This is our second edition All Facets Of The Game Round-Table discussion! We’ve invited some followers to join us and answer questions we’ve put together. Here is the list of those that took part:
Question 1: In your opinion, who are the 5 greatest Lakers in order and why?
1) Magic Johnson
2) Jerry West
3) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4) Wilt Chamberlain
5) Elgin Baylor
Personally there just is way to much greatness to put it all in order. But i can say these 5 players are better than Kobe.
5) Elgin played 14 years in the league averaging 27 points, 13 rebounds a game; and in 134 playoff games, Baylor averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds. In the 1962 season, he became the first player in NBA history to finish top 5 in 4 majar statistical categories (Scoring, Rebounding, Assists and Free throw percentage).
4) Wilt was pure dominant. His record 100 points in a game, rebounds in a game (55) still stands. During the 1961-62’ season, Wilt averaged 50.4 points a game. I mean come on.
3) Bryant is tied with Magic with five rings. He has an NBA MVP, two finals MVPs and four all star MVPs including the second highest scoring game in the NBA history with 81 points. He is the NBA’s third scoring all time leader behind Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He continues his push to one day be remembered as the greatest Lakers of all time and for that, Bryant will probably need another ring in his resume.
2) As a Laker, he has over 24,000 points, five NBA championships, three MVP’s, a Finals MVP, and the NBA’s most unstoppable shot the game has ever seen. Not only that, he is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Guess who?
1) Magic Johnson is the greatest Lakers of all time, to me. He took the team to nine finals, winning five of them. He won three NBA MVP’s, three Finals MVP’s, and two all-star MVP’s in arguably the greatest, toughest era of basketball. He changed the game. He made basketball fun and entertaining.
1) Magic Johnson – The game’s greatest point guard, and leader of the showtime days is the second greatest player of all-time. Pretty sure that warrants the greatest player from your franchise.
2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Most points ever, 6 time MVP, 2 times finals MVP, 11 first-team NBA awards, 5 first-team all-defense team. What else is there to say?
3) Kobe Bryant – Bean has been special. He transformed from young, Afro, high-flying number 8 wearing Kobe to short hair, number 24, post-up, take you off the dribble, hit his infamous fade away jumper in your face, Kobe. Now third all-time in points. What a career it has been.
4) Shaquille O’Neal – The most imposing force down on the block I’ve ever seen, Shaq couldn’t be stopped by almost anyone or anything, other then the charity stripe.
5) Jerry West – There was no way I could not include the man that they call “The Logo.” West averaged 27 points, almost 7 assists and 6 rebounds per game during his amazing Laker career.
1) Kobe Bryant – Five titles, an MVP, two Finals MVPs, 17-time All-Star, along with several other awards belong to Bryant. He has done it all in only one uniform, the purple and gold. If that doesn’t do it for you, maybe his 81 points will.
2) Magic Johnson – Johnson is considered the best point guard in NBA history by many, and deservedly so. He used his length and vision to become one of the best passers we have seen. This is the main reason he had over ten thousand assists as a Laker. It’s a shame he had to end his career early.
3) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – KAJ leads the NBA in scoring and looks like it’s a record that will be hard to be topped. He did not spend most of his career with the Lakers, but dominated when he was with the team. He is always among the top three, or even the best when the greatest centers ever are debated.
4) Jerry West – The Logo scored over 25,000 career points for the Lakers and helped lead the team get into nine NBA Finals. Yes, you read that correctly. He was the poster boy for the Lakers during his time and the third best shooting guard of all-time.
5) Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq did not win all of his titles with the Lakers, but was the most dominant player of his time and arguably ever. He won the Finals MVP three times and put up ridiculous numbers during the playoffs when it mattered most. Outside of free-throw shooting, O’Neal had minimal flaws.
Question 2: Where do YOU have LeBron James ranked on your all-time list as of right now, where do YOU think he will ultimately finish?
Right now I have Lebron top 15 maybe top 20. He easily could finish top 5. No way he’ll be better than Jordan, but he could be second easily. It depends on the length of his career.
I have ranked LeBron just outside of the top 5 for right now (6th). LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players to ever play this and his resume speaks for itself. 11 time all-star, four times NBA MVP, two times Finals MVP and the list goes on and on. He is the best basketball player in the world, and it’s not even close. He has had his struggles in the past which makes it tough for me to put him in the top five yet, but he will be when it is all set and done.
Currently, LeBron is a borderline top 10 player of all-time. That is insane to think about since he’s still only 30 years old. He’s a 2 time champion, 2 time finals MVP, 4 time league MVP, 11 time all-star, 5 time first team all-defense and the accolades go on and on. That’s an entire hall of fame career for a guy who’s 30 and still in his prime. LBJ holds every point milestone from 1,000 up to 24,000 total points. Something that I doubt can ever be done again.
Ultimately, I think LeBron ends at number 2, right behind MJ. It’s hard to go against Michael, knowing what he’s accomplished and his career is set in stone already. Anything can happen, LeBron has proven year in and year out that his offseason plans are getting better and he’s seemingly done that every year.
LeBron is a top 10-12 player of all-time right now. He will go down in the top 5 easily, though. He still has to a win a few more rings before he can solidify himself as a legitimate top 10 guy in league history, but is well on his way.
Question 3: Based on the whole body of work both KG and Dirk have put forth, who has had a better career?
Personally I think KG was the better overall player. Better scorer and defender in prime years. But Dirks longevity of premier basketball has allowed him to win this discussion.
Kevin Garnett has had a better career than Dirk Nowitzki. Both have just one championship. But what separates Garnett from Nowitzki is his ability to play both sides of the ball. Dirk is a great scorer with one of the most unstoppable shots in the game we have ever seen but that is pretty much it. He can’t defend anyone, he is not a physical beast or a man in the middle. You would have to surround Dirk with great role players in order to see success. Garnett had the ability to drop 40 on your best low-post defender, grab 15 rebounds and shut down the paint. He was a total package.
Kevin Garnett slightly edges Dirk for me. Both have a championship, both have an MVP. Both have something the other doesn’t, though. Dirk has a finals MVP, but KG has a Defensive Player of the Year and that’s the slight separation between the two. Dirk has score more career points in a shorter period of time, but KG sacrificed his dominant offensive role in order to win a championship. Dirk’s longevity at a high level has been incredible, really, but KG’s years in Minnesota, early years in Boston were amazing.
Dirk Nowitzki has had a better career than Kevin Garnett. Nowitzki is still releavent in 2015 while Garnett is rotting on a bottom-feeder in the Eastern Conference. Garnett won his championship ring alongside two future Hall-of-Famers. Nowitzki’s second best player? An aging Jason Kidd. Nowitzki hasn’t had the success that Garnett has had on the defensive side of the ball, but his career has been better. He has spent whole career in Dallas and has been successful nearly the whole time, not many players can say that.
Question 4: This is a two part question: Part 1 – Do you think Kyle Korver finishes the season with the first 50/50/90 ever? Part 2: How far do you see the Hawks going this season? Why?
Part 1 – Yes I think he goes 50/50/90. As long as he doesn’t get a huge cold streak he should do it.
Part 2 – I think the Hawks could get far into the playoffs. Especially in the east.
Part 1 – I hope he does. Kyle Korver is one of the greatest sharp shooters the game has ever seen. I hope he ends up finishing the season with the first 50/50/90 season. He deserves it.
Part 2 – How far do the Hawks go this season? I think they end up losing to the Cavs whether it is the second round or the conference finals. They have the team to win the Eastern conference, no doubts, but I think they do struggle against the Cavs and LeBron. In a 7-game series, the Cavs have too much scoring (not to mention LeBron) for the Hawks to overcome. The Hawks play Spurs-like, but even the Spurs had someone (Tony Parker) who they can go to down the stretch when need to. Do the Hawks have that guy? Is it Teague? Millsap? Or Horford? We’ll find it out in the playoffs.
Part 1 – I do think Korver ends up with 50/50/90. The hardest part will be continuing to shoot above 50% from the 3 point line. There have only been 8 occasions where somebody has shot over 50% from behind the arc, Korver himself holds the single season record.
Part 2 – I’m a firm believer the Hawks can make a run at the NBA finals. Sure the top of the Eastern Conference is good. The Hawks sit at 43-11 and 6 ½ games ahead of the second place Raptors. They have the best record against teams above .500 in the entire league and are 15-4 against the ever so daunted west. They play team basketball and can handle anybody in a series, in my honest opinion.
Part 1 – Korver only averaged 48 percent on two-point baskets. His three-point shooting is helping him keep up the first 50 percent in the 50/50/90 tremendously. It’s very, very hard to do. Defenses will be more focused on him in the second half of the season as they will give it their all to test the Hawks as a measuring stick. As much as I would like to see it as a basketball fan, I do not see it happening.
Part 2 – The Hawks will lose to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. They are a fun team, well coached, and a feel good story but they simply lack the star power needed to win an NBA Championship. We saw it with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, but do you honestly think they stood a chance if the Lakers didn’t have the chemistry issues and off-court drama that season? The underdog story is always fun to root for, but the Hawks won’t go further than the ECF.
Question 5: Which current playoff team, or team in contention should make a move by the trade deadline? What’s a move, opinion again, you could see that team making?
Definitely the Clippers are a team that I could see make a move for a solid bench big man. Since blakes been out no one has stepped up to fill the role at the 4. Even if it’s only for a year I could see them making a trade.
Get LeBron James to the Warriors. The Warriors will be guaranteed to win a championship this year. I think the Warriors need him.
I believe Houston should make a move. If you think of all the current teams in playoff contention, almost every team has a better point guard. Pat Beverley is a good player, but I’m not sure Houston can win a championship with him running the show. I’ve been all aboard the Goran Dragic Rockets reunion the day he told Suns management he’s done with them. He would have so much space to operate with Harden getting all the attention.
The Warriors should try to trade for Kevin Garnett. Mo Speights and David Lee cannot play defense to save their lives. Festus Ezeli is hurt almost all the time and hasn’t looked good when he has played. Andrew Bogut anchors their defense, but it’ll be hard to count on him for the postseason. Garnett would be excited to play for a championship contender and give them the defensive toughness they need from a big man alongside Draymond Green.
I can also see the Rockets trying to somehow land Goran Dragic. They have been wanting a top point guard for the past few years and he would be ideal for them if he agrees to stay there long-term. A James Harden-Dragic backcourt would be too good to pass up.