Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by blueadams, Feb 21, 2013.
The simulator kept him on the bench because it recognized bloodflow problems.
The problem that we're going to encounter in this is is that the hype surrounding older players overwhelms their actual ability. Yes, they were always good for their day, but it's really difficult to compare them across generations for any of a number of reasons. The main one is simply the sample size - the talent pool in today’s game is significantly deeper. The older teams were almost exclusively U.S. born players, limited to those guys that grew up hearing or reading about a game that was created by their parents’ generation. They rarely saw games on television, so fewer people knew about it. The first 30 years of the NBA saw 11 foreign-born players, and most of them grew up in the U.S. That means NBA teams were pulling from a potential player population of slightly over 100 million (200 million U.S. citizens in the 1970 census, about half male), many of whom had likely never heard of the game. A guy like George Mikan, who was tall but slow, could dominate back then simply because the game was new and he was tall and relatively athletic. Guys back then were better compared to the population of players available at the time
The game nowadays, however, has about 100 foreign players from almost 40 countries on every inhabited continent. It’s pulling talent from a world-wide pool that we’ll conservatively estimate at a billion young men, spread amongst 30 teams. There are global basketball leagues that are acting as talent feeders to “replace” the lack of men in college. Junior-high teams now have weight-lifting programs and act as feeders to basketball academies that schedule nationally televised and publicized games. Players are scouted as young as in 6th grade. I can go online and find, within minutes, everything I need to know about any potential NBA player, including his Facebook page, youtube highlights, and half a dozen scouting reports. Sports is going through the equivalent of a global industrial revolution right now, and the NBA is right at the center of that.
The offshoot of that is that, even though the league size may have been a quarter of what it is right now, the number of available players is at least ten times that size, so that more than makes up for the difference. Chamberlain was a monster of a man (7'1", 275), and from what I read he was unbelievably strong (word is he could bench 500 lbs.). That being said, other than Russell, Thurmond, Bellamy, and Harding, there wasn't anyone else of note over 6'9". He was banging against guys built like Jason Maxiell (at best). Imagine him playing center against Jonas Jerebko in a league where there were about 20% more missed shots per game than there are now, and where there was no incentive to spread the court and shoot from the outside, and ask yourself why he and Russell grabbed so many boards and blocked so many shots. Nowadays he'd have to play against Howard (6'11, 265), Garnett (6'11, 253), Hibbert (7'2", 280), Sanders(6'11, 235), Duncan (6'11, 255), Asik (7'0", 255), Vucevic (7'0", 240), Chandler (7'1", 240), Drummond (6'10", 270), Noah (6'11", 230), Varejao (6'11", 260), Gasol (7'1", 265), Jefferson (6'10", 289), Cousins (6'10", 270), Horford (6'10", 250), and Jordan (6'11", 265) - to name a few. He would have teams avoiding the paint around him like they do around Howard and Ibaka, which means fewer blocks. He would likely be pulled out to guard guys like Kevin Love and Chris Bosh. When Shaq was still playing, Dumars always had someone like Elden Campbell whose job it was to go out and make it hell for him - you'd see the same thing now. He and Russell would probably still be among the best rebounders in the league, but not to the insane level that they were back then, and that has to be taken into consideration. He averaged 50 points a game in 61-62, but he also took 40 shots a game (1200 more than the next closest player) and only made about half of them. He averaged 17 FTs per game, but the ratio of FT/FGA (17/40) was significantly lower than it typically is for a guy like Howard, who currently sports a career ratio of 9.2/11.2 - that tells me that guys weren't playing him as tough as they play now (which his Youtube highlights confirm).
So when you compare across generations, you have to look at things like FT% and eFG% to get an estimate of how well they shot the ball, and TRB% to compare how well they actually rebounded. The results are a lot closer than many people think.
Agreed. I've thought about this debate many times in the golf context. The older guys had a much shallower field to compete against. They also had worse equipment, training, coaching, etc. The competitors tended to be grittier/ more passionate/ meaner from what I can tell. Guys weren't so pampered and there were more guys doing it purely for competitive reasons and for pride.
But one thing that I'm sure of is that the true greats from back in the day (Nelson, Hogan, Snead, Player, Palmer, Watson, Trevino, Nicklaus, etc) would all be major winners in today's era as well if they were given the gift of youth. But since there is more competition, they surely wouldn't win at the same rate.
Snead won on tour when he was 63 and Watson came within 1 stroke of taking down the British Open a few years ago when he was 59... against a full modern field.
It's a little like the Gonzaga debate. If they are 30-0, does it mean they are the best in the country or not? All you can do is beat your competition and the rest is either up to computers or voters.
That is such a great line.
The game was new? It was invented in 1891, you know?
I knew the game was invented around 1900, but I just assumed that it was on the same level of popularity as something like Lacrosse. The NBA was still relatively new, but I'm only now discovering the interesting pre-NBA development of the game.
I taught a "History and Culture of Basketball" course last year. The game has an amazing and fascinating history.
Women started playing shortly after men, in 1892.
College basketball existed in the 1890's.
Olympic basketball started in 1936 at the Berlin games, played on outdoor tennis courts.
Some African-American teams dominated the basketball scene in the early 1940's. There were lots of racial barriers at the time.
The NBA wasn't born until 1946.
It's surprising how low the scores of those early games were.
In the first women's collegiate game (1896), Stanford beat UC-Berkeley 2-1. Men were not allowed in the building. Women guarded the windows and doors to keep the men out.
Maybe they forgot to take the lids off of the peach baskets.
My Mom described that when she played high school basketball, they had an offense on one end of the floor and a defense on the other end. That would be really interesting in the NBA to see how the optimal lineups would look. I'm sure the scoring would be about half of what it currently is.
At one point, they had 9-women teams that consisted of 3 zones on the floor (offense, center, defense) in which 3 players could not leave. They still play 6-person games with zones in some places (ie., Iowa) today.
Yea my mom talked about playing basketball 6 to a side... 3 played offense and 3 played defense and you couldn't go over the half court line because it would be to tiring for the weak females.... The ladies have come along way.
No fast breaks.... The defense always set.... yea might not even be half of what it is now.
How lame is it when you're stuck in the middle zone in a woman's basketball game in Iowa?
(no offense to woman, zoners, middle children, or Iowans).
It's like getting put in right field in Little League...
Or being an old guy on a young guy's basketball site. :-)
Maybe there are just a whole lot of young guys on an old guy's basketball site.
I remember my bro sitting down Indian style and weaving dandelions together in RF (i.e. he went on strike to protest the indignity). That effectively was the end of his baseball career.
This has been the end to many, many baseball careers.
Didn't Roger Maris play right field?
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