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Clyde Drexler perfectly explains why Isiah Thomas’ Dream Team snub still resonates

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

Jack McCallum’s “Dream Team”:

So why does he think Isiah wasn’t on the team?

“I don’t think Jordan wanted to play with Isiah,” Drexler answers. “Two championships in a row, always an All-Star. And Isiah can’t make it?

“I didn’t like that. It’s not the players’ choice. It’s who’s supposed to be there. If you don’t like me, I don’t give a fuck. We’re competitors. You’re not supposed to like me. But when one player has the ability to leave another player off, we’ve lost control of the system.

“The one thing in sports that’s been important to me is integrity. If someone is good, no matter what, I am never going to say he’s not. If you’re good, you’re good.

Sports are not a perfect meritocracy, but at least in appearance – and maybe even reality – they come closer than any other area of our society. It doesn’t matter if you’re white or black, rich or poor. If you’re better than your opponent, you’ll have a chance to prove it. At least, that’s the idea.

Maybe Isiah Thomas was better than John Stockton in 1992. Maybe he wasn’t. More than I believe Stockton deserved to make the team ahead of Isiah, I believe it’s debatable.

But that debate never occurred because Michael Jordan didn’t want to play with Thomas.

Somebody had to be the best player left off the Dream Team, and that was Thomas. Alone, that doesn’t warrant outrage and controversy that has lasted two decades and will burn much longer.

But because it wasn’t a fair fight, our sense of right and wrong, especially in the realm of sports, feels violated. Drexler’s explanation is on point.

Isiah’s snub wasn’t that he didn’t make the Dream Team. His snub was that he didn’t have a fair chance.

107 Comments

  • Aug 12, 20127:18 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    As much as I’ve been railing against the idea that Stockton even compared to Isiah, the debate should not be about which one of them should have made the team as if Thomas was right at the cut off. 
    Assuming four spots for Jordan (clearly deserving a spot ahead of Isiah), Magic and Bird (clearly deserving for their legacy) and Laetnner (since one spot was going to a college player, we are left with eight spots and I don’t think any player was more deserving of that fifth spot than Isiah. 
    Barkley, Malone, Ewing and Robinson had debatable merits versus Isiah, particularly because the team needed at least some big men, (even though in 2012, the team doesn’t seem to need more than one or two and Magic qualifies as a big man for the 92 squad)  but Mullin, Pippen, Drexler and Stockton all had no business making the team ahead of Isiah and there is no reason why Stockton and Isiah couldn’t have both made the team since Magic could easily have played any of the five positions on the court with them.  Isiah was snubbed for four or five spots at least and that is also a big reason why the controversy will ever rage and is so outrageous.   If the offense wasn’t so flagrant, no one would have come to defense of the arguably the most hated NBA player in history who had no rightful supporters amongst those actually deciding who would make the team.   When everyone hates you but comes to your defense consistently for twenty years you were done a terribly wrong turn.   
     

    • Aug 12, 20129:42 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I really, really think a lot of your points are addressed in this book, Max. There is great nuance that McCallum goes into about the decision process.

      I don’t want to give away his book by refuting a bunch of points, but some things that stood out to me:

      - Daly’s guys who he from the start had to have included Magic, Jordan, Malone, Pippen, Ewing and Mullin. Mullin was obviously a huge surprise to me, but there are several instances in the book with Chuck fighting hard for Mullin. His desire to have Pippen was also a bit surprising considering Detroit’s players didn’t exactly have a high opinion of him, but Daly was a huge fan.

      - Obviously, Daly was sadly not around to be interviewed about this when the book was being written, but there are claims by people close to the decision process that Daly actually fought harder for not just Dumars, but also Dennis Rodman than he did for Isiah.

      Now, I don’t think he did it in a way that suggests he had a vendetta against Isiah or wanted to screw him, but I think Daly, who would know, felt like Isiah had slipped some by the time that team was being selected.

      • Aug 12, 201211:37 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        My guess is that if Chuck didn’t fight for Isiah, it had nothing to do with any supposed decline and everything to do with his perception that it was an impossible fight.   He didn’t have the juice to take on Falk and Jordan and nobody else did either. 

        • Aug 13, 20129:14 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          That probably played into it some. But I just don’t agree with your overall assessment that at the time this team was picked, Thomas was still the second best PG in the league. He might’ve been, but Stockton had certainly closed the gap enough to make it a competitive argument. If your point is that Thomas should’ve made it based on career accomplishments, that’s fine and a different argument. But I think there’s significant evidence in the book that Daly pushed for guys to fill specific roles in Barcelona and he didn’t think of Thomas necessarily as a first choice to fill one of those roles.

          • Aug 13, 20123:20 pm
            by Max

            Daly having certain players in mind is not evidence of anything if Daly already knew there was no point in fighting for Isiah. 

  • Aug 12, 20127:21 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    And I heard about four or five Drexler interviews when the documentary came out and he was strident in his views during each one that Isiah should have been on the team. 

    • Aug 12, 20129:46 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Another topic that makes more sense after reading the book. Drexler has issues with Jordan, basically an inferiority complex that developed for a whole host of reasons. He also, in the book, suggests that he was as good a player as Jordan. Drexler’s comments throughout the book are full of backhanded digs — he doesn’t come out and specifically say he dislikes someone, but makes it clear that he does.

      I happen to agree with Clyde’s take in the comments Dan excerpted above. But a reason I think he became the big proponent of ‘Isiah got screwed’ in his media appearances the last few months is because that also served as a way for him to take shots at Jordan without specifically taking a shot at Jordan. To talk about Isiah getting snubbed is to basically insinuate that Jordan kept him off (which seems to be exactly what happened). But I think Clyde might be more interested in making Jordan look like a dick than he is in standing up for Isiah.

      • Aug 12, 201211:40 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Drexler has more class in each of his fingernails than Jordan has in his entire body.   If the issue at hand is justice, ethics or even good manners, I’ll go with what Drexler has to say over Jordan everyday. 

        • Aug 13, 20129:19 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          OK, whatever. You like Clyde, you don’t like Jordan. So your personal perception of each guy is supposed to be enough evidence to make one credible and one not credible? Jordan was surely a petulant dick to deal with, but he also basically fessed up to not wanting Isiah on the team. Clyde throughout the book makes these ridiculous statements, like when he insinuates he was as good as Jordan, then backs off the of them or laughs them off to try and not sound controversial.

          Even with the controversy surrounding the excerpt of the book with Clyde’s comments about Magic — that people were “waiting for Magic to die” or whatever — Clyde comes off really poorly. Not because of the comments either. His comments, in full context in the book, make perfect sense and are not inflammatory. But instead of Drexler saying something like, “the excerpt didn’t provide the full context of what I meant,” he tried to tell everyone he was misquoted and never said it. I think Jordan has plenty of obvious flaws, but so does Drexler.

          • Aug 13, 20123:18 pm
            by Max

            Most of the players on the team would never admit anyone was better than them and have been quoted as such which seems to be your only gripe against Drexler.    Ewing, Malone and Barkley all said similar things.   Magic was openly jarring with Jordan as to who was best and competing with him in every way through the whole process.  Barkley wouldn’t admit Jordan was better than him a year later when they met in the finals either.
            You are right that Jordan was and is a dick but Drexler is a gentlemen and that is not just my perception but the general one.  He’s closer to being a Joe Dumars than a Michael Jordan as a personality.    

          • Aug 13, 20123:23 pm
            by Max

            And Jordan didn’t fess up.  He claims in the documentary that the Isiah’s non-inclusion was coming from some place on higher–read David Falk as directed by Jordan.  He gave a wink to admit his guilt at most but he’s never made it clear enough for a headline quote or anything.

          • Aug 13, 20123:49 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            “Most of the players on the team would never admit anyone was better than them and have been quoted as such which seems to be your only gripe against Drexler.”

            No, my gripe against Drexler was his lame ass ‘I was misquoted’ thing. An excerpt that was chosen by a site promoting the book (an excerpt not chosen by the book’s author, incidentally) picked a comment that Drexler made and provided no context. That caused controversy. Instead of Drexler explaining what he meant and explaining the context, he instead said he was misquoted, which put the author’s integrity in question. Sorry, but that’s chickenshit on Drexler’s part. And a lot of his comments throughout the book strike me that way.

      • Aug 12, 201211:45 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Drexler named Magic and Larry too.

      • Aug 13, 20123:43 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        To be clearer, it would be natural for a gentlemen like Drexler to dislike a dick like Jordan.  Now, for a good person, when a situation comes up that allows you to be on the righteous side of justice and truth and also allows you to give a dig to a bad person–well all the better.  Drexler having a dislike of Jordan is no mark on his character. 

        • Aug 13, 20123:51 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Him lying about being misquoted, and I do believe that he lied, is a mark on his character to me.

          • Aug 13, 20124:39 pm
            by Max

            I would say that saying you were misquoted when they context makes it appear as if you said something that you didn’t say is no lying.

          • Aug 13, 20124:56 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            That’s not what he did. He said, “I would never have made the statements that were reported in Jack McCallum’s book.”

            Sorry, but I believe McCallum over Drexler here. And in context, in all honesty, his ‘waiting for Magic to die’ thing wasn’t even inflammatory. That’s the annoying part. The point Drexler was making made sense, he wasn’t attacking Magic and all he had to do was say that. Instead, he panicked and attacked the credibility of the author, an author that is one of the most respected NBA writers ever.

          • Aug 13, 20125:32 pm
            by Max

            Okay, well, I have no quarrel if you want to criticize Drexler’s character for that but as the quotes are twenty years old, I’d prefer to either think Drexler doesn’t remember them or is reacting to what people have told him without his having actually read the book as I’d more readily believe either scenario than that Drexler was just flat out lying.  I don’t think so out of denial either but because it fits better with everything I know of Drexler than your assertion.
             

          • Aug 14, 201210:16 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            ‘but as the quotes are twenty years old’

            The quote in question was not 20 years old. That was from a recent interview McCallum did with Drexler at Drexler’s house. His book used a lot of his coverage of the team from ’92, but he also went back and re-interviewed all of those guys to kind of reflect on their memories as well. Drexler’s quote about Magic was a recent one.

          • Aug 14, 20126:53 pm
            by Max

            Well, then you are just taking sides.   Drexler says he never would have said what the author said he said and you believe the author because he is so well respected.   It’s still just a case of who you choose to believe until McCallum produces the audio.  It’s remarkable to me though how ready you are to bash Drexler while displaying the opposite tendencies in regard to Pippen and Jordan.   Drexler disagrees with an author and you are calling his comments lame ass and accusing him of having an inferiority complex but when I call Pippen arrogant, you launch into some tirade about his background and how unfairly he got paid–both of which have no bearing on whether or not he is arrogant.  When I raised the issue of Pippen saying all 30 GMs would choose him over Jordan, why didn’t you say Pippen had an inferiority complex?    Instead, you basically made the same point I did when defending Drexler earlier and said athletes all think they are the best.    No consistency, man. 

  • Aug 12, 201210:05 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    Just the fact that this is the biggest issue when discussing the dream team is proof in itself tha Isiah was great.
    So in essence, he was snubbed but history won’t snub him. It’s just part of being from Detroit, part of being a Piston, being a bad boy.
    I hope Greg Monroe is taking notes. Take yours they won’t give you anything in Detroit. 

    • Aug 13, 201212:52 am
      by Westen

      Reply

      Tayshaun friggin Prince made Team USA dude, it’s not that bad.

      • Aug 13, 20123:32 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        And distinguished himself quite well too. 

  • Aug 12, 201211:03 pm
    by bill

    Reply

    Maybe it was the way Thomas choked away that playoff game against the Celtics, when he threw away the in-bounds pass to Bird. You can’t have that in the Olympics.

    • Aug 12, 201211:43 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      That was several years previous and Thomas won two titles in a row afterwards but I guess you can have a player like Pippen who sits out playoff games due to headaches. 

  • Aug 13, 20123:31 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Where is the love for Isiah on this site?   Didn’t anyone else watch the bad boys at is was it was happening and not just in some clips?   Where are all you proud fans from 92 who wouldn’t have listened to a word of Stockton being better than Isiah without going apeshit with arguments?   I really wish we were talking about this in 1992 because I certainly wouldn’t be one of Isiah’s only champions here.
    Always remember that Isiah is the greatest Piston ever. 

    • Aug 13, 20123:46 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Max, you’re being ridiculous man. Saying that by ’92, Stockton and Thomas were comparable is not an attack on Isiah’s career. It’s not hating on him. It’s not disrespecting him. It’s expressing an opinion. Maybe it’s the wrong opinion, maybe it’s right. But there have been plenty of posts on this site over the years highlighting plenty of love for Thomas’ Pistons career.

      As a Piston fan, I loved him. As a NBA fan, I can also admit that Stockton is an all-time great point guard. They were different style players, so it’s hard to specifically compare them. They meant different things to their teams. Isiah won titles, and that’s significant. But Stockton was damn good, and even if you think Isiah was better, anyone who would go ‘apeshit’ over suggesting the opposite is not looking at things with any kind of objectivity. Both really, really good players, both had legit cases for being on the Dream Team. I would pick Isiah, but I’m certainly not going to go ballistic if someone prefers Stockton.

      • Aug 13, 20124:43 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Thomas is a 15th to 25th best player in NBA history and Stockton is 30th to 40th so they are not really on the same tier.   The definitive difference between the two, and it was true in 1992 when Stockton had never even gotten past the 2nd round of the playoffs, is that Stockton never dared to think he was the best player in the world and Isiah never dared to think he wasn’t the best player in the world.   Stockton may have had more common sense but Isiah’s attitude allowed him to transcend his natural limitations and beat the holy trinity of Magic, Bird and Jordan which was an accomplishment that I truly think was beyond Stockton’s powers.

        • Aug 13, 20124:57 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          So I’m supposed to be convinced by the arbitrary tiers that you made up in your own head? Got it.

          • Aug 13, 20125:03 pm
            by Max

            What poll that you respect places Stockton ahead of Thomas or even places them close?  I haven’t seen one and I love looking at such polls.

          • Aug 13, 20125:10 pm
            by Max

            And you’ve been cherry picking Patrick by consistently addressing my weakest points and ignoring my strongest.

          • Aug 14, 20128:22 am
            by DoctorDaveT

            Here’s a poll for you that considers them similarly:
             
            It’s Called “The Hall of Fame”

          • Aug 14, 201210:22 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            “What poll that you respect places Stockton ahead of Thomas or even places them close?”

            I mean, this ESPN.com ranking of the top 10 PGs of all-time has Isiah at 3 and Stockton at 4:

            http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dailydime-GreatestPointGuards

            This one by Fox Sports has Stockton at 3 and Isiah at 4:

            http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/lists/Top-10-point-guards-in-NBA-history#tab=photo-title=&photo=

            Like I said, I’d probably rank Isiah slightly ahead of Stockton. They were really different players and hard to compare, but unquestionably two of the absolute best and most unique at their position. Isiah revolutionized the game and is arguably the best little man scorer ever. Stockton might be the best halfcourt point guard of the modern era and he was fantastic defensively. Plus, he deserves major credit for both durability and playing at a high level for a really long time. Both guys have attributes and history rates both guys pretty similarly. It’s much closer to a toss-up than you think. I would say that you probably watched a lot of Isiah and not enough Stockton.

            “And you’ve been cherry picking Patrick by consistently addressing my weakest points and ignoring my strongest.”

            If you don’t want me to address your ‘weak’ points, then why are you making ‘weak’ points in the first place? If you weren’t making ‘weak’ points, I wouldn’t even be responding.

          • Aug 14, 20125:21 pm
            by Max

            My annoyance is that my strongest points are consistently ignored or you tell me that I’m arguing against points that were never made.  Personally, I don’t see why when a topic is opened that anything relevant to the debate would become fair game.  
            As for the polls, I don’t like either one you posted because I only respect the ones where they list all the voters and the voters themselves are venerable.   I also like individual lists but I’m not talking some random guy at bleacher reports but someone, even if I don’t agree with them, that has the credibility to say they watched Oscar Robertson and Jerry West enough to to know where they should rank.  
            The two polls you posted simply have no attribution. 

  • Aug 13, 20124:59 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Also, I’m white so I think I can be objective about this—all great white players are overrated.   Rodman was wrong to say Larry Bird would have been just another great player if he was black but there are plenty of people who overrate Bird when they say he was the best of all time or even better than Magic.  Stockton was overrated throughout his entire career, as was Karl Malone for different reasons, and I say this because I honestly felt at successive stages and eras as Stockton maintained his absolute elite play that there was always a point guard or three that was better than him.  Lesser all time players like KJ and Tim Hardaway were better than Stockton when they were at their apex and were putting up 20 and 10 year in and year out.   Other players like Payton and Thomas dominated Stockton in convincing fashion. The latest example was the total travesty of Nash winning back to back MVPs during two years where he probably wasn’t even a top five player and wouldn’t have deserved to wear Isiah’s jock.   I thought those MVPs were incredibly insulting to Thomas and even Stockton.   I will say that Stockton was much better than Steve Nash and distinguishing between the two is as easy as noting that Stockton played great defense.

    • Aug 14, 201210:58 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Rodman was wrong to say Larry Bird would have been just another great player if he was black but there are plenty of people who overrate Bird when they say he was the best of all time or even better than Magic.”

      You should read the book. I’ll say this over and over. Read the damn book. Read how other Dream Teamers reacted to Rodman/Isiah saying that about Bird. There are even comments in the book from Ewing and Barkley that suggest they think Bird is a bit underrated.

      The rest of your comment is just straw man noise that has nothing remotely to do with this post or anything else that has been discussed in this thread.

      • Aug 14, 20125:23 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        All my points relate to Stockton being overrated.

        • Aug 14, 20125:35 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          That comment is a trainwreck man. This is essentially what you wrote: “All great white players are overrated. Like Larry Bird. Who is white and is overrated, but is not as overrated as Isiah and Rodman said he was. And like Karl Malone. Who isn’t white, he’s just overrated. And John Stockton was overrated because sometimes there were one or two point guards in the league who were better than him, although they weren’t as good for as long as he was. Also, Stockton is overrated because Steve Nash won two MVPs. Oh, and Stockton was a great defensive player, which I’m weirdly mentioning while making a point about him being overrated. Fart noise. The end.”

          • Aug 14, 20125:54 pm
            by Max

            I see no disagreement with my theme that great white players are overrated.   Just some annoyance that I don’t neatly make a thesis statement and stick to it like I’m writing a paper for school. 

          • Aug 14, 20126:31 pm
            by Max

            Also, your thinking it was weird of me to bring up that Stockton was a much better defender than Nash smacks of a person who wouldn’t have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge the full truth of a topic while arguing.   If I am arguing that Stockton is not better than Isiah, I still want to acknowledge just how good Stockton was and give him every bit of respect he deserves.   When I am making an argument, I see no reason to omit any detail that doesn’t support my argument because I ultimately don’t care about whether I am right but rather about getting at the truth of the matter.   The way you argue is very different and you should never bring up intellectual honesty with me. 

          • Aug 14, 20128:44 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            I don’t think any particular part of this thread right here was ‘weird.’ I think it was all stupid nonsense. Your original premise — “all great white players are overrated” — is asinine. Like, Jerry West, for example, is probably underrated if anything, since it has been so long since he played, he’s left out of a lot of ‘greatest players of all-time’ debates.

            Yeah, overall, I have a hard time engaging with anything you post because it is all over the place, often is just your opinion based on nothing and presented as if it is gospel fact that anyone would be crazy to disagree with and you way too often just enjoy throwing hyperbolic stuff out there that is super annoying.

          • Aug 14, 20129:20 pm
            by Max

            You are just about the most defensive commentator I’ve ever seen on any board like this.  You jump down everyone’s throats when they disagree about anything you or Dan or any of your guests or even the people you quote say.  You also come quickly to the defense of the media and writers in general at every opportunity and like the comment you just made to me, you make everything about you.   If you have trouble engaging with something I say, don’t engage.   Move on.  This is a sports board and something of a community and you are not a schoolmarm.  And if you think I’m insulting you, it is only because you are so free with your unprovoked insults.
            You got me with Jerry West though and would have me with Bob Cousy or Pettit too but the issues are time and lack of colorful enough footage to convince the masses.   If you refer to the earlier thread about Isiah’s Dream Team exclusion being about Jordan and timing, I threw out my top ten point guards and named West 3th and Cousy 5th and I’d rank Pettit ahead of Karl Malone. 
            BTW: Another verifiable point I made on this thread is that Stockton never scored 35 points in a game during his entire career.   You can look it up and verify it and admit it into the case as evidence for the defense. 

          • Aug 14, 201210:08 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Come on, ‘just about?’ You are the king of sweeping generalizations! I hope i’m the most defensive commentator in the history of humanity or something. The Scottie Pippen of defensive commentators, if you will.

            Why should I care about Stockton scoring 35 points in a game as some sort of measure of how good he was in comparison to Thomas? Thomas was clearly, clearly a superior scorer, finisher, etc.. Stockton was superior running a halfcourt offense, though not by much, and a superior 3-point shooter. He was also superior defensively. They’re very, very different players, which makes a straight lineup comparison of the two pretty hard. I’ve said throughout Isiah was better. I just object to the constant branding of Stockton as overrated. Honestly, you’re letting your bias dictate. If he had this same conversation among Utah Jazz fans, they’d think you were insane for picking Isiah over Stockton. That’s just how sports debates go sometimes. Putting Stockton on the Dream Team over Isiah was a snub, but at the time, it was a relatively minor one. You’re making this seem like the equivalent of Tayshaun Prince made the Dream Team over Lebron James or something. It wasn’t nearly that dramatic a snub. Isiah deserved to make it. I was crushed as a fan when he didn’t. But Isiah also has to own some of the reasons he didn’t. There were reasons Jordan and, to a lesser extent, Bird hated him. There were reasons Johnson eventually turned on him. There were reasons his own coach and GM who he won titles for didn’t publicly go to bat for him. Not all of those things are Isiah’s fault, but some are, and I have no problem saying he has to own his role in all of that non-basketball stuff.

            As far as my interactions with other commenters, yeah, I get defensive, but not with everyone. You’re particularly grating and there are one or two others who are particularly good at making me rage, but I’ve had perfectly friendly back and forths with people I disagree with here. Even on this very thread … I don’t agree with some of the points Kamal raised, we disagreed back and forth, and I don’t think anything bad of him or the points he raised. That’s honestly how most of the dialogue goes here, though admittedly, things rapidly deteriorate when you get to making ridiculous pronouncements. In fact, you can see things veer off the tracks pretty clearly here. Your comments start off a little more subtle, my responses start off civil enough, then you get crazy, then I start making fun of you. It’s a bad habit, but probably not one I’m going to work much on.

          • Aug 14, 201210:29 pm
            by Max

            I am not acting like it was like picking Prince over LeBron and now you are exaggerating with hyperbole.   I would say Isiah is to Stockton as Olajuwon is to Ewing and you should know I rate Ewing higher than most.   Ewing was great but Olajuwon was clearly better and proved it.   Ewing went to the finals twice, Olajuwon carried his team to two rings.  Ewing was more mechanical and tougher and Olajuwon was much much more dynamic.  That’s about the right distance for me.  I would have went with point guards but I can’t name another point guard other than Isiah who carried his team to multiple titles other than Walt Frazier.  In those terms, Isiah is to Stockton as Frazier is to Lenny Wilkins.  
            The 35 points fact is relevant because it points at Stockton’s flaw.  He had too little ego to shoot as enough as he should have and was too good a shooter to shoot so rarely.   Isiah never would have gone down because he didn’t take enough shots.

  • Aug 13, 20125:25 pm
    by Ryan Walker

    Reply

    Hmmm…  If I were Daly I wouldn’t have wanted to travel overseas with both Jordan and Thomas whom EVERYONE knew absolutely hated each other.  I hated Jordan just as much as any other Pistons fan during that time (and still do).  However, if Daly had a say in it that probably had more to do with Thomas being “snubbed” than anything.  Daly was not one to put up with player dissent and was not going to allow attitudes to get in the way of the final goal.  And there was no way Jordan was going to be left off the team…

  • Aug 13, 20125:30 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    The team was selected before the 91-92 season.  Magic didn’t retire yet and was considered the best pg in the league.  

    So, if the team was based solely on talent, than maybe Isiah didn’t belong on the team.  By that time, Isiah was behind Magic, KJ, Tim Hardaway, and Stockton.  And if that were the case, I would not have a problem with Isiah’s exclusion.

    But Larry Bird’s inclusion makes the team more of an accomplishments thing.  And if that’s the case, Isiah definitely should’ve been on the team.  Mullin and Pippen had no business on that team.  

    On career accomplishments, the team should’ve been Magic, Bird, Jordan, Isiah, Wilkins, Drexler, Ewing, Barkley, Malone, Worthy, Robinson (by default since Kareem had retired and Parrish and Moses were too old) and Laettner (if we have to have a college kid).  

    On who was the best at that time, the team should’ve been Magic, Jordan, Wilkins, Drexler, Ewing, Barkley, Malone, Mullin, KJ, Robinson, Dumars, and O’neal (clearly the best college player at the time.

    In either case, Stockton and Pippen should not have been on that team, in my opinion. So Isiah should feel snubbed but so should Worthy and Wilkins (both better than Pippen and Mullin) and KJ (better than Stockton).

    In reality, I think it was a bunch of factors that went into selecting the team.  Isiah wasn’t needed and Jordan didn’t want him.  Mullin (shooter) and Stockton (passer)  and Pippen (defender and Jordan’s right hand man) were all different players who would fit perfectly in international competition where as Wilkins and Worthy might have struggled.  KJ might’ve been neutralized by the international zone defense so they picked Stockton because of his pass first reputation.

    Daly didn’t fight for Isiah because he knew it was a lost cause.

     

    • Aug 13, 20125:36 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      I actually think there is a more valid case for KJ being better than Isiah in 92 than Stockton and agree with most of this post although I still think Isiah was the 2nd best PG and was better than most of the non-pgs.

    • Aug 13, 20126:10 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      No one is more arrogant than Pippen and he even admits in the documentary that he felt he didn’t deserve to be on the team.

      • Aug 14, 201211:01 am
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        “No one is more arrogant than Pippen”

        You love sweeping statements like this that are just your opinions with no fact whatsoever to back them up. Scottie Pippen, who grew up in poverty in a tiny town in Central Arkansas, watched his mother care for his father and older brother who were both confined to wheelchairs, who played NAIA basketball in college, who spent his NBA career making significantly less than what his market value at the time was, is the most arrogant person in the world. Got it.

        • Aug 14, 20124:52 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Pippen maintains to this day that all 30 GMs would choose him over Jordan.  End of story.

        • Aug 14, 20125:11 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Wow. Great evidence. He’s the most arrogant person in world history. What a psychopath! An elite pro athlete who thinks he’s better than other elite pro athletes in his sport! I’ve never heard of such a thing!

          • Aug 14, 20125:57 pm
            by Max

            Have you no room for exaggeration or hyperbole.  Yes, there are people sitting in jail and ruling certain countries who are more arrogant than Pippen but his manner of expressing himself is quite revealing.   Players like Drexler or Barkley might contend they are as good as anyone but would either ever have the gall to say all 30 GMs in the current NBA would choose them over Jordan?   It is a staggeringly arrogant comment.  

    • Aug 14, 201210:28 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      @kamal:

      “But Larry Bird’s inclusion makes the team more of an accomplishments thing.”

      This is addressed in the book. Yes, Bird was no longer a top player by the time the team was put together, but he was included for a couple of reasons.

      - First, Daly firmly believed he needed perimeter shooting. He surprisingly was the biggest advocate for Mullin. Bird had initially suggested he wouldn’t play because of his back, but when he changed his mind, Daly was happy to add another 3-point threat to the team. Even with his back problems, Bird was still one of the best shooters in the game then.

      - Second, Magic pushed hard for Bird. They certainly bent over backwards to convince Jordan to play, but don’t discount how much sway Magic had in the selection process. Magic was the one who kept after Bird consistently, trying to change his mind about playing.

  • Aug 13, 20126:01 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    Isiah did what Stockton did and still put up 21 points.  Before there was a John Stockton, Isiah had the record for assists per game and for a season; not Magic, Oscar, Cousy, or whoever else they try to throw up there.   And Tripuka missed damn near 30 games and John Long missed 16.  Who the hell was he passing to?  Laimbeer?  Surely he didn’t have a Worthy, Abdul-Jabbar, or a Karl Malone on his team. 

    Isiah was that guy.   Not Stockton.  Karl Malone was their best player.  Karl Malone was their leading scorer.  Stockton had to worry about getting him the ball.  Isiah had to worry about everything.

    The only people who think Stockton was better than Isiah or even on the same tier are guys who use saber metrics and PER and other new stats.  Myself, I use my eyes.  Saber metrics tells me that Chris Paul had a better season (29.96 career high PER) than any season Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (29.94 career high PER) and Magic Johnson (26.92 career high PER) ever had.  PER and saber metrics officially have no credibility with me.

    • Aug 13, 20126:04 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      Damn straight!  My man!

      • Aug 13, 20126:24 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Stats also completely whiff on the fact that veterans playing for teams with championship aspirations as often as not pace themselves during the regular season for the playoffs.  Players like Duncan and KG are still better than players like David Lee when Lee puts up better regular season numbers.  A player like Zach Randolph might even peak one year and pass Duncan but Duncan was back to being better than Randolph last year.  KG can still arguably be called the best defensive anchor–especially when Howard is sitting out.   
        Isiah was at at earlier stage than Duncan or KG in the early nineties before the Achilles tear but I see him in the vein of learning to pace himself and delegate rather than having significantly declined.

        • Aug 14, 201211:07 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Man, this thread has veered off the tracks quickly. Let me point out something you are arguing that no one has ever said:

          “Players like Duncan and KG are still better than players like David Lee when Lee puts up better regular season numbers.”

          Point me to an article where an advanced stats advocate has argued that Lee is better than Garnett or Duncan. People certainly used to argue that Lee was underrated or that he put up monster rebounding numbers. No one ever argued Lee was better than the players you mention.

          Do you see what you just did in that comment? I mean, really go read your words again. You CREATED an argument that no one made, attributed vaguely to advanced stats proponents even though they didn’t make it, and then said, “here’s why they’re wrong.” That’s just lazy and a little intellectually dishonest on your part.

          • Aug 14, 20124:51 pm
            by Max

            @Patrick….I said nothing about advanced stats though.  My point was when David Lee puts up close to 20 and 10 and Garnett puts up 14 and 8 that Garnett is still the better player.   Now who is framing arguments in a way the other person didn’t intend. 

          • Aug 14, 20125:09 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            So your point was that you have no point. No one would ever argue Lee as better than Garnett or Duncan, yet you felt the need to point out that anyone who would argue such a point would be wrong? OK, thanks for wasting everyone’s time with non-arguments.

            “David Lee puts up close to 20 and 10 and Garnett puts up 14 and 8 that Garnett is still the better player.”

            I mean, Lee’s counting stats might be better, but KG blows him away in things like Defensive Rating, Defensive Win Shares, block percentage, etc. So you’re original point wasn’t even a good one. Yeah, some of KG’s counting stats have declined but advanced stats advocates actually argue on his behalf because most of the advanced measures, particularly those weighted towards defense, are so heavily in his favor.

          • Aug 14, 20126:08 pm
            by Max

            My point was that veterans on teams with championship aspirations pace themselves for the playoffs and young players play balls out during the regular season.   It was part of a defense that Isiah had not really declined by the end of 91.   It angered me in the late 80s and early 90s when Isiah stopped getting the all team awards as I feel he deserved them.  I wasn’t saying anyone thinks David Lee is better than KG or Duncan and was only using Lee because I know no one thinks he’s better.

    • Aug 13, 20126:14 pm
      by kamal

      Reply

      And some people say that Stockton had more all NBA selections than Isiah.  For that, I say that that selection or honor is based on opinions of sportswriters.  And we know Isiah was not well liked outside of Detroit.

      Check this out.  Isiah was on one of the All NBA teams every year from his second year to 1987, his 6th season.  And then it stopped.  I wonder what happened.  Oh yeah, June of 1987, Isiah said that thing about Larry Bird.  Never made another All NBA team after that comment.  Damn.

      • Aug 13, 20126:25 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Right again, my brother!

    • Aug 14, 201210:29 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “PER and saber metrics officially have no credibility with me.”

      Congratulations, you refuse to look at advanced stats even though virtually every front office in the NBA now recognizes their value and uses them in player evaluation.

      • Aug 14, 20124:21 pm
        by kamal

        Reply

        Advanced stats (PER) show that Chris Paul has had 3 seasons already better than anything Magic Johnson has ever had.  Do you honestly believe that?  And Paul’s 2011-2012 season is a statistical tie with Magic’s BEST season according to PER.  

        http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=johnsma02&y1=1987&p2=paulch01&y2=2012  

        If you could look at their respective stats and explain to me why Hollinger’s made up stat have Paul even with Magic Johnson, I’d love to hear it.

        Not being a dick.  I really want to know. 

        • Aug 14, 20124:57 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          But why are you taking that as some sort of indication that Paul is better than Magic? Magic has a collective body of work that is probably unattainable for Paul.

          But Chris Paul is really, really good. If he remains injury free and keeps playing at the level he’s played at rather anonymously because he was on some awful New Orleans teams, he’ll be one of the all-time greats. So no, I’m not surprised that he’s had a few seasons that are statistically better than Magic. He doesn’t have the body of work yet — he hasn’t maintained that production as long as Magic did and he hasn’t to this point won titles, so those will be significant differences when Paul’s career is over and evaluated if he never wins. No advanced stats proponent that I’m aware of has tried to make a case that Paul is better than Magic. Now, if Paul has six or seven more great seasons, wins a MVP, wins a championship or two … some people will probably make that case, or at the very least make the case that he’s close based on a number of factors, stats being just one of them (Paul, for what it’s worth, is a much better defensive player already than Magic ever was … Magic’s height gave him all kinds of offensive advantages, but he struggled to stay in front of opposing guards).

          PER is not an end-all, be-all statistic. It’s a way of combining multiple stats into a singular measure for comparison. It’s not perfect, but it’s useful. I don’t think any advanced stats proponent would tell you they’ve unlocked a secret stat that fairly and correctly evaluates everyone. The point is to look at as much data as possible — that includes advanced stats, that includes the eye-test — when making evaluations.

          If someone says to me that, “PER and saber metrics officially have no credibility with me,” as you did, I’m going to have a hard time taking any argument you make seriously. You’re willfully refusing to look at good data — not just PER, but all of the stats that are out there — that teams are working on and using more and more in player evaluations.

          • Aug 14, 20125:07 pm
            by Max

            Paul isn’t a much better defender than Magic because he can’t guard bigs and he can’t average close to 10 rebounds.   Magic’s special qualities transcend his one on one defense.  His ability to play point guard also makes his team longer and clog up more space than any other player in NBA history with all things being equal regarding the theoretical makeup of the rest of his squad and the one he is facing.

          • Aug 14, 20125:21 pm
            by kamal

            You don’t have to take me seriously.  I’m a cyber nobody.  I don’t put much stock into advanced stats.  I’ve tried.  I read an article written by John Hollinger explaining why Monta Ellis wasn’t a good player based on advanced stats.  That didn’t fly with me.  When guys used advanced stats to argue against Kobe being clutch also didn’t fly.

            I could list some more examples but I know you won’t take them seriously anyway.

            But I know this is a copy cat league.  Doesn’t make it right.  When teams thought the league was shifting more towards an offense Joe ran out and hired Flip Saunders.  And 3 defensive minded teams beat us in 3 straight years in the ECF.  The Spurs won another title.  The Lakers improved their D and won a couple of titles.  the Mavs hired a defensive minded coach in Carlisle.  You get my point.  Defense will always win championships.  So just because a bunch of teams are now starting to put stock into advanced stats doesn’t mean they’re necessarily doing the right thing.  

            Hell, this will be the first time Billy Beane’s team has finished above .500 since 2006.  Meanwhile the Yankees just keep on rolling (I doubt they put much stock in saber metrics).

            And my point about Paul is that I don’t believe he’s had seasons statistically better than Magic; certainly not 3.  So if there is a stat that says otherwise, I can’t respect it.   

          • Aug 14, 20125:31 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @kamal:

            “And my point about Paul is that I don’t believe he’s had seasons statistically better than Magic; certainly not 3.  So if there is a stat that says otherwise, I can’t respect it.”

            You’re only looking at one stat though, PER. PER is not an end-all, be-all. No one would argue that because Paul had a better PER than Magic he was a better player that season. He just had a higher PER. It would be the equivalent of saying “Kevin Durant had a higher scoring average than Lebron, so he’s a better player.”

            PER isn’t supposed to be the only stat used, and I think Hollinger would say as much. It’s just one of many stats out there that try and look deeper at what players actually produce in many facets of the game while on the court. The key is that no one should be looking at just one stat or just stats or just the eye test. The key is to look at and evaluate as much info as possible in analysis.

          • Aug 14, 20125:50 pm
            by Max

            Personally, I think stats and advanced stats are useful in comparing players when the eye test is close.  When the eye test is definitive though and the players don’t even seem close, there is no reason to go to the stats.   No on needs to check the stats after watching Dwight Howard play Robin Lopez to determine who they think is a better player but the closer the players are, the more you might need such a test.   Now, in my opinion, Magic blows every other point guard who ever played away with the eye test.   He was nearly as dominant running the break as Shaq ever was catching the ball in the paint for automatic dunks.  In the half court, there is no other point guard who could so devastate defenses in the post.  It is partially a product of his height but other elite all time point guards just are not capable of even trying to replicate what he did routinely.  LeBron James is actually the only player I’ve ever seen who compares whatsoever to Magic. 

      • Aug 14, 20125:01 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        @Patrick…..what about his point though.   Would you actually defend the notion that Chris Paul ever had a season that was comparable, forget better, than Magic and Kareem’s best?   If so, we couldn’t be more far apart and I wonder if you are blind and get all your basketball information by reading with your fingers and listening to audio.

        • Aug 14, 20125:07 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          According to the PER statistic, he has. But no one, even the dude who came up with PER, has ever argued that it should be the only stat considered for player evaluation.

          I think Paul is pretty criminally underrated as a result of playing for bad teams in a bad market for so long. I don’t think he’s as good as Magic or Kareem. From a point guard perspective, yes, I think he’s probably had a season or two comparable to some of Magic’s best. First of all, he’s a much better defensive player than Magic was. Secondly, he has much less talent around him than Magic had, so the fact that he’s so productive despite getting so much attention from opposing defenses is a significant point in his favor. Is he better than Magic? Not even close. But Paul is just hitting his prime. I wouldn’t bet on him overtaking Magic as possibly the best PG of all-time, but I certainly think he’ll close the gap and be in the conversation with a handful of guys right after Magic by the time he’s done.

          And truly, I could give a shit what you think of where I get my basketball knowledge. I assure you that you are correct, we couldn’t be ‘more far apart’ in that respect, and I wear that as a badge of honor. there is not one commenter I’ve encountered in the years I’ve been writing whose basketball analytical abilities I’d rather be further from than yours.

          • Aug 14, 20125:40 pm
            by kamal

            Correct me if I’m wrong, Patrick, but I was under the assumption that defense and teammate’s talent don’t go into PER.

          • Aug 14, 20125:40 pm
            by Max

            You’re a cute little pit bull and can never take in anything when you are in disagreement or fighting for some book you are helping to promote or are taking up the defense against anyone who disagrees with anything in Dan’s posts.   It’s precious.  

          • Aug 14, 20125:44 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @Kamal:

            They don’t go into PER. The fact that it weights offensive stats too heavily, is in fact, one of the biggest criticisms of it.

            @Max:

            You haven’t presented one verifiable argument in this entire thread. I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m just pointing out how little intelligent information there is in the thousands of words you write in these comments.

          • Aug 14, 20126:18 pm
            by Max

            Verifiable?   Huh?   A lot of my comments are editorial opinions but plenty of what I say is verifiable.   Don’t know what you are talking about.   For instance, are you saying I should go find a link to go along with my post to the newspapers in New York the day Isiah was hired as GM that confirms my memories of what the headlines and stories were?   I could if I wanted to but I know for a fact that anyone else who can use the internet can.  Therefore, I consider what I wrote to be verifiable.

  • Aug 13, 20126:02 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Gosh, if Isiah had known at the time of his Achilles tear  that Pistons’ fans or otherwise would ever debate who was better between him and Stockton, he probably would have rehabbed and made his way back to tack on some compiling years at the least.   I’ve always thought he didn’t bother to work that hard to come back at the age of 32 because he felt like he had nothing else to prove in regards to who was the best little man to ever play the game at the least. 

    • Aug 13, 20126:32 pm
      by kamal

      Reply

      Yeah, people just don’t like Isiah.  He pissed off the two NBA golden boys (Jordan and Bird) and his image never recovered from it.

      Even his stint with the Knicks is blown way out of proportion.   They say Isiah ruined that team but TOTALLY give Scott Layden a pass for leaving Isiah with a total mess of a team.

      Layden’s F’ups are too many to list.  I’ll just leave this link:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Layden  

      • Aug 13, 20127:04 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        I’m a New Yorker and I remember reading in the New York papers the day Isiah took over that it would take him five or six years just to clean up the mess Layden had left him.   They also said it would be impossible for Isiah to get rid of the players on the current roster for years which Isiah managed to accomplish in a single year. 

        • Aug 13, 20127:16 pm
          by kamal

          Reply

          yeah, they act like Layden never existed.  Giving Allan Houston (whom I loved) a max contract, trading for Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson when they were in the first years of lengthy contracts, trading Nene and Camby for injured McDyess NEVER happened.

          People just hate Isiah and always have since June of 1987. 

          • Aug 14, 201211:14 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            Yeah. Isiah was a totally great executive. Like that time he got sued for sexual harassment, then in a deposition tried to justify why it was OK for him to call a subordinate employee a bitch. He was totally a great executive and it’s just mean sports writers in the media who gave him a bad reputation.

            Seriously, I’m an Isiah fan. He’s a complex, complex dude. One of the greatest players ever, a legitimately smart man who made it out of dire circumstances to become a success. But you can’t just gloss over shitty things he’s done to people. He’s done great things in his playing career and after. He’s also torched a lot of bridges because of the poor way he’s treated people.

    • Aug 14, 201211:11 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Gosh, if Isiah had known at the time of his Achilles tear  that Pistons’ fans or otherwise would ever debate who was better between him and Stockton, he probably would have rehabbed and made his way back to tack on some compiling years at the least.”

      LOLWUT?

      • Aug 14, 20124:04 pm
        by kamal

        Reply

        Show me where I said Isiah was a great GM.  Hell, show me where I said Isiah was a good GM or even a decent GM.  I said his stint in New York was blown way out of proportion.  He is credited with destroying the Knicks franchise.  He alone.  And yes, those are sportswriters making that claim.  They act like Scott Layden had nothing to do with it.  

        Isiah drafted David Lee, Wilson Chandler, and Nate Robinson.  He acquired Stephon Marbury, Zach Randolph, and Jamal Crawford.  He hired Larry Brown as a coach.  Now, in hindsight, none of that worked out but at the time, people were loving the pick-ups.  

        And lets not forget that Larry Brown convinced Isiah that he had to pick up some of those pieces that made no sense like Steve Francis. 

        • Aug 14, 20124:49 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Well, this is what you said: “Yeah, people just don’t like Isiah.  He pissed off the two NBA golden boys (Jordan and Bird) and his image never recovered from it. Even his stint with the Knicks is blown way out of proportion.”

          You seem to be suggesting that people overstate what a disaster Thomas was with the Knicks because they don’t like him from past stuff.

          The fact is, Isiah was a disaster as an executive, from a basketball standpoint and just a management standpoint, even if he didn’t take over a great situation in NY.

           

  • Aug 13, 20126:53 pm
    by Drew

    Reply

    Drew to the rescue!!! Max, here is that fan that you’re looking for. I know there’s plenty more that may be on vacation or something. Actually this is my first time on this post, but I think I picked a perfect time. First off, Isiah was without out a doubt not even in competing with Stockton for number two, he was competing with Magic for #1, and their head to head battles, just might prove that he might’ve had the edge. Second, Patrick, I’ve been saying for years that Drexler and at least 4 or 5 other guards were just as good as Jordan, if not better. Jordan was the product of hype, marketing, greed & his own selfish pride. As much as I think it’s hilarious that pippen got a headache, I might even put him ahead of Jordan, if not his equal. Jordan would’ve never won a thing without Pippen, and that Rodman guy didn’t hurt his chances at all either. And also, Pat, Drexler getting caught up by media quotes isn’t the worst thing in the world. It is the media’s job to be precise, not the person that they’re professionally trying to make look bad. So he said the wrong thing in his own defense. Who cares? It happens. I could go on, but I’ll wait for someone’s lame ass comeback, then really go off.

    • Aug 14, 201210:31 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Second, Patrick, I’ve been saying for years that Drexler and at least 4 or 5 other guards were just as good as Jordan, if not better.”

      Well then you’ve been shockingly, embarrassingly wrong for years.

      • Aug 14, 20121:07 pm
        by Gerald

        Reply

        Michael Jordon  is the beat player of his era, period.
        He was better than Drexler and Magic and Isaiah….because he was able to play defense at a very high level and we know what is offense was like. BUT, he is a TERRIBLE example of a human being. Extremely self-centered and greedy, selfish, someone I would NOT want my son to emulate. He said that he would not play with Isaiah, so the “powers that be” kept him off the team. Jordan will forever have to live with that and for him, because he is such a terrible human being, could care less, just the way he cares less about his fellow human beings.
         

        • Aug 14, 20124:46 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          I don’t think Jordan is any kind of humanitarian, but I also think there are plenty of people who would describe Isiah similarly to how you just described Jordan. Or describe a lot of high level athletes that way.

          Face it, succeeding at the levels that star athletes succeed at usually requires some sort of sacrifice of things we generally consider decent human qualities. They are ultra competitive or obsessed with a single-minded goal. That type of obsession can cause people to be self-centered or jerks or back-stabbers or whatever.

          • Aug 14, 20124:54 pm
            by Max

            Not Tim Duncan.

          • Aug 14, 20124:57 pm
            by Max

            He’s right though to say Isiah’s faults in NY are overstated.  They are blown way out of proportion. 

          • Aug 14, 20125:01 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            So exceptions are the rule? Jesus Christ man. You are so dense.

            And Isiah was sued for sexual harassment as an executive with the Knicks. He defended calling a subordinate employee a ‘bitch’ and had some lame ass excuse that it was more OK for him to do it because he was black than it would’ve been for a white man to do it or some such convoluted bullshit. His tenure with the Knicks was a disaster. Sure, the fact that the team owner is a loon and that he inherited bad contracts didn’t help, but don’t be an apologist for a guy who clearly screwed a lot of things up, both from a basketball perspective and a management perspective.

          • Aug 14, 20125:33 pm
            by Max

            It’s not apologizing to say his faults have been blown way out of proportion.   Just a consistently held perception I have.   If I was going to be an apologist, I would point out how great Isiah is at drafting, how the papers mostly approved all of his trades on the day they were made, even how Marbury had a 1 and 1/2 to 2 year honeymoon in New York when the fans couldn’t have been more pleased with him.   I might even go on to say that the team Isiah was building when he was fired would have been better sooner and probably better than their current team if Walsh had left things in place.  They gave Randolph, Lee and Crawford away for basically nothing and that doesn’t even take in the Carmelo trade.  
            Also, I think of Antonio McDyess as an honorable man and whether he is right or wrong, I have no idea, but he said the woman who sued the Knicks over harassment was probably lying and said that when he was there, all the players disliked her and the writing was already on the wall for her that she had no future at the garden.   Isiah is an easy target but he wouldn’t be the first person to fall victim to a woman’s baseless sexual harassment suit when the woman realized she could play an angle because her career was going south.   Now that is the paragraph of an apologist and make no mistake, I’m just going with some info and personally have no real opinion on the matter.  I do consider it irrelevant from basketball perspective though.

  • Aug 13, 20127:00 pm
    by Drew

    Reply

    Kamal, thanks for the link…I love it!

  • Aug 14, 20127:52 am
    by Vic

    Reply

    The only three players in the last 30 years to win a championship without a dominating 6 foot 11+ big man in thepaint are: Isaiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, LeBron James. NUFF SAID. the NBA’s binary statistic is championships. Win =1 Lose = 0.

    Isiah paved the way for tough small ball perimeter champions. Even the Olympic gold for USA from Sunday can be traced to Isaiah Thomas. 

    • Aug 14, 201210:03 am
      by vic

      Reply

      well, the US had a little help from the referees. But Spain probably deserved it, with all the flopping and tanking they had already done.

    • Aug 14, 20124:54 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      This point that places Thomas with Jordan and LeBron, and Isiah is much shorter than both, is as good as it gets.

      • Aug 14, 20127:13 pm
        by Vic

        Reply

        Right, and Zeke initiated the exciting style of play that basketball has become. Jordan was just taller stronger and more marketed.

  • Aug 14, 20126:00 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    I got wayyyyyyy off topic.  My points from the get go were:

    1. Isiah was a better basketball player than Stockton.  Stockton was a system player (pick and roll) who played with the second greatest scorer and arguably the greatest power forward the game has ever seen.  Sure he shot higher percentages than Isiah.  His jumpers were uncontested and rarely in crunch time when the defense is ramped up (the 3 against Houston to get to the finals was nice, i will say)

    2. Isiah has been hated ever since 87 and REALLY since 1991 (leaving the court early) by sportswriters.   I wonder are they going to hang that over Garnett’s head like they did with Isiah.

    3. If the Dream Team was based on talent at the time of 1991, Isiah probably didn’t belong on the team.  If it were based on accomplishments, he most certainly belonged and his most boisterous critic, Scottie Pippen, didn’t. 

    Sorry to have turned this into a debate on advanced stats and Isiah’s stint as a GM.  But hey, the man is my favorite athlete of all time.  I get defensive when it comes to my boy Zeke. 

    • Aug 14, 20128:53 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t disagree with you all that much honestly. I think it’s fair to think Thomas was better than Stockton. I actually think he was better, although I would also suggest you aren’t giving Stockton quite enough credit. Even if he was a ‘system’ player on offense (and I don’t think he was … I think he actually made the system work as well as it did), he was one of the best defensive PGs in the league (albeit a little or a lot on the dirty side) whereas Isiah wasn’t a super defender, he just happened to have a great defense around him. Not really knocking Isiah, he wasn’t Steve Nash defensively or anything either, he was just more dynamic on offense than defense. At any rate, I think defense needs to be factored in to any comparison of Isiah-Stockton, and I think that’s an area where Stockton was clearly superior.

      As far as being based on talent or achievement, I think there’s no clear indication it was based solely on either. In the case of Pippen, Daly wanted his defensive versatility since he could basically guard five positions. In the case of Mullin and Bird, Daly wanted their shooting, so he pushed for them. Robinson/Ewing for their shot-blocking and b/c they were basically the best Cs in the game at that point (since Olajuwon wasn’t eligible to play at the time). I think there were guys like Jordan, Magic, etc. who were obvious picks for marketing purposes as much as they were for basketball. Like I said, it was many, many factors. The fact that Jordan didn’t want Isiah is surely what helped close the door, but if Daly or someone else felt Thomas was vital, they could’ve fought. They probably wouldn’t have won, but it would’ve made Jordan take a public stance — basically, face the public if he refused to play because of Thomas. They chose the easy way because I don’t think they felt Isiah was a vital player at that point.

      • Aug 15, 20122:56 am
        by Max

        Reply

        They chose the easy way out because blackmailing Jordan with his reputation and public image at stake was never in the cards if there was ever going to be anything resembling a “Dream Team”.   Are you kidding me?  Do you actually think such an option was ever even discussed?   Does anyone remember Jordan’s gobbledegook, watch me as I toss you the softball, interviews with Ahmad “Jordan Only Talks to Me” Rashad?  Jordan was coddled by the NBA itself. 

  • Aug 21, 201212:39 am
    by Roy

    Reply

    Guys, you’re all intelligent and knowledgable about the game. Pat, you should try to be a little more respectful and less defensive about the basis of your views. Not that the others on this chat don’t need to be but you are a bit more  adversarial it seems.  Like I said, all of you have strong hoops IQ and appear educated. As for who was better between Zeke and Stockton using the eye test, I wouldhave to give Zeke the edge due to his offensive prowess. I do agree with Pat that Stockton was a better defender but I also thought he was dirty. In terms of Bird and Mullenoffends reliable shooters, I would agree with Mullen but not Bird. Bird was great in his prime but not in 92. Pipped was the best all around player in the league for the years leading up to the dream team in my opinion. Zeke deserved to be on the team from atalent stand point but perhaps not from a chemistry perspective.

  • Aug 21, 201212:41 am
    by Roy

    Reply

    Sorry, I don’t have my reading glasses on so I know I jumbled up some words.

  • Aug 26, 20124:03 pm
    by P. R.

    Reply

    The back and forth discussions here have been quite entertaining to read, especially as an outsider who just happened to come across this from Google, but I feel very, very compelled to add this…anyone who downgrades a player’s status because they’re a “jerk” or a miserable person does not have an opinion that I would consider taking seriously. And you can call me wrong or think that I’m an idiot for believing that as much as you’d like. That’s fine. But basketball players, movie stars, musicians, entertainers in general are famous and are in the spotlight for being really, really good at their chosen profession. They are not famous because they’re required to be upstanding citizens. It amazes me that after all these years of athletes and other celebs pulling dickish moves time after time, the general public still expects them to be “role models.” Who cares of Jordan was a dick? And I’m not denying he was; hell, I grew up in Chicago. I could tell you which bars he went to to pick up college chicks….while he was still married. But what does that have to do with his basketball skills? Who cares how “classy” Clyde Drexler is? I loved Clyde, but I didn’t watch him play ball and think, “you know, man, I love watching Clyde play. What a classy gent.” No, I loved watching him stuff the damn ball down someone’s throat. I cannot believe that in 2012, people are still arguing the merits of athletes based on whether or not they’re “good people.” Sheesh.

    • Aug 26, 20124:04 pm
      by P. R.

      Reply

      That should be “if” Jordan was a dick; my mistake!

  • Aug 27, 20123:08 pm
    by MikeC

    Reply

    Based on merit, Isaiah Thomas should have been on the Dream Team. Isaiah should have been the 3rd guard on the team behind Magic and Michael. Selection process started in 1991. Isaiah had two NBA titles and was an NBA finals MVP. A lot of people talk about how Isaiah should have been selected and not Stockton. Stockton as good as he was, had zero rings. But I would take it a step further and say Isaiah should have been selected ahead of Drexler as well. Clyde had zero rings was coming off two losses in the finals once to the Pistons in 1990 and then again to the Bulls in 1992. Isaiah had the same number of rings as Michael Jordan did at the time 2. 

    Drexler another shooting guard was not needed because you had Pippen on the team who could handle the ball and at 6-7 could play point forward like he did for the Bulls. 

    It was an incredible injustice for Isaiah to be left off the team. We need to remember that Isaiah led the Pistons that beat Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan in their prime. Isaiah should take it as a complement. For three years in a row, the Pistons kicked the crap out of the Jordan led Bulls. Swept the Lakers in the finals and pretty much retired the Celtics.

    20 years later with the documentary of the Dream Team out and people are still bad mouthing Isaiah! 
    This is how good Isaiah was. He was only 6-1 and he was deadly and he was hated for it. 

     

  • Jan 19, 20137:26 pm
    by phatdaddy4

    Reply

    As a life long Pistons fan i’ve never liked Jordan or the Bulls. Everyone knows he was the Reason why Isiah was left off the team. How can pound for pound the greatest point guard of all times be left off that team. Yes I said pound for pound the greatest point guard of all times. He lead his team to 3 straight finals and won 2 of them and didn’t have another player on his team who was namedone of the 50 greatest players of the NBA on his team. Every guard, not point guard, but guard on the Dream Team roster had one (except Drexler). The fact that Isiah didn’t make that team was a joke. For that reason alone I never watched the original dream team and I refuse to watch that crap they’re putting on about the dream team. As for Chuck Daley (RIP), with all due respect, how do you not go to bat for the one guy who made your career. You went to 3 finals and won 2 because of him, without Isiah back then the Pistons probably wouldn’t even make the playoffs let alone get to a finals. I read some of the book that Magic had and all he sounds like to me is a sellout. If you had issues with Isiah why wouldn’t you meet with him to find out what’s going on. Magic just wants to be in the good graces of everyone. He sucked up the Jordan and tried to make it seem as if they’re best friends, but after the dream team you never really heard of their so called friendship. You sold your best friend out for a guy who never really gave a damn about you.

  • May 22, 20138:31 pm
    by edwin

    Reply

    to be honest its not even about WHO was needed or not . ITS NOT LKE THEY WERENT GNNA WIN IF 1 player was removed! even without jordan they would have creamed everyone! Its about who deserves the honor to be on this team and Thomas with his legacy and achievements certainly deserved it.

  • Jul 27, 20132:38 am
    by Paul

    Reply

    I’d like to chime in here and say that most of you seem like jerks. Some good, though debatable points, are overshadowed by your immaturity and emotionally-caused illogic. I’ll come to the defense of Patrick in stating that he made the best case for his arguments. He stood head and shoulders above his two most noticeable adversaries, who were both knuckleheads.

    The Thomas-era Pistons and the Ewing-era Knicks are the only sports teams I have ever hated, a hate that was richly deserved.

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