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Old 05-23-2013, 07:28 PM   #16
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

He was the world's tallest SF, or wanted to be. Could be shoved around too easily, plus you got the feeling (as someone else said) he played ball because he was tall and it was the thing to do. He should have been mega imposing but he wasn't.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

[quote=ShaqAttack3234]From what I've seen and read about the '86 team, it seemed that Sampson could be rattled and taken out of his game quite easily. Plus, he didn't seem like the player who could be counted on as much in big games. On the other hand, while Hakeem had quite a temper in his early years and was undisciplined, he was a guy who seemed to come to play in big games right from the start. The '86 playoffs are a perfect example, same with the elimination game vs Seattle the following year, '88 series vs Dallas ect.

Spot on, that's my impression as well.
Hakeem was a different animal but I think that Sampson's biggest issue was the fact that he was trying to play a less effective game compared to what he could have done. He almost looked afraid to bang in the post, but at the same time his body looked very fragile but he was a turnover machine the way he tried to play and less effective in the playoffs.

[quote=ShaqAttack3234]
Hakeem had his flaws in his early years, like all young players do, but he clearly wasn't afraid of those moments or rattled in them, which is rare for players in their early 20s and first few years.

Both of them were nutjobs in the mid 80's, game 6 of the '86 playoffs was pretty hilarious example of how unstable they were. Sampson almost started a fist fight with Lucas over getting fouled during a dunk but Olajuwon did his best to stop it and grabbed him and pushed him away from Lucas.

Later in the fourth as you know Olajuwon himself punches Kupchak in the face..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaqAttack3234
As far as their games, Hakeem's was just more effective as well. Sampson's versatility was quite effective and it seems that people didn't have a realistic idea of what type of player Sampson could be at his best because while he was over 7 feet, he was about 230 pounds soaking wet and couldn't play a power game. Hakeem on the other hand, seemed to play more of a power game compared to his peak mid 90's years. Sampson had a hook shot and would get put backs, but Hakeem was intent on going hard to the rim and dunking the hell out of the ball in the 80's which is much more effective than a 7'2" player who is essentially a small forward offensively. Hakeem also did already have his baseline fadeaway, though it wasn't as automatic as later and he didn't have all of the moves or the same poise in the post.


Yeah, I really like the difference between Akeem and Hakeem. Just as you wrote, Akeem was more dominating due being crazy athletic, fast and amazing footwork. If you've seen some of the games from '86 he's rebounding like crazy and throwing down some nasty dunks.

I can't come to think about another player who changed his style of playing that much during his career and he was a beast during both periods.

Sampson's hook was a beauty but it felt like he was too obsessed with trying to play way smaller than his height, although he was a good passer he still had too many turnovers..

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Originally Posted by ShaqAttack3234
What was cool about their duo, though is that they could dominate the boards by pretty much playing volley ball.

Difficult to compare them to Duncan/Robinson, though because that duo was better defensively, much more poised with Robinson being a veteran and Duncan being a calmer player than young Hakeem and Duncan being more of a finished product coming out of college than Hakeem was.


I agree, although I'm biased I still think that Sampson and Olajuwon would have an edge over Robinson and Duncan. Robinson wasn't the same player he used to be when Duncan arrived. Sometimes I underate the young Olajuwon due him not being as polished as he later would become but he was really, really dominant even as a 2nd year pro.

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Originally Posted by ShaqAttack3234
Either way, it's clear that Hakeem was the man on the twin tower Rockets. But I suspect any post claiming Hakeem was nothing without Sampson is not meant to be taken seriously. This post was more because I think Hakeem's early career is underrated and because the twin tower Rockets fascinate me.

I can't imagine how awesome it must have been for the NBA fans back then watching the Twin towers, so versatile and bad ass. Then you had the Lakers and Boston, probably my favourite NBA period.

I've watched alot of old Rocket games but although they never won it in the mid 80's I still enjoyed watching those games more compared to the back-to-back titles in the 90's.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

They also blocked everything.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

I'm not old, but I did see him hit that insane overhead backward game winner against the show time lakers to take the rockets to the finals. That was pretty sick.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:09 PM   #20
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

How about the athleticism though, man was like 7'3'', reportedly with a 36'' vert

alley-oop over Wrthy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0YUN4DBIgo

Could most likely reach the top of the backboard
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:10 AM   #21
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

Sampson's high school profile:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=...ture=endscreen

Can you imagine if a 7-4 high school kid was averaging 30/20 a game with those kinds of skills nowadays? He'd be a constant part of ESPN's ticker. Back then, they were thinking he was going to be the next Wilt or Kareem. Obviously it didn't work out like that. Still pretty damn good though.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:23 AM   #22
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

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Originally Posted by Remix
I'm currently watching the Survive and Advance 30 for 30, and NC State has played Virginia three times, and each time Sampson has looked like a beast. I did some light research on him on bbreference and noticed that he seemed to only have 3 or so good seasons (20 and 10 in his rookie year ) and was selected first overall, and the next year the Rockets selected Hakeem.

Two 7fters on the same team? How well did they coexist? Better than The Admiral and Duncan?

How good could Sampson have been, barring injury (I'm asuming that's what cut his career short)

Hakeem was barely 6-10, and Sampson was barely 7-2.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:10 PM   #23
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

I'll chime in as someone who saw his entire collegiate and pro careers. For those who didn't see him, don't make the mistake of lumping him in with the Shawn Bradleys of the world.

Sampson was a very gifted player. Extremely polished skill set for a man his size. He moved exceptionally well, ran the floor like a guy a half foot shorter, did a nice job handling the ball, and had a nice mix of post moves/ability to face up.

People harp on the loss to Chaminade. It was a HUGE upset. It was also essentially an exhibition game in those days. Keep in mind that despite all the attention he drew, it didn't come close to comparing with the attention, travel and exposure that a blue chip recruit or high profile college player has today. They were a bunch of kids in Hawaii for the first time in their lives, and it appeared they enjoyed the trip (and their heavily favored status) just a bit too much.

He was as dominant a college big man as we've seen, but the college game has never really been a big man's game. Yes, Alcindor and Walton won every night, but they also played on teams that were ridiculously stacked. Just as today, college officials allow an awful lot of contact around the basket, and calls will always favor the smaller guy. It's just the way the game is typically officiated.

He also played at a time when you couldn't back into the NCAA tourney and turn it on, in a conference that was as loaded with talent as any in the history of the sport. The overall talent of his UVA teams paled in comparison to what UNC and NC State were putting on the floor.

His weight got up into the 250 range, but the guy had a thin frame and was nearly 7'4. In the NBA he was competing against grown men, and his post game turned into an assortment of fadeaways, baby-hooks, and mid-range jumpers. Still, on his best nights, he was close to unstoppable.

Ultimately, it was injuries...not a lackluster interest in the game, not a lack of passion, not a lack of skill, heart or effort... that cost him his career. He and Hakeem were poised to change the way the NBA game was played. And unlike a lot of college stars, Sampson had no problem sharing the spotlight. He seemed to relish the opportunity to not be the focal point of every interview and media team in town.

Lower limb injuries are devastating for big guys. The human body isn't made to be 6'8"+ and run up and down a floor, periodically jumping and landing in awkward positions, for 6 months out of the year. The guys that do it successfully for a long time are the exception, not the rule.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:36 PM   #24
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

He was really really tall.....watching him play was kinda like watching a Girafe fight a pack of Hyena's..



always felt if he was 6'4" instead of 7'4" he would be picking up trash on the side of the freeway.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:04 PM   #25
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

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Originally Posted by AlphaWolf24
always felt if he was 6'4" instead of 7'4" he would be picking up trash on the side of the freeway.

Nobody roots for Goliath.

What would Lebron be doing if he was 5'8"? Or 5'6" Jordan?
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:27 PM   #26
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

Great post, JMT!

Bill Simmons made the case that Ralph Sampson should have come out of college and gone pro early. Made some noise about the Celtics drafting him early. Instead he wasted 3 years, and by the time he got to the NBA, he never developed an optimal game behind seasoned veterans.

Simmons also claims that a brutal fall in the Garden in 1986 severely injured his back, and he was never the same afterwards - not in the 1986 playoffs, or thenceforth.

Check this amazing Grantland article on the 1986 Rockets:
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...ouston-rockets
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:02 PM   #27
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

Quote:
Originally Posted by millwad
Spot on, that's my impression as well.
Hakeem was a different animal but I think that Sampson's biggest issue was the fact that he was trying to play a less effective game compared to what he could have done. He almost looked afraid to bang in the post, but at the same time his body looked very fragile but he was a turnover machine the way he tried to play and less effective in the playoffs.


Well, the biggest issue I see in those mid 80's Rocket games with Sampson is when he'd do stupid things like try to bring the ball up after a rebound and sometimes lose it, or commit a back court foul.

Quote:
Both of them were nutjobs in the mid 80's, game 6 of the '86 playoffs was pretty hilarious example of how unstable they were. Sampson almost started a fist fight with Lucas over getting fouled during a dunk but Olajuwon did his best to stop it and grabbed him and pushed him away from Lucas.

Later in the fourth as you know Olajuwon himself punches Kupchak in the face..

Of course there was also game 5 of the finals when Sampson was ejected for fighting Jerry Sichting, though Hakeem then carried Houston to a game 6 finishing with 32 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocks.


Quote:
Yeah, I really like the difference between Akeem and Hakeem. Just as you wrote, Akeem was more dominating due being crazy athletic, fast and amazing footwork. If you've seen some of the games from '86 he's rebounding like crazy and throwing down some nasty dunks.

I can't come to think about another player who changed his style of playing that much during his career and he was a beast during both periods.

Yeah, I mean there's no doubt that Hakeem was better in the 90's than 80's, but I often feel like his entire early career is overlooked and there's this perception that he was nothing special except for the mid 90's. In fact, many seem to think Hakeem just had the back to back years when in reality, his first full year under Rudy T before the back to back titles was arguably his best season.

Quote:
Sampson's hook was a beauty but it felt like he was too obsessed with trying to play way smaller than his height, although he was a good passer he still had too many turnovers..

Well, I think that was primarily a problem when he'd try to handle the ball too far away from the basket or something like that. Other than that, I have no problem with Sampson trying to play his game. I think bigger issues were his focus and consistency, which of course go hand in hand.

Quote:
I agree, although I'm biased I still think that Sampson and Olajuwon would have an edge over Robinson and Duncan. Robinson wasn't the same player he used to be when Duncan arrived. Sometimes I underate the young Olajuwon due him not being as polished as he later would become but he was really, really dominant even as a 2nd year pro.

Robinson definitely wasn't the same player after the back injury, but I don't think twin towers Robinson should be underestimated either. He was still without question one of the 5 best defensive players in the game during his first few years with Duncan and still a 20/10 type big man. In fact, he still averaged 18/10/2/2 the year after the Spurs won their first title, and was actually the Spurs leading scorer after the all-star break at 21 ppg that season.

I'd definitely take the Spurs twin towers during their first few years together because of defense, maturity and how well they played together. Robinson and Duncan worked those high/lows very well together, and either could be in the high post. Hakeem and Sampson had more ability when they played together, but as far as effectiveness, I have to go with Duncan/Robinson.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT
Ultimately, it was injuries...not a lackluster interest in the game, not a lack of passion, not a lack of skill, heart or effort... that cost him his career. He and Hakeem were poised to change the way the NBA game was played. And unlike a lot of college stars, Sampson had no problem sharing the spotlight. He seemed to relish the opportunity to not be the focal point of every interview and media team in town.

Lower limb injuries are devastating for big guys. The human body isn't made to be 6'8"+ and run up and down a floor, periodically jumping and landing in awkward positions, for 6 months out of the year. The guys that do it successfully for a long time are the exception, not the rule.

Great post. It does seem that injuries were the biggest problem for him and he's one of many big men who have had this problem because as you said, it's just not normal to be so tall.

Do you think that if Sampson had stayed healthy until say 30-31 that he'd have ever been a legitimate MVP-caliber franchise player in the NBA? He was 25, almost 26 by the time of the '86 finals, and still seemed to lack the mentality of the truly dominant players. He still had time, but I've always questioned whether he'd have ever lived up to the hype or come close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung
Great post, JMT!

Bill Simmons made the case that Ralph Sampson should have come out of college and gone pro early. Made some noise about the Celtics drafting him early. Instead he wasted 3 years, and by the time he got to the NBA, he never developed an optimal game behind seasoned veterans.

Simmons also claims that a brutal fall in the Garden in 1986 severely injured his back, and he was never the same afterwards - not in the 1986 playoffs, or thenceforth.

Check this amazing Grantland article on the 1986 Rockets:
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...ouston-rockets

Interesting, thanks for posting that.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:07 PM   #28
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaqAttack3234
Great post. It does seem that injuries were the biggest problem for him and he's one of many big men who have had this problem because as you said, it's just not normal to be so tall.

Do you think that if Sampson had stayed healthy until say 30-31 that he'd have ever been a legitimate MVP-caliber franchise player in the NBA? He was 25, almost 26 by the time of the '86 finals, and still seemed to lack the mentality of the truly dominant players. He still had time, but I've always questioned whether he'd have ever lived up to the hype or come close.


In many ways, I think that Sampson fell victim to the "Joe DiMaggio syndrome". He played so fluidly, seemingly without a lot of effort or exertion, that it looked like it came easily to him. Then when he had bad games, people took it as him being aloof or lazy.

I believe that given time and the obvious advantage of playing with Hakeem that he would have been a perennial All Star and the kind of 1a player that teams clamor to add. Would he have ever been Walton in his prime, ie a guy who you could surround with grinders who he would seemingly will to victory? Probably not; not in his DNA. But would he have been the kind of player other teams/fans coveted? Absolutely.

Trying hard to think of a comparison. A 7'4" shot blocking Pau Gasol with a far more refined offensive game maybe???
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:37 PM   #29
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

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Originally Posted by JMT
Nobody roots for Goliath.

What would Lebron be doing if he was 5'8"? Or 5'6" Jordan?

Jordan I think would still be in NBA at 5' 6"...he had passion and Heart...Samson had niether.

It's like he was forced to play basketball becuase he was tall and some athletic ability.
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:10 PM   #30
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Default Re: Older ISHers, drop some knowledge about Ralph Sampson

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf24
Jordan I think would still be in NBA at 5' 6"...he had passion and Heart...Samson had niether.

It's like he was forced to play basketball becuase he was tall and some athletic ability.

5'6" Jordan wouldn't have even gotten the chance to be a bad baseball player.

You're typically an intelligent poster. Guess everybody has their off days.
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