Magic on DJ: One of the Best Defenders Ever

The Celtics always played a great team defense. But they also had one of the best individual defensive players probably to ever play in the league, that being Dennis Johnson. I had to match up against him. Boy, that was a tough match-up every time.

--Magic Johnson

9-Time All-Defense
6-Finals Appearances
5-Time All-Star
3-Time NBA Champion
2-Time All-NBA
1-Time Finals MVP
Second best guard of his generation (1977-86)

Sounds like Hall of Fame to me. What's the problem Naismith Committee?


CW said...

who was the best?

Lex said...

Magic was better from 1980-86.

You'll have others argue about Sidney Moncrief. He never won anything. Also Isiah. He peaked after 1986.

The Kid said...

I completely disagree. Isiah may have started winning after 1986 but his best 3 individual seasons were from 1983-1986. I have him as better from DJ from the moment he entered the NBA in 1981.

Lex said...

I know kid. You like Isiah. I like DJ. I'll take DJ from 79-86.

Lex said...

Kid, did you ever see Zeke play between 81 & 86 or are you just going by stats?

The Kid said...

I've seen some of Isiah's games from that timeframe.

Lex said...

Yeah, that's the problem. Isiah was just a point guard that put up good numbers on a bad team for the first part of his career.

78-79 DJ wins b/c zeke didn't play
79-80 Same
80-81 Same

So then the question becomes whether Zeke's all nba stature from 84-86 somehow trumps DJs three best years of his career from 84-86, all three of which DJ went to the finals, two times having won the title.

DJ is widely credited with turning the 84 championship around by shutting down magic, and by 1986 he was seen as the second most clutch player on the best team in basketball.

So Isiah wasn't even in the league for the first three years of the period I am talking about, and there is no way a one way player like zeke who hadn't even learned how to win yet gets preference over a guard with four finals under his belt during the same time frame, three nba championships, one finals mvp, and another honorable mention mvp.

Over Zeke's 13 year career, he never made all defense once. He never played any position other than point guard. DJ won Finals MVP playing the 1, 2, 3, and 4 positions. He was a rebounding and shot blocking force like no other guard in the NBA before magic.

Lex said...

BTW, Kid, I like Zeke. I thank Zeke for ending the purple reign of terror. But he just wasn't better than DJ in the relevant period.

Lex said...

Come to think of it, DJ made the finals in 77-78 too. So that's one more year where DJ was better.

Zeke's career only partially overlaps, and by the time he enters the league, DJ is up 4 or 5 to zip!

The Kid said...

Isiah put up fantastic numbers in those years. He was a better player in the mid 80's then he was when he was winning championships. The difference is when Detroit was winning he had better teammates. He didn't put up good numbers he put up great numbers.

I have him as better than DJ every single season they were in the NBA together.

Lex said...

Too bad he was a one way player.

Lex said...

and a one position player

FLCeltsFan said...

Thanks for the DJ love! DJ was always one of my Favorite Celtics. Larry Bird called DJ the best teammate he ever played with and that is saying a lot. Isiah was a great player, but so was DJ.

Lex said...

More NBA fans love scoring and numbers. FCF and I aren't so enthralled, unless the number relates to wins and winning. Then the numbers matter.

I'm not saying someone is right and someone is wrong.

Just two different ways at looking at sports.

FLCeltsFan said...

Since Defense wins championships and allows the offensive players to do what they do, I'll go with defense every time.

Lex said...

Me too, especially when the guy playing defense is money on offense in the clutch

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