The first 2013-14: A Tank Oddity has to be about Tyrone Corbin, the Utah Jazz head coach, and training camp survivor Mike Harris. I'm going to straight up say it -- they are connected through time and space, and find themselves existing in the same temporal space . . . for now.
Mike Harris is a good guy. And Ty is a good guy. But more similarities exist than just temperament. Ty was born on December 31st, 1962 in Columbia, South Carolina. Mike was born on June 15th, 1983, in Hillsboro, Texas. Or so they would have us believe. Both are basketball players, both are 6'6, and both are small forwards. Mike wears the number 33, and Tyrone wore the number 23. We don't need to get into numerology (we did this before), but it's clear that their heights are both 6'6, and 6 is 2x3, and the double of 33 is 66. And they both have a playing weight around 230 (player weight is not as static as we perceive it to be, and neither is height . . . or dimensional travel)
Corbin bounced around as a player, playing professional basketball for 9 different teams over 16 years. Harris, still in the middle of his career, has played for 12 teams (most outside of the NBA) in 9 years. That's easy to pass off, small forwards find their way on rosters and play hard.
How hard did these two guys play? Ty was a four year player at DePaul and finished with career averages of 11.5 ppg and 7.4 rpg while playing 31.1 mpg. Mike was a your year player at Rice and finished with career averages of 16.6 ppg and 9.2 rpg while playing 28.7 mpg. That means nothing, right? Well . . . in their senior years Harris finished with 20.6 ppg and 11.7 rpg in 32.5 mpg. Ty? He finished with 15.9 ppg and 8.1 rpg . . . in 34.6 mpg.
Still nothing right?
Mike's in his fourth year in the NBA right now. Let's look at how similar he and Ty were, but look at Ty's cumulative career by his fourth year as well.
- PER: 12.7 (Ty), 12.9 (Mike)
- Playoff PER: 15.9 (both)
- Wins shares / 48 mins: .097 (Ty), .079 (Mike)
- Per 36 PPG: 13.1 (Ty), 12.7 (Mike)
- FG%: 48.1% (Ty), 44.1% (Mike)
- Per 36 FGM/FGA: 5.2 and 10.8 (Ty), 4.9 and 11.1 (Mike)
- Per 36 SPG: 1.7 (both)
- STL%: 2.2% (Ty), 2.5% (Mike)
I could go on an on at their similarities, from being SFs who shot below .500 from the field, shot free throws in the .700s, and did not have robust three point games. The difference, of course, is their games within the changes of the game. Today Mike is looked at as a 'short stretch four', and plays as such. He's still a defensive first guy with a poor offense . . . but if left super open he can hit a midrange or better shot. He's no Brian Cook, but somehow he made it through training camp. Ty, if he played today, had that similar type of game. If only he was taller he could have been a PF in his day, but instead played facing the basket. In the 80s and early 90s not being able to hit a three didn't mean you couldn't play the three spot. In his first four years of his career Ty couldn't. If Ty played today his game, absent from evolution, would have fit him into the 'short stretch four' category as well.
Mike Harris is a time warped version of Tyrone Corbin. They are distinct, and have their distinctions. Mike, having to play as a four on occasion, rebounds better. Ty, who had to play on the perimeter, was a better and more capable passer.
Somehow they are on the same team, and just curiously, in a winnable game, Ty kept his best defender (Derrick Favors) on the bench for the final 10 mins of the game. Enes Kanter checked in for Derrick, but Derrick did not check back in . . . for Mike Harris.
So, is Ty playing . . . himself minutes in crunch time? Or was his real motivation to send a message to Favors for not being mentally checked in the game? Or did an outside agent, Dennis Lindsey the Monolith, choose to advance the species to the next level by making sure the winnable game was lost. Do we blame Ty for going with a hustle guy to try to beat the Boston Celtics?
Or is this the first discussion on if this 2013-2014 season is a true tank oddity?