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Gary Payton: LeBron Wouldn't Be As Good In Our Era


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#1 LALakersFan4Life

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 01:58 PM

Pulling away from his peers, LeBron James' competition is becoming history

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Give Charles Barkley credit. He's trying to make an argument when other candidates won't even bother.

LeBron James' brilliance has sucked the drama out of the NBA's MVP debate, and the only real race is to see who can be first to text him congratulations after he wins the award again.

Barkley favors San Antonio's Tony Parker for MVP if the Spurs finish with the league's best record, rejecting the notion that best player has to mean the most valuable one. Yet make no mistake, Barkley is no James hater.

In fact, give the Hall of Famer and TNT analyst props for something else: He's willing to make the Michael Jordan comparison that scares off so many others.

"They've got to get off saying it's not even close, because I think it is close," Barkley said.

And if James keeps this up, it's only going to get closer.

Pulling away from his peers, James' only competition will soon — if it's not already — be history. He's averaging 27.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists for a team that won its final 12 games in February, when he shot a ridiculous 64.1 percent from the field. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra used the term "video game numbers" after James had 40 points and 16 assists against Sacramento on Wednesday, but video games become boring once they're this easy.

Perhaps because of Jordan's popularity or his currently lopsided advantage in championships, many aren't willing to consider what Barkley believes.

"It's unfair to compare eras," is the common answer from those who won't touch the topic, such as Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, who coached Jordan twice and whose 76ers were just beaten by James' triple-double last week.

"I just think you can never compare a 1996 BMW to a 2013 BMW. Different technologies, they all look sleek and look fast, but it's just different," said Shaquille O'Neal, Barkley's TNT teammate.

Those who aren't ready to give James his due usually point to his lone title — six-time champion Jordan among them. Sometimes the argument is more laughable, such as the one from former Seattle guard Gary Payton, who argued that James wouldn't have been as effective during his era because players would have pushed him around more.

"You can't guard him now because it seems like you can't put your hands on him. You know what I'm saying?" Payton said during the All-Star break. "With LeBron, if somebody can hand check him and muscle him, I still think it could be the same. It's a lot different when somebody can hand-check you and control you and be stronger than you on the block or whatever and not let you go anywhere.

"It's a little bit different, as being free and being a freak of nature and his body that he has right now, nobody can guard him, you know what I'm saying? So right now, if he could come back in our era and we could hand check him and guard him and bigger guys get on him and when he gets to the bucket we hit him and knock him like (Bill) Laimbeer, like the Boston Celtic days, it'd be a little bit different. I guarantee you it would be. But he's still great, he's still a great basketball player and like I said he's playing in a great era because he can get to the bucket whenever he feels like it."


James is listed at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds — though he's called himself over 260. Who exactly are these people that were going to outmuscle him?

James is quicker than most guards and stronger than just about every big man. He can play or defend all five positions, and even the 6-6 Jordan couldn't match all James' physical tools.

"I don't think his physical advantages were as great as LeBron is," Barkley said.

Barkley even draws a comparison between James and Wilt Chamberlain, another player who athletically just blew away the competition. Nobody will ever put up the kind of stats the 7-1 Chamberlain did — he averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds one season — but Barkley sees a similarity.

"I never seen Wilt play in person, but he was somebody who was just so physically better than everybody else," Barkley said. "Wilt probably never got his credit because the Celtics had much better teams, but like, the guy averaged 50 points and 30 rebounds in a year. You're like ... that's crazy. LeBron is so much physically bigger and better than everyone else, like, Wilt's the only other person you would think is in that conversation."

Kevin Durant might win a fourth straight scoring title, but after the Heat have beaten Oklahoma City six straight times dating to the NBA Finals and have a better record, it would be awfully difficult to pick him over James as the league's MVP. Parker's team has had the best record for a while even while having to play so often without either Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, but in typical Spurs fashion, he insists he's more interested in team success than individual recognition. Chris Paul, who has turned the Clippers from longtime laughingstock into a legitimate contender, seems more of a James cheerleader than MVP threat.

"What Bron is doing right now is unbelievable, I mean unbelievable," Paul said. "The way he's playing, the confidence that he's playing with, and the biggest thing about LeBron is he's doing it on both ends. Obviously I'm a little biased because that's like my best friend, but he's playing great basketball right now."

James arrived at last month's All-Star weekend after a stretch where he scored more than 30 points and shot better than 60 percent in six straight games, an NBA first. Yet the weekend still belonged just as much to Jordan, who turned 50 on the day of the game and who, to believe some players, could still play in the league now.

Jordan made news that weekend when he told NBA TV in a televised special that he would pick Kobe Bryant over James because of Bryant's five titles. James downplayed the remarks and Barkley practically dismissed them.

"I think that's Michael taking shots at him, because I think, listen, as great as Kobe has been, I've never thought he was as good as Michael Jordan," Barkley said. "But this guy, and everybody wants to talk — I don't know how many rings he's going to win, nobody knows that. If this guy can win five or six rings, I think that's a very legitimate contest.

"I mean this guy, man, think about it. He can guard anybody. A couple of years ago he took Derrick Rose, the MVP, out of a playoff series. I mean, that was amazing, and the guy gets 30 points, let's say 20ish a night, eight, nine rebounds. He's getting eight, nine assists, that's amazing."

James can't get around the rings argument, though, largely because his talent — and his bolting Cleveland to build a potential powerhouse in Miami — mandate him winning many. When Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen finally one won with Boston in 2008, or Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd finally got theirs by beating the Heat in 2011, it seemed that was all they needed to clinch what were already Hall of Fame resumes.

But for James, winning one last year only led to the questions about when he'd win another, the kind of expectations O'Neal faced once he finally broke through eight years into his career.

"It's very unfair but it was life and for me it was nothing but motivation," O'Neal said.

The Heat will surge into springtime with a great shot at another one, and after next season James can decide if he wants to keep chasing championships in Miami or go somewhere else to continue his quest.

Is he Jordan? No, not yet.

Maybe not ever.

But check back when his fingers are a little more filled up.

"If this guy can win five or six championships, I think it will squash all those rumors, all those gripes," Barkley said. "Because this guy, I've never seen anything like him."



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#2 bigvee

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 02:17 PM

How much can the media possibly talk about this guy? This exact article with different analysts comes out every couple of days.

#3 Drazard

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 02:21 PM

lol payton think he can overpower lebrick  :clap2:


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#4 bigfetz

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 02:43 PM

Lebron would be dominate in any era. I swear these older guys think there era's were playing with super humans. Pretty sure NBA players are getting more and more athletic. 


Edited by bigfetz, March 02, 2013 - 02:44 PM.


#5 PhillyLaker24

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 02:59 PM

Lebron would be dominate in any era. I swear these older guys think there era's were playing with super humans. Pretty sure NBA players are getting more and more athletic. 

 

This much is true Lebron would look even more athletic in an earlier era, but Payton has a point. The way you can disrupt james is before he puts the ball on the floor you pressure and get physical up and close with him, the thing is today when he drives pass players they can only just slide their feet rather then putting pressure on him with physical contact.Yes lebron is strong enough to play through physical contact and does many times, but a lot of his misses around the rim have to do with the fact of physical defense albeit that he often gets the calls (has to due with superstar status but as payton says a less physical game.)

 

Even with all of this I still think lebron would be a monster in an earlier era if he didnt act like a prima donna with every bit of hard defense and fought through the contact, but in a later era as athletes get more athletic as a whole I think he wouldnt be as dominate because when he goes up againast a player that is around his size, athletic ability, and plays rough defense he can be disrupted a lot more than people think. Last nights game was an example, Prince was all over him and you see what happened for most of the game.


Edited by PhillyLaker24, March 02, 2013 - 03:00 PM.

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 03:37 PM

Indeed he has a point. If you could play him more physically ala less ticky-tack touch fouls like back in the day weren't called, he would probably be forced to take a lot more jumpers than he does now and thus I'm almost certain his game would suffer to some extent because of it. We all know the majority of his points come from attacking the basket, easy buckets inside, or free throws.


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#7 reryo

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 03:57 PM

Lebron would be dominate in any era. I swear these older guys think there era's were playing with super humans. Pretty sure NBA players are getting more and more athletic. 

 

The league will be full of Lebrons 60 years from now.



#8 MDI

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 04:05 PM

Lebron is milking the hell out of the spacing advantage, hes better than 99% of the league in 1 on 1 situations obviously but when he draws the 2nd or 3rd defender there are enough shot makers around him, thats what it basically comes down to. Look at the amount of 6'4 to 6'8 shooters that Miami have they built that roster around Lebron's strengths and to take advantage of today's rules and their Center (Chris Bosh) can make a 20 foot jumper or even 3 pointers (as we saw in Game 7 last yr vs Boston, he made 2 huge 3s late in the 4th Q)


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#9 King Joseph

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 04:59 PM

like the great bill russel said, you can never go against a ghost. I prefer this style to that muddy 90s ball. The game evolved just like everything else.
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#10 LakersGAFan

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 05:05 PM

Bron would be put on his ass trying to drive the way he does today. He would adjust his game and shoot more. Hed be good but not great. The game today is weaker, softer and is officiated more to protect the offensive stars.


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Posted March 02, 2013 - 05:06 PM

^ Can you imagine Kevin Durant? Dude would get pushed around & outmuscled EASily. If he thinks he's getting a lot of techs now, pshhh.


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#12 LakersGAFan

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 05:15 PM

^ Can you imagine Kevin Durant? Dude would get pushed around & outmuscled EASily. If he thinks he's getting a lot of techs now, pshhh.

yea Durants skinny butt would be knocked around. I seriously doubt hes be able to score 15/game. Hed be a spot up jump shooter whos never experienced a elbow to the ribs on the pull up. In time he would adjust a bit though. But I'm not bias in any way. Thats the game these guys have received. Its not their fault they play girl ball. If they had been accustomed to playing a more physical style 80s to mid 90s ball then they would have been hardened and ready to go. But if they were to take a time machine with their games today and be forced to play the 90 Pistons defense they would be destroyed in every way.


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Posted March 02, 2013 - 05:19 PM

Fortunately for Durant, he does have a great outside shot, superior to LeBron's imo disregarding stats/percentages to some degree and keeping in mind LeBron gets way more of his points in the paint than outside. Also, all those touch foul ticky tack free throws Durant gets somewhat in contrast to LeBron to some degree (partly cause he's so weak & skinny getting bumped so easily), those would decrease dramatically I believe as well.


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#14 LakersGAFan

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 05:21 PM

and for all of you dissing Gary Payton like he had no defense....he wasnt knick named The Glove for no reason. Hes the best defensive PG probably ever>
 

http://sports.yahoo....ug=ycn-11130664

 

NBA Great Debates: The All-Time NBA Defensive First Team

Point Guard: Gary Payton

He wasn't called "The Glove" for no reason. Gary Payton was able to cover both guard positions and did about as good a job at frustrating Michael Jordan as anyone we've ever seen. He also let opponents know about it once he got the best of them, running his mouth as much as his hands, as he racked up the steals and his Seattle Supersonics teams racked up the wins. Amazingly, Payton only won one championship, in his twilight years with the Miami Heat, but he is the best defensive point guard ever.

Payton averaged over two steals a game for seven consecutive seasons and led the league with 2.9 steals per game in the 1995-96 season.

SG: MJ
SF: Pippen
PF: Rodman
C: Bill Russell
 

 


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#15 PhillyLaker24

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 06:28 PM

^ Can you imagine Kevin Durant? Dude would get pushed around & outmuscled EASily. If he thinks he's getting a lot of techs now, pshhh.

 

 Can't say I agree with this. Durant's game is one that would work either now, 25 years ago or 25 years later. His shooting ability is what opens up his driving to the lane, not the rules like bron. Lebron gets a 4 foot head start since no one is up on him because his jumper isnt consistent so when he has the head start its then the physical contact after that he gets the call for. Durant on the other actually has to take defenders off the dribble when they are up on him and he has a 10x better pull up and his length is what gives him a lot of good looks. Durant might not be dropping 30 a night, but still would be a prolific scorer.


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Posted March 02, 2013 - 06:31 PM

^ That's kind of what I'm saying though. You make it seem like I'm saying his game would disappear to a huge magnitude. My bad if I made it sound that severe, but I'm basically in your boat that it would decrease his effectiveness to some degree, but not that severely. He'd still be a prolific scorer as you say, just a little less possibly.


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#17 King Joseph

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 07:33 PM

Yu said durant would be a spot up shooter ? Im done , thats disrespectful. These guys are more talented then the waterdowned expansion 90s. This isnt football, this is basketball. Im glad they took that [expletive] out game. It was sloppy and weak. Old heads will say there era was better for competative sake. The game has evolved and much more efficient and less ball hogs. I love and respect oldschool bball, but I love this new which is my era as I am 18. Its a generational thing.
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#18 PhillyLaker24

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 07:45 PM

Yu said durant would be a spot up shooter ? Im done , thats disrespectful. These guys are more talented then the waterdowned expansion 90s. This isnt football, this is basketball. Im glad they took that [expletive] out game. It was sloppy and weak. Old heads will say there era was better for competative sake. The game has evolved and much more efficient and less ball hogs. I love and respect oldschool bball, but I love this new which is my era as I am 18. Its a generational thing.

 

I'm 19 and as a big basketball fan that watches games on the normal now and watchs tape of older games, it is annoying sometimes the softness you see in the league. At least the acting has turned down some since the league put out fines for flopping, but before that it was like some players were trying to get nominated for an oscar the way they acted like they were getting fouled. Isn't it weird that the best part of a basketball game is the final 5 mins in a close game where the refs allow for the players to actually play? Actually not weird at all, people like to see the nitty gritty and the hard plays players make during crunch time due to extra amount of physical play. It might be hard to see on this board since there is a lot of bias against certain players, but the play style of someone like Lebron or Wade would really suffer if there was more physical defense out there. Its not taking anything away from them just an opinion.


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#19 King Joseph

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 08:00 PM


I'm 19 and as a big basketball fan that watches games on the normal now and watchs tape of older games, it is annoying sometimes the softness you see in the league. At least the acting has turned down some since the league put out fines for flopping, but before that it was like some players were trying to get nominated for an oscar the way they acted like they were getting fouled. Isn't it weird that the best part of a basketball game is the final 5 mins in a close game where the refs allow for the players to actually play? Actually not weird at all, people like to see the nitty gritty and the hard plays players make during crunch time due to extra amount of physical play. It might be hard to see on this board since there is a lot of bias against certain players, but the play style of someone like Lebron or Wade would really suffer if there was more physical defense out there. Its not taking anything a way from them just an opinion.

I agree and respect your points, but you can reverse it. How many of those guys could play in todays leauge and be as effective. I wish it could be a lil more physical but the bad boy pistons type of style does not need to.return.
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#20 bfc1125roy

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 08:06 PM

Lebron is milking the hell out of the spacing advantage, hes better than 99% of the league in 1 on 1 situations obviously but when he draws the 2nd or 3rd defender there are enough shot makers around him, thats what it basically comes down to. Look at the amount of 6'4 to 6'8 shooters that Miami have they built that roster around Lebron's strengths and to take advantage of today's rules and their Center (Chris Bosh) can make a 20 foot jumper or even 3 pointers (as we saw in Game 7 last yr vs Boston, he made 2 huge 3s late in the 4th Q)

 

Yeah they've done a good job of surrounding him with shooters. The Lakers could be doing the same thing with Kobe/Dwight, but it seems nobody can hit a shot outside of Nash, who they won't use as a shooter half the time anyways.






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