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Old 07-16-2011, 11:03 PM   #1
IGOTGAME
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Default ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

I haven't had a chance to watch as much of Larry as I would like since I was fairly young when he retired. ITT can the old heads rank Bird's defense for me. How did he do against guys like Nique and James Worthy?
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Excellent team defender, not so great on-ball.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1987_Lakers
Excellent team defender, not so great on-ball.
That's right. He was like a magician at stealing the ball when the pass was coming. But in a 1 on 1 situation he wasn't very good.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Ixy8Uttq0
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

It wasnt as bad as its made out to be. He just wasnt built for guarding quick players outside and he would reach and jump late and get scored on in ways that made him look....feeble. But he was 6'9'' and not much of an athlete. Most people who made him look bad he shouldnt be expected to guard well anyway.

Around the basket or on a guy he could play physical he was pretty normal. He was smart and was rarely in the wrong place..and he had quick hands. But he just couldnt keep fast players in front of him and he would give them such room to work they could rain on him.

But so many 80s shots were in transition or quick assisted midrange shots from guys in the post his man to man D wasnt a huge issue. Bird in the late 90s would have needed hiding with all the one on one play. But he could usually guard a non star 4 pretty well so you wouldnt just be ****ed.

He wasnt a terrible defender at all. Pretty average. Especially considering his size. Tweener sized guys often have trouble because they are too small to guard big 4s and not as quick as traditional swingmen.

For what he was.....average athlete tweener....Kukoc, Thurl Bailey, Harrington, Jamison, young Toine, Rashard Lewis, Vanhorn*...those types...he was pretty normal.


*way more athletic in his young than people seem to remember...but it faded.

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Old 07-17-2011, 12:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Bird was way better defensively than people think off. Till 1986 he was faster than u thought. His hands where probably the Best Ever so he was good for Steals. He was good in the Post and was a tough mental player too.

He finished in Defensive Rating 2 in the Play-Offs as the Leader (No other SF had donde this) and also Was in the Top 10 (once 2nd) in Defensive Rating for the Season.

Till ages 31-32 he was a really good defender not great, not average either, but good.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

nothing to discuss.... terrible defender.... he had the mind and iq defensively... but not the physique to do it... but u can say that about even any of us here... lol...

his foe magic johnson was even worse defensively.... terrible.... cant imagine him trying to defend somebody like derrick rose today... he would break his ankles..... magic would not be a 100% pg today... not even close.... if lebron cant do it than magic could absolutely not....
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
his foe magic johnson was even worse defensively.... terrible.... cant imagine him trying to defend somebody like derrick rose today... he would break his ankles..... magic would not be a 100% pg today... not even close.... if lebron cant do it than magic could absolutely not....

You think Magic guarded the Derrick Rose types in the 80s?
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kblaze8855
It wasnt as bad as its made out to be. He just wasnt built for guarding quick players outside and he would reach and jump late and get scored on in ways that made him look....feeble. But he was 6'9'' and not much of an athlete. Most people who made him look bad he shouldnt be expected to guard well anyway.

Around the basket or on a guy he could play physical he was pretty normal. He was smart and was rarely in the wrong place..and he had quick hands. But he just couldnt keep fast players in front of him and he would give them such room to work they could rain on him.

But so many 80s shots were in transition or quick assisted midrange shots from guys in the post his man to man D wasnt a huge issue. Bird in the late 90s would have needed hiding with all the one on one play. But he could usually guard a non star 4 pretty well so you wouldnt just be ****ed.

He wasnt a terrible defender at all. Pretty average. Especially considering his size. Tweener sized guys often have trouble because they are too small to guard big 4s and not as quick as traditional swingmen.

For what he was.....average athlete tweener....Kukoc, Thurl Bailey, Harrington, Jamison, young Toine, Rashard Lewis, Vanhorn*...those types...he was pretty normal.


*way more athletic in his young than people seem to remember...but it faded.

People use the 'bad knees bad back can't run can't jump' thing all the time to try and prop him up even further when he really doesn't need it. He wasn't 'Nique but he wasn't horrible either.

I can't think of many examples, but that one jumper he took and clanked and caught it and threw it back up with his left hand was one spectacular play that required a lot of athleticism. I think it was against either Portland or Houston.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Legend-24
He was not better than Kobe that's for sure

/Thread.

When has Kobe lead in Defensive Rating?

Get Real Bird was a Better Defender than Kobe, especially early in his career
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Round Mound
When has Kobe lead in Defensive Rating?

Get Real Bird was a Better Defender than Kobe, especially early in his career
Okay sure buddy ..... If that makes you feel better. I'll agree with you.

Lol @ determining which players defense is better by using defensive rating.

What's next Kobe's PER is lower? LOL
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:54 AM   #12
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Round Mound
When has Kobe lead in Defensive Rating?

Get Real Bird was a Better Defender than Kobe, especially early in his career

please don't sidetrack the thread with your irrational Kobe hating....
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauk
nothing to discuss.... terrible defender.... he had the mind and iq defensively... but not the physique to do it... but u can say that about even any of us here... lol...

his foe magic johnson was even worse defensively.... terrible.... cant imagine him trying to defend somebody like derrick rose today... he would break his ankles..... magic would not be a 100% pg today... not even close.... if lebron cant do it than magic could absolutely not....

Yes, he was a terrible defender who was voted 2nd team All-Defensive 3 years straight
1981-82 NBA All-Defensive (2nd)
1982-83 NBA All-Defensive (2nd)
1983-84 NBA All-Defensive (2nd)

He was so bad at defense, at 6' 9" he averaged 1.7 steals a game for his career and if you look at the first 9 years before he tore both his achilles tendons, he had almost 1300 steals and 7300 rebounds. How unique is that? He is the only player in the league during that time to do it. The next closest guy had about 500 less steals.

The only other players who have had a 9 year streak with over 1200 steals and 7000 rebounds since are Hakeem and Shawn Marion.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1987_Lakers
Excellent team defender, not so great on-ball.
Although that sounds like Dwyane Wade defensively, however Wade is more so lazy on-ball defense rather than not great. Dwyane Wade without the great shot blocking ability.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:44 AM   #15
KevinNYC
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Default Re: ITT we discuss Larry Bird's Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1987_Lakers
Miserio and 1987 Lakers steer you right. Check out that video it gives you a sense of Larry Bird's defense. The guy who made that video might sing Bird's praises too much, but that video is a great mix and shows that Bird did some things defensively about as well as any one in the game. He was a great, great team defender and his anticipation was about as good as anyone every in the NBA. Bird didn't have lateral quickness, but he has very quick hands and his feel for the game and sense of anticipation are in the top 99.99 percent of guys who ever played. This made him a demon in the passing lanes. He excelled at three kinds of steals.
Crosscourt passes, he used feast on these because he knew where you going with the ball. Entry bounce passes to the post, for the same reason, if you made the predictable entry pass, he would scramble back and scoop it up about a foot off the floor. He was was a great double-teamer and players were in the post, he would come from the weak-side for the steal. This is usually because he knew they were going to be thinking about Parish and McHale and when they would pause for that instant he was going for the ball.

The Celtics played a team defensive scheme that allowed other teams long outside shots (Remember back then the 3 point line was relatively new and there weren't that many outside threats.) and the whole idea was to force shooters into the shot-blocking of Parish and McHale. So he had the luxury of giving up a bit of room and using his height a bit.

He was a great defensive rebounder and led the team in defensive rebounds, not the taller Parish, not the taller McHale. He was among the best ever in the league in turning a rebound to a fast break.

He was strong and held his ground in the post. He was a pretty good shot blocker from the weak side. He didn't get out of postion, he didn't make many mistakes, he didn't foul much and too to

Kblaze has it right that he was not a great isolation defender against very quick players, but I think to call him average downplays the his defensive strengths. But he wasn't an average defender over-all, he was a well-above-average defender because all of the other things he could do and his knowledge of the game. Due to his defensive rebounding and a couple of steals a game, he helped limit the number of shots the other team took. Also his first back injury was in 1985, as KBlaze points out, he was much more mobile earlier in his career. In the 1981 Finals when the Celtics were going to need rebounding against Moses Malone and the Rockets, Bird averaged 15.3 rpg for the series. (It was McHale's rookie year and he came off the bench.) Opening up with back to back 20 rebound games. He also had back to back games with 5 steals in that series.

Last edited by KevinNYC : 07-17-2011 at 02:46 AM.
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