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View Full Version : Prime Larry Johnson... Where would he rank today?



IamAlwaysRight
03-20-2016, 05:19 PM
Is he top 5?

Raps18-19 Champ
03-20-2016, 05:29 PM
No but he'd be very useful in today's game.

IamAlwaysRight
03-20-2016, 05:32 PM
I'm pretty sure that on the right team or with a good coach like Luke Walton or someone he would average 28 and 14 against these bad players in the NBA today.

Also he was a pretty good defensive player and passer.

I'd say he would probably be in the top 3 for sure.

ATX
03-20-2016, 05:42 PM
I'm pretty sure that on the right team or with a good coach like Luke Walton or someone he would average 28 and 14 against these bad players in the NBA today.

Also he was a pretty good defensive player and passer.

I'd say he would probably be in the top 3 for sure.

His best season he was at 22 and 10.5...And a career 16 and 7.5 player..Not sure how you can argue he would put up a monstrous 28 and 14 today.

Perhaps top 15, but top 3, no way, not even in your definition of todays NBA. He's nowhere near Curry, James, or Durant's level.

IamAlwaysRight
03-20-2016, 05:49 PM
Kevin Love put up 27 and 14 season. And Larry Johnson was much better than him. That is all the proof. Name the Pf's that could stop him from scoring.

He was 6'6 250 pure muscle with some of the best post game and footwork ever and a 6'11 wingspan with a 40 inch in game in traffic vertical all day long even in the last second of a 1 point game. Does that answer your question.

guys like druant and curry are really just one dimensional players that can be stopped. (did you see last night).


No one in todays NBA would stand a chance against Larry Johnson. He has scoring ability. He averaged 22 on 52% back when the NBA had real defeanse and real players. Also in college he averaged 28 ppg.

Larry Johnson would be the only player in the NBA today that can score in the post at a great level, mid range at a great level.

JasonJohnHorn
03-20-2016, 06:19 PM
I had a lot of respect for the way he changed his game after his back injury, but the problem with this 'prime' question is that Gramma Ma never had a 'prime'.

His first couple of seasons he was like Barkley Jr. Small for his position, but great back-to-the-basket player. And most importantly and effective and willing passer. Today, that wouldn't go over as well. The rules are different now, and he's be luck to pull off Zach Randolph type numbers. He be oversized on D as well, which he was never known for excelling at anyways.

Older LJ could shoot better, because after his back injury, he needed an easier way to score. He had a good jump shot, but he didn't have range. When they brought the 3pt line in, he had a couple of good seasons there, but afterwards only had one season where his 3pt shooting was more efficient than his post scoring.


He wasn't a good enough 3pt shooter to thrive today, and the rules have changed too much for him to take advantage of his back-to-the-basket game.

He's be a great rotation player, a great guy to have that can pass the ball, but if you know his skill set, you'll know that his strong rebounding skills didn't exists at he same time as his improved shooting skills, and that his shooting wasn't good enough by today's standards.

Prime LJ would have been close to prime Barkley, but I don't think either would be as competitive in this league with the back-to-the-basket rules as they are, and the expectation to play solid D and shoot the long ball. The most they would be able to do is play like Zach Randolph with an improved passing game.

WaDe03
03-20-2016, 06:20 PM
LeBron is bigger than him lol.

IamAlwaysRight
03-20-2016, 06:28 PM
Did you see Boris Diaw Dominate the entire GS team last night.

boris is a back to the basket player that is really only about 6'9. Which isn't huge.


Larry Johnson would completely own GS today and score 30 a game on them.


You're theory is saying that Michael Jordan wouldn't score 20 of his points in the post like he did in the 90's. That's a dumb theory.

Actually it's far easier to post up now with zone defenses because when a zone is on you then NO ONE IS ACTUALLY GAURDING YOU AND KEEPING YOU OFF THE RIM. Think about that for a minute.


So you're completely wrong and yes Larry Johnson did have a prime. It was age 18-24 of which in todays game he would be in the NBA at age 19 and would be averaging 28 ppg from day one.

Larry Johnson was extremely quick and extremely athletic.

Really it's ok to admit a player from the Golden Era would be better today or still great.

the rules are exactly the same except today you can't pack the paint on defense. That is the only difference. This would give Johnson more open shots in the lane.

IamAlwaysRight
03-20-2016, 06:38 PM
I'd be willing to bet a lot of money on it that Prime Larry Johnson age 19-24 would average in the 28 and 14 neighborhood. With 7 dimes.


He could score at a all time great level from an infinite amount of ways.

WaDe03
03-20-2016, 07:13 PM
Lmao.

JasonJohnHorn
03-20-2016, 08:19 PM
Did you see Boris Diaw Dominate the entire GS team last night.

boris is a back to the basket player that is really only about 6'9. Which isn't huge.


Larry Johnson would completely own GS today and score 30 a game on them.


You're theory is saying that Michael Jordan wouldn't score 20 of his points in the post like he did in the 90's. That's a dumb theory.

Actually it's far easier to post up now with zone defenses because when a zone is on you then NO ONE IS ACTUALLY GAURDING YOU AND KEEPING YOU OFF THE RIM. Think about that for a minute.


So you're completely wrong and yes Larry Johnson did have a prime. It was age 18-24 of which in todays game he would be in the NBA at age 19 and would be averaging 28 ppg from day one.

Larry Johnson was extremely quick and extremely athletic.

Really it's ok to admit a player from the Golden Era would be better today or still great.

the rules are exactly the same except today you can't pack the paint on defense. That is the only difference. This would give Johnson more open shots in the lane.

6'9 isn't that big? It's 3 inches bigger than Rush, and an inch bigger than Harrison, the guys who were starting at forward last night (LJ wouldn't have a size advantage on either of them).

LJ was 6'6, and 6'9 is bigger than a lot of guys.

And my theory does't say anything about MJ? Not sure what you are talking about there. MJ was a very different scorer and was versatile.

I loved watching LJ play. He was athletic and quick, and a versatile player, but his 'prime' as you call it (18-24) isn't what a prime is. Players hit their prime in their mid-late 20's. Usually 26-31. LJ was already down with a back injury by that age. Had he been drafted after his first season, he would have been developing his first couple of years, and given that his back gave out relatively early in his career (likely in part due to the fact that he was backing up on guys who have 3-4 (or more) inches on him, it's doubtful that he would have seen a different career arc.


And if you are going to base your theory on one game (lol @ that btw) where the team who lost was playing WITHOUT their defensive post player (Bogut was out) and was last year's finals MVP (Iggy, ), and was missing their back-up center (Ezeli) because one guy (who is a much better career 3pt shooter than was LJ) scored 14 points in a game where Leonard and LMA were drawing double teams and opening things up for him, ok.... but you aren't using and form of solid reasoning.

What happened last night is this: GSW was missing two centers and Pop took advantage of it. If you are going to assume that LJ is playing with his back to the basket against teams that are missing their centers each night, and is posting up on guys he has 3 inches on guys the same height (which would mean he's posting up on SGs and PGs), then yeah... I guess that would work. But that would be very unlikely to happen at all, and if it did not more than once a season.


There is nothing to suggest LJ would be putting up better number today than he did in the 90's. And again, he didn't have a 'prime' because his back got thrown out before he got to it.


But, sure, Boris Diaw had a big game against a couple of SF playing out of position on a team who was missing their two centers, therefore LJ would awesome today.

Great argument.

Allphakenny1
03-20-2016, 08:34 PM
I'd be willing to bet a lot of money on it that Prime Larry Johnson age 19-24 would average in the 28 and 14 neighborhood. With 7 dimes.


He could score at a all time great level from an infinite amount of ways.

At the very best in some wild scenario, he may average 28 and 14. However, that would be on a 20-30 win team and he would never make the playoffs as a teams best player. Especially in the west. How in the world would you consider that a top 3 player in the league today. If he played on a contending team he would most likely be the 3rd best player on his own team, or 2nd best with a great supporting cast.

SLY WILLIAMS
03-20-2016, 08:45 PM
Larry was a really powerful and explosive player before his back injury. He had to adjust his game dramatically after the back injury. If Larry was healthy and playing without the back injury? He would be a 22-24 point/10-12 rebound guy most likely. He might be a top 10 player. Not a top 5 player but definitely a all star. Playing now with less big guys would help Larry for sure.

KnicksorBust
03-20-2016, 08:52 PM
Neck and neck with Blake Griffin.

WaDe03
03-20-2016, 09:13 PM
He already explained how the defenses are wide open in todays NBA and that there aren't any good defensive pf's in the NBA anymore.

Larry Johnson would average atleast 25 and 14 and would win 50 games a season in either conference. He was a winning he set the record for most wins every in the NCAA. Tell me the rookies coming into the league that did more than him?

Tell me the Pf's that would have a chance against his strength, quickness, footwork, ball handling and leaping abilty.

So you made 2 accounts this time to agree with yourself? Hahaha

europagnpilgrim
03-20-2016, 09:17 PM
He was basically a poor man's Barkley

so how would Barkley dominate like he did back in his heyday in todays era of play? top 5 easily if you ask me

L Johnson was a team player so I'm sure he would do what the team wanted and would be unstoppable on the block since he was strong as a ox and had a damn strong vertical/post moves and he was intelligent and could pass

that being said he would be a lock for top 15 player if he was UNLV-Charlotte Hornets version, easily, wouldn't be surprise if he was top 10 but it depends on what team he is with, if he was in a Love pre Cavs or Boogie situation then he would have a avg of around 24-27ppg and 13-15 boards with respectable number of steals and dimes to go along with those numbers, his ppg may be higher but it all depends since he was a good team player

WaDe03
03-20-2016, 09:39 PM
Johnson was better than Wade. He was like a bigger, much bigger version of Wade.

No player did more with their size than Larry Johnson. If everyone was 6'6 Larry Johnson would be the best in the league and like Shaq compared to everyone.

Johnson isn't even close to being mentioned in the same sentence as Wade. Stop the nonsense.

SLY WILLIAMS
03-20-2016, 09:43 PM
So do you think Kevin Love is better than What Larry Johnson was at age 19-24? Even Old man Larry Johnson was ten times what any PF is today. He took Camby and Sprewell as an 8 seed through an Amazing Eastern Conference to the Finals. Then played Duncan pretty well as a 6'6 player going against a legit Center All Time great at 7'0.

Larry Johnson was still very good in New York, but they were a beat you 75 to 65 type team and they played him usually at the SF so he didn't get as many shot. They went into Ewing. Also had a lot of scorers on those teams.

Larry was still one of the best players in the league at that time. Stats aren't everything. Wins are everything and how you play.

There are no Power Forwards in Todays game. Larry Johnson would have a field Day today, Larry Johnson would average 30 and 15 today with 7 dimes. He was the best passer I've seen at the PF.

I was a big LJ fan. I watched every minute of that finals run in 1999. My girlfriend and I lived and died with that team. It is a credit to LJ that he was able to change his game so dramatically after his back injury. It was basically like asking Blake Griffin to only play below the rim. I think LJ before the back injury was better than Kevin Lowe. LJ was taking on some of the best big men ever before the back injury and prospering despite being 4-6 inches shorter. He was a much different LJ after the injury. That is the reason we were able to trade for him. Larry in his prime before his back injury was playing above the rim. He was a quick leaping physical inside player but post back injury he just had to do his best with what he could do below the rim. One way he adapted was getting better at shooting the 3.

rufo4100
03-20-2016, 10:15 PM
Not top 5. Fringe all star player, very useful. Probably in the top 20/25 discussion

JasonJohnHorn
03-20-2016, 11:51 PM
Neck and neck with Blake Griffin.

Well... LJ was 6'6; BG is 6'10, so not quite neck and neck ;-)

JasonJohnHorn
03-21-2016, 12:07 AM
Not top 5. Fringe all star player, very useful. Probably in the top 20/25 discussion

This seems the most reasonable answer to me.

I mean, he played in an era where the rules and skill set across the league allowed him to utilize his skills the best, and even THEN he was only an All-NBA player once and an All-Star twice.


Two things are working against him here. One, he got injured early. So assuming that he's face the same physical limitations, he'd only have a 4-year window to really succeed. Then he's be a small-forward that could defend effectively and is slightly below average from beyond the arc.

Assuming he stayed healthy, though, his style of game was a lot of athleticism and a lot of back-to-the-basket (BTTB). The BBTB stuff would be limited today. We see all kinds of guys with solid post games who would have thrived in the NBA in the 80's and 90's (Z-Bo, Al Jefferson, David Lee) struggle to make a big impact today.

Comparisons with Blake Griffin aren't entirely out of line, but BG is 4 inches taller than LJ. That make a huge difference. A health LJ could be a huge plus for any team, but he wouldn't be a top-10 player. Fringe All-Star/second or third option.

The comment made by another posted that says he's a poor man's Barkley is spot on. That is exactly what he was. Too small for his position, but smart, and a good passer with great post moves. More athletic than Barkley. But I don't think Barkley would do well today, and this is coming from a guy whose favorite player was Barkley growing up.

The current league has a huge focus on defense, and long-range shooting, as well as ball movement. Barkley and LJ both had the passing skills needed for today's NBA, but neither had the defensive prowess (owing in large part to their size), and neither was a real threat from down town. LJ was a little better, but if you take out his seasons when the 3pt line was moved in, his career percentage was below .333, which means he was less efficient form there on his career than a guy shooting .500 in the post. That wouldn't fly today.


Its important to keep in mind to that the year he made the All-NBA team, the only category he finished in the top five in was minutes per game. That made his per-game averages a little more impressive than they were as well.


Love the guy. Wish he'd stayed healthy. But I don't think he would be as impactful today as he was in the 90's

KnicksorBust
03-21-2016, 08:08 AM
Well... LJ was 6'6; BG is 6'10, so not quite neck and neck ;-)

:laugh:

Prime LJ had the athleticism and skills to be equal to BG despite his height. His passing skills also compare favorably. I don't think he'd play SF like he did in the 90s. I think he'd stay at PF and do very well.

Jetsguy
03-21-2016, 10:09 AM
anyone else think this was for the NFL RB or just me?

ewing
03-21-2016, 10:41 AM
He be Draymond Green on crack.

KnicksorBust
03-21-2016, 11:22 AM
He be Draymond Green on crack.

Doesn't have the defense...

I wonder if people forget what LJ was like when he came into the league and teamed up with Zo. That was a promising duo. Especially in NBA Jam.

ewing
03-21-2016, 11:48 AM
Doesn't have the defense...

I wonder if people forget what LJ was like when he came into the league and teamed up with Zo. That was a promising duo. Especially in NBA Jam.


Green wouldn't either if when playing the 5 he was expected to match Pat Ewing one on one in the post. LJ was a very good defender, strong as horse, super mobile, great handle, etc. I think Green is the best comparison for him in today's league. i agree with you that people forget too. this guy came in the league a 20 and 10 guy. He got hurt the first time in year 3 and began losing explosion.

PowerHouse
03-21-2016, 12:02 PM
He would be no better than he was in his era.

But I sure would like to see those Grandma-ma commercials come back. Those were awesome.

SLY WILLIAMS
03-21-2016, 12:04 PM
Green wouldn't either if when playing the 5 he was expected to match Pat Ewing one on one in the post. LJ was a very good defender, strong as horse, super mobile, great handle, etc. I think Green is the best comparison for him in today's league. i agree with you that people forget too. this guy came in the league a 20 and 10 guy. He got hurt the first time in year 3 and began losing explosion.

That is the key part. I see some people stretched out his prime but some stats are deceiving. Larry really only had 2 full seasons as a healthy player. The player that was drafted #1 overall was much different than the 24 year old LJ. LJ adjusted as best he could after being hurt but he went from a guy that played above the rim like Barkley (in Barkley's younger days) to a guy that played below the rim in more of a Zack Randolph manner because LJ's lift was gone. I even saw some Dwayne Wade comparisons in this thread. LJ was absolutely nothing like Dwayne Wade. They were total apples and oranges. LJ was so strong that he would guard some other teams centers in the post despite giving up 6 inches at times. We basically traded Anthony Mason for LJ straight up (Brad Lohaus was filler). I thought Mase was awesome but he was a unheralded 3rd round pick that worked his butt off to make himself a career in the NBA. LJ was the #1 overall pick. That trade never happens if LJ does not get hurt. The injury radically changed LJ's career.

IDunknown
03-22-2016, 08:41 PM
6'9 isn't that big? It's 3 inches bigger than Rush, and an inch bigger than Harrison, the guys who were starting at forward last night (LJ wouldn't have a size advantage on either of them).

LJ was 6'6, and 6'9 is bigger than a lot of guys.

And my theory does't say anything about MJ? Not sure what you are talking about there. MJ was a very different scorer and was versatile.

I loved watching LJ play. He was athletic and quick, and a versatile player, but his 'prime' as you call it (18-24) isn't what a prime is. Players hit their prime in their mid-late 20's. Usually 26-31. LJ was already down with a back injury by that age. Had he been drafted after his first season, he would have been developing his first couple of years, and given that his back gave out relatively early in his career (likely in part due to the fact that he was backing up on guys who have 3-4 (or more) inches on him, it's doubtful that he would have seen a different career arc.


And if you are going to base your theory on one game (lol @ that btw) where the team who lost was playing WITHOUT their defensive post player (Bogut was out) and was last year's finals MVP (Iggy, ), and was missing their back-up center (Ezeli) because one guy (who is a much better career 3pt shooter than was LJ) scored 14 points in a game where Leonard and LMA were drawing double teams and opening things up for him, ok.... but you aren't using and form of solid reasoning.

What happened last night is this: GSW was missing two centers and Pop took advantage of it. If you are going to assume that LJ is playing with his back to the basket against teams that are missing their centers each night, and is posting up on guys he has 3 inches on guys the same height (which would mean he's posting up on SGs and PGs), then yeah... I guess that would work. But that would be very unlikely to happen at all, and if it did not more than once a season.


There is nothing to suggest LJ would be putting up better number today than he did in the 90's. And again, he didn't have a 'prime' because his back got thrown out before he got to it.


But, sure, Boris Diaw had a big game against a couple of SF playing out of position on a team who was missing their two centers, therefore LJ would awesome today.

Great argument.

That's why the young years were his prime by definition. It's the same as Grant Hill, and Penny Hardaway.

ManningToTyree
03-22-2016, 09:13 PM
Loved LJ. Nowhere near top 5. Probably would make a handful of Allstar games. 3rd option on a contender