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Rick Barry is probably the most underrated SF ever

Why is Rick Barry seemingly so forgotten by modern NBA fans and analysts?

Whenever a list of the top SFs all time get mentioned, inevitably there’s Lebron and Bird, Dr J, KD and Pippen get mentioned, and sometimes Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins and even Paul Pierce get thrown in.
..but what about Rick Barry?
 
For people who don’t know how much of a statistical beast Rick was, his playoff stats were monstrous:
 
1967 playoffs – 34.7 PPG / 7.5 RPG / 3.9 APG
1970 playoffs – 40.1 PPG / 10.0 RPG / 3.3 APG
1971 playoffs – 33.7 PPG / 11.7 RPG / 4.0 APG
1972 playoffs – 30.8 PPG / 6.5 RPG / 3.8 APG
1975 playoffs – 28.2 PPG / 5.5 RPG / 6.1 APG
1976 playoffs – 24.0 PPG / 6.5 RPG / 6.5 APG
1977 playoffs – 28.4 PPG / 5.9 RPG / 4.7 APG
 
He’s one of only 4 players to ever win a ring without another all star on his team (the others are Ben Wallace, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dirk Nowitzki)
 
He’s the only player to ever lead the NCAA, ABA AND NBA in scoring
 
He was the first SF that you could call a ‘point forward’ due to his passing ability
 
He had the highest FT% in history at the time he retired
 
“He was Larry Bird before Larry Bird” is what many fans who watched him play said about him
 
He has the highest scoring Finals Average of all time at 36 PPG, even beating out Michael Jordan’s 33 PPG
 
He has over 25k career points if you include his ABA stats
(which the NBA should and is baffling that they don’t because you know, they merged so ABA history should be part of NBA history)
 
He had “mamba mentality” way before Jordan/Kobe made it popular; He would never shy away from shooting a shot, he was psychologically competitive and he was tough on his teammates. The problem was, back in the 1970s this type of mentality was widely disliked and hence he was probably robbed of a few MVPs (which were voted on by players back then). Now, ironically we praise players with this kind of mentality.
 
Head to Head matchups versus other SF greats of the time:
 
Rick Barry vs Elgin Baylor
Barry – 28.2 / 9.8 / 3.1 / 44% FG%
Baylor – 19.4 / 9.5 / 2.4 / 42% FG%
 
Rick Barry vs Connie Hawkins
Barry – 23.4 / 6.9 / 5.7 / 45% FG%
Hawkins – 15.0 / 7.1 / 4.7 / 50% FG%
 
Rick Barry vs Billy Cunningham
Barry – 29.5 / 7.4 / 3.2 / 44% FG%
Cunningham – 16.5 / 9.6 / 3.5 / 44% FG%
 
Rick Barry vs Gus Johnson
Barry – 32.1 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups
Gus – 19.4 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups
 
Rick Barry vs Roger Brown
Barry – 28.5 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups Brown – 21.4 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups
 
Rick Barry vs Julius Erving
Barry – 24.7 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups
Dr J – 26.6 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups
 
Rick Barry vs John Havlicek
Barry – 28.1 / 8.4 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups Hondo – 22 / 5.7 / cant find other stats on their h2h matchups
 
Rick Barry vs Chet Walker
Barry – 27.2 / 8.1 / 3.7 / 45% FG%
Chet – 20.1 / 6.5 / 2.8 / 49% FG%
 
So as you can see, Barry basically destroyed every other SF of his era – the only exception being Dr J (who was younger than Barry)
 
How could a player so dominant at his position be routinely left out in conversations? SLAM magazine left him out of their all time SF mount rushmore candidates – but inexplicably put Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce there. ESPN left him out of their all time Warriors starting lineup, instead putting in Draymond Green over him. TNT’s 2011 All-Star Fantasy Draft where 6 analysts drafted 10 players each – Barry was not picked.
 
It’s inexplicable to me that Rick Barry is mostly forgotten and even if he is remembered, mostly remembered for his granny style free throw shot and him being a racist commentator. When I went to watch the Warriors games, I was the only one wearing a Rick Barry jersey. Sometimes I even saw Mullin jerseys – but never Barry jerseys (or Thurmond jerseys for that matter). And that’s kind of sad because not only should his dominance as a player be remembered, but he’s one of the few players back then who would thrive in today’s game with his ultra competitiveness, his point forward skills, his complete game (post, interior, perimeter) and his long range shooting.
Thoughts? I think he’s one of my top 2 most underrated players of all time along with Artis Gilmore.
 
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Sports

Why do so many casual NBA fans discredit Wilt Chamberlain because he played in a “weak” era?

Honestly, I think it’s part ignorance and part denial.

First of all, since Wilt played in the 1960s and he’s no longer around to defend himself, and most of the people who watched him play are getting too old themselves, it’s very easy for the typical Gen Z / Millenial fan to point out that:

  1. Wilt played in an 8 team league
  2. Wilt’s numbers are inflated
  3. Wilt played against short white plumbers
  4. Bill Russell dominated him
  5. Shaq or whoever else would have owned that era

And all of these have a counterargument:

  1. An 8 team league would actually be more competitive, not less since more talent is concentrated in fewer teams
  2. Wilt’s numbers are not duplicated by anyone else of his era
  3. You can do some research and see that Wilt played against a guy 6′9 or taller at his position on every team, and that the average height back then was only 1″ shorter
  4. Bill Russell had a better team than Wilt did most of the time
  5. Time travel shenanigans don’t make any sense; today’s athletes benefit from the athletes that came before them. Barry Bonds would probably dominate in Babe Ruth’s era. Mike Tyson would have dominated in Muhammed Ali’s era. Wayne Gretzky would have dominated in Gordie Howe’s era. Any person with a college education today would have dominated Isaac Newton’s era. It doesn’t make any sense, and only for basketball do we discredit the older greats.

So I think it’s just ignorance for that part.

For the second part, I think it’s also denial. People see Wilt’s numbers and roll their eyes. They ignore it because Wilt’s numbers are too insane. They are video game numbers. How could someone have actually put up those numbers? That can’t be. That means that Wilt would be numbers-wise better than any other player in NBA history by a wide margin including Michael Jordan and Lebron James. The greatest of all time can’t be a guy that played 50 years ago. That’s impossible and not fun to think about. No, the greatest of all time has to be someone who played relatively recently so we can see all his footage and debate with other people who have seen him play. Wilt probably just got his numbers because everyone else sucked back then.

And thus, that’s why Wilt Chamberlain will always be IMO underrated because he was TOO dominant for his era to the point of it being too unbelievable. ESPN even left him out of their top 5 list. It’s really sad.

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Sports

What is Kobe Bryant‘s place in basketball history?

Can’t believe Kobe has died, brain is still processing this.

As many people may know I wasn’t a Kobe fan and I considered him the most overrated player of all time.

That said Kobe was still one of the greatest players in NBA history, a top 10 player all time, the second greatest SG all time without a doubt.

Kobe has the unique status amongst basketball players of being much bigger than their sport. I think Tim Duncan is probably the most contrasting example with Kobe. Quiet dude, had just a great a basketball career/resume, yet Kobe is probably 10x as famous as Duncan. Kobe was like Michael Jackson, or his idol Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods. Someone so famous that they transcended what they did.

Kobe was famous for his legendary work ethic, his dedication to his craft, and his “mamba mentality”. He inspired millions around the world in a way that few other basketball players could. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an outpouring of grief for an athlete’s death in my lifetime. Shaq, Tmac and West all broke down crying on TV. Past legends like Kareem, Magic, Russell, Isiah, Dr J, Rick Barry all tweeted their condolences. Late night show hosts offered a tribute. Presidents Trump and Obama tweeted about it. Modern NBA greats like Lebron, CP3, Wade, Melo, KD, Curry, Iverson, Kawhi, Pierce, Kidd, Nash etc all had something to say about Kobe. It was unlike everything I had ever seen. Kobe touched almost everyone. That was his greatness.

Although I don’t rank Kobe as highly as others on my all time list, I cannot deny that Kobe was the second greatest ambassador for basketball in its history after his idol MJ, as he was probably the second most famous basketball player in the world.

RIP Kobe Bryant. You will be remembered as one of the all time greats, by anybody.