Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Most Egregious Errors Thus Far In ESPN's All-Time #nbarank

Through today we are up to #26 (Isiah Thomas), who, coincidentally, is one of the greatest mistakes.  Isiah's career "advanced stats" are roughly equivalent to Stephon Marbury's and his WS/48 number of .109 does not register in the top 250 all-time.

If you look at Isiah's awards, he was only first-team all-NBA three times and all-NBA second team twice.  He never finished in the top 4 of the MVP balloting in any year. 

1) So, Isiah Thomas - should be around 60, is ranked 26th -- huge error.  If we are awarding spots for titles and title appearances, then why is Chauncey Billups at #87?  Chauncey 121 WS, .176 WS/48, 38 VORP.  Read this and then ask if one guy should be 61 spots higher than the other:  http://bkref.com/tiny/8JCjG

2) Bob Pettit and George Mikan -- two of the greatest basketball players of all-time.  Mikan led his teams to 5 titles and was so dominant that the league changed its rules to hurt him.  He had 3 20 WS seasons.  Bob Pettit was 2X MVP of the league and 10X first-team all-NBA.  He retired as the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

ESPN has these guys ranked ##33 and 34.  Now, compare their ranking to Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.   McHale was 1X all-NBA and never challenged for an MVP.  ESPN has him ranked at #31!!!  Pettit's career is far more akin to Bird's career (top dog on a team that constantly challenged for titles) than it is McHale's.   Bird will be top 15.

ESPN has Bill Walton ranked as the #42 best player in NBA history, largely based upon his 1 MVP and his title with Portland.  Walton played a total of 120 great NBA games as a starter and 80 more as a 6th man (and a 20 mpg 6th man at that).   Yet George Mikan, who had 3 of the best seasons ever played and led his team to 5 titles, ranks a meager 9 spots higher?  How?  Why? 

3) As noted, Bill Walton is far too high.  His career resembles that of Derrick Rose.  Rose is not even listed in the top 100.  Yao Ming was a great player for 6 years or so -- he is #89.  The Walton ranking is nonsensical.  Did he have a better career than Bob McAdoo (#52)?  No.  He did not.

4) The Steph Curry ranking (God knows where he will end up) is maddening.  If you compare career stats for Curry, Westbrook and Harden, they are very comparable.  Yet Harden is #97, Westbrook is #49 and Curry appears headed for a top 20 ranking.  Where will the madness end?  I mean, Steve Nash was 2X MVP and he played forever and he is already ranked (#30).   There is no way that Stephen Curry has had a better career than Chris Paul (#29) so far. 

The only way you can rank Curry as high as they have is to say to yourself, "Well, we think these past two years will generally be an average year for Steph going forward".  If you believe that, then why not just rank him #1?  His current season will be maybe the best season ever played, so why not just put him in front of Jordan?

5)  Artis Gilmore at #70 is given absolutely no credit for his 5X first-team all-ABA performances or his nearly 190 total ABA/NBA WS.  He is ranked behind Vince Carter?  5 spots above Blake Griffin?  11 spots behind Carmelo?

6) Almost Every Old Player Gets the Shaft -- I mean, put to one side Pettit and Mikan (who are both underrated by 20+ spots).  Dolph Schayes was 6X first-team all-NBA and 6X second-team.  he is ranked at #74, 3 spots above Joe Dumars (never first-team all-NBA).  Hal Greer and Dave Bing and Bill Sharman were top 50 players as late as the 1996 list,  They are now erased from this current top 100 list (Sharman, a 4X first-team all-NBA player, being the worst snub).

Neal Johnston should have a movie made about him called "The Player Whom Everyone Forgot."  http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnsne01.html  4X first-team all-NBA.  Led the league in WS 5X, couldn't edge out Shawn Kemp?

7) The pro-Boston bias for guys in the Bird Era is pretty apparent.  Walton and McHale are 30 spots too high.  Dennis Johnson is listed (#84) as a better player than Chris Bosh (#86)  There is absolutely no basis for that.  http://bkref.com/tiny/5SUja   DJ is not a top 100 player.  Robert Parish is 13 spots higher than Artis Gilmore?  11 spots higher than Bob Lanier?  The 3rd best guy on the Celtics (maybe the 4th offensive option)?

8) There are certain guys on the list that appear to just be "OK, how about him" or "Hey, I used to watch this guy" entries.  Mark Price yes, but Dave Bing no.  Mo Cheeks yes, but Paul Westphal no?   Bobby Jones (who basically never started) yes, but Buck Williams and Horace Grant no?   What did poor Jack Sikma do piss off the basketball powers that be?  Look at his chart of "similarity scores".  7 of the top 8 "most similar" guys are on the top 100 list.  Sikma?  He is no Gail Goodrich, Kevin Love or Shawn Kemp.

That is it for now.  We can only hope the errors do not become worse ##1-25.  Scottie Pippen (my #36) and Steph Curry better show up soon.


K said...

Walton some how gets credit and I believe a higher rankings because of the title he won with the Celtics!!

HM said...

Walton was a good sixth man for one year. McAdoo was a GREAT sixth man for the Lakers, and he had several years doing that. Also, Walton's supposedly transcendent year and a half of great play as a starter doesn't hold up to great Win Share seasons of other players.