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Re: Payton

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  • 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 1 of 13 , May 1 1:05 PM
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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 2 of 13 , May 1 1:33 PM
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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 3 of 13 , May 1 4:04 PM
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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 4 of 13 , May 1 4:55 PM
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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 5 of 13 , May 1 5:40 PM
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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 6 of 13 , May 2 3:06 AM
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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 7 of 13 , May 2 7:30 AM
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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 8 of 13 , May 2 9:05 AM
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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 9 of 13 , May 2 12:07 PM
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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 10 of 13 , May 2 12:51 PM
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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 11 of 13 , May 2 1:33 PM
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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
                          >
                          >
                          > __________________________________________________
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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 12 of 13 , May 2 3:10 PM
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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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