Weeks ago some guy on here annoyed the hell outta me claiming that Isiah Thomas was a scorer....looked to score before he thought to pass. As someone who came up watching him it just...stung a bit. Im sure its highlights and his numbers that make people assume that. So ill throw Isiah in as the example of what I mean. We see scoring numbers, highlights of him attacking off the dribble, and 40 points on a bad ankle....16 points in 90 seconds....and lost who he really was. Some of my response from that topic:
You know that Isiah Thomas was putting up 14 assists a game at one point right? That Stockton, Oscar, and Magic are the only players(retired) who average more assists for their careers? That he had stretches where he had 20, 12, 15, 20, 19, 16, 17, 19, 18, 16, 12, 12, 24, 9, and 25 assists in consecutive games?
When he was asked to create shots for others...he did so at a rate that to that point...had never been done. When his team became more grind it out...defense first...playing through the post...multiple ball handlers...his assists dropped.
That is what being a point guard is. Doing what you are supposed to do....running your offense.
In Isiahs prime he wasnt even shooting that much...but people(who dont remember him) list him as someone with a score first mentality. In 86 he put up 21/11...he shot 16 times a game. On a team that took 95. Kidd in his prime took between 14-16 a game(end of Suns run and first couple years as a Net...id say that was him at his peak). In 03 Kidd took 16 shots a game on a team that only took 80. He took more of his teams shots than Isiah Thomas did. When Isiahs shots peaked...he was only taking 19 of 92. He was still shooting about as much as Jason Kidd in his prime. Kidd at one point was doing 13 of 78 shots...which is the same rate Isiah was shooting as a 20+ ppg scorer. No doubt there is more to it posessions wise(FTs, turnovers, and all). But really...Isiah was shooting just...a tad more than one of the more pass first points of all time.
I remember watching coaches break down clips on CBS....back when Hubie was on there. Nobody was of the opinion that Isiah was anything but a playmaker. Guys like Nique listed him as the person they would most want to play with because hes always looking to pass.
I watched him enter 4th quarters having taken like 6 shots 4 of them in transition and then take over and end up with 20 too many times to count. Dude broke the single season assist record...retired I think #3 in assists despite only playing till he was 32....
Others like that....
Allen Iverson. As time passes hes known more and more as a ball stopping, over dribbling, attacker and little else....but really...hes probably the leading scorer using off the ball movement of the last 20 years. His only comp is guys like Reggie who didnt really score much and guys who later in their careers became spot up shooters...like Ray Allen...
Who is another.
Hes the all time 3 point leader...shot like 8 threes a game at one point. But Ray wasnt a shooter. He was a scorer who did so largely by shooting. Different things.
Ray in his prime was out there blowing by guys and reverse dunking on half the Raptors lineup. Banging on Mcgrady. Using one of the meanest pullup jumpers in the league. Making game winning threes off the dribble after nice behind the back moves. Posting up small guards and driving by forwards.
But hes gonna be remembered a shooter....and sadly...
So might Jason Kidd. Imagine ISH 2022. How does someone who remembers his prime counter the fact that hes second all time in threes(or whatever he is by then...5th maybe) in response to their claim that he couldnt shoot? Topic is Kidd vs...like...lets say Steph Curry. You say Kidd was an awful shooter. Guy who is 22 at the time(13 now....) does not remember Kidd on the Suns or even Nets. He sees....top 5 all time in 3s.
How do you claim he couldnt shoot in the face of that? Talk about his midrange game? Only 6 of his 18-19 years did he not make a gang of threes. Will the kids of 2022 tell you you dont know what youre talking about?
The ultimate example of this might be Bill Russell. Ive heard it from 2 of his teammates that they might have missed him more on offense than defense. His outlet passing triggered a team that scored 125 points a game. He is I believe second all time in center assists when his were recorded differently. By modern rules he may have been a 19/25 9 assist player. He led his team in scoring on a title run or two. Had 30 point game 7s. Triple doubles out the ass in the playoffs. I believe he holds the finals record for shooting percentage in a series over some number of attempts(he shot 70%). But due to low ppg and shooting % his offense is often mentioned as a weakness. Not just compared to other elites....but...claimed to be a flat out weakness in his game.
He was out there telling Cousy where to stand/run each game so he could launch the outlet pass after Cousy let his man blow by him for Russell to block it. Look at the assist numbers. He puts up 22 points and 5 assists on a title run....when at the time you dont get an assist if your teammate had to dribble to score?
He was probably doing a legit 22/25/8 as a center. And his teammates loved it.
He shot like shit largely due to the volume over quality methods of the time but really...he was not a poor offensive player.
Id say we have
Who would be on your list?
Guys you suspect the future will never understand because of their numbers and highlights?
Im not sure people of the future are going to know just how good Tim Duncan was after his numbers started slipping....