Saturday, March 8, 2008

Let's Make A New Rule

[3/10, 1:00 AM: Editing note- deleted all the complaining I did about Kalma referencing non-NBA championships in response to Webmaster's comment below. I was going to leave it all in and confront the fact that from time to time I make hideous mistakes... but nah. Decided against it. I would rather just pretend like it never happened. Everyone OK with that? Look, I'll admit it- I'm a dumbass. But I'd rather not have the evidence laid out for all to see.]

How about this- no more articles about potential Hall of Fame candidacies... relating to any sport... ever. I know, I know, it's a little extreme. There are certainly plenty of not terrible (well, maybe not plenty, but at least a handful) HOF candidacy-related pieces that get published every year that don't need to be restricted. But I think we're better safe than sorry in this case. Because it starts with some guy making a case for olde-timey greats like Alan Ameche and Ken Stabler. Then someone else wants to start looking at more recent guys like Bert Blyleven or Ron Santo. Then people start talking about where guys who just retired, like Reggie Miller and Scottie Pippen, might one day fit in. And eventually, once we follow this slippery slope of growing recency all the way down to the pool of shit it feeds, we find garbage like this. NBA TV's Rick Kalma, you're embarrassing yourself. (Thank you to Erik for this tip.)

The finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2008 were announced over All-Star weekend, with Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and Pat Riley all up for the first time. Other big names who could get the Hall call are Adrian Dantley, Chris Mullin, Dennis Johnson, and Don Nelson. To me, all of those guys are Hall of Famers,

Steady now... careful...

and the HOF chatter got me thinking about which active players are on their way to the Spingfield.

Oops. You fucked up.

And this is where I need to write a sort of second intro, to let you know why this article is so remarkable. I always forget that shit like this even exists until a new example of it pops up every month or so. See, this is what I call a double-terrible article. The first terrible is for choosing a stupid topic. Does this kind of thing really add to anyone's appreciation of the sport in question? Christ, I hope not. If we absolutely have to start pissing contests about HOF guys, let's at least have them be eligible for election within the next 12 months, you know? Except in special cases like Bonds/Clemens, why worry about something that's not even going to happen for X years? So that's one aspect of it that sucks.

But the thing is, even when they choose a dumb topic like this, most writers manage to isolate their awfulness to strictly that choice. They say: "Darrrrrr, hey, Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Maddux sure look like Hall of Famers to me! I'm gonna go eat some more Play-Doh." And that's the end of things. Fine. I can deal with that. Maybe their deadline was rapidly approaching and they didn't want to write another Eckstein article. Who knows? These kinds of articles usually don't make FireJay because we have bigger fish to fry.

But when a double-terrible article comes along, something special happens that takes things the extra mile. Not only does the writer choose a miserably boring topic; they manage to screw up their designated choices as well. Look, if you go down this road, just stick with the basics. The Jeters and Madduxes. The Favres (Did you hear he recently retired?) and the Tomlinsons. The Kobes and the Shaqs. Other than to make me yell at you, why in fuck's name would you choose the players you're about to choose? Why? It's poppycock. It's insanity. It's probably the fault of a missing chromosome. It's like doing a really bad job on an assignment for school, and then deciding to top things off by writing "Go fuck yourself, Mr./Mrs. Teachername" at the bottom. Don't exacerbate the problem! Just put your nonsense down on the paper and move on. I guess I'm putting the cart before the horse a little bit here. Step into my office and let me show you what I mean.

[Editor's note: Before reading this list of probable Hall of Famers, please understand a few things. One, I'm a laid-back, tree-hugging Dead Head who tends to be liberal, or inclusionary, when it comes to the Hall of Fame.

Read: One, this is at best a miserable choice of topics for someone like me.

Two, I take the RING very seriously.

Two, I think Mark Madsen needs to be in the Hall.

Third, defense does not get enough respect (Marcus Camby's career total of zero All-Star games is case in point), so I am here to defend the most dominant defenders over the past 20 years.

Third, the fact that Marcus Camby with his complete and total lack offensive game happens to have played most of his good seasons in a conference with several great, well-rounded centers who have kept him out of the All-Star game really means something to me. Because I am stupid.

Finally, this is one man's opinion...a man who does not have a seat on the HOF selection committee...a man who never will have a seat on the HOF selection committee.]

Finally, I would like to clarify that no one gives a shit about my opinions.

Atlanta Hawks

Josh Smith: This 22-year-old SuperFreak possesses the most unique skillset in NBA history. Who goes for nine dimes and nine blocks in the same game, and then drops nine and five in the same cats the next game? Did I mention he's 22?

That's right, you read it correctly- first of all, incredible hyperbole about a category so abstract you could basically define it any way you choose. And second, this guy had a really good game against some cats once, and then had another really good game the next time he played those same cats. When's he posing for his bust? Is he going to go in as a Hawk, or a Nothing? HE'S AT LEAST TEN FUCKING YEARS AWAY FROM RETIREMENT. HE COULD BLOW OUT HIS KNEE TOMORROW AND HE'D BE FORGOTTEN BY 2010.

Basically I'm about to do that like twenty more times in a row. So if it didn't entertain you... might be time to head on over to www.knockknockjokes.com or something.

Al Horford: Going out on a limb here,

You think? By nominating a guy with 50 NBA games under his belt?

but I'm sticking to my pre-draft opinion that this 21-year-old horse will develop into a perennial 20-10 guy.

Kalma's standards for Hall probability: his own pre-draft opinions.

Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James: I stuck the Hall of Fame label on this monster after his first NBA game and he's given me no reason to alter that opinion.

This obviously isn't that dumb of a pick, but I included it for the comedy in the "hey, I was on the cutting edge of scouting, I knew about this guy way back when he was a rookie" angle. I mean, who really had Bron pegged for superstardom back then? I bet Rick also wants to take credit for knowing Tiger Woods would be a star way back in 1999.

Bill Russell and Michael Jordan are wondering if LeBron is the Tiger Woods of their sport. Tiger is gaining on Jack Nicklaus, and LeBron is morphing into an unstoppable force before our eyes.

There you go.

Ben Wallace: A lot of you think I'm crazy, but hear me out.

You are crazy. I will not hear you out. You point out the fact that Wallace will likely clear the 11,000 rebound plateau before his career is over, and then claim that everyone in NBA history who has done that is either in the hall or "a lock" to be there one day. Well, there's a guy who probably compares pretty well with Wallace on that list by virtue of also having no offensive game whatsoever- Dennis Rodman. According to basketball-reference.com, Rodman's likelihood index for hall induction (which isn't exactly equivalent to a percentage, but is close- here's the explanation which links to the career list) is .179. Only 4 players with a lower index have ever made it, and most of them played decades ago. Only 13 players with an index below .5 have ever made it. The list includes active players, too. Ben Wallace's index? .002. You are crazy.

(I understand that index doesn't do justice to the skill set of a guy like Wallace, because it doesn't even include blocks, steals, or the nebulous concept of "good defense." But it's not like he's at .300, and then, you know, you can make the case that defense is going to take him the rest of the way to the hall. He's at .002. Zero zero two. His offensive numbers, rebounding, MVP votes and 2004 RING don't even have him in the neighborhood of the general area of being able to really go out on a limb and be in the discussion for possible longshot consideration.)

Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki: He will go down in history as a great player, a Hall of Fame player, and perhaps the greatest shooting 7-footer of all-time...but he'll also go down as a player who wasn't quite great enough. He shall join the list of non-championship greats like Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Charles Barkley.

Reason those guys didn't win championships? Not being great enough. Reason Hakeem Olajuwon won two championships, totally coincidentally while Jordan was temporarily retired? Being great enough.

Golden State Warriors

Monta Ellis: I'm not crazy, freaks. It's just that Monta is crazy good.

What a deft turn of phrase!

At 22 years of age, Monta is already averaging 19.2 points on 53 percent shooting.

At 22 years of age, Monta is only 22 years old. That means he only has to play really, really well for about 10 to 15 more years to get into the Hall. We're talking no major injuries, no turning into a slightly smaller version of Shawn Kemp when he gets his first big paycheck, an ability to sustain his offensive stats even if he doesn't always play on a fast-paced team like the Warriors, and not too much decline in his game as he ages. Barring all those things, he's in.

Electric Ellis is unstoppable because he is athletic enough to blow by and crush...and talented enough to smack ya from 18.

Thank you, Jemele Hill.

He's not going away.

Given all the random things that could derail him that I listed above, and the amount of time he has yet to play before his status as a future HOFer becomes legitimate, there's a pretty medium possibility he goes away.

(I did not forget about Chris Webber, who is currently at 17,182 points and 8,124 rebounds--and NOT counting. He's out. Get a TO, baby!)

Thank you, Dickie V. Also, for what it's worth, basketball-reference.com's HOF index has Webber at a .659. Only 11 players with a higher score are not in the hall, and for most of them that's just because they're not eligible yet. Jordan, Stockton, Robinson, Olajuwon, Malone, Pippen, Ewing, Payton, Mitch Richmond, Jo Jo White, and Adrian Dantley. So yeah. He's probably in. With or without a TO, baby!

Houston Rockets

Dikembe Mutombo: Deke was the NBA's first four-time Defensive Player of the Year and he's been to eight All-Star games. He's second all-time with 3,245 blocks and 18th all-time with 12,184 rebounds. And dig this logic. Dominique Wilkins, Alex English, and George Gervin made it to the Hall of Fame on the offensive end, topping 20,000 points while playing occasional defense. So why can't defensive specialists who gave you occasional offense, like Deke, make it to the Hall from the defensive end?

I'll take a shot at that question. An effective offensive player puts points on the board every time he scores. In that sense, every time he does his job (scores), he has a direct and tangible impact on his team's chances of winning. The scoreboard shows the impact directly. Conversely, when a great defensive player does his job (blocks a shot, creates a deflection, gets a steal, guards his man well) he simply decreases the opposing team's odds of scoring. Except in the case of a steal, there's still a chance the other team scores on that possession. If they check their man, he can pass. A deflection or block can end up in the offensive team's hands. And obviously, the defender can't take points off the scoreboard. Therefore, I'm forced to conclude that when all other variables are accounted for, a great offensive player does more for his team than a great defensive player. Let me put it a different way- a team with two great offensive players and three above average defenders will have much more success than a team with five great defensive players. Although the overall talent level on the second team might be higher (in terms of players that would catch a scout's eye at an open workout), the first team will win more games. The cliche might be that defense wins championships; but offense puts points on the board, and you can't win without that.

I'm sure there are at least three commenters ready to jump all over me for that. Let me just re-put it this way: probably a better pick than Ben Wallace (due to longevity and better offense), but not by a lot.

I should have published this hours ago, and the rest is pretty easily summarized. Let's just quickly run through the highlights and finish big.

Amare Stoudemire: You need stats to get to the Hall. Amare's nickname is Stat. Get it?

Boooooooooooooooooooooooo. Boo. Boo. Everyone gets it. Whoever made up that nickname did so specifically so that everyone would get it.

Andre Iguodala
Brandon Roy
Kevin Durant
Chris Paul
Deron Williams

You've got to be kidding me.

Greg Oden

No. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.

O.J. Mayo
Kevin Love

Ok, I made those up. But not Oden. That was all Rick.

11 comments:

Chris W said...

What really pissed me off when I read this column (like a week ago, when it was posted on Deadspin) was how this fruitcake talks like "hey! dig this groovy hepcat!"

I literally read that Josh Smith section about 10 times and still didnt' get what he was trying to say.

What a doosh!

webmaster@ said...

"If you are an NBA Hall of Fame voter, and you take college performance into account when you cast your votes, you should have your head shut under a garage door several times."

Wrong. There is no "NBA Hall of Fame." It's simply known as the (Naismith) Basketball Hall of Fame, and it recognizes hoops at every level, from pee wee to the NBA, but it's definitely not exclusive to the NBA.

Gasol's WC with Spain counts too, and possibly so does Jimmy Chitwood's fake Indiana state high school title. And you can look that motherfucking shit up, as Richard M. Nixon once said. At least I think he said it. Or he should have.

Andy said...

I think we all know that Oden will never make it. He walks like an old man...right, Simmons?

larry b said...

I just got pwned badly by Webmaster. Maybe I should just stick to baseball and football.

pnoles said...

Thank you, Andy, for a refreshing reminder of the one Simmons article I've tackled.

There's just.....something unnatural about the way Oden walked. Kevin Durant walked like a player.....

Andrew said...

Durant... he walks like a guy who shoots 40% and averages less rebounds than most starting point guards. Good call on the "next special player", you fucking jerkoff.

Notice how he hasn't written about Durant ONCE since the year started? Usually he's so up front about admitting when he's blatantly wrong.

Tonus said...

"Who goes for nine dimes and nine blocks in the same game, and then drops nine and five in the same cats the next game?"

You know, I think he meant "cats" as short for "categories."

That could be your next Friday reader participation topic-- come up with an awful abbreviation for a word you wind up using only once in your article, that can be confused for another word that a delusional wannabe hippy might use in his shitty column on the basketball HOF.

Okay, maybe not...

jones said...

"Durant... he walks like a guy who shoots 40% and averages less rebounds than most starting point guards. Good call on the "next special player", you fucking jerkoff."

Let's see, Durant is 19 years old, averaging 19.4 and 4.1 in the NBA, and you're suggesting he's dogshit or something and that (Simmons I guess) should feel like an idiot for jocking him?

LeBron, Year One: 20.9, 5.5, 41.7%
Kobe, Year One (as a starter): 15.4, 3.1, 42.8%
Wade, Year One: 16.3, 4.1, 46%

Should I continue? This is like bashing a baseball player for only hitting 30 home runs in the majors his second year out of high school.

There are tons of reasons Simmons is an idiot; Kevin Durant is probably not one of them.

larry b said...

No, probably not, but I hope his "analysis" of Oden ends up being one of them.

Andrew said...

jones - you could say that, and while Durant has been used as a "guard" and I use that term loosely - he's really a forward, and part of the reason his shooting percentage is crap is because he shoots like he's a guard - 28% from 3 is HOT.

And I'm not saying he won't be a good player - reread what Simmons wrote about him please. He made the assertion that he was a once in a generation type player - which, I am sorry - he most certainly is not. Even in their rookie years, the guys you mentioned displayed the ability to take over games on their own - Durant has scored 30 three times this year, and the last one was Dec 12. That's the fewest 30 point games of any player who shoots as much as he does. Comparing him to Kobe, Wade, Lebron, etc is one thing - comparing him to Jordan is another.

I didn't say he'd never be an all star - he probably will be a perennial 20 point scorer who never becomes quite that elite level player. I'm commenting on the things Simmons said about him being a player the likes of which the NBA had never seen and blah blah blah.

Just a stat note - Kobe's first full year as a starter (when he was 20) his numbers were actually 19.9, 46.5% and 5.3 boards. The year you reference he averaged 26 minutes a game and started ONE.

Jeff said...

"To me, all those guys are Hall of Famers"

Means: "To me, every good player in basketball history is a hall of famer."

Greg Oden? What the fuck? He hasn't played a game yet?!?!

I would have loved to see this column in 1992.

- Billy Owens
- Derrick Coleman
- Kenny Anderson
- Steve Smith

All first balloters.