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Your No. 1 blog source for rantings on The Sonics, The NBA, Voodoo, Chicken Bones, and Penis Invertings

Looking back at the 04-05 Lakers... AND responding to maggette comments

The article:

The comments:

But Kobe/Tmac/Shaq have other offensive weapons with FT being one of them. And a lot of Maggette's FTA come from 1on1 moves, which is detrimental to the team (other players) passing flow. Hense low +/-. I don't know if you've ever played bball at competitive level, playing with a guard that does a lot of 1on1 move and FTs in throughout the game kinda make you moving less without the ball. Kobe's 10+ FT coupled with horrible FG% led them to records worse than the other team in LA.
mrcoffee 07.02.05 - 11:44 pm #

The problem with those stats is you can't take them in a vacuum. You need to take into account the quality of the teams that they're on and the focal point of the opposing team's defensive scheme.Ray posted his numbers as the #1 option on a team that finished first in its division and won 50+ games. Maggette posted his numbers as the second option on a team with a solid post player, that sadly, was one of the worst in the Western Conference.Ray always had the opposing team's best defender on him, and their defenses were always designed to limit him as much as possible. Maggette, on the other hand got his points as Brand passed out of the post or hit him as a cutter.Don't get me wrong, Maggette is a great player. He is a fantastic finisher with a reliable jumper and shot from the line. But he doesn't have nearly the touch that Ray has, or the ball-handling skills, or passing skills, or ability to take over a game and rattle off 13 points in a row.Maggette is a less athletic Desmond Mason with a better jumpshot and slightly better handle. Put Elton Brand on the Sonics and Ray's numbers would improve by a reasonable degree. To say Maggette is close to Ray as a basketball player is quite a reach IMHO.
Guru 07.02.05 - 11:54 pm #

O.K. I was initially typing a response in the comments but my run-on/tangent thoughts type posting habit quite simply got the better of me.

Quick answer: Never played at a competitive level. Not even HS sadly. Just a weekend/after work pickup games at the gym type of guy at my peak, now I hardly get the chance to play. If that automatically disqualifies me in your mind of being able to speak intelligently on the subject, you are free to leave now, no offense taken.

Kobe's 10+ FT coupled with horrible FG% led them to records worse than the other team in LA

Warning: I'm using this one little sentence to break out into a rant I meant to spew previously but somehow got forgot about/misplaced.

-This comment bothers me. Greatly. While I'm NOT trying to stuff words/thoughts into mrcoffee's statement, there is a small implied thought that I get from that sentence that mirrored popular opinion-articles regarding the 05 Lakers and the Anti-Christ Kobe f**king Bryant.

There were several popular opinions out there about the 05 Lakers team:
A) They sucked. Supremely. More appropriately they failed in some underlying set of GOALS predetermined for them that season.
B) The cause of their departure from greatness resides solely to primarily in the body wearing the number 8 jersey for several reasons.
-1. He chased Shaq away. Shaq was the primary reason for the Lakers dynasty. The swing in records seen by the Lakers and Heat is proof that the trade was horrendous. If Shaq had resigned with the Lakers, the team would have still been contenders.
-2. He chased Phil Jackson away. Phil Jackson is a large cause for the Lakers winning ways. With him they would have been a winning team.
-3. He is not a team player.
-4. He is a ballhog, his game is not "winning" basketball.
-5. He is overhyped/not as good a player as many previously/still think.
-6. He is one baaad man. And his wife ain't all dat! Like, ohmigod, do i hate his guts becky!!! Only a Laker/Kobe lover could truly not hate this guy.

1st off, in regards to sucking, yeah, they actually kinda did. They finished 34-48, 11 games out of the 8th spot. I remember Marc Stein's numerous "the Lakers aren't going to get in the playoffs," and all his proud "I told you so" articles after the Lakers proved him right. There were countless other sportswriters who wrote similarly.

What the pundits so easily seemed to glance over in their gloating were the countless other factors. Like, oh, I don't know...
How about injuries?
Games missed:
Bryant: 16 games
Divac: 67 games
George: 67 games
Odom: 16 games
Mihm: 7 games
Grant: 13 games
Walton: 21 games

And what about these missed games:
Tomjanovich: 40 games

So, you have numerous key players missing huge chunks of game, on a team without much real depth in the first place requiring significant playing time from guys with names like brian cook and tierre brown... Your top 2 players miss key games... your in a season of MAJOR transition which include completely changing offensive schemes, roster personnel, coaching etc.... your head coach, widely considered a great coach in his own right, has health complications and is forced to resign... you not only change coaches midseason, but also try to reincorporate some of the triangle offense with a bunch of guys who haven't used it before, to a coach who hasn't used it before... The Lakers had this crapload of stuff dropped on them during the season but it didn't really matter to the beat writers. Shaq (and the Heat) were flourishing in Miami, Kobe (and the Lakers) were floundering in L.A. The only logical response/output to write about was Kobe killed the dynasty/is overrated blah-blibbity-blah-blah-blahblahbaalhbalahhh. It was the soup du jour which was spoonfed/shoved down our throats unmercifully, the topic with the flashy headline, the attention getter, the girl with the tits AND ass, the natural response. Aaaargghh!!! I HAAATE that s**t.

So, to counterpoint:
A) The Lakers didn't actually suck THAT bad. It was widely stated preseason that if the Lakers got an 8 seed it would have been a shocker, and should be considered a positive 1st year step for the new team. While the Lakers did finish 34-48, before a prutal 3-19 season ending slide they were actually 31-29. Throughout much of the season they WERE sitting pretty at the 7 or 8 spot, or at the very least close to it. And to discredit the importance of the factors above for the flashier Kobe's a b***h, Shaq is gone articles was craptacularly bad journalism.
1. The hypothetical 2004-05 Lakers version of Shaq would have been nowhere near the equivalent of the 04-05 Heat version of Shaq. These same writers/observers wrote tons about the chip on shaq's shoulder, the gleam in his eyes, he of something-to-prove status, he listening and obeying GM orders to lose 30lbs and come in shape into the season. That Shaq would have never ever set foot into Staples center wearing a Lakers uni. Never.
2. I'm not a big believer of placing tons of adulation/credit for a teams success/failures on a coach. I personally believe numerous other coaches could have won 6 rings if given the teams Phil was blessed with. If you disagree with that... that's cool... Well F**k you too! ;)
3, 4, & 5. Generic broadcaster mantra #32,670: Great players play on great teams, elevate their teams to winning basketball/greatness. Great players are measured by their teams greatness. This response is getting waaayy too long as is. I'll just simply say to everyone that has downgraded Kevin Garnett from greatness due to the T-wolves miserable season (yeah, I'm talkin to you sports guy! You broke my heart Simmons, you broke my heart.) to everyone who thinks much more lowly of Kobe after this season: remember exactly what you think of them right now. Imprint it into your head. Jump on, jump off, it matters not. But please, just remember this present opinion years from now.
6. Kobe's wife IS hot. Kobe Bryant is a jerk. I do not like him. I do not like the Lakers. I do not like green eggs and ham. But Kobe's still a helluva player.

... AND NOW, further on to the comments:

Humor me please by taking a look at this list, these numbers now.

You know, when I look at that list, setting aside what it's indicating, the 1st thing that pops to mind is that this is a list of the top offensive players in the league. I don't think it's a coincidence that players that include in their game an affinity to getting to the rim and getting fouled. But i suppose you could look at this and infer that this validates the whole star players get the star treatment in the nba too. You could...

Listen, I concur with alot of what both mrcoffe and guru are stating. You can't blindly trust stats. You can't. Ballhogs do affect the flow of the offense. And stats do not incorporate the thousands of other factors that we SHOULD account for when evaluating players. This all ties in rather well with an old post that I wrote a while back trying to compare Allen with Manu. Manu was statistically better than Allen last year. But yes, the other factors should not be discredited. Allen showed he could shoulder the burden of being the PTPer of a team (this guy's sensational! listen to the cameron crazies going crazy!! yeah baby!!) as well as being able to produce transcendent individual playoff performances.

But I am not an idiot hanging out in a vacuum. Honestly. I wish I COULD quantify those uncountable efforts. I fully believe that they are quantifiable, but we simply haven't gotten around to it yet. But... do we then simply disregard credible facts/numbers because of their incompleteness in judging the whole picture? What of GM's? Should they throw away the stat sheets when deciding which direction to go personnel wise when choosing between two players whose backgrounds put some credible doubt into the numbers? With ALL the inconsistencies and anomalies they don't take into account, these numbers are still the most valuable litmus test we have. Some moreso than others.
And, quite simply, regarding Maggette & Ray,
1) the similarities in PER/output is too close to discredit an assumption that Maggette will be an adequate replacement for Ray, at the least
2) the difference in likely salaries between the two is way too huge and important to discredit as well in the evaluation. The value of Maggette, taking this into account, in my mind ends the argument for the validity of the make believe trade.
3) I think it's ludicrous to consider FTA's/the game/play that provides them as a negative quality of a player
4) to be the broken record, I'm NOT fully convinced that you can't compare numbers between a second option type guy vs. a 1st option type guy. But yes, you have to look at this factor among many others to avoid being an idiot.
5) and regarding the idea that Brand on the Sonics would increase Allen's numbers: If anything I think that would have a slightly negative impact on his output (the gawdy numbers like ppg etc) but in all likelihood increase his PPS, eFG. The reverse would likewise hold true for maggette.

And here's a link of a post made by a Clipper's blogger/writer, done in March.

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