Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Order of Magnitude

I have never lived in the great state of Utah, and as such, my exposure to the negative aspects of some of the players that played there were very limited. (only in the Office Polynice era did the media catch up) Growing up my daily newspaper was more interested in writing about the Montreal Expos or the Toronto Maple Leafs than anything else. As a direct result of that, I have a skewed view of the players that were my heroes. That said, my favorite NBA player of all time is Karl Malone. Sure, his off court life suggests a complexity within his soul that simply cannot be explained by throwing down hammer dunks on fools. He fought against the government to help out when FEMA could not, and he has fathered at least two professional athletes outside of wedlock. Perhaps it is best to just accept he has done greater things in his life than I have, and worse things in his life than I have. He lived in our world, but he ruled the basketball court.

The Jazz were quite successful during the Stockton to Malone era, and ideally, this success will be repeated in our current Deron Williams era. I am hesitant to suggest that this is fully the Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer era for a few reasons. If you spend any time scouring the web to read what other Jazz fans are concerned with you will learn the primary reason -- Boozer may not be a player here for much longer. The other reasons are, in my opinion, much more significant.

Stockton and Malone were All-Stars, Olympians, NBA Finalists, both on the Top 50 list and both played here for the majority of my life as a fan. Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer are both Olympians, Boozer has been an All-Star, Brandon Roy is currently holding Deron's spot for him, but both are quite young. Young and so far, do not have the career resumes that deserve mention next to two guys who have statues outside Deron and Boozer's place of work. Age, experience and time are factors, but a much larger descrepency exists when you look at how, for example, Carlos Boozer is regarded as a beast today, and how Karl Malone was a beast in his day. If you look at the stats, the game video, and the quotes from other players it becomes quite obvious. Karl Malone was just such a beast that he was a beast of a quite higher order of magnitude than Boozer is.

In games where Carlos scores a lot of points, they are primarily on jumpers -- effectively playing like Karl Malone did in Karl's last few seasons. In games where Karl scored a lot of points they were because he was doing it all in the paint, dunking on you and getting to the free throw line. It is no surprise to me that Carlos' career high is 20 points less than Karl's is.

Boozer had a *great* season in today's NBA, he averaged 21.1 ppg and grabbed 10.4 rpg. In Karl's 6th season (those are stats for Boozer's 6th) he averaged 29.8 ppg and 11.8 rpg. A big part of this is style of play. Boozer just doesn't get to the line . . . why? Because teams don't usually foul guys who score on open jumpers all day long. Other teams *had* to foul Karl, or he would have beasted them even more. The Mailman is clearly a few orders of magnitude greater than C-Booze, heck, his nickname is even better! Take a look at this YouTube video of Karl scoring his career high of 61 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.

As great as Karl is on offense compared to Carlos, there is no empirical way to evaluate just how much better Karl is on defense. Out of all of his numerous awards, Karl was All-NBA defense 1st team 3 times, and 2nd team once. I say that there is no empirical way to evaluate their relative defensive skills because Carlos Boozer has yet to play any in his career as a Utah Jazz player.

Ultimately then this is the Deron William era, until Carlos Boozer wants to realize that if he wants a statue outside of the arena that he has to at least strive to become Bigger, Stronger and Faster. Fortunately, Deron Williams has an opportunity to be a better player than John Stockton . . . but more on that blasphemy later.


daxiaojie said...

"there is no empirical way to evaluate their relative defensive skills because Carlos Boozer has yet to play any in his career as a Utah Jazz player."

this is the best line i ever read in a blog.