"Game Changing" or "Champion"?

Shanoff poses an interesting argument on his blog . Is Kevin Durant, the next David Robinson or the next Dirk? Problem is, even Robinson needed Duncan before the Spurs won a title, and Dirk could have used Nash last year to get over the hump in the Finals.

Point is, either "position defining" player comparison is, in itself, incomplete until a championship is produced. And with Durant we won't know that for at least, I say, 3 or 4 years... because that's how long it will take the Celtics (er, NBA draft lottery winner) to: a) Fire Doc Rivers (the coach), b) fire Danny Ainge (the president), c) re-build a team and d) succeed with Durant in the middle of the team's new system. I argue the biggest piece of that puzzle is not drafting Durant, but actually the drafting/trading/free agent signings around him.

Remember, great players are defined by championships- Shaq/Kobe/Wade, Duncan/Robinson, Bird, Jordan, Magic in hoops. Brady, Montana, Elway and (gasp) Manning in football. And all of those superstars had a teammate or 2 to take some of the burden/pressure off their shoulders. Quick run-down:

  • Kobe had Shaq
  • Shaq had D-Wade
  • Robinson had Duncan
  • Bird had McHale and Parrish
  • Jordan had Pippen
  • Magic had Kareem and Worthy
  • Brady had Vinatieri (and Belichick)
  • Montana had Craig and Rice and Taylor and Walsh and... (stop me at some point)
  • Elway had TD
  • Manning had Rhodes/Addai (and an inspired postseason defense that was invisible in the regular season)
Everyone agrees the "also-rans" were great players, game changers even. Guys like Barkley and Malone or Marino and Barry Sanders were fantastic HOFers who made their teams better. But I think it is unfair (maybe an injustice) to compare those players with the aforementioned champions.

Call it splitting hairs if you will, but I think that is a fine line that needs to be defined. No matter how great those non-champs were, and they were G-R-E-A-T, there is almost a societal class system that should be enforced between champs and also-rans.

Stats are nice (Marino, et al.). But it's all about the rings.

The jury should be out until then on Durant.


Favre's Back... Again

Can you believe he’s coming back…. again?

Aaron Rodgers just threw up in his mouth, spit out acidic chunks, swished some mouthwash then got on the phone with his agent, screaming to get him out of the frozen tundra hell/purgatory he has endured.

I argue that it’s the Packers fans who should be more disappointed than anyone. Or is it there own doing they will endure another 1:1 ratio of TDs to interceptions? The Favre love (Flovre?) is too much in Wisconsin.

Or maybe it’s the defensive players on the Packers who should be fuming over this. Can you imagine the young (and pretty good) defense getting its development stunted, not because of their own lack of effort or poor coaching, but because Favre hands the ball back to the opponent so much now (47 in 2 seasons!). In fact, he only has 38 TDs to those 47 INTs in the last 2 years. That defense will need oxygen masks built into their uniforms (please note this, Lukas) because of how much they’ll be on the field (tired defenses give up lots of rushing yards and lots of possession time). Plus, how do you get motivated as a Packers defensive player to create turnovers if you know that at any given moment, Brett’s going to hand it back to the opposing offense? Or does it fuel them to make more attempts to force a T.O., hence fostering poor tackling techniques and big yardage plays by their opponents when the Packers gamble for INTs or trying to punch the ball out?

This is an example of how 1 selfish player can destroy a franchise. I argue it’s even more outlandish and absurd than T.O.’s selfish viral effect on his teams. Favre’s selfishness is cruel and punishing whereas T.O. is just moronic and laughable.

I think I just threw up in my mouth too.