Author Topic: Larry Bird athleticism comparison with current players  (Read 1918 times)

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Larry Bird athleticism comparison with current players
« on: April 06, 2017, 06:48:59 PM »

Offline jyyzzoel

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I've been watching a few Larry Bird highlights recently, and I know according to Bill Simmons cross-racial comparisons between players seems to be taboo nowadays, but everyone always says how unathletic LB was...

I'm not in any way suggesting they're of the same overall basketball ability, but in terms of a scorer whose athleticism is in the same ball park as Larry Birds, am I wrong in saying Devin Booker is a good comparison?

Who would you say is a good comparison in terms of todays players from an athletic standpoint?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 02:59:39 PM by Redz »

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 06:53:16 PM »

Offline Somebody

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Yes and they're miles apart except for stuff like speed and jumping

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 06:58:19 PM »

Offline mspring

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Not sure of the comparison with Booker, but I have always argued that Bird was more athletic than people give him credit for.  At 6'9 he could handle the ball like a guard when he was younger, he was quick, agile, etc.  Even though he didn't have the greatest leaping ability, his hand-eye coordination was phenomenal.  You could argue that some of this was predicated on his ability to anticipate and be in the right place more quickly because of his basketball mind, but ultimately I think he gets a bit of a bum rap when people try to label him a slow white guy who couldn't run very fast or jump very high.

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 07:00:34 PM »

Online tazzmaniac

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Bill Simmons is an idiot.  Cross-racial comparisons are refreshing.  As for Bird's athleticism, it doesn't matter because his skill set was so high.  Saric is doing quite nicely for the Sixers with limited athleticism and much less talent than Bird. 

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 07:34:58 PM »

Offline Boris Badenov

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To take a comparison with a current MVP candidate, I think Bird relied on his athleticism about as much as James Harden relies on his.

Neither is a bad athlete or great athlete, but they become elite because of how shifty they are.



Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 08:17:42 PM »

Offline liam

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You'd also have to factor in modern conditioning , training methods and modern sneakers. Another big factor would be how soft the NBA is now compared to the 1980s. You can take 3 steps now. The way the count an assists now is a lot more liberal. You can't grab as much while rebounding. I think Bird would average a monster triple double in todays NBA.

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2017, 08:18:30 PM »

Offline 2short

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Not sure of the comparison with Booker, but I have always argued that Bird was more athletic than people give him credit for.  At 6'9 he could handle the ball like a guard when he was younger, he was quick, agile, etc.  Even though he didn't have the greatest leaping ability, his hand-eye coordination was phenomenal.  You could argue that some of this was predicated on his ability to anticipate and be in the right place more quickly because of his basketball mind, but ultimately I think he gets a bit of a bum rap when people try to label him a slow white guy who couldn't run very fast or jump very high.
And your first tp!  Bird would actually bring the ball up court many times was quick enough to bother passing lanes for most of his career (vision, awareness and quickness) and would fill a lane on a fast break just fine.  I would say good athlete, GREAT basketball player. 

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2017, 02:44:19 PM »

Offline droopdog7

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There are still lots of guys that are effective with "limited" athleticism.  But people are missing the most obvious comp...Dirk.

Is Dirk athletic at all?  Doesn't look like it but yet he's been extremely effective.  He gets his shot ease.  I think the bottom line is that some guys are more "athletic" than they look to us on TV.

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2017, 02:55:44 PM »

Offline jambr380

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There are still lots of guys that are effective with "limited" athleticism.  But people are missing the most obvious comp...Dirk.

Is Dirk athletic at all?  Doesn't look like it but yet he's been extremely effective.  He gets his shot ease.  I think the bottom line is that some guys are more "athletic" than they look to us on TV.

Bird was a lot quicker than Dirk in everything he did - from passing to getting his shot up to disrupting passing lanes, etc. Dirk is a bit more methodical, but they are both supremely skilled.

Giving Bird the edge, though - obviously!

Re: Larry Bird atleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2017, 02:56:45 PM »

Offline Celtics4ever

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Bird was not the fastest or the best jumper.  I think many in this thread are giving him too much credit for his physical talents.   

His mind was a basketball computer though.  He had athletic abilities that hand eye coordination that most do not have.   His spatial awareness was excellent.   He was always anticipating what would happen like he had foresight.  He was a force multiplyer and made everyone on the team around him better.   He could jump at little until he got hurt but was never a great leaper.   His speed was more effort than being fast.   But he played really hard and gave a great effort.   He was ambidextrous to an extent we have not seen since.   Their have been Jordan clones like Kobe at least he thought he was one.   But there still is not a Bird Clone.   Bird skiil level was superb, there was little he could not do.   So make no mistake he had athletic ability in spades just not the run jump type.

At the worst, he would be better than Dirk in his prime mixed with Kevin Love 's Rebounding and Rondo's passing.   He could shoot the lights out too and might be even better in today's spread NBA considering that a little of what he did was with people grabbing his jersey and hand checking him.

Re: Larry Bird athleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2017, 03:27:38 PM »

Offline Ogaju

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of all of Birds abilities and greatness the ones I admire the most were his shooting and passing. His ability to pass the ball without a windup was simply sensational and a skill he shared with Magic and no other player I can think of.

Re: Larry Bird athleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2017, 04:05:01 PM »

Offline bdm860

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Not current, but recent enough, but I'd say Lamar Odom.

Similar height, speed, vertical, quickness.

I feel like most of these plays could be out of a Larry Bird highlight reel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK-8bf5B0j0


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Re: Larry Bird athleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2017, 04:10:01 PM »

Offline SHAQATTACK

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He knew every inch of the court ,  had it sized up , and could rebound or make a play in his mind seconds before anybody else figured what was going on. 

I rarely saw his plays unfold and I was always stunned by the brilliance  .   He saw the court and knew what he wanted to do before the other nine players .

In a pure athletic test he was maybe average ......except the quickness of his mind .....which made up for the physical speed.

Re: Larry Bird athleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2017, 04:11:09 PM »

Offline Ogaju

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Not current, but recent enough, but I'd say Lamar Odom.

Similar height, speed, vertical, quickness.

I feel like most of these plays could be out of a Larry Bird highlight reel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK-8bf5B0j0

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, let me think..... No, different ballplayers.

Re: Larry Bird athleticism comparison with current players
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 12:22:33 AM »

Offline fantankerous

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LB's athletic reputation would have been much improved if "fast-twitch" was fashionable in the '80s.