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Old 01-27-2010, 02:34 PM   #1
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Default Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Basically I wanted to look at the competition the top 10 or so players faced in the playoffs at their own position. I tried to generally go with players that they faced during the prime years. I picked about 5 or 6 players, so let me know if I missed something or made a mistake.

Wilt - Russell, Kareem, Reed, Thurmond, Lucas, Petit
Kareem - Reed, Wilt, Peak Walton, Thurmond, Unseld, Cowens (tried to limit Cs he faced in his prime as he would see Moses, Hakeem, Parish later on)
Bird - Erving, King, Worthy, Wilkens, Dantley
Magic - DJ, Isiah, Harper, Lever, Stockton (this is tough because Magic defies position so just went with PGs)
Shaq - Duncan, Hakeem, Robinson, Mutombo, Smits
Hakeem - Robinson, Shaq, Ewing, Kareem, Divac
Duncan - Shaq, Dirk, Amare, Webber, Garnett
Russell - Wilt, Petit, Lucas, Schayes, Reed
Jordan - Dumars, Drexler, Miller, Ehlo, Starks, Majerle
Kobe - Ginobili, Allen, Iverson, Smith, Christie

So who had it the hardest? And for who was it easier to outplay his opponents? If I had to rank hardest to easiest it would be something like:

Wilt > Kareem > Bird > Russell > Hakeem > Duncan > Shaq > Magic > Jordan > Kobe

Agreed?

Last edited by Fatal9 : 01-27-2010 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Looking at the whole list now...some observations:

- Kareem faced some pretty tough competition for someone in the "weak 70s". Think about all the great teams and centers he faced every year in the playoffs BEFORE the merger (when apparently NBA was weak because of the ABA). I guess those teams couldn't hold a candle to the mighty Ewing/Starks Knicks from the "superera" though.
- Jordan/Kobe's competition is laughably bad compared to the rest. I bet if we did a top 20 player list, they would both still be near the bottom.
- Bird had a tough damn lineup of forwards year after year. And he played against all of them multiple times too.
- How would you like to be Wilt? Face Russell, the top 2 greatest defensive center, with the inferior team for basically an entire decade. After that go against prime Willis Reed, and then face a young Kareem year after year. Mix in all the other great centers he faced (Petit, Thurmond) and I'd say he's had the toughest competition at his position. Kareem was a close second though.

Last edited by Fatal9 : 01-27-2010 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Kobe faced TMAC, Roy, Wade, and VC as well. Come on. I know you're a Pippen homer, but still.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juges8932
Kobe faced TMAC, Roy, Wade, and VC as well. Come on. I know you're a Pippen homer, but still.
in the playoffs? I'd say his regular season competition was much better than Jordan though.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Quote:
Jordan - Dumars, Drexler, Miller, Ehlo, Starks, Majerle

No Dennis Johnson, Reggie Miller or Gary Payton?

EDIT: Nvm, I see Reggie Miller in there.

Actually, let's take a look at some of the other guards Jordan has faced throughout his career.

Kobe
AI
Magic Johnson
Penny Hardaway
Ron Harper
Mitch Richmond
Isiah Thomas
John Stockton
Jeff Hornacek

Last edited by Alhazred : 01-27-2010 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatal9
Basically I wanted to look at the competition the top 10 or so players faced in the playoffs at their own position. I tried to generally go with players that they faced during the prime years. I picked about 5 or 6 players, so let me know if I missed something or made a mistake.

Wilt - Russell, Kareem, Reed, Thurmond, Lucas, Petit
Kareem - Reed, Wilt, Peak Walton, Thurmond, Unseld, Cowens (tried to limit Cs he faced in his prime as he would see Moses, Hakeem, Parish later on)
Bird - Erving, King, Worthy, Wilkens, Dantley
Magic - DJ, Isiah, Harper, Lever, Stockton (this is tough because Magic defies position so just went with PGs)
Shaq - Duncan, Hakeem, Ewing, Mutombo, Smits
Hakeem - Robinson, Shaq, Ewing, Kareem, Divac
Duncan - Shaq, Dirk, Amare, Webber, Garnett
Russell - Wilt, Petit, Lucas, Schayes, Reed
Jordan - Dumars, Drexler, Miller, Ehlo, Starks, Majerle
Kobe - Ginobili, Allen, Iverson, Smith, Christie

So who had it the hardest? And for who was it easier to outplay his opponents? If I had to rank hardest to easiest it would be something like:

Wilt > Kareem > Bird > Russell > Hakeem > Shaq > Duncan > Magic > Jordan > Kobe

Agreed?


MJ also dealt with Rolando Blackman and nick anderson, and dan thunder Majerle, wilkins, miller,Scott


kobe has also played RIP, raja, daniels, bowens


,wilt,kareem, russell, hakeem , Duncan, Bird, Magic, jordan, kobe


Mj and Kobe have the least competition but the teams they have played against usually have defensive stoppers at the sg position.. NOt their fault..

It could also be argued that MJ and Kobe went against some point guards as well.

Last edited by NBASTATMAN : 01-27-2010 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

kareem faced alot of great competition over his 20 years in the league it was listed in a kareem thread here acouple years ago and the list was pretty amazing
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Damn, Fatal. Have you been talking to non-basketball fans or something? Looking at competition. What a novel concept to introduce to the basketball universe!

Quote:
Jordan - Dumars, Drexler, Miller, Ehlo, Starks, Majerle

You forgot past his prime Jeff Hornacek and Nick Anderson.

Quote:
Wilt > Kareem > Bird > Russell > Hakeem > Shaq > Duncan > Magic > Jordan > Kobe

I would put Duncan's competition ahead of Shaq. Shaq caught old Mutumbo and old Smits. I don't believe he ever faced Ewing in the playoffs. I think you meant D. Robinson, who also was well past his best when he faced Shaq. The only legit competition at center he has had is prime Hakeem, unless you count prime Duncan as a cetner.

Quote:
- Kareem faced some pretty tough competition for someone in the "weak 70s". Think about all the great teams and centers he faced every year in the playoffs BEFORE the merger (when apparently NBA became stronger again). I guess those teams couldn't hold a candle to the mighty Ewing/Starks Knicks from the "superera" though.



Here is another twist. The players in bold are top 25 all-time:

Quote:
Wilt - Russell, Kareem, Reed, Thurmond, Lucas, Petit
Kareem - Reed, Wilt, Peak Walton, Thurmond, Unseld, Cowens (tried to limit Cs he faced in his prime as he would see Moses, Hakeem, Parish later on)
Bird - Erving, King, Worthy, Wilkens, Dantley
Magic - DJ, Isiah, Harper, Lever, Stockton (this is tough because Magic defies position so just went with PGs)
Shaq - Duncan, Hakeem, Ewing, Mutombo, Smits
Hakeem - Robinson, Shaq, Ewing, Kareem, Divac
Duncan - Shaq, Dirk, Amare, Webber, Garnett
Russell - Wilt, Petit, Lucas, Schayes, Reed
Jordan - Dumars, Drexler, Miller, Ehlo, Starks, Majerle
Kobe - Ginobili, Allen, Iverson, Smith, Christie

Walton clearly would have reached at least the top 25 if he had stayed healthy.

This is why I @ people saying certain players were never "outplayed" by their counterpart. It is easy to do that when you never face anyone close to your level. Look at Kobe. He faced one top 25 player and AI outplayed him (36/6/4 ). It is easy to "outplay" Doug Christie or Courtney Lee but prime AI is another story.

Quote:
Kobe faced TMAC, Roy, Wade, and VC as well.

Never in the playoffs. That is where "outplaying" matters. For example, no one cares that David Robinson usually outplayed Hakeem in the regular season.

Quote:
MJ also dealt with Rolando Blackman and nick anderson, and dan thunder Majerle, wilkins, miller
kobe has also played RIP, raja, daniels, bowens

Exactly.

Quote:
Mj and Kobe have the least competition but the teams they have played against usually have defensive stoppers at the sg position.. NOt their fault..

Let's get real. If they could swap a defensive specialist by parachuting Jerry West in they would. They played the hand they were dealt. The Kings would have traded Christie for prime AI or prime T Mac in a heartbeat. No, it isn't their fault but their weak competition has to be considered.

Quote:
No Dennis Johnson, Reggie Miller or Gary Payton?

Payton was a PG but I know a lot of Jordan fans would not know that. ; ) DJ also was a PG.

Quote:
Kobe
AI
Magic Johnson
Penny Hardaway

Ron Harper
Mitch Richmond
Isiah Thomas
John Stockton

Jeff Hornacek

The bold were PG's. If you extended to list to any player at a position who was in the league at the same time as a given player the OP would be 10 pages long.

Here are the best SG's during the Jordan Era (1991-98)

1) Jordan
2) Drexler
3) Richmond
4) Dumars
5) Miller

Fortunately for Jordan, Richmond was on garbage teams during his prime and was not even in the playoffs let alone coming out the West. Richmond gave Jordan a lot of trouble as MJ himself noted.

@ including 19 year old Kobe and T Mac on the list. When they faced Jordan in Washington they outplayed him but no one cares about an older legend being dominated by a young player (except when it suits an agenda regarding Kareem in 83' and 86' when KAJ was 35 and 38 against peak Moses and young Hakeem) especially in the regular season. Let's suppose the "greatest of all-time" was able to get to 40 wins and make the playoffs in Washington and was crushed by T Mac or AI. Would anyone care? What does it prove? It was not a fair fight.

Quote:
It could also be argued that MJ and Kobe went against some point guards as well.

You could do the same with the other players, i.e. throw in some power forwards like Rodman for Shaq. Why all these qualifiers for Kobe and Jordan? Throw in PG's. Throw in people they faced twice a year in meaningless regular season games.

Quote:
kareem faced alot of great competition over his 20 years in the league it was listed in a kareem thread here acouple years ago and the list was pretty amazing

I remember that. I think the number was 37. He played against or with 37 of the NBA's "50 greatest" players from 96'. The OP is for prime and playoffs only, though, and even there look at the comp Kareem had to face. Yet he still dominated his position. GOAT

Last edited by Roundball_Rock : 01-27-2010 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Is this a ranking of who faced the hardest competition or just named players? Bird had it tough, but it wasn't because of Wilkins, Bernard King or James Worthy. Bobby Jones???

edit: I see RR is about to derail an already suspicious thread so I'll bow out.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

No agenda to this thread at all...
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Quote:
Payton was a PG but I know a lot of Jordan fans would not know that. ; ) DJ also was a PG.

Both have been matched up against MJ in the playoffs, like in 1986 and 1996.

Quote:
Quote:
Kobe
AI
Magic Johnson
Penny Hardaway
Ron Harper
Mitch Richmond
Isiah Thomas
John Stockton
Jeff Hornacek

The bold were PG's. If you extended to list to any player at a position who was in the league at the same time as a given player the OP would be 10 pages long.

Jordan has been assigned against all of those players, though. It's not like I'm naming random guys he never played against.

Quote:
Here are the best SG's during the Jordan Era (1991-98)

1) Jordan
2) Drexler
3) Richmond
4) Miller
5)

Why ignore the first six seasons of his career as well as the last two? You've just eliminated half of his career.

EDIT: Oh right, only the "prime" years. Forget 02 and 03, then.

Quote:
Fortunately for Jordan, Richmond was on garbage teams during his prime and was not even in the playoffs let alone coming out the West. Richmond gave Jordan a lot of trouble as MJ himself noted.

Richmond got his points, but Jordan clearly outplayed him in there matchups.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/...1&p2=richmmi01

Last edited by Alhazred : 01-27-2010 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Da_Realist
Is this a ranking of who faced the hardest competition or just named players? Bird had it tough, but it wasn't because of Wilkins, Bernard King or James Worthy. Bobby Jones???.
Mainly looking at the greatness of the other players. You're right Wilkens and King were bad defenders (and Cooper defended Bird), but looking at them as in how easy it was for players to "outplay" the other. Magic is a difficult case because there's numerous playoff series, especially early on, when he played as a forward. A defensive list would be intersting though Bird would still be near the top imo, Cooper, Jones, McCray, Moncrief (early on), Rodman...that's damn tough. But even if we look at individual defenders, Wilt/Kareem/Russell/Hakeem/Bird and all these guys are still clearly at the top, order would be around the same, though Jordan would jump 1-2 places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roundball_Rock
I would put Duncan's competition ahead of Shaq. Shaq caught old Mutumbo and old Smits. I don't believe he ever faced Ewing in the playoffs. I think you meant D. Robinson, who also was well past his best when he faced Shaq. The only legit competition at center he has had is prime Hakeem, unless you count prime Duncan as a cetner.
All the 90s guys played some of the same guys, listed him by mistake. I do agree though Duncan's > Shaq's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchoolBBall
No agenda to this thread at all...
Yes, so I guess this goes with my alleged "Kobe > Jordan" agenda (which is hilarious). I thought I did a good job concealing it this time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roundball_Rock
Exactly.

Last edited by Fatal9 : 01-27-2010 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchoolBBall
No agenda to this thread at all...

Funny how it is kosher to promote myths like Walton outplayed Kareem (that myth was laid to rest here http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/sho...69#post3902169 ), calling out 35 and 38 year old KAJ for getting outplayed by peak Moses and 24 year old Hakeem yet it is taboo to look at the total picture here, both with Kareem and that with respect to other legends? What is the problem with that?

Quote:
Both have been matched up against MJ in the playoffs, like in 1986 and 1996.



If we did that for everyone the OP would be triple the length. Should we add all the power forwards Hakeem faced when he played PF too? Or Byron Russell for Jordan since Russell guarded Jordan? Scottie Pippen for Magic Johnson? Rodman for Shaq?

Quote:
Jordan has been assigned against all of those players, though.

The same can be done with everyone else.

Quote:
Why ignore the first six seasons of his career as well as the last two? You've just eliminated half of his career.

Ok. Add the best SG's from 1985-1990 too. Adding 2002 and 2003 is a joke, though. Those years are never included when assessing Jordan's legacy. So he faced AI for two years in the regular season. And? That has no relevance to the competition he faced in his prime. So what if AI or Kobe lit him up? Besides, if we add them to Jordan's list we have to add Moses, Ewing, Robinson, and Hakeem among others to Kareem's list. The same applies to everyone else. What exactly is the point here? The OP is about relative competition. So what if you add a few players for Jordan? The same thing would have to be done for others and that does not work to Jordan's advantage. Adding T Mac is not the same as adding Hakeem.

As I said earlier, "outplaying" only matters in the playoffs as far as legacies go. You should know this. You have posted several times about D. Robinson vs. Hakeem. We know who did better in the regular season and who did better when it counted. Which one do people care about? Which one destroyed a reputation?

Quote:
Richmond got his points, but Jordan clearly outplayed him in there matchups.

Really? Let's give prime Richmond the GOAT perimeter defender to help him contain Jordan and then see what happens. Let's also throw in a 20 ppg scorer who the opposing defense has to pay some attention to. Richmond was playing on trash teams in his prime. Jordan was the better player but if prime Richmond faced MJ in the playoffs I could see Richmond conceivably outplaying Jordan in a series during the 1995-98 era. He probably would not but it would be possible--especially if you switched their teams.

Quote:
Yes, so I guess this goes with my alleged "Kobe > Jordan" agenda (which is hilarious). I thought I did a good job concealing it this time

for that and two other reasons. You have OSB whining about an alleged agenda. Finally, the agenda--whatever it is--involves comparing the competition greats had. What is so nefarious about this? If you went to a football forum and comparing Joe Montana's competition to Johhny Unitas and Peyton Manning's would anyone cry? I know for a fact you could compare the racers faced on a F1 or NASCAR board and no one would complain. In fact, weak comp is the chief argument in NASCAR against Richard Petty's GOAT case as it is against Michael Schumacher in F1. There GOAT discussions are common, as they are throughout the world of sports, and you probably couldn't go five posts without someone mentioning these two won in weak eras. Jacques Villeneuve was MS's second biggest competition in his prime.

Last edited by Roundball_Rock : 01-27-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Id say the smaller players in general have the worst competition ebcause centers were generally dominant for like 50 years and most of them overlapped with other bigtime centers.

Swingmen peaked in the last 10 years but they avoid eachotheri n matchups. Hard for great bigmen to evade guarding eachother.

And yes Kobe and Jordan faced the worst because of it.

And really the second most historically relevant swingman of the 90s is probably Reggie Miller who was never close to elite. Hill, Penny, and Spre had some runs but quite brief. Drexler fell off after like 92 or 93.

Bigmen ran **** from the 40s to very late in the 90s.

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Old 01-27-2010, 04:27 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rank the peer competition of the all-time greats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roundball_Rock
Really? Let's give prime Richmond the GOAT perimeter defender to help him contain Jordan and then see what happens. Let's also throw in a 20 ppg scorer who the opposing defense has to pay some attention to. Richmond was playing on trash teams in his prime. Jordan was the better player but if prime Richmond faced MJ in the playoffs I could see Richmond conceivably outplaying Jordan in a series during the 1995-98 era. He probably would not but it would be possible--especially if you switched their teams.

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