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Just curious, but how good do you guys think Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns was as a PG back in the day in his prime?

Would you consider him on par with JKidd and Payton in his prime? Or is he more comparable to a Steve Nash or someone like that? How would he fare in todays game in your opinions?

*Note I posted this in the Suns forum as well, and another....but I wanted to post it here as well to see what other NBA fans think (non-Suns)
 

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As I remember him I'd say he was a notch below Kidd and Payton, maybe like a Baron Davis. He was pretty athletic, pretty tough and pretty clutch. Just seemed like he was injured too much during his prime to realize his fullest potential.
 

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He wasn't a Hall of Fame type of player like Kidd or Payton, he was just a very dangerous star. When he got hot, there was no stopping him and he was great at dishing the ball.

Baron Davis is a decent comparison.
 

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If he would have had a 100% healthy career like Payton has, he would be easily mentioned in the same breath. There's a lot of good discussion on this going on in the Suns' forum right now.

People talk about Kidd turning the Nets around, well KJ did it in just as big a way, even though the Suns team he went to lost their two best players, Larry Nance (in the trade with the Cavs) and Walter Davis the year he came to Phoenix.. They went from 28-54 to 55-27 in Kevin Johnson's first season as a Sun.

Same level as Payton and Kidd to me.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Minstrel</b>!
He wasn't a Hall of Fame type of player like Kidd or Payton, he was just a very dangerous star. When he got hot, there was no stopping him and he was great at dishing the ball.

Baron Davis is a decent comparison.
I think he's a little better than you're making him out to be. You are correct in stating that he wasn't a HOF player but that was due to injuries more than anything. He was having a terrific career until he started to break down. He was an excellent scorer and shooter. He didn't have great range but he could hit the 20 foot jumper with incredible consistency. He was great at driving to the hoop. He was a strong finisher around the basket. He was also a great passer. He had a bunch of 20 pt 10 ast seasons in Phoenix. He was a strong defender as well. I think the best comparison I could make to KJ is Marbury. Great passer and scorer from the PG position. He was probably a better shooter though. His defense was stronger as well. The sad part about his career is that he broke down at 30. Had he been able to stay healthy and play for 5-6 more seasons, he'd easily have over 20,000 pts and 10,000 assts. As it stands, he had 13,000 pts and 6,700 assts. He wasn't as good as GP, Stockton, or Magic but I think he was on Kidd's level. As a matter of fact, I think he was better. Just my $.02.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Pinball</b>!


I think he's a little better than you're making him out to be. You are correct in stating that he wasn't a HOF player but that was due to injuries more than anything.
You feel he was a Hall of Fame level player prior to his injuries? In other words, had he had a normal-length career, at that level, you would have considered him Hall of Fame caliber?

If so, I think you overrate him a little. I put him at the highest level in the game short of being a Hall of Famer.

I thought about comparing him to Marbury, but I think Marbury is a Hall of Fame caliber player, potentially. Still KJ is probably pretty close to Steph. The difference isn't overwhelming, but I think Marbury is just on a slightly higher level.
 

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Great superstar, who's injuries were the only thing stopping him from the HOF. I loved his game. Great pentrator and unstoppable when hot. I still remember Game 7 against Houston in 1995. Johnson had like 48 points and hit like 25/26 foul shots. Still lost though on Ellie's game winning 3.
 

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Kevin Johnson did have one of the purest strokes. Especially at the free throw line. Totally automatic.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Minstrel</b>!


You feel he was a Hall of Fame level player prior to his injuries? In other words, had he had a normal-length career, at that level, you would have considered him Hall of Fame caliber?

If so, I think you overrate him a little. I put him at the highest level in the game short of being a Hall of Famer.

I thought about comparing him to Marbury, but I think Marbury is a Hall of Fame caliber player, potentially. Still KJ is probably pretty close to Steph. The difference isn't overwhelming, but I think Marbury is just on a slightly higher level.
Interesting. I thought Marbury was a good comparison because both players had alot in common aside from basketball talent. Physically, both are about the same height and build, although Steph is stockier. Both had extraordinary quickness and explosiveness. Both were prodigious leapers for their size. Aside from their physical gifts, both had a similar style of play. They were great scorers but also got their teammates involved. Both were great finishers and distributors around the basket. Both were great at breaking their defenders down. However, I think KJ really excelled at defense and shooting. Marbury gets his fair share of steals but he's not as physical on the defensive end as he is on the offensive end. You would think that a guy with his quickness and strength would excel as a man to man defender. KJ was excellent in that aspect of his game. He was also a more consistent shooter. Marbury has more range than KJ had but he's a very streaky shooter. KJ didn't really have the 3pt range in his arsenal but he had a nice mid-range jumper that he could rely on. Overall, I think those are the two things that seperated KJ from Marbury. I think they are equal or nearly equal in every other facet of the game. I just think that KJ was a better defender and shooter. That is why I give him the nod in this debate.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Pinball</b>!

I just think that KJ was a better defender and shooter. That is why I give him the nod in this debate.
Perhaps I'm simply not recalling well enough, but I don't recall Johnson being a significantly better defender than Marbury. Maybe, though.

Johnson was the better shooter, mid-range and at the line, but I thought Marbury was a superior slasher and, most of all, finisher at the hoop. Plus, he had more range on his shot, as you say. There are few people as dangerous in a close game as Marbury, as he can nail shots from anywhere.

I wouldn't give either the edge on play-making for others...both could/can dish the ball beautifully.

So, I guess you're right...they're closer than I thought. So perhaps they are either both potential Hall of Fame talents (KJ cut down early, unfortunately, Marbury not finished with his career) or both near-misses.

I guess KJ was just overshadowed a bit by Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and John Stockton, three of the four or five greatest point guards ever.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Minstrel</b>!
I guess KJ was just overshadowed a bit by Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and John Stockton, three of the four or five greatest point guards ever.
Absolutely. Had he played in any other era, I think KJ would have been much more appreciated. When you're up against Magic, Stockton, Isaiah, and Payton for the press clippings, you aren't going to win most of the time. It's kind of like playing SG right now. With Kobe, TMac, AI, Pierce, Vince, and even Lebron, it's hard for guys like Ray Allen, Michael Redd, and Joe Johnson to get their due recognition.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Pinball</b>!


Absolutely. Had he played in any other era, I think KJ would have been much more appreciated. When you're up against Magic, Stockton, Isaiah, and Payton for the press clippings, you aren't going to win most of the time. It's kind of like playing SG right now. With Kobe, TMac, AI, Pierce, Vince, and even Lebron, it's hard for guys like Ray Allen, Michael Redd, and Joe Johnson to get their due recognition.
Pinball i think u r a fantastic poster, but dude seeing jo in a list with these top notch players just does not seem right. 12 great games on a team full of scrubs and injured stars will not sway my oppinion.

Your point is very valid though. Kj Played against the games greatest, and still put up those sort of numbers not to mention WINS.

Good post pinball (minus the jj part)
 

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Originally posted by <b>shazha</b>!


Pinball i think u r a fantastic poster, but dude seeing jo in a list with these top notch players just does not seem right. 12 great games on a team full of scrubs and injured stars will not sway my oppinion.

Your point is very valid though. Kj Played against the games greatest, and still put up those sort of numbers not to mention WINS.

Good post pinball (minus the jj part)
I'm really JJ's agent. Just getting some pub out there for my client. ;) Really, though, the guy has been tearing it up as of late. I wouldn;t be shocked if he's on par with some of those names in a few years.
 

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You are insane when you think that Marbury is on a higher level or GP or Kidd for that matter.

Kevin Johnson had a much much better mid-range game than Marbury and was a better playmaker. He made his teammates better.

3 straight 20+/10+ seasons on like 50%FG? And that was before what should have been his prime.
 

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Originally posted by <b>BigAmare</b>!
3 straight 20+/10+ seasons on like 50%FG? And that was before what should have been his prime.
And playing with notorious ballhogs such as Tom Chambers, Eddie Johnson and Xavier Mc-Daniel, those are pretty difficult stats to achieve...
 

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Kevin Johnson was the best point guard that ever played the game ( I consider Magic more than just point ).

Mentioning Jason Kidd in the same sentece with him is insulting.
Or a bricklayer like Baron Davis. KJ could shoot.
Kidd was a nobody until he moved to the best team in the worst conference in the history of the NBA ( if he were that good , he would have done something in Dallas and Phoenix too ).
Kidd's stats are nowhere near as good as KJ's ( KJ averaged more points, more assists and shut a hugely better % )

KJ could do everything. He averaged 20-23 ppg, shot over 50%, had over 12 assists and 4 boards per game his better years, he could score and do anything.

He singlehandedly beat the Lakers in the playoffs late 80s, something Stockton and Malone could never do.

He played most of his career injured and still was quicker than Iverson.

Had he remained healthy throughout his career ( he had many knee surgeries and missed games every season, which makes his accomplishments even more remarkable ) he'd be right up there just below Magic, Larry and MJ.

One of my top 5 favorite players and the most underrated player to ever play in the league ( it's a shame most people already forgot KJ, while morons like Kidd, Lebron, AI are still around and will be remebered as better when all of them put together don't amount to 1/2 of KJ.
 

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kj was easily a hof caliber player. he could hold his own with anyone. he was probably the quickest player off the dribble i've ever seen, including iverson (although that's debatable). he was better than marbury at getting to the hole (debatable about who was a better finisher). his fta/fga is over .50. for reference, marbury is .35, iverson .38. that's an indication of how hard he was to guard.

one thing he didn't have was great range on his jumper (at least until the end of his career).

the guy just couldn't stay healthy enough.

it's arguable where he would rank in history (imo the 35-60 range) - but i think he would have been a lock for the hof.

as is, he's borderline, imo.
 
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