A THOUGHT ON IVERSON AND THE SO CALLED "TOOOLDTOPLAY THEORY"
The top overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, guard Allen Iverson is a polarizing figure. Many people love him and his game; some decidedly don't. At the crux of the most recent news surrounding Iverson is this expectation he should be satisfied with a bench role, something he has repeatedly said he doesn't want to do.
The question here is this: Why should he?
Are his skills declining? Is he losing some of his quickness? Sure, at 34 he probably is, but at the same time when a guy can put up better than 17 points a game – as Iverson did last year with the Detroit Pistons – it's pretty clear he's still an effective player.
And should age really be any kind of determining factor here? There are still 10 other players chosen in the first round of the 1996 draft playing in the NBA – guess how many of them are still starters? Eight of them (draft slot – name – position):
1 - Allen Iverson (PG)
2 - Marcus Camby (C)
5 - Ray Allen (SG)
7 - Lorenzen Wright (C)
10 - Erick Dampier (C)
13 - Kobe Bryant (SG)
14 - Peja Stojakovic (SF)
15 - Steve Nash (PG)
17 - Jermaine O'Neal (F/C)
20 - Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C)
24 - Derek Fisher (PG)
Wright is the only member of that list who isn't a key player. Ilgauskas is only not a starter because his teammate is now Shaquille O'Neal. Stojakovic began the season not a starter, but was recently added back to the starting lineup.
Games played can't be an issue either, since just about all of those players have extensive playoff experience to add to their 13 years in the NBA. How many of those players, should they be traded, would expect to be bench players?
Now, if Iverson believed the guy starting in front of him was a better player, it's likely he'd be okay with it. Mike Conley is not that guy.
There is no doubting Iverson could handle things differently than he has, but at the same time it's hard to believe there is some element of truth when he says what he was told – both in Detroit and Memphis – is not what happened. Given a blank slate and allowed to compete for a starting job –Iverson said he wanted the chance to compete – does anyone really think Conley would win? Or Rodney Stuckey?
It's a tough situation and Iverson's hamstring injury didn't help things at all, but at the same time this idea Iverson should only have reserve roles available to him simply isn't fair.
He's not a perfect player and having him on the floor forces the team to change around him, but one could make the same argument for a lot of players. But does anyone think Ray Allen will have trouble getting a job starting for a team next summer when he is a free agent? And will he be expected to compete for that job, or will it be handed to him?
Granted, there are quite a few factors that feed into such a decision, all different depending on the situation – but it's easy to see Iverson's point of view. You don't have to agree with him – many won't – but that view is also justifiable.
You're looking at things from a very skewed perspective. Iverson was not a good player last year, he was a shade above the average player in the NBA. Every sabermetric used to evaluate a player's overall performance would agree with that assessment. Notably, Iverson finished last season with a 15.8 PER, a stark contrast to his career average of 21.1.
Yes, he's a very good player, but his deficiencies on defense and his need for ball control make him a better fit on a team's second unit and down the stretch. Michael Wilbon actually wrote an excellent column on Iverson in Cleveland as the ideal fit recently. Here's the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/10/AR2009111016558.html
he has slowed, but in reality there still arent many as quick as he is..
to be honest i could care less about all that per this or per 48min thing..i think a player is good byu watching them beform on the court..im pretty sure if we went by that kobe probably wouldnt be consider the best player now or jordan as the best player ever....and i doubt the average nba player can put up 17 a game on the pistons team that had stucky and hamalton at the guards as well..or the average nba player would start over either of those guys
hahha ignoring per 48 minute stats and PER stats because you don't understand them is idiotic... whether or not someone can put the ball in the basket is different from whether or not they are capable of contributing to a winning team with efficient play, both offensively and defensively.... being efficient wins basketball games, which allen iverson is anything but!
i understand them but i dont look at them and say" wow this player is better then another" i go by watching the games....iverson may be low on that but hes at least taken his team to the finals,been a mvp, and is a sure fire hall of famer....im sure most of the guys ranked ahead of him cant say any of those things..i much rather watch a game and judge then look at the per48min and stuff...also the per48min is skewed also...if a guy averages 6pts a game in 8min then the per48 will multiply and come up wit the guys average in 48 min not taking into account that the guy comming off then bench will be playing against starters most of the game now and not egtting the same amount of shots per 8min as well as being able to sustain the same intensity and have the same high energy for that whole game
iverson not only contribute to a winning team he LEAD them to the finals as well as leading them to the playoffs other years and a couple of years finishing 1st,2nd, or third in the division
doesn't efficiency matter though? If it only take a guy 8 minutes to score 6 pts, isn't that better than a guy who can who takes 16 minutes to get those same 6 pts? just as a guy who can get 6 pts off of 5 shots is better than a guy who takes 8 shots to get 6 pts?
I understand that you can take a lot from just watching people, but at the same time, it's impossible to watch every game and so to get a better understanding of what people actually bring to the table throughout the year... it's about getting a larger sample than just watching a few games here and there...
Iverson WAS downright impressive the year that they made it to the finals... but at the same time you have to consider:
1. that philly team, as a whole, was one of the most efficient defensive teams in the league that year DESPITE AI's gambling self, because they had vets like mckie, snow and mutombo who could compensate for AIs lazy D.
2. The east was SOOOOOOOO weak that year
3. that was like a gagillion years ago. LOL. what he was able to do then is kind of irrelevant when we're talking about what he can do now. while.... his PER from LAST year is probably a much better indication of what he can do, relative to what you saw out of AI 8 years ago.
yeah thats better but im saying its skewed because of the reason i said...it will make some players look like they could be allstars if given the minutes which we all know isnt true...iverson is probably one of the worst stars as far as the per and effciency numbers thing but he gets wins and has gotten a team to the title and id take that over somone say eric gordan since his efficiancy is very high im sure.( younger iverson)
and if you put gordan and his better efficiancy on that philly team id bet the house they dont get to the finals or even the playoffs
one case in point....josh smith is ranked higher in eff then kobe,durant nash,paul peirce and brandon roy......would you take him over any of those guys?
but we're not talking about what allen iverson did 8 years ago, we're talking about what he can do now... and i think it's pretty clear that AI can no longer "get his team wins" like he used to... even two years ago in Denver, he struggled MIGHTILY in getting his team wins, even with Melo on the squad.
as for josh smith....if he is as efficient as you say he is (and has been that efficient for more than just this year) than yes I would definitely consider taking him (depending on who else is on my squad).
josh smith is a BEAST on defense and can play multiple positions easily.
ok lets talk last season with eff since i ddi go off track and used other years...eric gordan was ranked 45th out of all guards,westbrook 40 mayo 38th iverson 39th .....guards who had high eff rankings then them....caldoron-13 nate robinson-27th mike bibby-32....based on the eff i should take those 4 over then first 4...i i went by that which i wouldnt..id go by watching them play and deciding from there who i think are the better players
id gladly pick against you then if you are taking josh smith over durant kobe and paul peirce
hahahah i said CONSIDER! hahaha
but about the other comment.... no one said that PER should be the DECIDING factor, but I think it's definitely a helpful stat that should at least be considered... AI was 39th! THAT'S AWFUL! he was in the same echelon as ROOKIE guards! has he learned anything in the 15 years he's been playing!?
have u heard rasheeds comments about AI? that says a lot- you have to play with your brain when you get older, and AI struggles with that
but he wasnt the only vet that was low...barbosa, jason terry,tmac and richardhamlton was low also
was that offensive efficiency or overall efficiency?
and i doubt very highly that gms and teams draft or trade a guy by eff numbers..they do by how good a player is. and iverson was 39 out of 182..this year toney parker is 45th aron brooks 37th geroge hill is 53rd andre miller is 52
and thats the reason that i dont go by that and im pretty sureteams dont either...mi think the people who go by that the most is fantasy owners and peopel that do that fantasy leauge thing
this year has been like 10 games so not a good enough sample size....
do you ever read truehoop? they've written all sorts of articles about how much GMs look into efficiency...
i believe the leader in using advanced stats is Houston, which is why they can win so many games with so many guys that you ordinarily wouldn't watch and say WOW... cuz it takes more than just the naked eye to see trends that manifest over the course of an 82 game season... or over a player's entire career
GMs fo draft and trade off of stats
and also take into account what they see with their own eyes
scola is more eff then anthony randolph,kg, and lamarcus aldrige but i wouldnt take him over any of those guys right now under any circumstances
yeah off of stats like scoring and rebounding asst blks and what they see...im pretty sure they dont look at eff and say..."yeah thats gonna be a major reason we draft or trade for guy"
i strongly disagree with that comment about they dont look at efficiency. just because you don't, doesn't mean they don't.
thats why i didnt say for certain butim pretty sure its very very low on there list if they look..because i never hear them talk about that when looking at a player..its always.."he scored this or rebounded this " and what they see the guy do when he plays..
plus i just found out the eff rating doesnt take into account defense..just steals and blks and fouls....according to the eff rating jason williams for the magic had a high eff rating on defense then bruce bowen when bowen was on the all defensive team
bruce bowen was always guarding best player on the opposite team, usually SG/SF
j-dub is guarding opposing PGs, who aren't necessarily trying to get you to foul out like a sg/sf
different positions, of course they got different ratings
the all defensive PG probably had a better rating than jw on the magic, but i'm just assuming
first of all, what GMs do when they're looking at a trade vs. a draft is WAY different (not that you said that, but just to clear that up)...
I don't think that many GMs look at college statistics very much at all (let alone efficiency) when making their draft picks, because college is a WAY different game than the NBA. that's why Greg Oden went 1 and Durant went 2. That's the same reason why derozan went 9 before Hansbrough...
but as for efficiency's role in setting lineups, making resigning/signing decisions, and trades... i'm going to go find the link to the true hoop articles with the former statistician used by the mavericks on true hoop... it's interesting stuff.
bad stats look at jennings, sometimes no one can predict what's gonna happen
jennings sometimes was guarding the SF spot overseas
1 flaw in what u r saying is that kobe and josh smith play different psitions for different teams
if kobe and josh were playing the sf position (eg guarding each other)
kobe would have a tough time containing josh in the post, and keeping him out of the paint off of double screens
and off the glass for rebounds and checking him in transition, josh would be rim running in transition and getting to the foul line at a high rate
now on the flip side josh smith checking kobe would just have to hug him and try to limit kobe's touches on the perimeter
while also going back at him on the other end
so both players couldn't guard each other, if you called the plays and exploited the mismatches
guarding each other it is plain to see that josh smith should have a better chance to put up high efficiency numbbers by pounding the offensive glass, then u factor in the defensive contributions with his shotblocking and also the lobs
now if kobe was being guarded by josh smith then he might have an easier time pulling up for his J bcuz of the footspeed advantage, but when other SGs are checking him he doesn't have that advantage
jjosh smith at the SG/SF position has size advantage at the PF position he has speed advantage
so overall when you think about it josh smith has a higher efficiency than kobe defensively and offensively, but you also have to factor in usage rates
there were a couple players more efficant then blak but blake went number one..and some less efficant then curry that went ahead of them because of potantial and how they played..ill take a player who has a lower ef(kobe) over a player who has a higher eff(josh smith) every day of the week if they pass the eye test( what they do on the court when i watch them play, instead of what the eff numbers say)
"plus i just found out the eff rating doesnt take into account defense.."
that doesn't necessarily mean that EFF is not important at all, it just highlights that fact that we need to take it for what it's worth...
just as PPG doesn't tell you about how many shots/turnovers/FTs it took to get to that PPG... all statistics tell you something, the key is to not to take them BY THEMSELVES ...
eff doesnt take into account positions though its just whos more eff then someone else...
How do many NBA coaches quickly evaluate a player's game performance? They check his efficiency.
NBA.com evaluates all players based on the efficiency formula: ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers)).
For example, compare the following stat lines:
MIN FGM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BS TO PTS
Player A 43 5-22 7-9 8 6 3 0 4 17
Player B 29 5-8 3-4 4 7 0 0 2 15
Player A had a better game, right? Not exactly. Player B, who shot 5-8 from the field and committed two turnovers, registered a +20 efficiency total while Player A, who shot 5-22 from the field and committed four turnovers, posted a +11.
(For games played on 11/14/2009 )
MIN FGM-A FTM-A REB AST ST BS TO PTS
41 21 - 34 6 - 8 5 5 0 0 4 55
"ill take a player who has a lower ef(kobe) over a player who has a higher eff(josh smith) every day of the week if they pass the eye test( what they do on the court when i watch them play, instead of what the eff numbers say)"
that's why you're not an NBA GM... GMs get paid millions to do a thorough job... they go off of MANY different factors, one of which is the "eye test"... but that is certainly not the ONLY factor. lol.
anybody can be an NBA GM and screw up, ask Paul Pierce(#10?) and Brandon Jennings(#10) and Michael Olowokandi (#1)
there are no geniuses in basketball even Auerbach probably missed on a HOF once (MAYBE lol)
im not saying its the only factor but that factor is wayyy more important then the eff factor......lets put it liek this....which would you pick...not seeing a guy play but looking at his eff rating or watching a guy play for the season and deciding if you are gonna pick him...which is the most important.....and what does what you said about any gm can screw up have to do with eff rating?
this actually would make a good topic
Look for the article about "Wayne Winston"... there is a follow up to that first one, and also there are 3 other parts that can be found in the October 2009 archives...
those are good reads
I think the point is... any GM would love it if they could watch every single game played, but they can't... so they watch some games and then also pepper in some season-stats, interviews, etc. before making their decision.
I realize the debate has spun out of control on this one since my last post (the second of the thread), but I wanted to address the idea behind Quincey's response to my post in which he devalued efficiency stats.
For one, I referenced two very different efficiency stats. The first, PER, is a measure of individual efficiency. Iverson is at a career low by a significant margin in this category, trending essentially toward being a middling NBA player.
The second, the Roland Rating, is a measure of how well a team plays when a player is on the court in comparison to when he is not. Iverson, once again, looked very mediocre through this measure.
Now, I agree these statistics always must be taken with a grain of salt. But the fact is, Iverson in his prime excelled in these stats. To argue they don't value his contributions is to not understand the statistics, because in his prime, they understood what a stud he was.
In addition, sabermetric analysis really does have a good grasp of a player's greatness. Michael Jordan is, in fact, first in many major sabermetric categories all time, including John Hollinger's PER statistic and a statistic I personally really like, Basketball-Reference.com's Hall of Fame Probability, which attempts to grade players' greatness.
As far as Kobe Bryant being the best player in the NBA, I don't entirely disagree with you. I believe Bryant is the most dangerous player in basketball. With that said, though, it would be difficult to suggest Bryant had the best regular season of any player in the NBA last year. Still, it's worth noting that just about every major sabermetric ranks Bryant top 5 in the NBA, generally behind LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul, based on the 2008-09 regular season.
I really do suggest you recognize that, used as a tool to aid your understanding of basketball, these sabermetrics can really be an asset to your experience as a fan.
as a competitive basketball player i recognize that
Kobe Bryant is generally behind LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul, in just about every major sabermetric ranks.
but that being said he is dangerous on both sides of the ball and is not REGULARLY a gamechanging defender on defense, only on offense, but most nights that is enough especially when you have the lanky Ariza or the burly Artest to be defensive game changer.
As far as Kobe Bryant being the best player in the NBA, I think offensively (esp. long range shooting) he is the best SG in basketball today. But defensively he isn't exactly the second coming of Jordan.
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kobe bryant-9 times all defense
micheal jordan made all defense 9 times
not saying hes a good as jordan but its not far feteched to say hes in the discussion
now i gotta look up somebody elses stupid stats instead of working on my own game alright
1466 547 (and counting)
now MJ retired after 15 years in the NBA
my main man Kobe has been in the league for 13 years
one player was clearly a more superior shotblocker while the other was merely an athletic positional defender
defensively it is not even a discussion u can bring in the all defensive team but everyone knows thats just a popularity contest