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1275Re: [APBR_analysis] Re: Ballhogs - Dominique Wilkins

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  • Michael K. Tamada
    Sep 12, 2002
      On Thu, 12 Sep 2002 bchaikin@... wrote:

      > "...for why Wilkins is regarded as a ballhog and McHale isn't..."
      > who considers dominique wilkins a ballhog? certainly not me! the whole point

      Obviously we've reached the point of semantic disagreements (and some
      substantive ones too). Short answer: yes, someone like
      Wilkins who shoots that much, with a FG% below both his team average and
      the league average (and I believe his PT% was below his team and league
      average most years too, but I can't get the stats site to load).

      Someone like McHale who shoots about as much (per touch) but (a) shoots
      with very high efficiency and (b) doesn't use up as many of his team's
      possessions to get his points is not a ballhog. To bring in a related
      question that's been discussed, one can call McHale a black hole (because
      he couldn't pass worth a darn, and instead would shoot the ball) but not a


      > but english and wilkins were clearly superstars. every game their teams

      "Superstars" is another term where we can semantically disagree, but I do
      agree with this: both players were close to each other in ability,
      clearly below Bird et al, and depending on how one defines "superstar",
      might be considered that: clear longtime all-stars, possible All-pros ...
      although at that point, subjectivity and the way in which scorers get
      overrated by the fans and media start coming into play.

      But those stats that you posted show exactly the differences between
      English and Wilkins that I'm talking about. English, on a percentage
      basis, shot less and passed more than Wilkins, and with a better shooting
      percentage. His PossFact was higher than Wilkins according to your stats,
      which I can believe, but in Denver's high-octane offense I'll bet he used
      up a smaller percentage of his teams touches or possessions.

      So in terms of offense, I take English over Wilkins. Overall, it's close
      because Wilkins was a better rebounder and I suspect was a better defender
      too. On the other hand, English could and would pass more, and most
      importantly would fit into a team game better. (Haven't these World
      Championships taught us anything?)

      If one's team is offensively hopeless and one can add one player who will
      most help the offense (and probably the team too), then yes, Wilkins would
      be a good choice, probably better than English. But if one is building a
      team that'll advance in the playoffs, and possibly contend for a
      championship, Wilkins is way down my list. He's the type of player who
      like McAdoo with the Lakers or Aguirre with the Pistons could be a role
      player on a championship team, but you don't build championship teams
      around players like Wilkins. English wouldn't be much preferable to
      Wilkins, but offensively he'd be less ball-hoggedly.


      > are you attempting to say here that mchale was a bonafide superstar and
      > wilkins was not? because if you are you have to understand that for a

      Yes. And forget the semantics, whatever we choose to call them, I'll take
      McHale over Wilkins. Granted they played different positions, but unless
      we're talking about a team as in the example above, a team of offensive
      zeroes which needs a player like Dominique to achieve something
      approaching respectability, I take McHale over Wilkins easy.

      > mchale was a low post player, i think most would agree. wilkins could get the
      > ball anywhere and score...

      Get the ball anywhere and score: precisely! Yes Wilkins could do that
      (and McHale could not). But why would we want that?? The
      superstar-gets-the-ball-and-drives-the-lane offense is precisely what
      observers have (correctly in my view) accused the US players of doing too
      much of, leading to their downfall in the World Championships.

      Now when Jordan does that, and scores 28 points and shoots 53% from the
      field, then that can be okay (still not desirable compared to a team game,
      but it can be okay -- hey it worked for the Bulls). But when Wilkins does
      that, and scores 28 points, but shoots *46%* from the field -- that kind
      of team offense (or more accurately, lack of TEAM offense) is not the way
      to build a contending team.

      > wilkins had a lifetime possession factor (touches/min) of about 1.20-1.25.
      > mchale's highest was about 0.90 and about 0.85 for his career. that means
      > over their careers wilkins handled the ball 40% more often than mchale.
      > that's a huge difference. mchales best season he scored 26.1 pts/g, and his

      It is a huge difference, but it's again part of why I call Wilkins a
      ballhog and McHale not. Both were shoot first, pass never players. But
      McHale didn't use up all his teams possessions in doing so, and when he
      did use a possession, he scored. Whereas Wilkins missed.

      That Wilkins could maintain a near-average shooting efficiency while using
      up so many possessions is indeed a rare achievement. But (a) it's not the
      way to play good team basketball and (b) the fact that he was using up so
      many possessions is why I call him a ballhog. (By the way, this is not
      to say that he was a bad player; as I said before, a clear perennial
      all-star and marginal all-pro, somewhere close to English overall.)


      > i don't have a lot of respect for the game of a player like allen iverson who
      > scores 30 pts/g on 41% shooting, but he scores and scores big and teams
      > design their defense to stop him and him specifically and most can't stop

      Here we agree. Iverson is Wilkins but even more extreme. But it's not
      the way to build a contending team (yes I know the 76ers made it to the
      finals, but we all knew they had no chance against the Lakers and no
      business being in the finals except for the fact that the other Eastern
      teams were even worse).

      > him. i think that classifies him as a superstar...

      We do agree that Iverson is a remarkable player, a clear all-star.
      Whether that's enough to call him a superstar ... that's a semantic issue.
      A substantive issue: does he deserve to be all-pro? I'd say 2nd team
      all-pro maybe, 1st team not, and MVP definitely not. (And yes I know who
      won the MVP award in 2001, but that's simply because the sportswriters
      all too often like to give MVP awards to players who are The Man on

      World B. Free could, and did, score from anywhere on the court too, and
      with even more unlimited range and unstoppability than Wilkins. Now
      semantically we can disagree whether to apply the terms "ballhog" and
      "superstar" to players such as Free, Wilkins, and McHale, but although
      players such as Free and Wilkins have their place (including deserved
      slots on all-star teams), I do not rate them as highly as the McHales of
      the world.

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