Eddie House v. Vinnie "the Microwave" Johnson

Long-time Celtics fans are fond of comparing Eddie House to former Detroit Piston Vinnie "the Microwave" Johnson, who played in Motown during both of their championship runs in the 1980s. The comparison is based both on their physical characteristics--House and Johnson were about the same height and shape, though Vinnie weighed slightly more--and their style of play--both were undersized shooting guards forced to play the point to take advantage of their ability to score points in bunches.

But is the comparison fair?

Vinnie Johnson is revered by Pistons' fans, and, indeed, his number is retired by the Pistons' ballclub. No Celtics' fan would suggest that number 50 will ever be hanging in the rafters, at least not because Eddie House wore it.

Still, let's see how the two players match-up. In doing so, I'm going to narrow the focus by comparing two years of play, Vinnie's two championship seasons and Eddie's last two seasons.

In 1988-89, Vinnie averaged 13.8 PPG, 3 APG, 3.1 RPG, and .9 SPG. In 2008, Eddie House averaged 7.5 PPG, 1.9 APG, 2.1 RPG, and .8 SPG. The edge would appear to go to Vinnie. But keep in mind, Vinnie played 25 minutes per game, while Eddie played just 19. Vinnie also shot just .295 from 3, while Eddie shot .393. Vinnie had a better overall field-goal percentage, while Eddie shot better from the stripe. Vinnie turned the ball over more, too.

Vinnie gets the nod in the first year of head-to-head comparison. Let me know if you disagree.

In 1989-90, Vinnie's scoring declined to 9.8 PPG, but his other statistical averages were about the same as the previous year: 3.1 APG, 3.1 RPG, and .9 SPG. Last year, Eddie House averaged 8.5 PPG, 1.1 APG, 1.9 RPG, and .8 SPG. Vinnie again played more than Eddie, 24 MPG to just 18. This time, though, Eddie shot better than Vinnie both from 3 and overall. Eddie's overall field-goal percentage was .445, while Vinnie's was .431. The real difference came on threes. Vinnie shot an anemic .147 from 3, while Eddie set a club record from downtown, shooting .444. Vinnie also turned the ball over more than 3 times as much as Eddie.

I'm giving the nod to Eddie on the second head-to-head.

So what's the verdict?

I'm going to side with Vinnie as being the more well-rounded hoopster, but side with Eddie as being a better Microwave than the Microwave himself. Heating up implies coming in and scoring at will whenever and from wherever one chooses. Shooting .295 from 3 in 1988-89 and .147 from 3 in 1989-90 just doesn't fly for me.

So Eddie is the better microwave, but Vinnie was more well rounded.


CW said...

Eddie is a better fit for this team, because the Celtics need someone to stretch the floor.

That said, I think they are very different players, and that Marquis resembles Vinnie more.

But if you disregard team needs, I think Vinnie is better, by far.

Not only was he significantly better on the boards and passing the ball, once he got going he was unstoppable - in a "get him the ball and get out of the way" fashion. Eddie can light it up, but needs others to set him up.

Lex said...

Yeah. Vinnie might have been slighly past his prime in terms of lighting it up fast in the two years I chose.

CW said...

Probably. I remember being so psyched when him and Adrian Dantley collided...what a break!!

FLCeltsFan said...

I agree that Eddie is a great fit for this team. I have really gained a lot of respect for him as Danny and Doc brought in Cassell and then Marbury and sent Eddie to the bench while the PG experiments progressed. Eddie never said one word about having to give up PT and when he was called upon because the other 2 didn't work out, he just came in and got it done.

I'll take the player with the higher shooting percentage imo.

FLCeltsFan said...

Ohhh I remember that collision. The Leprechauns at work.

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