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Old 09-29-2012, 03:34 PM   #1
jlip
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Default How good was Kareem defensively?

He has all of the stats and the resume' of an all time great defender.

He was basically a top 5 rebounder for a decade. The NBA didn't count blocked shots until his 4th season, but over the next nine years he led the league 4 times and was top 3 five other times. He has 5 all defensive 1st and 6 all defensive 2nd teams to his name. It should be remembered that "All NBA teams" have only one center but two guards and forwards. Finally ThaRegul8r posted some time ago that the '70-'74 Bucks defense, anchored by Kareem, held their opponents to the lowest fg% allowed in the league.

So again, Kareem's defensive resume' is stellar, but he's rarely in the discussion of the greatest defenders of all time (at least not the ones I am privy to). Assuming that Russell is the consensus GOAT defender, where can we place Kareem? Is he on Hakeem's level, Thurmond's level, Mutombo's level? How good truly was he defensively?
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

I wrote the following article which ranks the best defensive centers of all-time. Read the methodology carefully:

THE BEST DEFENSIVE CENTERS OF ALL-TIME

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is ranked a very impressive 7th.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:02 PM   #3
daily
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillC
I wrote the following article which ranks the best defensive centers of all-time. Read the methodology carefully:

THE BEST DEFENSIVE CENTERS OF ALL-TIME

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is ranked a very impressive 7th.


Your methods need work, don't this this wrong. I'm all in favor of trying to find a way to make something tangible out of such a subjective subject. But you can't rely on defensive win shares alone to make case and you certainly can't limit it to a certain range of age.

Maybe a rating system that uses DWS as a baseline but not by itself
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daily
Your methods need work, don't this this wrong. I'm all in favor of trying to find a way to make something tangible out of such a subjective subject. But you can't rely on defensive win shares alone to make case and you certainly can't limit it to a certain range of age.

Maybe a rating system that uses DWS as a baseline but not by itself

I'm fully aware of the limitations of the method I used. It's obviously not perfect. Far from it.

However, the results are almost in line with what I'd expect to see. So clearly the method isn't too bad.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:49 PM   #5
daily
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillC
I'm fully aware of the limitations of the method I used. It's obviously not perfect. Far from it.

However, the results are almost in line with what I'd expect to see. So clearly the method isn't too bad.
So how do you justify using DWS when you have to be on a winning team to garner DWS. you could be the greatest defender the world has ever seen and if your team loses every game of the season you'll have zero DWS that season

As an example when the Lakers went 24-19 Kobe had 1 DWS.
The previous season season he had a 3 DWS rating and the season following the 24-19 season he had a DWS of 3.5. All three years his steal and block numbers were nearly identical. Clearly the numbers were influenced much more by the Lakers record than Kobe efforts.

DWS is a team stat broken down to an individual level but it's entirely influenced by a teams win loss record.

So you can take that stat and adjust it up and down left and right and back and forth but in the end you're adjusting a stat that was never meant to be used to compare players. It's a stat meant to compare players within the framework of one season and on one team

Until you start adjusting it against the players teams record and possibly even the league averages per team record across the decades your just making worthless noise.

This why there's a defensive rating system. Shame the stats required to use DRTG across the eras are not availble for the earlier years
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

daily, all of those are valid points - I agree with you.

I still find the results interesting. There's not much that jumps out as being 'wrong' about the final rankings.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillC
daily, all of those are valid points - I agree with you.

I still find the results interesting. There's not much that jumps out as being 'wrong' about the final rankings.
On a phone, can't keep jumping back and forth where's Moses Malone on your list? He should be top 5 top 8 at the worst
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daily
On a phone, can't keep jumping back and forth where's Moses Malone on your list? He should be top 5 top 8 at the worst

...

Absolutely not is Moses Malone a top 5-8 defensive center of all time. I'm not sure whether this is a presumption that because he was a center and a 3-time MVP that he automatically had to be an all-time great defensive center, but such was not the case. The subject here is defense, not overall ranking.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

he's underrated defensively purely because that aspect of his game is never talked about, but it's hard for me to give an exact placement since I haven't seen very much of him pre-Magic

I'd conservatively put him down as a top 20 defensive anchor all-time, but he's probably higher than that...I just can't put him there since I haven't watched/read enough of him in his prime
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:47 PM   #10
ThaRegul8r
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlip
Kareem's defensive resume' is stellar, but he's rarely in the discussion of the greatest defenders of all time (at least not the ones I am privy to). Assuming that Russell is the consensus GOAT defender, where can we place Kareem? Is he on Hakeem's level, Thurmond's level, Mutombo's level?

I only wanted to comment on one thing, as he rarely gets his due. Russell is the consensus GOAT defender, but Thurmond is the consensus second-only-to-Russell among the people who were actually there at the time. He doesn't get his due now because most people don't know about anything before Magic and Bird, and so Thurmond's name has slipped through the cracks in discussions about all-time greatest defenders. So no, Kareem wasn't on Thurmond's level defensively.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Elite defender in the 70's, his defense seemed to fall off once the 80's came around. From '70-'73 Wilt was considered to be the better defender and Walton as well during the '77 & '78 season. If you eliminate Walton & Chamberlain, Kareem is considered to best defensive center in the league from '71-'81.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillC
I wrote the following article which ranks the best defensive centers of all-time. Read the methodology carefully:

THE BEST DEFENSIVE CENTERS OF ALL-TIME

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is ranked a very impressive 7th.
Why use age and not # of seasons the player has been in the league? (i.e year 3 - 10)

Or better yet, take a player's top 6 win shares season and divide it by the #of games played in those seasons. I would like to see the result of that.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:07 AM   #13
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daily
On a phone, can't keep jumping back and forth where's Moses Malone on your list? He should be top 5 top 8 at the worst

Is this a joke.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:13 AM   #14
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliteballer
Is this a joke.
He's not that high but Malone was a very good man to man defender who could defend the PF and center position. He didn't put up the stats others did but he had a large defensive impact on games with his activity. Highly underrated on D by those that didn't see him play and only have stats to go by
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:16 AM   #15
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Default Re: How good was Kareem defensively?

Kareem had very good anticipation and his length seemed to be like Eaton's. Eaton rarely gets much play in these best defensive center debates despite having the best block numbers over his prime - like nine years of averaging more than 4 blocks per game. Kareem doesn't get the elite defensive player status because he didn't have a lot of bounce in his step. Russell covered a lot of ground because of his lively feet (Garnett, Ben Wallace, Hakeem, Robinson) all subscribe to the lively feet terminology. These players are the hardest to evade because they are always in movement and constantly adjusting. They cover more space and can keep you out of the lane with their feet. Then there are the guys of great length (Bol, Eaton, Kareem, Dikembe, Camby). Its extremely hard to go over the top of them and they have good timing. Wilt was a bit of both, not as quick with the feet as the first bunch, tho, but just as lively.

Ironically, people like to use the term "anchor' on the second group more so than the first group, despite usually ranking the first group as better defenders overall (the exception would be Duncan/Garnett comparison's tho, the arguments has them close to being even on these boards). If you have a lot of bounce in your feet its easier to be a help team defender and to deny post position. The first group is more likely to be better at rebounding. But young Kareem was a solid rebounder and Dikembe was among the best rebounders around. I agree with 1987Lakers, Kareem was behind Walton those years and Wilt in his most lively feet years.

To me, you have the Russell/Wilt/Thurmond cluster. Then you have the Deke/Hakeem/Robinson - these guys covered a lot of ground, played great defense and rebounded well. My next cluster is Kareem/Eaton/Wallace/Ewing.
So I have Kareem as 7 thru 11. Which is still very high.
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