I was reading the latest Bill Simmons Grantland story on Lebron James, (www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8085525/lebron-makes-leap) when this question popped in my head.
Every great player in history has had a great nemesis or nemesis', every player except Michael Jeffrey Jordan. So why is he lauded for his domination of inferior competition? Now, Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever, I'm a little more reluctant to admit that than most because I honestly think when Michael Jordan reached his peak, it was when sports on tv and sports online was most popular(until today that is) but fans had bounds of more ways to see Jordan than other great stars of the past, so it is a little biased.
In the article it said "We remember NBA stars three different ways: by the entirety of their career, their career's highest peak, and the duration of that peak. Something like 25 players had genuinely great careers, but only seven played at the all-around level that LeBron achieved these past few weeks. Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Magic and Bird kept their peaks going. Wilt got bored. Walton got injured. Now we're here again..."- Bill Simmons
So Bill Simmons was saying that only Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Walton were the only NBA players to ever dominate the game in all areas for their time and positions..
He would later say "Russell and Chamberlain had each other. Kareem had a steady slew of rivals to keep him busy: Wilt, Willis, Cowens, Walton and Moses, to name five. Jordan didn't have anyone; that's one of the reasons he played baseball for 18 months. You need someone to keep pushing you after you finally break through. When I think of Game 5, I will remember LeBron's brilliance first, then Mike Miller having that crazy sports-movie montage of 3s … and then I'll think of the Oklahoma City kids huddled in the corner at the end, waiting their turn, knowing that's how the NBA works. We'll see if LeBron ever lets them on the ride...."- Bill Simmons
He was saying Lebron's nemisis would be Kevin Durant, the guys who worked out together last summer, will play in the Olympics(and WIN GOLD together), and are mostly regarded at the top 2 players in the league and they play the same position.
It can be argued that Michael Jordan played in one of the weakest times for wings in NBA history, Reggie Miller, John Starks, Clyde Drexler, etc none were ever on his level, Jordan never even got to face arguably the best perimeter defender ever in Scottie Pippen because he was on his team.
Now This article is mainly because Lebron won his FIRST Championship, Thursday night. I think if Lebron wins 3 or 4 championships by the time his career is over, the conversation should be open on who is the best player ever between he and Jordan. Lebron does everything better than Jordan except scoring, and an argument can be made that it is a push between the 2 on defense.
Lebron shouldn't be compared to Jordan or Kobe right now, I think that's dumb, you can't compare a player who has only played 9 years to someone who has played 16 or has been retired for 9 years after playing for 17. But at the end of his career IF he has won more championships the argument should be open. Also with his one championship win, I think he has cemented his place as a top 20 player if not a top 10 player already.
But the question is open, does Michael Jordan get too much praise for playing against watered down competition? Jordan's peak was at the end of Magic and Bird's careers. He never had a great rival, now that's not his fault but it has to be looked at. It sort of like Damien Lillard dominating in the Big Sky conference, he's still a good player but his stats could be padded for playing against weak competition.
Michael Jordan on statistics and honors alone is the greatest but comparing his run in the 90s to Magic or Birds run in the 80s against steeper competition, does Jordan get too much credit. Don't think of endorsements or off the court things, just on court production for his time against his competition.
MJ played against watered down competition. When did this happen. I guess Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp were scrubs.
The Knicks with Patrick Ewing, Mason, and company were losers
Barkley still had a solid Phoenix squad
You have Stockton to Malone
You still had the young Magics who beat them the year before with Shaq and Penny even though Shaq was hurt a lot early on.
You had David Robinson and the Spurs.
I will say this most of the teams I mentioned could have beaten OKC. The old Spurs gave them trouble and they were over the hill. A lot of teams I mentioned were complete and they have vets but they weren't too old.
A lot of media are trying to build up someone to Jordan because Jordan has a a hole personality and Jame is more likeable.
Trying to build up KD as he is right now and say Jordan did not face anyone is stupid.
Definitely not getting the point. None of those players were nemesis for MJ, they were good teams and great players, but they're games rarely ever affected each other, I don't remember MJ having to guard Patrick Ewing, or Shawn Kemp, He and Gary Payton rarely guarded each other also, against the Sonics, they tried Hersey Hawkins, David Wingate this guy named Nate McMillan(you may have heard of him) and the Glove and none could stop Jordan or the 72-10 Bulls in 1995-1996. Patrick Ewing was a great player but he wasn't a transcendent Star, he wasn't even a top 4 center in the 90s.
All of the players mentioned had players or teams to directly be a nemisis of them. You're really saying the Knicks or the Pacers were those teams? Or are you saying that Reggie Miller who couldn't play a lick of defense or pass the ball was that player. When you think of Magic, Bird is directly correlated. When you think of Wilt, there is Bill Russell, When you think of Kobe, you think of every player who was supposed to be the next Jordan or next great, who he outlasted for some reason or another. (Tracy, Iverson, Vince Carter, Ray Allen, also having the Spurs as another great team, having Shaq, having the new generation of Lebron and W-Wade.)
When you think of Jordan there is no one, and honestly that's not a knock on Jordan just his era, really who did he have to guard? Scottie guarded the best player on the other team unless they were a center or Karl Malone( he did that some though) Think of the playoffs from 91-98, In the Eastern playoffs it was almost the same exact teams and players every year. None of those teams are transcendent of their times, The Jazz made it out of the weak west 2 years in a row. Yes the West was weak after 95. The Rockets got old, Shawn Kemp got fat and left, Portland lost their players, the Spurs weren't there yet, The Lakers were still going through the Magic retirement part, the Suns were just there..
The 90s were weak, that's not a knock on Jordan, just his time. Great players should put up stats against weak competition.
Jordan didnt have a nemesis cuz he was better then everyone else....even the Hall of Famers. That is why he is the GOAT
Wow awesome article, I've never really thought about that. The best wing during Jordan's era was probably Drexler and I'm taking Durant, Kobe and Wade over him for sure.
Sheltwon is actually proving this article by naming so many names and none of those players played either the 2 or 3. Interesting to think about.
Jordan does get a little too much credit...and lebron isn't even on HIS level. Everybody should calm the heck down.
Didnt Jordan avg something like 20 a game AT the AGE of 40 in the early 2000's (I wonder what he would have avg in his prime).... Jordan played against aganist a deep solid group of wing players and won championships aganist some GREAT teams, he made the competition look watered down.. btw Clyde in his prime would give Wade fits.. 6'7 great defender, long arms, super athletic....
Magic and Bird had each other. Because of them, the NBA gained popularity.
MJ transcended the NBA, particularly with his array of commercials.
Because of that, David Stern made rule changes, particularly the no hand checking rule, that helped MJ, who, himself, was able to push off and travel with impunity. He could stand at the free throw line and scowl at referees who knew that Stern was hitching the entire future of the NBA onto his shoulders.
Clyde Drexler, Reggie Miller, Alex English, Dominique Wilkins, Chris Mullin, Eddie Johnson.
I'm just saying, these are great players, theyre just not considered a nemesis because none of them ever beat Jordan. You have to beat the guy to have a rivalry. Jordan dominated the competitions straight up. The only guy anyone considered a rival to him was Olajuwan because they were drafted the same year, and he only won when Jordan retired.
You don't think the 96' bulls team would beat any team from any time period you throw at them? I'd bet the house they beat the 2012 Heat.
1. I'm asking everyone to think of Jordan without the commercial and the shoes because that is a luxury that many players before him didn't get, the coverage was just different because the times were different. Look at just his on court play, and they players he played against. Jordan was sort of a product of his time, just as Lebron may be some day. Times change and with it comes advantages and disadvantages.
2. I'd only put 5 teams in the same league as the 1996 Bulls, and I don't know if any of those teams could beat them. Those teams are 1972 Lakers, 2001 Lakers, 1985 Celtics, 1960 Celtics, and 1986 Lakers. All of those teams were actually great teams that also had their star "Players." The 1996 Bulls were a great team, they had Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Michael Jordan, then there were good role players around them, John Salley on the bench, Steve Kerr, and Ron Harper.
3. I'm not saying Lebron should be compared to Jordan right now. Kobe who is the closest thing, falls so far from Jordan, but I think if Kobe retired today he'd be the 3rd best player ever. Jordan would be 1, and Magic would be 2. That's counting statistics, honors, and the competition he played against. In 10 years if Lebron has won more championships the argument, should be made. That's all i'm saying. 10 years down the road.
4. I hate people trying to change the barometer for greatness every year. Championships don't just define a player. Bill Russell has 11, and he's hardly every mentioned in the top 5, and sometimes the top 10 of great players. Many people don't even consider him the best center ever. Find your measure of greatness and stick to it. Don't be a bandwagoner because everyone else does something. So many people had the "Ringless Lebron" jokes. Just because it was funny. Charles Barkley has no rings and is considered a top 3 power forward and a top 20 player. Oscar Robertson has 1. If Lebron wouldn't have won, he would still have averaged great statistics his entire career. Jordan didn't just walk on the court to play 1 on 5 to win a championship. Basketball is a team game, it's not golf people..
The 1996 Bulls had Dennis Rodman. The 1995 Bulls didn't and they lost to Orlando. People don't want to remember this. Bill Simmons has brought this up before. MJ was destined for a great 1996 season anyway but without Rodman could they really beat the Magic or the Sonics with Jason Caffey and Dickey Simpkins at power forward? Rodman doesn't get enough credit for the 1996-1998 Bull.
Another thing: in terms of raw talent, strength, quickness, athleticism, and all-around freak skills the short list of all-time greats reads Wilt, Jordan, LeBron. Wilt lacked some of those intangibles but those are the Big Three Freakishly Talented NBA players ever.
Then all-around fundamental skill guys you have Oscar, Magic, Larry, LeBron, and maybe MJ. So I I have LeBron on both lists.
LeBron is top 15 now and in the discussion for Top Ten. Maybe not Top Five yet but he is in the running-- and for a 27 year old phenom that
really says something.
My Big Four guys are Kareem, Russell, Mike, and Magic. Skills, winning, and intangibles. For LeBron to make it a Fab Five I think he has to win 3 titles at a minimum and a couple more MVP's.
A trump card for LBJ would be winning 4 straight titles. That would put him in the discussion for who are the top handful of guys EVER.
On the whole a pretty good article but I do have to disagree with the whole idea of a nemesis. I feel like the Magic-Bird battles, the Wilt-Russell rivalry, and the current LBJ-Durant rivalry are mostly the inventions of the media and fans.
They are all great players and played in the same era but more than anything it makes for good drama to create this idea of an equal but opposite in many ways a s; High scoring but selfish scoring machine in Wilt vs the defensive, selfless team player in Russell; razzle dazzle black man playing in Los Angeles with flair and style VS hard working white man from Indiana playing fundamental basketball in a blue collar town like Boston; and now the amazing physical speciman but a ruthless mercenary who abandoned his fans in order to play the villain VS the nice guy with amazing skill, a seemingly frail body, who stayed loyal to the small town that drafted him in order to build a championship.
It all sounds so perfect, but the truth of the matter is that these guys are all professionals. They don't need any media hyped rivalry in order to get their competitive juices flowing. Jordan was one of the most competitive players ever, I have a hard time believing that he left basketball and played baseball for 18 months because he didn't have a rival...
Also on a sidenote, I would probably say that for a 5 year period, Shaq had no real rival either.
The level of competition is much higher today. You can really only compare players of the same generation. It is only a tribute to Jordan to say the competition seemed watered down. Of coure, all teams are better today, so nobody is at an advantage or disadvantage.
I disagree the 80's during which Jordan played half of the era was much, much better level of basketball. The competition and talent was through the roof. It was the NBA's golden era.
I'd say the current era is comparable to the 90's. I completely disagree that the present era is much better than the 90's. Maybe slightly better but definitely not much better.
Yeah, I don't like the idea of saying the 90s was weak because Jordan was better than everyone. He is the undisputed GOAT, you realize. Also at the time, Drexler was considered very similarly skilled in all respects, just a lesser version of Jordan. And while yes, the other 2Gs paled in comparison to Jordan, there were other greats and HOFs that certainly had no trouble standing up to Jordan. These greats just didn't happen to play 2G. Isiah was a huge nemesis for Jordan early on in Jordan's career. Reggie Miller also would drop three point bombs and had plenty of swagger to match up with Jordan.
Not even close. Jordan faced waaaay tougher competition. Remember these guys that were super talented were staying in college at least 3 years and getting stronger and coming in ready to produce. The way lebron was pushing durant was crazy. There were real centers back then too when you attacked the paint. Think about it brad daughtery in his prime probably would be considered best center in the game today and he was nowhere near the best back then. I can't even compare the eras.
Jordan played very, very good players throughout the decade of the 90's. You are completely underestimating the competition during the decade in which you claim Jordan was padding his stats. Jordan dominated everyoe so none of the great players during his era could rise up and become a rival.
He went against great guards, some of the all time greats. Drexler, Dumars, Mitch Richmond, Reggie Miller, Gary Payton. Dumars and Payton were two of the best lock down defenders of any era. Consider also that many of the all time great forwards and centers than played in the 90's and Jordan never had real good interior players on his squad other than Dennis Rodman and Horace Grant. He had to do more for his team to win despite having a weakness at a position of strength during his era. Often times Jordan's help defense on great interior players made differences in his teams victories.
Nowadays there aren't Ewings, Olajuwons, Robinsons, and O Neals dominating the paint. Centers like this made it much more difficult to drive to the basket and finish at the rim, this would have cut heavily into Lebron James' production. I think Lebron could end up near the top of the all time great like a Magic, Bird and Jordan but he still has more to do. Jordan playe in a very good era of basketball in the 90's and he played in the best era of basketball, the 80's. He dominated in both eras, he just didn't win a title til the 90's because his team gained experience and he did as well.
Nowadays, conditioning is much better. Go back and watch games from the '80s. Players weren't as strong or athletic as modern players. Plus, because those were the NBA's goldern years and because of population growth, there is a greater talent pool in general. The NBA wasn't as popular in the '70s when the stars of the '80s were growing up.
Also, because of the introduction of the 3 point line, players enter the NBA nowadays with more shooting range. In the '80s, teams struggled to shoot from deep. Now, most big men are pretty reliable catch and shoot mid-range jump shooters by the end of their careers and many are pick and pop threats as rookies. Guards are much more confident shooters from deep. Now, back then teams hadn't adjusted to the 3 point line yet and coaches took a while to adjust their playbooks to take advantage of it, so lack of shooting ability wasn't the only reason why players didn't shoot well from deep, but it was a major reason.
Also, team's playbooks are more advanced on both sides of the ball today. NBA teams run more complicated sets and throw in more defensive looks. This isn't a flaw of coaching in the '80s; it is just due to the fact that coaches today can build on the work of others done before them.
Most of what I'm saying is just what you can get from going back and watching a couple of games from past eras. People tend to romanticize the past, but the fact remains that the level of competition in the NBA has grown consistently since the league's inception.
The reason centers don't dominate the paint today is because of the loosening of the zone defensive rules, not because today's centers are less skilled than those of the '90s. Teams can throw double teams much easier now, making post scoring something that is difficult to rely upon unless you have an elite post scorer.
Also, because of the proliferation of pick-and-roll based offenses, slower footed big men who thrive in the post are often left on the bench because they aren't threats on the pick and roll and/or cannot effectively defend it. Defending the pick and roll also prevents any individual defender from getting too dominant as a lane defender. Consequently, teams often value bigs more for shooting and mobility than for brute strength.
When I say watered down competition I mean compared to other times. There are only 450 players in the NBA every year, so if you're there, you're good, but I'm saying Take a all 2000's team, an all 90s team, an all 80s team, etc.. And I doubt you'd put the 90s as the number 1 decade.
As a matter of fact, that's about to be my next article, everyone should make their all decade teams and compare them to see which decade is better.
It's like you can't compare single players but you can compare times. Lebron has been compared to the Big O, but the Big O and players from the 60's had different rules, no where near the athleticism, or advancements in workouts, medicines, and enhancement products.
I don't see how you can compare all-decade teams. I guess you can say the best team will come from the era with the least parity.
I forget who said it, but a poster on here pointed out that, with the level of competition in the NBA rising, the difference between the superstars and the average players is declining. I think that is likely true, as back in the '60s, the NBA was dominated by a few players who put up gaudy numbers, but today their are more superstar players, and teams need more top level talent, just because there is more talent to go around.
I thought teams went against teams. It is not Jordan's fault that he played great when team has stars at other positions. He still had the best defenders on him all the time and got double team. How does Lebron look better because he went against Durant who he is like 5 or 6 years older and also bigger than. Battier guarded Durant the most. Lebron is a power forward that plays small forward. Durant is a small forward. Also Gary Payton is a 6'4" guard and used to defend 6'6" MJ. Is Payton a scrub. Drexler has a ring and he was pretty good on Portland. Isiah Thomas was the scoring for Detroit but one of the best defenders/rebounder Dennis Rodman/Joe Dumars helped guard MJ. Both players were great defenders. MJ beat some great teams and had to do against some very good players and he had the best defenders on the team on him. It does not make much sense to have your best scorer also have to defense the other team's best player all the time. Scottie Pippen tended to get the harder defensive assignment on the Bulls. Why fprce MJ to defend the best player and carry the team offensively. That is a dumb move. I know Heat was not going to have Lebron guard Durant the whole game and then expect him to carry the scoring load.
People bring up Magic versus Bird a lot. Magic and Bird play different positions. Magic is big enough to sometimes guard Bird but it would make no sense for Bird a power forward to try to guard Magic a point guard by himself.
I remember you had Anthony Mason, a sf/pf combo player guard MJ. Lebron is a physical freak of nature. It is not like that put centers on him and he had to still score. Lebron has not had to carry a team while a guy that has him by 30 or so pounds is guarding him and this was with the old rules.
Back then you have better and complete teams and now you have better players but incomplete and worst teams. Almost all the teams back then that were good had a legit inside outside combination. Chicago was an exception in a sense because they posted up a shooting guard named Jordan. Their PF and Center were mostly for defense. They got their offense on 15 18 footers or put backs
Horace Grant, Luc Longley, Dennis Rodman, Bill Wennington, Jason Cafftey, Bill Cartwright(he may have had a low post game but was old when won with the Bulls), Bison Dele(post game but came off bench), Dickey Simpkins, and a few other that I can not remember.
Also Bulls had some great shooters on their teams. Phoenix had Ainge, Majerle, Eddie Johnson, and a few others that could straight shoot it. Phoenix also had a bunch of big man who could work down low. One of those was Barkley who even though he was a power forward guarded MJ at times.
I am not even a MJ fan but I am a fan of basketball and I respect him game and the teams he had to beat. If anyone is trying to downplay that and the era that MJ played in, it greatly offends me because I fell in love with basketball around that era and trust me, it was better in a lot of ways than this era of basketball.
Money has forced a lot of people to try to boost this era up more than what it is to get fans of this generation to support lining up their pockets. How can you get people to play more for an inferior product.
The competition is not better in the present day than in the 80's or 90's. Couldn't disagree more. Claiming that guys are more athletic nowadays is silly. It's not true. Even if they were more athletic, which they are definitely not, there were simply better basketball players in the 80's. I'd take Magic, Bird, Jordan, Jabbar, and Dr J against any other all decade team. This is leaving out guys like Isaiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, Moses Malone, John Stockton, Adrian Dantley, Kevin McHale, Hakeem Olajuwon, Bernard King, Charles Barkley, Maurice Cheeks, Karl Malone. When you have to leave off Isiah Thomas on a starting 5, you have an incredible team. Thomas is easily better than any point guard of this generation. Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, heck noooo! Not even close. The depth was incredible. All time greats were all over the league, not all stars, all time greats. I honestly don't believe you people who think athletes are better nowdays across the board have even watched games in the 80's or 90's. Some of the best athletes ever played in the older generations. Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Dr J, Bill Russel, Clyde Drexler, Shawn Kemp, David Thompson., Larry Nance, and on and on. Did you people even watch basketball in other eras??
I'm glad you mentioned the rules. The rules worked against the older players. The rules were much more difficult on offensive production in the 80's and early 90's. Heavy contact was allowed, defenses used every dirty trick in the book to make it more difficult on the offense. Hand checking was allowed. Physical play was at an all time high in the 80's, nowadays physical play is discouraged. Players have a much easier time finishing in traffic and are much more comfortable knowing that any sort of contact will be whistled. The NBA wanted to give more space to offensive players. If some of the players in the 80's played in this era of wussification, they would destroy people. Many of the missed field goals and turnovers that they had would have been whistled for a foul.
Most big men are reliable catch and shoot players because they have no post presence. Any player than comes out of college nowadays with any type of post presence is highly coveted. It has nothing at all to do with changes to playbooks or defensive schemes as you claim. If this were the case then a player like Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum would be a liability to his team. Howard and Bynum are the best centers in basketball today because they actually have skills around the basket and in the post unlike most other centers in today's game. Olajuwon and Jabbar would absolutely devestate the awful centers in today's game.
Big men in basketball are not coveted for perimeter skills, the game has adjusted to the type of players that are developed( poorly) in youth basketball. Players nowadays don't develop their post skills as much as the past generations. Everyone sees the stars of today are guys who handle the ball and have their hands on the ball most of the game, they want to be that guy no matter what their height is. Thus you get many face up players despite being near or above 7 feet. Low post scoring is a lost art but once in a while great low post players can and do dominate basketball games. The pick and roll was implemented long ago in the NBA, centers had to defend the pick and roll in the 80's as well. Name one center that was all time great in the 80's or 90's that wouldn't thrive with today's rules or playbooks.
And no teams did not struggle from deep in the 80's. I have absolutely no idea where you are getting this information from. Fundamentals were much stronger in the 80's, this includes shooting fundamentals. Players went to college and mastered fundamentals, rarely do players stay in college long enough to develop fundamentally and they suffer from this mightily. You have not watched enough basketball. There were plenty of great shooters in the 80's. Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Isiah Thomas, Byron Scott, Vernon Maxwell, Dan Majerle, Joe Dumars, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, Dale Ellis, Chuck Person, Danny Ainge, Dell Curry, Craig Hodges. could go on and on and on.
"The rules worked against the older players. The rules were much more difficult on offensive production in the 80's and early 90's."
That is simply not a case, in fact Teams scored far more often in the 80s and 90s, because zone defenses were not allowed and because teams played at a far quicker pace.
That is exactly right. All those double teams of LeBron in the post you saw in these Finals would not have happened in the '80s. And Dallas' zone would have been thrown out the window. Like I said earlier, it is much more difficult to score down low now. That is the reason teams run more wide open, smaller teams, with more shooting on the floor.
@pistonsfan: I have actually watched quite a bit of '80s basketball recently. Just last week I watched game 5 of the 1987 ECF between the Celtics and the Bad Boy Pistons. While handchecking on the perimeter was allowed, physical play in the post wasn't. Refs didn't call flagrants or technicals much, but they called tons of ticky tacky touch fouls on shots and postups. And there was much less contact between players as nobody attacked the basket off the dribble like they do today. There were no parallels back then for players like Russell Westbrook.
The late 80s Pistons were famously physical, but their was less physicality in that game than in modern postseason games. Things got physical when the whistles were blown and play was stopped, but there was less contact while the clock was running. So, yes, Parrish would hammer Laimbeer when the game was going on, but that stopped once the clock started.
The new lane rule is why guys attack off the dribble more now because more guys would take charges back then. Also pistonfans, it appears you are agreeing with and also disagreeing with me.
I am not really sure.
Also piston from a pure physical standpoint, athletes are better because they are bigger faster and stronger. You have ex players who have actually played in both eras saying this. It is just the fact that player back then knew how to use what they had a lot better. If you took a guy like Shaq when he was in decent shape and gave him Kareem or Olajuwon's skills, that would be unfair. If Shaq or Howard could actually make 15- 18 foot jumpers or had legit sky hooks. Some of the player now rely soley on being bigger, faster, stronger, and longer than other players. There are only a few player now that have a complete skill set like back in the old NBA times. A lot of guys that start now would be bench players back then.
I guess we must of watched different teams because in the 90's players were posting up a lot. The inside outside game was big. I know in the 80's you have a lot of slashing and kicking out because big men could also shoot and the low post game was a beat down that is why a lot of ticky tack fouls were called because sometime players would just hack and slap instead of playing D. At one point you have a generation in the 90's that did not like to play defense. I have heard 70's and 80's were about offense so I think as the game changed more defensively, it had to evolved offensively to keep the point total up.