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thunderbird1245
01-14-2007, 12:28 PM
The other day, while driving back home to Bloomington from Indianapolis, as usual I was listening to various sportstalk radio to help pass the time. One of the hosts (I dont remember which one) stated this idea of a grading scale of how truly good a current NBA player might be, along with his contention that most players in the league were overrated. This was about the time Iverson was being dealt I think, and the overall discussion that day was about AI and how good he really was. That prompted the host to come up with this grading scale of rating players, of which Ive thought about and embellished just a little bit.

A players: These are your truly elite superstars, players who are clearly the best in the league, and can lead a team to a championship as their franchises best player. They have few if any flaws to their game, and have proven they can almost single handedly lead their team to a championship, or at least deep in the playoffs. Their talent is truly overwhelming and they have an elite level all around game. Very rare to have a guy like this on your team.

Members of this exclusive club: Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash.

B players: Really great players who dont quite make it to that next level above them. Most are all stars, but who have some sort of flaw in their game that puts them at this level. These are players who are probably the best player on their teams, but by themselves can't propel them to a champoinship or near championship level. Maybe they are fading due to age, have poorer attitudes, have conditioning or injury issues, or just arent quite good enough to be a premier level player who singlehandedly wins games:

Some members of this club: Allan Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Shaquille ONeal, Carmelo Anthony, Ray Allen, Jermaine Oneal, Gilbert Arenas, Joe Johnson, Yao Ming, Elton Brand, Amare Stoudamire.

C. These are average NBA starters or rotation guys. Most of the league falls in this category. They have clear strengths and weaknesses. They are inconsistent from game to game. They are usually your 3rd -10th best players. Winning and losing often depends on them from game to game. Teams are always looking to replace them with guys in the above 2 categories, but they cannot. Sometimes, young guys on this list grow into a "B" player, but most often if they dont do it quickly, they dont do it at all. Sometimes, when paired with players who rate above themselves, they may appear to be better than they actually are.

Members of this club on the Pacers: Danny Granger, Al Harrington, Jamal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels, Jeff Foster, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas.

D. Journeymen/projects: These are guys who are filling the end of the bench. Mostly, these are guys who if they changed teams no one would notice. These are guys either too young or old to contribute much, and many of these guys are in danger of being replaced.

F players: These are players who have attitudes or games that are so bad they have their own special category. Regardless of their talent or who they are surrounded by, they kill your team by their sheer presence on it. In reality, their are few players in the league who fit this category, but they do exist:

Example: Ron Artest

The broadcaster stated his opinion that where teams get into trouble, is when their "B", "C", and "D" players either dont compliment each other's games, or if they begin to each think they are better than they are. He also said that was fans/ general managers biggest faults, because they overrate their talent.

So let me throw this theory out there to the public: Have we overrated in our own minds our own talent, and is that why we all get so frustrated with this teams inconsistency? Are we not as talented a roster as it might appear? And if thats true, what can we do about it?

Do we as pacer nation even agree that this rating system makes sense? Do we agree with where the announcer listed the players at?

Destined4Greatness
01-14-2007, 12:47 PM
It makes sense but it wouldn't be long till the JO superfans would start throwing fits when people said he wasn't in group A.

The Hustler
01-14-2007, 01:49 PM
I think its an interesting scale ....

the first 2 are fairly agreeable however i think that Grade c is far to broard ... personally i think you have several sub bands ... for example... deffinite starters e.g. Josh Howard for the Mavs, 5th/6th men ... people who add a spark of the bench, then 7th - 10th .. players just contributing any way they can .....

personally i love the grade 8 :D


and D4G
I think you would struggle to justify putting J.O in that Grade A especially above players like Garnett and Pierce ... J.O Hater or J.O lover regardless i think thats undeniably his group!

Destined4Greatness
01-14-2007, 02:00 PM
Please people refer to him as God, and I am fairly sure they believe it.

The Hustler
01-14-2007, 02:09 PM
Please people refer to him as God, and I am fairly sure they believe it.

I wouldnt be suprised if you described him as satans spawn .... but lets not ruin this topic ... its clearly created for other reasons, not to discuss J.O. sacrilegiously!

Destined4Greatness
01-14-2007, 02:15 PM
True, and no I don't refer to him as Satans spawn. But my point is the whole grading scale would just simplify the already ongoing debates on the board.

Insteand of player X can't play D so he is better than player Y, we would have player X is a C, but player Y is a B.

Its just another source of Debate and friction. Any grading scale with this much ambiguity(sp) is going to be more trouble than its worth.

King Tuts Tomb
01-14-2007, 02:55 PM
I would definitely put KG in that first group. He's had the misfortune of being the best player on a team with historically inept management. Everyone complains about Isiah, but at least he didn't destroy the career of one of the best players ever like McHale.

Garnett is the ultimate team player, which means he needs a team to play with. He's at his best when he can set screens, rebound and play defense and not have the scoring load only on him.

Besides that, most of the rest makes sense. The last 3 years Nash has played at the elite level and I think LeBron is right on the precipice of something huge.

Also, I think Yao Ming is right there next to that elite level. Gilbert maybe too if he can put on some insane scoring displays in the playoffs and make a run at the finals.

thunderbird1245
01-14-2007, 04:16 PM
KG didnt make the "A" list due to his really poor record in the playoffs, and his lack of "clutchness" as an offensive player in the last 2 minutes. I love KG and his competitive desire and overall great skills, but that was the reasoning.

JO doesnt make the "A" list due to his tendency to get banged up, and his lack of a true "go to" move in crucial situations. I think he's knocking on the door of the "A" team, but he isnt there yet, and may never get there.

Just my opinion as always.

Tbird

JayRedd
01-14-2007, 04:31 PM
I'd argue that there is a definetely a level in between your "B" and "C" categories.

These are guys that are definetely not on the Paul Pierce, Gilbert, Melo level but are way above the Al Harringtons of the world.

Not sure exactly what to call them aside from "Amazing to Have Around, But Not Getting You Anywhere By Themself Guys".

To me, this would include Rahard Lewis, Antawn Jamison, Richard Jefferson, Lamar Odom, Manu Ginobli, and maybe 5 to 10 others.


Also...Gilbert and Yao (assuming he'll be back at full strength) are quickly moving towards being "A"-Elite players. And I agree that KG is already there. AI as well.

SycamoreKen
01-14-2007, 04:33 PM
A players: These are your truly elite superstars, players who are clearly the best in the league, and can lead a team to a championship as their franchises best player. They have few if any flaws to their game, and have proven they can almost single handedly lead their team to a championship, or at least deep in the playoffs. Their talent is truly overwhelming and they have an elite level all around game. Very rare to have a guy like this on your team.

Members of this exclusive club: Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash.



How can Lebron be an A player? While the talent is there, he has yet to be successful enough in the playoffs to be placed at this level. The other guys on the list have had much more playoff success than he has. Will he be there eventually? Yes. But I wouldn't put him there yet.

Naptown_Seth
01-14-2007, 04:50 PM
So let me throw this theory out there to the public: Have we overrated in our own minds our own talent, and is that why we all get so frustrated with this teams inconsistency? Are we not as talented a roster as it might appear? And if thats true, what can we do about it?

Do we as pacer nation even agree that this rating system makes sense? Do we agree with where the announcer listed the players at?
Yes, home town talent is always overrated. Let's be honest, most fans barely have time to watch all of their own team's games, let alone a good portion of other teams. I watch other games regularly and I'll still only see Seattle or the Clippers really play 4-5 times a season.

I find that as you become familiar with your own player you know what is normal or not for him, but don't realize that to other fans some of this stuff comes as a surprise. The same thing happens to Pacer fans when players from another team come into town and makes plays that they "never make".

It also makes fans think of it in terms of "the Pacers do or don't do what they want to or can do". If a guy misses a shot, it's because he's not a good shooter. If a guy goes for 40 it's just because he's that good and not because it was a weaker defender that night.


Having said all that, I actually think the sum total of Pacers talent right now is definitely above average, mostly because of how strong Danny's offense has come along combined with things like Jack backing off a bit on the wild shooting and even Al's impressive 3 point shooting.

But then again that's what I thought to start the season. Funny thing is I recall a lot of other fans feeling that way too, or worse actually. What happened to all the fans that were promising us this team was headed for the lottery? Seemed to be more of those than fans talking title.

Maybe the issue is that some fans have been surprised to see the team so competitive and have switched gears on their expectations mid-season because of this.



Also, I would put KG in the elite group as well. He impacts the court as much as Dirk or Nash IMO.

Of course I don't think AI is elite because he is terrible ball dominate without the efficiency or assists to go with it. Get back to me when he shows the court vision of Nash, or even half it. Seriously. He's never been a "how'd he see that guy open" type of PG. Nash just did this about 10 times vs CLE, passing to guys that he literally appeared unable to see.

If AI had a 3 point touch or could just keep his scoring to around 48%, then we could talk about elite. 9-22 is not a healthy team approach, not when its the norm (and with AI it is, that's how his FG% ends up looking like that).


Yao is getting there. Let's see how he finished out this year when he gets back from injury.

shags
01-14-2007, 04:52 PM
How can Lebron be an A player? While the talent is there, he has yet to be successful enough in the playoffs to be placed at this level. The other guys on the list have had much more playoff success than he has. Will he be there eventually? Yes. But I wouldn't put him there yet.

Obviously you didn't see LeBron in last year's playoffs. He nearly singlehandedly defeated a 64 win team.

Destined4Greatness
01-14-2007, 05:10 PM
Obviously you didn't see LeBron in last year's playoffs. He nearly singlehandedly defeated a 64 win team.

How does a guy getting the refs help do it singlehandedly

SycamoreKen
01-14-2007, 06:12 PM
Obviously you didn't see LeBron in last year's playoffs. He nearly singlehandedly defeated a 64 win team.

Still, that is one playoff series, the first trip of his career. If KG is going to be held to the fire by some because he has never finished, then I'm going to do the same with LJ until he has more playoff success. Obviously he is one of the top players in the game, but I'm not ready to put him int the best of the best if playoff success is one of the qualifications. Nit picking, yes, but I feel comfortable with my stand.

I could even argue that Duncan shouldn't be there based on how he choked at the end of the Dallas series when he did his Charles Smith invitation and didn't dunk those short shots to win the series. Not to mention that his free throw shooting hurts his team come crunch time as well.

We all know supporting cast makes all the difference come playoff time. Every superstar looks better when the team around him is better. Dirk, KG, and Kobi are all good examples.

King Tuts Tomb
01-14-2007, 09:16 PM
KG didnt make the "A" list due to his really poor record in the playoffs, and his lack of "clutchness" as an offensive player in the last 2 minutes. I love KG and his competitive desire and overall great skills, but that was the reasoning.


I still disagree. First, Steve Nash qualifies for the list but Kevin Garnett doesn't, yet they've achieved the same level of playoff success (conference finals)? KG's playoff woes are solely the fault of his GM. If Tim Duncan had the collection of stiffs, he would struggle too.

Second, basketball greatness is completely derived from offensive prowess in the finals two minutes? Since when? Give me KG who goes all out for 48. Jump shooters are unfairly awarded for being "clutch" because they always take the last shot, but big men who carry the load on their shoulders are penalized.

In the post-Jordan era, Shaq and Tim Duncan have been the two best players in the NBA. Right after them is KG.

Destined4Greatness
01-14-2007, 09:20 PM
Yeah Garnett is an A(See the ambiguity I was talkin about) any guy that gets a double double 6 out of 7 games is right up there. Plus I have always viewed KG as pretty clutch, I mean I can recall at least 3 GWers he has hit.

Eindar
01-14-2007, 09:46 PM
I don't see how you can put Nash and LeBron in group A and put Carmello and KG in group B. Carmello isn't quite as talented as LeBron, but he's far more clutch.

thunderbird1245
01-14-2007, 10:06 PM
I don't see how you can put Nash and LeBron in group A and put Carmello and KG in group B. Carmello isn't quite as talented as LeBron, but he's far more clutch.

Well, I almost didnt put Nash and LBJ in group "A", but I finally decided to add them. I think you can make a case that either of them dont belong up there just as easily as you can that they do.

In Nash's case, he is a 2 time MVP of the league and is clearly by far in my view the best player at his position in the entire world. When you look at it like that, I just couldnt leave him off....thats why he was graded an "A" by me.

LBJ was a tougher call, but I finally decided that his sheer enormous talent at such a young age, basically turning around a pitiful franchise in Cleveland, merited him being bumped up from a "B" to an "A".

Just my opinion, of course.

Tbird

thunderbird1245
01-14-2007, 10:12 PM
On the topic of Garnett, even though he is one my personal all time favorite players, I couldnt add him to the "A" list. I know this is all subjective and reasonable minds can disagree, but I just couldnt get past the fact that a player who has played as long as he has has only won 2 playoff series, and has been bounced out of the first round every year except one. A truly transcendant and spectacular superstar would be able to do better than that, in my opinion.

I know Lebron hasnt done much in the playoffs yet, but I took his is relative young career into account when I made that judgment. Like I said, its all subjective, and reasonable people can disagree.

Tbird

Destined4Greatness
01-14-2007, 10:19 PM
On the topic of Garnett, even though he is one my personal all time favorite players, I couldnt add him to the "A" list. I know this is all subjective and reasonable minds can disagree, but I just couldnt get past the fact that a player who has played as long as he has has only won 2 playoff series, and has been bounced out of the first round every year except one. A truly transcendant and spectacular superstar would be able to do better than that, in my opinion.

I know Lebron hasnt done much in the playoffs yet, but I took his is relative young career into account when I made that judgment. Like I said, its all subjective, and reasonable people can disagree.

Tbird

You aren't taking account how little help he has had is my guess.

King Tuts Tomb
01-14-2007, 10:47 PM
On the topic of Garnett, even though he is one my personal all time favorite players, I couldn't add him to the "A" list. I know this is all subjective and reasonable minds can disagree, but I just couldn't get past the fact that a player who has played as long as he has has only won 2 playoff series, and has been bounced out of the first round every year except one. A truly transcendent and spectacular superstar would be able to do better than that, in my opinion.


Basketball, for all of its individual glories, is still a team game. Every player you listed in "A" has a very good team (with the exception of LeBron, who has the good fortune of playing in the East). Give Jason Terry and Josh Howard to Kevin Garnett to help with the scoring load and he's going deep in the playoffs. In fact, he did have those type of players: Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell, and he made the conference finals, then genius Kevin McHale traded Sam for MARCO JARIC! I mean, come on.

KG is better than Steve Nash. He always has been and always will be. You want to talk about making your team better? How about a 7-footer setting monster picks, grabbing twelve rebounds a game, playing outstanding defense and shouldering all the blame himself when you lose a game?

vapacersfan
01-14-2007, 10:59 PM
The one thing that I have never really enjoyed about sports is when people feel the need to "categorize" players.

I understand why it is done, but I just hate it. Whether it be on a internet forum or on ESPN, I dont think it does any good.

Does it really matter if Lebron is in the "A" group or "B" group.

At the end of the day I dont care if Lebron is above D.Wade, or if Iverson is below Artest, I would give a arm and a leg to have most any of these superstars on my favorite team. (I said most, I dont want that one guy I mentioned above back on this squad.)

brich
01-14-2007, 11:24 PM
I gotta put Shaq in the A group, but I am OK with where you have KG. Shaq is the hugest of huge, literally, impact players. He isn't as good or dominant as he used to be, and he has had some injury issues, but his impact is profound. His size causes unbelievable matchup problems for everybody. LA missed him more than they thought they ever would, and the difference of Miami without Shaq is glaring.

The ultimate A players are the Jordans, Birds, and Johnson's...dominant players in their own right...but who have the ability to make the rest of the team better.

Eindar
01-15-2007, 03:21 AM
On the topic of Garnett, even though he is one my personal all time favorite players, I couldnt add him to the "A" list. I know this is all subjective and reasonable minds can disagree, but I just couldnt get past the fact that a player who has played as long as he has has only won 2 playoff series, and has been bounced out of the first round every year except one. A truly transcendant and spectacular superstar would be able to do better than that, in my opinion.

I know Lebron hasnt done much in the playoffs yet, but I took his is relative young career into account when I made that judgment. Like I said, its all subjective, and reasonable people can disagree.

Tbird

I think this is where we agree to disagree. If you swap KG and Dirk, I feel that Dallas gets better as a team. I don't know if you can say the same about KG and Tim Duncan, because that team really is built specifically for the way Timmy plays (Boring as the day is long). But I think, given equal amounts of talent, KG would be the equal of Dirk or Duncan.

I enjoy the ranking, but I guess I just don't understand the criteria. You put KG in Group 2 because he's never been to the finals. LeBron hasn't either (I understand that LBJ is younger). You say that to be in group A, a player has to have no glaring holes in their game. Well, I think Steve Nash may break out in hives if he gets within 5 feet of defense of any sort. Honestly, the way you describe it, we don't currently have any "Group A" point guards in the league, with the possible exception of Billups, because while he's not fantastic at any one thing, he does everything at an above average level. Kidd was on that level, and I think Paul will be there within a year or two (Felton and Williams have a chance to get there, also), but I don't think there's a Group A point guard in the entire league right now.

Evan_The_Dude
01-15-2007, 10:28 AM
KG is better than Steve Nash. He always has been and always will be. You want to talk about making your team better? How about a 7-footer setting monster picks, grabbing twelve rebounds a game, playing outstanding defense and shouldering all the blame himself when you lose a game?

In the way you're talking, that's an unfair comparison. You can't expect 6'3" Steve Nash to go out and set monster picks and grab twelve rebounds. He has height and size against him in that regard. It would be easier for KG to go out and average 10-12 assists like Nash, than it would be for Nash to go out and average 12 rebounds.

Now, if you look past stats and look at KG and Nash's impact on their teams, Nash obviously comes out on top. Nash has made his supporting cast look a lot better than they probably were. I mean, last year when Stoudamire went down they threw Boris freakin Diaw in at center and still won a crap load of games. Boris Diaw was a nobody prior to that. Try pulling that stunt with Jamaal Tinsley or any other average point guard and see how far it takes you.

KG might have the better all-around game, but Nash is better at making his teammates better while putting up good numbers himself. KG also has size on his side.

Also, I think Iverson should be on the 'A' list. Sure he isn't the highest percentage shooter, but look at HIS supporting cast over the years. Look at his supporting cast when he literally carried his team to the finals. I think even KG has had a better supporting cast than that. The only hole in Iversons game is his lower than average shooting percentages. Obviously that doesn't matter much to a lot of teams in the league because look at how many teams wanted to trade for him to help elevate their team to the top.

EDIT: I also agree with Birch. Shaq is an 'A' player, no doubt about it. Kobe wouldn't have a single ring without Shaq. Wade wouldn't have either. There's a reason why two of the greatest coaches in history wanted this man on their team.

thunderbird1245
01-15-2007, 11:52 AM
I left off Shaquille due to his age, declining skills, and recent tendency to be injured. Clearly he used to be an "A", but he is not that same player today in my judgment.

I left Iverson off the "A" list because I dont think he makes his teammates better anymore, and I think his poorer attitude and "drama" that he brings to the table bring down his ranking to the "B" level. I also think the very nature of his game, i.e. being a very small shooting guard, makes his teams to have to built in an abnormal way in order to get the most efficient results from his play. You cant really have Iverson and build your roster in a normal way.

As far as my "A" list being hard to get on, that is the entire point. Being a megastar isnt the same as being a mere "star". Most of you wanting to add players I left off only proves the point the original broadcaster was trying to make, which is to say most people overrate talent in the NBA.

Just my opinion, as always.

Evan_The_Dude
01-15-2007, 12:27 PM
I left off Shaquille due to his age, declining skills, and recent tendency to be injured. Clearly he used to be an "A", but he is not that same player today in my judgment.

I left Iverson off the "A" list because I dont think he makes his teammates better anymore, and I think his poorer attitude and "drama" that he brings to the table bring down his ranking to the "B" level. I also think the very nature of his game, i.e. being a very small shooting guard, makes his teams to have to built in an abnormal way in order to get the most efficient results from his play. You cant really have Iverson and build your roster in a normal way.

As far as my "A" list being hard to get on, that is the entire point. Being a megastar isnt the same as being a mere "star". Most of you wanting to add players I left off only proves the point the original broadcaster was trying to make, which is to say most people overrate talent in the NBA.

Just my opinion, as always.

If you leave Shaq off the "A" list because of declining skills, and Iverson off because he doesn't make his teammates better anymore, then shouldn't the scale be sort of the same for LeBron James? He hasn't lead his team very far yet consistently. He's the only one on the "A" list that's been in the playoffs only once. Nash has been there and had some great performances for several years, same with Dirk, and Wade has a ring as does Duncan and Bryant. Sure James hasn't been in the league that long, but that's also saying that he's not there "yet".

If I was going by your scale of keeping people off the "A" list due to declining skills, I'd also keep LeBron off that list because he hasn't done much in the playoffs yet.

JayRedd
01-15-2007, 01:57 PM
I left Iverson off the "A" list because I dont think he makes his teammates better anymore,

Steve Blake scored a career high 25 last night for what it's worth.

King Tuts Tomb
01-15-2007, 02:44 PM
In the way you're talking, that's an unfair comparison. You can't expect 6'3" Steve Nash to go out and set monster picks and grab twelve rebounds. He has height and size against him in that regard. It would be easier for KG to go out and average 10-12 assists like Nash, than it would be for Nash to go out and average 12 rebounds.

Now, if you look past stats and look at KG and Nash's impact on their teams, Nash obviously comes out on top. Nash has made his supporting cast look a lot better than they probably were. I mean, last year when Stoudamire went down they threw Boris freakin Diaw in at center and still won a crap load of games. Boris Diaw was a nobody prior to that. Try pulling that stunt with Jamaal Tinsley or any other average point guard and see how far it takes you.


This, of course, is wrong. When you look at the numbers I don't think it holds that he makes all his teammates better. Does he deliver fantastic passes that lead to baskets? Yes, 12 a game. But the players are still finishing them. He hasn't done any magic spell that helsp Raja Bell hit 3 pointers.

And so you would counter with this classic line: "Everyone he plays with has career highs!" To that I would answer with the lovely and talented John Hollinger:

"-- Raja Bell had never played more than 28 minutes per game in any season, but played 37.5 in Phoenix. He was no better than in the previous two seasons -- believe it or not (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3467) -- he just played a lot more.
-- James Jones had never played more than 18 minutes per game, but played 23.6 last season for the Suns.
-- Leandro Barbosa had never played more than 21 minutes, but saw 27.9 last season.
-- Boris Diaw hadn't seen more than 25 minutes per game, until getting 35.5 a season ago.
-- Shawn Marion had played more than 40 minutes per game on two other occasions, but on a pace-adjusted basis he was on the court for more possessions than at any time in his career.

So wait, they were on the court more than ever before, and they averaged career highs? Really? You don't say? "

I would rather have an all around awesome power forward like KG than a passing point guard like Steve Nash. A solid point guard and a dominant big man will get you further than the reverse.

FlavaDave
01-15-2007, 03:25 PM
If you leave Shaq off the "A" list because of declining skills, and Iverson off because he doesn't make his teammates better anymore, then shouldn't the scale be sort of the same for LeBron James? He hasn't lead his team very far yet consistently. He's the only one on the "A" list that's been in the playoffs only once. Nash has been there and had some great performances for several years, same with Dirk, and Wade has a ring as does Duncan and Bryant. Sure James hasn't been in the league that long, but that's also saying that he's not there "yet".

If I was going by your scale of keeping people off the "A" list due to declining skills, I'd also keep LeBron off that list because he hasn't done much in the playoffs yet.

We are talking about the present. Shaq will never be an "A" player again, but LeBron is right in the thick of being an "A" player. Therefore, in the reality of today, Shaq isn't an "A" but LeBron is.

SycamoreKen
01-15-2007, 03:32 PM
I would rather have an all around awesome power forward like KG than a passing point guard like Steve Nash. A solid point guard and a dominant big man will get you further than the reverse.


When you look at teams that have won titles, and that is what all teams are measured by, since the beginning of the Bird/Magic Era (I chose that point since that is when I started paying attention) only 2 teams had an "A" level point guard. Magic's Lakers and IT's Pistons. The rest of those teams had average to star point guards, but not super star level ones. I don't consider Billups and Cheeks in the same group as the two already mentioned.

See list of champs here:

http://www.nba.com/history/finals/champions.html

King Tuts Tomb
01-15-2007, 06:51 PM
When you look at teams that have won titles, and that is what all teams are measured by, since the beginning of the Bird/Magic Era (I chose that point since that is when I started paying attention) only 2 teams had an "A" level point guard. Magic's Lakers and IT's Pistons. The rest of those teams had average to star point guards, but not super star level ones. I don't consider Billups and Cheeks in the same group as the two already mentioned.

See list of champs here:

http://www.nba.com/history/finals/champions.html

Exactly

brich
01-15-2007, 07:09 PM
We are talking about the present. Shaq will never be an "A" player again, but LeBron is right in the thick of being an "A" player. Therefore, in the reality of today, Shaq isn't an "A" but LeBron is.

I still think Shaq is an A, but just not as strong an A as he was in the past. He is still a matchup nightmare for everybody, and he makes his teammates better, because he has learned to pass out of double-teams, and he keeps his ego in check by allowing young talented players like Kobe and D Wade to flourish.

There will be a day, when Shaq will fall into that B category, and it may come soon, but I just don't see it. Miami with and without him is night and day, and we are talking about things that have transpired in the last few months, not years.

He just changes the game so much, because he is just impossible to guard, and he is just such a freak of nature with his combination of size and speed. Although I am with everybody on the injuries and the unavoidable diminishing of his skills, he seems to remain one of the biggest obstacles for any team to overcome.