2017-2018 NBA

This thread is probably not going to get much activity, but I wanted to weigh in Colin Cowherd’s comparison between Ben Simmons and Magic Johnson. I watched a highlight video of Simmons based on the entire year. Here’s the video, followed by my thoughts:

Similarities: Height, speed in transition (Yeah, there was a time where Magic was fast, especially in transition), and backing players into the post. Oh, I guess he has ability to bring the ball up the court and play on the perimeter.

Differences: Based on the clip, I didn’t notice the same level of passing skills. I don’t know if I’d call Simmons a great dunker, but his dunking looks formidable when he’s going hard to the rim. (One interesting tidbit: He seems to like dunking when jumping off the wrong foot.)

16 thoughts on “2017-2018 NBA

  1. Simmons is a special dude. He plays on the ground and seems nonathletic like Magic. His iso (as in isolation) game is better overall then Magic, but Magic had the mini sky hook. Magic developed into a good if not great three point shooter, which Simmons isn’t. I can see why they are compared, but there are some differences as well. He is definitely not the showman (and maybe passer), Magic was.

    The league has a bunch of great players right now: The Greek Freak, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, along with Harden, Durant, Curry, Lebron, Westbrook, Kyrie, and Kawhi. I think this is the most great players to play at one time in recent history. Part of it is probably because the court is so much more spread out and open, giving the great guys room to do their thing.

  2. His iso (as in isolation) game is better overall then Magic, but Magic had the mini sky hook.

    You mean, in terms of isolating Simmons on the perimeter, setting up driving opportunities? If so, I don’t get the sense that Magic was or would be really great in that situation, although who knows. By the time the Lakers looked for more scoring from Magic, they isolated him in the post.

    For what it’s worth, Magic was a solid three point shooter, but I wouldn’t call him great.

    Part of it is probably because the court is so much more spread out and open, giving the great guys room to do their thing.

    And the fact that there are really very few 5s, let alone really good ones.

  3. Yeah but Simmons doesn’t shoot threes at all, so even if Magic was just decent, he’d have the edge there. I don’t know where LeBron is going next season, but he should really give the Sixers a hard look!

  4. Oh, and I just want to say that the entire city of Philadelphia owes Sam Hinkie a gigantic apology. He proved to be right, and here he is with no job. I hate the world.

  5. Yeah but Simmons doesn’t shoot threes at all, so even if Magic was just decent, he’d have the edge there.

    Agreed. I’m just noting that I wouldn’t call Magic a great three-point shooter (and I realize Don isn’t strongly stating that he is).

  6. Actually I think I was mixing up Magic’s ability to shoot threes and his ability to shoot free throws. Both became much better, but I think Magic led the league in free throws one year or was top three.

  7. Oh yeah, Magic was a really good free throw shooter. (I’m not sure if he lead the league in percentage, though. Is Simmons a bad free throw shooter?)

  8. My observations of the playoff games:
    I feel like the NBA has shifted from defense oriented or minded teams to offensive. I’ve said this last year, but the league seem more like the 80’s now and the scoring per game is definitely closer to the 80’s then any time after that.
    Watching Miami and Philadelphia, there were numerous not very athletic guys on both teams that can either shoot or just score like Belinelli. He’s just an old guy running around shooting threes.
    The Cavs team is about as bad as it gets and Lebron is giving them a chance. This Cavs team may be worse than his pre-Heat, Cavs team.
    Anthony Davis’ athleticism is ridiculous. He’s like Larry Nance (Sr not Jr), Marcus Camby, and a little bit Kobe all in one.
    Ricky Rubio is good. He’s a poor man’s Steve Nash. He can make floaters and make passes (probably a little better than Steve). He just cannot shoot.

  9. Have you seen the Rockets play? I’m a little curious about how they play. They seem to be doing well, in spite of my thinking the CP3-Harden thing was a bad pairing. I’m curious to see how they look when they’re on the floor at the same time.

  10. I didn’t see the Rockets play yet. Although Barkley said Harden is one of the toughest players to guard of all time. That maybe be hyperbole, but coming from Chuck, who thinks all the guys in his era will dominate the guys in the current era, that’s saying a lot.

  11. The NBA championship is really the series between the Rockets and Warriors. No team in the East really can play with the two in the West. Not that, that is a revelation, but throwing it out there in case anyone was waiting for the championship to pay attention.

  12. I haven’t seen the Warriors play with Durant, but I agree with this statement before KD joined them–and with KD I’d say they would be the best shooting team ever (especially if we’re talking about range). Their passing is really good (although I don’t know if it’s diminished since Bogut left). And, yes, this is the type of basketball I like, generally–but I would make one exception. A great basketball team has to have at least great one-on-one player–that is, a guy that can create his own shot (and I would count bigs who are great in the post). I would differentiate these players from shooters who rely on screens to get shots. Reggie Miller is an example of this. I know Curry has handles, but I kinda put him in this category as well–at least when he goes against good defenders. Great ball movement, screens and unselfishness–I love all those things, but if you don’t have one or two great one-on-one players, that’s generally a big deficiency.

    I should say that the deficiency doesn’t only relate to the ability to win the championships. For me, it also relates to my enjoyment of watching the games. This is especially true in the playoffs because what tends to happen is that these type of teams tend to go through periods where they struggle. This is especially true against really good defensive opponents. The offense may be moving and passing the ball, but they can’t get any open looks and struggle to score. When this goes on for a while, it gets kind of boring. To be specific, this situation is boring when the team doesn’t really have great one-on-one players–generally players who can take it to the hoop. When the team has these type of players and the defense is just shutting them down, that can be fun to watch.

    Going back to Cowherd’s comments, he mentions that G-State plays good defense. I’m wondering if that’s true. I never really got the impression that they were a great defense team. Same with rebounding. To me, if they were really good defensive and rebounding team, I’d probably like them a lot more. (By the way, when LeBron played in Miami, while that team wasn’t great at rebounding, they could be really good defensive teams–especially defending the three point shot.)

  13. Do you mean it has to be a good defensive team as in all five guys on the floor? Because Draymond Green was NBA defensive player of the year last year, and has been on the all-defensive first team for three years in a row — which of course coincides with their three appearances in the finals. I don’t care for the Warriors, but aside from Steve Kerr, Draymond is my favorite on this team.

    1. Do you mean it has to be a good defensive team as in all five guys on the floor?

      Essentially yes. You could have the greatest defender of all-time on a team, and that team may not have a great defense.

  14. Actually KD and Harden are easily the best two one-on-one players in the game today. KD is virtually unstoppable because of his height and because he’s willing to take the mid-range shot. I would put him above Bird in terms of scoring. Golden State with KD is way more efficient offensively. They are not as fun because it’s not Curry and Thompson running around getting open and shooting threes. There is still better than average ball movement, but as long as KD is willing, it’s basically him taking his guy and shooting over him. The thing with Golden State is their role and bench players are so damn good. Shaun Livingston’s mid-range game is ridiculously good. David West’s ability to pass and play in the post is great. They have Nick Young who is an outstanding three point shooter and JaVale McGee who is a good post defender and space-eater. All those guys come off the bench (well at least in this series because I think GS think they don’t need McGee who didn’t play in game one). They also have the two ultimate role players in Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, three if you want to consider Klay as a role player as well. I get why pundits don’t want to put them in the class of the 80’s Celtics and Lakers. But anything other than that like the Bad Boys, Bulls, etc, this Warrior team is right up there with those guys. It’s a different game, but they should be in that conversation.

    We have moved to a time where offense rules, so it’s hard to say who’s a good defensive team and who’s not. I wouldn’t say they are a great defensive team, but Klay is outstanding. Green is great but because he’s not tall it’s not like he’s a great shot blocker. He’s more of a Rodman type player, but of course not as good. KD is very underrated defensively and has the quickness and length to be very effective. Iguodala or Mcgee are both very good at what they do defensively. Curry is the only crutch defensively on that team. But it’s not like they are winning games with their defense.

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