This is a concept that I quote so often that I feel like it is worth its own post. I suspect I'll be linking to it a lot here at the NBA Geek. The premise is simple: I think most casual fans place far too much weight on whether or not a player looks good, and ignore the fact there are no style points in the NBA, and scoring 20 points on spectacular dunks won't win you any more games than scoring 20 points on 4 3s and a few layups will.
"Every GM in the league would trade Kevin Love for LaMarcus Aldridge in a heartbeat. Not even close."
(By the way, yes, I double-checked. He meant give up Love for Aldridge). Aside from the fact that I'm fairly sure that this is not at all true (in fact, I suspect there is only one GM that would agree to this, and that is probably Portland GM Chad Buchanan, who would be happy to take Love off of Minnesota's hands), I wondered why on earth Jerry would even think that this is true. Let's compare their 2010-2011 seasons:
Per48 Comparison of raw stats
As we can see, LaMarcus Aldridge doesn't have any clear advantages over Kevin Love (I'm obviously making a polite understatement). Love's per-48 numbers are superior in points, rebounding, assists, turnovers, steals, and personal fouls. He's also a better shooter (his FG% is slightly lower but that's from shooting 41% at 3 point range, which is among the league's best), a better free throw shooter (and notice Love also gets to the free throw line a lot more often then LMA -- I bet that surprises you, doesn't it?). In fact, Love's stats absolutley crush LMA's stats. Who would trade .4 more blocks per 48 for 10 fewer rebounds, one less assist, and an extra turnover? And then there is one very important non-boxscore statistic: LMA is more than three years older! Why would anyone even consider this trade? I believe that one of Jerry's final tweets in our argument may provide some insight:
Watch more games and look less at stats...
This statement baffles me a bit in a couple of ways and just leads me to ask more questions: How does he know whether I watch the games and how closely? What, precisely does he think I will see that it is not in the data? If I do see something that isn't in the data, how, exactly, will it be different from what Jerry sees? It seems to me that the argument basically boils down to the fact that LMA is a better player because Jerry "has seen it with his own eyes." Which, as far as I can gather, amounts to being because "LeMarcus Aldridge looks better."
I suspect this amounts to how each player scores his respective points. LMA scores many of his points in the low post, or from layups/dunks assisted by Roy or Miller. In short, LMA scores points the way a Power Forward is "supposed to". And he looks good doing so with his long, lean, athletic frame. This therefore reinforces the viewers' expectations that LMA is a "better" scorer than Kevin Love. Love's baskets are just....boring. Made wide-open three. Yawn. Tip-in rebound. Yawn. Jumper from the elbow. Sigh. Offensive board, head fake, put back off the glass. Zzzzzzz. Free Throw after Free Throw after Free Throw. Snore. Nary a dunk, spin move, or fade-away in sight. This can't possibly be the result of talent, right? How can just being in the right place all the time and hitting your open shots be a result of talent?!?
Fortunately, despite the fact that I might argue passionately that this is not only a talent, but a rare one, I don't have to. You see, it doesn't matter. As I assluded to earlier, the ugly baskets count just as much as the pretty ones. And if you don't believe me, ask the 89 or 90 Detroit Pistons (hell, look at every basket Bill Lambier ever scored. I think Bill is one of the all-time greats, but damn, he played ugly). Or the 03-04 Pistons, or any Celtic team in the 60s or 70s. Hell, ask Kevin Martin's set shot or Shawn Marion's jumper. You don't get extra points if it looks good. Yet many fans seem to think this is true. A player that looks better must be more effective, right?
I suspect we've all felt this way at pick-up games too. That guy with the two-handed jumper can't possibly be owning me, can he? How does that shit always go in!? Whatever, someday his luck will run out and those of us with real talent will get our day in the sun.