Herzlichen Glückwunsch Dirk!

Dirk’s Quest für einen Ring hat eine Menge mehr, als uns bewusst getroffen. Er hat die Mavericks Torschützenkönig der letzten 11 Saisons, und gewann diese Meisterschaft als Team Torschützenkönig. Von den alle NBA-Spieler, die 20.000 Punkte erzielt haben, hat er die längste in diesem Kunststück erreichen wartete. Hier ist eine Tabelle, die den Rest der Spieler, die sich zeigt.

Dirk’s Ring: A Long Time Coming

Deutsch Version

Dirk’s quest for a ring has taken a lot longer than we realize.  He has been the Mavericks’ leading scorer for the last 11 seasons, and has won this championship as the team’s leading scorer.  Of the all the NBA players who have scored 20,000 points, he has waited the longest to achieve that feat.  Here’s a table that shows the rest of the players who did.

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Dirk With A Ring: Better Than The Ringless Wonders, Ewing, Malone, and Barkley?

Does Dirk jump ahead of Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, and Charles Barkley on the all-time greats list if he wins a ring this year? In other words, does winning a single championship necessarily make one superstar better than another superstar who hasn’t won?   
The Bulls, Lakers, and Spurs have dominated the last 20 years; as a result, some players have been denied rings that they may have won otherwise.  The table below is an attempt to distinguish between the guys who should have won a championship and just had some bad luck and the guy who just didn’t get it done in the playoffs.   I measure them using something called “Consolation Points”; the player who loses to the eventual champion in the first round gets 1 point, second round gets 2 points, conference finals gets 3 points, and NBA finals gets 4 points.  I had to make the “superstar cutoff” somewhere, so I only included guys who had met one of the following criteria:  20,000 career points, 8,000 career assists, a career average of 20 points per game, or a career average of 8 assists per game.  The cutoff could be made at many different milestones, but I don’t think they’re unreasonable.  Defensive stats are conspicuously absent from the criteria; that is because in the context of talking about great players and winning championships, almost all the talk is about offensive players, Bill Russell notwithstanding.

I don’t think Dirk moves ahead of Ewing and Malone if he wins a ring.  I do think he is already of Barkley just by virtue of making this year’s finals; Barkley has lost to the eventual champ only once in the Conf. Finals or later.  However; my eyes, heart, and those Right Guard commercials still say choose Barkley over Dirk.

Some Notables About The Table:

Jason Kidd is third on the list.  I’m rooting the most for him to win this year; he is a winning player.  Nobody was beating the Lakers and Spurs during early 2000s – except for the Lakers and Spurs.

The top seven guys on this list kept running into dynasties; they all lost to the Lakers, Spurs, or Bulls at least once.  Malone, Ewing, Kidd, and Stockton really got hit hard against those dynasties; each of these guys would have a ring if not for Jordan, Shaq/Kobe, or Duncan.

Jordan’s Bulls almost single-handedly prevented 3 all-time greats from winning a ring, that’s greatness.

The guys in this year’s finals; Kidd, James, Nowitzki, and Bosh, each get 4 points for this year.  Obviously 2 of these 4 guys won’t be on this list anymore.

Of the top 10, three of the players really squandered golden opportunities: Malone, Ewing, Nowitzki lost to teams they probably should have beaten, the 2004 Pistons, the 1994 Rockets, and the 2006 Miami Heat, respectively.  In this just-ended 20-year era of dynasties, a player has to take advantage of every opportunity.

Only 38 players met the criteria to make this list; the table lists the top 20 players.  Four of the remaining 18 players have no “consolation points”:  Walt Bellamy, I don’t know enough about him to form a opinion; Gilbert Arenas, not a winner; Tracy McGrady, not a winner; and Chris Paul, it’s too early in his career.
Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, and Tim Hardaway have less than 4 “consolation points”:  I was surprised by Tim Hardaway; I saw him as a winning player, but his Miami days were only a small portion of his career.  Vince Carter has never really been thought of as a winning player, no surprise there.  Dominique was never seen as a winning player either and he had many chances to play to the NBA Champ; the Sixers, Pistons, and Celtics won 5 championships in seasons beginning in the 80s.  I have to cut him some slack though; the East was tough in the 80s. In addition to those 5 championship teams, he had to deal with the early to mid 80s’ Bucks and the mid to late 80s’ Bulls.

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Lakers-Mavericks: Why Haven’t They Played More In The Playoffs.

An interesting stat came to mind as the Lakers/Mavs series is set to start.  Kobe and Dirk have never played each other in the playoffs.  The table below tries to find out if this quirky stat is because they just missed playing each other in some years or because they weren’t on track to play each other.  The table assumes that the Western Conference Playoffs go chalk, or all the higher seeds win their series.  An example of how the chart works is:  If the playoffs went according to the seeding, the Lakers should have played Denver 3 times, but only played them twice.   

I think the real interesting stat is not that the Lakers and Mavs haven’t played each other in the playoffs during the Kobe-Dirk era, but that they were only expected to play once in the 9 times that they have been in the playoffs together.  No other Western Conference team had as many common playoff appearances with Lakers, with as few expected matchups with the Lakers.

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