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Payton

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  • alleyoop2
    I know a lot of people here are Sonics fans, and I was wondering what the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton getting voted first- team All-Defense. I
    Message 1 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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      I know a lot of people here are Sonics fans, and I was wondering what
      the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton getting voted first-
      team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the award's honor, but
      I also didn't see every Sonics game ...

      John
    • thedawgsareout
      ... I m not certain if the All-Defensive team has any honor to be blighted, but I don t think your opinion is so far off at all. As early as two years ago, I
      Message 2 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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        --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "alleyoop2" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
        > I know a lot of people here are Sonics fans, and I was wondering
        > what the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton getting voted
        > first-team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the award's
        > honor, but I also didn't see every Sonics game ...

        I'm not certain if the All-Defensive team has any honor to be
        blighted, but I don't think your opinion is so far off at all. As
        early as two years ago, I began to notice a dropoff in Payton's
        defense to the point where guys like Eric Snow and Jason Kidd were
        superior. This year, he sort of seemed to fall off the ledge.

        Quick point guards have given Payton trouble dating back to the
        Robert Pack/Nick Van Exel playoff era, but this year it was on
        another level. Steve Francis, Steve Nash, and Stephon Marbury all
        destroyed the Sonics' defense this season. Granted, those guys are
        always trouble, but you wouldn't expect them to give a first-team
        defender that much difficulty, would you?

        If anything really put the lie to Payton's rep defensively, it was
        last year when Emanual Davis would usually defend the better opposing
        guard. Payton is no essentially living off his rep, though I have a
        hard time blaming him for it; he's a 32-year-old playing 40 minutes a
        night and never taking a game off. There's got to be some effort
        balance between offense and defense, and Payton has swung towards the
        offensive side of the pendulum.

        Hmm . . . I just noticed that Ron Artest didn't make either
        team . . . another significant mistake.

        By the way, John, in your column today I believe you're misapplying
        the Ted Stepien rule about draft picks. My understanding is that it's
        not applied retroactively; therefore, the fact that the Lakers dealt
        last year's pick is irrelevant this year. What it means that a team
        that has already dealt their pick for this year (the Sonics, for
        example) cannot deal their 2003 first-rounder. Somebody correct me if
        I'm wrong. . . .
      • Dennis Keefe
        ... As a long-time NBA fan, I know there have been worse selections. Larry Bird comes to mind, in my opinion. I m a Sonic fan but I m sorry I can t give a
        Message 3 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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          --- alleyoop2 <alleyoop2@...> wrote:
          > I was wondering what
          > the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton
          > getting voted first-
          > team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the
          > award's honor,

          As a long-time NBA fan, I know there have been worse
          selections. Larry Bird comes to mind, in my opinion.


          I'm a Sonic fan but I'm sorry I can't give a
          definitive answer--I have mixed feelings about GP's
          selection. GP's defense has changed--he's now more
          conservative, has lost some quickness and gets fewer
          steals since he's not fast enough to take chances.
          He's been following the coach's assignments closely,
          staying in position and helping out on double teams
          when he's told to. He's not the stopper he once was,
          but he's still a pretty good defender. I don't see
          the selection as a blight on the award.

          A side note: the fact that Tony Parker has done well
          against him in a few recent playoff games is slightly
          misleading--Payton wasn't supposed to be guarding him
          closely, he was helping double team Duncan. But if he
          had the speed of his youth, Parker wouldn't have
          gotten free as much....

          There were probably better players to give the award
          to, but it's uncommon to see guys who don't accumulate
          stats get on the All Defense team--guys like Greg
          Buckner or Derek Fisher. Bruce Bowen, a small forward
          who sometimes guards smaller players, might deserve
          the 1st team award more, but again he's one of those
          guys who doesn't accumulate impressive stats.





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        • Michael K. Tamada
          On Wed, 1 May 2002, thedawgsareout wrote: [...] ... True, and Kevin Johnson too for that matter. But there was awhile, when Payton was at his height in the
          Message 4 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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            On Wed, 1 May 2002, thedawgsareout wrote:

            [...]

            > Quick point guards have given Payton trouble dating back to the
            > Robert Pack/Nick Van Exel playoff era, but this year it was on

            True, and Kevin Johnson too for that matter. But there was awhile,
            when Payton was at his height in the late 1990s, when he seemed to handle
            most of the little guys pretty well too. Payton was for my money the best
            guard not named Michael Jordan for a few years. It'd be a stretch to call
            him that now, but not that big of a stretch.

            But I haven't seen enough of Payton this year to give a good comment on
            how much or little his defense has truly fallen off.


            --MKT
          • john wallace craven
            ... Two points: 1. I think it was mostly a legacy vote; GP s been such a good defender for so long that he s going to get the benefit of the doubt the first
            Message 5 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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              On Wed, 1 May 2002, alleyoop2 wrote:

              > I know a lot of people here are Sonics fans, and I was wondering what
              > the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton getting voted first-
              > team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the award's honor, but
              > I also didn't see every Sonics game ...

              Two points:

              1. I think it was mostly a "legacy" vote; GP's been such a good defender
              for so long that he's going to get the benefit of the doubt the first year
              or so that he's not one of the best defending guards in the league.

              2. As far as the Spurs series goes, remember that you're seeing Tony
              Parker play well against a Gary Payton with a _very_ bad back right now.
              People like to pretend that injuries magically disappear in the playoffs
              because of adrenaline or something, but the fact is that they don't. He's
              noticeably hurt, and didn't look nearly this poor on D earlier in the
              year.

              John Craven

              >
              > John
              >
              >
              >
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            • HoopStudies
              ... what ... first- ... but ... defender ... first year ... now. ... playoffs ... don t. He s ... the ... Welllll... Payton has been falling off a bit on the
              Message 6 of 13 , May 1, 2002
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                --- In APBR_analysis@y..., john wallace craven <john1974@u...> wrote:
                > > I know a lot of people here are Sonics fans, and I was wondering
                what
                > > the general consensus was regarding Gary Payton getting voted
                first-
                > > team All-Defense. I thought it was a blight on the award's honor,
                but
                > > I also didn't see every Sonics game ...
                >
                > Two points:
                >
                > 1. I think it was mostly a "legacy" vote; GP's been such a good
                defender
                > for so long that he's going to get the benefit of the doubt the
                first year
                > or so that he's not one of the best defending guards in the league.
                >
                > 2. As far as the Spurs series goes, remember that you're seeing Tony
                > Parker play well against a Gary Payton with a _very_ bad back right
                now.
                > People like to pretend that injuries magically disappear in the
                playoffs
                > because of adrenaline or something, but the fact is that they
                don't. He's
                > noticeably hurt, and didn't look nearly this poor on D earlier in
                the
                > year.

                Welllll... Payton has been falling off a bit on the defensive end for
                more than a year or two, at least according to every measurement
                available. If you look at the guys he matches up against, they have
                burned him. If you look at the number of stops Payton has, they have
                fallen off for going on 5 years or so. If you look at the Sonics'
                team defense, it has fallen off for several years now. I don't think
                that there is a single way that numbers show GP to be near his old
                levels.

                My experience has been that All-Defense Teams are about as subjective
                as they come. What truth they have in them is often a year or two
                behind when the actual contributions occur. Gary is staying on the
                team a lot longer than I would have guessed. But I don't see him
                very often.

                I also do think that these All-Defense teams are a little stilted to
                guys who cover their guy well -- read Bruce Bowen. These guys are
                valuable, no doubt. But their value is a bit overstated. Centers
                generally make a much bigger difference in defense than guards, even
                average centers vs. good guards. A Bowen is valuable to put on a
                scorer any time, but particularly valuable when the guys behind him
                can't help. Frankly, Bowen has Duncan and Robinson behind him, so
                his D isn't that big a deal. He may be more valuable tonight when
                neither of the big guys is available. Larry Bird was a good defender
                in the non-traditional sense. He had very quick hands and was tall
                enough to help out in the middle if necessary, plus he got a lot of
                defensive boards. Did he let guys go by him? Sure. But he
                prevented outside shots and when guys went by him, they had to go at
                McHale and Parish. Bird could afford to not be defensively quick.
                Those Celtics never were a bad defensive team, not by any
                coincidence. I'd rather have Bird's defensive ability than Bowen's
                on most teams because he did force stops on guys besides his own
                man.

                In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you if you don't have
                good defensive guys around them. Examples -- Latrell Sprewell, who
                some have said is a good ball-
                defender, was on one of the worst defensive teams in history in
                the '97 Warriors. Doug Christie, another supposed good ball-
                defender, was on the '98 Raptors, another of the worst defensive
                teams in history. T.R. Dunn, another legitimately good ball-
                defender, was on the 1982 Nuggets, perhaps the worst defensive unit
                in history. And, yes, even the great Joe Dumars -- in 1994, with
                Rodman and Laimbeer gone, the Pistons also had one of the worst
                defenses in league history. These guys do play good D, but they
                cannot make a good defensive team like a bigger man who covers not
                only their own man, but helps off on other guys.

                Dean Oliver
              • Michael K. Tamada
                On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote: [...] ... Yup, if I were modelling players defense, I would literally create two sets of measures: the player s
                Message 7 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                  On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote:

                  [...]

                  > neither of the big guys is available. Larry Bird was a good defender
                  > in the non-traditional sense. He had very quick hands and was tall
                  > enough to help out in the middle if necessary, plus he got a lot of
                  > defensive boards. Did he let guys go by him? Sure. But he
                  > prevented outside shots and when guys went by him, they had to go at
                  > McHale and Parish. Bird could afford to not be defensively quick.
                  > Those Celtics never were a bad defensive team, not by any
                  > coincidence. I'd rather have Bird's defensive ability than Bowen's
                  > on most teams because he did force stops on guys besides his own
                  > man.

                  Yup, if I were modelling players' defense, I would literally create two
                  sets of measures: the player's ability to play individual defense,
                  against the player he guards, and the player's ability to play team
                  defense. Not just steals and blocks from the weakside, but
                  double-teaming at the right time, switching at the right time (and not
                  switching at the right time), generally clogging the passing lanes, and
                  getting at would-be open players and making them no longer open and
                  thus preventing the easy layin -- most of those things don't show up at
                  all in the stat sheets, except in the entire team's defensive stats.

                  My guess is that team defense is probably twice as important
                  as individual defense, to the extent that we can quantify such things.

                  And as you mention, a player's team defense or at least the effectiveness
                  of that team defense is going to depend on the team context.

                  My only disagreement is calling Bird good in the "non-traditional sense".
                  Celtic fans certainly appreciated that he wasn't a very good one-on-one
                  defender, but an extremely good team defender. And the writers or whoever
                  it was who voted him all-defense appreciated it too (although it is
                  possible they were simply blinded by Bird's overall excellence and voted
                  for him as a knee-jerk reaction). So it was not a really uncommon or
                  non-traditional view. We even have a name for this concept: team
                  defense.

                  > In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you if you don't have
                  > good defensive guys around them. Examples -- Latrell Sprewell, who
                  > some have said is a good ball-
                  > defender, was on one of the worst defensive teams in history in
                  > the '97 Warriors. Doug Christie, another supposed good ball-
                  > defender, was on the '98 Raptors, another of the worst defensive
                  > teams in history. T.R. Dunn, another legitimately good ball-
                  > defender, was on the 1982 Nuggets, perhaps the worst defensive unit
                  > in history. And, yes, even the great Joe Dumars -- in 1994, with
                  > Rodman and Laimbeer gone, the Pistons also had one of the worst
                  > defenses in league history. These guys do play good D, but they
                  > cannot make a good defensive team like a bigger man who covers not
                  > only their own man, but helps off on other guys.

                  Yup, or Danny Vranes with the Sonics, although the Sonics were around
                  average defensively most of his years. But the same limited usefulness.

                  On the other hand, Bowen has taken Barry right out of the series. Or
                  maybe it's the Spurs team defense (team defense usually being more
                  important than any one individual defender), but in this case I think it's
                  Bowen.


                  --MKT
                • dlirag
                  ... to ... even ... I remember you writing in an old article about the WNBA that the guards there may have the upper hand defensively over the centers due to
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                    --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "HoopStudies" <deano@r...> wrote:
                    > I also do think that these All-Defense teams are a little stilted
                    to
                    > guys who cover their guy well -- read Bruce Bowen. These guys are
                    > valuable, no doubt. But their value is a bit overstated. Centers
                    > generally make a much bigger difference in defense than guards,
                    even
                    > average centers vs. good guards.

                    I remember you writing in an old article about the WNBA that the
                    guards there may have the upper hand defensively over the centers due
                    to differences in the womens' game. Is the idea of the center as
                    dominant defender one that is peculiar to certain leagues or one that
                    could be deemed a general principle?
                  • Dean Oliver
                    ... I need to update that study. The WNBA has changed. Now, the big (wo)men are more important defensively. That was not the case early on (and it changed
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                      --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "dlirag" <dlirag@h...> wrote:
                      > --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "HoopStudies"
                      <deano@r...> wrote:
                      > > I also do think that these All-Defense teams are a little
                      stilted
                      > to
                      > > guys who cover their guy well -- read Bruce Bowen.  These
                      guys are
                      > > valuable, no doubt.  But their value is a bit
                      overstated.  Centers
                      > > generally make a much bigger difference in defense than guards,
                      > even
                      > > average centers vs. good guards.
                      >
                      > I remember you writing in an old article about the WNBA that the
                      > guards there may have the upper hand defensively over the centers
                      due
                      > to differences in the womens' game. Is the idea of the center as
                      > dominant defender one that is peculiar to certain leagues or one
                      that
                      > could be deemed a general principle?

                      I need to update that study.  The WNBA has changed.  Now, the big (wo)men are more important defensively.  That was not the case early on (and it changed really quickly).  I do think that tall players are inherently most important for defense.  Height wipes out quickness if you play team defense.  Quickness can allow you to stay with people, but it's hard to get a hand in someone's face if they're 6 inches taller, no matter how quick you are.  But those early WNBA days suggested that there are leagues where quickness and good hands are more important.  I am guessing that post men were not very skilled in the early WNBA days, though I don't remember thinking that then.  Guards weren't used to the increased quickness? Hmm.  In general, I think height being most important on the defensive end is a stable condition.  I think that there may be transient periods where quickness is important, but I don't think that they can last.  I think they are more subject to being overcome by strategic moves.

                      Dean Oliver
                      Journal of Basketball Studies
                      http://www.rawbw.com/~deano/index.html
                      deano@...

                    • Michael K. Tamada
                      On Thu, 2 May 2002, Dean Oliver wrote: [...] ... There are two interpretations of what you re saying here: when you say that tall players are inherently most
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                        On Thu, 2 May 2002, Dean Oliver wrote:

                        [...]

                        > changed really quickly). I do think that tall players are inherently most
                        > important for defense. Height wipes out quickness if you play team
                        > defense. Quickness can allow you to stay with people, but it's hard to get
                        > a hand in someone's face if they're 6 inches taller, no matter how quick

                        There are two interpretations of what you're saying here: when you say
                        that tall players are inherently most important for defense, you seem to
                        be saying that the tallest players on the court, i.e. the centers, are
                        more important to determining the quality of the defense than the short
                        players are. This is something that you've said before, and is almost
                        certainly correct. In particular, it is correct even with the lack of
                        quickness that a 7-footer has, relative to a 6-footer.

                        The other interpretation though, which is what the second half of the
                        above paragraph seems to be saying, is that players who are taller than
                        their opponent have an advantage on defense. No argument there either.
                        But moreover, you seem to be saying that this height advantage also
                        nullifies quickness advantages that the shorter player may (and usually
                        does) have.

                        If I am interpreting what you're saying correctly, I don't think this is
                        correct. The typical rule of thumb is that a size-quickness matchup puts
                        BOTH players at a disadvantage on defense. Asking Sabonis to guard
                        Iverson 1-on-1 is asking for trouble. Asking Iverson to guard Sabonis
                        1-on-1 is asking for trouble.

                        Height does trump quickness in the first sense: having a good big guy in
                        the middle is important. But height does not trump quickness in the
                        second sense: the taller guy does not necessarily do a better job of
                        guarding Iverson than the shorter guy does.


                        > you are. But those early WNBA days suggested that there are leagues where
                        > quickness and good hands are more important. I am guessing that post men

                        post women?

                        > were not very skilled in the early WNBA days, though I don't remember

                        Another aspect of quickness, which I had not thought about until a
                        couple of years ago: rebounding. I do not know if this applies to the
                        mens game, but when I watched a seemingly good UCLA womens team play
                        against Louisiana Tech in the NCAA West Regional two or three years ago,
                        the contrast in quickness was startling. Louisiana Tech was just so much
                        quicker than UCLA, and blew them out by over 20 points. But: this wasn't
                        due to fast breaks or even so much UCLA's inability to cover LA Tech on
                        defense. Rather, the quickness edge showed up in the rebounding: LA Tech
                        absolutely dominated the boards, their offensive rebounding percent was
                        over 50%. But it wasn't because they were taller or stronger. It was
                        because they were quicker, they simply got to all the loose balls before
                        the UCLA players could. Lakresha (sp?) Flannigan and Maylana Martin were
                        the only UCLA players who could keep up with LA Tech's team speed.

                        But, this may be unique to the college womens game, one could imagine that
                        in the mens game strength and fighting for position might be relatively
                        more important than having quickness to get into position.


                        --MKT
                      • Dennis Keefe
                        ... I agree that part of good defense is fitting into the team system. Bird did that quite well. He was a great team player. ... Here s where I get puzzled.
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                          > On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote:
                          >
                          > [...]
                          >
                          > > Did he (Bird) let guys go by him?
                          > Sure. But he
                          > > prevented outside shots and when guys went by him,
                          > they had to go at
                          > > McHale and Parish.

                          I agree that part of good defense is fitting into the
                          team system. Bird did that quite well. He was a
                          great team player.


                          > > In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you
                          > if you don't have
                          > > good defensive guys around them.

                          Here's where I get puzzled. How would Bird's "team
                          defense" make anything better when everyone else is a
                          bad defensive player?

                          And while Bowen can play great individual defense, I
                          have seen him play team defense too....double teaming,
                          switching, etc.

                          I do agree that team defense is very important (at
                          least if you want to win....), but my gut feeling is
                          that individual defensive awards (rather than team
                          awards) belong to guys who can shut down opposing
                          players. Giving individual awards to players who fit
                          into a great team defense...someone should come up
                          with separate awards for "individual defense" and for
                          "individuals who play good team defense."


                          dkeefe


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                        • alleyoop2
                          Thanks for all the replies on Payton everyone. I thought Eric Snow got hosed and just wanted to get a feel for others reaction. Regarding Bowen, I have to
                          Message 12 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                            Thanks for all the replies on Payton everyone. I thought Eric Snow
                            got hosed and just wanted to get a feel for others' reaction.

                            Regarding Bowen, I have to partially disagree with what's been said
                            so far. By my rankings, San Antonio was the top-ranked defensive team
                            this year; one can point that they were last year too, BUT, their win-
                            loss and defensive marks this season are both far better with Bowen
                            in the lineup, despite the fact that the guy who replaced him
                            (Charles Smith) isn't a bad defender either. Overall, the addition of
                            Bowen made up for the loss of Derek Anderson and the decline by David
                            Robinson (though wildly overstated by the media, IMHO his performance
                            did drop this year).

                            Second, saying size is of more value on defense is almost certainly
                            true -- once you're in a halfcourt setting. However, transition
                            defense is also important. There are any number of big men who are
                            terrible at it; for example, the Sonics won't even play Vin Baker and
                            Jerome James at the same time because it gives the other team an
                            automatic 5-on-3 break every trip.

                            Beyond Bowen, last year I had the league's No. 2 defense as Phoenix;
                            this year I had the No. 2 defense as New Jersey. Neither team had an
                            imposing center, but both had Jason Kidd. Overall, I don't think we
                            should carry the hypothesis too far about big men's defensive value.



                            --- In APBR_analysis@y..., Dennis Keefe <sonicdk2@y...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > On Thu, 2 May 2002, HoopStudies wrote:
                            > >
                            > > [...]
                            > >
                            > > > Did he (Bird) let guys go by him?
                            > > Sure. But he
                            > > > prevented outside shots and when guys went by him,
                            > > they had to go at
                            > > > McHale and Parish.
                            >
                            > I agree that part of good defense is fitting into the
                            > team system. Bird did that quite well. He was a
                            > great team player.
                            >
                            >
                            > > > In contrast, guys like Bowen can't really help you
                            > > if you don't have
                            > > > good defensive guys around them.
                            >
                            > Here's where I get puzzled. How would Bird's "team
                            > defense" make anything better when everyone else is a
                            > bad defensive player?
                            >
                            > And while Bowen can play great individual defense, I
                            > have seen him play team defense too....double teaming,
                            > switching, etc.
                            >
                            > I do agree that team defense is very important (at
                            > least if you want to win....), but my gut feeling is
                            > that individual defensive awards (rather than team
                            > awards) belong to guys who can shut down opposing
                            > players. Giving individual awards to players who fit
                            > into a great team defense...someone should come up
                            > with separate awards for "individual defense" and for
                            > "individuals who play good team defense."
                            >
                            >
                            > dkeefe
                            >
                            >
                            > __________________________________________________
                            > Do You Yahoo!?
                            > Yahoo! Health - your guide to health and wellness
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                          • HoopStudies
                            ... team ... win- ... of ... David ... performance ... I think this is a good partial disagreement. No doubt that Bowen does help the defense, but not as much
                            Message 13 of 13 , May 2, 2002
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                              --- In APBR_analysis@y..., "alleyoop2" <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
                              > Thanks for all the replies on Payton everyone. I thought Eric Snow
                              > got hosed and just wanted to get a feel for others' reaction.
                              >
                              > Regarding Bowen, I have to partially disagree with what's been said
                              > so far. By my rankings, San Antonio was the top-ranked defensive
                              team
                              > this year; one can point that they were last year too, BUT, their
                              win-
                              > loss and defensive marks this season are both far better with Bowen
                              > in the lineup, despite the fact that the guy who replaced him
                              > (Charles Smith) isn't a bad defender either. Overall, the addition
                              of
                              > Bowen made up for the loss of Derek Anderson and the decline by
                              David
                              > Robinson (though wildly overstated by the media, IMHO his
                              performance
                              > did drop this year).
                              >

                              I think this is a good partial disagreement. No doubt that Bowen
                              does help the defense, but not as much as the big kahunas in the
                              middle. I am definitely not saying that Bowen is a bad defender or
                              even an average one. I am just pointing out that he, unlike Duncan
                              Robinson Olajuwon Mutombo Shaq, cannot on his own make a good defense.

                              > Beyond Bowen, last year I had the league's No. 2 defense as
                              Phoenix;
                              > this year I had the No. 2 defense as New Jersey. Neither team had
                              an
                              > imposing center, but both had Jason Kidd. Overall, I don't think we
                              > should carry the hypothesis too far about big men's defensive value.
                              >

                              This is interestingly true. Kidd is both a good man and a good team
                              defender, something that can be said of big men, too. What is
                              amazing, though, is how Kidd, unlike other little guys who do both,
                              has been able to carry it over to a few teams to the degree he has.
                              I would expect any team with Bowen, Christie, Vranes to be better
                              defensive teams. But history says otherwise. Is there a team that
                              Kidd couldn't make good defensively? Yeah, probably. But I think
                              there are fewer of them than for the (almost) pure man defenders.

                              DeanO
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