We live in a world full of critics, better statistics and technology that allows better visual access to, well, almost everything. Twenty years ago, if Pamela Anderson or Kim Kardashian make a sex tape, it might be disappointing to their families and communities and copies might be found in a few thousand adult stores. I would guess that 10 or so clicks of the mouse would get you a copy straight to your computer if you were into that kind of thing. Ten years ago, critiques of films ended with "what did you think of movie X?" and Roger and Eberts TV show. Now I can google reviews of Inception and read summaries and explanations for 3 straight hours. You can even go to Youtube and see ratings and comments on a kid who just went to the dentist. The same is true for analyzing sports and athletes. We are better at it. For the most part, fans and analysts can tell what players help their teams and what players just shoot every time they have the ball. And yet there are a handful of myths that still exist in NBA circles all over America. Let's discuss.
Many of the so called experts have come around on this issue, at least by debating about it rather than naming Paul the outright winner, but there are still myth-spreaders among us. When arguing the Deron Williams vs. Chris Paul case, there are really only two numbers you need to remember: 41 and 22. The first number is how many more games Chris Paul has sat out due to injury than Deron Williams in 5 years. The second number is Eric Gordon's scoring average when playing the Hornets his rookie season. I haven't seen a non Jazz fan mention it, but Chris Paul is a defensive liability. If he's matched up against Aaron Brooks, or Jonny Flynn, then he's fine. But put him against a team that has a big point guard and shooting guard and he literally can't guard anyone on the court. It is the main reason that the Hornets can't beat the Jazz head to head. Paul can't guard Deron Williams or Ronnie Brewer, or Wes Matthews. In fact, often he can't even stay on the court and out of foul trouble when he has to guard Williams. Deron Williams is a fantastic perimeter defender. And he is big and strong. Deron has shown that he can guard a guy like Dwyane Wade, or Kobe Bryant or Brandon Roy when switched on them. Paul may put up flashier statistics, but Paul can't touch him in head to head matchups, durability, or defensive abilities. Pick Paul if you are playing fantasy basketball, but pick Deron if you want to win basketball games.
MYTH #2- Future Contract Extensions will Doom the OKC Thunder
The Thunder have a lot of things going right for them that aren't Kevin Durant. They have him locked up for the near future so he is locked and loaded and committed to winning for a small market team. Jeff Green was also up for an extension, but the Thunder decided to make him wait til next offseason to work on an extension. More on that later. Russell Westbrook is the Thunder's second best player and he isn't due for a contract extension until 2012-13. Ibaka James Harden and Serge Ibaka will come after that. So they won't have to shell out big money for all of these guys at the same time and if they are able to play it right, they MIGHT and it's a big "might" be able to retain all of their young players. The other thing that OKC has going for them is that a new CBA will hypothetically help owners more than it helps players. Maybe a max contract for Westbrook in 2012 will mean a lot less than they just shelled out to Durant. This is why it is so smart for OKC to make Jeff Green wait for a contract extension until the next CBA. The Thunder might lose one or two of these young players, but Green isn't close to a max contract and Ibaka and Harden aren't going to be either. As long as they can retain Durant and Westbrook, this team will be contenders. And I think at worst, they will be able to afford Durant and Westbrook at max contracts and either Harden or Ibaka at a quasi-large contract. But more than likely, future contract extensions will keep the whole core from staying together. If not, Amar owes David Stern part of his kidney
MYTH #3- Carmelo Anthony is a Franchise Player
The evidence is mounting against him. People look at his offensive game and his 28 points per game and his olympic performance and think "what a great player." I have already talked about Anthony's offensive game being very overrated. He also isn't very good at getting his teammates involved. He doesn't get a lot of assists and he is an average rebounder at best. If Carmelo Anthony is as elite as people pretend, he would be able to carry his team, a team that has been very talented since Chauncey Billups came to Denver, to a better record in the playoffs than he has. Anthony has only taken the Nuggets past the first round once in 7 tries. I know he probably thinks he is doing all he can and his teammates are letting him down, but the truth is that Anthony can't carry a team as the best player. The main reason is because he is a terrible defender. I think one of the reasons that the myth that Anthony is a franchise player goes on is honestly due to his lone championship...at Syracuse. He seems like a go-to guy, but let's be honest. College basketball isn't the NBA. Scorers thrive in college, especially the Big East where scoring 60 points as a team might earn you a blowout. His size and athleticism allowed him to get by defensively as well. But I can guarantee you that Anthony won't do anything of value in the NBA if he is the best player on his team. In fact, I hope that he hooks up with Amare Stoudemire and Chris Paul in New York, because that team would be awesome...offensively. All 3 of those guys are bad defenders. But importantly for the Jazz, Anthony's incorrect perception of how fantastic a player he is, is going to help the Jazz. Either the Nuggets are going to have inner turmoil or they are trading Anthony and gutting the team.