Drafting Franchise Players
When people look at every draft they tend to say, "Well, so and so is not a franchise player" and such. Well, how many franchise players are there in drafts? Even 1996, how many were there? Kobe Bryant. Definitely one. Allen Iverson? Possibly, he had a great career and lead the 76ers to a Finals, not to mention being one of the top ppg scorers in NBA history. Ray Allen? Uh, toss up there. Certainly a likely Hall of Famer, had a really nice few years as leaders of the Bucks and Sonics, played nice role on a championship team. But, was he a Franchise Player? I do not know. Steve Nash? Well, 2 MVP's, was definitely seen as the leader of a team. Still, he could never really carry a team over the hump, and always seem too be playing with a few other pretty strong players.
Those 4 are Hall of Fame caliber players, which is fantastic for any draft too have that many, but how many "True" franchise players did it have? Probably Kobe and AI, but that is it. Franchise players are REALLY rare. If there is more than 2 in your draft, it is more than likely a great one, especially if they can maintain being one over a prolonged period of time.
Here is a look at some names of franchise guys after 1996:
- Tim Duncan (Duh)
- Tracy McGrady (Of course was fantastic, won multiple scoring titles, however, never made it out of the first round. There was a time where T-Mac definitely would be considered a franchise type player, but for his career, no way you can call him one)
- Dirk Nowitzki (Duh)
- Paul Pierce (I would consider him one for most of his career, and he cemented it with his Finals MVP performance in 2008. Much like Chris Bosh is the odd one out of the Miami Big 3, I think Ray Allen is the odd one out in Boston's)
Maybe at a time.....:
- Vince Carter (Oh, those Raptors days. He had amazing moments, but he was never as much of a franchise player as he was a popular, and sometimes great player. Injuries, attitude, who knows, but I would not put Vince up there with Dirk and PP)
Do not feel like they had a "True" Franchise player. They had Stevie "Franchise", who was fun, Elton Brand, who had a few years carrying teams, but this draft was the draft for winning role players. Manu Ginobili, Lamar Odom, Richard Hamilton, Ron Artet, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry. If you were going to call one a "Franchise" guy, it would be Manu, but it was always Timmy when they won rings. Great complimentary guys, but no real franchise guys.
If someone wants to call Michael Redd a franchise player, you are grasping at straws.
Again, no one really. Pau Gasol carried some Memphis teams, and is a great player. He was a vital piece to those Lakers titles, but do you call Pau a franchise player? Not really. Tony Parker, Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas and Zach Randolph? All really good players, but franchise players? Not in my mind.
Yao Ming could have been one, had he not been injured. The sky was the limit for that guy. Jay Williams looked like one, but, again, injuries, and a pretty poor rookie year. Is Amare Stoudemire a franchise player? Probably closest you find too one, but I do not think he has ever been as good as a guy like Dwight Howard, who actually is a force at both ends of the court. Carlos Boozer? Nope. So, I will say this class has no "true" franchise player.
Well, I think that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both have played this role incredibly well. Carmelo Anthony has been pretty darn good as well, though not in the league of the other two. Still, at the very least you have LeBron and Wade, and Melo has been a consumate team leader and someone you might call one as well. Chris Bosh is just short, but he was the guy for the Raptors and lead them too Pau Gasol/Grizzlies level success :). Bosh definitely is not in the same area as those 3, and would be below Pau and Amare on the totem more than likely, but for a 4th banana in a draft, he is pretty darn good.
Dwight Howard is someone I would legitimately refer to as a franchise player. He is the best player at his position in the league bar none, and he is someone who if built around correctly, could be the center piece of a championship team. I would say no one else in the 2004 class has been really close to being considered a franchise type talent.
Chris Paul and Deron Williams stand head and shoulders above everyone here. They are two PG's, who if around the right talent, could lead teams too major plays. The problem of course seems to be that the talent they might be around would be elite to the point of possibly being better than either Chris or Deron, or at least in the conversation. Still, they are two of the best players in the league, and have been so for a few years. If they are not franchise players, than there are probably only about 6 in the whole league. Monta Ellis and Danny Granger would probably both be better not being the best players on their team, as seen by their records as such. Bogut has been a centerpiece for the Bucks, but I do not think anyone outside, and probably VERY few inside, Milwaukee feel he is a "Franchise" Player.
Looked like Roy was going to be one, but I do not think I see any others. Lot of complimentary guys and nice players, no franchise guys.
Looked like two, only one. Kevin Durant is it. Rest are just details.
Derrick Rose certainly appears to be one. Do not know what more you could have proved by year 3 other than leading his team to a ring. Nonetheless, MVP, 22 years old, I would say, BINGO to the Franchise tag. Lots of other really strong players, but I think it starts and ends with Rose as far as a FRANCHISE player.
Well, looking like Blake Griffin and John Wall might be making noise as far as being considered franchise guys. Still, they will need help. Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry are nice players, but they would need A LOT of help, and I do not think they are your classic definition of "Franchise guys".
So, who are the probable franchise guys in the league right now?:
1. LeBron James (Best player in the league, he still has a chance to be absolutely special)
2. Kevin Durant (He seems to have tools where you could see him as the most likely person to surpass LeBron, if it can be done)
3. Dirk Nowitzki (Well, he was #1 amongst franchise players this year. They may not be the favorites next year either, but I do not think he will slow down much)
4. Dwyane Wade (Absolutely incredible, I expect next season to be a big one for Wade and for him too really gel as far as chemistr is concerned with his teammates)
5. Kobe Bryant (People may think he has slowed down, and he is getting older, but the guy is still one of the best players in the league. He may have passed the torch as far as being the best player, but his intensity as a competitor, work ethic and killer instinct are still unmatched. His focus is in an area where I do not see other players approaching)
6. Dwight Howard (Best Center in the league hands down. His defensive presence is real, his instensity on the boards is top notch, and if he ever developed the ability to be more of an offensive focus, watch out)
7. Derrick Rose (This may be due to his team, but he is an incredibly special player and he has shown the ability to win at a high level. Miami was tough for anyone to get past, but what he did before Miami and during this season puts him in rare air)
8. Chris Paul (It is a coin flip between he and D-Will, and honestly it is whoever teams up with the best players. But, I would say he is a franchise type PG, and on the right team, I could see him being a floor general a la Isiah Thomas)
9. Carmelo Anthony (He may be a better player than some listed, but this is where you really start too question the term "Franchise Player". Is he one? He made it too the Conference Finals, but he has yet to prove he has as much passion for defense as he does for scoring, and his teams have just seemed to be utterly stagnant. Melo is a rare talent, but I would rather every player on this list if I were looking too start a franchise)
10. Deron Williams (The Sloan thing was weird. His team in New Jersey sucked. But, what he did in Utah, too me, was incredibly impressive. He is probably the most complete PG in the league, and he will more than likely make big strides this year.)
Blake Griffin, John Wall
Used to be:
Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett (1995), Paul Pierce
I think use you get past these players I listed above (the 15 right above), than they are probably not "True" Franchise guys. That is about 1 per draft (15 out of 17 draft years). You might be able to build a nice team with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, but are either franchise players? Is Russell Westbrook a franchise player, or a fantastic complimentary player? The bottom line is "True" franchise players are much more rare than we think. I would say there are only 10 in the league at this point in time, and I might argue even fewer are "True" Franchise guys. Everyone needs help to win a championship, but some need more than others. Past these 10, it might be at a point where you need an entire starting 5 of top notch players with solid depth (Think Detroit, 2004).
I mean, you could even argue that from 1999-2002, no franchise players were drafted. A 4 year drought! So, when we looked at this year’s (2011) draft despondently and said "Well, there are no franchise players", that might not be as rare as one might think. Also, when we look at 2012 and say, "There might only be a couple", we will be lucky if that is the case. Ultimately, you want to draft the best player possible for your team, and in the end, you are incredibly lucky if you draft a "True" franchise player. However, even looking at 2012, you see maybe a few guys who can get there. I expect it to be a good and deep draft, but I am thinking it is more 1999 than 1996. That is too say, full of players that could help win championships, but possibly without a "True" franchise player.
Maybe at a time.....:
MJ, Kobe, Dirk, Tim Duncan, and Paul Pierce are definitions of franchise players. Although they may have had their egotistical strugges to pursue other options or leave their teams, they stuck it out and prospered.
LeBron almost eliminates himself from the discussion due to his recent decision.
There is a difference between a franchise guy and a Hall of Famer. Some franchise guys can win titles, others can't.
But, to me, franchise guys are guys you can build solid playoff teams around. Lower tier franchise guys are like Joe Johnson who
you can build a solid playoff team around but they are not legit contenders. Pau Gasol was a lower tier franchise guy in Memphis, taking the
Grizzlies to 3 playoff appearances. Chris Bosh was a lower tier franchise guy in Toronto and is more of a great third option on a legit contender
while Pau is a great 2nd or 3rd option on title teams led by a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Of all the Nineties guys Shaq was the only Top Tier Franchise guy I can think of until Tim Duncan came along. Penny was a 2nd tier franchise guy who did better with a legit superstar like Shaq. Grant Hill looked like a 2nd tier franchise guy until he got injured, same with Larry Johnson.
Lower tier franchise guys also included Alonzo Mourning who anchored some very good Heat teams. Dikembe Mutombo might have been like that in Denver but he was more effective as a glorified role player in Atlanta and Philly. AI was a legit franchise guy. The Sixers were built around him and even made the Finals. They lost because they ran into a Lakers team with 2 legit franchise guys in Shaq and Kobe. The MJ Bulls had a legit 1st tier franchise guy and a 2nd tier guy in Pippen (see 1993-1994). David Robinson was a legit franchise guy but didn't win until another legit franchise guy (Tim Duncan) comes along.
Clyde Drexler was a legit franchise guy but he didn't win until he joined another legit franchise guy, Hakeem Olajuwon,
I think this year you could make a case that Z Bo is a 2nd tier franchise guy. He was the main weapon for the Grizzlies, did even more after
Rudy got hurt, and then put them on his back in the playoffs getting them to game 7 in the semifinals. But the Grizzlies won't be able to make the next step until Rudy Gay steps up as the other 2nd tier franchise guy for that team. The Thunder are good because they have a 1st tier guy and a 2nd tier guy. The Thunder will be the team to beat if James Harden can turn himself into a 2nd or 3rd tier franchise guy. The Heat had 2 first tier guys and a 2nd tier guy (Bosh) but lost to a team with better depth and the better 1st tier franchise guy (Dirk).
The Bulls have a great first tier franchise guy but really need at least one more 2nd tier guy. The Knicks have two borderline 1st tier guys and if Billups or someone else can be that third option then they will be the 3rd best team in the East. Among the young teams the Kings look promising because they have two guys that can be borderline 1st tier franchise guys (Evans and Cousins) and two more who might turn into 3rd tier franchise guys (Jimmer and maybe even Marcus Thornton). Blake Griffin is one of the most entertaining young players but for the Clippers to go far he has to turn into a legit 1st tier franchise guy and hope that Eric Gordon turns into a 2nd tier franchise guy since every franchise guy needs help (Dirk had Terry who was a borderline 1st tier type guy in the playoffs and Jason Kidd was a 3rd tier guy when you take his passing, defense, clutch 3's, and veteran leadership into account).
Another classic post by MikeyV. Great post.
But from a biased view of a Warriors fan, Ellis and Curry both hav ethe potential to be franchise players.
And I personally love DeMarcus Cousin's game, and in my opinion, if he makes himself coahable and doesn't get as many fouls, he can be an absolute monster.
I guess by "True" Franchise Player, I am indeed talking about top tier players that can indeed lead teams too high levels and could possibly be integral in leading a championship team. So, no, I was not talking about guys who could lead teams too moderate play-off success. Indeed, Joe Johnson and Zach Randolph are second tier guys, and Amare is close too a first tier guy, but this is about guys who are going for rings. Steph Curry has potential too be an All-Star, but I would want someone besides Monta Ellis playing with him.
DeMarcus Cousins could be a very nice player, but I do not know about him being a monster due too his athletic limitations, not too mention his mental approach. Rasheed Wallace could have been a franchise player, and he lead teams too moderate play-off success, and contributed on a ring winning team. But, was Rasheed a franchise player? Not really. He was supremely talented, but totally unwilling too change his game too use his most dominant qualities, and also could self destruct at any time. DeMarcus is bigger than Rasheed, but he is not even close too as talented and athletic. He can indeed be a good player, but I have considerable doubts about his ability to be a "True" Franchise Player. He and Tyreke will need a lot more help in Sacramento.
Imo there are different ranks of players
Here is how i define NBA Players:
Franchise Player: Kobe,LeBron,Durant,Wade,Tim Duncan(Prime),Dirk Nowitzki,Dwight Howard (Due to the games lack of true dominant centers),Derrick Rose. etc
Superstar:Carmelo Anthony,Chris Paul,Deron Williams,Pau Gasol, Yao ming(Healthy) etc.
All-Star:Amar'e Stoudemire,Rajon Rondo,Chris Bosh,Manu Ginobili,Tony parker,Russell Westbrook,Al Horford etc.
Star:Monta Ellis,Andre Iguodala,Rudy Gay,Andrew bogut,Zach Randolph etc
Solid Starter:Kyle lowry,Jameer Nelson,Grant Hill(late in career, superstar early),Carl Landry,Brad Miller,Lamar odom etc
Starters:Steve Blake,Derek Fisher,Wesley Johnson,Courtney Lee,Cj miles,Thabo Sefolosha,Beno Udrih etc
Role Players:Tyrus Thomas,Bill Walker,Cj Watson,Chuck Hayes,Gary Neal,Fransisco Garcia etc
Bench Warmers:Desagana Diop,Dj Mbenga,Brian Cardinal,Ian mahimi etc
I dont think Paul Pierce was ever a franchise player. i see paul pierce as between an all-star and a superstar.If you look at the numbers he is an all-star but since he has won late in his career and is now a winner it raises him up.
Vince carter was an all-star in his prime.Tracy McGrady was a Franchise player at his time in orlando.
I didn't like to add any rookies or young talent above because its really too early to judge(though i may have added a few). I posted it before and i will say it again. i really like Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. I think both players will be franchise players in their prime. Blake and Kevin will be the next great power forwards when tim duncan,KG, etc retire from the game. I see john wall as a superstar but not a franchise player. Imo superstars can also win a championship with them as the number one option but they need to be surrounded with better talent than A franchise player. If you put any kind of team with a franchise player i think a franchise player can carry the load where a superstar will need help, of course this is only during the regular season. no player can carry the load of a team by himself. like for example, lebron carried the cavs for a long time, hey always were an above average team, but never a championsip team. When mo williams came they became a better team and started contending for a championship. But it still wasn't enough.Now you say what about t-mac according to me hi was a franchise player right? why could he never make the playoffs during his prime in orlando. In 2003 where t-mac was in his prime, Mike miller was the 2nd leading scorer averaging 16 points a game, however, he only played in 49 games. Grant hill only played in 29 (averaged 14 a game). Giricek (yeah..) was the 4th leading scorer with 14 a game but he only played 27 games for them. Drew gooden the 5th leading scorer only played in 19 games. And finally the 6th leading scorer was at Garrity who played in 81 games (whew) and played 32 mpg for orlando. And i dont think a team can win with that kind of team no matter who your franchise player is.
i was actually gnna make a similar post like this
Ok, I see you, there, but don't you feel that there was at least a 5 year span where T Mac was unstopable. Sure he never made it past the first round even with Yao, but when Yao was hurt, it was just him by himself, just like Kobe during those years when he could not get out of the first round. And wasn't there a breif year where it was a toss up between T Mac and Kobe? Correct if i am wrong, but during the 03 season, I thought people were saying Kobe T Mac in the same breath.
Very hard to say which is which. Is Paul P really a franchise player? Before getting the other two he couldn't lead his team very far. Seems like it depends on what players they have around them. I agree with what you said Memphis Madness
my rankings of players
superstars/franchise guys: dwight, lebron, wade, melo, etc
great players: joe johnson, amare, pau, chris bosh, etc
very good players: kevin martin, andrew bogut (when healthy), tony parker, aldridge, etc.
good players: rip hamilton, jameer nelson, rashard lewis, etc
average: cj watson, kyle korver, chris wilcox, etc
below average/terrible: kwame brown, dj mbenga, scalabrine, etc
I did list McGrady as "Maybe at a time......", but I see that did not stick. Too say, etc., too a list of players leaves a lot of room for debate as too who those players actually are. Yes, of course it matters who you have around you, which is why I feel that at a time, they were franchise players. Paul Pierce did indeed make the Eastern Conference Finals as the best player on his team, so, there is that. Think the Celts would consider him a franchise player.
But, I was just giving a general description of players that could lead teams too big things. Vince Carter was amazing for a while though, and McGrady was indeed mentioned in the same breath with Kobe at a time. However, I would not call T-Mac, in general, a franchise player as someone who never lead his team out of the first round. Team and circumstance always play some part in things, but I think you guys get the point of what I am trying too say. That is, THERE ARE NOT TOO MANY FRANCHISE PLAYERS OUT THERE. Not a lot at all.
You usually need at least a couple really solid players, if not more, around a franchise type talent, too win a title. Winning is ultimately what makes you seen as a truly GREAT player, as far as from a career stand point of legacy. Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing were all players who at least lead teams to the Finals, if they did not win rings and all would be considered franchise players during their (long) primes. But, if you are not at least geared for a championship, how can you really say, "well, this guy is our franchise player". It may be true, but you ultimately want your franchise guy to do more than get you to the play-offs and miraculously win a round. Teams like that usually do not go very far, unless they are stacked with talented players at every position.
Steve Nash is and was a franchise player, please do not confuse that. To this dqay he is possible still the most valueable player to his team, organization, and teams surrounding community. He is everything anyone would want from a player on and off the court. Blame management for his failures. If Steve Nash is not a franchise player and/or never was neither is or was Lebron James, or Kevin Garnett before Boston, or Dirk Nowitzki before this year.
Dude, he had Marion when he was getting 21 and 12, he had Stoudamire when he was getting 26 and 9, he had Barbosa and Diaw that were very good complementry role players scoring 13 a game, Joe Johnson for one year when he had 17 or 18 a game, James Jones and Eddie House at 10 points, and even Quenton Richardson got 14 one year. Granted Nash made them better, but how much better? If you replace Derek Fisher(at that time) for Nash, they go from a 60 win team to a 50 win team. If you take away Kobe from the 07 Lakers and replace him with Raja Bell, you go from a 42 win team to 25 win team. If you replace Lebron on the 09 with Ryan Gomes, you go from 66 to 35. I just sayin.
Arvydas Sabonis cold have been, and as much as he is one of my favorite all time greats im 50/50 on whether or not Pistol Peter was.
We need a strong definition of a franchise player before labeling what a franchise player is.
Nice read, and the point makes clear a more concise one. Franchise players are those who can lead their teams to glory, and shoulder the weight on their back on the hike to the promised land. No, this doesn't count Lebron out because he has led a charge to two finals, and although I hope he never does, I think he'll eventually win a title. Also, Iverson came close to a championship, but mentality got in his way.
The Franchise players are the ones who transcend their teams, teammates, and the sport itself. They define basketball physically, emotionally, mentally and metaphorically. They hold tremendous influence over their teams and sport.
It is the players who are close to the "Frachise" status that raise concern, because they lack the intangibles beyond leadership to lead the charge to a championship. I only say this as a generalization. However, in order to win an NBA title you must almost always have a Franchis player, because they are the keys to success.
Franchise players are harder to define then people think because they still need help to win a championship. If Kobe did not have Gasol or Shaq would he have won a championship? Even if he didn't I don't think it would be fair to not consider him a franchise player. Even Lebron with his recent failures had led a Cavs team that had no business making it to the finals. I feel franchise players are players who lead teams beyond what they would be normally capable of with an average or even all star player. Though with that definition very few franchise players have played in the NBA all time.
Just cause you're the best player on a team that wins a championship doesn't make you a franchise player. I don't consider Paul Pierce a franchise player because his teams never went that far until he had KG and ray allen
A player with the right talent around them, who has the ability to lead a team with subtle weaknesses to a championship. They of course need solid teammates, strong defense and rebounding as a whole, every champion has had these factors. But, they have the ability to raise their own play, and the play of those around them, to a championship level. Their are different tiers, but to me, if you are not championship caliber, it will show by needing increased amount of help to cover up your holes. The Detroit Pistons of 2004, to me, are one of the few teams that won by having a more complete team than the rest of the league, with a capable player at each position and a deep bench. Meanwhile, franchise players have been collecting rings for teams like nobodies business, more often than not with supporting casts that may not be as well rounded as the Pistons of 2004 were.
As far as Kobe and Shaq go, did you see their teammates when they won their 3 rings in a row? Case in point. Not too mention, Kobe did have a fairly strong team in 2008-10 (3 Finals, 2 rings), but he was the leader of those teams bar none. Quite simply, you could not plug in a lesser player at Kobe's position and think that they could perform at the same or a better level. That seems too be part of the quality in franchise players, that they can play at a level few can reach. The 10 I listed seem to be at, or near, that level. Circumstance of course plays a part, and on any given day one can best the other. But, these are the players you can build championships around without having too have perfectly constructed teams.
If that's the definition, how can anyone be considered a franchise guy, if a team needs 2 really good players to win a title?
Your definition of a good player?
If someone is a franchise player, they tend too show it in their ability too carry their teams too great levels of maintained success. Everyone needs a great team around them, but these guys have carried teams that may have lacked talent too greater levels than any of us would have thought. What exactly are you trying too say, and what is your definition of a franchise player? Also, I think playing well on both ends of the court is incredibly important, which is why there indeed might be fewer than 10. All I was trying too say, is that it is rare too find a talent that you really want too build a team around. Still, I think there is a difference between good players and great players. I mean, does it really matter what adjectives we use to describe a person, or the level and ability that person produces at and leads there team to produce at?
Super-Duper Stars: Durant, Dirk, Dwight, Dwyane etc.
All-Stars: Pau, Deron, Blake, Nash, Monta
Borderline Stars/Premier Starters: Tyson, Kevin Martin, Steph Curry
Key Contributors/ Role Players: Francisco Garcia, Shannon Brown, Baby Davis, Barea
Late Rotation: Eyenga, Donte Greene, Jason Collins, Fesenko, Anthony Carter
Scrubs: Scalabrine, Mbenga, Kapono, Whiteside
The definition is key. My definition:
Franchise Player: - A player who you can 100% build a contender around. You can star with that player as your best player, put 1 or 2 stars next to him, and you're definitely a contender. What matters is the players peak years.
For example, if every year, all teams were to start from scratch and get drafted, who would be the first 5-10 picks? those should be your franchise players. You can start a team with them and put a couple star level players next to them (in the next couple rounds of the draft), and it's a championship contender.
My current franchise players:
I think there are some players who are right on the borderline. To me, Gasol and Kobe are equally valuable at this point. Kobe has clearly decline since last season. They're both just on the borderline.
Deron, Randolph, Aldridge, Nash, Ginobili are all excellent, but not quite there.
KG and Duncan very recently dropped off the list... they both rely more on their teammates now.
Looking at some of the names you mentioned historically. I think Iverson, Yao, Tmac and VC (oh raptors.. you kill me) were all franchise players at some point. They had enough talent that you could reasonably say "I'm going to put 2 stars next to him and we're going to win a championship"
There are very few teams in NBA history who have won a championship without a combo of a top 5 MVP contender and 1 other superstar or 2 stars. If you want to win a championship, you need to draft or trade for one of these guys.
I considered taking Derrick Rose off the list. His defense is a work in progress.
Paul Pierce was never a franchise player. He's great and was very close to that level, but KG was the franchise guy on those contending teams.
Blake Griffin and John Wall look like they have a chance to be franchise guys in the next couple years.
Sorry for all the posts, but there is a lot of respond to.
Saying that Tmac wasn't a franchise player becuase he never toook his team out of the first round is unfair. His peak years were on a Magic team which lost Grant Hill. Tmac played his ass off those playoffs... go check his stats.
Imagine if KG was never traded to the Celtics. Wouldn't he still have been a franchise player? You can't win with no help.
I think for maybe 1-2 years, before the injuries, Tmac was slightly better than Kobe. We forget just how dominant Tmac was... rebounding, assists, help defense. he did everything.
@iminipanda, is it possible to name scrubs without mentioning Kawaaaamay Brown? Stephen A Smith doesn't think so.
Knicksboy, I agree with you. I posted that the Bulls and Lakers had more than one franchise guy when they won. I would consider Patrick Ewing as a top tier franchise guy but he never had a 2nd tier franchise guy. The best he had in 1994 were Charles Oakley and John Starks. Incidentally he lost to a Rockets team with a better 1st tier franchise guy (Hakeem). A great example of a franchise guy getting help is my example from above when Clyde Drexler (a borderline 1st tier guy in his prime) joins Hakeem in 1994 and wins a ring. KG was at least a borderline 1st tier guy in Minnesota but he didn't have the help. Marbury could have been a 2nd tier guy but it didn't work out. So he goes to Boston and joins another borderline 1st tier guy in Paul Pierce and a 2nd tier guy in Ray Allen with the help of current 2nd tier (maybe 1st tier?) guy Rajon Rondo who played well along with some nice vets like James Posey, Eddie House, and Tony Allen. I think Dominique was a borderline 1st tier franchise guy at least. He is a step down from MJ, Magic, and Bird but he never had as much help. Similar to Isiah Thomas who was great but had a lot of help with his Bad Boys title teams. Dr. J was a guy similar to Dominique who played great but didn't win a title until another franchise guy (Moses Malone) came in. I would say that Dr. J was a little better than Nique but he was not in the category of Michael Jordan. Bill Simmons once compared LeBron to Dr. J since he is an incredible talent but he lacked a killer instinct and couldn't get it done on his own. Another similarity would be to Kevin Durant who is a first tier guy but he needs Westbrook to step up and maybe even become another first tier guy (RW is basically a 2nd tier guy now). If you have those two top tier franchise guys along with Harden who could turn into a borderline 2nd tier guy then they can win at least a couple of titles. ... The Grizzlies have Z Bo who is probably a borderline 1st tier guy and if Rudy Gay gets to that level and if Gasol can turn into a legit 2nd tier guy then the Grizzlies can win a title. So I think a team needs at least a 2nd tier guy to go along with a 1st tier guy to win it all. Even this year's Mavs had Jet who was AT LEAST a 2nd tier guy in the playoffs and some other role players. The 2004 Pistons had no legit 1st tier guy but I would say that Billups was a 2nd tier guy, with Rip, Ben Wallace, and maybe even Rasheed Wallace being borderline 2nd tier guys. That year the Lakers had 1st tier guys but Karl Malone was hurt and GP was a shell of his former self. Plus, the Pistons had a deeper bench. I might also add that Shaq had already peaked and Kobe had a subpar series and Ben Wallace was peaking as a great defensive center. ... the Heat could soon run into this problem (like the 2004 Lakers) when LeBron and Wade peak. The Heat would have two first tier guys but they are on the decline and cannot afford for one of them to have a bad series (LeBron's Final was subpar but not really bad) since Bosh is at best a 2nd tier guy. To be a title team the Bulls need help for Rose who is a legit 1st tier franchise player but it seems as though Boozer is not even a 2nd tier guy, and Deng, at best is a borderline 2nd tier guy. So at minimum the Bulls need to add legit 2nd tier guy and get Deng and Boozer to step up. They also need to upgrade their bench which I think was overrated. Another hope is that Noah can turn himself into a 2nd tier guy with his defense, rebounding, and energy, similar to the 2004 edition of Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman in his prime.
I think good players are third tier players, I consider them starters. Here's how I see it
- Superstar- Top 10-12 of the NBA, can usually carry teams to advance levels
- Star- Good, but tops out with 50 wins and not alot of success in the playoffs
That's how I see the NBA. To say franchise talent, it's tough to say that. To me, Dirk is a superstar who carried a team to a title. I honestly rank him with Hakeem in 94 and Duncan in 03 as talent gap between the best and second best player. I also don't like the term franchise player, because teams overpaying for borderline star players ( Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, etc) for wins and not dropping down the road.
Too many Alfreds getting Robin money
Too many Robins getting Batman money
great article mikeyv. Its a very interesting topic.
Ill say this, "franchise player" is a bit of a loose term. To me, a guy who you can build your team around and that team can be a 50+ win team for numerous seasons is basically a franchise player. Most guys you listed were at some point a franchise player by my standards. But most didnt keep it up for a real long time. TMac, arenas and francis were franchise guys in my book but leveled out a little early in their career. Nash is kinda opposite in that i dont think he was ever a franchise player until like his 9th year in the league when he went back to phoenix.
I think Granger and Iggy, at best are 2nd tier guys. Both players were focal points of two playoff teams but they got beat
in the first round. Maybe they are more borderline 2nd tier guys who are nice players but are better off as the 2nd or 3rd option on a contender.
They are closer to Lamar Odom who was the 3rd guy on the LA title teams behind Kobe and Pau. A star who has never been an all-star but a very good player on contenders. Shawn Marion was a borderline 2nd tier guy this year (along with Kidd) behind Dirk (1st) and Terry, and he was a 2nd tier guy behind Nash and Amare in Phoenix. ... On the 2nd Bulls 3peat MJ and Pippen were first tier guys and Rodman was a second tier guy and you could argue that Toni Kukoc was a borderline 2nd tier guy with a game similar to Odom's. ... I think Iggy would be good in this role on a legit contender: a good 3rd option and a cross between Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, and a poor man's Pippen (or the Y2K Pippen).
Between Superstar and Franchise Player than? Also, with that being said, would the fact that I named 10 guys, with 2 more I believe are on the cusp, not almot exactly fit your "Superstar" requirements, and therefore not be kind of splitting hairs for being what I produced in my label? Also, what is your tier system? You say, "Superstar", "Star", than "Starter". Is that not sort of a drop off? Which one is a good player, or "third tier" player? The Starter? I am actually interested in your theory on this, and wonder if you could maybe break down the tier system, maybe without using "etc." like some of the others tried to do. Mine would be this:
Kobe Bryant (still, and do not tell me Kobe and Pau are on the same level. Especially after the play-offs. I respect what you said Paradox and the points you raised, but they are not on the same level man. I am a huge Shaq fan, but forgive Kobe already :)
On the cusp: Blake Griffin, John Wall (Though they are probably both second tier at this time)
I think you also have levels of talent even amongst the first tier. For instance, I am still under the belief that the top 3 guys in the league (LeBron, Wade, Kobe) are much better than everyone else.
Second Tier: All-Star or Fringe All-Star talent. They are a level below the effect of Tier 1 players, and more than likely are not who you want as the best player on your team if your goal is winning a championship. All of this is at the point where they are now, not at the point where they were or where they are going to be.
I do not believe there are any. There are some who possibly could become second tier guys, and there are some that make All-Star teams, but I do not believe they are on the skill and effect level of other players on this list.
Carlos Boozer (though he was wack in the play-offs)
More than likely Timmy and KG, though they are indeed slipping
Monta Ellis (I question it, but he has fantastic scoring capability and top notch speed. Just does not have a winning track record)
Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans are guys I believe are close to this plateau, at least close enough to list them
Third Tier: Players who may be below All-Star level, but are very high quality starters that you more than likely want on your team. Very open too discussion, but I think this is a big group.
Al Horford (Though I do believe PF would be his best fit)
Tyson Chandler (Who crushed everyone he faced in the play-offs, and was integral in the Mavs winning a title)
Al Jefferson (Though, the winning has too start coming)
Brook Lopez (Has too start showing something more, though)
Emeka Okafor (Still not my favorite choice of C, but he can be solid)
DeMarcus Cousins (I am guessing he will become one this upcoming season)
Kevin Love (Believe me, I am a huge fan of his. But, no matter how impressive your stats are, your team finished DEAD last. Kevin is awesome, but I do not think he is a Tier 2 player just yet, and I think his statistics were inflated due to the Timberwolves lack of talent. He is there best player, but I do not think he will ever be a Tier 1 player, and believe the PF's listed above him, are indeed better than him.)
Lamar Odom (His versatility is off the charts. Rare player, great role guy too have.)
David Lee (Though again, he has yet too really be part of a winning team, which makes you wonder)
Gerald "Shiah" Wallace (I have an uncle who goes by his hebrew name of "Shiah", but his real name is Gerald. Therefore, we started calling Gerald, "Shiah", when he got traded to Portland, thinking that he is awesome and it is hilarious.)
Wilson Chandler (?)
Grant Hill (Though, he is of course gettng up there)
Kevin Martin (I know he scores a lot of points. I still think he is a 3rd tier player)
Jason Terry (Who is a weapon)
James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and OJ Mayo are all getting there, if not already here. Wesley Matthews might be as well.
Jason Kidd (Floor general, still an awesome defender. Cold blooded.)
Andre Miller (All he does is win)
Stephen Curry (Who I think will be 2nd Tier rather soon)
Brandon Jennings (I expect a big move up for him as well)
Fourth Tier: Serviceable Starters with noticeable limitations that make you believe that they may need a possible upgrade. These could be age, mental capability, lack of athleticism, lack of experience or lack of a certain skill that could make a possible liability at times.
Andrea Bargnani (No softer "Center" in the league. For real.)
Roy Hibbert (His lack of athleticism and mental stability are questions he has too deal with if he wants too move up a tier)
Kendrick Perkins (I will give him the benefit of the doubt, but he was a ghost in the play-offs)
Chris Kaman (He is a third tier if he is healthy, but that is a big if)
Marcus Camby (Age has caught up with him)
Greg Oden/Yao Ming (Who would both be higher tiers if they did not have major health concerns)
Greg Monroe (May be considered more of a PF, but I think in due time he will move up a tier, possibly soon)
JaVale McGee (Maturity, improved shot selection, development of a post game. All things he has to seriously improve on before being considered a third tier guy)
Marcin Gortat (Showed some ability during his trade too Phoenix, but still not sure if he is the optimal player you want at the position)
Elton Brand (He was a second tier at a time, but injuries and age have made him a not exactly optimal player)
Think that Derrick Favors/Ed Davis will probably be at this level
Richard Jefferson (Fell off the face of the earth come play-off time)
Nicolas Batum (Who I believe will make an awesome 3rd tier guy)
Rodney Stuckey (who is a 2 guard)
Evan Turner (Will be next season I believe)
Tony Allen (Such a pest on defense)
Paul George and Wesley Johnson seem to be here as well, and I think they will be this season (if it happens)
That is all I will do for now, but I think this gives a decent break down of where players lie. I think you could probably make more tiers and divisions, but this gives some perspective on where certain players, and certain teams are in conjunction to the rest of the league.
I said before, a franchise guy is some sort of a outdated phrase. But to be fair, you can say that a superstar can be considered a franchise guy, but not every superstar IS a franchise guy, if that makes sense.
Here's how I see it with the tiers
Superstar- Top, or second best player at his position, a player that could change a franchise and gives you a legit chance of winning a title. A player that if moved, sway the outlook of a team and can push them to new levels, depending on players around them.
Star- A very good player (usually top 20-25) that can change a franchise's outlook, but a ceiling is there. Best outlook: 35-45 wins, 1st round exit.
Starter- Solid, capable to hold down position on team, gives some solid performances from time to time, never more then a #3 option
Bench- Best in spurts, usually gives issues offensively, sometimes defensively. Flawed.
Fringe- 12th men
- Superstar- LeBron James
- Star- Amar'e Stoudemire
- Starter-Nic Batum
- Bench-J.R. Smith
- Fringe- Scalabrine
Of course, there's some guys who fall in the middle sometimes.
I'm sorry, but whoever said that KG is a borderline 1st tier guy is out of his damn mind. KG was the best player in the entire league for about 5 years... (only people who you could possibly argue would be Duncan and Shaq) He had the worst supporting cast ever in MN. the one year that he finally had something half-way decent, with cassell and spree, he went to the conference finals only to lose to Kobe and Shaq.
KG was like the definition of a franchise player.
1. Phenomenal Leader.
2. Phenomenal Team Defender.
3. Phenomenal Team Player.
I think you are maybe leaving out a lot of breathing room. There are so many different tiers, and JR Smith is better than many "Starters" out there. Not to mention, it seems like you could define a star as such a wide range. Well, Franchsie player is not outdated, and while I never used it very often, it gets used on here a ton, and definitely used in the media quite often.
Your system seems to leave so much open for interpretation, and I do not know how it differed much from mine, maybe mine trying to stress which players are actually better as opposed to their "team roles". Not all "Superstars" are "Franchise Players", but I think that the guys I listed are guys who tend to lead their teams, or can be talked about possibly leading teams, to title contention.
As far as a starter is concerned though, would you rather have a Luol Deng or a Nicolas Batum? At this point, obviously Batum. As far as Stars are concerned, when does that classification end. Who is the last person you put in as a "star". Is the last person you put in as a "starter" someone starting a team, or someone you WANT starting on a team?
"how can anyone be considered a franchise guy, if a team needs 2 really good players to win a title?"
I do not exactly know what you mean by this, but I asked you what a good player was, and you said "a third tier player". Than, I asked you what a third tier player was and you say, "a starter". Than, you tell me that a starter is "a #3 option", a la Nicolas Batum? If I confused you without stating an initial definition, I apologize, but I guess I am a little confused about what you are exactly asking, or your reason for debate or disagreement. What do you mean by two good players? Do you mean two guys like Nicolas Batum? If you could clarify for me, I would be all ears.
When I was making the "Tiers", I was trying to knock out the middle. Their are probably about 6 tiers, and everyone below 6 is more than likely, as you say, a 12th man. Still, when I was going through the tiers, it was kind of interesting to see where players were classified, and how certain teams outlooks were. I think your definition of superstar does pretty much mirror mine of franchise player. However, I think you also agree with my theory that not all Superstars are created equally, and some are better than others. Though, at the same time, having a complete team, as we saw with Dallas, can indeed be enough to defeat incredible star power. Still, I guess I am a little confused at the point you are trying to make, other than not liking the term "franchise player", which I can understand.
@xbadgerhustler: Totally agree about KG. He was a first tier player for lord knows how long. I always was saying, if KG were on Sacramento instead of Webber, I think they might have won the championship. I think just very recently he became a second tier player, but he was one my top players in the league for at least over a decade.
Kevin Garnett was a star, Tim Duncan was a superstar though.
If we swapped Kevin Garnett with Tim Duncan in 03, I don't think they win the title.
KG also didn't want the ball in fourth quarters... Which is why his teams were always irrellivant until Sam and Spree were on the squad, two players who want the ball in the clutch.
Great post though MikeyV.
For one, I much rather have Deng then Batum. I think you can add your own levels, I think that's fair, but I would consider Deng a high level starter and Batum a mid level starter.
Maybe levels within the levels? I don't know.
The last person I would put as my "Star" would probably be Josh Smith or someone like that.
Tim Duncan, for real, has always been a Center. People call him a PF, because he technically did that with David Robinson, but Tim Duncan is a Center. Had Tim been drafted by any team other than the Spurs, he would have been considered a Center his entire career. This takes nothing away from Timmy's skill set, and Tim Duncan had the better career of the two, but they were different players. Still, I think they were both superstars, and I honestly have no idea what the difference of the two would have been in KG's prime. If you look at numbers, plus what they did defensively, it is hard to argue whether the Spurs would have missed a beat with KG. Similar rebounder, scorer, shot blocker, better free throw shooter. More frail, but not constantly overpowered or scared to play downlow. Tim Duncan is better for his accomplishments and such, but he was not stuck in Minnesota for his entire career.
@IndianaBasketball: Thanks man. I appreciate it bro, always glad when you like one of my posts because I really respect your basketball knowledge.
@Knicksboy: I was hoping for a little more clarification than that. Plus, my point is, of course you would rather have Luol Deng than Nicolas Batum right now. But they are both "starters". You switched from adjectives to numbers, you could see how one might be confused, lol.
That's what I was thinking. If I had to pick one, I'd always pick Duncan, because he was solid at Center as well
I don't know... I don't think Timmy and KG were all that similar.
Duncan embraced playing with his back to the basket more and actually dominating the paint. KG was into playing the top of the 1-3-1 and getting out and harrassing guards. KG was into trying to play point guard at times and small forward.
On defense, Duncan was actually a defense anchor in the paint. He had a Dwight Howard impact where he just made everyone else around him better due to his paint protection ability.
But question... What tier would you put Andrew Bynum in?
Honestly, I would say Andrew Bynum is a high level starter. I don't think he can stay healthy and it drops him for me. If he could play 80 games a year, I say he's a low level star.
Third Tier: Players who may be below All-Star level, but are very high quality starters that you more than likely want on your team. Very open too discussion, but I think this is a big group.
It is posted above, and I thought I spaced it out more, but it is pretty hard to read and notice the different groups. I define each tier, and I feel there are 0 second tier Centers (and Dwight as the only first tier).
I do agree that KG and Tim were different, but was KG not a defensive anchor as well? I mean, with Boston he changed their entire culture. I do see what you are saying about the 1-3-1 though, and that he did at times back away from guarding a teams best post threat, preferring to play rover. Tim definitely had more of a back to the basket game as well. But, Kevin was incredibly versatile, and very difficult to defend. I just really do not know what it would have been like for the two to switch places.
From 2004-7, KG lead the league in rebounding (Though only his team was only good during the first year of said streak). Still, he was so versatile, and I remember talking to someone, who had played with a lot of these guys and him laughing off Tim Duncan being better than KG. He even said to me, "Timmy knows he is not as good as KG, he just knows he has a better team". Well, this person was kind of full of $hit, but it does make you wonder, and I do not know if it would be as cut and dry as one would think. They were very different players stylistically, but would KG's substance really had caused a disharmony in San Antonio? I don't know, but I think it would be interesting to see them switch places and find out he differently there careers turned out.
Duncan vs. KG.
Agree with @Indianabasketball. What separated Duncan from KG was Duncan's post game. Duncan just took over games by scoring in the post in a way the KG couldn't quite match. KG has a good midrange jumper, and he can guard more positions on D. Both players are superb passers too. TD is definitely a center.
So I think Duncna is slightly better than KG due to the post scoring. He fit perfectly with Ginobili and Parker.
It's a shame KG wasn't surrounded with any great players in him prime, I'm happy we at least got that one year in Boston before he hurt his knee
Franchise Guy = Superstar. To me anyway.
I don't think it makes sense for an organization to treat someone as the "franchise player" unless he can win you a championship if you surround him with some stars. That's why the Joe Johnson signing makes no sense to me. Your chances of winning it all with Joe Johnson as your best player are very low... so you can't treat him as a franchise player and pay him the max
It's simpler then this. A Franchise Player is the type you can "Sell Your Team Around" and also gives your team the chance to beat any other team in the league on any given night because you have him. People like Kobe and Duncan have always had great coaching and complimentary players around them at all times.
Allen Iverson is the definition of a franchise player. The Sixers had the number one selling jersey in the world with him, sold out arenas for away games because of Iverson, and most importantly it didn't matter who the other 4 players were who suited up with Iverson on the court they had the ability to beat any team in the league on any night.
Sorry, but after the finals, I would put Marion in the 3rd tier, but that was pretty accurate, except from a biased point of view, Curry is already 2nd tier.
KG probably would've won a ring with Robinson, but I don't know if he'd have been as successful as Timmy was post Robinson.
Timmy was just a better paint enforcer. Similar to Dwight, you could put average to below average defenders around him and he'd make them better. Not saying that KG wasn't an amazing defensive player, but I just don't view him as the anchor Duncan was. A lot of pieces around Duncan changed for years, but the results always the same. 50 win seasons and championships.
And while KG had a post game, he was more of a faceup four. He was an elite athlete, so he could go over or around defenders, but he wasn't really a power player who gave you back to the basket points. Timmy could give you back to the basket points, which drew double teams and opened up things for shooters, etc. Very easy to play with Timmy. I also feel Duncan wanted the ball more and delivered when games were on the line. I never thought KG wanted the ball. He just wanted to rebound, defend, set the key screen and maybe hit an open jumper if it was passed to him.
KG was probably more talented. I mean, before Dirk and Durant, he was considered the cream of the crop for big men with wing like skills. He was definitely a more versatile and intense defender than Timmy. However, I just think Timmy was the better player.
Tezo, for as much as you have watched Indiana basketball... saying that KG played (or tried to play) PG is completely false. I've been watching the Wolves since before KG got there... ( I can remember where I was when we drafted him and thinking, 'we drafted WHO!?')
And he really only played SF in his first couple years when we had Gugliotta playing PF. There's no question that KG was not a franchise player when he was just coming into the league. Duncan definitely had a better post game- I don't think anyone would say otherwise. Duncan also was a terrible free throw shooter for a while. Duncan also couldn't guard SFs. Duncan also couldn't knock down jumpers out to KG's range. Duncan also had a lot more room to breath because he had good players (and good coaches) around him. Like I said in my original post about KG, there's definitely an argument for Duncan being better than KG, but I disagree.
Duncan has more rings, he was (and is) a better center, and he's certainly a franchise player, but I think KG was on another level.
Didn't Tony Parker win at least one of the Finals MVPs?
(i put up my last post before I saw the most recent post)
I feel like Tony Parker and Manu > > > > > Sam Cassell and Sprewell in the year or two before they retired... Obviously it's purely speculation to say KG would've won with those two, but I think it's pretty safe to say he would've.
Duncan was definitely more of an enforcer in the paint, but I don't think that necessarily makes him a better defender. I'm not sure if there was a better hedge guy on the pick and roll than KG. Not sure the next time we will see someone better than KG at that to be honest.
I will say that KG didn't want the ball as much as Duncan did in crunch time. At the same time, I think MN did run the ball through KG, but he was often doubled and he made the right play and moved the ball to the open teammate. I don't ever remember KG shying away from the ball like LBJ did this finals... LBJ disappeared for basically the entire last 5 minutes, whereas I think KG was willing to take shots as long as he wasn't being doubled.
You couldn't double Duncan because of the players around him.
I finally had to go look at some of those spurs teams to see for myself...
first championship he obviously had David Robinson, but he also had Sean Elliot, Mario Elie, Avery Johnson, Antonio Daniels (the big) and Jerome Kersey!
second championship: David Robinson, Sean Elliot (although post-kidney), Tony Parker (young), Stephen Jackson (young), Manu (young), Bruce Bowen, Steve Kerr, Speedy Claxton and Steve Smith
3rd: parker, Manu, Horry, bowen, nazr mohammed, brent barry... <-- this to me is the worst of the supporting casts, but Manu and Parker were sooooo good by now.
4th: same as above but add an aging Michael Finley, Jacque Vaughn and subtract Nazr... replace with Fabricio Oberto and Francisco Elson
Man they had some good teams.
Also, I still understand they would've never won with out Duncan.
My thing: Does Garnett lead San Antonio to a series win over New Jersey in 03 and Detroit in 07? Those series went 6 and 7 games, I don't know if Garnett does to be honest.
There were times KG would initiate the offense, etc. Not saying he literally tried to be the point guard. My point was just that he spent too much time floating around outside of the paint and shooting jumpshots for me.
Duncan couldn't defend small forwards on the perimeter, but he did stop them, and everybody else, from scoring at will in the paint. He wasn't the versatile defender that KG was. IF we're talking about versatility, KG is the best to do it. There's no denying that. I don't think we'll ever see another four man who can get out and defend like that and with that kind of recovery speed/quickness. However, it can be argued that protecting the paint is greater than being versatile. I mean, I believe championships are won in the paint (unless you're Michael J. Jordan). When you have a player who can protect the basket, it makes things easier for everybody else. Just look at Orlando. Without Dwight Howard, they'd probably be one of the worst defensive teams in the league.
KG had more offensive "talent" than Duncan. He could do more. I mean, KG could dribble and pass like a wing, which is what made him so fun to watch. KG had more flair. Duncan was skilled too though. And while KG probably had a little more range, Duncan had decent range too. I don't know how many times I've watched Duncan knock down that bank shot.
KG just wasn't the crunch time player Duncan was. He wasn't as bad as LeBron in the crunch, but he did shrink some. He didn't play quarter four like he did one through three. Duncan grew in the crunch and that just stands for a lot in my book.
Both Hall of Fame players regardless. I just have Duncan ranked higher.
This should be posted at the front page of this darn site! Fantastic