Professional and College Basketball Forums banner

1 - 20 of 83 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For the most part - I think the top three sf's ever are LBJ, Bird and Dr J. Do you think that Durant will ever suprass any of the 3?

Maybe Dr J but don't think he'll surpass LBJ or Bird. And thus far LBJ has been flat-out better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,165 Posts
For the most part - I think the top three sf's ever are LBJ, Bird and Dr J. Do you think that Durant will ever suprass any of the 3?

Maybe Dr J but don't think he'll surpass LBJ or Bird. And thus far LBJ has been flat-out better.
Well, i say it's pretty clear that, barring injury, Kevin Durant will surpass Dr. J pretty soon.
Durant is already (age 25) one of the greatest scorers ever, MVP winner, perennial All-NBAer, led the league in scoring 4 times, and led his team to deep playoff runs.
In fact, i would say it's arguable that Durant is, as of right now, at Doc's (and Baylor's, ,and Hondo's) level.

About Bird and LBJ, only if Durant continues his (insane) production AND wins multiple championships (and LBJ comes short, of course).
I'd say that Durant is at THAT stratospheric level that championships won will make all the difference comparing his career to other all-time greats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Well, i say it's pretty clear that, barring injury, Kevin Durant will surpass Dr. J pretty soon.
Durant is already (age 25) one of the greatest scorers ever, MVP winner, perennial All-NBAer, led the league in scoring 4 times, and led his team to deep playoff runs.
In fact, i would say it's arguable that Durant is, as of right now, at Doc's (and Baylor's, ,and Hondo's) level.

About Bird and LBJ, only if Durant continues his (insane) production AND wins multiple championships (and LBJ comes short, of course).
I'd say that Durant is at THAT stratospheric level that championships won will make all the difference comparing his career to other all-time greats.
Yeah I supose you're right. I give slight edge to DR J right now but it's inevitable he'll surpass him - and as you suggest --some may think he already has.

It doesn't look good for him though to break into Bird/LBJ tier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,500 Posts
people here seem to not know much about Doc

3 time ABA MVP, 1 time NBA MVP, 9 time All ABA/NBA 1st teamer, 3 titles, 16 time all star, one of only 5 players ever to average 2 steals and 2 blocks per game

Durant may be on his way to achieving more than that but let's not pretend it's inevitable or just around the corner or whatever
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,165 Posts
people here seem to not know much about Doc

3 time ABA MVP, 1 time NBA MVP, 9 time All ABA/NBA 1st teamer, 3 titles, 16 time all star, one of only 5 players ever to average 2 steals and 2 blocks per game

Durant may be on his way to achieving more than that but let's not pretend it's inevitable or just around the corner or whatever
I said Durant will surpass Dr. J "pretty soon" and that it's arguable that he is already at Doc's level.
Do you disagree? Because of Erving's ABA career? A league who had players like Gilmore, Cunningham and McGinnis winning MVPs? Meh. The ABA was what it was: a minor league. Don't put much weight in it. Players like Dr. J and McGinnis had drops of, like 6, 7ppg when they joined the Big League and before adapting (more in Dr. J´s case).

Julius Erving was a stud, obviously, but as an offensive player RIGHT NOW Durant blows him out of the water. It's no contest, really.
Oh, and i'll trade your 2stls/2blks season (in the ABA) with Durant's 32/7/5 with a TS% of .635 and a PER of 29.8 (wich, again, obliterates anything Dr. J did IN THE NBA).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,500 Posts
yes I disagree (titles, MVP awards about 12 more allstar game appearances etc, that's a lot of achieving to do before we start comparing legacies)

and FYI in the first post merger season there were 5 former ABA players on the All NBA teams and 9 former ABA players in the All Star game - seems like you need to study up on the ABA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,165 Posts
yes I disagree (titles, MVP awards about 12 more allstar game appearances etc, that's a lot of achieving to do before we start comparing legacies)

and FYI in the first post merger season there were 5 former ABA players on the All NBA teams and 9 former ABA players in the All Star game - seems like you need to study up on the ABA
Whatever, man. If you have Dr. J at another level than Durant due to his ABA years, well, more power to you.
Obviously to me, the ABA was the lesser team. Erving himself, who never scored less than 27ppg in the ABA, dropped his production to 21.6ppg (-8ppg than the previous season) for some reason. Reason being tougher competition.
Off course, the ABA had his great players (if it wasn't the case, what would be the interest of merging?), but overall? Meh:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/aba_all_time_team.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,500 Posts
Erving himself, who never scored less than 27ppg in the ABA, dropped his production to 21.6ppg (-8ppg than the previous season) for some reason. Reason being tougher competition.
Paulo you already touched on this even mentioning "the reason" by name in a prior post

yes both Doc and George McGinnis's ppg dropped in their first NBA seasons

do you know why?

Doc and McGinnis went from being clear cut alphas on the Nets and Pacers to joining forces (and having to share the ball) on the 76ers - in their first NBA season together McGinnis took 400 less attempts and Doc took 500 less attempts than they had taken in the previous season (and this doesn't even take into account that also had to share the ball with Lloyd Free and Doug Collins)

and do you know what Doc and McGinnis teamed up to do in their first season in the NBA? lead their team all the way to the finals (all that competition made things real tough on them eh?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,165 Posts
Paulo you already touched on this even mentioning "the reason" by name in a prior post

yes both Doc and George McGinnis's ppg dropped in their first NBA seasons

do you know why?

Doc and McGinnis went from being clear cut alphas on the Nets and Pacers to joining forces (and having to share the ball) on the 76ers - in their first NBA season together McGinnis took 400 less attempts and Doc took 500 less attempts than they had taken in the previous season (and this doesn't even take into account that also had to share the ball with Lloyd Free and Doug Collins)

and do you know what Doc and McGinnis teamed up to do in their first season in the NBA? lead their team all the way to the finals (all that competition made things real tough on them eh?)
Yes. That "tougher competition" made Ervin's former outer-wordly stats (in the ABA) adjust.
As comparison to losing in the Finals againts the Blazers (who had Walton and Mo) just take a look at Doc's competition for, say, the 1974 ABA Championship (the season Doc averaged the 2/2 you mentioned, along with 27/10/5): the Utah Stars of Willie Wize, Ron Boone, Jimmy Jones and Zelmo Beatty...

Dude, i'm not saying Julius freaking Erving was NOT one of the greatest players who ever played. He was. But i don't put much weight in ABA's career. NOT that they didn't have great players who carved themselves great careers after the merger. But talent-wise overall, it WAS an inferior league.

What i AM saying is that Kevin Durant is arguably at Ervin's level and will (barring injuries) pass him.
I don't think it's disputable that Durant is already a better scorer than Julius. And a CONSISTENT better scorer (over 27.5ppg for 5 straight seasons, in excelent percentages). He may not be as well-rounded as Julius (who WAS a better defender), but his last 2 seasons of +4.5apg show he is not a one-dimentional player (as in, gunner).
Durant has already (age 25) won an MVP award over a player who is a shoe-in for All-time Top10.
I think it's safe to say that Kevin Durant, in the next two seasons, will again be the top scorer (or damn close) in the league, a MVP Top-2 finisher while leading his team to deep playoff runs. THEN (that's why i said "pretty soon") it won't take winning championships (IMHO) to argue Durant having a better career then Julius (peak-wise, i don't think an argument can be made for Julius).

Julius Erving was a great basketball player. He belongs in the third echelon (sp?) of greatest of the greats (i'd go (in no particular order) first: Wilt, Magic, Jordan, Russell, Kareem; second: Shaq, Duncan, Oscar, West, Hakeem, Kobe, Lebron, etc.). I do think Durant is already in that vicinity.
 

·
Curse of the Sonics
Joined
·
20,794 Posts
I think he can get into the Bird class by sustaining his current prime. It's unlikely he ever gets to the LeBron level because of the defensive side of things. It's unlikely that Durant ever becomes the dominant and versatile defender that LeBron has been for most of his prime.

All Dr. J has on him at this point is years. You could argue that Durant already has 2-3 years better than Erving's best NBA seasons, and Durant is only 25. He has already surpassed Erving's prime, so I think saying it's a matter of time before he accomplishes more is fair (barring injuries).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
721 Posts
Durants career will be something like if Tracy Mcgrady stayed healthy, puts up crazy stats but never wins a ring. His lack of defense and lack of alpha-dog won't put him into Lebron and Bird category but there will be debate between him and Dr.J
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I think he can get into the Bird class by sustaining his current prime. It's unlikely he ever gets to the LeBron level because of the defensive side of things. It's unlikely that Durant ever becomes the dominant and versatile defender that LeBron has been for most of his prime.

All Dr. J has on him at this point is years. You could argue that Durant already has 2-3 years better than Erving's best NBA seasons, and Durant is only 25. He has already surpassed Erving's prime, so I think saying it's a matter of time before he accomplishes more is fair (barring injuries).
I think he has to do much more than "sustain" to catch Bird. IMO he has to become a much better passer and learn how to low post. He doesn't have to be "Shaq."

Inevitably - he'll run into a defender that will force him to be more than just a 3pt shooter. He seems to have an issue with defenders than can get into his chest. His regular season beefed-up stats imo shouldn't jump over Bird whom had a low post game, and was both a low post threat and a tremendous passer- until Durant shows he can add this in the playoffs and have at least one big run where he is "unstoppable."

As a general rule to get into this Bird type of tier you can't be just a one-trick pony. IMO if he sustains just being a one-trick pony, he'll never get a title unless he is on some tremndously stacked team.
 

·
Curse of the Sonics
Joined
·
20,794 Posts
I think he has to do much more than "sustain" to catch Bird. IMO he has to become a much better passer and learn how to low post. He doesn't have to be "Shaq."

Inevitably - he'll run into a defender that will force him to be more than just a 3pt shooter. He seems to have an issue with defenders than can get into his chest. His regular season beefed-up stats imo shouldn't jump over Bird whom had a low post game, and was both a low post threat and a tremendous passer- until Durant shows he can add this in the playoffs and have at least one big run where he is "unstoppable."

As a general rule to get into this Bird type of tier you can't be just a one-trick pony. IMO if he sustains just being a one-trick pony, he'll never get a title unless he is on some tremndously stacked team.
Durant isn't a one trick pony. A 32/7/6 statline is hardly one dimensional. If he stays in the 28-29 PER range through the next 5-7 years, like he has been the past two years, he'll be thought to be in the Bird class by the time he retires. People won't attribute that to the PER itself, but guys who play at that level for that long don't go unnoticed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Durant isn't a one trick pony. A 32/7/6 statline is hardly one dimensional. If he stays in the 28-29 PER range through the next 5-7 years, like he has been the past two years, he'll be thought to be in the Bird class by the time he retires. People won't attribute that to the PER itself, but guys who play at that level for that long don't go unnoticed.
I don't agree. First off he is a 1trick-pony thus far when you compare him to all time greats like Bird. For a sf/pf averaging 7.4 in this- his best year it's okay but Bird's average was 10.

And they aren't even in the same league when it comes to passing. Bird's assist-to-turnovers is over 2:1 for his career.

SO yes- kd isn't a one-trick pony to many,many players- but when you compare him to all-time greats like Bird- he is.

ANd I don't agrre at all with your PER POV in terms of "weight.". You are puttign too much emphasis on this as you compare both.

Final point: Jerry West got an MVP even in defeat. Magic johnson wasn't stopped when he was still great but lost some of his quickness as he tangled with the 90-91 Bulls. Durant will become slapped down more and more if he doesn't show he is a beast in domiating the playoffs. Certainly 11-12 his Playoff STATS were fine. But we all know that he couldn't get open enough to get up enough shots.

Anyhow, his game other than scoring needs more than just PER. Bill Russell's PER isn't very good. But he is imo among top 4 players ever.
 

·
Curse of the Sonics
Joined
·
20,794 Posts
I'll just put it this way, Durant's first 7 seasons are as good or better than Bird's first 7 seasons statistically, and Bird came into the league more seasoned and experienced than a 19 year old Durant. We're comparing a 19-25 year old's production with a 23-29 year old's production, and it can be argued in Durant's favor. Durant is on pace to pass Larry Bird's career points total by the time he is 28 years old. That's not to say Durant a lot better than Bird or anything like that, just that Durant is doing special things that have him on pace to be in Bird's class by the time he is finished.

Personally, I don't factor in championships to my individual evaluations, but if you do, I can see how you'd have a tough time conceding. It's hard to win 1 championship let alone 3. It will be tough to match Bird in that regard, but that is a team accomplishment and not an individual accomplishment in my view.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,500 Posts
Bird was a more polished scorer (more of an inside game for starters) and had more scorers to share with (although Westbrook does take up a lot of air) so his PPG is going to be suppressed a bit, Bird was clearly the better distributor and rebounder

but to me the real point of differentiation is that Bird was a born killer and closer - you want to discount the titles as if Bird wasn't the reason they won them? I don't know about that at all
 

·
Curse of the Sonics
Joined
·
20,794 Posts
Bird was a more polished scorer (more of an inside game for starters) and had more scorers to share with (although Westbrook does take up a lot of air) so his PPG is going to be suppressed a bit, Bird was clearly the better distributor and rebounder
Bird had more to share with but still took 18-22 shots per game throughout his career, which is roughly what Durant is taking also. Bird may have been more "polished" but that doesn't make much difference when you consider the fact that Durant is still the higher volume higher efficiency scorer. If an unpolished Durant is a better more efficient scorer than a polished Bird, then all that tells me is that Durant's scoring ceiling is higher. Of course, there is more that goes into it. Durant is faster, taller and a better ball handler than Bird was, which aids in his superior scoring ability.

but to me the real point of differentiation is that Bird was a born killer and closer - you want to discount the titles as if Bird wasn't the reason they won them? I don't know about that at all
Descriptions like "born killer" aren't that interesting to me because they're just personality types. I'm more interested in basketball ability and basketball impact. Whether Tim Duncan or Michael Jordan, you can be successful. JR Smith has the "born killer" personality type but most people just consider him an idiot. As far being a closer, the majority of GM's voted Kevin Durant as the guy they want taking the last shot, over "born killer" Kobe Bryant.

And no, Bird was not the reason the Celtics won championships. You just said in the previous paragraph how much talent he had to share the floor with. Any team that wins a championship has a multitude of contributors. Bird was certainly a major one, but that's irrelevent to individual comparisons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,500 Posts
Bird had more to share with but still took 18-22 shots per game throughout his career, which is roughly what Durant is taking also. Bird may have been more "polished" but that doesn't make much difference when you consider the fact that Durant is still the higher volume higher efficiency scorer. If an unpolished Durant is a better more efficient scorer than a polished Bird, then all that tells me is that Durant's scoring ceiling is higher. Of course, there is more that goes into it. Durant is faster, taller and a better ball handler than Bird was, which aids in his superior scoring ability.
the real difference here in terms of efficiency is two-fold: 3pas and FTAs

the former has to do with a change in strategy over the decades (increasing reliance on shots from behind the arc) clearly Bird could hit 3s, he was one of the best pure shooters the league has ever known, he just never took more than 240 3pas in a season because that wasn't what they did back in the day (Durant took 491 3pas last year)

and the latter has to do with actual rules changes that benefit contemporary players putting them on the line more frequently than they would have gone in the rough and tumble 80s - Bird would have been much more efficient (and would have scored more points) if he was going to the line as frequently as Durant - Durant goes to the line 9 or 10 times a game, Bird never went to the line more than 6 and as a 90% shooter from the line that's a dead lock additional 3 or 4 points added to Bird's PPG

and it's not like Durant is doing anything special to get to the line - like I said it's the rules changes that intentionally benefit the contemporary offensive player who you basically cant breath on at this point - I wonder what would happen to Durant's game if he had handle the physicality of the 80s, it's something to consider

Descriptions like "born killer" aren't that interesting to me because they're just personality types. I'm more interested in basketball ability and basketball impact. Whether Tim Duncan or Michael Jordan, you can be successful. JR Smith has the "born killer" personality type but most people just consider him an idiot.
you're just playing a semantics game here with what you'd like "born killer" to mean

both Timmy and Mike are/were born killers - they are both assassins who play cold blooded murder at the end of games - they are both guys who as fans of the opposing team you just wince when they have the ball at the end of the game because you just know that they are going to rip your heart out

JR Smith is not a born killer, at all - as a fan of the opposition you actually kind hope he gets the ball at the end because you just know he's going to f- it up - why are you even talking about JR Smith?


As far being a closer, the majority of GM's voted Kevin Durant as the guy they want taking the last shot, over "born killer" Kobe Bryant.
and not one of them would take Durant over a prime Bird with the game on the line, not one

"Isiah Thomas once said if he, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were put in a room together and told to battle it out, Bird would be the one left standing. Let that marinate. "

http://uproxx.com/uncategorized/2013/10/larry-bird-trash-talk-video/
study



And no, Bird was not the reason the Celtics won
I need to take a moment to stop laughing here

championships. You just said in the previous paragraph how much talent he had to share the floor with.
good lord, that's funny

anyway

the competition was stiffer as well, the top teams in the 80s were stacked 5 or 6 deep with studs (nowadays a "big 3" gets things done, the Thunder are considered top contenders and they're really just a "Big 2.5")

but Bird was the alpha, the leader, the heart and soul, the closer etc

Any team that wins a championship has a multitude of contributors. Bird was certainly a major one, but that's irrelevent to individual comparisons.
nonsense, being the best player by a long shot on a couple of the top 5 teams in the history of the game is not irrelevant, even just being the best player on a winning team is not irrelevant if it were otherwise then KD hasn't done anything more to date than Alex English or Adrian Dantley ever did (efficient 25-30ppg 6-7rpg 3-4apg) - winning either is relevant or let's just all shut up and look at the stats
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,500 Posts
more on what I mean by "born killer"

After Bird made four straight baskets with Dennis Rodman guarding him, he ran over to Chuck Daly and asked "who's guarding me, Chuck? Is anyone guarding me? You better get someone on me or I'm gonna go for 60." Then he'd continue the banter the next time he got the ball with Rodman inches away.

"I started talking a little trash to him," Horace Grant recalled, when the Celtics were the defending champions. "I'm saying, 'You're not going to score. You're not getting this basket. I remember him then telling me exactly what he was going to do to me. He says he's going to fake me left and then he's going to shoot a right-hand hook over me. And then he goes and does it and scores."

On a West Coast trip in 1986, Bird told the entire Dallas Mavericks bench that after the time out, Ainge would inbounds the pass to DJ, who would hit Bird in the corner where Bird would step back and take a three. "So you got that?" Bird queried the bench. "I'm gonna stand right here. I'm not going to move. They'll pass me the ball, and the next sound you hear will be the ball hitting the bottom of the net." And that's exactly what happened. Bird winked at the Mavericks before heading back down to the other end of the court.

When the Indiana Pacers put rookie George McCloud on Bird in the closing minutes of a game, Bird yelled over to the Pacers bench, "Hey, I know you guys are desperate, but can't you find someone who at least has a prayer?"

After Craig Hodges won the NBA All-Star Game Three-Point contest in Bird's absence, Hodges was asked if the victory was tainted because Bird hadn't participated. "He knows where he can find me," was Hodges retort. Told of Hodges' challenge, Bird replied, "Yeah, at the end of the Bulls bench."

During the three-point shooting contest on All-Star Weekend 1986, Bird entered the locker room, looked around for a while without saying a word, when he finally spoke he said, "I want all of you to know I am winning this thing. I'm just looking around to see who's gonna finish up second." He won the shooting contest.

During one game on Christmas Day against the Indiana Pacers, before the game Bird told Chuck Person that he had a Christmas present waiting for him. During the game, when Person was on the bench, Bird shot a three-pointer on the baseline right in front of Person. Immediately after releasing the ball, Bird said to Person, "Merry ****in' Christmas!", and then the shot went in. This was no doubt inspired by Person (nicknamed the "Rifleman") stating prior to the game that "The Rifleman is Coming, and He's Going Bird Hunting."

Reggie Miller recalled his encounter with Larry Bird's legendary trash talking ability in his book "I Love Being The Enemy". Reggie tried to disrupt Larry's concentration when he was shooting free throws late in a game. Larry glared at him, made the first free throw and said, "Rook, I am the best ****ing shooter in the league. In the league, understand? And you're up here trying to ****ing tell me something?" Then Larry buried the second free throw.
 

·
Curse of the Sonics
Joined
·
20,794 Posts
I tend to shy away from these exchanges when officiating is used to rationalize an advantage, because that's pretty much where the comparison strays from basketball ability and evolves into a discussion about bias officiating. I have no desire to discuss officiating. If you think Durant is only a higher volume more efficient scorer because the officiating makes him that way, then that's your view and I'll leave it be. And I have little hope for convincing you of otherwise if you can't concede Durant's most obvious advantage. If this thing has become a discussion about officiating and who is more of a "cold killer" then count me out.

Here is my question to you though @e-monk ... given your implications about the league today, do you think LeBron will pass Bird as the best small forward of all-time?
 
1 - 20 of 83 Posts
Top