Lets Go Lakers wrote:
DuddlyDoRight wrote:I have a hard time putting magic or Russell over Kobe in the GOAT discussion. Everything else is negotiable. Magic was an innovator at the position, but skill wise Kobe beats him every time. Russell, while being the greatest WINNER of all time, isnt on the level of the rest. His rebounding is tops, but thats not enough to put him in top 5.
The thing that hurts Kobe, whether fair or not, is that he only has 1 regular season mvp. Magic had 3 while Russell had 5. But yeah, in terms of skills and head to head, Kobe is right up there with MJ as the greatest ever. But this list isn't about that. It's about accomplishments and not just skills/talent.
Yeah but to me that isn't fair. "Accomplishments" are enormously affected by external circumstances.
For example, does LeBron's '07 Cleveland team reach the Finals a year later (when the Celtics come up, the Magic find some groove, the Heat get better, etc..)? Most likely no. Yet that goes into your resume as a "finals appearance", and weighs the same (when looked at it like this) as every other finals appearance.
Or, what if Kobe's prime wasn't wasted, in terms of playing with some terrible players until '07?
Or, you think Hakeem wins 2 rings if MJ doesn't retire and the Bulls remain pretty much the same as in 93?
Rings can sometimes be truthful in value, and can sometimes be misleading. A LOT of it is about timing, about circumstances, about luck (no injuries to major players for example), about just having a more stacked team, about playing in a weak era, etc.
The same with individual awards. Many players have played MVP level seasons and didn't get the award because
a) their team was trash and their record wasn't that good (Kobe in '06 for example)
b) there was another player going on a historical run, and if only the first player had played this way the year before (or in any other year), he'd won (happened to guys when Jordan was around.. Drexler in '92 averaged almost 25,7,7 and led his team to a good record. Would've been an MVP in a different year, most likely. Same with Shaq in '95, or Ewing in '93, or Jordan in '97, Malone in '98, Kobe in '03, etc)
c) politics - i.e., not wanting to give the same guy another
MVP, or, a player that isn't really popular or his image isn't that good (Kobe post-colorado), etc..
My point is this: of course accomplishments or accolades are important, but we must always try to really analyze each of them and the circumstances surrounding it, so we can understand their true value. Also, as your basketball knowledge grows from playing, watching, studying the game, you are more and more able to measure a player's true talent and ability by just watching him play a certain amount of time, and to me it becomes very important when talking about "who's the best?".
Of course, we need to look at what a player ends up doing with that talent, so it's all interconnected. But it wouldn't be fair to just go out and say "oh, this guy has just 1 MVP, or just 1 ring, so nah, let's drop him in the list", without seriously looking into it.