August 1st, 2011 at 11:29 am
re: “Also the #1, #3, and #8 seasons are all from the ’80s. They belong to Jordan, but they took place in the ’80s.”
When MJ was at his most prolific level of statistical production, as an individual player, the teams he played on were incapable of winning the League Championship. Hmmm … However, as he then began to develop a more mature/sophisticated understanding of “How the game of basketball is actually supposed to be played, at its highest level of competition”, he produced individual stats which were less prolific AND the teams he played on were then able to capture multiple League Championships. Hmmm … Likewise, other all-time great players like Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird are only found further down the stat charts which purport to measure accurately the “individual ability” of an individual basketball player who, by definition, functions exclusively within a “team” environment comprised of 3 main phases [i.e. Offense, Defense and Rebounding]. Hmmm … It continually amazes that so many seemingly intelligent people spend copious amounts of time looking in the wrong direction when trying to identify correctly those who rightfully qualify as being amongst the legitimate group of GOATs. In no particular order … What determines an individual player’s ability to play the game properly are relatively innocuous things like Assists, Rebounds, Assists/Turnovers, Steals, Deflections/Tips, Blocked Shots, Successful Helps & Rotations, Penetrations [i.e. allowed & made], Appropriate Cuts & Floor Spacing, Screen & Pick execution [i.e. setting & evading], Conditioning, Energy [i.e. positive, neutral, or negative], Team Spirit, and Competitive Greatness … the group of which cannot yet be found in a single reliable metric, TTBOMK. Conversely, examining “Just how far above the production level of an ‘average’ player someone is,” would appear to be little more than a giant waste of resources … at least, when it comes to increasing the current level of understanding for what’s actually required to win the League Championship. In the end, isn’t THAT really what the game is all about?
In general, Neil Paine does a terrific job running the Basketball-reference.com blog.