Originally Posted by Whoah10115
You're right on him double-teaming. I also think he had the benefit of having a better player to kick it out to. Without a guy as good as Magic (or Bird, if it was Bird on the Lakers) he would have to work thru those double-teams a lot more. And by that I mean he couldn't just kick it out the way he did...he would have to had to make a play a lot more frequently. I don't think you could give him Erving in place of Magic, without costing LA a title. And also, McAdoo was the only other center on the roster. He used to block some shots, but I don't remember him having a consistent defensive paint presence. And he wasn't any kind of rebounder by then.
Magic wasn't a spot up shooter, in fact, he really didn't shoot by that point. Kareem would find him cutting to the basket, but that didn't prevent teams from doubling Kareem in the post. I've seen games where Kareem, albeit several years younger, still dominated with nobody to take pressure off him. Look at the '77 playoffs. Kareem wasn't in '77 form by '82, but offensively, there wasn't a huge difference. He could still go to the sky hook, and his counters whenever he wanted. He had lost some athleticism, but it didn't really take away from his offensive game much.
The Lakers definitely still have a great shot to win a title with Dr. J replacing Magic in '82. I'm not sure their fastbreak would be quite as good, but it would still be deadly. Dr. J was one of the great open court players of all-time, and you'd still have an all-star point guard in Norm Nixon, as well as Michael Cooper, Jamaal Wilkes and Bob McAdoo. Kareem would still be there to carry the half court offense as he did throughout the first half of the 80's, but you'd also have an excellent fastbreak team, even without Magic.
This is kind of irrelevant to who was the better player because it also has to do with the personnel on the team, but there's no question that Kareem was more irreplaceable to the '82 team with Norm nixon, as well as Michael Cooper on the team.
Well, I don't think Kareem was a top 3 player in the NBA at that time. Bird was better, Malone was better, Magic was better. And you could argue that Erving was better by then. If we're talking all-time, I think Kareem's place is well over-stated. I don't think he'd ever win another title without a guy as good as Magic. And I think Magic still wins a couple titles, if Kareem literally decided not to get off the bench in 87 and 88.
They don't beat Boston without Kareem, or a good replacement in '87. He was the 3rd guy by that point, but still a very good player. And actually, they don't beat Detroit either without the phantom call on Kareem's sky hook in '88.
Only player I'd call better than Kareem in '82 is Moses. Then I'd have Bird and Dr. J(in whatever order) followed by Magic.
Dwyane Wade was just as good a player as LeBron and should have been the MVP, in my opinion. You put Magic in LeBron's place and I guarantee you Orlando doesn't beat Cleveland. And I hate to keep referencing that, as it sounds as tho I'm claiming LeBron lost the series or something. But Magic would lead that team to a win. If Magic is easily the best guy on the floor and the supporting casts are comparable then Mike Brown isn't going to stop Magic from winning. And neither is SVG.
If it was '87-'90 Magic, I could sort of excuse this, though I still think it's a foolish assumption to make. But the idea that '82 Magic could just will that Cleveland team is laughable. Mo Williams was the second option for that team and choked badly vs Orlando, Mike Brown was badly outcoached, and they couldn't match up with either Dwight or Rashard Lewis. The latter were the 2 things that cost Cleveland the series the most.
Who is going to score for that team? Lebron didn't play selfishly(maybe to some degree out of necessity in the Orlando series) but averaged 28/8/7 during the season and 33/10/7 even prior to the Orlando series in the playoffs. They needed Lebron to score a lot. '82 Magic wasn't capable of giving them anywhere near the scoring Lebron did, and Cleveland won a lot with their defense, which I'm sure would have fallen off a bit.
But back to the Orlando series, Lebron pretty much gave Cleveland a chance in the series by himself. Lewis got open looks all series because Brown never adjusted to Orlando's 4 shooters. One of those looks won game 1, and another sent game 4 into OT. That cost Cleveland 2 wins, and had nothing to do with Lebron. Lebron won game 2 with that long 3. If I'm critiquing Lebron's series, I'd say he was arguably too ball-dominant(though you could say it was out of necessity) and he didn't make the impact he usually did defensively. but Magic wouldn't have done better defensively, and it's pretty hard to expect elite defense when you're averaging 39/8/8. And if I really want to nitpick, I'd point out the turnovers late in game 4(unreasonable to expect no mistakes when you're putting the team on your back) and one poor game 6 once the series was already decisively in Orlando's favor.
Lebron's series wasn't as good as the stats suggest, but considering he put up 39/8/8, if it was as good as the stats suggest, we'd be talking about one of the great series of all-time. Regardless, I don't see Cleveland's problems being fixed by any version of Magic, much less '82 Magic. There's no way 3rd year Magic could have come close to carrying Cleveland's half court offense the way Lebron did.
In fact, a much better version of Magic in '90, with his half court game at it's peak was in a similar situation vs Phoenix. The Lakers were a 63 win team with homecourt. Magic averaged 30/6/12, but his teammates didn't show up and he lost in 5. He had back to back 43 point games in games 4 and 5, but they lost each. Phoenix doubled him less, often guarded him with Dan Majerle and didn't stop Magic from getting his, but his teammates were not playing at their usual level. Even Tom Chambers, who wasn't exactly known for his defense was surprisingly effective guarding James Worthy, and speaking of Magic's defense, Magic was burned by a shooter. In this case, it was Jeff Hornacek. What's to stop Orlando from doing this? That's pretty much what they did with Lebron in '09.
And I realize you're not saying Lebron cost Cleveland the series, my point is that I don't see what Magic would have done to change the outcome given Lebron's roster and the match up problems, much less '82 Magic.