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Judging playoff careers

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  • Mike G
    I don t suppose any of us are really so naive as to believe a team s performance reflects equally on every member of that team. For the Spurs, between their
    Message 1 of 1 , May 18, 2003
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      I don't suppose any of us are really so naive as to believe a team's
      performance reflects equally on every member of that team.

      For the Spurs, between their last (1999) championship and this
      (2003) year, we've seen Tim Duncan fail to carry his team past the
      Lakers. Is their a 'rap' due to Duncan? Or did his team fold up
      around him, despite his heroic play?

      It's not out of the question to gain a fair comparison of a player's
      carryover from the regular season to the postseason. Even a player
      like Bowen (who we all agree is better than his stats) can be judged
      as 'improved' if his scoring goes from 6 ppg to 12 ppg, with an
      improved %.

      The last 2 years, Duncan's playoffs have been even stronger than his
      seasons (which were remarkably good, too). Yet his teammates went
      into the tank.

      There were a few years when Olajuwon's individual brilliance was
      insufficient to carry the Rockets past the 1st round. Yet we can
      pick out the 'underachievers' on the team.

      Michael Jordan's early teams failed to make the 2nd round, due to
      reduced contributions from the non-Jordan Bulls, while Michael
      clearly excelled.

      Winning in the playoffs happens when a Robert Horry comes up with
      an 'extra' 3-4 ppg; and losing happens when a player won't or can't
      shoot.

      Here's the chart I posted earlier:

      player . RegS PlOf YBYDif
      Duncan . 43.4 45.2 1.058
      Ewing .. 39.0 36.9 .913
      Garnett. 36.8 36.9 .962
      Kemp . . 35.2 37.2 .980
      K Malone 43.3 40.4 .963
      Mourning 39.4 36.2 .898
      Olajuwon 41.5 44.9 1.034
      O'Neal . 48.0 46.8 .959
      Robinson 44.8 41.4 .941
      Webber . 38.6 34.7 .862
      Daughrty 34.5 35.1 .954
      Barkley. 41.4 40.9 1.010

      Only 3 of these 12 posted playoff 'year-by-year differential' worse
      than the historic average of .94 (Robinson was just at the average).

      Yet a superstar like Karl Malone is commonly judged to
      have 'underachieved' in the postseason. Among this group, he
      appears to be about average.

      I think the 'superstar' label comes with the baggage of
      expectation. And if the star does NOT carry his team to at least
      expectations, the onus is on his shoulders to atone for the
      shortcoming in subsequent outings.
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