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Administrator 12/02--7/07
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A legitimate question, I think...


http://chicagosports.chicagotribune...lumn?coll=cs-bulls-utility&ctrack=1&cset=true

Where's LeBron? How does your team sink like this two straight seasons?

Yes, he has spectacular nights, like the 56 against the Raptors earlier this month. And even with a sore ankle he rallied the Cavs from a big deficit Monday. Good stuff. But against the Hornets on Monday it was Zydrunas Ilgauskas taking and missing the last shot in regulation. It's certainly admirable to defer to teammates and get everyone involved. But when a team is collapsing, the star has to take over more and will his team to victory.

It's what was said about Tracy McGrady last season: How great could he be if he played on a team that lost 19 straight? Maybe he wasn't trying late in the season when he took off, but the losing streak came the first month. Likewise, Kevin Garnett. How does a team with all that talent not make the playoffs? The Timberwolves probably won't.

What all three have in common is skipping college.

Garnett effectively started the preps-to-pros run when he left Farragut Academy in 1996. So it hasn't been that long.

But never in NBA history has a team won a title with its main player skipping college.

The reason, I believe, is college trains basketball players about big games and their responsibility in those games. Is it a coincidence McGrady has never been on a team that won a playoff series and even with Yao Ming isn't in line for first-round homecourt advantage this season? That Garnett has been past the first round just once? Kobe Bryant has played on three championship teams. But with Shaquille O'Neal gone, Bryant will be out of the playoffs this season.

Coincidence? Perhaps--Bryant, after all, has shown an ability to rise to the moment in the biggest of games.

But this is a young NBA now. The Olympic team consisted mostly of young players, including high-schoolers James and Amare Stoudemire. Four of the top seven scorers in the NBA this season didn't attend college. But it was Dwyane Wade who went to the second round last season pre-Shaq.

There's no question James has more talent than any of them.

He is just a fraction short in rebounding of joining Jordan and Larry Bird as the only players in the last 25 years to average more than 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

No one ever has seen the package of size and talent. But it takes more than numbers to get you in that company.

Yes, any player needs help. But Jordan, even with a rag-tag bunch of teammates, never missed the playoffs with the Bulls. Bird took the Celtics to 61 wins and the conference finals in his rookie year, before the Celtics acquired Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Magic Johnson joined a Lakers team that won 47 games and was crushed in the early part of the playoffs and led them to a championship as a rookie.

It's no shame not to match their feats. They were the best ever to play the game.

But we're being told that we're seeing a repeat of that era with the likes of James, McGrady, Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Bryant. It hardly seems a better league now than it was then with 30 teams and expansion diluting the product every few years. When those guys dominated the NBA, they were going against Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and then Hakeem Olajuwon. One of the East's All-Star centers this year was Ilgauskas. And James has him.

Many around the NBA wondered what the effect of the high school invasion would be. I remember one executive saying they'd be great talents whom we'd never seen the likes of athletically, but they might never reach their potential because they stunted their basketball development by skipping college. The good ones would never quite be All-Stars and the great ones might never be true Hall of Famers.
 

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I guess Moses Malone is forgotten? 3 MVP's, two titles, no college.

This writer also does not watch the Cavs either: this is ridiculous people point to Z and say he's an All-Star and suddenly the Cavs should be contenders? Ridiculous. Our backcourt is worse then the expansion Bobcats in terms of quality and production.

Magic joined a team with Kareem (anybody who tries to an imply a relationship even circumspectly between Z and Kareem is an idiot), Wilkes, Norm Nixon - talented players. Bird had the benefit of healthy Nate archibald. Clearly Bird/Magic are great players but to use these comparisons is poor writing and logic. So how many years in college do you need then if suddenly college is the key? Magic only had two while Bird was a senior. Stupid article
 

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That is a stupid question because look how many high school players there are comapred to the non high school ones. Not to mention none of the active high school players have even reached 30 years old yet.
 

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Pioneer10 said:
I guess Moses Malone is forgotten? 3 MVP's, two titles, no college.

Yes, yes. The wond "Can't" is mine from the thread title, not the author's. Yes, Moses did achieve it.

I think the underlying point of the article is interesting, and legitimate. Since KG came up, the franchises who have had a preps player as the main focus have struggled, and failed to achieve the level of success they aften appear capable of, on paper. The T-wolves are a prime example. Following T-Mac's career is another good example. The Lakers struggling with Kobe and without Shaq is another.

So yes, Moses Malone did accomplish the goal of winning championships as a preps to pro who ws the main focus. The point is, as incredibly talented as the current crop of preps to pro players is -- Lebron, Kobe, KG, T-Mac, etc. -- the teams that rely on them as the #1 focus have had problems. And it appears to be getting no better.

It seems to be a problem at least worth examining -- the hows and whys -- and not dismissing with "Malone did it," or just calling it a "stupid question.".
 

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Garnett left for the league in '95 not '96.

"they might never reach their potential because they stunted their basketball development by skipping college"

My ignorance-meter is going to explode.
 

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Tim Duncan is the only player since KG was drafted to win a title as a main player, and he was drafted essentially by a 50 win team.

Smoke that.
 

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sboydell said:
but doesn't that back up his point?? Duncan is a 4 year college player
Not at all, what happens if David Robinson doesn't get hurt? The Spurs don't have the #1 pick and a real bad team gets the #1 pick, does Duncan have any rings if say the Sixers drafted him?

The Spurs were in a fluke situation, their franchise player missed the whole season and they went from a championship contender to a bad team and got the #1 pick. They were a championship contender adding the top pick, it's not hard to win a title like that. The Spurs management is also the best in the league so after Robinson began to fade they surrounded Duncan with the players that could best win a title.

I think the overall question is stupid, just because it hasn't happened since Malone doesn't mean it can't. KG has had 1 chance to really get a title, and that was last year. This year injuries have killed them and they just weren't good enough the prior years. T Mac's teams have always been pretty bad, LeBron is 20, Kobe is in his first year leading a team.

As Futurixsten said only 1 player drafted after KG has led their team to a championship, and that's Duncan, so it's not like there are a bunch of college guys leading teams to rings since 95.

You can argue for somebody from the Pistons, but there was no unquestioned leader. They were a bunch of pieces put together perfectly.
 

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Pioneer10 said:
I guess Moses Malone is forgotten? 3 MVP's, two titles, no college.
I thought Moses only won one title...? In '83, with the 76ers. And while Erving was on that time and still one of the league's better players, I think it was clear that Malone was their main man.

But if the focus of the article is meant to be on the current generation of preps-to-pros guys, I still think it's kind of a silly argument. As has already been suggested in this thread, there just aren't enough of them (particularly playing at a really high level) to provide any kind of meaningful sample that would justify making such a sweeping statement. Just because these few players haven't done it yet doesn't mean they won't, and it doesn't mean that the next crop won't.
 

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sboydell said:
but doesn't that back up his point?? Duncan is a 4 year college player
Not really. There are only 4 or 5 teams with HS players as their lead dog.. so the chances of them winning a title is only 1 in 6 whereas the chances of a team lead by a college player is 5 in 6
 

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The point about learning how to dominate and win games, and in general be a winner at a higher level of competition is a legitimate point for some of those guys (McGrady comes to mind), but I don't think it applies to KG and Kobe, for example. And the Cavs may be struggling a bit at the end of the season, but even so, he resurrected that franchise from the dead, pretty much singlehandedly. And two years into the league out of HS, no one should expect him to be a championship caliber player.

The biggest thing is youth. The guys who've come into the league straight out of HS are all still pretty young. And all but one of the title winning teams since HSers started coming into the league (minus Moses of course) had Shaq, Jordan, or TD on the team. If none of the HSers are as good as those guys, its no crime, and its not because they didn't go to college.

I actually think the HSers often play a better team game in the NBA, because they get humbled a little when they first enter the league. Alot of the college guys (who have star potential) are used to being the man, and demand to be the man to the detriment of team play.
 

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Personally, I feel that this is a rather ridiculous question. One key point to note is that teams win games, teams win championships. Not individuals. With that in mind, whether a team, with a HS-to-Nba star or a 4-year-college star, wins is dependent on the management of the team (i.e. the management's ability to assemble a team that actually fits, in order to have on-court chemistry) and also the level of competition.

When the number of HS-to-NBA players are still few and far between, even in today's league, compared to the college players, it makes for a higher probability that a team led by a college guy would win the championship than by a HS guy. Hence therefore, it's certainly not fair for one to conclude that HS players aren't capable of leading a team to a championship. Also, the current bunch of HS-to-NBA stars are still relatively young, and hasn't had the sufficient tries and chances to contend (e.g. Kobe being handed the keys just this season) or the sufficient resources to make a realistic bid for the title (i.e. KG w/ the Timberwolves, with the exception of last year).

IMO, I don't see how HS-to-NBA players are not capable of leading their teams to success, if they themselves possess the necessary/sufficient skills and ability to do so (i.e. being a star in the league, among college players and what not) and also the capable set of team that boast a high level of skills, ability and also team chemistry.

If anything, it might even be argued that it's more likely for a preps to pro player to win a title as a main guy, although statistics clearly do not show a positive correlation between the two variables as of now (simply because there is too small a sample size to draw from anyway). It is that the athletes would enter the league earlier in their lives. This then allow them to develop quicker, with experience in the NBA, and hence be in their prime earlier and longer, and therefore a higher chance of winning a championship with the right team (i.e. more chances in their careers to win).
 

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This is one of those articles in which the guy had an ending premise he wanted to prove and he went out and proved it making sure to ignore any information that would dispute his main idea. Pathetic writing IMO. It is the same logic that some of Ballscientists fnny posts use when he evaluates a situation after one game. I mean, anyone who agreed with him before they read the article is going to think it is insighful when it isn't. It is not professional level writing.
 

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BBB said:
It is that the athletes would enter the league earlier in their lives. This then allow them to develop quicker, with experience in the NBA, and hence be in their prime earlier and longer, and therefore a higher chance of winning a championship with the right team (i.e. more chances in their careers to win).

How can someone using logic think a basketball player would become better playing against inferior talent?
 

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what's that they say? correlation does not imply causation?
 

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7M3 said:
what's that they say? correlation does not imply causation?
That's what they say, and they're right.

Perhaps the causation in the best prep-to-pro players not winning a title, as the main man, is supporting cast? What's the best supporting cast a prep-to-pro player who was the "main man" has had (in recent times)? Last year for Garnett in Cassell and Sprewell and a couple years in Indiana with Jermaine O'Neal's supporting casts (which have done well, they just happened not to have gone all the way). And after that? Our data points are McGrady's horrible Orlando casts, Garnett's horrible prior supporting casts, James' horrible Cavaliers' supporting casts.

This year, Bryant's horrible Lakers' supporting cast. The only one with a decent supporting cast is McGrady's current team, and nobody would say it's championship-caliber as currently comprised.

Why do people pass over the obvious answer to create a stranger, almost-surely-wrong theory? I suspect the logic is tortured in order to allow the author to force his/her way to the character conclusion he/she want to be true; like, "college breeds winners," in this particular case.
 

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stupid question/article indeed. So if it was Lebron instead of Wade on Miami, you tell me Miami would be worse off in their title run? Please.
 
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