Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What? Um, no. NO.

I can't resist posting about this... yesterday ESPN.com "senior writer" J.A. Adande, who's probably a perfectly nice gentleman in real life, put up one of the stupidest articles I've read since we started writing this site, which is truly saying something considering that Peter May was at the Globe until only a few weeks ago. A (if not the) central premise of Adande's piece is that Robert Horry belongs in the Hall of Fame. Adande opens his article with a quote from the movie Shane, and well, it somehow manages to go much farther downhill from there.

According to Adande, Horry belongs in the Hall of Fame because he has made some big shots and has seven championship rings. I will grant you that this is a truly amazing statistic; Adande points out that it hasn't happened in thirty years. There's no doubt in my mind that Horry has picked his free-agent spots quite judiciously, and has definitely been a contributing player on some all-time great teams. Still...

Robert Horry has career averages of 7.0, 4.8 and 2.1. He's averaged only 24.5 mpg over his career, and only four seasons out of sixteen did he average more than 30. He's never played an 82-game season. Let's not even discuss things like All-Star appearances, because clearly there aren't any. To suggest that he belongs in the Basketball Hall of Fame--a building that already has far, FAR too many residents--is utter insanity. Adande tries to bolster his argument by saying that K.C. Jones is in the Hall of Fame with similar numbers, but neglects to mention that Jones wasn't elected until 1989, after he'd won two rings as a head coach. That gives Jones a total of 10 rings to Horry's 7, and I'm truthfully not at all sure that K.C. Jones belongs in the Hall of Fame to begin with.

Some other "pieces of Adande:"

There hasn't been a description that has stuck with Horry his entire career. He was a small forward who moved to power forward. He has started almost as many games as he has entered as a reserve.

Wow, he made the revolutionary switch from 3 to 4? How courageous. The reason we see guys being shuffled between 3 and 4 all the time, often within a single game, must be because Robert Horry pioneered this daring move. The last sentence is hilarious, too: basically Adande is framing the fact that Horry hasn't been good enough to start for the majority of his career as if it's some sign of greatness and versatility.

Has there been anyone you'd dread seeing in position to kill your team more than Horry? It's his big shots in big moments that warrant Horry's mention among the game's greats.

Did he really write that? There are probably at least twenty players I've dreaded seeing in a game-winning situation more than Horry, and that's being incredibly generous. Let's start with Michael Jordan and go from there, shall we? Granted, Horry has hit some huge, huge shots, freakishly disproportionate to his day-to-day contributions, but that's exactly the point: the reason it's so fascinating is that he's not that good in the first place. This is basically an anti-argument for HOF-inclusion.

Lastly, I have to take issue with Adande's sycophantic free-pass of Horry's recent dirty tactics. Adande's only evidence for Horry not being guilty of dirty play is Horry's own defense of himself, which doesn't seem particularly weighty. I don't think that Horry's an out-and-out thug, but there's no denying the fact that the end of his career has been marred by two high-profile instances of dirty play, the Nash body-slam from last year and the repugnant clip of David West during this year's Hornets' series. I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to expect a better explanation for this sort of stuff than Horry himself has offered.

Look, I think it's really impressive that Horry's got seven rings. It's a pretty unique accomplishment these days. However, articles like this one are so unbelievably lazy, unresearched and undeveloped that it's depressing when they pollute public basketball discourse. Robert Horry doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame and there's nothing wrong with that. He will be remembered, but writing articles like these is not the way to go about doing that.


3 comments:

Duff Soviet Union said...

Afreakingmen. I couldn't believe ESPN actually had the balls/stupidity to run this. Probably the most interesting thing about Horry is how a guy who's never really been that good has managed to hang around the league for 15 or so years. There's absolutely nothing special about him though. He's just a pretty average player who's been in the right place at the right time, several times, and thanks to great teammates has found himself in a position to take a ton of big shots in the playoffs. A few of which happen to have actually gone in. Nothing more to him than that.

Duff Soviet Union said...

By the way, as I type this, Boston is up 10 (91-81) and PJ Brown has played 14 minutes, scored 0 points on 0-2 shooting, 3 rebounds and 2 turnovers and his -11 is pretty much single handedly keeping Detroit in the game. FREE LEON POWE!!! And I'm not even a Celtics fan. I can't tell you how insane this would be driving me if I was

Duff Soviet Union said...

By the way, as I type this, Boston is up 10 (91-81) and PJ Brown has played 14 minutes, scored 0 points on 0-2 shooting, 3 rebounds and 2 turnovers and his -11 is pretty much single handedly keeping Detroit in the game. FREE LEON POWE!!! And I'm not even a Celtics fan. I can't tell you how insane this would be driving me if I was