Over the last few months Chris Palmer has tweeted some controversial things to say the least. Because this is the internet I feel like I have to say this before I start this blog post: I do not hate Chris Palmer, I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. This is strictly me evaluating his tweets about basketball.
Best NBA Players Ever
We’ve all made a list of who we think the top NBA players of all time are (my list will be coming after the NBA Finals) and as usual with these things some are more likely to agree with the list then others.
Chris Palmer’s first list of his top players (5 in total) was on 20th Dec 2012, the second (7 in total) was made on the 14th of May 2013.
In that time-span Kareem (previously 5th) and Magic (not on the first list) jump up to 3rd and 4th respectively, interesting. How this is possible without them playing an NBA game I’m not sure. Additionally, LeBron, despite gaining a fourth MVP award, moves down the list from 4th to 5th (due to Magic and Kareem moving up). Hakeem also moves from the 3rd best player on the first list, to not even making the top 7 on the second list as numbers 6 and 7 on the second list are (Bill) Russell and Tim Duncan respectively. Duncan is currently active in the NBA and therefore it is at least logical that he can move up a place. What doesn’t seem logical though is that Hakeem would slide down a minimum of 5 players (assuming he’s at number 8) and that Bill Russell would jump up to 6th, again, despite the fact that in that time he hasn’t played any games.
Do people change their mind on these things? Yes, but to show such a level of inconsistency is another thing.
Another one of Chris Palmer’s tweets is about the defences that MJ and Kobe faced.
I’ve already written an article about the rules changes in the NBA and how they’ve affected the game (which you can read here) but I’ll briefly summarise two of the rules changes that affect defence for the purposes of this article.
Hand checking has been removed –there is less resistance in the game today for both perimeter and post players due to the curtailing of hand checking. This means that defensive players are no longer allowed to exert a physical force with their hands on an opposing offensive player.
Three second rule – The introduction of the three-second rule now means that players are not allowed to stay for more than three seconds in the painted area under the basket known as the key (with some exceptions). As a result the players of today are now able to drive to the basket (with less resistance due to the removal of hand-checking) and finish at the rim with less (not total) chance of the shot being disrupted due to the fact that the opposing defensive player many not be standing in the paint waiting for him to attempt a shot at the rim!
Now, does it seem that Kobe faced “weaker” defences than Michael Jordan?
On a side note, Chris Palmer also later tweeted that:
I’m not going to take a picture of my television and show you guys that I do own one however I will say that I do watch a large number of NBA games and can confidently say that hand checking is not present in today’s NBA. Do you know why? Because the NBA removed it, and if a player does try to hand check today they are called for an offensive foul! Below are exact quotations from the rules section of the NBA website which cover the rules changes I’ve talked about.
1999-00 Rules Changes state:
In the backcourt, there is no contact with hands and forearms by defenders. In the frontcourt, there is no contact with hands and forearms by defenders except below the free throw line extended in which case the defender may only use his forearm. In the post, neither the offensive player nor the defender is allowed to dislodge or displace a player who has legally obtained a position. Defender may not use his forearm, shoulder, hip or hand to reroute or hold-up an offensive player going from point A to point B or one who is attempting to come around a legal screen set by another offensive player. Slowing or impeding the progress of the screener by grabbing, clutching, holding “chucking” or “wrapping up” is prohibited.
2004-05 Rules Changes state:
New rules were introduced to curtail hand checking, clarify blocking fouls and call defensive three seconds to open up the game.
2001-02 rules changes state:
Illegal defence guidelines will be eliminated in their entirety.
A new defensive three-second rule will prohibit a defensive player from remaining in the lane for more than three consecutive seconds without closely guarding an offensive player.
To back up what I’m saying here’s a quote from NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, who was asked about the rules changes:
Reporter: Seeing that you played in one of the greatest eras in NBA history, what has changed the most in the NBA since your days as a player?
Answer: I think guys played more of a true position back when I played. A small forward was a small forward, a power forward was a power forward. You didn’t play both. The power forward position had the license to kick your butt and the game was very physical. I think the physical aspect of the game, some of it has been taken away with the rule changes. But the game is still played the same, you can’t change that. – http://bleacherreport.com/articles/287041-getting-off-the-bleachers-an-interview-with-dominique-wilkins
Additionally, here’s a quote from Joe Johnson who currently plays in the NBA when he was asked about the hand-checking rule.
“It benefits me, It definitely changes the game because it gives every guy that extra step. If we could hand check now, the game would be totally different,” Johnson said. “If they couldn’t hand check back in the day, there are some guys that would have been even better than they were. It would have been nuts for some of the big-time scorers and perimeter players from the 1980s and 1990s. Can you imagine what (Michael) Jordan would have done in a league where you couldn’t hand check.” – http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/showthread.php?t=216664&page=3#dkUIarKVGr78eS1S.99
Interesting, Joe Johnson who currently plays in the NBA says that they’re not allowed to hand-check. Chris Palmer says that players do hand-check. Who do you believe?
Carmelo Anthony recently won his first scoring title 10 years into his career. Shortly after Chris Palmer tweeted that:
Carmelo is currently 12th on the all time NBA points per game list and has one scoring title. As an example I’ll take Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant who both rank higher on the all time points per game list, while shooting a higher percentage for their career and have racked up more scoring titles than Carmelo has in his career. Is Melo still the best pure scorer in the game’s history?
Chris Palmer also goes on to tweet the following:
While most will severely disagree with him placing Carmelo above Barkley, Stockton and A.I, the inconsistency in his argument comes here, where he states that in his opinion Melo is not a hall of famer.
Barkley and Stockton are already in the Naismith Hall of Fame and therefore to rank Carmelo as better than them would surely indicate that he is a Hall of Fame calibre player right? Apparently not.
Chris Palmer has also tweeted about Larry Bird. Here’s what he had to say.
He later went on to tweet the following.
For those of you who don’t know Bird played in the NBA from 1979 until 1992. The NBA introduced the 3pt line in the 1979-1980 season. Unlike today, taking a 3 point shot was frowned upon and as a result Bird was asked to slow down with the number of 3 pointers he took by his coach. Consequently, he went on to only shoot a total of 276 three pointers in the following 4 years after his rookie season (from 81 until 84).
It’s interesting to note that Chris Palmer doesn’t mention that Bird is part of the 50-40-90 club. In fact he’s not only a member of it, but has twice recorded a season where he’s shot over 50% from the field, 40% from 3 and 90% from the free-throw line. Only six players in NBA history have accomplished this feat, while Bird (2) and Nash (4) are the only ones in NBA history to accomplish it more than once. Furthermore there have only been 3 seasons in NBA history where a player has shot 50-40-90 while averaging over 28 points per game, Bird is responsible for two out of those three seasons.
Bird the most over-rated shooter in NBA history? Doesn’t seem accurate (forgive the pun) does it?
Oh, and Bird also won the 3 point contest during the all-star weekend, three times, in a row.
Rings and the Dream Team
When comparing the 92 Dream Team to the 2012 Olympic Team Chris Palmer decided to add Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan do the 2012 Olympic Team and tweeted:
Do I even have to break this down for you? Why would you evaluate a player’s skill or ability based on the number of rings that they win throughout their career? The last time I checked winning a ring was a team achievement and therefore evaluating a player based on the number of rings they’ve won doesn’t seem to make sense.
I guess a starting 5 of Derek Fisher, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Robert Horry and Sam Jones would destroy everyone huh?
Furthermore at the time of their respective tournaments the players of the 92 Dream Team had total 12 rings: (3 from Bird, 2 from Pippen, 2 from Jordan and 5 from Magic). Guess how many the 2012 Olympic Team had accomplished at the time of the Summer Olympics? Half as many is the answer (6), (5 from Kobe Bryant and 1 from LeBron James)
So even using Chris Palmer’s own logic his statement doesn’t make sense.
Why did I take the time to point all of these things out? Because I find it pretty amazing that these types of things are tweeted / spoken via Twitter and TV by employees of ESPN (and other companies might I add). ESPN is a recognised establishment and one that holds much power in the world of sports. The employees therefore have a responsibility to educate both young and old in a responsible and accurate manner and frankly it doesn’t seem like they are doing so. As I said in the introduction this blog post’s purpose was strictly to critique @ESNPChrisPalmer’s tweets about basketball, nothing more, nothing less.
You can follow me on twitter: @SwishNBA