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Isiah Thomas will live tweet replay of his 25-point quarter on a sprained ankle

What are you doing tonight? If you’re home and get NBA TV – especially if the Tigers are rained out – I recommend following this:

NBA TV analyst and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas (@iamisiahthomas) will live tweet during a re-air of the 1988 NBA Finals, Game 6, on Tuesday, Aug. 27, starting at 8 p.m. ET.  In the memorable showdown between the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers, Thomas scored 43 points, including a Finals record with 25 points in the third quarter (despite badly spraining his ankle midway through the period). Despite Thomas’ effort, the Lakers went on to win the contest 103-102 to force a Game 7.  During the NBA TV telecast, Thomas will tweet about his memories from the game and chat directly with fans.  To join the conversation, fans are encouraged to follow @NBATV and use the hashtag #Isiahlive.

That performance is one of the greatest-ever in NBA Finals history. To whatever degree you believe clutch play is more than mere coincidence, Thomas played better in the biggest moments throughout his career. This is the crowning example of that.

If you haven’t seen the game, you’re in for a treat. If you have seen it, you’re in for a treat.


  • Aug 28, 201312:45 pm
    by frankie d


    I have a contrary view.
    Imho, that game was a perfect illustration of what the bad boys needed to move past in order to be champs.
    I saw that game, in real time, and it was clear that zeke was ultimately hurting the team by his insistence on dominating the ball.  While he put on his show, his teammates stood and watched and when he cooled off – which was inevitable -no one else had any rhythm or flow. 
    It was no coincidence that whenever he had one of those otherworldly games – like the 90 second explosion when he battled bernard king and the knicks – the pistons almost always lost.   The old bad boys were great because you never knew who was going to get hot and drop 25 points on the opponent. It could be laimbeer or vinnie or dumars or zeke or even buddah.  They were impossible to game plan for because chuck daly insisted on feeding the hot hand.  If vinnie was hot, he would run the same play over and over until the other team figured out a way to stop it.  Then h3 would fi d and exploit another defensive hole.
    When Zeke got into that rare mode where he decided that he was going to dominate the ball and pull a jordan, the team almost always suffered.  Instead of being absolutely unpredictable they became an easy to defend offense that was relying on a 6 foot guard’s continued hot shooting.
    That LA game was one of the best examples of how detroit should never have played.   While it was undeniably exciting to watch, it was clear, in real time, that it was not true or effective bad boys basketball.

    • Aug 28, 20133:12 pm
      by Max


      The team would have had no chance in the Bernard King game if Isiah hadn’t taken over.   Every other game in NBA history that has had that situation was over except that one.   Isiah took over and and got the team to overtime and it was like a miracle because what he did seems impossible and it’s something no one one else has ever done.   It doesn’t work with your argument.  

      • Aug 28, 20134:30 pm
        by frankie d


        sure, without that 90 second explosion they lose in regulation time.
        problem was that he dominated things even before that explosion.
        check the box scores.  almost invariably, when zeke dominated and took a lot more shots than anyone else, the team lost.  they were at their best when everyone got 10-15 or so shots a game.
        i’m not putting the blame for that loss, or other losses, on his back – bernard king and dominique wilkins literally ran tripuka out of detroit, and detroit getting killed at the SF in the playoffs was really the problem – but zeke definitely needed to control that tendency to try to do what jordan was doing for the bulls in order for detroit to be at their best.  and he didn’t put the team in the best position to win when he’d take 25 shots while john long took 8 shots.  

        • Aug 29, 20132:34 pm
          by Otis


          I noticed the same thing with Greg Monroe last season. Whenever he dropped 30, he’d have one teammate who barely cracked double digits and the team lost. That’s a big part of the reason he doesn’t get me sexually excited like he seemingly does to the rest of the fanbase.

          • Aug 29, 20134:46 pm
            by tarsier

            “That’s a big part of the reason he doesn’t get me sexually excited like he seemingly does to the rest of the fanbase.”

            What purpose did the word “sexually” serve in this statement? Why was it there? 

  • Aug 28, 20132:18 pm
    by Leon


    I had to read this twice. Initially I felt a bit of anger. It seemed as if you were hating on Zekes heroics. But upon the second review I kind of get what your saying. But you even said yourself DAILY insisted on feeding the hot hand. Was Zeke not hot?? What would you recommend that should have done? That’s basketball you ride the hot person until you can’t anymore. They did lose the game but wasn’t that the game that phantom foul call was called on Laimbeer? Also prior to him taking over was the team doing anything else before then? I mean why would a player just automatically decide in one of the most important games of his career that I’m going to just go against the whole fabric of our team and go against what got us here and do my own thing?

    • Aug 28, 20133:55 pm
      by frankie d


      why would he do that?
      because that was zeke.
      he was fortunate to have two coaches who were able to take that competitiveness and harness and direct it – bobby knight and daly – but it was a constant struggle and battle.
      i’m not saying that he was trying to do anything but help the team win. at times, he was just under the mistaken view that he needed to singlehandedly do things that the team would be better able to do.  daly deserves a huge, huge amount of credit, as he was able to handle a balancing act that was so delicate and complex that it is unlikely that anyone else, other than a guy like phil jackson, possibly, or red auerbach could have pulled it off.
      i’ll have to see the game again to see exactly why daly didnt do what he normally did under those circumstances – pull zeke and put vinnie into the game – but what i recall is that daly was trying to milk every point out of zeke that he could get, as the impression was that the ankle injury was so bad that once he sat down and it swelled up, he was going to be done for quite a while.
      and there is a difference between daly calling the same play for certain players – as he clearly would do for guys like buddha and vinnie, at times – and zeke just taking shots because he was the point guard who had the ball in his hands every time down the court.
      when the pistons fell into that trap, it was usually a bad time for their offense and the possibility of a win.
      the bad boys were at their best when zeke came down and passed to dumars or laimbeer spotting up for jumpers…or found vinnie coming off that curl for a free throw line jumper…or hit rodman or salley on a cut to the basket.  they were at their worst and were easiest to defend when zeke decided, for whatever reason, that he was going to bomb away and start taking shots from all over the court.
      i think the record backs me up on this. 

  • Aug 28, 20137:12 pm
    by uncle zeke


    is there a reason you keep referencing your watching of the game in “real time” as if that presents a more rationale understanding of the game then watching it taped?  Or maybe there is some truism in regards to the history of that game that somehow doesn’t come across on tape?

    I would think in “real time” you might be influenced by emotion, a couple of beers nevermind the 20+ years that have altered your memories…

    Watched the game again last night and it was as amazing a performance as I’ve ever seen on the court- tape or real there is not much more you could ask out of the little man.

    • Aug 28, 20137:35 pm
      by frankie d


      “it was as amazing a performance as I’ve ever seen on the court- tape or real there is not much more you could ask out of the little man.
       unhhh…the object of the game is to win it for your team.  scoring points or making a spectacular performance is irrelevant.  what matters is the final scoreboard.
      if you are going to be superman, you’d better save the day, otherwise you look like an epic failure. 
      what more could he have done?”
      easy…he could have passed the freakin ball.  no one on the detroit team had more than 12 shots.  the next man had ten, the next man had 7 shots. zeke had 32 shots that game.
      obviously, sharing the ball would have probably been a good thing.  they may have even accomplished the true goal: winning the game.
      and when i mention “real time” i simply am referring to the fact that i watched it live, as a fan of the team at that point in history.  and it was clear, even then, that he was dominating the ball too much.  in fact, LA really didn’t seem to mind the fact that he was going off, as everybody else – dantlley, dumars, vinnie and buddha, were reduced to being bystanders.  even in pickup games, i’ve never minded if one guy goes off.  it makes any team a heckuva lot easier to defend.
      ask michael jordan how long it took for him to learn that lesson. 

      • Aug 28, 20139:46 pm
        by Max


        I guess you got nothing out of the end of “Rocky”.  

      • Aug 29, 201310:10 am
        by tarsier


        It can be a tough balancing act for a superstar knowing when to single-handedly take over and when to get everyone else involved. But look at Isiah’s body of work. On the whole, he did it brilliantly.

        And I’m not buying that the Pistons would have done better if he passed more in that game. Thomas got 43 points and 8 assists on 56% shooting. First, 8 assists is a good total. Second, who was he going to pass to who would have hit more than 56% of his shots?

        Give me a break. This was one of the best individual performances of all time and it just so happened to come up short. Sometimes that happens when you’re playing against a really, really good team. 

        • Aug 29, 201312:22 pm
          by frankie d


          they lost the game.
          bottom line.
          a performance like that is only, imho, worth the disruption it causes in a team’s offense if the guy who pulls it off is able to drag his team over the victory line.
          that didn’t happen.
          to repeat: that game and the reliance on one player was the antithesis of what detroit did back then.
          chicago was following that formula with jordan and detroit was routinely kicking their ass.
          detroit was marching to a title because chuck daly had devised a system that prevented teams from loading up on any one player, and it made for an extremely dangerous team. 
          “Second, who was he going to pass to who would have hit more than 56% of his shots? ”
          that one is easy.
          adrian dantley.
          dantley was shooting a great .524% – a TS % of .602 – for the series.  he was always a much more reliable and solid offensive option than zeke throwing up jumpers once he got hot.  (zeke was like the hare to dantley’s tortoise.)  dantley only got 10 shots that game.  his lack of involvement in the offense always hurt the team, especially in tight games, as his glacially deliberate style slowed things down and ultimately allowed detroit to play the game they wanted to play: a defensive stranglehold-style, half court beatdown of the opponent. 
          look, i am not saying that zeke’s performance was not a great individual performance.  obviously, it was.
          my essential point is, and history supports me on this unequivocally, is that it was the wrong style for that detroit pistons’ team to play.  and it was almost guaranteed to result in a loss.  as it did. title teams win by playing their game.  that game was not played like a bad boys game and in the 4th quarter, after the rest of the players had spent an entire quarter standing around watching isiah go one on 5, no one else was in any kind of shape or flow or rhythm to take a prominent role offensively.
          that team and that season is also complex and complicated because of the relationship between AD and zeke.  they hated each other and that hostility was often played out on the court.  there were plenty of times when zeke would bring the ball downcourt, openly and obviously ignore AD who was open and available for a pass with deep post position, and he would swing the ball to the other side of the court.  
          that dynamic was undoubtedly part of what was happening on the court that day.  and it was not unrelated to the fact that AD was traded in the middle of the next season, for a guy who was a good buddy of zeke’s. 
          and it was no coincidence that when detroit finally won a title, zeke had his lowest shot attempts – by any measurement – since his rookie year.
          again,  no one can or should dispute that it was a great individual performance.
          obviously, it was. 
          what i’ve maintained and history has proven is that the bad boys of the ’80′s were a much better team, in fact, world champions, when zeke  suppressed his tendency to dominate the basketball – and his ability to summon up that kind of great individual performance – and play hero ball and integrate his immense talents into the flow of team’s offense.
          i will add that it is admirable that he was able to do so, as there have been plenty of very talented players – guys like stephon marbury, to think of one guy who comes to mind – who just never get it and are never able to do what zeke did.  but zeke was smart enough to listen to guys like his high school coach and bobby knight and chuck daly and become a player who did not have to score 43 points in order to lead his team to high school titles and an ncaa title and an nba title.  if only some of those other knuckleheads had the same capacity to subjugate their ego and will for the betterment of the team.  
          so, yea, he deserves tons of credit for being able to do so and lead his teams to titles.  that was always the most important thing for him.  but that does not mean that there were not times when he deviated from that path and fell back on a style of play that ultimately hurt his team, a style that was totally foreign to the lessons knight and daly taught him.  it made things interesting, and it made for heartburn for fans back then.
          it is part of what made him such a compelling BB player. 
          but if you are going to try to be superman, you’d better save the day, or else your performance will just be an interesting asterisk.  that is what the 25 point guarter is, imho. 

          • Aug 29, 20134:01 pm
            by tarsier

            Let’s put it this way, very clearly, so you can understand a concept so complicated:

            If Thomas hadn’t uncorked that incredible performance, the Lakers would have killed the Pistons. Because he did, the Pistons very nearly won.

            In the grand scheme of things, getting crushed or edged out doesn’t really make a difference. But that would be a terrible reason for players not to work their asses off. 

          • Aug 30, 20132:34 pm
            by frankie d

            while you are certainly free to conjecture about what would have or what would not have happened in that particular game, a better approach is to look at the historical record and make reasoned judgments based on those facts.
            the facts are clear: that type of performance – where one player had almost 3 times more shots and almost 3 times more points than any teammate  - was a gross anomaly.  the bad boys just didn’t play that way, and they certainly did not win that way.
            that team was successful when you looked at a box score after the game and saw 5-7 players in double figures in points.  the shot distribution would have joe and zeke right around the same number, with vinnie close behind and AD and laimbeer right there in the mix.  
            look at the next two years’ finals box scores.  there is not a single win where any player approaches the kind of distorted numbers in shots and points.  not a single win.
            so, while it may be romantic to imagine that zeke’s heroics could have dragged detroit to a victory and that the team would have been lost without those heroics, the plain numbers, the facts tell an entirely different story.  and the story those cold hard facts tell is that the bad boys won basketball games when they played without one player dominating the shots and scoring as zeke did that game.zzzz
            facts can be stubborn things… 

          • Aug 30, 20134:15 pm
            by tarsier

            No team usually wins games by having its star drop a 25 point quarter. Because that just doesn’t happen. So you’re argument is irrelevant. 

            Of course the Pistons were usually at their best spreading the ball around. But guess what? In that particular game, it wasn’t working (that happens a lot when you go up against an all-time great team). That’s why the Pistons were in a hole.

            Thomas bailed them out. It would take 15 different kinds of idiocy to think that having a player on your team drop a 25 point quarter will hurt your odds of winning.

            As I pointed out before, there are only so many shots to go around. Thomas was hitting at a 56% clip. Who would you have given those shots to instead to improve the odds of the ball going in?

            Your argument might have a slight amount of validity if Thomas had been in hero mode from the get-go. But early on, the Pistons were playing exactly how you described as optimal. And guess what? While they did that, the Lakers outscored them. With Thomas in hero mode, the Pistons outscored the Lakers. Just not by enough to make up for all the time spent following your prescribed game plan.

            Facts can be stubborn things… 

  • Aug 28, 20139:45 pm
    by Max


    I watched Isiah plenty in real time and I think Isiah is getting a bad rap here.   Isiah had plenty of high scoring games that the team won easily for one thing.  I feel like a major percentage of the times Isiah went into hero mode were either when the team was behind or his teammates weren’t having good games.   He also was their go to guy in clutch situations so he took a lot of shots in close games.  He wasn’t the kind of player who took every shot in the first quarter like he had decided before the game that he would carry the team.  He was the kind of player who assessed what was happening and stepped in when he felt it was necessary and that was usually in the fourth quarter.   And you should never forget that Isiah set up all of his teammates as well as anyone could have and was one of the best on court generals ever.  We will never see his like again.  

  • Aug 29, 20136:43 am
    by RyanK


    The single greatest performance in NBA history.  It’s been forgotten by most because the phantom foul took away an NBA championship and an eventual three-peat.

    Listen to Phil Jackson “it made me a believe”…what a bunch of crap…this is a far greater performance. 

    • Aug 29, 201311:55 am
      by tarsier


      It was incredible, but “single greatest performance in NBA history” is overstating it.

      I didn’t see it as it happened because it’s a bit difficult to control the remote control in utero. But even in my relatively short time of NBA fandom, I have taken in a couple performances more incredible.

      McGrady’s 13 points in 35 seconds (when everyone on the court knew that he literally had to shoot a three every time he touched the ball for any chance whatsoever) is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. If you want excellence that lasted a bit longer than a minute, Kobe’s 81 point game was just mind-blowing. Obviously, neither of those were in the playoffs; but if you take credit away for being on a smaller stage, you also have to take some away for the ultimate futility of Thomas’ big game.

      • Aug 29, 20133:40 pm
        by Max


        Isiah’s performance was better than those two because he was limping badly up and down the court and it wasn’t the playoffs but the finals.   Wilt scored 100 points in a game but it was a meaningless game against an atrocious team and his team did everything possible to get him the achievement including fouling the Knicks as soon as they inbounded the ball to create more possessions.   Isiah’s performance might have been the best ever but there are at least a few other candidates—although I wouldn’t throw up any from the regular season.   

        • Aug 29, 20134:06 pm
          by tarsier


          The rationale you had there (plus the fact that I didn’t see it) is why I didn’t include Wilt’s performance as a better one.

          The fact that Isiah was limping certainly makes his feat more impressive. But it kinda required that. Because otherwise, 43 and 8 is just a really good game, not an all-time historic one–even with the 25 points in one quarter.

          Something being done in the regular season doesn’t make it any less incredible a performance compared to the playoffs. It does make it less significant, though. I’ll give you that. But it also makes the performance less significant when it ultimately doesn’t result in a win.

          If you’re going to dock points for being in the regular season, how do you not dock points for coming up short? I’d take a regular season win over a playoff loss. 

          • Aug 30, 201312:09 pm
            by Dan Feldman

            “Something being done in the regular season doesn’t make it any less incredible a performance compared to the playoffs.”

            I strongly disagree with this.

            Obviously, it can be a case-by-case basis, but two general reasons why I think you’re wrong.

            1. The average playoff opponent is better than the average regular-season opponent.

            2. Teams are almost always much more geared up for playoff games. In the regular season, teams sometimes mail in their effort. It might be due to schedule (back-to-back, long road trip, etc.), knowing the game is relatively insignificant or any other reason. In the playoffs, teams are mostly on the same schedule and view each game as important.

            Accomplishing something against a playoff opponent is almost always much more significant. 

          • Aug 30, 20132:40 pm
            by tarsier

            I absolutely agree that it’s more significant in the playoffs. Just not that it is better. I suppose you have a point with the higher caliber of opponent argument. But teams score on average what, maybe 5% less against a top notch D than against an average D? That makes it a lot harder to beat them when it’s all said and done, but it doesn’t make much of a difference on an individual’s stat line.

            Also, this argument does nothing to counteract McGrady’s 13 in 35 seconds. Might the Spurs have been a bit less dialed in because it wasn’t the playoffs? Sure, but I can’t imagine Pop would let them get away with being much less so. No matter how much he is willing to pull guys because he recognizes the lack of value of the regular season, he doesn’t stand for the guys who are playing giving it less than their all. Also, those defenders were at a huge advantage in that they didn’t once in that sequence have to worry about allowing a 2.

            Finally, if you’re going to factor in the significance bonus for being in the playoffs, you have to factor in a significance deficit for coming up short.

  • Aug 29, 20133:07 pm
    by Einstein


    I watched this on NBATV the other night and it was awesome. Isiah was hobbling around making fadeaways jumpers, driving to the hole, hitting 3′s, and just plain getting buckets. He must have had some serious adrenaline flowing haha. It was a great game we should have won.

  • Aug 30, 201310:56 am
    by Leon


    I just thought about something as I was looking at the game as well as the 89 championship games and the 89 and 90 Piston v.s. Bulls. More often during times when the Pistons needed an offensive surgence Zeke played off the ball. Which means he became the shooting guard , which means he was suppose to shoot and how Frankie D is trying to say HOG the ball. A lot of times Joe was the point guard and Zeke was the shooting guard.

  • Aug 30, 20139:16 pm
    by Leon


    This is a funny thread. I mean its rediculous in a way but I want to let Frankie D know I realize what he is trying to say as far as one person dominating the ball historically doesn’t work out for the team that person is on. With that being said please understand the importance of th at particular game and what was happening during the game. It’s simple to see if Zeke dosent have the night that he had the game more than likely wouldn’t have been close. you wouldn’t find one sane person to have said you know what Zekes doing his thing now its time for me to do mine so I’m going to take the next shot. I mean we had Vinnie Johnson and you know he gonna shoot. So if he can defer why wouldn’t anybody else knowing that Zeke was bringing them back? I mean your going to take the ball out of the only person at the time scoring to spread it around just to say we had the appearance of playing a team game? That’s just as stupid as coming down on a 4 on 1 fast break and instead of going in for the layup you pull it out to setup a play. That’s just not smart. Also, TMACS 13 in 35 secs was nice but in no way compares to what Isaiah did for the simple fact the era in which he did it in and the quality of teams back then. Ppl say Kobes 81 was the best. Jordans 68 against a Boston team that won the ship that year was better   Oh yea he came fresh off an injury and did that also. Today’s generation would never and could never compare to the 80s and early mid 90s heck find me at least 5 centers that can at least make a pretty good percentage of there free throws now. It might sound like I’m nit picking but these guys today are bums compared to the 80s

    • Aug 31, 201312:29 am
      by tarsier



      The talent pool has enormously expanded since the 80s. The talent on the court is better than ever. Look at it any measurable way. Guys are bigger, stronger, faster, more agile, better shooters, can thread smaller needles with their passes, can jump higher, can change directions more rapidly, and have better and more knowledgeable trainers/staff/etc than at any previous point in NBA history.

      Yeah, I know people love being nostalgic, but seriously, just watch the old tape. The passes are less crisp, the rotations are slower, the moves are more herky-jerky, and the amount of time between when a shooter catches the ball and when someone closes onto him is soooo much longer.

      Oh, and the cumulative basketball IQ was way lower. The proof of that is how many more long 2s they took back then than they do now.

      And you’re complaining about the quality of team that TMac dropped those 13 in 35 on? Really? Those were the friggin’ Spurs, a.k.a. the team that has dominated the league since Duncan first suited up. Don’t believe me about their dominance? Over Duncan’s career, the Spurs have a higher win% than any other NBA franchise has ever had over the same number of years. Yes, that includes the Russel dynasty.

      Seriously, insinuating that the Duncan Spurs are not a high enough caliber team to qualify for an opponent for an all-time performance should get you a lifetime ban on ever talking about the NBA. 

      • Aug 31, 20134:13 pm
        by Max


        You’d have to admit he has a point about the state of the center position though.  The best 5-7 centers in the late 80s and early 90s were all better than any center now and some of them were worlds better.   We haven’t seen the like of a Hakeem, Robinson, Ewing, Shaq or Mourning since Shaq himself declined.   Dwight Howard never would have been considered the best center in the league with one of these players on the court.   I don’t even think he’s better than Mutombo, Big Ben or Daugherty.  This does have some impact on the general state of basketball. 

        • Sep 1, 20131:50 am
          by tarsier


          Howard, healthy, is without a doubt significantly better than any of Mutumbo, Wallace, or Daugherty.

          But yes, Cs are less dominant. This is for two reasons. One, there’ve just been more good little guys lately. Two, teams have figured out how to defend a big presence who doesn’t have elite athleticism or longer range.

          But I don’t know how the relative quality of bigs vs perimeter players has any significance on Thomas’ quarter amongst the greatest all-time performances.

          • Sep 1, 20134:32 am
            by Max

            We obviously disagree regarding how good Howard is but would you really rather have a healthy Howard rather than a healthy Big Ben, Daugherty or Mutumbo?  I don’t even think Howard is close to a healthy Daugherty but Big Ben and Mutombo are more valuable because they fit in with their teammates and know their role.   Howard cares more about having a featured role in the offense than he does winning.   

          • Sep 1, 20133:55 pm
            by tarsier

            Ben and Mutumbo may have been slightly better defensively at their peaks than Howard at his (note the might, this could really go either way). But Howard blows them out of the water on offense. There’s a reason that teams were tripping over themselves to give Howard a max deal even though nobody is sure he’ll ever return to his peak again.

            Wallace and Mutumbo couldn’t have scored such deals coming off of their career seasons.

            Daugherty? Please. He was a slightly worse version of Z-Bo. 

          • Sep 2, 20134:39 am
            by Max

            Obviously you don’t know Daugherty’s game.  He was one of the best passing bigs ever and a far more complete player than ZBo or Howard.  His reputation suffers because of his health problems and the I’d say because when he played there were 4 or more much better centers than him and Howard.  

          • Sep 2, 201310:16 am
            by tarsier

            He was a near 20 and 10 guy who lasted 8 seasons. A good player, but not good enough to be remembered by most. And yes, I don’t really know his game. So I have to rely on stats more than anything for this one comparison.

            If you wanna say he was better than that, fine. But statistically, he was several tiers below Howard. 

  • Aug 30, 201310:07 pm
    by James Haliburton


    I wonder if some of these posters realize they are making futile and miniscule points about not just one of THEE greatest finals performance ever, but also from one of THEE 20 greatest players of all time.

  • Aug 31, 201310:37 am
    by Leon


    So Tarsier you mean to tell me the playeare today are more smarter than the players back then? Have you seen these guys wardrobes? Or have you seem the dumb stuff they do on the court I mean come on man. I’m not saying the Spurs isn’t a great team but this generations of players for all the speed and threading the needle passing and high jumping aren’t as competent as you think. What TMAC did was great but during a time when a team could just basically bull doze through you and no fouls get called I dothe he could do that. Plus how smart of a team are you to let someone bust 13 on you in 35 secs hell how smart of a team are you to let a team beat you when your up by 5 with 28 sec left comeback and win? Remember these are the Spurs right? Bottom line don’t get athletic ability mixed up with skills Or true bball IQ. You wonder why they took so many long twos back then. obviously going inside wasn’t a very good option for them but if you can shoot what did it matter. You got guys with more athletic ability today doing the same thing but they can’t shoot worth crap. My original complaint was not about the Spurs but simply the era in which all these great things were done and above all the quality of teams that were good during those times. 

    • Aug 31, 20132:56 pm
      by tarsier


      I’m not making any claims about overall intelligence. Just about basketball IQ. That said, I don’t see any reason to believe they start out any less intelligent. But today, they do, on average, have less education.

    • Aug 31, 20133:03 pm
      by tarsier


      Also, it’s not just greater athleticism, but that certainly does make players today better. As I said, it’s anything measurable.

      Guys can shoot much better today (they can hit higher percentages of FTs and can hit from further away from the basket). FG% has declined, but given how much better players are at shooting today (without a defender), that should tell you how much better defense has gotten.

      Passes are more accurate today to the point that alley-oops don’t even necessarily qualify as highlights. The dribbling skills people exhibit would leave fans in the 80s slack-jawed. Remeber how Iverson’s crossovers blew people away when he first enterd the league? Yeah, now they’d be nothing special.

      There are several examples. Please, give me one legitimate argument for how players in the 80s were better? You can’t. All you can do is rattle off names of stars who were admittedly great, but there are lots of great players today too. 

      • Aug 31, 20134:20 pm
        by Max


        Isiah’s handle was probably the best of all time and much better than anyone who is playing today–Maravich is only possible peer.  There were more great teams than there are now too–there are more teams to dilute the talent pool now.  No passer today is anywhere near Magic, Isiah, Bird or Stockton.   No player rebounds nearly as well as Rodman did in his prime.  There is no current sorer who can hang with Michael Jordan.  No one has nearly the post game of Jordan or Hakeem.   No big is half as dominant inside as Shaq.   

        • Sep 1, 20131:59 am
          by tarsier


          The dilution argument is just absurd.

          When the Pistons won their first championship, there were 25 teams in the league. Now there are 30.

          At that point in time, there were about 5.5B people in the world. now there are about 7B. Then there were 245M people in the U.S. Now there are 315M. So a smaller percentage of people can make it into the NBA now than was possible back then.

          Furthermore, back then international talent was basically untapped. Also, a lot fewer people of NBA age had been playing basketball from their youths because in the 50s and 60s, it wasn’t yet nearly so popular.

          So NO! You are 100% wrong. Basketball was much more diluted in the 80s than it is now. The talent pool was much smaller, so even though they needed fewer guys, they needed to take a much larger percentage of those available. 

          • Sep 1, 20134:42 am
            by Max

            Remember that argument we had about who were the best players in the league and how the average player was better than the mean?   Well, apply this to the shortage of players within a league who truly matter and how they then have to be distributed among 30 teams instead of 25.   With 25 teams every single team has a better chance of having a true all star on its roster from year to year.  

          • Sep 1, 20134:03 pm
            by tarsier

            “the average player was better than the mean”? What are you talking about? The average player is the mean. Did you intend to say median?

            Also, you don’t seem to properly grasp the concept of pool size here. The best 10 of a group of 100 will be, on average, just as good as the best 100 of a group of 1000.

            The domestic pool today is 30% larger and there are only 20% more teams. Even without taking into consideration the influx of international talent and the much greater number of people who are opting to play basketball from a young age (each of which is probably an even more influential factor than that 30% larger pool), that means that now, the average team can have more talent.

          • Sep 2, 20134:55 am
            by Max

            Your missing the point.   At any one time there can only be so many truly great players.   Now a truly great player is one that is much better than nearly all of his peers so how many there are in a given era depends more on random factors than raw numbers and by definition there can’t be that many of them.   30 percent more population doesn’t mean an extra Shaq, Wilt or Jordan and actually it doesn’t mean having an equivalent for any of them.   For all we know someone could come along in the next ten years who will be bigger and more dominant than Shaq but for all we know it could take 50 or 100 years no matter how the population grows for that special of a genetic miracle to occur.  In the whole history of the league Wilt has no equivalent in terms of size and athleticism other than Shaq,   More people and more people playing basketball hasn’t shifted the dynamic of how once in a generation players generally rule the roost and how few players really stand way above the rest at any given time.   More people on the planet and more people playing basketball hasn’t changed the idea that a team generally requires a top five player if they are truly going to contend.   30 teams in the league makes it less likely for each team individually to have a top five player and even among top five players there are usually one or two who stand way above the rest of the top five.  30 teams means it’s less likely for any individual team to feature the league’s best player.  

          • Sep 2, 201310:49 am
            by tarsier

            “Now a truly great player is one that is much better than nearly all of his peers”

            If we are talking how many of the 10 best or 20 best or whatever number players there were per team, than obviously more teams means fewer of those guys per team.

            But this discussion started with the idea that the talent in the league today is less than in the 80s. More people does mean more talent in the league. Then it changed course a bit with this idea of dilution of talent. So I responded to that idea by pointing out that now we still have more talent per team in the league.

            If you want to change the topic again to each team now has, on average, a 30th of the league’s present talent as opposed to a 25th of the former talent, I’ll agree with you. But what’s your point, where are you going with that? There are now more teams and better teams than there used to be. How is that anything but good.

            And yes, 30% more people does mean, on average, 30% more Shaqs, Jordans, Magic, Birds, etc. Of course, having 30% more of those guys does make them all seem a little less magnificent. If that’s the case you’re making (put 80s superstars into the game today and they wouldn’t be as transcendent as they once were because the overall talent level has risen), I agree with you.

            I know some like to use this “dilution of talent” argument to propose that old championships are worth more. If you’re going there, let me point out that you have it backwards. Think about it. if there were two teams in the league, it would be really easy to win a championship. Players would do it, on average, every other year. If there were 4, it would be harder. If there were 8, even harder. People can see that on the level of these small numbers. But for some reason going from 20 to 30 teams makes it easier? Even if you were diluting the talent, you’d be diluting the player in question’s teammates’ talent just as much as his opponents. This is particularly clear when you look at March Madness. It’s so much harder to win an NCAA championship than an NBA championship because there are so many more teams vying for it.

          • Sep 4, 201311:10 pm
            by Max

            How can you say 30 percent more people does mean 30 percent more Jordans. Magic and Shaqs?   There are no Jordans, Magics and Shaqs.   Even if I gave you that LeBron is Magic, Kobe is Jordan and, um, Andrew Bynum, no Andre Drummond is Shaq, all of which isn’t even close to correct, there would have to even be more of these strained comparisons that would be even more strained.    

            You didn’t get my point at all.   Shaqs don’t just come along because there are more people.   Shaqs are utterly anomalous.  The NBA may close their doors forever before they anyone sees another Shaq.  I’m not saying one won’t come along six years from now but it’s impossible to predict.   Again, in NBA history there was simply no no player who could compare to Wilt in terms of the combination of size and athleticism until Shaq.   No one has come along since either.   Now tell me how there is a Shaq or more Shaqs than when Shaq began his career if I’m wrong.    

        • Sep 1, 20132:17 am
          by tarsier


          And do you have anything to back up these statements other than you saying so:

          Isiah’s handle was probably the best of all time and much better than anyone who is playing today–Maravich is only possible peer.  No passer today is anywhere near Magic, Isiah, Bird or Stockton.

          I didn’t think so. You’re raving over the handle of a guy who averaged 4 turnovers a game. He was a phenomenal scorer and passer, but Paul’s handle is significantly better. Heck, I’d take Billups’ handle over Thomas’. James is a better passer than Bird. Paul, Williams, and Rondo are comparable passers to Thomas, Stockton, and Magic. And they’re significantly better defenders–in spite of not being able to use hand checks..

          I’ll give you that Rodman was a special rebounder. But that hardly single-handedly elevates that era. It’s not like anyone else then could rebound at his rate either. Besides, you claim nobody is close. Rodman grabbed 23.4% of available boards. Love grabs 21.5%–with much, much inferior athleticism. I’d call that close.

          Jordan had a nice post game, but hardly an all-time one. There are a lot of guys then and now I’d take over him for that one category. Olajuwon may have the best post moves of anyone ever. But then, there have been rule changes since then which make post games less valuable. Al Jefferson is fantastic in the post, but he’s not that good of a player because that is no longer nearly so valuable a skill.

          As for whether there are any scorers today who could hang with Jordan, I don’t know. We don’t get to see guys play in each others’ eras. But I’ll tell you that the D is so much better now than then. That is why, in spite of players being objectively much better shooters, FG% has plunged. Seriously, just watch old school close outs, they’d be disgraceful n today’s NBA where getting to the top of your jump by the time a hand is in your face qualifies as “wide open”. 

          • Sep 1, 20135:06 am
            by Max

            Isiah played with people in a way Paul can’t approach.   He was willing to do things on the court that Paul might be able to do but wouldn’t dare try in a professional game.  Isiah was good at falling on the floor while keeping his dribble and making it work to his advantage.   Walt Frazier always gets on point guards for not keeping their dribble in lots of situations.   It was nearly impossible to force Isiah to give up his dribble and he got to wherever he wanted to go on the court.    Paul plays like a machine wheeas Isiah played like he was having fun and wanted to embarrass his defender.   Think Sugar Ray Leonard if you get the reference.   

            Can I get some Pistons fans who actually watched Thomas and Billups play to tell him that Billups did not have a better handle than Zeke.   It’s a ludicrous comment that I can’t believe you could even come up with.  

            D. Williams is a better defensive player than Stockton?    

            Jordan had a “nice” post game?  Come on, man.  Could you please take some time away from giving your opinions on basketball to watch this enlightening video?  


            While I’m at it please watch my favorite basketball video ever and it stars Magic Johnson.   Please watch this and then tell me how others are passing as well as Magic today.   They wouldn’t even attempt the passes he pulled off routinely.    


            Watch some Bird too.  Can’t bring myself to find you one for him though.   James could not come close to his court awareness and ability to improvise passes.   You brought up that Rodman was more athletic than Love for some reason so let me say that a lot of what James is able to do as a passer from a numbers standpoint is about his athleticism and his role on his team’s.   Bird played with real point guards and he had eyes in the back of his head and softness of touch when required that is beyond the scope of James as a passer.  And by the way, Rodman being a lot smaller than Love is just as valid a thing to bring up when comparing them even if it’s less valid than saying Rodman played with better rebounding teammates and for much, much greater teams.     

          • Sep 3, 201311:24 pm
            by tarsier

            I think we are using the word handle differently. Isiah was a heck of a dribbler. You couldn’t force hi to pick up the ball. But you could get the ball from him. When I use the term handle, I refer to control. It’s irrelevant if that control is maintained by keeping the dribble alive or not.

          • Sep 4, 201311:17 pm
            by Max

            Isiah had more control.  It’s just that he had so much more imagination, bravado and need to prove himself that he took a lot more risks.  You can think that makes him a less disciplined and efficient player but it also meant that he had a much wider arsenal of moves and options on the court  He was able to ratchet up his discipline in the playoffs while also receiving his earned benefit of knowing how to make crazy moves and shots when he had no choice.  The proof is in the pudding.   

  • Aug 31, 201311:03 am
    by Leon


    I wonder if you even realize that majority of the teams that have been champs except for the Heat have consisted and ultimately been led by guys that came in the 90′s. A more smarter era than now. I mean its taken Lebron ten years to win his second chip. All these guys with all there great athletic ability and handles and great passing ability having won crap and been in the league for over 6 years. Melo, CP3, D Howard. I mean these are superstars today and haven’t accomplished shit really. Same thing with the Tmacs and VC. Though blessed athletic ability couldn’t win a title. Now you may say im shitting on the Karl Malones and Barkleys of the era I’m so in love with. The biggest difference between now and then. Back then they actually went against super stars real superstars who were more accomplished and smarter. I mean dude have this guys today didn’t even finish college or even attend. You ever heard of the term young and dumb. You don’t think that applies to this generations of hoppers who rather show flash than substance. That’s why you don’t see any chips for this generation unless they do that teaming up crap. That’s the type of bball you respect????? Wow. 

    • Aug 31, 20133:29 pm
      by tarsier


      “That’s why you don’t see any chips for this generation unless they do that teaming up crap.”

      So you think that players in the 80s won championships without teaming up with other really good players? Probably the worst supporting cast (relative to the talent of the rest of the league) that has ever been carried to an NBA championship was Dirk’s. And guess what, that was just two years ago.

      “I wonder if you even realize that majority of the teams that have been champs except for the Heat have consisted and ultimately been led by guys that came in the 90?s.” 

      Of the last 8 championships, half of them have had MVPs drafted in the 3rd millenium. The 80s championships were ALL led by guys drafted in the 70s. So what’s your point? The 90s were all led by guys drafted in the 80s with the exception of the one lockout season in ’99 when all-time great Duncan led the Spurs and even then, that was the last year you still could have made an argument for Robinson over Duncan.

      So even though guys are now entering the league younger and taking more years to hit their primes, they are still winning championships earlier by your flawed rationale.

      “All these guys with all there great athletic ability and handles and great passing ability having won crap and been in the league for over 6 years. Melo, CP3, D Howard.”

      There are fantastic players in every era who don’t get any championships. That doesn’t make the era any worse. Also, all of those guys have a lot of career left to get a ring. 

      “Back then they actually went against super stars real superstars who were more accomplished and smarter.” 

      Ummm, no. There are real superstars who are just as accomplished today. What measure do you want to use for accomplishment? I will destroy your argument regardless. Players who have won championships? Since the league has lately had more parity and longer careers, there are a lot more now that anyone has to go through than they ever did before.

      • Aug 31, 20134:32 pm
        by Max


        There used to be a lot more players that scored 25 points.  A lot more.  It’s probably at an all time low these days.  

        • Sep 1, 20132:19 am
          by tarsier


          Yes, not only have defenses gotten much better, the ball tends to be shared a lot more these days. Hmmmm… could this possibly go back to the whole higher basketball IQ thing? Yes, yes it could. And it does.

    • Aug 31, 20133:45 pm
      by tarsier


      The only argument for the 80s being better than today basketball-wise is “but I remember those days so fondly and have now become a nostalgic hater of change” 

      Actually, that’s not completely true. There’s also the flawed argument “look at all these stars from the 80s I can rattle off compared to how many great players there are today”.  That can sometimes be compelling because we can see all the guys who aren’t currently at their peaks but forget that those 80s stars peaked at different times. So when you just rattle off a 20 names, we think of all these guys at the tops of their games. But there was never sucha  season. And if you want to look at an entire decade, that adds so many great players to “today’s NBA”. 

      • Sep 1, 20135:38 am
        by Max


        Comparing players from different eras doesn’t imply a preference,  I at least have not claimed one era to be better than the other.  Looking at the great players now, I could claim Durant as possibly the greatest outside shooter ever, James as the most athletic and versatile player ever, Paul as the most efficient point guard ever and Wade as the best shot blocking guard ever.   Right now this era has the best power forward all time still playing and boast two candidates for who could arguably be the best small forward of all time.  I would say about the 80s that just Magic, Bird and Jordan were basically unprecedented players in NBA history and that Magic and Jordan are still head and shoulders above whoever you’d want to name as the 2nd best point guard and shooting guard of all time respectively.   The 80s got more than its share of all time great centers and Barkley and Malone were thought of as perhaps the greatest power forward of all time and Larry Bird was thought of as the best small forward of all time.  All time greats in the truest sense at every position during the same era? And you wonder why people are nostalgic for the 80s?    

        • Sep 1, 20134:09 pm
          by tarsier


          Again, you’re now taking the 80s as a whole. Some guys peaked early in the decade. Others late in it. So yes, if you take all the player peaks from the 80s, those guys are better than the assembly of talent we have today. But try comparing to these past ten seasons. Then you’ll have to account for guys like Shaq, Garnett, J.O., Pierce, Allen, Miller, Redd, McGrady, Carter, Kidd, Iverson, Webber, Francis, and countless others who are not near their primes anymore or are even out of the league.

          Alternatively, choose one season in the 80s and compare it to now. Either way, you’ll find your case much weaker when you don’t have the luxury of comparing 10 seasons to one. 

          • Sep 2, 20135:02 am
            by Max

            When and how did I compare 10 seasons to 1?   

          • Sep 2, 201311:00 am
            by tarsier

            Did you not read my comment? I explained it in full.

            You’re comparing the 80s (as a whole) to now. If you compared the 80s to the past decade and defined that as now, now would look a heck of a lot better than if it’s just this past season.

          • Sep 4, 201311:30 pm
            by Max

            So when I say era you assume I mean a single year?  Okey Dokey.  

  • Aug 31, 20134:31 pm
    by Leon


    I was trying to copy and paste the bleacher report but nevermind that. My problem is not with change as you so cleverly stated. The fact of the matter is like I said before the era in which these guys played and I’m not just singling out superstars of the 80s. I mean Jack Sigma wasn’t considered a superstar but hell you could put him in at the end of the game and not worry about him not hitting this free throws. Why? Because unlike the players of today he was fundamentally sound which trumps being bigger faster stronger or whatever. I mean most players in that era were fundamentally sound. There’s no way you can argue that. I pointed out free throws because that’s the most common flaw with most players in this era mostly centers which becomes liabilities down the stretch. As decent as a center D. Howard is he more Utahans likely would get thoroughly outplayed by Jack Sigma or a Bill Laimbeer or even a James Edwards who weren’t considered superstars. He’s a liability late in the game which means he would be totally useless even if they played in today’s era let alone in the 80′s when they could pretty much gang rape you on the court. Plus they were much smarter players. Oh yea my point I was trying toale about the teams that have won chips with the 90s caliber players is that the 90′s caliber players have been pretty much the superstar or driving force on that team. Why? Probably because of fundamentals (Tim Duncan , KG, Dirk, Kobe) these guys are pretty much considered the leader of there teams or by far the most important person. Where today you have guys thats been in the league for quite sometime and hadn’t done squat. Yes eventually they will win but you know damn well the league is not in anyway better than yester year. No nostalgia needed you can look at the facts with YouTube if you want. Players that were bench players or considered good not great players back then would be considered superstars now. Non super stars like Alex English Tom Chambers Michael Cooper Vinnie Johnson would have torched these dudes today. Hell Mark Eaton yea he wasn’t an offensive juggernaut but his D was amazing. I’m not sure when you were born and this is not a personal attack but how in the hell you figure good sound fundamentals can be trumped by a dweeb that can dunk or run fast or whatever is beyond me. Gruntled Lebron is a phenom KD is just that dude right now I respect that but other than them two oh my bad Westbrook who to me is the best PG yep even better than CP3 and Curry who else is there. Not sure why my phn put gruntled when I was trying to say granted but its not letting me go back and edit it. Either way the competition isn’t what you think it is. That’s why there’s no teams unless your Miami going against a fundamentally sound team like the Spurs winning any chips. Even though the most fundamentally sound team with a soon to be hall of fame coach made one of the most dumbest decisions that led to the spurs losing the chip. The stupidity of this generation is obviously quite contagious. Vogel giddy the same thing take out your best rebounder and or rim protector because of who not Lebron not Wade but cause of Bosh. They were scared they wouldn’t be quick enough to guard Bosh of all ppl if he decided to shoot a three. WTF!!!!

    • Sep 1, 20132:32 am
      by tarsier


      I’ll give you this:
      2010s NBA players are worse at 1980s NBA fundamentals than 1980s NBA players were. 

      Give me this:
      1980s NBA players were worse at 2010s NBA fundamentals than 2010s NBA players are. 

      Fundamentals are the basic skill sets that are necessary to succeed. Besides being way more athletic, today’s players are just as fundamentally sound, it’s just a differnt set of fundamentals.

      Guess what, fundamentals change. Once upon a time, the 18 footer was a “fundamental”. One of the ways today’s NBA is better is that it is no longer, though it is still useful to have in the arsenal. Because it is an inefficient shot. Now, driving the lane is a fundamental. Why? Because it’s a really friggin’ efficient shot.

      So yeah, yet another point for bball IQ being higher now than before. 

      • Sep 1, 201312:09 pm
        by frankie d


        i think most observers accept that today’s players, though athletically more gifted, are simply not as good at playing the game of basketball as the players of the ’80′s.
        there are no mysteries as to why this is so.
        there are very specific reasons.
        years ago, it was common for good/great players to spend at least 2-4 years of their young lives in college basketball.
        magic played 2 years.  isiah played two years.  bird played 4 years.  jordan played 3 years.  i think akeem played 4 years.  ewing played 4 years.  
        now, if a player talented enough to get drafted in the lottery stays 2 years, questions arise about that player.
        obviously, a player who spends 2-4 years in an apprentice-like environment in college basketball, with a good coach, is going to be much better prepared for the pros than a player who spends one year in college basketball, after being a part of the AAU system, which is typically designed as an ultra-playground like showcase for elite talent.  especially when that one year is set up as a mere transit stop on his way to the nba.  
        guys like brandon knight are the poster children for that type of player.  
        he was essentially the same player from high school to college and then on to the pros.  
        in the ’80′s, a good college coach could have probably made a very serviceable point guard out of knight, given 2-4 years.  as it turned out, his one year under caliperi was, typically, a year spent doing exactly the same things he’d done in high school, with little or no actual development or growth as a player.  there are lots of talented players who can be described in the same fashion.
        while that may have happened in the ’80′s, the odds of a good, smart player like knight simply stumbling through 2-4 years of college, without learning anything was very low.
        fundamentally, today’s players are a joke. and shooting the basketball, no matter from what distance is a skill that is rare today.  that is why a guy like rip hamilton was able to make such a comfortable living for so long.  there are just not that many players who have learned how to shoot the basketball.  they know how to get to the rim, or make a stand still jumper from distance, but most players today absolutely lack the skills necessary to take and make open shot opportunities that may present in most areas of the offensive zone.  whether it is prudent to take those shots under some circumstances is another question.  the ability of most players to competently perform that task has been greatly reduced.
        it is instructive that the best shooters in the league today – guys like stephon curry – often have a father who was an nba player, someone who “coached” them from the cradle.
        boxing out on rebounds?  
        a very basic and necessary skill that helps immensely.  even a monster rebounder like dre drummond only rarely boxes players out.  if he had learned to incorporate that basic skill into his game, his numbers might approach the kind of dominance russeill maintained.
        when a player boxes out well and routinely, it is so rare that announcers usually make note of it.  the lack of that basic skill is one reason guys like reggie evans are able to play in the league, as he and a few guys like him are the rare players who do something so basic.  or at least it was common and basic to the league 30 years ago.
        there are many, many more areas where it is ridiculously clear that today’s players simply lack the basic fundamental skills that used to be taken for granted.  while the guys are bigger and faster without question, the lack of coaching – and the dependence on AAU and other such entities as feeder systems for the best players – has corrupted the process of preparing young guys for the nba. 

        • Sep 1, 20134:15 pm
          by tarsier


          “i think most observers accept that today’s players, though athletically more gifted, are simply not as good at playing the game of basketball as the players of the ’80?s.”

          No, they don’t. What they do accept is the correct conclusion of your analysis. Rookies today tend to be not as good as rookies back then. But guys are typically able to improve more when basketball is literally their full-time job as opposed to keeping up appearances as ostensible students.

          But those stars struggling through their first season or two are still making the NBA better than if they were in college not at all contributing to it. And by the time they’d enter the NBA before, they’re just as good today because they already have a few years of NBA experience.

          This argument wouldn’t hold up if they lasted just as long in the NBA because then the early years would just be counting against the total. But since stars now play longer than they did before, those early, semi-starry years are just pure bonus. 

  • Aug 31, 20134:48 pm
    by Leon


    And like I said back then they weren’t considered superstars. But now shoot they’d probably be the man cause these players today wouldn’t know what to do with them. Who’s stopping Kevin Johnson or Larry Nance or Dale Ellis. Mitch Richmond or James Edwards or Alex English. I mean a few of these dudes weren’t even starters. 

    • Sep 1, 20132:34 am
      by tarsier


      Who’s stopping those guys today? Anyone. Defenses are so much better now.

      Do you have any scrap of evidence to support the idea that today’s players couldn’t defend them even better than the players of yesteryear did? 

      • Sep 1, 20135:15 am
        by Max


        So I guess the 2012 Pistons were a better defensive team than the 89 Pistons?  Defenses are just better now.   

        In Tarsier’s defense though, no one from any era could stop players like KJ, English and Richmond.   Those are all time hard to stop players.    

        • Sep 1, 20131:18 pm
          by frankie d


          free agency is a big reason defenses are not as good as they were years ago.
          the championship bad boys had players who were together for many, many years.
          isiah and vinnie and laimbeer and mahorn were with the team for many years.  then dumars and salley and rodman and edwards came on board for another run of years.
          by the time they won their title, they had a core of 4 players who had been together for anywhere from 6-7 seasons and a couple more who had been on board for 3 seasons or so.
          if a team is intact for 2 or 3 seasons now, it is considered remarkable.
          there is no substitute for that kind of familiarity.  teams just don’t have that kind of coordination.
          watching the old bad boys rotate and do their defensive chores was a thing of beauty.
          when they played chicago and had the jordan rules in effect, it was probably the prettiest, most perfect example of team defense the league has ever seen.
          no one…no one approaches that kind of intensity and coordination now.  no matter how impressive the individual athletes. 

        • Sep 1, 20134:19 pm
          by tarsier


          Not every D today is better than every D of yesteryear. Defenses on the whole are a lot better though.

          Besides, enforce all the rule changes on the ’89 Pistons that the ’12 Pistons had to deal with and I bet you’d be surprised at how much they’d struggle. Their MO was roughing people up. They would have major foul problems today and it is impossible to say how well they’d do at playing a clean D. They may be able to adjust, or they may just not have had those skills.

          So yeah, I’m not going to completely rule out the possibility that the ’12 Pistons could play D in today’s league better than the ’89 Pistons. But I’ll put the odds against it. 

          • Sep 2, 20135:11 am
            by Max

            I can’t believe you said this, Tarsier.  The 2012 Pistons didn’t even protect the rim.   The 89 Pistons would finish high in a poll for best defensive team of all time.  

          • Sep 2, 201311:02 am
            by tarsier

            Yeah, you’re right. Hyperbole gone wild. Of course, the points used to state my overblown conclusion are true. Most importantly that the primary way the ’89 Pistons defended the rim was using tactics that are now illegal. I am confident those players were good enough to adjust, but they would be close to starting over from scratch. They would, to a significant extent, have to relearn how to play D.

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