Monday, February 28, 2011

The List of Greatness - 1960

Here's our 1960 inductees onto the list. This brings us to 10 players and 14 years. All stats are through 1960.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The List of Greatness - 1959

It's time for another edition of the List of Greatness. Two more names will be added, bringing us to 8 after 13 years. All stats and info through the end of the 1959 season.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trade! (Again) & Revision! (Again)

Deron Williams got traded to the Nets today. Gotta admit, I had no idea this was coming, which is kinda how I like my trades. Surprising. At least, it's preferable to the 6 month Carmelo-to-Knicks trade that went on, which basically felt like the guy was owned by the Knicks and they were just letting him play with the Nuggets for a while. Also, I love this trade for the Jazz. Not so much for what they got in return (Derrick Favors, Devin Harris - excuse me, former All-Star Devin Harris... yeah... that happened - and two first round draft picks) but for the Jazz basically giving a giant "F*** You" to Williams. As in, "You don't want to play here? Well, f*** you, enjoy New Jersey." I appreciate them making their move before Williams has any leverage whatsoever, preventing another "MeloDrama" season with him. Well, it'll probably still happen with the Nets, but it's nice to see teams being proactive.

Also, I forgot to mention this in my "Revision" column the other day, but I increased the value of ABA stats and accomplishments from 25% to 40%. The league as a whole may have only had about 25% of the talent level of the NBA, but I feel like that was punishing the greats that played in that league too much. I decided that a good to great ABA player was more likely to make at least 2 out of 5 All-Star teams/All-NBA teams, rather than 1 out of 4. (I hope that makes sense.)

As an example, Julius Erving's total goes up from 437.6 to 485.4 and from 20th place to 14th. Not a huge jump in the big scheme of all of it, but it's still significant. A few other examples, with scores and ranks before and after the change:
Rick Barry: 309.9 to 329.3, 32 to 28
George Gervin: 277.5 to 287.5, 40 to 36
Artis Gilmore: 208.0 to 247.3, 62 to 45
Dan Issel: 147.9 to 181.2, 109 to 80
Connie Hawkins: 115.7 to 135.1, 145 to 123
Mel Daniels: 74.0 to 118.4, 212 to 145

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I've decided to tweak my List of Greatness just a bit. The process of deciding who makes it on the list is the same, but I've just decided that 3 guys from any one year is just too many. So, instead of 3 guys for the first 4 years to even things out, we'll do 2 players a year for the first 9 years until the players equal the years, then we'll just do one a year. So, I'll go back and update the previous posts, and then, going forward, we'll do 2 each year until it evens up.

Also, a minor tweak to my Greatness Equation. If a player makes 2 All-Star teams, he now receives 5/6ths credit instead of 3/4ths credit. It was just odd for a player to jump from 2/3rds credit for 1 All-Star game, to 3/4ths for 2, to full credit for 3. I evened out the insignificant jump from 1 to 2 and the substantial jump from 2 to 3.

The List of Greatness - 1958

Here is our third round of inductees, and we're inching ever so much closer to the one player/one year concept. This will bring us up to 6 players in 12 years.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Our long national nightmare is over. Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the New York Knicks. Finally we can focus on the important aspects of basketball. Like, where will Chris Paul and Dwight Howard end up in 2012? Yes, that was facetious... I'm seriously contemplating petitioning the NBA to move the trade deadline to December 31. I can't take this every year.

As for the other trade pieces? Denver gets Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Galinari,  and Timofey Mozgov (it's still unclear whether the imprints of Blake Griffin's testicles on Mozgov's face will be included in the deal or not), as well as some draft picks from the Knicks and Warriors (which I'm assuming the Knicks already owned.) In return, the Knicks get, along with Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman (in perhaps the most glorious return to MSG ever.)

Not sure what number Carmelo is going to wear, since #15 is retired for both Earl Monroe and Dick McGuire. #5 and #6 are taken, by Bill Walker and Landry Fields, respectively. So I'll guess he'll go with #25, which the departing Mozgov now leaves available. That is, of course, only if Anthony can manage to get the musky scent of Griffin's undercarriage off of the number.

A Few All-Star Thoughts

Here are just a few quick thoughts I had after watching the All-Star festivities this weekend. And by festivities, I mean the game and the dunk contest. Everything else is worthless. Everyone knows this, even if we all pretend otherwise.

  • The most impressive dunk was DeMar DeRozan's second dunk. I believe he called it the "Show Stopper." It literally elicited an unconscious "whoa!" from me. His first dunk was good, too, but I've seen him do it before. It might have been most satisfying because he did it on his first try.
  • None of Blake Griffin's dunks were overly impressive. His first attempts at his first and second dunks were rather spectacular though.
  • I liked the double dunk from McGee. Good stuff.
  • Ibaka's "sketch" was just plain awful. The dunk wasn't bad, but that skit with the horrible child actor with the horrible haircut and the horrible actress pretending to be a sideline reporter... Oh, wait... That was just a horrible sideline reporter? Either way, that skit just sunk the whole thing.
  • On to the game: I think the little stars on the back of the jerseys next to the player's name signified how many All-Star selections he's had. If so, it's a cool idea, but I have absolutely no proof that's what they meant. I may have missed the part if/when Marv explained it.
  • Marv referred to Stevie Wonder as "Stevie Wonders." Good stuff.
  • My girlfriend wanted to know why Stevie Wonder would attend a basketball game. Or any sporting event for that matter. Good question.
  • I didn't like the West's red/gold jerseys. Reminded me too much of China. And Yao wasn't even playing.
  • I did like red against blue jerseys though. I always find it kind of interesting when neither team wears white. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I think it worked this time.
  • Kobe had a pretty spectacular three and a half quarters. Which is very odd considering his rep as the league's greatest closer. The West was lucky they had Durant to step it up in the clutch.
  • I would've given co-MVP's to both Bryant and Durant if it'd been up to me. (And if we still have to follow the tradition of awarding a player from the winning team.)
  • Griffin's dunks look much cooler in an actual game than in a contest.
  • I liked how Pop and Doc had absolutely no inclination to play their own players. Good stuff. I hope we see this as the new incentive to do the best in the first half of the season - so you can rest your own best players and wear out your primary competition's best players.
  • LeBron had a hell of a game. I just don't know if I like where basketball is going when the best player in the game's best/most unstoppable move is "sprint, take two steps from the three point line, and dunk."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The List of Greatness - 1957

Here's the second round of inductees into the List. Keep in mind we're doing two a year until the players catch up with years. (This will bring us to four players in eleven years.) The players with the highest scores through 1957 not yet inducted get the nod.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The List of Greatness - 1956

Here's our first post about the Greatest Players Ever throughout history, as I mentioned in the previous post, we're starting with the completion of the NBA's tenth season to give enough time for players to actually build up careers and then inducting multiple players until we catch up to the one player per year system (which will be 1961.) And for more info on how the scores for the inductees were tallied, check here. On to the inductees, all numbers given through the end of the 1956 season:

The List of Greatness - Overview

Does everyone remember the NBA's "50 Greatest Players" list that was released before the 1996-97 season? I do. I thought this was the coolest thing anyone could have ever compiled. I was also 10, which doesn't change how cool the list was, but it does explain my misconception that this list would be added to every single year going forward. You know, that was just totally and completely logical to me. 50 players for 50 years, so 51 players for the 51st year, and just add a guy to the list every year. Simple. Obviously it didn't happen. But it should have. And I'm here to change that.

2011 Hall of Fame Nominations

The Hall of Fame announced the finalists for the 2011 class were announced today, including these notable NBA stars - Maurice Cheeks, Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Ralph Sampson, and Jamaal Wilkes. Even more interesting, Reggie Miller was not on the list despite it being his first year of eligibility. According to the ranking with my "greatness equation," Miller is #45, Rodman is #78, Cheeks is #92, Mullin is #95, Wilkes is #125, and Sampson is #241.

Honestly, I don't think anyone from this list will get in (my gut reaction to Reggie is even a "no" despite his high ranking on my list.) I could possibly see Rodman, Cheeks, and/or Mullin getting in this year, in that order, but I wouldn't bet my life on any of them.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, I'm going to introduce my next project, which I'm tentatively calling "The List of Greatness." (I'm open to suggestions on names.) This initially started out as an idea to "fix" the Hall of Fame, but it's really evolved into something slightly different. Stay tuned for the next post for the full details.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bill Russell Versus Wilt Chamberlain: A Rivalry of Friends

Here's an interesting article by a friend of mine, Seif-Eldeine, whose blog can be found at

Even after decades of NBA play, these two cannot be separated.
Luke Ewalt's "The Greatness Equation" (an objective statistical analysis of the best players of all-time) puts Russell at number 3, Wilt at number 5. puts Wilt at 3 and Russell at 5. puts Wilt at 3 and Russell at 6. And puts Wilt at 4 and Russell at 6. And this list could go on and on and on with people who still rank Russell and Wilt so close after so many decades.
What makes this discussion so interesting is the eternal question Luke tried to answer in his "Greatness Equation." How do we define greatness? Is there an objective view (as Luke provides) to greatness? Is there a subjective view on which we can count?
Here are some of the traditional methods (Luke goes over more, be sure to read his "Greatness Equation at of determining the better player.
MVPS: Sports writers do the best every year to vote on which player is "the Most Valuable" each year.
Until 1979-80, the players determined who was the best player in the league.
But how do we even determine who is MVP?
Is it the person who is most statistically dominant? Is it the one who whose team would suffer the most if he left? Is it the best player on the best team? Is it the best defensive player, the best offensive player or the player that is the best combination of both? Is it a combination of all these factors? Or is it an "it" factor that cannot even be put in words?
The results of Russell versus Wilt came in at Russell 5 and Wilt 4. It could have just as easily been Russell 9 and Wilt 0 or Russell 0 and Wilt 9.
Championships: The results of this one was not even close: Russell 11, Wilt 2.
A lot of emphasis is put on championships in every sport in determining the best players.
Is this really fair?
A player does not win a championship, a team wins a championship. At most, a player in basketball is 1/5 his team, less when you consider all the substitutes. This does not include the coach, the general manager, the owner and the whole culture of an organization. Even players like Russell and Wilt, who were as big a part of their teams short of anyone not named Michael, Kareem, Magic or Larry, do not win a championship by themselves.
Is it the better offensive player?
No question, this category belongs to Wilt.
Wilt was a better passer, scorer, rebounder and all-around offensive player. I doubt Russell ever scored 40 points in a game. Wilt scored over 50 a gameduring a season!
Chamberlain's first game against Russell provided a microcosm of their battles throughout their career.
Chamberlain won the individual battle 30 points to Russell's 22 points. Russell's Celtics beat Chamberlain's Warriors 115-106.
Is it the better defensive player?
Russell clearly takes the cake here.
Wilt is the best offensive player outside Jordan in NBA history, Russell is the best defensive player in NBA history.
However, when you listen to Russell talk about his matchups with Chamberlain, it is clear he never thought he had "defeated" Wilt.
"I had to discipline myself never get in a numbers game with him, than I would be playing his game and not my game. And 'my game' consisted of making my teammates more effective."
Is it the best combination of both?
Saying how to define which player is the better combination of offensive and defensive skills is impossible.
Wilt was infinitely better at offense and Russell was infinitely better at defense. The two friends are foils for the basketball ages. Other than their rebounding skills (which Wilt has an advantage in), no two players' skill sets could be more diametrically opposed.
Determing which is a "better combination" comes down to what you value most. My opinion is the old adage "defense wins championships" is true. Which is partly why Russell won more championships than Wilt and why I believe he is the better play.
How What You Value Creates the "It" Factor
Subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) what we value in a basketball player more in terms of skill sets decides who we think is the better player. I value Russell's skill sets (especially on the defensive end) more than Wilt's. This has always been the case, even before I was able to put this in words.
We can argue for the rest of time who was the better player. The truth is they were BOTH the better players. The advantage each one had in certain skills over other skills makes it impossible to say with certainty who is the better player.
The amazing part about this is Luke's "The Greatness Equation" has found a way to formulate a statistically objective ranking system which will resemble closely just about anyone's ranking system. As an example, I will show you Luke's top 25 rankings compared to mine.
The Greatness Equation Top 25
25. Dolph Schayes (I know, I know, who?!?! I looked this guy up before determining my Top 25.)
24. John Stockton
23. Bob Cousy
22. Scottie Pippen
21. Elgin Baylor
20. Julius Erving
19. Kevin Garnett
18. Charles Barkley
17. David Robinson
16. Moses Malone
15. Bob Pettit
14. John Havlicek
13. Hakeem Olajuwan
12. Oscar Robertson
11. Jerry West
10. Kobe Bryant
9. Karl Malone
8. Larry Bird
7. Tim Duncan
6. Shaquille O'Neal
5. Wilt Chamberlain
4. Magic Johnson
3. Bill Russell
2. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
1. Michael Jordan
My Rankings Using "It" Factor
25. Bob Pettit
24. Scottie Pippen
23. Elgin Baylor
22. Charles Barkley
21. Pete Maravich
20. Bob Cousy
19. Julius Erving
18. John Havlicek
17. David Robinson
16. Kevin Garnett
15. Moses Malone
14. Karl Malone
13. Jerry West
12. Hakeem Olajuwan
11. Kobe Bryant (likely to get to number 4, 50/50 at number 2 and VERY outside chance at number 1 before it's all done.)
10. John Stockton (this is where the "It" Factor comes into play, Stockton and Robertson were ranked lower in Luke's equation because I believe most MVP voters undervalue assists and steals, or more basically, the Point Guard position)
9. Oscar Robertson
8. Tim Duncan
7. Shaquille O'Neal
6. Larry Bird
5. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
4. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Magic Johnson
2. Bill Russell
1. Michael Jordan

Friday, February 11, 2011

(#3) Bulls - (#1) Lakers Series

Alright, let's see what happens. Can Jordan, the greatest player of all-time, carry a team including Pippen (who I have as #22), the vastly underrated Artis Gilmore and Chet Walker (#62 and #71 respectively), and a whole lot of role players (at best) over a team with 12 potential Hall of Famers and five of the top 12 (Kareem - #2, Magic - #4, Shaq - #6, Kobe - #10, West - #11) of all time? (P.S.: the rest of the team's not too shabby either: Baylor - #21, Mikan - #52, Worthy - #53, Gasol - #61, Mikkelsen - #70, Goodrich - #102, and Pollard - #132) Let's find out.

Where Have I Been?

Hey everyone (anyone?). Just thought I'd let you all know that I haven't completely forgotten/abandoned this blog. There was a death in my immediate family in the last month and it's been rather hard for me to deal with, not to mention trying to find the time and energy and joy necessary to write a good blog post. I should have some free time later today to post the finals of the ultimate tourney. And where I go from here as far as writing and keeping the blog up to date are totally up in the air. I've loved doing it so far, but I want to be able to not only do it well, but also consistently. So I fully intend to get back into this sooner or later, but I'm just not quite sure when that will be. As always, thanks to everyone for the readership and understanding. I truly appreciate it.