NBA's Top Five Misunderstandings

Brandon NealCorrespondent INovember 9, 2008

NBA message boards have become popular with fans over the last few years.

Instead of sitting around and listening to overpaid analysts give their opinions about the list of games each night, a message board provides forums for the fans to express their thoughts and feelings. After all, who doesn't want to read your biased predictions for your favorite team?

However, every now and then, a fan gets caught up in what those professional analysts lean on for their discussions. It becomes the norm that particular scenarios, stories or aspects of the game are twisted into misunderstandings that seem to appear in many arguments over time.

Below are five of today's misunderstandings that you'll find while tuning into these analysts, or just browsing a message board.

Honorable Mention) Kobe Bryant is Selfish.

This is an honorable mention because, over the last couple of seasons, the talk has died down quite a bit.

Contrary to popular belief, this can be proven wrong simply by stats alone. In the three Lakers' dynasty seasons, Kobe averaged the most assists per game on the squad. In 2004-05, after Shaq's departure, Bryant set a career-high in assists, at six per game, during an injury-plagued season that saw the Lakers win just 34 games.

In a time line that saw Bryant throw an alley-oop game-winner to O'Neal, multiple game-winners to Lakers' sharpshooters, and pass those attempts out to the likes of Luke Walton and Lamar Odom as well, it's hard to prove that, throughout a significant number of games or seasons, Kobe Bryant was a selfish basketball player.

5) Tracy McGrady is the Only Guy Who Just Can't Get it Done in the Postseason.

Not quite. In eleven, completed NBA seasons, McGrady has had seven first-round exits, which means he has missed the playoffs the other four times.

However, Carmelo Anthony just finished up with his fifth consecutive first-round elimination, in his five-year career. Many also forget that Yao Ming was drafted in 2002, and has had four first-round KO's in six NBA seasons, even though only one of them was without Tracy.

Stephon Marbury is also a first-round virgin, even though he was a consistent twenty and eight player for seven straight years.

4) Steve Nash's MVP Seasons Were Incredible.

They were good, but not incredible.

In Nash's first MVP season, he averaged 15.5 PPG, while dishing 11.5 APG. If you know your history, you'd remember that John Stockton surpassed those combined totals four times in his career, between 1989-1992.

You'd be shocked to hear that Kevin Johnson did it as well, in his second NBA season, averaging 20.4 PPG and 12.2 APG, capping off the season with a 55-win total.

What's even more questionable? Neither of them received a single first-place MVP vote in the years noted above.

Before Steve Nash, the last MVP to average under 20 points was Bill Walton, back in 1978. Before that? Wes Unseld, 1969.

3) LeBron James Is the Next Michael Jordan.

Actually, the only thing similar between the two is the jersey number.

Jordan was an astounding jumpshooter, one of the league's best defensive players, and an excellent free throw shooter. Where Jordan was a fighter plane, LeBron is a train.

James outweighs Jordan by 50-60 pounds or more (depending on what Jordan we are talking about), crashing to the rim at will, and playing a more wreckless game. If you want to compare LeBron to someone, view him as a small forward version of Shaquille O'Neal, early Orlando Magic days.

2) The Eastern Conference is weak.

Where it's true that the East has lost its fair share of dominance since the retirement of Michael Jordan, it's difficult for me to continue using this argument that the East is a weaker conference.

It might be a breeze to make the playoffs for some East teams, possibly having a better chance of getting to the second round as well, but after that, you run into the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons—two teams who held the NBA's best records last season.

In addition to those two, the Cleveland Cavaliers are just two years removed from the NBA Finals, and the Orlando Magic can't be ignored as a contender, either. At the very least, four East teams have Finals potential.

Out West, you can make this argument for the Lakers, Hornets, Rockets and possibly the Suns and Spurs. Since 2003, the Spurs have been alternating with East teams to win the NBA championship (Spurs, Pistons, Spurs, Heat, Spurs, and Celtics, in that order).

Looking at it from this perspective, you have to believe that the Eastern Conference is hanging in there, providing legitimate contenders every year.

1) Shot attempts should be much less than your points total.

At first glance, you'd believe this to be true, but there's a small problem. We all know that big men should be shooting 50 percent or better, but what about guards?

If a guard makes half of his shots, wouldn't you agree that his field goal percentage is excellent?

Let's pick out a shooting guard who stays away from the three and doesn't get to the line as often as others—Boston Celtics guard Tony Allen—and assume he starts in place of an injured Ray Allen, takes 22 shot attempts and scores 22 points. How would that be possible if we pretend he didn't get to the line one time?

Allen would have to make 11 of his 22 shots in order to equal that point total, and if you do the math, that's 50 percent shooting. Where a few fans like to say that's a bad thing, I fail to see how it could be placed on Tony's shoulders. What if he was attacking the rim, and the referees decided not to give him his calls? What if he just wasn't getting fouled at all? It's still an above-average shooting performance for a guard.

Before stepping into the media's bear trap full of inaccuracies and assumptions, try using your own observations, and you can never go wrong with statistics.

There will always be bad interpretations relating to player and team performances, but they exist for you to discuss and alter to your liking, even if you don't get paid for it. In the end, no legitimate debate is one-sided, and as simple as adjusting the time on your wristwatch, anything can be manipulated in your favor.