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Glen Rice, Khris Middleton and PistonPowered’s new Czar of Reasonable Comparisons

OK … let me give this disclaimer up front. I think Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, from a volume of useful information, writing ability and sheer historical knowledge of a franchise standpoint is one of the best assets any NBA franchise has writing for it. Maybe THE best in the league. I think all team site beat writers, usually unfairly, get labeled with the ‘oh, that’s just P.R.’ blah blah blah nonsense. Langlois isn’t a shill. He consistently has interesting stuff, he’s a great writer, and Pistons.com in general is can’t-miss reading for any fan. I can’t stress enough that any time Langlois publishes any kind of story about the franchise’s rich history and you don’t read it? Well … you’re crazy. His stuff during the lockout especially was incredible.

That being said, as a known ranter about inappropriately used comparisons for Pistons young players constantly and unfairly ratcheting up expectations to unrealistic heights, I have to comment on this tweet he sent:

I promise, I’m not trying to be snarky blogger guy who acts like he’s smarter than all the beat writers. I don’t think that at all. But my Flint-ness will not allow Glen Rice’s good name to be sullied like that.

The reason we know Glen Rice as NBA fans, of course, is because he is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history. Khris Middleton shot 26 percent from three his junior year in college. I’m pretty sure this aged, heavy, camel-colored-suit-wearing, MMA-promoting version of Glen Rice could come out of retirement tomorrow and shoot 30 percent. Rice made 52 percent (99-of-192) of his 3s as a senior at Michigan. After his rookie year with the Heat, he shot 37 percent or better for 11 straight NBA seasons. Glen Rice was born with a reliable jumper. He’s a Mr. Basketball winner from Flint Northwestern, arguably the greatest player of many great players the much-maligned city I love has ever produced. He was one of the top three or four players ever to come out of the University of Michigan. He’s one of the … I don’t know? … seven or eight (definitely after Magic, DeBusschere, Gervin, maybe after Mel Daniels, Haywood, Chet Walker, C-Webb … somewhere in the convo after that) top players the state of Michigan has ever produced.

I know that Langlois’ tweet was innocently intended — he even said ‘not saying he’ll have the same career.’ I get that the qualifier is in there. But Middleton, even if the mechanics of his shot look beautiful (and from what I’ve seen, he does have a very nice looking jumpshot that just so happened to not go in an elite amount from college 3-point range), even if build-wise and height-wise, he resembles the way Rice looked as a young player … their names must never be uttered together in any kind of comparative way, innocent or not.

As I said in my post about the already unfair comparisons being thrown out for Drummond at such a young, unproven stage, I’m OK with the concept of a comparison. Even a somewhat favorable comparison — for example, Middleton isn’t as good a player as James Jones yet, but if someone says, “His nice stroke and his height on the wing remind me a little of James Jones,” I’m totally OK with that, even if Middleton isn’t there yet. Jones is a role player, from a similar draft position, had a solid career but not one that is nearly unattainable. But when anyone — and like I said in that Drummond post, fans and writers/media alike are guilty of it — immediately compares a raw, unproven, untested player, particularly a second round pick who, technically, doesn’t even have a roster spot yet to an All-Star caliber player or better, it has the unintended effect of drastically heightening fan expectations for that player. I hope Middleton becomes a really good player. I’m rooting for him to exceed the expectations of a second round pick. But little of what he’s done to this point, other than perhaps physical appearance, is remotely close to Glen Rice in any way.

There were many times last season when the annoying Brandon Knight-Isiah Thomas comparisons came up from folks on Twitter, on TV broadcasts, in comments sections, on the radio, in stories and columns, etc. It usually had a disclaimer like, “I’m not saying he’s going to be as good but Isiah was also a young point guard who played for the Pistons at one time so maybe …”

It drove me crazy. So this season, I’ve self-appointed myself as the Czar of Reasonable Comparisons. It’s my official title with the site now (I have free reign to choose my title in lieu of an actual salary). I am fully committed to reporting on all violations of the Reasonable Comparisons edict. I know I have supporters out there among you, too, so you are all my eyes and ears. Don’t hesitate to e-mail or tweet me links to violators or leave them in the comments. Together, we can beat this.

30 Comments

  • Jul 20, 201210:59 am
    by labatts

    Reply

    Maybe he is more of a Delfino.  His bricks always looked good, too.

  • Jul 20, 201211:03 am
    by Crispus

    Reply

    Kyle Singler – Dirk Nowitzki
    Austin Daye – Kevin Durant
    Andre Drummond – Arvydas Sabonis
    Kim English – Ray Allen
    Rodney Stuckey – Baron Davis (before the injuries)

    Do your worst Czar!

    • Jul 20, 201211:12 am
      by Chris H

      Reply

      I thought you were going with unrealistic. 

      Kyle Singler – Larry Bird :o

    • Jul 20, 201211:22 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Austin Daye – Kevin Durant”

      Did Dan Feldman write that comment?

      • Jul 20, 201211:27 am
        by gmehl

        Reply

        Owch… throw it in his face why don’t you. I guess it is an archive. Dan might want to throw that one in the ocean. Oh and Flint-ness (comment of the day right there) love it :0)

      • Jul 20, 201211:34 am
        by Crispus

        Reply

        I thought this would make Dan the ‘Rasputin of Reasonable Comparisons’.

  • Jul 20, 201211:10 am
    by Chris H

    Reply

    Man, I don’t suppose you could do that for a political blog as well, this being an election year and all. 

    Back to the reality that is sports though.  I hope that sort of thing does calm down some.  Esp for the guys we just drafted.  I think Drummond should have high expectations, but they should be tempered.  I think that this year he could be useful as a Chris Wilcox type of player (though his actual strength is a concern).   He should be more athletic and be able to out jump most of his competition, he should learn how to rotate and block shots without fouling from the weakside, rebound well, as well as box out the opposing teams best offensive rebounding big, catch and throwdown dunks. I don’t think that that is a long list, to work with.  If he can do that well this year, maybe pick up good timing with dive cuts and some chemistry with Monroe, I will be happy with his year.   

    I would hate to think that that is his limit, infact I would be very disapointed if it was.  I think he has the potential to develop into something special.

  • Jul 20, 201211:26 am
    by Levi Thieman

    Reply

    i think that year one for Andre drummond will be slightly better than what the pistons got from chris wilcox when he played next to monroe in 2010-2011

  • Jul 20, 201211:50 am
    by Adam

    Reply

    Thanks Czar!  I completely agree.  I know it’s part “team pumping up the fan base” and part “hoping for best-case career trajectory”, so I try not to read too much into it.  The Middleton/Rice comparison didn’t really bother me too much (although you made some excellent points and made me change my thoughts about it).
    The ones that really get me fired up are the ones where people like to compare these unproven guys to the all-time greats.  I think the most egregious comparison I’ve ever heard has to be Tommy Heinsohn comparing Greg Steimsma to Bill Russell earlier this year (gotta love the hometown announcers!).  The Marshon Brooks/Kobe Bryant comparisons before last year’s draft made me giggle as well.  I know Darko had a ridiculous comparison, but that comparison escapes me at the moment.
    I vow to assist the newly self-appointed Czar of Reasonable Comparisons to bring offenders to justice and protect young players from overly high expectations and unfair scrutiny.
     

    • Jul 20, 201211:57 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Darko’s was to Wilt Chamberlain. I believe it was Will Robinson (legendary coach/scout) who made that comparison.

      • Jul 20, 20121:08 pm
        by RyanK

        Reply

        “He’s going to own the game. Own the game. We’re going to have to build a new arena. The only thing that could destroy a kid like that is a woman.”
        Will Robinson talking about Darko Milicic after seeing him work-out in Detroit, May 30, 2003, ESPN.com

  • Jul 20, 201212:06 pm
    by sop

    Reply

    If the Pistons don’t sign Middleton or Ben Wallace doesn’t come back I think they should sign John Salmons to a 1 year contract with the MLE for some shooting guard depth.

    • Jul 20, 20121:34 pm
      by djunak

      Reply

      No way on Salmons, how about S Machado for some PG depth.

      • Jul 20, 20123:04 pm
        by sop

        Reply

        we have 3 pgs on the roster. I like Machado but the Rockets will probably sign him. Salmons is a good player if you don’t overpay him.

        • Jul 20, 20129:20 pm
          by OKJ

          Reply

          I think there are no PGs in our team.
          Stucky, Knight and Bynum are all half PG and half SG.
          just okpinion

  • Jul 20, 201212:43 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    Yeah I’ve thought all that about Langlois too. Great writer, fantastic knowledge, too much PR. The one that drove me the most crazy started about 3 years ago when more times than I care to remember he compared the Stuckey, Rip, Ben Gordon rotation to Isiah, Joe D, and Vinnie Johnson. Really?

  • Jul 20, 20121:03 pm
    by RyanK

    Reply

    Does this really surprise anyone? Langlois has made these comparisons in the past:

    Amir Johnson = Kevin Garnett
    Jason Maxiell = Charles Barkley
    Samb = Mutombo
    Stuckey = Wade

    I’m pretty sure Langlois’ night job is Hooper (the pistons mascot). Call is writing journalism is same as calling the allstar game basketball. He’s nothing more than a marketer of the team who’s salary is paid by Tom Gores.

    • Jul 20, 20124:34 pm
      by Scott Free

      Reply

      Don’t blame Langlois too much for the Stuckey = Wade comment, a lot of people were tossing that one around last season.

      • Jul 20, 20126:51 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        It is a good stylistic comparison. So as long as people aren’t saying Stuckey is the next Wade or even “a poor man’s Wade.” Because that poor man would have to be so incredibly broke. But their games are very similar. So what Wade can do in the NBA is probably about what Stuckey could do in the D-league. Kinda similar to Durant Daye comparisons except that talent gap is even greater.

  • Jul 20, 20121:44 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    Langlois has great knowledge of Pistons history. And the semantics of his writing is good. But the content is not. I could not possibly call him a great writer because he is the absolute most biased sports writer I have ever read (that said, I don’t read much of the other teams’ beat writers). At some point, if you can’t keep your biases in check, it wears down your credibility. That has happened to such an extent that I can’t take seriously anything Langlois writes. And it’s pretty hard for writing to be good if it can’t be seen as at least one of many legitimate perspectives.

    But that’s not all. The bias is so bad that I find myself struggling to believe that it is simply Langlois failing to keep his subjectivity in check. I genuinely doubt his sincerity. Obviously, I’ve never met the guy. But either he writes stuff he doesn’t even believe or he is not a very intelligent guy. Either of those would also be major blows to his credibility.

  • Jul 20, 20121:54 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Gates had one two handed dunk in summer league where he looked like Shaq and Drummond had a few moments where he resembled Shaq.  And Singler is Rick Barry 2.0     And Kim English is Alex English

  • Jul 20, 20123:58 pm
    by Dave Mack

    Reply

    Khris Middleton reminds me a little of a young Walter Sharpe.  Shoots it, handles it,…

    • Jul 20, 201211:02 pm
      by MNM

      Reply

      A real “sleeper” pick if you ask me.

  • Jul 20, 20124:21 pm
    by Butterscotch

    Reply

    My Dear Pistons need  depth at PG.How about Delonte West, or is  he too much of a headache? I like Beno Udrich. What do you all think?

  • Jul 20, 201210:16 pm
    by ray

    Reply

    Is it too to play!

    Korelone Young = Kobe without Jordans game
    Rodney White = karl malone without the one hand behind the head dunk
    Mateen Cleaves = smaller version of Magic less tricks
    Carlos Delfino = Manu with better hair
    Memhet Okus = Dirk with a flat face
    Melvin Levett =futuristic combo guard in the model of derrick rose and westbrook …. We just didn’t have them to compare him to back then

  • Jul 20, 201211:03 pm
    by MNM

    Reply

    He is employed by the Detroit Pistons….. Enough said.

  • Jul 21, 20129:01 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Did you “self-appoint” yourself…or did you just appoint yourself?

    Cuz, I just appointed MYself, the Royal Reigning Redundancy…uh…Person! (?)

  • Apr 9, 201311:47 pm
    by Lue Bobseine

    Reply

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  • Apr 10, 201312:08 am
    by inetryconydot

    Reply

    Rival legal teams, well-financed and highly motivated, are girding for court battles over the coming months on laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota that would impose the nation’s toughest bans on abortion.
    For all their differences, attorneys for the two states and the abortion-rights supporters opposing them agree on this: The laws represent an unprecedented frontal assault on the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.
    The Arkansas law, approved March 6 when legislators overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward. On March 26, North Dakota went further, with Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signing a measure that would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected and before some women even know they’re pregnant.
    Abortion-rights advocates plan to challenge both measures, contending they are unconstitutional violations of the Roe ruling that legalized abortion until a fetus could viably survive outside the womb. A fetus is generally considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks.
    Read more…

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