Friday, June 17, 2011

Where Does Dirk Rank?

Welcome one and welcome all to another edition of Tha Weatha Report. Like always, I am Tha Weatha Man and I'll be your host for the evening. Today, we will discuss a topic that has been a frequent source of debate on Facebook between various groups of people. It is a subject that has caused people to be divided into camps. Simply put, where does Dirk Nowitzki rank among the basketball greats. Now, for the purpose of this article we will not be comparing Dirk with all of the other "great" basketball players. That is a scope that is too large to tackle, but we will be comparing Dirk with other power forwards throughout history. Now, I won't waste too much time....time for the hail storm!!!!

Quick Hail Storm

1. What about those Boston Bruins? What a series for Tim Thomas. He deserved the Conn Smythe trophy. He was truly the best player on the ice for the entire series.

2. I do not think that Phil Mickelson will end his U.S. Open drought this year. My gut is leaning towards Y.E. Yang to win it this year. He shot a -3 for the first day, and I look to him as the winner.  (Editor's note: Rory Mcilroy decided to go nuts and dominate the 2nd round).

3. Vancouver fans = classless. Come on people, don't ruin a great moment by being knuckleheads. Sad.

4. Lebron, LeBron, LeBron. I don't think I can say anything that hasn't already been said. Let me say this though: Great season for the Miami Heat. Eastern Conference champions, two wins away from winning the title. Very rarely does a team come together and win the title in year 1, yet they almost did it. Let's see what the future holds.

Dirk Has A Ring. Does That Make Him A Top 2 Power Forward?

So, let me give some background here. I will admit that I am not a Dirk Nowitzki fan. I have always viewed him as a soft player. Before doing this article my mind was made up that he was not a great player. However, I decided to be objective in my judgement. Who am I to say that Dirk is not a great player? It was my opinion, but I decided that I needed to do some digging before making my final ruling. So, I did a little research and here we go. What follows is my objective thoughts on this subject. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.

Below are the career stats for a few power forwards. Take a look:

Player A: 25.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 19 year career, 19 playoff appearances, 14x all star, 2x MVP, 2X All-Star MVP, 3x NBA All-Defense first team, 11x All-NBA first team

Player B: 20.6 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 18 year career, 12 playoff appearances, 13x all star, 3x MVP, 1x NBA Finals MVP, 1x NBA All-Defense first team, 4x All-NBA first team

Player C: 22.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.9 apg, 15 year career, 13 playoff appearances, 11x all star, 1x MVP, 1x All-Star MVP, 5x All-NBA first team

Player D: 24.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 6.3 apg, 13 year career, 12 playoff appearances, 12x all star, 3x MVP, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 1x All Star MVP, 3x All-Defense second team, 9x All-NBA first team

Player E: 20.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 14 year career, 13 playoff appearances, 13x all star, 3x NBA Finals MVP, 1x All-Star MVP, 8x All-Defense first team, 9x All-NBA First team

Player F: 23.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, 13 year career, 11 playoff appearances, 10x all star, 1x Finals MVP, 1x MVP, 4x All-NBA First team

What I have done is take six of the premier power forwards throughout the history of the NBA. I have highlighted their career points, assists, and rebounds per game. As well as broken down their careers, playoff appearances, how many times they made the NBA All-Star teams, as well as other notable achievements to include All-NBA team selections. Let's go through the numbers and see where the edge is.

Player A has the higher points per game average. Player B has the higher rebounds per game. Player D averaged more assists per game than his counterparts. Each player played between 13-19 years in the NBA. So each player had a long and storied run. Each player was a regular in the playoffs with Player A making the post season each season in the league, which is an impressive team accomplishment. Each player was also a regular all star each year, with Players D & E only missing one year. Player E has the edge on the defensive end being voted to the NBA's All-Defense team 8 out of 14 years. Player A has the edge on number of years on the All-NBA first team.

Let's be clear here: There are no slouches on this list. All of these players did things that helped their teams win games. Some of them won titles, some of them came up short, all of them were perennial all-stars. So, using these numbers how do I rank these players? Well, I take someone who not only played great offense, but great defense as well first. How can you be considered great if you do not perform every aspect of the game in a great way? No one, as of yet, has been able to explain that to me.

With that being said, I rank Player E as the #1 power forward of all time. This man averages 20 and 10 as well as gives me lock down defense. Basically he puts the ball in the hoop, and prevents the other team's power forward from doing the same as his All-Defense team appearances attest to.

I have Player D as the #2 player off of this list. The reason I go with this player is due to the 3 MVPs and the multiple NBA Finals MVPs. This means that this player was the best player, on the best team on more than one occasion. This carries a lot of weight with me, maybe not with you, but with me it does. This man was a double-double machine as he averaged that over the course of a long career. He also must have been a good passer, as he averaged a high number of assists for a power forward. He also seemed to be a great overall player who not only scores and gets his teammates involved, but also was a good defensive player who was voted onto the NBA All-Defense second team on multiple occasions.

For #3 I have Player A. A long career that ended with the post season each time is a major plus. Also, like most players on the list he averaged a double double for a career. A 14 time all-star who won multiple league MVPs as well as multiple All-Star game MVPs. This man was also named to the All-NBA Defense first team three times and the All-NBA team 11 times. Gaudy stats for an obvious great player.

#4 for me is Player B. This player is very close to Player C. The major difference is the number of league MVP awards won, and the fact that Player B has a NBA Finals MVP award on his resume. Player B was the best player in the league 3 times and the best player on the best team once. Add that to the fact that Player B was voted onto the All-Defense team once and it's a no-brainer that Player B is #4 and that slides Player C down to #5.

That leaves Player E for #6. This player has great numbers as well. This player also has a league MVP and a NBA Finals MVP on his resume as well as multiple all-star appearances. The one thing that keeps this player from being higher on the list is the fact that the rebounding numbers are lower compared to the others on this list, while the points per game is relatively equal. This player also doesn't appear on any all-defense teams with a low number of All-NBA team appearances. The numbers are there, but compared to his peers his numbers just don't match up.

So, who are these players? They are listed below:

Player A: Karl Malone

Player B: Moses Malone

Player C: Charles Barkley

Player D: Larry Bird

Player E: Tim Duncan

Player F: Dirk Nowitzki

According to this I have listed the power forwards in this order: Duncan, Bird, K. Malone, M. Malone, Barkley, and Nowitzki. My original list was Duncan, Bird, K. Malone, and Barkley as my top 4. Now, I have heard the argument that the number of rings matter. I do not agree. In my opinion, rings mean that you were on the best team. In some cases these players could not help if they were not the best team. You can only do so much before the team you are playing is just a better team. Each one of these players made it to the finals with Duncan, Bird, M. Malone, and Nowitzki winning a title. I do not think that not having a ring nullifies the careers of K. Malone and Barkley. It is unfortunate, but these men still had great careers and it does not impact where I rank them on this list. You are entitled to your opinion, this is mine.

I admit that I am surprised at Nowitzki's overall numbers. His rebounds are higher than I thought they would be, and he has been an all-star the majority of his career. I want to make it perfectly clear: By no means am I saying that Dirk Nowitzki is not a great scorer. On the contrary, I think he is one of the great scorers in the NBA today. However, when we say great player, I want to see someone who does everything at a high level. I just don't see that from Dirk. No one can take away the fact that Dirk has a ring now, and he deserves credit for being the best player on the best team this past year. But in my opinion he is not one of the top 2 or 3 power forwards in NBA history, and if you look at the numbers they tell you that.

Thanks once again for reading another edition of Tha Weatha Report. Stay tuned as I plan on keeping the knowledge raining down and don't forget to support the Facebook page!!! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So, What's Next Plax?

So Plax, what's next?

Man oh man, what a week it has been. The world of sports has been buzzing with story after story. So what has Tha Weatha Man been up to? Just trying to keep up with it all. I think it's time we just make like Rihanna and open up our umbrella, ella, ella, eh eh.....and let it rain with the knowledge. Without further ado, time to make it hail!!!!!

Quick Hail Storm

1. So Floyd Mayweather Jr. is fighting Victor Ortiz in September. I think I speak for us all when I say, yawn. Unless this is setting up a Mayweather vs Pacquaio fight in May 2012, no one really cares what either of these men do. 

2. Terrell Pryor is leaving The Ohio State University because of all the investigations. I hope he brings his receiver gloves, because at this point he is not even close to being ready to be a NFL quarterback. 

3. NASCAR owners and drivers fighting? To that I say, "eh". I'm not going to pass judgement until I hear the complete story. 

4. Tiger Woods, I hope you take the rest of the year off. Get yourself physically recovered. Most importantly, get yourself mentally recovered. Golf needs you. Sports fans need you.

5. Welcome back Albert Pujols. I look forward to seeing you dominate baseball the rest of the year. 

Freedom: Now NFL: Next?

Let's think back a minute shall we? Where were you November 28, 2008? Pretty insignificant date right? Not if your name is Plaxico Burress. That was the night that the world change for him. We all know the story by now. Wide receiver brings gun into club. Gun slips down said player's sweatpants. Gun accidentally goes off when said player grabs for it shooting player in leg. Player serves 20 months in jail for carrying a loaded weapon in New York City. That pretty much sums it all up. Regardless of what you think about Plaxico as a player or the decision he made that fateful night, we can all agree that he has paid his debt to society. He was released this past Monday and by accounts he has become a humbled man. I'm sure he is enjoying freedom and catching up with his family. But the question for all of us sports fans, specifically NFL fans, is: What's next? 

First off, should a team even take a chance and sign Plax to a contract? In my opinion, it's a definite yes. While Plaxico was never a top 5 wide receiver, he was a player who made a difference (ex. Super Bowl XLII). Why not take a flyer on him? Sign him to a non-guaranteed contract, bring him to mini-camp (if there is one), and see if he still has it. Worse case scenario he is washed up, but you didn't lose anything to find that out. Best case scenario, he is able to make a team better and could be the difference between the playoffs and ending the season after 16 games. I think that is worth a shot. So, you want to take a chance and bring Mr. Burress in for a shot. Which teams should take that chance? I'm glad you asked. 

Philadelphia - So far this has been the most popular destination spot for Plax. Everyone is drawing parallels between Burress and Michael Vick. I for one don't see it. The Eagles do not need another receiver. They need offensive line help. Add that to the fact that they will have to give DeSean Jackson a raise here shortly and in my opinion I'm not sure it adds up as a logical landing spot for Plax. That is, unless Burress doesn't mind taking even less money than he will end up getting in the first place. 

St. Louis - This has been another popular spot for people to throw out there because of Plax's prior relationship with Steve Spagnulo, the head coach of the Rams. This is another team that I don't see as logical. Plax has been to the top of the NFL world and even though he is not coming from a position of leverage, I don't see Burress wanting to go to a team with a young quarterback that realistically may go 8-8 or 9-7 at best. 

So, where does Tha Weatha Man think Plax should go? Well, New England of course!!! A team with a strong infrastructure? Check. An established head coach with a proven track record of winning? Check. A great quarterback? Check. In my opinion, the Patriots are the perfect fit. It would allow Plax to come in, not be the focal point, just blend in and at the same time win. Hey, that's just my forecast......but I've been known to be right once or twice. 

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