Friday, January 20, 2012

Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - Elgin Baylor?

Earlier this week, Micheal Jordan made waves for something that we have all been arguing and prognasticating about for years since his second retirement. The media, fans, non-fans, kids, friends, enemies and the like argued Grant Hill. They argued Vince Carter. They Argued Tracy McGrady. Dwyane Wade. Lebron James. On and on. But Micheal kept quiet on the comparisons, mostly because Micheal knows he's the best and doesn't need to, and because he is too competitive still to give anyone a chance to come close to his greatness. Yet, with his distance from who he was growing, a part of him felt that it was time to give HIS idea of his "Air" Apparent. And out it came. Kobe Bryant. Right there, it didn't end, but the consensus definitely was swayed and questions, ideas and doubts were quenched.

But, luckily for us fans and debaters, there is more than one NBA great to compare and contrast our current lot of players to until our faces turn blue.

Arguably, one is the greatest pure shooter, one is the greatest pure interior defender, one may be the greatest of all time, including Mike. But we'll leave that to debate of course.

I chose only players in the league Currently, that still start for their respective teams and/or are a major part of their teams scheme and ability to contend. To add to the fun, I broke it down into three categories:

Skills: A player that may not have the disposition or the numbers, but have the same talents and abilities as the great their compared to.

Stats: A player that has similar but not exact skill level and the numbers to boot.

Match:This player, may not be a perfect fit, but they match talent, ability, close on numbers and have a familar characteristic set to the NBA Great they are paired with.

Championships and MVP's are out, as those are more a product of the team than the individual.
With that said, lets get to the comparisons. And please when your done, reading, don't be afraid to disagree and comment harshly.

Elgin Baylor

Elgin Baylor played before the days of widespread television exposure, and all that most have to go by are words of those who saw one of the greatest ever to play. From what we can see, Baylor was a strong and graceful at 6-5 and 225 pounds, score like a mad ma and did a real good number on the boards. At one time Baylor owned records for most points in a game, in a playoff game, and in one half of a playoff game. In 1962-63, he became the first NBA player to finish in the top five in four different statistical categories -- scoring, rebounding, assists, and free-throw percentage. It is said that he certainly didn't jump as high as Michael Jordan, but he had the greatest variety of shots of anyone. He would take it in and hang and shoot from all angles. He could post up Bill Russell, pass like Magic and dribble with the best guards in the league. 


Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin finds himself back in the company of another great, and his skills match up even better with Elgin. Had Blake been better pure shooter at this point in his career the title "Next Elgin Baylor" might be his. But it may not be too late for the third year forward and might have been easier to mimic the Legend if Baylor had not retire from the Clppers GM post a year before he was drafted to them.


Kevin Love
With a game that will always be relevant and will always work in this league, Kevin Love will enjoy comparisons in this league for a long time. But until he retires and players aer then compared to him, the Timberwolves forward may have to settle for the bridesmaid of comparisons rather than the bride of them.


Kevin Durant
The third repeat player in the comparisons for Baylor was the charm for Kevin Durant. The sweet shooting small forward, like Baylor is a scoring machine, with an ability to score from anywhere on the court. His jumper, which he spent every day honing at over 1000 shots a day since he was a kid, is one of the best in the game at the ripe old age of 21. His ability to take defenders of the dribble and throw it down with the most acrobatic, like Baylor isn't the most noticeable or memorable part of his game but definitely is there and  a concern for opposing defenses. Add to his ability to clean up the board, which could increase as his interior game does, and you have a little Baby Elgin. With already a scoring title to his name, the sky is the limit for Durant, if not an Elgin Baylor-esque. Career.

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