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Old 09-20-2007, 04:34 PM   #1
picc84
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Default How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

I say this regarding players from early, early eras. A lot of people make ranking lists using players they've probably never seen play, or have only minimally done so. I've seen Wilt highlights, Bob Cousy highlights, etc. but I wouldnt say i've seen near enough to make a guess thats anything but uneducated conjecture about how good they were compared to other players who i've seen much, much more.

Its like a 14 year old ranking Larry Bird when all he's seen play in his lifetime has been players from the latest era. Its going by reputation and common opinion instead of making an informed decision. With the lack of gametaping from the early era's compared to now, its not as much a matter of just not taking the time to watch the games, but I still dont get when people give their definitive rankings and include players they've barely ever seen play.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Yep. Hate it.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

i think there's some merit to your argument, and i find myself more and more answering these list questions with "the best players i've seen are:

but as a counter: if you talk to the older generation about ball enough and read enough articles, you do start to get a feel for how players played, though it become second and sometimes third hand. i know my uncle has gone on and on about wilt, oscar and doc (his faves) so many times that i feel like i've seen them their whole careers, but then my unc was a hell of a player (played against paxson, harper, and lasalle thompson growing up), so i take his opinions to heart. i think if you research thoroughly and ask the right people the right questions you can get a good sense of a player's value.

but i think overall you're right. people take it for granted that jordan's the best 2guard, bird's the best forward, magic's the best pg, and one of russ, wilt, kareem, or shaq is the best center ever and don't really look into it at all. but then you have people who haven't seen any of those guys who come out and play stat-fairy and declare their favorite current player better than one of those legends in an equally ignorant way. i guess you should either really try to find out everything you can or just talk about what you've seen and leave the rest to other posters.

which is even true of modern ball. i have not seen enough bobcats games to talk about half their players. wallace i know from sactown. okafur from uconn. jrich from gs. but overall i can't really give an educated impression of how that team plays or how the players on it impact the games.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Yep. The Bobcats suck.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Relying on secondhand info is not a good way to gauge a players abilities. Look at how different the opinions are on players we ALL see EVERY day during the reg season is, on this board alone.

It takes not just seeing a player play, but seeing him play over a relatively long period, to know just how good he was, what his average level of play was, etc. Watching one game is not going to tell you where Jerry West ranks in comparison to Isaiah Thomas. Watching none and having people tell you how he played is going to tell you even less. Different interpretations.

I think if you havent seen someone play, just dont comment on them. You dont know - I know there's plenty of players in the ISH top 100 players list i've barely seen, never seen, and some i've never heard of. I wouldnt dream of trying to include them in any list I was making.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picc84
I say this regarding players from early, early eras. A lot of people make ranking lists using players they've probably never seen play, or have only minimally done so. I've seen Wilt highlights, Bob Cousy highlights, etc. but I wouldnt say i've seen near enough to make a guess thats anything but uneducated conjecture about how good they were compared to other players who i've seen much, much more.

Its like a 14 year old ranking Larry Bird when all he's seen play in his lifetime has been players from the latest era. Its going by reputation and common opinion instead of making an informed decision. With the lack of gametaping from the early era's compared to now, its not as much a matter of just not taking the time to watch the games, but I still dont get when people give their definitive rankings and include players they've barely ever seen play.
Books and research. Never seen Wilt and Russell, hell I don't think I've seen Bird play ever, yet I know their fame from reading and highlights.


I wasn't alive to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak but I know he was a great man. I've never seen Jimi Hendrix play guitar, but I know he's the best.


Now of course, books and history can trick you and don't tell the whole story. Kids growing up reading their little school books would think Christopher Columbus discovered America or George Washington was a great man and it really wasn't that way.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.Kizzle
Books and research. Never seen Wilt and Russell, hell I don't think I've seen Bird play ever, yet I know their fame from reading and highlights.

You know their fame. You dont know their game. And you never truly will until you watch them.


Quote:
I wasn't alive to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak but I know he was a great man. I've never seen Jimi Hendrix play guitar, but I know he's the best.

You've heard MLK speak. You've never seen Wilt play.

Now, imagine you had never heard MLK speak, and had only been told he was a great man, without finding out about him yourself. Now imagine I asked you to rank him among the greatest men ever. Would you know enough to answer without sounding ignorant?

NO.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picc84
You know their fame. You dont know their game. And you never truly will until you watch them.




You've heard MLK speak. You've never seen Wilt play.

Now, imagine you had never heard MLK speak, and had only been told he was a great man, without finding out about him yourself. Now imagine I asked you to rank him among the greatest men ever. Would you know enough to answer without sounding ignorant?

NO.
Fame, I meant game, "G" and "F" are next to each other.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

I think it comes down to if being right matters more than knowing why youre right. Half of ISH never saw Jordan at his peak but they all seem to know he was better than anyone is now. Its true. Would it become more true if they were 10 years older?
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kblaze8855
I think it comes down to if being right matters more than knowing why youre right. Half of ISH never saw Jordan at his peak but they all seem to know he was better than anyone is now.

Bull. And if it wasnt at his peak, it was near it. Which is good enough.

Quote:
Would it become more true if they were 10 years older?

Maybe not, but they wouldn't know whether it was more true or not, since they didnt really know if it was true in the first place.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picc84
You've heard MLK speak. You've never seen Wilt play.

Now, imagine you had never heard MLK speak, and had only been told he was a great man, without finding out about him yourself. Now imagine I asked you to rank him among the greatest men ever. Would you know enough to answer without sounding ignorant?

NO.
I can read up on MLK myself. Or better yet, find some people who knew him personally if I wanted to really get to know about him.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
Books and research. Never seen Wilt and Russell, hell I don't think I've seen Bird play ever, yet I know their fame from reading and highlights.
You can only know so much from highlights. I didn't start watching ball until 98, and back then I only saw a few games a year. 2000 I started watching a bit more, and it wasn't until a few years ago that I actually started following it a lot. I now have access to a lot of Hardwood Classics games, and I've been watching some Magic and Bird a lot lately.

And to be completely frank and bluntly honest, I haven't seen why they're so great yet. I watched a full game the other day (I believe from 84 or 85) and I didn't find Magic all that special at all. Bird looked a hell of a lot better to me. I saw what made him great. Boy did he play bigger than he actually way. He was just dominating Cooper everywhere inside. Had 9 rebounds after the first quarter and a half or something like that. Countless times he just got brilliant position beside the hoop, and he didn't even have to use much skill to get the actual bucket, because he was already right there. All it took was a simple lay-up. It was just great to actually watch him establishing that position though.

Magic though. Eh. I was trying to watch for the little things, the smart passes, the great vision, the things everyone's always said made Magic so special, and I just haven't seen it. It'll take more viewings of course, and I'm positive that I'm the one wrong in this case (as opposed to everyone who says Magic's the GOAT PG being wrong), but I'm not sure why I'm wrong.

You really can't take these types of things for granted. I hardly ever make a knowledgeable post about anybody pre-2000, because I haven't seen them. I've learned a lot about them from people on this board, but I don't think it's my place to spew out an opinion pretending it to be my own, when in fact, it's virtually plagiarism.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picc84
Relying on secondhand info is not a good way to gauge a players abilities. Look at how different the opinions are on players we ALL see EVERY day during the reg season is, on this board alone.

It takes not just seeing a player play, but seeing him play over a relatively long period, to know just how good he was, what his average level of play was, etc. Watching one game is not going to tell you where Jerry West ranks in comparison to Isaiah Thomas. Watching none and having people tell you how he played is going to tell you even less. Different interpretations.

I think if you havent seen someone play, just dont comment on them. You dont know - I know there's plenty of players in the ISH top 100 players list i've barely seen, never seen, and some i've never heard of. I wouldnt dream of trying to include them in any list I was making.
in that case you should never vote in any all-time list. your opinions aren't valid because you refuse to consider anyone who played before you were interested in basketball. we couldn't do a list at all really. it would have to be a last season's list, because i'm pretty sure there are some posters on here who started watching ball in 2006.

and i didn't say listening was all you should do (or didn't mean to say that if that's how it came across). but if you listen to educated people whose opinions you can trust, read up on the game's history, familarize yourself with stats and try to contextualize them in the era that they occurred while watching all the clips and classic replays that you can, you can really get a feel for how a player played - though you have to have a strong sense of historical context to try to compare that impression to today's players.

hell, i was describing kj just yesterday, and ridonks chimed in and said his game sounded like deron's. last night i watched the suns play the sonics in the 93 WCFs, and there's kj, setting everything up, getting into the paint, making smart cuts, clean entry passes and great passes up to the wings - very much like deron (though payton did smother him right out of a few plays too).

by the same token, (as you say in your post) guys change so much as the years pass that even watching players today doesn't give you a full impression of them as players. if i was to describe garnett's game from 2002, when i lived in minne and saw all his games, i bet people who watched a ton of wolves game last year would think i was crazy. great at playing the point of a zone? the wolves don't play zone anymore. tremendous perimeter rebounder? he doesn't even play the perimeter anymore. great pick and pop player? he doesn't have a billups or a brandon to pick and pop with. i've read a few posts where people say shaq had nothing but size, which sounds ludicrous to me, because i still picture him in orlando blue streaking down the court, but they've never seen that, so to them he's a limited old man with dwyane wade to carry him.

i guess i'm just saying that a lot of opinions are based on too small a sample size even when it comes to players they've seen, so where do you draw the line? to me researching, listening, figure-checking, and watching waht you can is sometimes better than just assuming you've seen enough to know. if you started watching ball today and someone told you that webber was one of the most multi-skilled and athletic big men ever you'd laugh in his face. but he would be right. if you read about webber, you'd see all this praise for him, yet you'd be more inclined to trust your impression of a guy who can't jump or move laterally (i'm using the royal you - not poiting out you in particular).

anyway, i still agree that most people don't know why they think certain players are better than others and are way too addicted to stat searches and counting up championship rings.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

A 19 yearold would have been 4 at what I consider Jordans peak(about 1992). You really think more than half of ISH is over 19? Id say you need to be at least 23 or so to really remember Jordan at his best. Id bet anything that less than 50% of ISH is under 23.

And yes...people younger than that could still know its true. At some point common sense is evidence enough. You think you need to see Jordan to know he was better than say....nate robinson? Of course not. how about Jason Richardson? I wouldnt say so. Highlights, classic games, and legacy alone could tell you who was better.

At what point does "You cant know someone you didnt see is better than someone you did" stop being the case? Admit it or not you know there is a limit. I wouldnt need to see 25-27 yearold Shaq play live to know hes better than Jason Collins. We all know this. Just a matter of where you set that limit.

Accept it or not...you DONT need to see some players to know they are better than others. And once you open up the possibility it just comes down to where you choose to set the limit on who can just be ranked over others on common sense. But once you open that up its not relly for you to tell anyone else where to set their limit.

You have not seen Wilt on regular basis in his prime. If you can add him or Greg Osterteg to your favorite team who do you want? You tell me you take Greg or that you dont know enough to decide and I know youre flat out lying.

We all rank players we have not seen because sometimes its just common sense. And its not for any of us to tell others how far they can take something we are all guilty of. Just a matter of degree.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: How can you rank players when you've never seen them play?

Quote:
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Fame, I meant game, "G" and "F" are next to each other.
What spot on the court did Bird make the most things happen from, offensively?
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