs. The league didn't hit 20% foreign-born until around 2002. If you really want to pick a starting point for the beginning of a stronger era, 2002 isn't a bad choice. Both teams in the 2002 Western Conference finals would have fared well against Jordan's Bulls.

The number of foreign-born players in the NBA appears to have reached a plateau - Business Insider.
So do we automatically assume that anyone born before say 1975 wasn’t as good as we think because there were less foreign players in their prime? Are all active players now, no matter how good destined to face the same argument if the league is eventually 35%, 40% or 50%+ foreign born? Adam Silver has already said he’s frustrated by the lack of Chinese players and he’s working with Yao Ming to fix it. Perhaps in 50 years people will be saying player X was good but he played before the Chinese talent explosion.
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Old 04-05-2018, 03:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
So do we automatically assume that anyone born before say 1975 wasn’t as good as we think because there were less foreign players in their prime? Are all active players now, no matter how good destined to face the same argument if the league is eventually 35%, 40% or 50%+ foreign born? Adam Silver has already said he’s frustrated by the lack of Chinese players and he’s working with Yao Ming to fix it. Perhaps in 50 years people will be saying player X was good but he played before the Chinese talent explosion.
I don’t see why it’s so difficult understand that massive, rapid expansion without a corresponding expansion of the talent pool is going to lead to a diluted league. Most great players from bygone eras would be great players in any era, but there were a lot of players from Jordan’s prime would not have been in the league in previous or subsequent eras. Prime John Starks doesn’t start for any playoff team in 1986 or 2006.
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Old 04-05-2018, 03:23 PM
 
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There's the pesky fact that Russell was a TERRIBLE offensive player. Truly dreadful. People like to point out the fact that Wilt played against undersized, unathletic centers, but then, so did Russell. Not once, did Bill Russell shoot .500 from the field. In fact, he only cracked 45% in three seasons. In 13 seasons, he cracked the top-10 in fg% four times. That sounds good until you remember that he played in an eight-team league. People like to say that he was the only great defender, but who was guarding him? Were undersized, poor defenders holding him below 45% fg? He just sucked offensively.

Sure, he was a winner, but EVERY Russell championship team features four to seven (that's right, SEVEN) hall-of-famers. Bill Russell was Dennis Rodman with emotional maturity and leadership skills. That makes him a GREAT player, but not a GOAT candidate.
It was a different era of basketball. Wilt averaged 37/game in '63-4. Then he ran into Bill Russell in the playoffs and his scoring dropped to 29. Wilt scored 50/game in '61-2. Then he ran into Bill Russell in the playoffs and his scoring dropped to 33.6. This pattern repeated, over & over. There were guys who made the HOF on those Celtics teams who . . . wouldn't make the HOF in today's game. Russell was always the centerpiece of the Celtics Dynasty. He faced down one of the most dominant players in NBA history--year-after-year--and he slew the Giant--year-after-year.

For some players, supreme offensive talent overcomes less-than-stellar defensive performance. For other players--including Russell--supreme defensive talent overcame less than stellar individual offense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
Durant, Westbrook and Harden reached the finals....while all being on the same team. Durant won his first ring at 28...by teaming up with Curry/Klay/Green.

With all this concentrated talent on a few teams you now want to bring up stacked teams? If that’s the case, maybe Dirk is the last player to truly win a ring. Lebron’s Heat, the Durant/Curry/Klay/Green Warriors and Lebron/Kyrie/Love Cavs have all been stacked teams in the top 1-2 favored to make/win the finals.

I’m not a Jordan booster, but I think any rational fan of basketball knows that team success doesn’t just magically appear by reinserting a player into the lineup with 17 games left in the season. Despite good stats Jordan wasn’t at his best in 95 - he had a career high 4.1 turnovers per game in the playoffs. You don’t take a few years off, come back for 17 regular seasons games and instantly become ready for playoff basketball. Team chemistry needs time to build too. To base a player’s entire career (i.e. “Jordan needs xyz to win”) off such a rediculously small sample size is silly.

When did the weak era end and the strong era begin? I’m wondering when championships actually started counting as championships? 2010 maybe?
The winners have always concentrated talent. The 2011 Mavs included (they had a load of veteran talent still playing really well--especially Tyson Chandler & Shawn Marion, who were monsters on the defensive end and still useful on offense).

It's virtually impossible to boost LBJ or MJ except by comparison to each other and the pantheon they belong to. They are two of the best players in the history of basketball.
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