Author Topic: Most Overrated Athlete?  (Read 2804 times)

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Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #60 on: February 22, 2023, 02:54:27 PM »

Offline rocknrollforyoursoul

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Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #61 on: February 22, 2023, 02:57:39 PM »

Offline Walker Wiggle

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This is an awesome thread, thank you. I think the eagerness of people here to pump up Wilt (or, for that matter, Karl Malone) are proving my original point: modern day fans care a lot about flashy stats and relatively empty regular season achievements, and not the question: Was this a winning player?

Why do I believe that Russell's value in the eyes of fans has faded, and Wilt's brightened, as time has passed? Because, on the 35th anniversary of the NBA in 1980, Bill Russell was voted as the greatest player in the history of the league. Wilt was selected as the 2nd string center.

I'm not saying Wilt wasn't dominant. He was unimpeachably unstoppable. But basketball is about winning alongside 4 other players, and seen in that context, Wilt simply did not do that the same way as Russell did. You know that the Lakers coach refused to put Wilt back into the game in game 7 of the 1969 finals, right? Can you imagine Auerbach or Phil Jackson ever having a similar thought about Russell or Jordan in a game 7? This should tell you something.

On Karl Malone, it's the same deal. He was a dominant regular season player, and a 2x MVP. But when he finally met up with Jordan's Bulls in the finals, there was no question who the better player was. The Bulls were not "a better team". Jordan was an absolutely ruthless competitor and an elite winner, and Malone was not, a fact that was clear to anyone with eyeballs.
Malone wasn't as good as Jordan, so that means he's not a winning player?
No, both are winning players. Malone just had the 'misfortune' of being stuck with really good casts that weren't quite elite enough to give him an overwhelming chance to win the title unlike Jordan had in his second three-peat, and a few bites at the apple in the years where Jordan wasn't running roughshod over the league can very easily go up in smoke if you aren't lucky (e.g. the Jazz had a real shot at winning a title during that little 2-year stretch in the middle of the 90s, but things can get rough when you bump into a high variance shooting team that plays historically good defence in both of those years).

I say this in as respectful a way as possible, and not at all rhetorically: did you watch Maloneís career? He was awesome, but not in the same class as Jordan, not even remotely. Anyone who watched basketball in the 1990s must have witnessed what I witnessed. Jordanís success was not all because he had a great team and a great coach. He was an absolute psychopath as a competitor and had a pathological desire to win, similar to Russell. Malone simply did not have that, and it was obvious when they met in the Finals.

Ok, Iím done pontificating on this, I promise! Love this thread and thanks.

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #62 on: February 22, 2023, 02:58:31 PM »

Offline MarcusSmartFanClub

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I think Bronny James is prob overrated.

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #63 on: February 22, 2023, 03:03:10 PM »

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Nope, not what I was saying. Rather, I was trying to say that if you watched those Finals series, you saw that Malone too easily wilted in the spotlight and under the immensity of the moment. He was not able to elevate his game. It was severely juxtaposed against Jordan. But I wouldnít put Malone in the same category as other all-time greats who truly elevated their teams and rose to meet the moment. Iím sure Iím not the only one on here old enough to have watched those Finals series and can attest to this!

He doesn't really get put up there, does he?

I rarely see him mentioned in top 10s or top 15 of all time. Usually late teens or early to mid 20s.

Is that fair? Or do you think that is still too high?

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #64 on: February 22, 2023, 03:31:12 PM »

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This is an awesome thread, thank you. I think the eagerness of people here to pump up Wilt (or, for that matter, Karl Malone) are proving my original point: modern day fans care a lot about flashy stats and relatively empty regular season achievements, and not the question: Was this a winning player?

Why do I believe that Russell's value in the eyes of fans has faded, and Wilt's brightened, as time has passed? Because, on the 35th anniversary of the NBA in 1980, Bill Russell was voted as the greatest player in the history of the league. Wilt was selected as the 2nd string center.

I'm not saying Wilt wasn't dominant. He was unimpeachably unstoppable. But basketball is about winning alongside 4 other players, and seen in that context, Wilt simply did not do that the same way as Russell did. You know that the Lakers coach refused to put Wilt back into the game in game 7 of the 1969 finals, right? Can you imagine Auerbach or Phil Jackson ever having a similar thought about Russell or Jordan in a game 7? This should tell you something.

On Karl Malone, it's the same deal. He was a dominant regular season player, and a 2x MVP. But when he finally met up with Jordan's Bulls in the finals, there was no question who the better player was. The Bulls were not "a better team". Jordan was an absolutely ruthless competitor and an elite winner, and Malone was not, a fact that was clear to anyone with eyeballs.

Malone wasn't as good as Jordan, so that means he's not a winning player?

Nope, not what I was saying. Rather, I was trying to say that if you watched those Finals series, you saw that Malone too easily wilted in the spotlight and under the immensity of the moment. He was not able to elevate his game. It was severely juxtaposed against Jordan. But I wouldnít put Malone in the same category as other all-time greats who truly elevated their teams and rose to meet the moment. Iím sure Iím not the only one on here old enough to have watched those Finals series and can attest to this!
That doesn't seem to be true.  I mean in the closeout game in 98, a game in which Chicago won 87 to 86, Malone went for 31/11/7 and shot 11 of 19 from the field.  It was Stockton who didn't show up.  Jordan scored 45 points but did so on 35 shots and had 1 rebound and 1 assist (though did have 4 steals).  And game 5 (also a closeout game), Utah won 83 to 81 and Malone went for 39 on 17 of 27 from the field with 9 boards and 5 assists.  Stockton was a bit better that game, but still not great.  Jordan did get 28 points, but was 9 of 26 and he had 4 boards and 4 assists.  Kukoc was the guy that really showed up in that series on the whole.
I was finally wrong. Boston not only didn't win in 5, but didn't win at all.

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #65 on: February 22, 2023, 03:46:51 PM »

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Wilt Chamberlain. It's completely laughable that modern day lists of the greatest basketball players in history put him above Russell. The folks watching basketball in the 1960s certainly didn't see it that way. The problem is that, these days it's a very individualistic era, and there is too much emphasis on individual play and not on how a player helps his team succeed. Hence the obsession with Chamberlain.
You mean the folks that voted Wilt as the 1st Team All NBA Center for 7 of the first 9 years in the 60's with Russell only getting the nod in 63 and 65.

I knew you'd come in to save the day
I have no issue if someone says Bill was better than Wilt, but when you spout off nonsense about how the players were viewed at the time, I will correct that.  The media of the time period, thought Wilt was better than Bill basically the entire time they overlapped in their careers.  To me, that says more than anything we can argue about now.

I don't particularly trust the media's evaluation of players. Look at the way they have elevated Kobe.
Sure, but the bold is what I was responding to.  That just isn't a true statement.  The folks watching in the 60's (and watching more than the normal fan) consistently voted Wilt ahead of Bill.  That is the exact opposite of that bolded statement.

Fair enough. I do think that matters to a degree. I also think a retrospective look at their achievements/ stats as part of a team/organization is important.

Tim Duncan comes to mind as Russell-like figure whose team contributions outweigh his stats and contemporary accolades.

IMO the two most important abilities in the game are defending the rim and being able to score against the very toughest defenses in key moments. There are tons of stats that track offense, but not many for D.

Both are essential to win championships, but there is more bias for the guys who put up numbers, which inherently skew towards offense.
The thing about Wilt is, he was an excellent defender as well.  The guys that have pieced together blocks from that era, have all said Wilt was a better and more prolific shot blocker than Bill.  It was estimated in his prime Wilt averaged around 8 blocks a game, while Bill was more in the 6 block a game range.  Bill was quite simply blessed to be drafted to the Celtics, which was a stable organization, with an excellent coach/gm, and several legit HOFers.  It took Wilt a long time to find that (perhaps some of that self inflicted) and I do think that contributed a great deal to their overall team success.

Blocks don't equal good defense. Hassan Whiteside was the NBA's block champion just 3 seasons ago.

Fun fact: KG, Tim Duncan, and Marc Gasol each never led the league in blocks, yet I'd have those 3 as the best defensive anchors of the last 20 years, with Bam Adebayo as the current best (though a healthy Timelord could be better).

But guys like Theo Ratliff have (twice). And Andrei Kirilenko, Bogut, Ibaka (twice).

Blocks don't take into account team defense, leadership, clutch play. Russell had those in spades. Wilt did not.

Wilt was the best raw talent in NBA history,  yet he defeated the Russell Celtics only once. Wilt's scoring numbers dropped precipitously in the playoffs (from career 30.1 to 22.5), and the C's in particular were able to make him seem mortal. In the 1969 Finals - Russell's last year - the C's held him to 11.7 ppg.

In the first half of his career Wilt was his team's primary option on offense. The second half of his career he became more focused on defense and passing, and he won two titles as a result. It's not shocking that team ball was more effective and harder to defend than stat-pleasing iso-ball.

One could argue coaching hurt Wilt's career - but Russell was a coach by his own merits and won two titles as such. One could also argue that Russell had better teammates. And, while this is true, the gulf is not nearly as large as some say - Wilt did play with 21 all-stars over his 13-year career, while Russell played with 29 in 13 years. Wilt had 10 HOF teammates, while Russell had 14.

So it's not like Wilt played with a bunch of stiffs.

And, when push cane to shove, Russell won when it counted. 10-0 in game 7s. (Wilt was 4-5). This cannot be overstated. In series where two teams were fairly evenly matched, Russell willed his club to win every single time. This alone is a remarkable achievement.

In the end Russell was Tom Brady and Wilt was Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. Manning and Rodgers might have had more pure talent,  but their lesser leadership and weakness in clutch games hurt their title counts and their legacies.
I responded to your actual statement about defending the rim not defense in general, but Wilt's defense in general was also excellent.  Wilt wasn't the overall defender that Bill was, but Wilt was a still an excellent defender and he is the best shot blocker in the sport's history. 

I just disagree with your assessment that the Celtics and Warriors were evenly matched, they were not.  The Celtics were 7 HOFers deep, the Warriors had 4(and Arizin, Gola, and Rodgers were not the same class of player that Cousy or Sam Jones were, and then you had Heinsohn, Ramsey, Sharman, KC Jones on top of that).  Take that 62 series that went 7, Meschery (not a HOFer) and a rookie was the Warriors 2nd best player during that series (though Arizin was during the regular season).  In basically ever single game, Wilt had better stats across the board than Bill, but the Celtics won because Cousy, Jones, and Heinsohn were the 3rd, 4th, and 5th best players in that series.  Gola only played 4 games that series as well.

It wasn't until the Sixers in 66, when Wilt was joined by Cunningham that he finally had a running mate at least on par with what Bill had in Boston.  66 was Cunningham's rookie year, by Cunningham's 2nd year in 67 the Sixers were the greatest team in the sports history to that point (they had Greer and Walker as well).  Cunningham got hurt and didn't play in the 68 playoffs and they lost to Boston.
It's not like the C's never had injuries.

Agree philly was strong though.  But it's Wilt's own fault he bailed on an excellent Philly team to go to LA to make movies. Right after he got shut down and embarrassed in the second half of game 7 in the ECF against the C's. He allegedly didn't take a single shot in that half. Dysfunction and chokes seemed to follow him wherever he went.

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #66 on: February 22, 2023, 03:54:29 PM »

Offline kraidstar

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This is an awesome thread, thank you. I think the eagerness of people here to pump up Wilt (or, for that matter, Karl Malone) are proving my original point: modern day fans care a lot about flashy stats and relatively empty regular season achievements, and not the question: Was this a winning player?

Why do I believe that Russell's value in the eyes of fans has faded, and Wilt's brightened, as time has passed? Because, on the 35th anniversary of the NBA in 1980, Bill Russell was voted as the greatest player in the history of the league. Wilt was selected as the 2nd string center.

I'm not saying Wilt wasn't dominant. He was unimpeachably unstoppable. But basketball is about winning alongside 4 other players, and seen in that context, Wilt simply did not do that the same way as Russell did. You know that the Lakers coach refused to put Wilt back into the game in game 7 of the 1969 finals, right? Can you imagine Auerbach or Phil Jackson ever having a similar thought about Russell or Jordan in a game 7? This should tell you something.

On Karl Malone, it's the same deal. He was a dominant regular season player, and a 2x MVP. But when he finally met up with Jordan's Bulls in the finals, there was no question who the better player was. The Bulls were not "a better team". Jordan was an absolutely ruthless competitor and an elite winner, and Malone was not, a fact that was clear to anyone with eyeballs.
in wilt's defense i do think he hurt his leg late in that game. Still,  the C's held a 15 pt lead entering the 4th. The Celtics were in their heads

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #67 on: February 22, 2023, 04:08:27 PM »

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This is an awesome thread, thank you. I think the eagerness of people here to pump up Wilt (or, for that matter, Karl Malone) are proving my original point: modern day fans care a lot about flashy stats and relatively empty regular season achievements, and not the question: Was this a winning player?

Why do I believe that Russell's value in the eyes of fans has faded, and Wilt's brightened, as time has passed? Because, on the 35th anniversary of the NBA in 1980, Bill Russell was voted as the greatest player in the history of the league. Wilt was selected as the 2nd string center.

I'm not saying Wilt wasn't dominant. He was unimpeachably unstoppable. But basketball is about winning alongside 4 other players, and seen in that context, Wilt simply did not do that the same way as Russell did. You know that the Lakers coach refused to put Wilt back into the game in game 7 of the 1969 finals, right? Can you imagine Auerbach or Phil Jackson ever having a similar thought about Russell or Jordan in a game 7? This should tell you something.

On Karl Malone, it's the same deal. He was a dominant regular season player, and a 2x MVP. But when he finally met up with Jordan's Bulls in the finals, there was no question who the better player was. The Bulls were not "a better team". Jordan was an absolutely ruthless competitor and an elite winner, and Malone was not, a fact that was clear to anyone with eyeballs.

Malone wasn't as good as Jordan, so that means he's not a winning player?

Nope, not what I was saying. Rather, I was trying to say that if you watched those Finals series, you saw that Malone too easily wilted in the spotlight and under the immensity of the moment. He was not able to elevate his game. It was severely juxtaposed against Jordan. But I wouldnít put Malone in the same category as other all-time greats who truly elevated their teams and rose to meet the moment. Iím sure Iím not the only one on here old enough to have watched those Finals series and can attest to this!
That doesn't seem to be true.  I mean in the closeout game in 98, a game in which Chicago won 87 to 86, Malone went for 31/11/7 and shot 11 of 19 from the field.  It was Stockton who didn't show up.  Jordan scored 45 points but did so on 35 shots and had 1 rebound and 1 assist (though did have 4 steals).  And game 5 (also a closeout game), Utah won 83 to 81 and Malone went for 39 on 17 of 27 from the field with 9 boards and 5 assists.  Stockton was a bit better that game, but still not great.  Jordan did get 28 points, but was 9 of 26 and he had 4 boards and 4 assists.  Kukoc was the guy that really showed up in that series on the whole.

Yeah, I watched those two series, along with pretty much every series in the 1990s.  I never got the impression that Malone choked in the clutch, or was overrated.  Same thing with all the greats that lost to the Chicago buzz saw.  Drexler, Barkley, Payton, Kemp...  Those guys would have won titles in a lot of seasons.  Same thing with some of those Knicks squads, the Pacers, the Cavs, the Heat.  They were mostly worthy opponents who just weren't good enough.


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Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #68 on: February 22, 2023, 04:19:39 PM »

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This is an awesome thread, thank you. I think the eagerness of people here to pump up Wilt (or, for that matter, Karl Malone) are proving my original point: modern day fans care a lot about flashy stats and relatively empty regular season achievements, and not the question: Was this a winning player?

Why do I believe that Russell's value in the eyes of fans has faded, and Wilt's brightened, as time has passed? Because, on the 35th anniversary of the NBA in 1980, Bill Russell was voted as the greatest player in the history of the league. Wilt was selected as the 2nd string center.

I'm not saying Wilt wasn't dominant. He was unimpeachably unstoppable. But basketball is about winning alongside 4 other players, and seen in that context, Wilt simply did not do that the same way as Russell did. You know that the Lakers coach refused to put Wilt back into the game in game 7 of the 1969 finals, right? Can you imagine Auerbach or Phil Jackson ever having a similar thought about Russell or Jordan in a game 7? This should tell you something.

On Karl Malone, it's the same deal. He was a dominant regular season player, and a 2x MVP. But when he finally met up with Jordan's Bulls in the finals, there was no question who the better player was. The Bulls were not "a better team". Jordan was an absolutely ruthless competitor and an elite winner, and Malone was not, a fact that was clear to anyone with eyeballs.

Malone wasn't as good as Jordan, so that means he's not a winning player?

Nope, not what I was saying. Rather, I was trying to say that if you watched those Finals series, you saw that Malone too easily wilted in the spotlight and under the immensity of the moment. He was not able to elevate his game. It was severely juxtaposed against Jordan. But I wouldnít put Malone in the same category as other all-time greats who truly elevated their teams and rose to meet the moment. Iím sure Iím not the only one on here old enough to have watched those Finals series and can attest to this!
That doesn't seem to be true.  I mean in the closeout game in 98, a game in which Chicago won 87 to 86, Malone went for 31/11/7 and shot 11 of 19 from the field.  It was Stockton who didn't show up.  Jordan scored 45 points but did so on 35 shots and had 1 rebound and 1 assist (though did have 4 steals).  And game 5 (also a closeout game), Utah won 83 to 81 and Malone went for 39 on 17 of 27 from the field with 9 boards and 5 assists.  Stockton was a bit better that game, but still not great.  Jordan did get 28 points, but was 9 of 26 and he had 4 boards and 4 assists.  Kukoc was the guy that really showed up in that series on the whole.

Yeah, I watched those two series, along with pretty much every series in the 1990s.  I never got the impression that Malone choked in the clutch, or was overrated.  Same thing with all the greats that lost to the Chicago buzz saw.  Drexler, Barkley, Payton, Kemp...  Those guys would have won titles in a lot of seasons.  Same thing with some of those Knicks squads, the Pacers, the Cavs, the Heat.  They were mostly worthy opponents who just weren't good enough.

He was a bit up & down, though. Missed some clutch FTs at the tail end of Game 1 of the '97 Finals.  6 for 20 in Game 2 of that series.  Played mostly well in the Utah hosted games, though. Including some key FT's in Game 4.  Rough performance in Game 5, though.  Especially in the 2nd half.

He was shot horribly in the first two games of '98.  But, like Moranis mentioned earlier, he played well in the latter part of that series. 

"The mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays" is still up there as one of the great quips.

For the record, I don't think Malone is overrated.  Think he's pretty much ranked where he should be.  Still a despicable person, though.


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Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #69 on: February 22, 2023, 04:22:11 PM »

Offline rocknrollforyoursoul

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Nope, not what I was saying. Rather, I was trying to say that if you watched those Finals series, you saw that Malone too easily wilted in the spotlight and under the immensity of the moment. He was not able to elevate his game. It was severely juxtaposed against Jordan. But I wouldnít put Malone in the same category as other all-time greats who truly elevated their teams and rose to meet the moment. Iím sure Iím not the only one on here old enough to have watched those Finals series and can attest to this!

He doesn't really get put up there, does he?

I rarely see him mentioned in top 10s or top 15 of all time. Usually late teens or early to mid 20s.

Is that fair? Or do you think that is still too high?

The way that some people (I'm not talking about anyone here in particular, just in general) rate and evaluate players is ... interesting.

Some people say that LeBron is the GOAT, especially now that he has the scoring record ... but I don't recall anyone ever saying that Kareem was the GOAT, despite holding that record for nearly four decades, being master of the toughest shot (to make and defend), and being a 6-time MVP. I've also never heard anyone say that Karl Malone is, for example, a top-5 or even top-10 player all-time despite being second (now third) in career scoring.

But I understand that this is all about people's opinions, and people have different methodologies for their ratings. ::shrug::
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Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #70 on: February 22, 2023, 04:25:37 PM »

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That turnover where MJ came along he baseline to steal it from him in the final minute of the last game killed Malone.

If I recall correctly, Malone had problems in 1996 in the WCF against Seattle at the FT line too. He had a reputation for choking even before the Jazz made the Finals.

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #71 on: February 22, 2023, 04:33:34 PM »

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Yeah, I watched those two series, along with pretty much every series in the 1990s.  I never got the impression that Malone choked in the clutch, or was overrated.  Same thing with all the greats that lost to the Chicago buzz saw.  Drexler, Barkley, Payton, Kemp...  Those guys would have won titles in a lot of seasons.  Same thing with some of those Knicks squads, the Pacers, the Cavs, the Heat.  They were mostly worthy opponents who just weren't good enough.

I was disappointed with Drexler in that 1992 Finals. MJ dominated him. Drexler did not lead POR well in that series ... heck, he didn't lead them at all. He did his job but he didn't lead. He was one of the guys instead of THE guy.

Barkley played very well in 1993. The Suns just couldn't defend MJ.

Payton sucked in the 1996 Finals (only showed up after Seattle was down 3 zip and the series was over). It is a shame because he was the best player in the previous three series when they played against Mitch Richmond, Hakeem & Drexler, K Malone & J Stockton. But he sucked in the Finals. Payton benefited from playing against smaller guards in the West but the Bulls big guards took away his post game and he just wasn't efficient / effective enough as a scorer in the half-court outside of the low post to get the job done.

Kemp was awesome againt Chicago. He killed everyone the Bulls put on him. Unstoppable.

Karl Malone was so-so in 1997 and good in 1998. Stockton played fine but not well in 1997 and 1998, worse in 1998. Like Payton, Stockton struggled with the Bulls big guards. Those three 6-6, 6-6 and 6-7 perimeter players with long arms shrinking all the passing lanes made life tough for him. He did reasonably. Still, it broke my heart that he wouldn't shoot the ball more often because Hornacek was awful in both Finals. Hornacek couldn't cope at all with MJ or Pippen defending him. They really needed Stockton to step up and score more because of that and he didn't do it.


I was an anybody but Jordan fan in each of those Finals.

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #72 on: February 22, 2023, 05:24:40 PM »

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I think Bronny James is prob overrated.

If his last name is not James , he might be lucky to have got into a college for basketball at a lower level.  He appears built more,like a college football prospect.

He has earned nothing so far ,  thatís sadÖÖhe ll most likely only go as far as his famous fathers name and fortune can carry him.

He should have chose his own path in life .  Maybe he ll be a NBA coach .

Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #73 on: February 22, 2023, 05:57:59 PM »

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That turnover where MJ came along he baseline to steal it from him in the final minute of the last game killed Malone.

If I recall correctly, Malone had problems in 1996 in the WCF against Seattle at the FT line too. He had a reputation for choking even before the Jazz made the Finals.

Another great Ďwhat ifí is Dominique Wilkins not refusing to play in Utah.

Malone, Wilkins, Stockton would have been a formidable trio.
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Re: Most Overrated Athlete?
« Reply #74 on: February 22, 2023, 06:10:59 PM »

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I think Bronny James is prob overrated.

Haha was this before the mock draft came out? Cause if so it is quite funny