Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bigtime Poetry And Talk

Not to already beat this Kobe-KG historical context thing into the ground, but I have to say I disagree with Jack in automatically placing Kobe above KG at this point in their careers. Obviously this can all change in the next couple of years (or even by the end of this series), but right now I cannot rate Kobe any higher than Garnett historically. Kobe got to play with one of the three or four most dominant players ever. At his peak I don't know if anybody was better than Shaq. Don't you think KG would have liked that opportunity? Kobe's incomparable partner-in-crime and their location (Global Media Head, California)has made his status bigger than it ever would be leading 44 win teams out of Minnesota. So judge Kobe a little more objectively, I say, at least till he takes his team all the way to the promised land.

Speaking of Garnett, do you know what Lakers' big men play significant minutes? Gasol, Odom, and Turiaf. That's it. Talented for sure, but hardly large and imposing. I'm surprised this isn't being talked about more. The Lakers have been able to go "small" and have a limited big man rotation without dire consequences. That could all change this series. One would believe KG could often have his way on the inside. And you know who could also probably? OUR FRIEND, LEON POWE. Remember him? You know, the guy who quietly dominated most of the season? And who Glenn will now never play for more than ten minutes, if at all? Oh yeah, that guy. Listen, PJ is a pretty good defender, but his playoff PER is all of 8.9, so let's stop with all the accolades. Get Leon in there and don't take him out unless he fucks up numerous times. You're gonna need offense against the Lakers, and Leon helps provide it. PJ does not. Plus, Powe should be able to guard the Lakers' bigs decently, as none of them are really centers in the first place. Glenn is still probably wishing he had John Amaechi for this series, though (read that link, it's what you'd expect from Rivers.)

Also, I have to touch on the crazy Dwyane Wade trade rumor, because it's so zany it possibly might be true. I love Wade, and in my mind he's one of only a handful of guys you simply don't ever even consider trading unless you get an equally untradeable commodity in return (read: LeBron, Kobe, Howard, Paul - and that's probably it.) But maybe, because of Dwyane's injuries, Miami no longer feels that way, even though they can't say it. And if there was ever a team that could put together an enticing package for an "untouchable" superstar it would be the Bulls - we're talking something like the #1 pick and a resigned Deng as the major pieces, or maybe Noah and Tyrus Thomas in place of Deng. That's considerable talent Miami would be getting. I dare say the majority of people would agree with Riley if he pulled the trigger on such a deal.

But I wouldn't. As we found out with KG this year, the elite great ones can totally transform your team. And a healthy Wade is exactly that type of player - the kind of constellation that is worth more than Beasely and Deng, as unlikely as that might sound to some. The stars of stars blind everyone else, and in 2006 Wade showed he clearly was one of those. And I will go out on a limb and say that if he remains healthy Dwyane Wade will be remembered as being better than either KG or Kobe twenty years from now.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on Garnett and Kobe. In addition to the championships with Shaq and his place in LA (heck, even the trial in Denver, perhaps), there are at least two other factors that boost Kobe's standing, maybe erroneously, in many people's eyes: 1) His greatness comes from scoring, which is valued by mainstream fans and commentators more than anything else, and disproportionately, and 2) He is incredibly graceful.

People say Kobe is better because he can take over a game offensively at the end. Which is a tremendous quality, but should we necessarily prize it over the ability to own a game defensively from the beginning?

As for Miami and Wade: kind of depends on Marion's plans, right? If Marion isn't staying, I think Wade for the #1 pick+ is awfully tempting. Build around Beasley and Rose? Sounds good to me.

Filbert Karo said...

That Wade trade rumor thing sounds ok, but if Marion is going, it will be pretty hard for two newcomers to take over the team. Like the Kevin Durant-Jeff Green thing. But maybe Rose and Beasley are better...but it will still be crazy for them.

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Jack said...

I may have slightly overstated the Kobe-Garnett divide but at the end of the day I still don't think they're in the same league. I hate Kobe--HATE him. I think he's a despicable person and a pathological egomaniac but he's so good at basketball it's insane to me. Kobe, Chris Paul and LeBron are in a different conversation than everyone else. I'd much rather have KG on my team but that's at least a partially subjective evaluation; in thirty years people won't talk about Garnett the way they will about Kobe, and it's not all media exposure and commercialized hero worship. After all, Garnett's been the most overexposed guy in the league this year, easily.

As for the Wade thing, I'm gonna disagree there as well. The health thing just looms so large with him... if you can get a team like Chicago to give up a superstar's ransom for a guy who's played 51 games in each of the last two seasons, you've gotta at least consider it. I just don't think he's a superstar until he shows he can play 75 games in a season again.

Also, not better than Kobe, no way. I don't even think Shaq would agree with you there. Much better human being, far more charming, etc. Not better at basketball.

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