Noah Dickerson Is Playing Like A Boss

The Husky basketball team, in the very early going, already looks more impressive than it has in many years.  They took out a good Belmont team in the opener, and handled a pretty good Eastern Washington team before heading off to New York for the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.  In the opener last night, the Huskies squared off against another good team in Providence, in what was a glorified road game with how many Friars fans there were in attendance.

And the Dawgs held their own!  They didn’t win, as Providence’s superior shooting at all three levels took over at the end of the game, but the Huskies were down by 3 points with the ball in hand with less than a minute to go.  In that kind of environment, I think that’s all you can really ask for out of a team like Washington.

This isn’t a superiorly talented Washington team; they’re going to have to scrap and claw in all their games to get W’s.  The margin of error is razor thin.  How thin?  Last night, with 31 seconds left in the game, Jaylen Nowell made a terrific play to score a bucket to pull the game back to within 3 points, AND he was fouled on the play to make things really interesting.  Make that free throw, and you can really muck up the last half minute of that game.  Get Providence to miss just ONE free throw, and you’ve got a chance to tie it with a three ball.  But, he bricked it, and the Friars won by 7.

Didn’t help that the Huskies were 9 of 27 from behind the arc.  David Crisp had a particularly brutal game, hitting 4 of 14 from the field, of which two of those shots were inside the three-point line (both missed).  And, as such, arguably the best free throw shooter on the team finished the night 0 for 1 at the charity stripe.  That is, without question, a terrible night of basketball.  And it’s not like he just had an off night!  Crisp for his career is a 34% shooter from three-point land, and yet he’s out there jacking them up like he’s Ray Allen or some shit!

The Huskies were forced to go to that style, unfortunately, because Noah Dickerson fouled out (on just a HORRIBLE call by the refs) with a little under 3 minutes to go in the game.  Up to that point, Dickerson was holding this team together with his massive wingspan and some duct tape.  He finished with 19 points and 6 boards (including 7 of 10 from the free throw line) just four days after he dropped 28 & 22 on Eastern.  I don’t know what happened with Belmont, but considering he fouled out and only played 19 minutes, my hunch is he spent the majority of that game in foul trouble.  Either way, Noah Dickerson has proven – in the very early going, mind you – to be far and away the best player on this team, and the guy this offense needs to run through.

We’ve seen this out of Dickerson in spurts before.  Against inferior opponents, he’ll bust out with a nice game here and there.  But, rarely consistently, until late last season, when he really balled out in the last couple months (often taking on the load with Markelle Fultz battling his injuries).  It’s a breath of fresh air to see that carry over into this season, when we’ve got a new coach and a whole mess of new players.

Jaylen Nowell really caught all the headlines when he dropped 32 in the opener against Belmont, but he’s been a lot quieter these last two games, taking a backseat to the vets on this team.  As we move along, I’d like to see him assert himself more, with less of Crisp jacking up crazy threes left and right.

But, this team is only going to go as far as Dickerson is able to take them.  He’s got the type of talent and production you can count on from game to game.  Even if he’s not shooting well, he should be able to dominate the paint and boost his numbers at the free throw line with regularity.  We haven’t had someone this good at the 4 since Jon Brockman, but I would argue Dickerson has more raw talent, particularly in the post.  It’s scary to think he could be even BETTER than what we’ve seen from him thus far.

The Huskies wrap up the 2K Classic tonight this afternoon in the loser’s game against Virginia Tech; hopefully we can rebound and steal a W.  Then, we come back for an easy slate of games the rest of this month, as those early December showdowns loom against Kansas and Gonzaga.

The Mount Rushmores For Each Seattle Pro Team

* That I choose to cover, because I don’t give a fudge about the ones I don’t.

Mount Rushmores:
Tuesday:  Seattle Sports Announcers
Wednesday:  Seattle Head Coaches/Managers

It’s All Star Week in Major League Baseball, which means it’s pretty much a dead week in sports.  I’m not 12 years old, so the All Star Game doesn’t mean anything to me; I’m not 62 years old, so golf doesn’t mean anything to me.  But, a blogger’s job is never done!  Or, I dunno, maybe it’s been done ad nauseam.  Either way, I’ve got nothing timely to write about, and I’ve got nothing else better to do, so I’m doing this.

We’re celebrating some of the local Mount Rushmores in a series of posts this week, because that’s something people do, right?  Sports radio and the like; what’s your Mount Rushmore of TV shows still airing new episodes right now?  Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Rick & Morty, Better Call Saul, Bob’s Burgers, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but ask me another day and I might give you four completely different shows.

Today is going to be the first of a two-parter, of sorts.  I’m going to split up my Mount Rushmores between the Mariners, Sonics, and Seahawks, with the goal of locking down an official Mount Rushmore for All Seattle Sports tomorrow.

First up:  the Seattle Mariners.

  1. Ken Griffey Jr.
  2. Edgar Martinez
  3. Felix Hernandez
  4. Ichiro

I thought this one was pretty easy, but I could see why people might want to make the argument for someone like Randy Johnson or Alex Rodriguez or even Alvin Davis, but ehh.  Griffey is Griffey; he’s the greatest player in Mariners history.  Edgar is Edgar; he’s the greatest hitter in Mariners history.  Felix is the King; his prime in a Mariners uniform was better than Randy’s prime in a Mariners uniform.  Had the Mariners never traded Randy, and he won a bunch more Cy Young Awards and whatnot, then yeah, Randy all day.  But, I’m going with the King because he’s my favorite player of all time and because he deserves to be on this list.  And, I’m going with Ichiro as my #4 due to his longevity and his sustained brilliance as this team’s leadoff hitter.  Again, it comes down to tenure over someone like A-Rod who had a short stint of supreme excellence before taking the money and running to the Rangers.  In the end, I don’t think A-Rod would end up on any team’s Mount Rushmore, and that’s exactly what he deserves.

Next up:  the Seattle Supersonics.

  1. Gary Payton
  2. Jack Sikma
  3. Fred Brown
  4. Shawn Kemp

You could go any number of ways with the Sonics.  Ray Allen, Lenny Wilkens, Gus Williams, Xavier McDaniel, Nate McMillan, Spencer Haywood, Slick Watts, Detlef Schrempf, Big Smooth, Dale Ellis, and on and on and on.  There were so many great players, so many great teams, and so many great eras of Sonics basketball.  I’ve got the Glove at the top because I think he was the best all-around player in team history.  He’s obviously known for his lockdown defense, but he really developed into a dominant offensive player over his career, becoming the team’s unquestioned leader.  Sikma was the best big man in team history, averaging a double-double in 7 of his 9 years in Seattle (as well as making 7 All Star Games).  Brown was a 13-year career Sonic bridging the early 70s, through the championship year, on into the mid-80s and the next generation of great Sonics teams.  And, finally, I’ve got 5-time All Star (with the Sonics) Shawn Kemp, the most explosive and athletic player in team history, who really developed into a force in the league, at a time when there were tons of great power forwards in the game.

And, without further ado:  the Seattle Seahawks (past).

  1. Steve Largent
  2. Walter Jones
  3. Cortez Kennedy
  4. Kenny Easley

Okay, so here’s the deal:  those are four Hall of Famers.  If you’re going to have a Mount Rushmore of Seattle Seahawks, you’ve gotta go with the actual NFL Hall of Famers, right?  Steve Largent, at the time of his retirement, had just about every single wide receiver record in NFL history; he was THE greatest, until Jerry Rice became THE greatest.  Now, many receivers have blown past Largent’s stats through the years, but the game is a lot different now than it was in the 70s and 80s.  Walter Jones, I think, is the greatest left tackle in NFL history; he absolutely belongs on this list!  The Tez is, without question, one of the greatest all-around DTs in the history of the league.  His ability to clog up the middle, command double-teams, and still create an abundance of pressure up the middle is simply mind-boggling.  And, as for Easley, he was a Pro Bowler 5 of his 7 seasons, and a first team All Pro in 3 of his 7 seasons.  Had he not had the health issues that forced him into retirement, he would’ve been an NFL Hall of Famer MANY years ago.  Essentially, he was Kam Chancellor before there was Kam Chancellor, at a time when the safety position was oft-overlooked.  His type of game-changing talent is generational and precious and should not be taken for granted.

There have obviously been other great Seahawks throughout the years – Matt Hasselbeck, Curt Warner, Shaun Alexander, Jacob Green, Dave Brown, Dave Krieg, Jim Zorn, and so on and so forth – but no one is on the level of the four above-referenced Hall of Famers.

Now, that having all been said, I think this current batch of Seahawks – since Pete Carroll and John Schneider joined the team – have some NFL Hall of Famers on it as well.  So, really, I had no choice but to split this part up.

We had the Seahawks (past) and now the Seahawks (present).

  1. Earl Thomas
  2. Marshawn Lynch
  3. Richard Sherman
  4. Russell Wilson

Obvious asterisk here in that Beastmode is not a current Seahawk, but he’s from this Pete Carroll Era, and that’s really what I’m talking about here.  I think Earl Thomas (assuming he comes back from his injury) is the best and most obvious future Hall of Famer.  Like Easley, in Earl’s first seven seasons, he’s made 5 Pro Bowls and 3 First Team All Pros.  He’s the heart & soul of this defense and really what makes this defense tick.  As you could see when the Seahawks lost him last year, this defense falls apart without Earl!  With him, it’s among the best in the league, and the primary reason why we’ve led the league in fewest points allowed so many times under Pete Carroll.  Next up, I think you have to go Beastmode.  I think, as it stands right now, he’s a borderline NFL Hall of Famer.  But, with a good season or two in Oakland, I think he blows past borderline into Obvious NFL Hall of Famer.  Lynch took this team from soft and old and carried it to back-to-back Super Bowls.  He allowed this team to bring its rookie franchise quarterback along slowly, and when it mattered most – in those playoff games – Beastmode brought his game to another level.  Ultimately, I think it’s his performances in the playoffs that will carry him into the Hall of Fame (in spite of his famous discontent with the NFL media), and it’s why I have him ranked so high on my list.  Third, I’ve got Sherm.  He’s the greatest cornerback in team history.  Period.  4 Pro Bowls and 3 First Team All Pros in his 6 seasons, and he has yet to miss a game as soon as he entered the starting lineup.  I don’t know how much longer he’ll be a member of this team, but as long as he is, he’s on my present-day Mount Rushmore.  And, fourth, I’ve got Russell Wilson.  I could’ve gone any number of directions here – Wagner, Kam, Bennett, Avril, K.J., Doug – and indeed, any number of those guys might end up making the Hall of Fame alongside my top 4, but I’m rolling with the QB.  In spite of the fact that for quarterbacks nowadays, it’s probably harder than ever to make the Hall of Fame, what with all the passing records that are falling, and how difficult it is to last in this league for 10, 15 years or more.  And make no mistake, Russell has A LONG WAY to go.  5 seasons, 3 Pro Bowls, no All Pros.  It’s especially questionable when you consider the step back he took last year with lots of injuries and behind an ineffective O-Line.  For this choice, I’m going mostly on faith, and I do have faith that Russell will reach all of his goals and go down as one of the greats of this era.  Disregarding all of that, right now, for what he is, Russell is the guy that stirs the drink.  This team doesn’t do what it’s done without Russell Wilson behind center.  No Super Bowls (plural), no division titles (plural), not nearly as many 10-win seasons (he’s 5 for 5 in his short career, no pun intended) with a replacement-level player.  Quarterback is the most important player on every NFL team, and the Seahawks are no exception.  As such, he’s making my Mount Rushmore over the rest.

Tomorrow, I’m going to pick from among the above-listed 16 players and come up with a definitive Mount Rushmore for Seattle Pro Athletes.  Weeeee!

The Best Players On The Worst Teams, Part IV: Everything Else

Part I – Felix Hernandez

Part II – Other Seattle Mariners

Part III – Seattle Seahawks

There aren’t enough Sonics to include on this list to make it worth my while for a whole post, mostly because the Sonics had been consistently good throughout the years.  With the exception of the early going (the first seven years or so) and the late going (the last six years or so, before they left Seattle).  One name that popped to mind immediately was Ray Allen.  Of course, he went on to have great success with the Celtics (and I guess the Heat, depending on whether they can pull out these Finals), but in his time in Seattle, the Sonics greatly underachieved, with only one post-season appearance to his name.  Technically, I’m not counting players like Ray Allen, since the whole idea is to praise the guys who have suffered their whole careers on terrible teams, but as I said before, the pickin’s are pretty slim across Sonics history.

I was also halfway tempted to put Rashard Lewis on this list, as his Sonics teams were pretty underwhelming too.  But, he did go to Orlando, and they did go to the playoffs in three straight seasons, including one Finals appearance.  So, screw off to Lewis; he had his chance.

Once you rule out all the great players from the 70s, 80s, and 90s (for being on consistently good-to-great teams), the only name that comes immediately to mind is Bob Rule, the old Sonics center from the very first Sonics teams.  I don’t know much at all about these early-going Sonics, but I know Bob Rule was quite good in his day.  And, from the looks of things, he NEVER made the playoffs in his 8 seasons in the league.

***

I likewise don’t have a great handle on all the Husky teams throughout the ages, but there’s one name that can’t be denied.  He might be the greatest Husky football player who ever lived.  At the very least, we’re talking about a guy in the Top 5 or Top 10 in all time Huskies.  Of course, I’m talking about Jake Locker.

When you think of great Husky teams, I’m sure you think of the Don James era.  Maybe you think about some of those teams in the 1920s, or the Jim Owens era if you’re real old school.  If you’re some young punk idiot, you’ll think about a couple of those Neuheisel teams, because those are the years I attended the university.  The point is, there are PLENTY of great Husky teams to choose from.  As there are PLENTY of great Husky players to choose from.

But, when you think of truly terrible Husky teams, you think of every season after the Neuheisel era.  You think of Gilby and Willingham.  You think of 2008 and 0-12.  And, of course, you have to think about Jake Locker.

Now, obviously, if we’re talking about one of the greatest Husky football players of all time, then you know we’re talking about teams that were terrible in spite of their leader!  Nevertheless, in his first two years, the Huskies were 4-9 and 0-12 before Willingham was rightfully fired.  That’s a disgrace!  How could you possibly draw in a player SO GOOD, and end up with records so poor?  Well, of course, Locker was hurt for much of that 0-12 campaign (that really seemed to drag on and on and on until the end of time; if there is a Hell, it’s forever sitting in the freezing nosebleed seats at the end of October, 2008, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish trounce your home team 33-7), but that’s neither here nor there.

Locker never had the talent around him.  Period.  Even when Sark came aboard, there was little hope.  You can’t turn around a program this inept in one or two years.  Locker’s third season was a marked improvement, but the Huskies were still only good enough to finish 5-7, bringing his 3-year record to 9-28.  Finally, though, in his Senior season, through the sheer force of Locker’s will, the Huskies made it back to a bowl game and kicked the asses of the Cornhuskers.  A 7-6 final season brought Locker’s total record to 16-34, which makes me weep a little on the inside.  Deep down, where I’m soft like a woman.

***

Upon conception of this post idea, it was supposed to center around Felix Hernandez.  I decided to broaden the scope and include other sports, so I reached out to some friends to give me ideas on other elite players who have been banished to terrible teams throughout their careers.  So, let’s get it on.

A lot of people feel sorry for Larry Fitzgerald, but let’s face it, if you’ve ever played in a Super Bowl, you’re disqualified (I don’t care HOW terrible his quarterbacks have been since Kurt Warner retired).  So, forget about him, and start getting a huge sad sack boner over Steven Jackson.  Nine years in the league to date, all with St. Louis.  In his first season (2004), the Rams made the playoffs (remember the game where they beat the Seahawks in the Wild Card round?) and won a single game before losing the following week.  At that time, Jackson was sharing the load with the legendary Marshall Faulk, so he didn’t even get a full allotment of carries in his lone post-season appearance!

In a real oddity, the Rams for Jackson’s entire career (including 2004) have never had a winning record.  At best, they’ve been 8-8 (twice); at worst, they’ve been 1-15 (once) and 2-14 (twice).  His total record in the NFL is 44-99-1.  His stats to date are:  10,135 yards, 56 touchdowns, 407 receptions, 3,324 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns, in 131 total games.  My hunch:  we’re talking about a guy who will be in the Hall of Fame one day.  And it’s only now, as he’s signed with the Atlanta Falcons, where he will finally get a real taste of the post-season life.  Even then, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL.  I generally dislike the teams in Seattle’s division and the players on those teams, but Steven Jackson is one of the good ones.  If it weren’t a foregone conclusion that the Seahawks are going all the way this year, I’d root like crazy for Jackson and the Falcons.

Next on my list of the parade of the damned, we’ve got probably my favorite running back of all time:  Barry Sanders.  Ye GODS, was he spectacular!  Hands down, probably my favorite player to watch play the game of football.  He lasted 10 years, all with Detroit, before retiring at an age where he probably – if he wanted to – could have continued his career.  I mean, in his final season, he ran for 1,491 yards!  In his next-to-last season, he ran for over 2,000 yards!  If that’s not a guy who’s still in the prime of his life, I don’t know what to tell you.

The Detroit Lions, in his time, were consistently mediocre.  78-82.  Yes, they made the playoffs in five of his ten seasons, but they were never really CONTENDERS.  And, not for nothing, but the Lions’ playoff record in his tenure was 1-5; yes, they lost their first game 4 out of the 5 times his Lions made the playoffs.  Remember these names:  Rodney Peete, Dave Krieg, Scott Mitchell, Charlie Batch.  These are just a few of the quarterbacks who did little more than hand the ball off to Sanders and watch him try to carry the team into the playoffs.

OK, one more player before I finish for the day and continue this post later.  O.J. Simpson.  He IS a Hall of Famer!  He played in 11 seasons throughout the late 60s and all of the 70s, 9 of them in Buffalo before finishing his career in San Francisco (before they were SAN FRANCISCO).  In that time, Simpson played in exactly one playoff game, in 1974, against the Steelers, where they lost 32-14.  He ran it 15 times for 49 yards with another 3 receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.  Those are the entirety of his playoff numbers.  Little did the world know then just what kind of an asshole he would become, but at the time of his retirement, I suppose you had to feel sorry for the guy.

To be continued …

2008: A Seattle Sports Apocalypse

Editor’s Note:  To read this blog post, click HERE.  It is one of Seattle Sports Hell’s “Featured Articles”.

Who Was The Better Sonics Player: Tom Chambers, Spencer Haywood, or Dennis Johnson?

The last time I did one of these posts, it was over a month ago.  I’m still sitting on my post about the greatest Sonics by jersey number, but I had to get this other post out of the way first.  As I mentioned before, most of the numbers are easy to determine who wore it best.  #34 was a challenge, because Ray Allen and Xavier McDaniel were so close to one another, statswise.  Well, #24 is quite the bear itself, with three guys who were pretty damn good in a Sonics uniform.

A Scoring Machine

Another Scoring Machine

And A Champion

This one is tough for me, mostly because all three were before my time (“my time” started sometime in 1993).  So, like I did before, I’m going to work my table magic and provide the raw data needed to decipher this riddle.

Tom Chambers (PF) Spencer Haywood (PF) Dennis Johnson (SG)
Seasons 1983/1984 – 1987/1988 1970/1971 – 1974/1975 1976/1977 – 1979/1980
Games 393 326 323
Games Started 294 (unknown) (unknown)
Minutes Played 13,210 13,156 9,530
Minutes per Game 33.6 40.4 29.5
Points Scored 8,028 8,131 4,590
Points per Game 20.4 24.9 14.2
Field Goals 2,886/6,150 3,168/6,849 1,708/3,918
Field Goal % .469 .463 .436
Free Throws 2,150/2,603 1,795/2,207 1,162/1,572
Free Throw % .826 .813 .739
Three Pointers 106/336 (unknown) (unknown)
Three Point % .315 (unknown) (unknown)
Rebounds 2,577 3,954 1,884
Rebounds per Game 6.6 12.1 4.3
Assists 931 769 965
Assists per Game 2.4 2.4 3.0
Turnovers 1,123 (unknown) (unknown)
Turnovers per Game 2.9 (unknown) (unknown)
All Star Games 1 (1986-1987) 4 (1971/1975) 2 (1978/1980)
Team Record 187-223 190-220 195-133
Reg. Season Win % .456 .463 .595
Best Reg. Season Finish Third (2 times) Second (1 time) First (1 time)
Playoff Appearances 3 (Lost 1st Round 83/84, Lost in West Finals 86/87, Lost 1st Round 87/88) 1 (Lost 2nd Round 74/75) 3 (Lost in Finals 77/78, Won Championship 78/79, Lost in West Finals 79/80)

Obviously, we run into a problem comparing these three guys, since the powers that be didn’t keep very accurate stats before 1979, but I think this one is probably easier to determine than the Ray Allen/X-Man debate.

Now, if we were going by Best Overall Career, you have to look long and hard at Dennis Johnson.  The guy won three championships!  He was Finals MVP with the Sonics, he was in five All Star Games, and he received high marks for his defensive abilities throughout his career.  Unfortunately for him, this isn’t a question of who had the best career, but who has the best SONICS career.  And while he certainly gets a lot of credit for his overall team record, his 1979 NBA championship, and his teams’ performances in the playoffs, I don’t think he really makes a dent when it comes to the other two guys.  Primarily because he was a Sonics draft pick in 1976 and his first two seasons, statswise, weren’t all that impressive.  When you look at D.J. in a Sonics uniform, you look at his final two seasons, and then you see he went on to continue his solid, steady play for Phoenix and Boston for many years to come.

So, pretty much, this is a 2-man race between Tom Chambers and Spencer Haywood.  Haywood was a true superstar, known all over the country thanks to his lawsuit granting him admission into the NBA when it was illegal at the time for a player to bypass college (or simply wait less than 4 years from when they graduated high school).  And when he hit the scene with the Supersonics, he was a man on fire!  In his five seasons in Seattle, he averaged nearly 25 points a game and a hair over 12 rebounds.  Granted, he wasn’t on the best of Sonics teams, but he did lead them to their first-ever playoff appearance in 1975.

Chambers, on the other hand, was much lesser-known.  The Sonics grabbed him from the San Diego Clippers and he sort of had an up & down tenure with the Sonics.  BUT, his 86/87 season (where he won All Star Game MVP when they played in the Kingdome), alongside Dale Ellis and Xavier McDaniel was a thing of beauty:  23 points, 6 and a half boards, 3 assists, all while helping this team reach the Western Conference Finals (where they lost to Magic, Kareem, Worthy and the eventual NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, 4-0).  Nevertheless, his overall career with the Sonics (more playoff appearances, better field goal percentage & free throw percentage than Haywood) isn’t anything to sneer at.

One could argue the Sonics never used Chambers properly, as he would go on to have his two very-best seasons upon signing as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns (averaging 26.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, while shooting 48.6% from the field), but that’s neither here nor there.  As an individual, I have to confirm that the best player to wear the jersey number 24 for the Seattle Supersonics was indeed Spencer Haywood.

Haywood went to the All Star Game in his final four seasons with the Sonics (compared to just one for Chambers).  He was Seattle’s first true superstar.  Hell, he’s the only one of the three to have his jersey number retired!  And, really, he gave all he had to the Seattle Sonics.  After he was traded to the Knicks in 1975, he was never the same.  Declining skills, but especially injuries, forced him into being a role player.  He finally got his ring, with the 1980 Los Angeles Lakers, while only playing 20 minutes a game (and averaging under 10 points for the first time in his career).

As far as the Seattle stats are concerned between the two, Haywood has it all over Chambers.  Yes, points, but also rebounds.  That rebounding discrepancy is HUGE.  He also averaged more minutes (and, I would wager, probably started more games).  The field goal and free throw percentages aren’t all that different from one another.  And Chambers shooting 30% from behind the arc (compared to Haywood’s near 0%) isn’t enough to tip the scales.  I’d rather have the guy who almost never shoots a three because he knows he can’t make it, over the guy who shoots poorly (as all of his three point attempts would surely be ill-advised).

So, that’s that.  Spencer Haywood, #24.  One helluva Sonics player.

Who Was The Better Seattle Supersonics Player: Ray Allen or Xavier McDaniel?

I was doing some research over the weekend.  If you’re familiar with this page, you get the idea of what I was doing with my precious, precious time (we only have so many years on Earth, what am I DOING with my life???).

For the most part, it’s pretty easy to determine who was the best Sonic at each respective jersey number, but there are a couple numbers giving me trouble.  Probably the most trouble comes with Jersey #34.

You, sir, were good ...

... but were you better?

I’m having a hard time with this.  Mainly, I’m struggling because I saw the entirety of the Ray Allen Era and I saw none of the Xavier McDaniel Era.  I don’t want to be one of those guys who jumps to the conclusion he’s familiar with just because he never saw the other guy play.

So, here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to bust out a ton of numbers here and then I’m going to try to talk my way through this.

Ray Allen (SG)
Xavier McDaniel (SF)
Seasons 2002/2003 – 2006/2007 (29 games in 02/03 after mid-season trade for Gary Payton & other players/picks) 1985/1986 – 1990/1991 (15 games in 90/91 before mid-season trade for Eddie Johnson & two #1 draft picks)
Games 296 408
Games Started 296 331
Minutes Played 11,654 13,786
Minutes per Game 39.37 33.79
Points Scored 7,273 8,438
Points per Game 24.57 20.68
Field Goals 2,520/5,724 3,496/7,074
Field Goal % .440 .494
Free Throws 1,364/1,517 1,411/1,980
Free Throw % .899 .713
Three Pointers 869/2,252 35/130
Three Point % .386 .269
Rebounds 1,375 2,839
Rebounds per Game 4.65 6.96
Assists 1,241 1,006
Assists per Game 4.19 2.47
Turnovers 750 1,142
Turnovers per Game 2.53 2.80
All Star Games 4 (2003-2007) 1 (1987/1988)
Team Record 172-185 207-218
Reg. Season Win % .481 .487
Best Reg. Season Finish First (1 time) Fourth (1 time)
Playoff Appearances 1 (lost 2nd round, 04/05) 3 (Lost in West Finals 86/87, Lost 1st Round 87/88, Lost 2nd Round 88/89)

***

Now, I’ll start here and get it out of the way.  If we were comparing overall careers, it would be no contest.  Ray Allen has been the better NBA player overall.  But, we’re exclusively looking at what they did while wearing a Sonics uniform.

You could argue, successfully, that both players experienced their greatest statistical successes while wearing the Green & Gold.  Ray Allen was in the heart of his prime.  On top of that, he was the best player on the team, so the offense pretty much ran through him.  He came to the team and averaged 24.5 points in his 29-game first season with the team; he finished his tenure with the Sonics averaging 26.4 per game over a 55-game injury-shortened 06/07 season.  Then, he was traded to the Celtics for a high draft pick that helped kick-start this team into the powerhouse you see in Oklahoma City today.

The X-Man, on the other hand, was drafted by the Supersonics and came out of the gate on fire.  In his rookie season, he averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds; in his second (and best) season he averaged 23 points and nearly 9 rebounds.  His scoring per-game average remained in the 20s for the duration of his Sonics career before he was traded for a bounty to the Phoenix Suns (and, subsequently, started his long, slow decline towards obscurity).

These two guys have a TON in common, even though they were very different types of players on the court.  Probably the most important thing they have in common is:  when they were traded away, the organization eventually went on to a sustained high-level of success (after some initial growing pains).

But, if you really want to see how similar they are, just take a look at the table up there!  Essentially, McDaniel played an extra season, but Allen averaged more minutes per game, so they’re close on that score.  Both averaged over 20 points per game.  McDaniel had the higher field goal percentage, but Allen has him beat on free throws and three pointers.  McDaniel has Allen on rebounds, but Allen has him on assists and turnovers.  Allen had greater individual success (4 straight All Star Game appearances during a time when Kobe Bryant was a thing that existed in his very own conference), but McDaniel had greater team success (3 straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals).

If you took every catagory in that table and picked a winner for each, Ray Allen wins 12 and Xavier McDaniel wins 12.  So, it comes down to:  what do you weigh more heavily?

McDaniel played in more games and therefore scored more points, there’s gotta be something said for that.  But, Allen had more points per game, so you could argue he was more integral to the team’s offense and its overall success.  However, if you’re going to bring overall team success into the argument, then it’s no contest:  McDaniel played a key role on a Sonics team that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals (losing 4-0 to the Lakers), in what was statistically his best season.  Ray Allen could only lead this team to one playoff invitation, and even then we ended up losing in the second round.  Then again, if we’re going to look at the MVP argument, you could argue that Ray Allen was more important to the team’s success.  He led a team that only had Rashard Lewis and a whole bunch of scrubs.  X-Man was on a team with Tom Chambers and Dale Ellis both crushing it from the outside.  You take Ray Allen off of any of those Sonics teams and you’re looking at one of the worst (if not THE worst) in the entire league.  Take X-Man off of those 80s Sonics teams and I think they might still be okay.

When it comes right down to it, I think you have to look at some advanced stats.  Basketball Reference has some good ones if you feel like comparing.  The bottom line is:  Ray Allen was a better offensive force and Xavier McDaniel was a better defensive force.  But, when you put it all together, Ray Allen’s offense was SO good while he was in Seattle that he overwhelms whatever defensive advantage McDaniel had going for him.

Just look at Win Shares, if nothing else (an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player).  It’s almost like WAR in baseball.  Ray Allen’s looked like this:  4.8 (in his 29-game first season with the team), 6.9, 10.7, 9.5, & 6.3.  Xavier McDaniel’s looked like this:  5.1, 7.4, 6.2, 5.3, 5.4, 0.9 (in his 15-game final season with the team).  If you add them all up (which I suppose is a thing you could do; I don’t see why you couldn’t) then you’ve got 38.2 wins contributed by Ray Allen and only 30.3 wins contributed by Xavier McDaniel (who, as noted above, played in more games).

So, I guess my answer is going to reluctantly be Ray Allen.  It’s too bad too, because if we were factoring in Trash-Talking Bad-Ass-ness, or one’s highlight reel, choosing the winner would be an X-Man slam dunk followed by a 5-second stare-down of a posterized Ray Allen.

List of Seattle Sports Award Winners

Because it’s not all ‘Doom & Gloom’, ‘Woe Is Me’, ‘Seattle Is Sports Hell’ ALL the time around here, I thought I’d lighten our collective loads by making a list of all the major (and not-so-major) award winners we’ve had grace us in our great city.

Don’t ask my rationale on this thing, just go with me here.  YES, I included All Star Game (and Pro Bowl) MVPs.  YES, I included all of the “good citizenship” awards for the respective pro sports.  NO, I didn’t list every “best offensive lineman” or every “best defensive lineman” award for college football.  As far as college football players are concerned, it’s Heisman or bust in my book!

By the way, did you know the Seahawks are one of only three teams without an offensive OR a defensive rookie of the year?  You do now!

This post, once it’s cleaned up and finalized, will be found in the “Featured Articles” section on the above menu bar.  For now, it’s just a small, time-consuming post to get me through the weekend because I’m going out of town (to a city that’s tasted a bit of success in its day, San Francisco).  Enjoy.

Husky Basketball

Pac-10 Player of the Year:

1986 – Christian Welp
2006 – Brandon Roy

Pac-10 Freshman of the Year:

1984 – Christian Welp
1988 – Mike Hayward
1992 – Mark Pope
2009 – Isaiah Thomas

Pac-10 Coach of the Year:

1982 – Marv Harshman
1996 – Bob Bender
2005 – Lorenzo Romar
2009 – Lorenzo Romar

Husky Football

College Football National Coach of the Year (Paul “Bear” Bryant Award):

1991 – Don James

Seattle Mariners

AL Most Valuable Player:

1997 – Ken Griffey Jr.
2001 – Ichiro

AL Cy Young Award:

1995 – Randy Johnson
2010 – Felix Hernandez

AL Rookie of the Year:

1984 – Alvin Davis
2000 – Kazuhiro Sasaki
2001 – Ichiro

AL Manager of the Year:

1995 – Lou Piniella
2001 – Lou Piniella

Gold Glove Award:

1987, 1988 – Mark Langston (P)
1988, 1989, 1990 – Harold Reynolds (2B)
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 – Ken Griffey Jr. (OF)
1993 – Omar Vizquel (SS)
1996 – Jay Buhner (OF)
2000, 2002, 2003 – John Olerud (1B)
2001, 2003 – Mike Cameron (OF)
2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 – Ichiro (OF)
2002, 2003, 2004 – Bret Boone (2B)
2007, 2008 – Adrian Beltre (3B)

Silver Slugger Award:

1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 – Ken Griffey Jr. (OF)
1992 – Edgar Martinez (3B)
1995, 1997, 2001, 2003 – Edgar Martinez (DH)
1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 – Alex Rodriguez (SS)
2001, 2003 – Bret Boone (2B)
2001, 2007, 2009 – Ichiro (OF)

All Star Game MVP:

1992 – Ken Griffey Jr.
2007 – Ichiro

Roberto Clemente Award:

1991 – Harold Reynolds
2003 – Jamie Moyer
2004 – Edgar Martinez

Seattle Seahawks

George S. Halas Trophy:

2005 Seattle Seahawks

NFL Most Valuable Player:

2005 – Shaun Alexander

Defensive Player of the Year:

1984 – Kenny Easley
1992 – Cortez Kennedy

NFL Coach of the Year:

1978 – Jack Patera
1984 – Chuck Knox

Walter Payton Man of the Year:

1988 – Steve Largent

Pro Bowl MVP:

1997 – Warren Moon

Seattle Supersonics

Walter A. Brown Trophy (renamed Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in 1984):

1979 – Seattle Supersonics

NBA Finals Most Valuable Player:

1979 – Dennis Johnson

NBA Rookie of the Year:

2007-2008 – Kevin Durant

Defensive Player of the Year:

1995-1996 – Gary Payton

Most Improved Player:

1986-1987 – Dale Ellis

All Star Game MVP:

1971 – Lenny Wilkens
1987 – Tom Chambers

Executive of the Year:

1982-1983 – Zollie Volchok
1993-1994 – Bob Whitsitt

J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award:

1975-1976 – Slick Watts

Sportsmanship Award (Joe Dumars Trophy):

1998-1999 – Hersey Hawkins
2002-2003 – Ray Allen