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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prince Fielder Signs with the Tigers; The Tigers' Newest Fielder


The goes that mystery team again.

In a development that was not nationally bought into or discussed outside of the the Motor City, the Detroit Tigers have signed the son of former Detroit Tiger's first baseman Cecil Fielder. The move gives the Tigers a replacement and upgrade on Victor Martinez in the DH spot and makes the Tigers shot at repeating in the AL Central that much better.

Four days after GM Dave Dombrowski said Prince would be a "long shot" and "Not a good fit", the GM signed the former Milwaukee Brewers First Baseman to a  Nine year, $214 Million dollar deal paying Fielder an average of nearly $24 million dollars a year, and the Tigers have a power source they have not had since the Elder Fielder signed  with Detroit a little over 20 years ago. So what does this mean for the Tigers, Prince and the league?

For the Tigers, it signals to their fans that they are ready to win this year, next year and the year after with an amazing nucleus of first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Alex Avila, Delmon Young and Austin Jackson. That doesn't include the aforementioned Victor Martinez' return next year and the three golden arms, Jacob Turner, Drew Smyly and Casey Crosby, that will be ready for the pros in  the next year or two.

This will be an exciting lineup to watch in the next few years as both Miguel Cabrera and Fielder are playing with a players the caliber of each other arguably for the first time in their careers (all due respect to Ryan Braun). This will grossly change the way pitchers can pitch to Cabrera and/or Fielder depending on the lineup configuration. Both are very much used to being the number 4 hitter and being pitched around in nearly 20% of their at bats. Yet, with the signing of Fielder the luxury of doing so may have gone out of the window and pose the possibility of the number four offense from a year ago topping the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox for the top offense in the league.

And this also gives credence and reason, more than his battle of the bulge,( Maybe the psuedo-vegeterian Fielder can implant some better habits on the slugger) for the Tigers to stress Miguel Cabrera to make more progress this offseason to shed weight and get in bette, more agile space to allow Fielder to play first base and allow Cabrera to slide over to third base, where the former shortstop and third baseman played for the Marlins and parts of his time with the Tigers.  His glove will be better than expected by most at the hot corner and will be a development to watch throughout the season.

The ball is now in the Princ'es Court.
As for Prince, this is not a new experience to Prince, well outside of switching to the American League. His father, Cecil, played for the Tigers from 1990 to the middle of 1996, hitting 245 home runs and driving in 758 runs. The younger Fielder would join his father to the old Tigers Stadium as a child, and would regularly take batting practice, even hitting a few out of the stadium as a 12 year old (legend has it he hit one OUT of the stadium as a teen). His return to the City can play one two ways.
And he could be gunning for
the Cecil got from Tigers Fans
from 1990-1996.
Prince has his chance to truly use the chance to play in the city his father played in and use it as a motivator to outdue what his father accomplished during his time there or as jump off point for their relationship to mend. What he says about playing for the Tigers with relation to his father will be a great piece of knowledge on how he currently stands with the elder Fielder.

As for the League? It sends a message. With two of the top three first baseman on the same team, more pitching the team knows what to do with and a sour taste from last season's heartbreaking loss in the ALCS, the Tigers have become the team to beat in the American League. A top 5 offense, a top pitching staff that ranked in the top ten after the all star break last year and a playoff caliber bullpen led by a Champion head Coach in Jim Leyland will be a bear for any team in the AL or NL. They can match power for power with every elite team in the league and show the depth to overtake the Rangers as the league's pennant holder.

Though all is still hypothetical with the season month's away, but the Tigers look ready, right now to win in all later this year.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coach Tressel Second Interview with Colts; Inevitable?














Jim Tressel didn't take too long to find a way back to the coaching circle did he? 

Before I  get ahead of myself the reports are only that Tressel has conducted a second interview with Colts GM Jim Irsay, who is on the verge of completing a complete overhaul of the Colts front office, including dismissals of Head Coach Jim Caldwell, 8 of his assistants, front office maintstays Bill and Chris Polian and Defensive Backs Coach Alan Williams is leaving to become the Defensive Coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. 
Like Tressel, Caldwell became the
scapegoat for his teams problems.

Phew, thats a mouthful. Back to Tressel. 

Will this guy be under center
again?
The former Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach, a fur time 1-AA National Champion, 2002 BCS Champion and face and scapegoat of the headline grabbing Ohio State Investigation that saw him lose his position of head football coach for the team. Now, a game day consultant for the Indianapolis Colts, Tressel could be on the verge of returning to coaching, albeit in an arena he has not completely been exposed to. Having only been in his current capacity with the Colts since week 7, Tressel's options to return to the college ranks were severely limited after the NCAA came down with A show-cause penalty is essentially a scarlet letter on a coach’s name for the duration of the penalty. A school that wants to hire Tressel with his show-cause penalty during the next five years faces potential penalties, given that the coach is a noted rule breaker by the NCAA. That means it's unlikely that a school would take him on in that time frame. Tressel would be 64 when his show cause penalty expires. 

Irsay has a tougher than whomever coaches the Colts?
Needless to say, going back to college is not an option for this student of the game.

With Tressel's, pedigree, staunch loyalty to the organizations he has been with in the past and his teams great history of defensive prowess makes Tressel and the 28h ranking scoring and 25th ranking yardage defense of the  Colts seem to be a match made in heaven. 

It could be possible that the makings of these recent developments with the Colts have been around since the uncertainty of Manning's career continuance came under fire, but I don't have the kind of sources to confirm or deny that. But in hindsight, bring the former Buckeye coach into the fold near the middle of the season was a subtle but savvy move by Colts management, giving them the upper hand on signing him in the event everything that happened to the Colts this year happened and rebuilding was required. That should be a familiar job for an accomplished College Coach, considering that they have to consistently recruit, prepare and recycle talent through their schools while remaining competitive enough to compete for a national championship on a yearly basis.

So if Tressel is officially hired and given the option, which he will have due to the mass firings, to hand pick his staff, who will he bring in? And is it feasible to believe that the ball coach can have a Harbaugh effect on the Colts team? Will he have Manning or Luck to lead his team? 

These questions will face any coach taking the post at Indy and will be four important grading scales for Tressel if hired.

The coaching staff will be somewhat of a mystery but one would have to assume he would have some bias to he previous coaching staffs and players at OSU and Youngstown State.

Mike Vrabel is an example
of the kind of former players
that will be a part of a Tressel
Staff.
Don't be surprised if Eddie George and Terry Glenn emerge as position coaches, as they both have coached in the league within the past two years. Mike Vrabel is coach linebackers at OSU but could come out for Coach Tressel. Chris Speilman coached in 2005. Former OSU standout wideout Cris Carter is a head coach for a national high school power in Fort Lauderdale at St. Thoas Aquinas. And don't forget Luke Fickell. He is making the interview rounds for the college ranks as we speak but his availiability for Coach Tressel would not be in question. 

As for the Harbaugh effect, it might be possible, but not as much as Jim Harbaugh did in San Francisco. He had a defense already stout and holding playmakers like Patrick Willis and Jason Smith, and the draft, which netted supreme bull rushing pass rusher Aldon Smith, and the defense carried the team to a 13-3 record. The offense was already intact too, with Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and a surprisingly efficient and safe Alex Smith. 
It would not be as simple in Indianapolis. The defense does have a pair of edge rushing ends, but they aren't getting any younger. The linebackers need help as does the secondary. And the offense? The line is falling apart, the running back position undecided and the quarterback position in doubt.
A solid draft is a help, and maybe some solid free agents, but while San Francisco got 6 games against NFC west opponents and a down year NFC East, the Colts would not have the same luxury, facing a tougher AFC south slate and matchup with the AFC North. The turnaround can happen quick for a 2-14 team but not 13-3 quick with this many questions.  


How much could Luck bring back?
Julio Jones was traded for 5 draft
picks.....
Lastly, what will be the quarterback situation? The final answer to that question will clear plenty of air for the front office and allow them to get the pieces they need to nurture a rookie quarterback or support a veteran one. If Peyton comes back healthy, the Colts, though wanting to draft Luck for the future, the haul they could get for trading his draft rights could be twice what the Browns got for their top ten spot last year, which got them 2 first rounders (2011 and 2012), the 2nd and fourth from the 2011 draft and the fourth from the 2012. Imagine what Andrew Luck could bring? And how quickly it could transform the Colts roster from talentless to loaded with it.

This is all hypothetical. He might not get hired and a coach might not be named for some time before the draft. But the questions will remain no matter who the coach is, leaving the toughest job to the Colts GM, Jim Irsay.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kevin Love's Buzzer Beater in L.A. signals New Era in Minny

If tonight's game is evidence of anything, it is that, if the league still looked at the Minnesota Timberwolves as the Wolves of old, they outta wake up quick. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, after cold starts to a togh away game in Staples Center against Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers, the duo would me the main orchestrators of a phenomenal comeback evnetually capped off by a Rubio three to tie it with 20 seconds to go and Love the game winning three with no time to spare.

And with his arm spread wide and his chin raised in a defiant stare at a quiet Los Angeles crowd with the likes of Billy Crystal and Jessica Alba watching, Kevin Love embraced his rookie Point Guard and sent a message to the league.
A Nucleus of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams
Could spell success forthe baby Wolves.

The Big Bad Wolves are hear.

The game signified a huge victory and possible launching on the young season for the young team, and may have given view to the teams growth. Ricky Rubio, averaging nearly 10 points and 10 assists a game, came into the fourth quarter with no points and 3 assists. Love was quiet in the first have as well, add it up in the box score but disappear behind Blakc Griffin and Mo Williams in the first half and leaving the half with Darko Milicic as the leading scorer for the team. But the budding partnership of Love and Rubio came alive in the fourth, with Rubio making play after play, in one sequence blocking a shot, grabbing the board running the floor nd assisting on a the next play. Love kept the team afloat. Allowing his consistent play and demeanor to keep the young team ready to climb from 9 back in the fourth and give him a chance to shine for Minnesota and sink the Clippers in the same fasion they and Big Shot Chauncey Billups had done over the Mavs a night prior.

Needless to say, this is no longer the hapless Timberwolves team lost without Kevin Garnett and seemingly losing on purpose for draft picks. They are finally a budgeoning bed of young talent, ready to let the two stars lead them with solid play, clutch deliveries and a never say die attitude.


The Minnesota Timberwolve are on the prowl.

Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - Larry Bird


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.


Larry Bird






















Larry Bird is one of the best if not the best forwards of his era and of all time. He had a sweet J, could penetrate, dish it out and and play the glass. He was a big man but shot a big free throw percentage. He wasn't afraid to guard and play D and definitely felt the disrespect when guarded by another white player. No disrespect, but those were his words. He knew he was better than you, loved to carve you up, and filled up the box score every night. His motor seemed infinite, jumper too tall to block at his position and length troublesome for those he guarded, which he used to negate the speed game. Who's close?

Skills:

Kevin Durant
Measurables? Check. Elbow placement and scoring efficiency? Check. Does he want to see you wince every time one of his jumpers hits the bottom of the net? Double-Check. And his motor will let him enjoy every swish all game long. Like Bird, rather than his height be a hinderance to his ability to shoot it is a true advantage, allowing him to see the basket better and increase his percentager of getting off a clean shot, hence the efficiency. But, the length that he has to use in order to hinder his opponent on the defensive end really isn't used properly by the third year guard, and he has a ways to go to catch up to Mr. Bird. Add to that a court vision that is lacking and his want to share the rock is a work in progress.
Stats:

Dirk Nowitzki




Just like Larry, it would be a shame for the white player to try to challenge this German sharpshooter. And like the stats, say, he can fill up the box score just like him too. Other than a 3 assist disadvantage, Dirk puts in the same points, rebounds and percentages as the Hoosier, from the 3, in the circle an add the stripe. Measurables are there too but he won't ever be confused for a defensive player or a floor runner. 

Match:

Grant Hill

Go ahead, say it. Grant Hill? THAT Grant Hill for the Suns? Yes and no. Don't forget that when Grant Hill was make commercials and living the life as the next Jordan, he was the league premier player, behind Jordan. Sweet shot, could get to the hole, distribute at a point guard rate all while playing at 6-8 at the small forward position. He had the clutch tendencies, the all time motor, the great defense thanks to Coach K, and was a great teammate just like Larry. Had he had better heatlh and a team like Larry's, Grant might be challenging Kobe for MJ's honor.

Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - Isiah Thomas?


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.


Isiah Thomas




Oh Lord Isiah! Florida International's current Head Coach was lethal. On the dribble, in the lane, open court and in your head. His scrappy play and never say die attitude coupled with his mean first step and ability to make plays, shooting and distributing, were nearly unmatched at his position. And the fire he played with and his love to get in your had and jabber away showed his competitive nature, his endless endurance, killer instinct and slight, well, very evident self confidence.
Skills:

John Wall
He's got the speed, no doubt. He can pass with the best and can get his points when he puts it together. He has a swagger that is almost annoying and can be scrappy and defend when, once again, his mind is on the prize. He even has Thomas' ho hum free throw percentages. But unfortunately, his age seems to disable the motor and focus he needs to take that step to great, but at 20, he has plenty of time to catch up to the rest.

Stats and Match:

Chris Paul
He was the offseason darling but was always the most complete point gaurd in the league and best comparable to Isiah Thomas. Why? Becasue he just might be better. We know the physical talent is their, even with the knee surgery, but what about the numbers, mental toughness, the arrogance and the fire? Well, the numbers are right their wit Isiah's, off by a point per game but besting the Detroit legend on shooting percentages, rebounds, assists and steals. That tells you like Isiah, CP3 can take a game over when he needs to, whether it be by scoring, dishing, defense or just that momentum changing play. The fire is evident by his impatience with the Hornets and the league and his desire to play in a big market shows his confidence if not arrogance, to deliver in the toughest of arenas under the harshest of lights. An all time great in the making. 


Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - Bill Russell?


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.


Bill Russell 






















If their was ever a model of what an NBA center should look like, it was Bill Russell. Leaders? Bill Russell. Spirit-Breakers? Bill Russell. He was the best center in the league for more than half of his career and dominated the NBA lie no center prior. His ability to lock down the paint is rarely challenged by any since then and his tempered aggression and intense focus are legendary. Add his ability to absolutely clean the glass like his name was Windex and supreme basketball IQ and you have got yourself a bona fide Legend.

Skills:

Tim Duncan




Tim Duncan could do it all. He could shoot it, pass it, run the floor and defend the toughest opponents. He owned the paint and made opposing slashers think twice about driving and opposing teams think twice about winning. He had the length, endurance, and defensive IQ to dominant the last decade. His imprint on the league is big and will definitely will be in the Hall with Bill when its all said and done.


Stats:

Dwight Howard
Statisically, Diwght Howard may be the closest this crop of NBA stars gets to Mr. Russell. With Russell average 22.5 rebounds for his CAREER, Howard's 12.92 boards per game is as close as it gets. We can imagine that number though would go up a few if Dwight had the luxury of being the only legit big man in the league like Bill Russell for a good portion of his career. But even when the competition drew stronger and Russell older the rebounds only drop to 20 a game. 20. Dwight's board bashing is the closest we have, but his blocks, points, and defensive presence is definitely on Russell's level. 

Match:

 Kevin Garnett
A power forward? Really? Really. This isn't Dennis Rodman or Zach Randolph. This Kevin Garnett, one of the most fiercely intense players we will ever see. His DNA may have been drawn exclusively to couple Bill Russell and Bill Lambeer. But Garnett's focus to winning and to everything on the court, defensively, offensively and X O's may not be matched. He has always been the guy on his team's and his team's took on his personality to win games. He'll never give it to you easy, he never backs down and he never stops going. His will is to break your's and do it with pleasure. Even Russell had to give props to KG in this interview. The skills and numbers are there, and the mentality is burning hot. 


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


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.


Magic Johnson















Magic Johnson may have been from the Mid West but he was made to play in Hollywood. His larger than life size as the point guard position and off the court persona are still ever present to this day. He's articulate, 
intelligent, and it showed in his game on the court. He could thread the needle with the pass, break down defenders with the dribble, back down defenders with his size and run the floor like gazelle. But it was his one in a lifetime vision that really let his game shine. He seemed to see things that weren't there until they were and almost always seemed to be in the right position. And his versatility was cleared evident and on display when the Laker's center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down with an injury and Magic played throughout the game at point guard, forward and center in Game 6 of the 1980 Finals and dropped 42 points, grabbed 15 boards and doled out 7 assist to clinch an NBA title. Arguably one of history's top 5 players.

Skills:

Lamar Odom
Lamar Odom, talent-wise, could have been a legend. at 6-10, he could play every position on the floor, exhibiting above average floor vision, an outside shooting touch, an interior scoring ability, transition play and great ability to play the glass and above the rim. This package wrapped up in a power forwards body should  have been a real treat to experience. He even has the off court likable nature the Magic naturally exudes. But  his personal hurdles, preference to play second fiddle and seemingly endless stream of tragedies marred a career that though full of accomplishments, lesser than what one might expect.

Stats and Match:

Lebron James
If Lebron were sure of who he was he might be the perfect match for the Magic Man but we will settle for almost perfect. Lebron was made to be Magic, the body, the athleticism, the vision, scoring and defense. He has the stats and he has the demeanor. He even shares the career moments that dulled other wise bright and shining careers, on and off the court. Even more so, like Magic, Lebron is becoming a larger than life character in our society and a mainstay in the minds of even the most reclined of sports fans. The talent and production exhibited by these two can only be matched by one other player. We'll get to him shortly. 


Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - Charles Barkley?


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.


Charles Barkley 

Sir Charles Barkley. The enigmatic power forward that truly put the power in forward. He was better than most, stronger than most, faster than most, and played way harder than most, cause he had to. Like Daft Punk says, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger....and in Sir Charles case, Shorter. At 6-4 Charles Barkley was the height of a tweener guard and the weight of a small center. But if you ever think that you could out work Charles, you would be dead wrong. He motor ran hot, and his game ran hotter. His will was his greatest ally and strength, so much so that many forget his size and only remember the bulldog they see on tape. The best undersized player ever, one of the best power forwards ever.

Skills:

Blake Griffin
We're talking skills folks. I get that Blake is 6 inches taller than Chuck, but look at the kid. Like Chuck he's not thin in the least. He can do things that most power forwards can't because of his will to be better and never quit. He runs it like Chuck, powers like Chuck and can do it like Chuck. Pass, shoot, dribble and defend, and all at a harder level than most power forwards. But his will, evident by his ability to do what he did last year after rehabbing an injury that can destroy careers and change players forever, can't be forgotten. He plays hard cause he wants to, and because he needs to.



Stats:

Kevin Love
He's got the numbers folks. His scoring ability and rebounding prowess precedes him, but unlike others with similar stats in those categories, Kevin Love can dish as well. it may not be evident in the numbers but if you watch his game his ability to find the slasher or open player is good for his size, its just his teammates inability to covert that lessens his dime count. Percentages match, game, match's, results match. Which in my mind, makes Chuck's output even more impressive. 

Match: 

Dwyane Wade
You won't always find what your looking for in the same section of the store. Chuck's match is no different.
At 6'3, Dwyane Wade was describe as a tweener coming out of college. A two guard that could play the one but might have trouble at the two with guards in the NBA averaging between 6'6 and 6'7. Wrong. Chuck's T-Mobile Co-Star got his weight up to 220 from 205 and not only flourished at the position but has become a dominant force there. Like Chuck, his speed at his position ( I know it sounds weird now but watch the tape) and athleticism as well as abnormal arm length make him a nightmare for defenders and scorer's alike. He plays with a point guard's speed and a shooting guard's mentality. And as for the motor, the fire and the aggressiveness that Sir Charles played with? Check. Check and Check. The run down block, a true measure of the former which Wade and Lebron love, was a staple in Barkley's game.
Wade plays harder than 99% of the league and his will may be only matched by MJ's comparable Kobe. Chuck and Wade, may be small, but their bite is bigger than almost any opponent they face.


Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - Oscar Robertson?


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.

Oscar Robertson


Oscar Robertson, the "Big O," is the player against whom all others labeled "all-around" are judged, and he may remain the standard forever.Statistically, one need look no further than the numbers Robertson put up in 1961-62, just his second year in the league: 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game-an average of a triple-double for an entire season. Not even Magic Johnson or Larry Bird could match those numbers.An elite scorer, proven by his ranking Sixth all time in the category, coupled with a generous dishing hand and ability to lead his team in rebounding as a guard plays to his play making ability and scoring brilliance. Robertson was the first "big guard." Magic was only one-year old when Robertson registered his first NBA assist, crashed the boards for his first NBA rebound and sank a jumper for his first NBA points.



Skills:

Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans hasn't come close to putting all together to even sniff Robertson's output, but if the talent is the first thing you need to get there, then Evans has what it takes to do it. His desire to do it all is amazing to see in such a young player, and his size and strength are amzing for any age player at his position. It is this size that allows him to get rebounds against stiffer competition, score against those large and small and see the court well enough to use his vision. It will be great for the Kings to see him finally reach his potential, and its way to early in the game to say he won't.

Stats and Match:

Lebron James
No, I don't have a man crush on the guy, I'm not a Heat fan and rarely ever look the guy up. But you cannot deny talent, you can't deny output, and you can't find a better match for the Big "O" in the league right now. We went over his abilities to multitask in the Magic comparison, but it is his size as well that puts him in this spot. At 6'9 and 250, James, for the most part is a guard in a forward's body, at least visually. But his elite speed and ups allow him to truly dwarf the competition. If he were 6'2 or 6'4 and lighter, defenders might find him a bit more tame, but at his current size and ability, its no wonder his transition from high school star to NBA star to NBA great was seamless. Now for his sake, maybe his career with Oscar's a bit and the big bodied guard can grab a ring or two before it's all said and done.

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. 


Skills:

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.


Stats:

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.

Match:

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.





Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - John Stockton?


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.


John Stockton

Not alot of behind the back passes. Or overhead. Or between the legs, or anything really extravagant. Not many jumpers or three's either, at least none that truly come to mind, mostly lay-ups and short stuff. But when that last minute ticked away. You now that as a teammate, you had the best point guard on the floor, as an opponent, you can't figure out how you let him beat you, and as spectator, you may be seeing something that is so amazing and so perfect that you might not see it again. He wasn't the fastest, biggest, strongest or imposing, but he always seem to come through and always seemed to control the game. His defense was textbook as was his ability to pass and if their is a picture of floor general in the dictionary, it probably has Stockton's picture next to it.

Skills:


Rajon Rondo
Rondo has the same skills and demeanor as John Stockton and is adding to those skills by the year, so this may be the last time Rondo is considered similar to the Jazz legend and not on par or better. As his scoring acumen increases he loses that parallel. But at the time as Rondo takes care of the ball, plays exemplary defense and dishes out assist like they're going out of style, John Stockton is good company to be in.


Stats:

Jason Kidd






From young to old we flip the switch on father time and look at the statisitics of Jason Kidd. The Dallas Mavericks guard himself is already a legend in the game and sometime soon will be a legend on a list like this. Like Stockton, Kidd is one to make the right play at the right time and limit turnovers, while shooting much less than his new age counterparts. His assist numbers are off the charts and, in his prime was a premier defender like Stockton. Even in his twilight his legend is secure and stats parallel to Stockton locked in place.

Match:

Ricky Rubio 

Like Stockton, Rubio can really flourish in the passing game and on the defensive end so easily that it can sometimes go unnoticed. He doesn't shoot alot like Stockton but is involved in much of the team's scoring. He shows a great ability and tact in these area's and seems to be a budding leader on the floor. And with his own personal Karl Malone in Kevin Love, the young first year point guard is drawing parallels to pure point guards of the games past. A nice change to the shoot first guards of this era. 




Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons, but what about - Rick Barry?


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.


Rick Barry

If there was ever a Jordan-esque scorer, with a Jordan-esque demeanor before Jordan was around, Rick Barry is that scorer.And I say scorer because the defense was not as tenacious as Jordan's. But the reason Barry is on this list and regarded as a top 50 player is because of his amazing offensive game and desire to bury his opponents night in night out. He had a hot head and was never afraid to let it burn if it meant that at of the end of the day he was on the winning side of the outcome. On the court, his pure deteremination outlasted opponents and was the sole reason for his ability to score at the clip he did, averaging 30 plus a season four times. Of the court, Barry single mindedness on winning bore a harsh exterior to an amazing player, seen more as a villain than anything else. But we know that under that exterior is the heart of lion and a competitor for the ages.

Skills:

Dirk Nowitzki
Score, score and score some more. It may not seem like he has the elite athleticism that most believe it takes  to succeed in the league but Nowitzki looks at that only as a reason to work hard at his craft than his athletically gifted counterparts. The result of endless hours working on jumpers, turnarounds, up and unders and any other move you seen? An MVP scoring talent that can go shot for shot with anyone in the league, because he wants it just a little bit more than you.

Stats:

Kobe Bryant
If anyone knows about being hated, whether for off the court gaffs or on the court flare and accomplishment, its Kobe Bryant. He is one of histories top scorers and will never be thought of anything but. The king of work ethic and extreme preparation matches up pretty nicely with the Elder Barry. Other than Barry;s free throw percentage advantage, Kobe has nearly identical numbers to Barry, including the four 30 point season averages. He may be MJ's choice for his closest comparison but statistically, on offense, Bryant mimics Rick Barry like no other.


Match:

Carmelo Anthony
The Melo man. Soft on the inside but hard as rock on the outside. He has a cool demeanor but can be as candid and agitating as Rick Barry was, and also as demanding as Barry was. His stats and skills are near exact and Carmelo even controversially changed teams just as Barry did in jumping to the NBA and the Warriors. The games are parallel, as both could play above the rim but are better known for their ability to use a nice jumper, great moves and any hole the defense gives them to rack up the points, game in game out. Grinders by nature and winners by desire, Anthony and Barry are aggressive attackers who relish the limelight and the victory more than most, to the point that nothing is more important. But even like Barry his extreme want to win can destroy a real image of a good person, but one who just can't bear to lose, or at the very least do anything it's takes to do so. Except play defense.