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superheadcat
09-17-2003, 10:43 PM
Shooting guards: Bryant a baby step ahead of McGrady Sept. 17, 2003
By Mike Kahn
SportsLine.com Executive Editor

How do you choose between Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady as the best shooting guard in the NBA?

It's like trying to distinguish between seven-karat diamonds from Tiffany or Cartier.

One has a little different glimmer. The cuts vary in angle and depth. And the presence, well, there is no question who the most exciting players on the floor are. And that distinction doesn't belong exclusively to those two.

Tracy McGrady has had to carry the Magic during his three seasons in Orlando. (Getty Images)
For all-around excitement and fearless play, there's nobody like Allen Iverson. When it comes to clutch scoring in the fourth quarter, Paul Pierce. Add in grace, versatility and leadership, it's tough to top Ray Allen.

And, oh yeah, people have forgotten the man formerly known as "half man, half amazing" Vince Carter -- now seemingly healthy again. Some people considered him the best shooting guard of all until knee problems set him back the past two seasons.

These are the best athletes in the NBA, and arguably in any sport. They perform ballet on hardwood. They have the ability to do whatever is necessary to win games -- score, pass, defend, rebound and sink free throws -- making them not only the most desirable players to have on your team but the most popular among fans.

The NBA folks polled for this story lean toward Bryant as the best at the position. He has three championship rings and makes an impact on defense more consistently ... but not by much.

And then there's the, uh, minor difference in teams, considering Bryant has had one of the best centers in league history as his sidekick, Shaquille O'Neal. McGrady hasn't even had a legitimate center with him in his three years in Orlando while also suffering from the frustration of not having ankle-challenged Grant Hill for more than 47 games in three years. "What we don't know," one NBA executive said, "is what McGrady would be like with another star with him, let alone Shaq. That's a huge advantage for Kobe, not only now, but it has been in his development because defenses have to collapse so much on Shaq, it gives Kobe more room to operate.

"They are so close, it's tough to call. And we can't have any idea what will happen to Kobe this year."

Ah yes, this season will be different indeed. After Bryant was accused of sexual assault in a Colorado hotel on June 30, the chaos began. It will be interesting to see how many media outlets will spring for trips to Hawaii and the start of training camp for Bryant, O'Neal and the Lakers. Los Angeles would have been the story anyway, with future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton opting for cut-rate contracts just to play for the Lakers and a chance to win a title.

But with Bryant's preliminary hearing Oct. 9 in Colorado and the presumed trial date to be in the summer, the Lakers locker room and attention on Bryant's every move is likely to rival a traveling circus.

"We'll see how mentally tough he really is this season," the same NBA source said. "He appears to be above it all, but we all forget he's just 25 and this is different. Very different."

Nonetheless, it is just that toughness that gives him the slight edge over McGrady, a much more personable and easy-going personality type. But that edge is miniscule. Plus, there is more talent around McGrady this season, and if Bryant falters at all, McGrady, and possibly Iverson, will blow right by him as the best shooting guards.

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: He has three rings, improved a lot as a passer last season and got much stronger. He's the new prototype, but his off-court issues are very likely to affect his game in some form this season.

2. Tracy McGrady, Orlando Magic: The only real issue with McGrady is his back. He hasn't missed a significant amount of games, but it has bothered him a significant amount of time. That aside, he is already a dream player at 24.

3. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers: His ability to dominate games is even more dramatic because he is about 6-feet and 160 pounds. He played so well for the U.S. team in Puerto Rico he might pass the above duo this season.

4. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics: The best clutch fourth-quarter scorer in the league, he is very strong and a great shooter, and he'll either get fouled or score. He damaged his reputation on the 2002 World Championship team as a selfish whiner, but the Celtics beg to differ.

5. Ray Allen, Seattle SuperSonics: He raised his play to superstar level after the Sonics got him in the Payton trade last year, and he was great in Puerto Rico. An exceptional talent and an even better person than player.

6. Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors: After constant knee issues, Carter says he's back and better than ever. His electrifying dunks aside, he doesn't have the ball-handling skills or defensive inclination of the others.

7. Michael Finley, Dallas Mavericks: Were it not for persistent ankle problems, Finley might be ahead of Carter. He is a terrific post-up player and a great shooter but can't handle the ball or pass like the top guys, either.

8. Latrell Sprewell, Minnesota Timberwolves: Injuries and playing small forward in New York stifled his game. But getting traded to Minnesota and playing his natural position should rejuvenate him.

9. Allan Houston, New York Knicks: With Sprewell gone, Houston will be more of the focal point on offense. He is the best pure shooter of this group. His overall game isn't as good as the others, but he is a solid player in all ways.

10. Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons: A great mid-range shooter, he is young and still has to get stronger, but he showed last season he could slash to the rim as well as drain jumpers. Now he has to get a consistent 3-point shot.

Others considered: Jerry Stackhouse, Washington Wizards; Bonzi Wells, Portland Trail Blazers; Jalen Rose, Chicago Bulls; Eddie Jones, Miami Heat; Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs; Reggie Miller, Indiana Pacers.

Shaq Attack2
09-17-2003, 11:23 PM
If Tmac wasn't such a terrible defender he would be the best SG in the league. Only AI is close to Kobe.

EricaLubarsky
09-18-2003, 01:49 AM
Michael Finley has never had an ankle problem in his life. It's just the hamstring thats been yanked around a little bit. Stupid reporter.

Nash13
09-18-2003, 07:14 AM
If they say the only thing wrong with T-Mac is his back, then Kobe's in trouble. Kobe has an injured shoulder and knee.

And if they bring up injuries as a factor, why is Vince Carter on the list?

Murphy3
09-18-2003, 07:30 AM
shaq, you'd really put AI ahead of TMac? hmm, interesting

Shaq Attack2
09-18-2003, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
shaq, you'd really put AI ahead of TMac? hmm, interesting

He can create much better during penetration, and he's obviously a much better defender. Lack of D really hurts Tmac, though offensively he's slightly better than Kobe and a bit better than Iverson.

Shaq Attack2
09-18-2003, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by: Nash13
If they say the only thing wrong with T-Mac is his back, then Kobe's in trouble. Kobe has an injured shoulder and knee.

His shoulder is fine, he didn't even need a cast or brace immediately after his surgery (just a sling). I have no idea what the status of his knee is, though I read that the surgery was just to remove some loose "ends" or something like that? Can't remember the exact term, but it seemed routine and not serious, definitely not as bad as a Webber knee injury or something. In addition, Kobe wasn't limping around at the Teen Choice Awards from what I heard, and that was many weeks ago.

Murphy3
09-18-2003, 03:57 PM
lack of being able to shoot hurts iverson..

MavsFanatik33
09-18-2003, 06:22 PM
I believe that is the perfect spot for Finley, he hasn't proved he can surpass Vince Carter and Ray Allen.

Shaq Attack2
09-18-2003, 06:45 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
lack of being able to shoot hurts iverson..

Well he's not a bad shooter, but worse than Tmac or Kobe of course. He just jacks up too many shots, but then again who else on the sixers is going to take them, Snow?

Murphy3
09-18-2003, 10:34 PM
good point shaq attack.
well, maybe not

Fah Q
09-18-2003, 10:57 PM
Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2

Originally posted by: Murphy3
lack of being able to shoot hurts iverson..

Well he's not a bad shooter, but worse than Tmac or Kobe of course. He just jacks up too many shots, but then again who else on the sixers is going to take them, Snow?

If he was even a good shooter he would be scoring 40 a night with how many shots he takes.

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 12:02 AM
Originally posted by: Fah Q

Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2

Originally posted by: Murphy3
lack of being able to shoot hurts iverson..

Well he's not a bad shooter, but worse than Tmac or Kobe of course. He just jacks up too many shots, but then again who else on the sixers is going to take them, Snow?

If he was even a good shooter he would be scoring 40 a night with how many shots he takes.

Remember, this guy is 6 foot and 160ish lbs. He's not like a Kobe or a Tmac who have the luxury of an extra 7 inches or so. AI almost always has a man in his face, even if he can break ankles to get an open shot. Either way, Kobe and Tmac, though obviously always being molested, don't take as many contested shots as Iverson.

Fah Q
09-19-2003, 12:09 AM
Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2

Originally posted by: Fah Q

Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2

Originally posted by: Murphy3
lack of being able to shoot hurts iverson..

Well he's not a bad shooter, but worse than Tmac or Kobe of course. He just jacks up too many shots, but then again who else on the sixers is going to take them, Snow?

If he was even a good shooter he would be scoring 40 a night with how many shots he takes.

Remember, this guy is 6 foot and 160ish lbs. He's not like a Kobe or a Tmac who have the luxury of an extra 7 inches or so. AI almost always has a man in his face, even if he can break ankles to get an open shot. Either way, Kobe and Tmac, though obviously always being molested, don't take as many contested shots as Iverson.

I like Iversons play. He's a playmaker, but I would say he's a bad shooter. If AI was a consistent shooter I would agree that he should be as high as TMac or Kobe but he isn't.

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 01:42 AM
Originally posted by: Fah Q

Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2

Originally posted by: Fah Q

Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2

Originally posted by: Murphy3
lack of being able to shoot hurts iverson..

Well he's not a bad shooter, but worse than Tmac or Kobe of course. He just jacks up too many shots, but then again who else on the sixers is going to take them, Snow?

If he was even a good shooter he would be scoring 40 a night with how many shots he takes.

Remember, this guy is 6 foot and 160ish lbs. He's not like a Kobe or a Tmac who have the luxury of an extra 7 inches or so. AI almost always has a man in his face, even if he can break ankles to get an open shot. Either way, Kobe and Tmac, though obviously always being molested, don't take as many contested shots as Iverson.

I like Iversons play. He's a playmaker, but I would say he's a bad shooter. If AI was a consistent shooter I would agree that he should be as high as TMac or Kobe but he isn't.

I'd agree with this statement. He's an inconsistent shooter, but certainly not bad or terrible.

Murphy3
09-19-2003, 08:23 AM
by NBA standards for a shooting guard,he is a bad shooter

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
by NBA standards for a shooting guard,he is a bad shooter

By NBA standards for a shooting guard, he is an average shooter. Again, his shots are contested more than almost any other player.

Murphy3
09-19-2003, 07:15 PM
he's an average shooter for a shooting guard? by what standards? he's ranked 27th out of 36 shooting guards in the NBA with a minimum of 300 field goals...that's not exactly average.
he was 35th out of 36 in adjusted field goal percentage..

how average is that again?

Drbio
09-19-2003, 07:49 PM
aw come on murph...it's the west coast math. They don't let little things like facts get in the way of opinion. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
he's an average shooter for a shooting guard? by what standards? he's ranked 27th out of 36 shooting guards in the NBA with a minimum of 300 field goals...that's not exactly average.
he was 35th out of 36 in adjusted field goal percentage..

how average is that again?

Exactly, 27th out of 36 SGs in the league, and he's guarded harder than any of them except for Tmac and Kobe, who have 7 inch height advantages on AI.

Again, it doesn't make sense to say he's a bad shooter based on his height and how opponents guard him. He's not a great shooter of course, but he's certainly not bad by NBA standards.

I take it you haven't watched many Philly games?

Murphy3
09-19-2003, 09:27 PM
yes, i watch philadelphia games.
how poor of a shooter does he have to be to be a bad shooter by NBA standards? he's one of the worst three point shooting 2 guards in the NBA..he's one of the worst overall shooting 2 guards in the NBA..
how bad of a shooter do you have to be?

i know he's a good scorer,..but he's by no means a good or even average shooter by NBA standards for two guards

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 09:39 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
yes, i watch philadelphia games.
how poor of a shooter does he have to be to be a bad shooter by NBA standards? he's one of the worst three point shooting 2 guards in the NBA..he's one of the worst overall shooting 2 guards in the NBA..

OK, but again this is all based on stats. And again, you have to take into account his huge height and weight disadvantage, in addition to how hard his opponents guard him. Those are major, major factors. For example, how hard is Doug Christie guarded compared to AI? It's not even close; AI takes much more of a beating. Yet, Christie has a much higher FG% than AI. Does that mean Christie is a better shooter? Ha, not by a long shot. Christie has a high FG% because 1) he's not a shooter or scorer by any means and his opponents don't guard him hard because of that fact and 2) he gets open looks from double teams on Webber.

Look at Kobe, arguably the best 2 guard shooter in the league, yet Christie's FG% is noticeably higher than Kobe's. I really don't think you can sit here and tell me that Christie is a better shooter than Kobe, yes?

BASKETBALL 101
09-19-2003, 09:43 PM
Originally posted by: EricaLubarsky
Michael Finley has never had an ankle problem in his life. It's just the hamstring thats been yanked around a little bit. Stupid reporter.




I was thinking the same thing when I read his STUPID comment!

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 09:48 PM
Oh, and AI has hit his fair share of clutch shots, and those were mid range or longer shots, not layups. Look at his only Finals appearance in 2001 against the Lakers (Game 1) where he hit a game winning 3 as just one example.

Murphy3
09-19-2003, 09:50 PM
height and weight disadvantage mean nothing to this debate. it's just something he has to play through. you don't get a special exemption because you're short. that argument is old and tired

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 09:52 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
height and weight disadvantage mean nothing to this debate. it's just something he has to play through. you don't get a special exemption because you're short. that argument is old and tired

What a ridiculous statement. You're claiming that AI's shot is "bad" regardless of his physical build and height. Are you serious? I suppose Shaq's FG% being 2nd in the league last year had nothing to do with his height or physical build. i/expressions/rolleye.gif

mavsman
09-19-2003, 09:57 PM
Exactly, 27th out of 36 SGs in the league, and he's guarded harder than any of them except for Tmac and Kobe, who have 7 inch height advantages on AI. ... And again, you have to take into account his huge height and weight disadvantage

Now I'm afraid that Cuban wants to sign Verne "Mini Me" Troyer because, at 2'8'', he'd be considered the greatest shooter ever, even if his shots didn't ever make it to the rim, but just "because of his height disadvantage".

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 10:02 PM
Originally posted by: mavsman

Exactly, 27th out of 36 SGs in the league, and he's guarded harder than any of them except for Tmac and Kobe, who have 7 inch height advantages on AI. ... And again, you have to take into account his huge height and weight disadvantage

Now I'm afraid that Cuban wants to sign Verne "Mini Me" Troyer because, at 2'8'', he'd be considered the greatest shooter ever, even if his shots didn't ever make it to the rim, but just "because of his height disadvantage".

See above.

mavsman
09-19-2003, 10:11 PM
Can't see it above. When you're shooting 42% over 7 seasons, because, broohoo, your opponents are bigger and oh so tough, then you should probably either think about improving your shot or your shot selection. Again: Would you consider MiniMe a good shooter if he shot 0% when guarded by much bigger opponents?

Murphy3
09-19-2003, 10:13 PM
of course height can have an impact.
a big part of shaq being dominant is his size..
perhaps a big part of AI being a poor shooter has to do with this size. but that's just the way it is. it plays absolutely no role in ranking SG's. if you'd like to take that into account..that is fine. but it doesn't add legitimacy to your stance

one long blue sock
09-19-2003, 10:29 PM
Well if AI is short, and has a disadvantage that still has nothing to do with how effective he is. So sympathy is usless in this case.

BUT, I do think he is more then average shooter, if he wasnt, then he wouldn't score 30 points a game. His FG% is bad, but with Robinson on his team that might lead the double teams of him, and get some pressure of him. Which of course will lead to less fatigue, and better shot selection, and that will lead to better FG% while maintaining the same amount of points.

And you can't forget Iverson's defense, I think it is one of the most underated in the league, his fast hands make him capable of stealing the ball from everyone in the league. And with more energy he might be able to focus on the hard parts of defense, which is staying infront of your man at all times, if he can do that, then he can be a Gary Payton type defender.

If Robinson takes some weight off his shoulders, Iverson will have a GREAT season, while Kobe will have a GREAT boyfriend.

Murphy3
09-19-2003, 10:33 PM
AI scores alot of points because of two reasons
1. gets to the line alot
2. bulk shooting


several players would put up 30+ points in philly with the same amount of attempts

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
of course height can have an impact.

Then why did you just say height and weight disadvantage mean nothing to this debate.


perhaps a big part of AI being a poor shooter has to do with this size. but that's just the way it is. it plays absolutely no role in ranking SG's.

It has everything to do with ranking SGs. Shooting 41% from the floor doesn't automatically mean AI is a bad outside shooter. If you don't understand this, then you must think that Shaq is a great outside shooter because of his 57% FG, when in reality he is a terrible outside shooter and gets most of his points inside the paint mostly due to his physical build and height (and, gasp, skill!). AI shoots a low FG% mostly due to his physical build and height, and of course because he is guarded harder than every SG except for Tmac and Kobe.

Look at the Christie example I gave above, it doesn’t get any clearer.

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 10:49 PM
Originally posted by: mavsman
Can't see it above. When you're shooting 42% over 7 seasons, because, broohoo, your opponents are bigger and oh so tough, then you should probably either think about improving your shot or your shot selection. Again: Would you consider MiniMe a good shooter if he shot 0% when guarded by much bigger opponents?

If Minime could shoot 1000 for 1000 from the 3-point line unguarded but shot just 1% from the floor during a season, would you honestly call Minime a bad shooter? Get it?

Murphy3
09-19-2003, 10:53 PM
good point
well, maybe not

Shaq Attack2
09-19-2003, 11:04 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
good point
well, maybe not

Meh, if you don't get it now you never will.

MFFL
09-20-2003, 12:42 AM
You would think that Iverson would shoot a higher percentage considering the amount of penetration he gets. Hmm. Maybe its because he's not a very good shooter.

one long blue sock
09-20-2003, 12:49 AM
Shaq Attack, yes Iverson has a disadvantage, but that is never going to change. He is not gonna grow 7 inches, so it has nothing to do with which ranking he is in.

IF he was 7 inches taller, well he is not.

So IF he was 7 inches taller he would be the number 1 shooting guard, but he is not.

Fah Q
09-20-2003, 01:00 AM
Originally posted by: one long blue sock
Shaq Attack, yes Iverson has a disadvantage, but that is never going to change. He is not gonna grow 7 inches, so it has nothing to do with which ranking he is in.

IF he was 7 inches taller, well he is not.

So IF he was 7 inches taller he would be the number 1 shooting guard, but he is not.


OLBS, don't waste your breathe, he just doesn't understand

Shaq Attack2
09-20-2003, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by: one long blue sock
Shaq Attack, yes Iverson has a disadvantage, but that is never going to change. He is not gonna grow 7 inches, so it has nothing to do with which ranking he is in.

If you're talking about pure shooting ability, he's not bad, he's average. It's a simple point; in the NBA, he's an average outside shooter.


IF he was 7 inches taller, well he is not.

That was in reference to his FG%. Murph thinks that FG% means something without putting it into context of his height and how opponents play defense against him. If you don't like my height argument, then just look at the defense argument.


So IF he was 7 inches taller he would be the number 1 shooting guard, but he is not.

Who knows how good he would be at 6-7, that's not the point. AI should be a PG, but he's not as good as a passer as he could be.

Murphy3
09-20-2003, 01:43 AM
him being short shouldn't be a consideration in evaluating his play.

and saying that because he's not a good enough passer he can't play PG..that doesn't do alot to support your side

Shaq Attack2
09-20-2003, 01:49 AM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
him being short shouldn't be a consideration in evaluating his play.

Yeah, I'll agree to disagree there.


and saying that because he's not a good enough passer he can't play PG..that doesn't do alot to support your side

He can still play PG, but not as well as he can play SG. He's an odd mix between the two, which is why it was probably difficult for Brown to pick between a good, quick dribbler but very average passer AI or a quick, good dribbler that can take it to the hole but is a mediocre shooter AI.