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RE: It's only a matter of time before Iverson departs
Peja did not sleep with my girlfriend, as far as I know. Or my wife for
that matter ...
Have you missed the memo on Peja this year? He carried the Kings to the
best record in the league while Webber was out with an injury. He was
the first-half MVP in the eyes of many NBA observers, and he'll be a
top-five vote-getter in the final MVP race. To call him a role player
and Byron Scott to Pierce's Dominique Wilkins is ludicrous. Wait for the
all-NBA teams to be announced, and let's see how the two players compare
Pierce is a money in the bank scorer? Remind me not to put my money in
that bank. I don't like a 39 percent return on investment. Look at these
Pierce: 23.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, .399 shooting, .308
three-point shooting, .838 free throw shooting, 1.22 points per shot,
.439 adjusted field goal percentage.
Stojakovic: 25.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, .479 shooting, .437
three-point shooting, .924 free throw shooting, 1.43 points per shot,
.566 adjusted field goal percentage.
We all know numbers don't mean everything. But don't these numbers mean
something??? Peja didn't have Webber with him when he put up these
numbers. Do you really attribute that much of his success to Mike Bibby
and Brad Miller? I don't think that's fair at all.
This is a lot like the argument on Antoine. His fans say "he can dribble
better than any power forward, he can pass better than any power
forward, he can shoot three-pointers better than any power forward, so
he must be better than any power forward ... " But you watch him and
that dribbling and passing lead to as many turnovers as anything else,
and the great three-point shot leads him away from the basket and to
lower-percentage offense. Pierce can dribble better than Peja and
probably pass better than Peja. But he doesn't do either of those things
well enough to justify how much he does them (although he doesn't pass
all that much). So those superior skills actually lead to inferior play.
Compare Antoine to Jermaine O'Neal. Who would win one-on-one? Probably
Antoine. Compare Pierce to Peja. Who would win one-on-one? Probably
Pierce. But is that an accurate picture of the respective abilities of
those players? I don't think so. You have to consider them within the
framework of a basketball team.
Put another way: Peja isn't a point forward. He's a scorer. He doesn't
try to do anything he isn't capable of doing. Pierce, on the other hand,
is trying to be a point forward when he clearly isn't good at it. Don't
we all wish Pierce would play more like Peja - less dribbling, more
running off picks, more finishing, less "creating." I put that in
quotations because he's just as likely to create a turnover as to create
a shot for a teammate.
As for Pierce, Josh I think you're still seeing the Pierce of 2001-02.
THAT Pierce was great. He really was a money in the bank scorer. The
Pierce we saw last year was a shadow of that other guy, and the Pierce
we're seeing this year bears even less resemblance. He's still a top-20
kind of player, but he's not where he was -- and the slide started
before Antoine was traded.
I think you'd be shocked if you polled NBA GMs on a Pierce-Peja trade.
From: Josh Ozersky [mailto:jozersky@xxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2004 12:33 PM
To: Berry, Mark S; celtics@xxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: It's only a matter of time before Iverson departs
The Pierce / Peja thing is ludicrous. Peja is a role player.
Did Pierce sleep with your girlfriend or something? The guy is an elite
rebounder for his position, gathering bet. 5 and 600 a year for most
of his career. He is an excellent defender when he sets his mind to it.
he's a frigging MONEY IN THE BANK scorer who can
create his own shot and dominate any defender in the league,
esp. in crunch time. Doesn't that count for something? All
Peja does is shoot jump shots and make a few nice passes.
His rebounding and steals numbers are higher than I expected,
but he's a still pure finesse guy who has yet to live down
shooting AIRBALLS in crunch time vs. the Lakers, and
who has never even tried to defend. There isn't one GM
in the league who would trade Pierce for Peja; the two aren't
even close as players. Peja is a Byron Scott; Pierce is a
Dominique Wilkins. It's not even fair to compare them.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Berry, Mark S" <berrym@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2004 12:11 PM
Subject: FW: It's only a matter of time before Iverson departs
> Here's the thing about Pierce/Peja. If Pierce eliminates all his bad
> habits, you have Peja. Neither is a great ball-handler or passer. Peja
> doesn't try to be. Pierce does. Does that mean Pierce is better at it?
> don't think so. I think it's a credit to Peja that he plays within
> himself. Neither is a good defender. Pierce is a better rebounder, but
> that doesn't erase all the bad habits he has that Peja doesn't. Peja
> a much more efficient scorer who has evolved into more than just a
> On Yao ... He's making the leap right before our eyes. He's not timid.
> He's the only guy in the league who doesn't back down to Shaq. If
> going to include LeBron, you have to include Yao.
> Finally, Jermaine O'Neal ... He's probably closer to the Pierce group
> than anyone else. He still lacks a go-to move. I only put him in that
> top 11 because he's a big guy who can dominate a game. Those guys
> have more value and more of an impact on a game than a swingman.
> As for Iverson, he had one dream season in a perfect convergence in
> Eastern Conference. He's a great talent, but everything has to be
> tailored to him. Shouldn't a truly elite player make the other players
> better? Instead, Philly has spent eight years trying to piece together
> team to fit Iverson. It was the same small-minded thinking that had
> overtaken the Celtics. "Forget about talent, we want limited role
> players who won't take shots/touches from our 'stars'." I hate that
> of approach. You do that when you have Shaq or Duncan, not when you
> Pierce, Walker or Iverson. And to top it off, Iverson is aging and
> starting to break down.
> I love debating this stuff with you Josh. You're as nuts about it as I
> P.S. I agree about Shaq/Duncan/Kobe. They're the cream of the crop. I
> think more of Garnett than you do, but I still think Shaq/Duncan/Kobe
> are the best.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Josh Ozersky [mailto:jozersky@xxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: Monday, March 15, 2004 11:34 AM
> To: Berry, Mark S
> Subject: Re: It's only a matter of time before Iverson departs
> Mark, since we agree on practically everything, I don't
> mind taking this up. I think you underrate Pierce. He
> has played poorly this year, but as a talent, he's far above
> the one-dimensional and unreliable Peja, the still-timid Yao, and the
> soft and spotty Jermaine O'Neal. Pierce and Iverson have been
> the Man on playoff teams, and beaten other playoff teams
> by themselves when the pressure was on. (Which is more than
> KG can say.) Iverson is a former MVP who carried his team all the way
> the finals, for pete's sake. I think you could make a lot better
> for Brand, Francis, and a couple of others than the wimps
> you nominate as being better than PP and AI.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Berry, Mark S" <berrym@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <celtics@xxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Monday, March 15, 2004 11:11 AM
> Subject: Re: It's only a matter of time before Iverson departs
> > Josh wrote:
> > he's a top ten NBA talent. (Shaq, Duncan,
> > Kobe, KG, McGrady, Kidd, Nowitski, Pierce, Iverson, James)
> > --- --- ---
> > Josh, are you openly challenging me? This is a test, isn't it? Well,
> > I'll throw my two cents in (surprise, surprise ... )
> > Top 10:
> > Shaq
> > Duncan
> > Kobe
> > Garnett
> > T-Mac
> > Kidd
> > Nowitzki
> > James (if not now, certainly within a year or two)
> > Yao Ming (if we're projecting for LeBron, we have to do the same for
> > Yao)
> > Jermaine O'Neal
> > Peja Stojakovic
> > OK, that's 11, but those are the guys I'd consider clear upgrades on
> > Pierce and Iverson, who I lump in the next group along with guys
> > Ray Allen, Michael Finley, Carmello Anthony, Baron Davis, Steve
> > Steve Nash, Mike Bibby, Elton Brand, Pau Gasol, Kenyon Martin, and a
> > others. I'm not so sure I'm rating the point guards high enough.
> > Nash probably is the most valuable Maverick. Bibby is terribly
> > underrated (not underpaid).
> > Anyway, Pierce is out of the elite group until he returns to 2001-02
> > form. In that top 11, by the way, there's a clear cutoff in my mind.
> > Shaq, Duncan, Kobe, Garnett, T-Mac and Kidd are the truly elite
> > with LeBron and Yao well on their way to joining that list.
> > Jermaine O'Neal and Peja are a notch below because they don't make
> > everyone better -- the others do.
> > As for the original point about Iverson, no thanks, and it has
> > to do with his tattoos. He doesn't practice (only Bill Russell ever
> > earned that right), is completely uncoachable, plays a style that
> > never result in a championship and has seen his best years. No way.
> > at the price it would cost to get him (think Pierce).
> > Speaking of Pierce, it was nice to see him play better Saturday
> > If he can continue to do that, the Celts are in good shape for the
> > playoffs and the future. If those games continue to be the exception
> > rather than the rule, they're in trouble. By the way, the difference
> > between the lottery pick that comes with missing the playoffs and
> > pick as the last playoff team is shrinking. Right now it would be
> > spots 11-14. With that difference, it's better to make the playoffs.
> > a pick as high as seven still is within reach. In my opinion, the
> > worst-case scenario is what we see now - just missing the playoffs,
> > playing well enough to miss out on a top-eight pick. I want them
> > to make the playoffs, or go in the tank and get that high pick. One
> > the other. No in between.
> > Mark