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Old 03-16-2013, 02:18 PM   #79
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Default Re: Magic Johnson averaged a triple double over his 1st 4 playoff runs.

Originally Posted by Whoah10115
I'm not saying Kareem's defensive impact wasn't more positive than negative, I am saying that it wasn't noteworthy. Magic was a good defender and never one of the great ones. But Kareem's defense wasn't any better. And if big man defense is really as important as people suggest then I'd claim his defense was worse than Magic. Kareem's timing was always terrific. His entire skillset was incredible, but he was lazy. For him to be that lazy outside the paint and to still be so soft under the rim is just inexcusable. He was soft and he was lazy. Shaq guarded the pick n' roll more than Kareem did. Watching Duncan yesterday, Barkley marveled at how Duncan plays like a big man. His hands always up and yet always active. Kareem would raise his arms, with the same fundamentals, but without any of the fire. He just didn't play hard on that side of the ball...and he still couldn't get as many rebounds as Magic.

He was definitely better than Magic defensively. I agree that he didn't offer that much out of shot blocking at that stage of his career defensively, but just being a 7'3" presence in the paint and the 3rd leading shot blocker in the league was much more than Magic could offer at that end. Calling Magic a good defender is being generous to say the least.

The rebounding thing is overstated a bit. First of all, it's clear that there were some rebounds Kareem could have gotten, the same with other players who they let go to Magic so he could start the break. I've seen this done throughout Jason Kidd's career as well. And on the offensive glass, Magic actually had more opportunities because Kareem was the guy the ball was going to in the post more often, while Magic was cutting to the basket or boxing out.

The Lakers were Kareem's team until Game 6 in 1980. All I can go by are the games and not only was Magic the best player in most of those games but he was always the guy with the game in his hands. In every playoff from there on, you watched Magic and the Lakers. From hearing and reading Riley and Magic's comments about the basketball being played, the only reasonable explanation is they were showing reverence to Cap.

The Lakers were still easily Kareem's team throughout the 1981 season. No question about it, Magic missed more than half the season, but Kareem still led them to a 28-17 record, and in the playoffs, Kareem showed up, while Magic didn't.

The gap wasn't as big in '82, but still clear. Magic's half court skill set wasn't there yet, while Kareem was still pretty close to the player he was in his prime. Neither were in their primes at that point, but I'd say Kareem was closer to his than Magic was.

I think it's pretty ridiculous to suggest Magic and Riley called it Kareem's team just out of respect. When the transition occurred in the '86-'87 season, you could see a huge difference in both Magic and Kareem's roles. Could Magic have taken over earlier? Probably. Though there's no way '82 Magic could have done what '87 Magic did. They weren't running the half court offense through Kareem just to satisfy his ego. They were doing it because he was their best scorer, and the guy you had to double the most. He was capable of 25 ppg up until he was almost 40, and would shoot 55-60% and get his teammates involved.

Honestly, I think Kareem won that 1985 award because people were marveling at his age and to make up for 1980. He really had no business winning it. I think Magic rightfully won it 1980, with that missed Game 6, but I always understood how great Kareem had been up until then (especially when you consider the entire playoffs). Outside of that tho, Kareem has never been as good as Magic in a Finals series.

Kareem was so much more dominant than Magic through the first 5 games of the finals series that he was the real finals MVP in 1980. Magic had the big moment, but I'm not going to disregard 5 games(and 3 of the 4 wins) for 1 game. Wilkes stepped up in that game 6 as well with 37/10.

The '85 MVP was well-deserved, and not handed out based on age. Kareem had the terrible game 1 and the Lakers were embarrassed in the "Memorial Day Massacre" but Kareem dominated after that. He averaged 28/10/6 and shot 61% after that game. I'd marvel at that if he was 28 instead of 38. Magic had a fine series himself, but Kareem was the MVP of that series.

Hard to say Kareem is average when he is so clearly not as good as a guy who played half of the game at PG and the other half at SG/SF. Offensively, Kareem was still Kareem. He was so slow, but his skill level is astounding. Defensively, he just didn't give much of a shit.

Magic was arguably the greatest rebounding guard of all-time, so that's not necessarily a knock on Kareem, who was still getting about 9 boards per game. But as I said, Magic had a lot of opportunities for rebounds because of his role on that team. If you look at '85-'87, Kareem was outrebounding Magic again, and by almost 2 per game in '85. That's because Magic's role was changing offensively. Kareem had declined as a rebounder, but Magic didn't have as many opportunities to box out while Kareem took the or passed out of the double team.
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