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  #1  
Old 05-03-05, 09:06 PM
Wilt_Casanova's Avatar
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How do you determine one's impact on a team?

I was in a debate with a friend a while back who presented an interesting point concerning determining one's impact on a team.

His premise is that if a great player truly made his teammates better, then his teammates should also play well WITHOUT him. Frankly, I don't think this makes one bit of sense. He later went on to say that it is hard for him to see one's impact without championships. His premise was a counterargument to my assertion that if a player makes his teammates better, then they should struggle without him.

Let me use two star players to make my point: Magic Johnson vs. Micheal Jordan.

Think about it. A great player, by the virtue of his skill level, provides and creates opportunities for his teammates. Players like Oscar/Magic/Bird/Stockton were not just great individual players; they made it a fundamental function of their game to keep everyone involved within the flow of the offense, thus, making everyone feel like a valuable commodity to the team. A great individual player will have some impact on a team. HOWEVER, a great player who continuously makes a concerted effort to keep his teammates involved will have an even greater affect on his team. I think Jordan fits the former, but Magic fits the latter. I think Jordan focused more on scoring titles than actually making his teammates better.

The media has endlessly stated that Micheal Jordan made his teammates better. At one point, I actually followed this belief. However, a few years ago, I conducted my own research to confirm what the media was telling me was correct. I ultimately came to the conclusion that Jordan did NOT make his teammates better, and his impact was indeed overrated. This may come as a shock to some of you, but let me present to you why I believe this. Don't take this out of context. I think Jordan is one of the five greatest players ever. I also believe he was clutch in big games, but in comparison with previous legends, he comes up short in overall impact on his team/teammates.


Let me use the 1992-93 & 1993-94 seasons in my illustration. There were nine Bulls players returning from the 1992-93 squad: Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, BJ Armstrong, Scott Williams, Bill Cartwright, Will Perdue, John Paxson, JoJo English, and Stacey King.

Let's look at their respective and collective fg% WITH Jordan vs. the following season WITHOUT Jordan. The common theory is that a player of Jordan's caliber commands extra defensive attention, which allows his teammates to reap the benefits with wide open looks resulting in more efficient shooting. When he is NOT there, collectively, they should struggle; is this not a logical assumption?

Player:.....fg% (1992-93 W/Jordan)......fg% ( 1993-94 W/O Jordan)
Pippen:.............47.3%......................... ......49.1%
Grant:...............50.8%........................ .......52.4%
Armstrong:........49.9%........................... ....47.6%
Williams:...........46.6%......................... .......48.3%
Cartwright:........41.1%.......................... ......51.3%
Perdue:.............55.7%......................... ......42.0%
English:.............30.0%........................ .......43.4%*
Paxson:.............45.1%......................... ......44.1%
King:.................47.1%....................... ........39.8%
W-L:..................57-25................................55-27
Playoffs:............NBA Champs.......................Game 7 conference semi-finals
Def. ppg avg:......98.9..................................94 .9
Collective fg%:....48.2%...............................48.6%

*= career high

Let's examine this: Of course some will say, "they didn't win the championship when Jordan left, did they?" You're right; they didn't win the title, but did any of you expect their defense to improve while replacing one of the greatest defenders in NBA history with a CBA reject? Did any of you really expect the Bulls to win 55 games, nearly capturing homecourt advantage, while replacing Jordan with 12th-man caliber Steve Kerr, an unpolished rookie in Tony Kukoc, (CBA nomad) Pete Myers, (sorry ass) Luc Longley, and Bill Wennington????


The media has also stated that Magic Johnson made his teammates better. The same logic applies to Magic. When he is there, his teammates should shoot well. When he isn't, they struggle. There were eight returning teammates from the 1990-91 Lakers squad: James Worthy, Byron Scott, Sam Perkins, Vlade Divac, Terry Teagle, Elden Campbell, A.c. Green, and Tony Smith.

Let's look at their respective and collective fg %, the team's W-L, playoff performance, and def. ppg average WITH & WITHOUT Magic Johnson.

Player:......fg% (1990-91 W/Magic).....fg% (1991-92 W/O Magic)
Worthy:..............49.2%........................ .......44.7%*
Scott:.................47.7%...................... .........45.8%
Perkins:..............49.5%....................... ........45.0%*
Divac:................56.5%....................... .........49.5%
Teagle:..............44.3%........................ .......45.2%
Campbell:..........45.5%.......................... ......44.8%
A.c. Green:........47.6%............................... .47.6%
Smith:...............44.1%........................ ........39.9%
W-L:..................58-24................................43-39
Playoffs:.............NBA Finalists......................1-3
Def. ppg. avg:....99.6...................................101 .5
Collective fg%:...48.7%................................45.5%

*= Career low

Take a long hard look at these numbers. Which team missed its star player the most? According to my friend's logic, Magic DIDN'T make his teammates better because they precipitously declined in overall performance without him. I still find this logic to be one of the greatest mysteries of all time. How can anyone with an ounce of grey matter follow this line of thinking????


Maybe, I'm missing something here. Can someone explain to me how a star player can be absent from a team for an entire season, and his team does well, yet, someone can still deduce that he made that team better? How is it that Jordan "the greatest player in NBA history" can leave a team and only slip a mere 2 games in the standings, especially when one takes into account the players with whom they replaced him?

If you've looked carefully above at Magic's and Jordan's respective teams without them, and deduce that Magic's team missed him the most, then how can you say Jordan was better/ more valuable than him, and have a clear conscience afterwards?

I'll add more to this later.

Last edited by Wilt_Casanova; 05-03-05 at 09:13 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-03-05, 11:19 PM
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They were both amazing, Magic was a point gaurd and one of the best ever so of course his teammates shot better with him passing the ball to him. Jordon took most of the shots for his team so with him always looking for his own shot first of course he didn't help out his teammates FG% as much. Jordan had the uncanny ability to take over games better then anyone ever though and thats why he's considered the best individual player ever. So maybe he didn't make his teammates better but he def. made his team better. And I think with Jordan it was his competitive energy that carried over to his teammates. Those stats wouldn't show that.
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Old 05-03-05, 11:38 PM
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What is your friend's explanation for his logic?
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  #4  
Old 05-04-05, 12:50 AM
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There is no explanation for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bnwhuxley
What is your friend's explanation for his logic?

This line of thinking is beyond absurd.

He and I were actually debating Jordan's importance to the Bulls. I countered many of his weak points with indisputable facts of how Jordan's teammates collectively performed well without him, which should NOT have happened if he was supposedly making them better.

He saw that I had him cornered, thus, he tried to devise a handicapped system to make Jordan look good. Fortunately, a knowledgeable fan like myself can see through it.

I'll follow up later.
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Old 05-04-05, 01:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilt_Casanova
This line of thinking is beyond absurd.

He and I were actually debating Jordan's importance to the Bulls. I countered many of his weak points with indisputable facts of how Jordan's teammates collectively performed well without him, which should NOT have happened if he was supposedly making them better.

He saw that I had him cornered, thus, he tried to devise a handicapped system to make Jordan look good. Fortunately, a knowledgeable fan like myself can see through it.

I'll follow up later.
i don't understand why the fierce debate about this. Are you trying to find a way to prove that MJ wasn't good?? I don't think you'll be able to convince many people
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Old 05-04-05, 07:55 AM
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I hate statistics, I don't know about numbers, but if you were playing alongside MJ and the guy was absolutely playing his butt off on offense and defense and taking no prisoners, I'd be inspired to play like hell and take no prisoners. I never liked MJ's style, I think he is the one that has spawned all this half ass fundamental players coming out now, although MJ himself was very much a detail guy, the refs allowed him to travel, to palm the ball, to get away with a lot of stuff that wasn't pure basketball in order to hilight his incredible athletecism. But don't tell me he didn't make everyone better, if MJ didn't inspire you to play better he would outright intimidate you into playing your butt off or get the hell out of the court. Magic was the consumate team player, I loved his game.
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Old 05-04-05, 04:36 PM
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OK

Quote:
Originally Posted by TDRazzleDazzle
They were both amazing, Magic was a point gaurd and one of the best ever so of course his teammates shot better with him passing the ball to him.
In 1988-89, the Boston Celtics lost their star player for the season (see: Larry Bird). When he went down, this spelled doom for the Celtics, or at least this would be a logical assumption. Just like Magic, and MJ, the media has repeatedly stated that Bird made his teammates better. Let's use the 1987-88 season and the 1988-89 season to examine Bird's impact.

There were eight returning players from the 1987-88 squad not named Bird: Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, Reggie Lewis, Mark Acres, Brad Lohaus, and Jim Paxson.

Let's examine the team's respective and collective fg%, W-L, playoff performance, and def. ppg avg.

Player:.....fg% (1987-88 w/ Bird).........fg% (1988-89 W/O Bird)
McHale:.............60.4%......................... ......54.6%
Parish:..............58.9%........................ .......57.0%
Ainge:..............49.1%......................... ......46.0%
Johnson:..........43.8%........................... .....43.4%
Lewis:.............46.6%.......................... ......48.6%
Lohaus:...........49.6%........................... .....43.3%
Paxson:..........49.2%............................ ....45.4%
Acres:............53.2%........................... ....48.2%
W-L:..............57-25................................42-40
Playoffs:........9-8....................................0-3
Def. ppg. avg:107.7 ppg.........................108.1 ppg
Collective fg%:..52.3%............................50.1%


As it appears, pg's aren't the only one's who can make their teammates better. It doesn't matter if you are/aren't a pg; if you are the team's best player, then you should make it a priority to make your teammates better.




Quote:
Jordon took most of the shots for his team so with him always looking for his own shot first of course he didn't help out his teammates FG% as much.
My point exactly! Jordan cared more about his scoring than making his teammates into better shooters. This is why they collectively shot better when he WASN'T there because they could play a team-oriented game. I've even heard Tex Winter say that the 1994 Chicago Bulls executed the triangle in its most fluent form. How can this be if the "greatest player ever" wasn't there to make things easier?????

Bird also took most of the shots for his team, but when he saw that his teammates weren't getting enough touches, he made a concerted effort to get them the ball.

As you can see, Bird's teammates missed him badly when he missed the 1988-89 season. This all points back to what I said in my original post. A great individual player will have an affect on his team, but a great player, who keeps his teammates involved, will have an even greater affect.







Quote:
Jordan had the uncanny ability to take over games better then anyone ever though and thats why he's considered the best individual player ever. So maybe he didn't make his teammates better but he def. made his team better.

1). I didn't say that Jordan wasn't great; I said that he didn't make his teammates better. If he didn't make his teammates better, then how can he be better than those all-time greats (a la Bird, Magic, and Oscar) who DID make their teammates better?????

As I've said before, I think Jordan is easily one of the top 5 greatest players ever. I'd be a damn fool to say Jordan wasn't great. However, I'd be an even bigger fool to say that he is the greatest player in NBA history. I've seen too much evidence stacked against him.


2). He isn't the greatest individual player. I'd put Wilt against any man who ever lived. BTW, Wilt also had a greater affect on his team's W-L, playoff performance, and def. ppg avg.

Los Angeles Lakers def. ppg avg in 1972-73: 103.2 ppg<---Wilt's last season
Los Angeles Lakers def. ppg avg in 1973-74: 108.3 ppg<---Without Wilt

Lakers W-L in 1972-73: 60-22<-------Wilt's last season
Lakers W-L in 1973-74: 47-35<-------Without Wilt

Lakers playoff performance in 1972-73: 9-8<-----Wilt's last season
Lakers playoff performance in 1973-74: 1-4<-----Without Wilt




Quote:
And I think with Jordan it was his competitive energy that carried over to his teammates. Those stats wouldn't show that.

I don't doubt Jordan's competitive will. I think his will-to-win is on par with any player from the modern era.

My main issue is that why didn't he affect his teammate's game the way Bird and Magic affected their teammate's game, yet, he is better than them and hailed "the greatest of all time?"


You don't have to agree (I'm sure all of you don't agree with anything I've said). But can you at least see why I think as I do given the evidence presented?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjjrfan
I hate statistics, I don't know about numbers, but if you were playing alongside MJ and the guy was absolutely playing his butt off on offense and defense and taking no prisoners, I'd be inspired to play like hell and take no prisoners
I think Jordan played his ass off every single night. He was a fiery competitor. I just think he tried to do it all by himself rather than making his teammates better.



Quote:
I never liked MJ's style, I think he is the one that has spawned all this half ass fundamental players coming out now, although MJ himself was very much a detail guy, the refs allowed him to travel, to palm the ball, to get away with a lot of stuff that wasn't pure basketball in order to hilight his incredible athletecism.

I tend to agree to an extent. It wasn't necessarily Jordan's fault that athleticism became the intense focus of basketball over fundamentals. It was Nike, Gatorade, BSPN, NBC, and David $tern who promoted these attributes. MJ was a very complete player. What made his game so attractive is that he was a mixture of old school fundamentals with new school athleticism.


Quote:
But don't tell me he didn't make everyone better, if MJ didn't inspire you to play better he would outright intimidate you into playing your butt off or get the hell out of the court.

Are you telling me that Steve Kerr contributed more in 1995-96 than he did in 1993-94?





Quote:
Magic was the consumate team player, I loved his game.

Exactly! Magic was the cosummate team player. I noticed you didn't say the same about Jordan, which again proves my point.
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  #8  
Old 05-04-05, 06:01 PM
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You still have not explained your friend's logic.
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