why is it so essential for a player to lead his team short of greatness? it seems to prove yourself a great player, you need to elevate a bad team to mediocrity (garnett, tmac). this is given, in many circles, far greater weight than playing great for a great team (kobe). the standard of achievement has changed. no more would the dominique's, gervin's, moncrief's, dantley's be burdened with the stigma of not winning, while those previously thought to be great because of how they contributed to a winning situation (frazier, magic, worthy, kareem, isiah) would be downgraded for not having proved the ability to carry a team to mediocrity (actually, kareem often did this prior to magic coming along - i guess once he proved that, the other 5 titles were gravy).
now i'm not saying that guys can't prove to be great players playing on teams that aren't great. i'm commenting more on the discounting of players BECAUSE they play on great teams. could you imagine dismissing magic as a great player because his teammates could also play ball? to say "i can't really tell if he's the real deal, i haven't seen him lead his team to an 8 seed for a bad team yet"? it used to be that we couldn't assume that players would rise to the occassion when the stakes were highest, because few actually did. now we assume anyone would elevate their games if given the opportunity, and discount the ones that actually have done it. it seems if anyone was traded to the lakers, they would immediately be downgraded, because any of their accomplishments after that point would be voided because they play with shaq.
hey ron, thanks for the props on the other thread.