2022 Top 125 Players Ranked in Tiers - The Athletic

Cellar-Door

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yeah, I would take Jokic over Embiid but.....

Embiid is a fringe DPOY candidate type of defender... Jokic gets hunted in the playoffs and is only decent in the regular season because of scheme.

I think Jokic is the better player, Embiid is probably easier to build a championship team around.
 

Jimbodandy

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I'm all for a Tier Giannis; I think he's undisputedly the best player in basketball.
This is true. Tier1 offense. Tier1 defense. Nobody else in that class.


I don't disagree but the case for Embiid over Jokic is defense. Embiid is an extremely impactful defensive player. Jokic is ... not, and his defensive limitations really limit what you can do schematically.
Jokic is a plus defender by DARKO. That said, there's still a gap between him and Embiid that's non-trivial.

I get the killing of Embiid because his teams flame in the playoffs. But (by DARKO at least) the impact between these two heavyweights is within the statistical margin of error. It has them both top 5. And I agree.
 

Cellar-Door

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This is true. Tier1 offense. Tier1 defense. Nobody else in that class.




Jokic is a plus defender by DARKO. That said, there's still a gap between him and Embiid that's non-trivial.

I get the killing of Embiid because his teams flame in the playoffs. But (by DARKO at least) the impact between these two heavyweights is within the statistical margin of error. It has them both top 5. And I agree.
Yeah, there really hasn't been much of a case that they aren't at worst 2 of the 3 best players (with Giannis) over the last 2 years.
 

nighthob

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Jokic this year in the playoffs:

25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists
26 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
37 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists
37 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists
30 points, 19 rebounds, 8 assists

For the playoffs: 31.0 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.0 blocks on 57.5% FG shooting, 84.8% FT shooting

I know they got knocked out in the first round in 5 games, but that was to the eventual champs who were a TERRIBLE matchup for them. In previous years he got Denver to the WC Finals (2020), the WC Semis 2x (2019, 2021), and the first round KO this year.

For his career, his playoff numbers are:

26.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.9 blocks, 51.9% FG, 84.1% FT

I mean, that's frigging awesome.
The problem with Jokic isn’t his offense, it’s that you have to sell out to offensive basketball to have any hope of winning in the playoffs. Jokic can’t play defense in space, so the template on Denver is to commit to transition offense and play five out in the halfcourt.
 

BaseballJones

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The problem with Jokic isn’t his offense, it’s that you have to sell out to offensive basketball to have any hope of winning in the playoffs. Jokic can’t play defense in space, so the template on Denver is to commit to transition offense and play five out in the halfcourt.
Right. But that's true of him all the time. Maybe teams take advantage of it more in the playoffs, but it's not like he's suddenly a worse player in the playoffs than in the regular season. He's the same Jokic.
 

nighthob

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Kinda/sorta. During the regular season teams rarely pursue wins to that extent. If you recall the conversation here last winter after Boston began playing playoff-style basketball the fear was that they wouldn’t go very far once everyone else was doing the same thing. (Of course when the time came and everyone began playing with that sort of planning, focus, and intensity they just weren’t as good, because Jayson is motherfucking awesome.)

For the most part the regular season is about running your own sets offensively and defensively and not worrying per se about what the other guys are doing. Good teams use the regular season to fine tune their team offensively and defensively, develop their younger guys, and integrate all the guys they brought in (there’s a lot churn on most rosters). So it isn’t much of a disadvantage from October through April. But once the real season begins life gets a lot more difficult.
 

Kliq

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I don't have a strong take on Luka vs Tatum, although I kind of think that the Celtics would be a better team with Luka than they are with Tatum because the Celtics could do a great job covering for Luka's defensive issues, and Luka's ball handling and playmaking would be a huge boost to the Celtics, while also supplying similar scoring value. That doesn't necessarily make Luka better than Tatum, though.
 

coremiller

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Also of course the opponents are better in the playoffs, and better teams are going to more effectively exploit Jokic's defensive weaknesses.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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lovegtm

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The only counterpoint to the "Jokic is a bad defender" argument is that there is no data to support it. The data actually says that he's good.
For "schematically helped" defenders, playoff and regular season NBA basketball are so different they might as well be different sports.

That doesn't mean Jokic is bad in the playoffs, but it does mean that the eye test and smaller samples have to matter more.
 

Jimbodandy

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For "schematically helped" defenders, playoff and regular season NBA basketball are so different they might as well be different sports.

That doesn't mean Jokic is bad in the playoffs, but it does mean that the eye test and smaller samples have to matter more.
I'm open to the eye test completely. The numbers are kinda consistent on him though. The arguments that playoffs are different and sample sizes there, inconsistent--it's believable. Just trying to point out that Jokic scores high on most advanced metrics for his defense. It calls into question the eye test for me.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I give up. The small sample sizes?
That’s what stands out to me. That plus the fact that they fail to specify a time period (I assume last season, but are playoffs included?) Plus the whole arbitrary and dumb “top 5 defense” cut-off.

If we’re talking Curry (since he’s the guy morons like Skip Bayless are going to attempt to disparage with this garbage stat): 14% of his 62 games played works out to a whopping … eight-game sample. Which is two more than six-game sample in the NBA Finals — against the league’s #1 defense — in which he put up 31.2 ppg on .626 true shooting.

In the case of Poole, though: the eight-game sample is of course 100% valid and meaningful. ;-P
 

Smokey Joe

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That’s what stands out to me. That plus the fact that they fail to specify a time period (I assume last season, but are playoffs included?) Plus the whole arbitrary and dumb “top 5 defense” cut-off.

If we’re talking Curry (since he’s the guy morons like Skip Bayless are going to attempt to disparage with this garbage stat): 14% of his 62 games played works out to a whopping … eight-game sample. Which is two more than six-game sample in the NBA Finals — against the league’s #1 defense — in which he put up 31.2 ppg on .626 true shooting.

In the case of Poole, though: the eight-game sample is of course 100% valid and meaningful. ;-P
Then the question comes up. Are they talking about the top five defenses at the end of the year? Or the top five defenses at the time they played the games? Playing against the Celtics in November was a lot different then playing them in March.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Then the question comes up. Are they talking about the top five defenses at the end of the year? Or the top five defenses at the time they played the games? Playing against the Celtics in November was a lot different then playing them in March.
Great point. Basically, everything about the stat is silly, including using "PPG" in samples of 5-10 games where one guy fouling out early, or sitting the 4th in garbage time, or (conversely) playing 50 minutes on a double OT game can completely swing the PPG numbers.

We also don't know which players on these "top 5 defenses" might have been resting or hurt some night, or which specific defenders the scorers in question were going up against, etc. etc. etc.

We have the full playoff and full regular season scoring volume and efficiency stats for all these guys, last season and career. All you're getting by parsing those numbers into 5-10 game samples is increasing noise and decreasing signal.